The State of Things

WUNC's The State of Things brings the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to you.  The State of Things Podcast presents new stories every weekday with topics from our show.  To subscribe:Get a daily show update and special news. Subscribe to our podcast on Google Play or iTunes.  Or, use the links at the right.Visit the main SOT page.

Christopher and Taylor Malpass
Courtesy of Christopher and Taylor Malpass / The Malpass Brothers

Christopher and Taylor Malpass didn’t go to daycare when they were little boys. They went over to their grandad’s house instead and listened to the old country jukebox records he brought home from his store.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Revelations of sexual misconduct at the federal level have opened up inquiries into the culture in state houses around the country. At the North Carolina General Assembly, WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii uncovered two incidents of reported misconduct: one from 2007 involving former Representative David Almond (R-Stanly), who allegedly exposed himself to a legislative assistant and then masturbated on an office chair.

Cover of 'Going to School in Black and White'
Cindy Waszak Geary and LaHoma Smith Romocki

A few years ago, Cindy Waszak Geary and LaHoma Smith Romocki were sitting together in their writing group when they realized that not only did they both grow up in Durham, but they went to the same high school during a period of racial integration in the early 1970s.

Brendan Francis Newnam and Rico Gagliano
Courtesy of 'Brunch is Hell' / Brunch is Hell

Brendan Francis Newnam and Rico Gagliano are experts at hosting dinner parties, or at least virtual ones. As the hosts of the podcast and radio show “Dinner Party Download,” they guided audiences through 400 conversations about culture, history, arts and food – all packaged in segments that represented different phases of a dinner party, like “small talk,” “cocktails,” and “guest of honor.” 

Two servers hand a tray of food to child in school cafeteria.
Lance Cpl. Brandon R. Holgersen / U.S. Marine Corps

Some children who rack up debt paying for lunch in their school cafeterias face a sudden swap when their hot meals are substituted for a cold sandwich or just a serving of fruit and vegetables and a cup of water. 

Voice Male magazine editor Rob Okun and other men at the Massachusetts state house in Boston taking the White Ribbon campaign's pledge to be part of the solution in ending violence again women.
Courtesy of Rob Okun

The #MeToo movement has broken a decades-long culture of silence around sexual assault and harassment and taken down a number of powerful men, including Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, TV host Matt Lauer, politician Al Franken, and 30 some others compiled in a list from The New York Times. But according to writer Rob Okun, the thing that ties together all of these individual incidents is a culture of power and privilege held in place by particular ideas about masculinity. 

Cover of 'The Spark' by David Drake
Courtesy of David Drake

Society is split apart into nodes, tucked into different corners of the world and connected by a common road. It is a land where chaos rules, but with the help of the ‘Champions,’ civilization is taking hold once again. 

screen shot of code
Joffi / Pixabay Creative Commons

Two major data breaches in North Carolina have come to light in the past week. 

Mahatma Gandhi
Unknown / Wikimedia public domain

From a young age, humans receive messages from school, religion, and society about developing a strong moral compass and learning how to do “the right thing.” But according to expansive psychological research, there is a gap between how good we are and how good we think we are. 

An image of musician Anne-Claire Niver
Kendall Atwater

The music for the live program in Greensboro was written and performed by Anne-Claire Niver. The Durham-based singer-songwriter was joined by Dan Faust on percussion and Charles Cleaver on the keyboard. She currently has a Kickstarter to help fund her upcoming album. Listen to her perform the song "Mosquitoes" below: 

L.A. McCrae holding a glass of her beer
Courtesy of L.A. McCrae

For L.A. McCrae, beer is a ministry. She owns Black Star Line Brewing Company – the first black-owned brewery in Western North Carolina. 

Image of pills spilling out over money.
TaxRebate.org.uk / Flickr Creative Commons

The biggest healthcare provider in Western North Carolina and the largest insurer in the state have reached a deal over reimbursement rates. 

people marching with confederate flags in Washington, D.C.
Elvert Barnes / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/ye6c21

Alderman Ralph Hamlett wants symbols of hate and racism to be banned from parades in his town of Canton, North Carolina.

Marchers and singers at the Poor People's Campaign, Washington DC. May-June 1968, Jimmy Collier is on the left, & Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick on right.
Smithsonian Folkways / Smithsonian - Folkways - http://s.si.edu/2B1fejh

Music as a form of protest has a long history in the U.S. Activists have used songs to guide countless movements, from the abolition fight in the 1700s to anti-Vietnam War demonstrations and beyond.

Still from 'Lady and the Tramp'
Cozinhando Fantasias / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/kELGJv

Animation has come a long way, from the hand-painted drawings of The Walt Disney Company’s 1937 feature film “Snow White” to today’s dazzling computer-generated imagery. 

man in handcuffs
houstondwiphotos / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/nQGa3o

Almost one in 20 people jailed in Mecklenburg County last year were held on failure to pay court fines or fees. Now, a new program supported by the MacArthur Foundation is modeling an evidence-based approach to criminal justice reform that changes the way people are assessed, held and released. 

The founders of the Found Footage Festival, Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett.
Courtesy of Nick Prueher / Joe Pickett (left) and Nick Prueher (right

Friends Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett’s fascination with VHS tapes started in elementary school. The two would scour garage sales and thrift stores for odd and entertaining videos and then head home to host viewing parties for their friends. 

white supremacists
Anthony Crider / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/WvMgaC

In the play “The Millennium Boy,” 17-year-old Johnny Reinhofer is radicalized by an “alt-right” group that declares hateful messages of white supremacy. 

Courtesy of Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Gabrielle Calvocoressi was born with nystagmus, a visual condition where the eyes are constantly in spasm. It took Calvocoressi a while to learn how to walk and balance, so the young child spent a lot of time sitting on the floor, daydreaming and observing the world. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., center, joins Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and other GOP lawmakers to talk about the GOP tax plan.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

The U.S. Senate is busy debating its tax overhaul bill. A vote on the measure is expected later today. The bill has moved swiftly to the Senate floor, and Republican leaders say they are confident there are enough votes to pass it. 

man sitting at computer, stressed.
Time Gouw / Pexels commons

The Republican tax overhaul is a $1.5 trillion package that features a wave of tax cuts with the goal of spurring the economy. GOP leaders said the plan would pay for itself, but new analysis out yesterday shows otherwise. 

Courtesy of Professor Tune

Durham rapper Professor Toon has spent years performing music in the city. He has watched the hip-hop scene grow in the Triangle as he has continued to challenge himself as an artist.

The Dan River bank with residual dark grey coal ash.
Steven Alexander / USFWS

Duke Energy argued this week in hearings before the North Carolina Utilities Commission that the cost of cleaning up coal ash spills should be passed on to consumers. 

red wolf and pup
Brooke Gilley, US Forest Service / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/rT5zJf

In 1980 red wolves were declared extinct in the wild, but a special program to preserve the population helped stop the species from dying out. Now U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina is asking the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to terminate the program, and he is not alone in his desire. 

sun beams
fdecomite / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/rbz9L

Near-death experiences are undeniably difficult to study. And yet a passionate few scientists have dedicated their careers to understanding this phenomenon experiencers say creates an immediate and lifelong transformation. 

John Darnielle and Joseph Fink
Jeremy Lange/Nina Subin

Writer Joseph Fink is a big fan of the Durham-based band The Mountain Goats. Fink is the co-creator of hit podcasts like “Welcome to Night Vale” and “Alice Isn’t Dead” and says The Mountain Goats influences his creative process. For his new podcast, Fink wanted to explore the stories behind The Mountain Goats’ music, so he invited bandleader John Darnielle to dissect songs one at a time.

Naval History and Heritage Command

Starting in at least the 1920s, the U.S. Army recruited soldiers to test the effects of dangerous and powerful chemicals. 

Courtesy of Jeffrey Crow

The history of North Carolina goes back centuries, so how have the history books shaped our understanding of the state and its residents? 

geralt / Pixabay Commons

In 2015 the Federal Communications Commission solidified network neutrality rules that prevent internet service providers from blocking, slowing down or interfering with web traffic. Last week FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced a repeal of these rules, which would usher in a new era of the internet. 

Public Domain Pictures / Pixabay Commons

Scientists and researchers from major labs are putting their minds and grant dollars into gene editing tools like CRISPR, which enables humans to modify genetic code. 

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