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:

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Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Vice-presidential candidates Mike Pence and Tim Kaine sparred earlier this week in their only debate of the season.

What did their interactions demonstrate about both campaigns, and how do the vice presidential candidates affect the race? And in the state's gubernatorial race, ad spending reaches new highs. Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest. 

Worst. President. Ever.
Lyons Press, 2016

 With just a month to the election, both sides are on the attack, highlighting the shortcomings of their opposition.

Accusations fly as Clinton and Trump vie for the highest office in the country.

But as voters assess who should lead modern America, author Robert Strauss takes a look back at the nation's 15th president, James Buchanan. Strauss traces Buchanan's presidency and declares him the worst president ever. Host Frank Stasio talks with Strauss about his book,"Worst. President. Ever." (Lyons Press/2016). 

Jim McKelvey

The Piedmont Melody Makers has been jamming together formally and informally for years. The band is a who’s who of North Carolina old time and bluegrass musicians, and in the past year they decided to formalize their musical union and record an official album. “Wonderful World Outside” is a 16-track record with a blend of original tunes and covers.

 

Courtesy of Zanele Muholi

In 2006, South Africa became the fifth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. While social justice activists around the world saw this event as a tremendous victory, the country was still in a lot of turmoil. Homophobic hate crimes and violence were on the rise, and many individuals reported being subject to “curative rape,” a hate crime in which someone is raped to “cure” them of their sexual identity.

Image of Gabriel Garcia Marquez
ASSOCIATED PRESS/ Eduardo Verdugo

Gabriel García Márquez was a Colombian writer and journalist best known for popularizing the form of magical realism. His work blends the fantastical with the real and political, and there is no better example of this than his seminal novel “100 Years Of Solitude” (Harper And Row/ 1970). The book is considered by many to be the most influential piece of Spanish fiction since “Don Quixote.”

Image of Michelle Moog-Koussa with the minimoog.
Courtesy of Michelle Moog-Koussa

More than 50 years ago, Robert Moog revolutionized electronic music with the invention of the Moog synthesizer. It was one of the first widely-used electronic instruments and has been featured in music by artists ranging from The Beatles to jazz pianist Herbie Hancock. But despite his immense career success, Moog kept his professional and personal lives separate. In fact, it was not until his death that his daughter, Michelle Moog-Koussa, began to learn about his professional influence.

The State of Things is broadcasting live from the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh:

Photo by John Davisson/Invision/AP

The International Bluegrass Music Association is underway in Raleigh with the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Awards. The group The Earls of Leicester won Entertainer of the Year for the second year in a row. The group led the field in nominations. Host Frank Stasio talks with John Lawless, editor of Bluegrass Today, about notable awards and emerging bands in bluegrass.

Claire Lynch Band

Bluegrass music traditionally draws inspiration from the back porches, front porches, swamps, mountains and hollers of the South. But for her new album, celebrated bluegrass artist Claire Lynch looked north. The album is called “North By South,” and it is a celebration of the often underappreciated catalog of bluegrass songs written by Canadians. Host Frank Stasio speaks with Claire Lynch about her Canadian muses and listens to some live music from the band.

Courtesy of Laughing Penguin Publicity

Kenny and Amanda Smith have been professional musicians as a duo for 15 years but have been playing music together as husband and wife for decades. The pair's new album is called "Unbound." Amanda Smith was a nominee for Female Vocalist of the Year, and Kenny Smith was nominated for Instrumental Performer of the Year on the guitar in the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Awards.
 

Greensboro Police Department

The Greensboro city council says state officials should revoke the law enforcement license and reconsider charges against a white police officer who violated the department's use-of-force policy in a confrontation with a black man.

Photo from Playmakers production of 'Detroit 67'
Jon Gardiner

Tensions between police and civilians are on the minds of many after last week’s shootings and protests in Charlotte. But a play on stage at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Playmakers Repertory Company makes it clear that these tensions are not new. “Detroit ‘67” tells the fictional story of a brother and sister working to stay afloat as their city faces increased economic and racial turmoil. The story is punctuated with music from the booming Motown music scene.

Image of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Debating
AP Photo/David Goldman)

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off last night in the first presidential debate of the season. They butted heads about how to address racial tensions, the future of trade and business policy, and who is more fit to be president. Meanwhile, polls in North Carolina show the presidential and gubernatorial races are close, while Sen. Richard Burr appears to hold a slight advantage over democratic challenger Deborah Ross. 

Textiles
Wikimedia commons

 

Last night, presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton traded barbs about many subjects including America's economic strength. Economic stability is a key issue in the election and also in the lives of many Americans. 

As part of the NPR Nation Engaged project, host Frank Stasio asks, “What can we do to create economic opportunity for more Americans?” One possible solution is worker-owned businesses.

Stefan Litwin is a piano composer and music professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Hans Joachim Zylla

Note: This program is a rebroadcast from February 8, 2016. 

For Stefan Litwin, playing the piano is personal. Litwin was born in Mexico City in 1960 after his parents fled from the Nazis in Europe years earlier.

He grew up speaking three languages but always felt like an outsider. He went on to study piano in Switzerland and the United States, all the while channeling his family's experience in the Holocaust through composing music.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt at a BOT meeting in September 2016
Emily Kristina Gabbard / WUNC

The academic and athletic scandal at the University of North Carolina dominated headlines for years.

Allegations of paper classes and inappropriate assistance to student-athletes prompted internal and external investigations. And newly released correspondence shows what was going on behind-the-scenes in the midst of revelations about academic fraud. 

Gloria Steinem author photo
Annie Leibovitz

Gloria Steinem, 82,  is one of the most iconic figures of the American feminist movement. Her legacy as a journalist and activist includes co-founding and editing Ms. Magazine, publishing writings on the intersecting barriers to women’s rights, and decades of organizing on the front lines of national and international feminist movements.

Charlotte shooting protesters
Chuck Burton / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Charlotte's police chief says video footage of the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott does not show 'definitive evidence' that Scott pointed a gun at officers before he was fatally shot.

political cartoon by Keith Knight
Courtesy of Keith Knight

Whether it's an editorial cartoon or late-night comedy show, political satire is able to inform audiences while adding some much needed humor. It has been a part of mainstream media for centuries, but has taken many forms over the years.

Taheshia Williams, center, tells her eyewitness account of the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, in Charlotte, N.C. Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. Scott's death on Sept. 20 led to protests and rioting.
Nell Redmond / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Charlotte police say 16 officers were injured last night in clashes with those protesting the fatal police shooting of a black man.

Jim Obergefell
Emma Parker

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2015, that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry in all 50 states, Jim Obergefell's long-fought journey was complete. 

The history books documented track star Jesse Owens' experiences at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, hosted in Nazi-controlled Berlin.

But Owens was not the only African-American athlete to represent the United States of America. A new film, Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, documents the experiences of 18 African-American athletes representing a country that would not give them equal rights.

Hunter Lewis
Courtesy of Hunter Lewis

Hunter Lewis grew up in a big family in North Carolina where gathering for meals was the centerpiece of the day.

He deepened his passion for food when he moved to New York to work in some of the top restaurants in the city. Eventually he merged his love of food with his journalism skills. He became food editor at Bon Appetit, then editor of Southern Living and now, editor of Cooking Light.

Ken Rudin
kenrudinpolitics.com

  Hillary Clinton is back on the campaign trail after a health issue sidelined her for a few days.

And health becomes a key issue in the campaign. Donald Trump releases some of his medical details of the Dr. Oz show. 

Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest in political news.

photo of Congress
Lawrence Jackson, whitehouse.gov.

Lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill last week for a short session before the November election. Their priorities include passing a spending bill to avert another government shutdown and coming up with a funding plan to fight the Zika virus. The pressure is on to adjourn the session quickly to allow embattled incumbents, like North Carolina’s Sen. Richard Burr, time to campaign in their home states.
 

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