The State of Things

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photo of Steve Michell, Tom Campbell, Sarah Goddin, Linda-Marie Barrett and Erica Eisdorfer
Courtesy of Deonna Kelli Sayed/Jon Mayes/Lance Richardson

Summer is the time of year when vacationers look for good books to take to the beach or their backyard hammocks.

These books can be the ones that are light, frivolous and enjoyable, or simply the ones that you never had the chance to finish before.

North Carolina State Legislature
Dave Crosby / Flickr

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the most recent action from the state Legislature.

State Senators approved a budget Tuesday night following more than an hour of review and debate.

Photo: The North Carolina General Assembly's Legislative Building
Jorge Valencia

Republican leaders at the General Assembly are working to wrap up the short session.

Today the Senate is considering a flurry of bills, including some of the most controversial legi slation of the session. One proposal could change the way police officers do their work and another could reorganize the Asheville City Council.

photo of 'The Dude Abides Party'
Ashley Sue Bullers/North Carolina Museum of Art

Summer is here and so are summer festivals. While big events like MerleFest or the National Folk Festival get much of the attention, many smaller festivals scattered throughout the state highlight the varied cultural communities in North Carolina.

Host Frank Stasio talks with festival organizers about this summer’s lineup, from the Highland Games in the west to the Yam Festival in the east.


photo of Brett Harris
Jeremy Lange

Durham-based singer-songwriter Brett Harris didn't grow up in a musical family, but he has found one in the Triangle.

Harris is a touring member of The dB's and a core member of Big Star’s Third, a group that recreated '70s rock group Big Star’s album “Third” with live on-stage performances. In his new solo album, “Up in the Air,” Harris lets his strengths as a songwriter and storyteller shine on an original set of indie-pop songs.


Book Cover For 'In A Different Key'
Crown Publishers

Note: This program is a rebroadcast.  

The term "autism" dates back to the 1930s when a pediatrician named Hans Asperger coined it to describe young boys he was treating who had high intelligence but limited social skills.

The new book, "In A Different Key: The Story of Autism" (Crown/2016) looks at the term and documents how scientific and popular understanding of the disorder have shifted and evolved tremendously in the past century.

Aminatou Sow

Note: This program is a rebroadcast.

About five years ago, Aminatou Sow was working for a technology company in Washington D.C. and came across an article detailing how few women work in tech. The statistic did not match her personal experience as she knew of a number of women working in tech-related fields, from NASA to the National Security Agency.

photo of Muhammad Ali
AP / AP

In 2009, President Obama declared June "African-American Music Appreciation Month." The tribute started as "Black Music Month" in the 1970s. While the name has changed, it continues to be a time to celebrate the ways black artists have shaped music. These artists include three people who have recently died; Prince, Billy Paul and Phife Dawg. They each left a dynamic legacy in different genres.

photo of Wildin Acosta
Courtesy of the Acosta family

Earlier this year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials detained 19-year-old Wildin Acosta as he was leaving his home in Durham.

Acosta has been held in a detention facility for nearly five months while he waits for an immigration hearing. The Corrections Corporation of America says he was recently held in "restrictive housing" for nine days for three alleged citations. CCA says the disciplinary action follows ICE detention standards.

A completed Earthcasting installation in Portland, Oregon by sculptor Thomas Sayre.
Courtesy of MINNOW MEDIA

Sculptor Thomas Sayre tackles work that is exceptional.

His giant sculptures use the earth as a casting mechanism. Although his art is unusual, it is not solitary.

photo of Joe Webster
Efren Renteria

When Joe Webster became an attorney, one of his first cases was a civil rights lawsuit he filed against his hometown of Madison, North Carolina. He successfully argued that it was wrong for the town to deny him, a black man, his own office space in a predominantly white neighborhood.

photo of a gun show in Houston
M&R Glasgow / Flickr

Democrats in the Senate hold the floor in a 14-hour filibuster designed to force a vote on gun regulations. The measures, expected for votes next week, would restrict gun purchases for suspected terrorists and expand background checks. But the likelihood of passage seems low as the parties disagree on how to enforce the measures.

photo of Greg Humphreys Electric Trio
Mike Benson

After more than 15 years touring as a musician, Greg Humphreys decided it was time to slow things down. He took a break from his career as a solo artist to focus on other things he'd put on the sidelines. He eventually moved to New York City, got married and had a kid.

Photo of Claudia Ruíz Massieu and North Carolina legislators
Consulado General de Mexico en Raleigh

More than 35 million of the nation’s immigrant population comes from neighboring Mexico.

And America’s relationship with Mexico is at the top of political headlines, particularly when the GOP presidential candidate advocates building a wall along the 2,000 mile border.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs Claudia Ruíz Massieu.

Book cover of "The One That Got Away," by Leigh Himes
Leigh Himes

Abbey Lahey is a middle-class working mom who yearns for the finer things in life. And during a trip to the mall to return a Marc Jacobs handbag that she can not afford, she gets that opportunity.

She tumbles down the escalator and wakes up in the hospital as Abbey Van Holt, married to a wealthy man who she could have married years before.

Photo of Sick of Stupid
Sick of Stupid

Comedians Cliff Cash, Tom Simmons and Stewart Huff are tired of seeing ​negative stereotypes plague their Southern identity. The trio of comedians use stand-up to push against these stereotypes and offer different perspectives outside what is seen on shows like "Duck Dynasty." They tackle topics like gay rights, religion and gun control.

Lion King
Jared via Flickr

From Jungle Book to Jaws and Babe to Lion King, the stars of the silver screen are often not humans but instead are our four-legged friends. For the Movies on the Radio on The State of Things, tell us your favorite animal film. Email us here with "Movies" in the subject line. 

photo from "To Kill a Mockingbird"
Moni3 [Public Domain] / Wikimedia Commons

Most movies are sources of adventure and excitement, but some films can also be a source of temptation. Whether a movie was off-limits by your parents or banned by the church, a forbidden film can often be all the more enticing to watch. Maybe your parents thought the dinosaur eating a man off the toilet in "Jurassic Park" was too violent, or that "To Kill a Mockingbird" talked about taboo topics.

photo of "Woodstock" by Burk Uzzle
Burk Uzzle

Burk Uzzle remembers taking pictures at the bus station when he was just a teenager living in eastern North Carolina. In high school, he worked part-time as a photographer for the News & Observer and eventually became the youngest photographer hired by LIFE magazine. Throughout the years, Uzzle captured iconic images of Martin Luther King Jr. and Woodstock, and his archive now spans six decades and prominently features images of his Southern roots.

The Ant Man

Jun 14, 2016
photo of Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith

The trail of ants across the kitchen counter may be a nuisance to some, but to biologist Adrian Smith, it is a fascinating phenomenon full of mystery. Smith studies the evolution of different ants and their social patterns. He also films the insects to document their intriguing characteristics.

Ryan Gibson of Raleigh is among the hundreds of people who filled a parking lot outside of the gay night club Legends in downtown Raleigh to support the victims of the Orlando shooting.
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

Just one day after the deadliest mass shooting in American history, many questions remain.

Thus far, investigators have confirmed that on Sunday morning, alleged shooter Omar Mateen attacked a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and injuring 53 others. According to reports, Mateen pledged his allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call during the attack but no direct link has been confirmed between him and the terrorist group.

photo of a stethoscope
Wesley Wilson / Pexels

When the Affordable Care Act went into effect, the federal government hoped visits to the Emergency Room - some of the most expensive treatments in the industry - would decrease.

Instead, ER visits are rising. Experts blame the spike on patients who have health insurance for the first time and have yet to visit a primary care physician.

photo of Stuart Albright
Stuart Albright

Why do some students succeed while others do not? This question has stumped teachers, school administrators, and education policy professionals who try to stop students from falling through the cracks.

photo of Lake Street Dive
Danny Clinch

The Brooklyn quartet Lake Street Dive met as students at the New England Conservatory of Music, but the group's musical roots date back decades to the vintage sounds of Motown and The Beatles. The band members channel their jazz training through soul pop arrangements to create a harmonious mix of influences on their latest album, "Side Pony."

Flag of the United States of America, backlit, windy day.
Jnn13 / Wikipedia

Note: This program is a rebroadcast.

The divide between America's top earners and the rest of the population is wide and getting wider. 

Many experts point to the way in which the so-called "one percent" have used their economic power to tighten their grip on privilege as one reason for the widening gap.

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