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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An image of Principal Chief Patrick Lambert
Holly Kays / Smoky Mountain News

Earlier this month, the Tribal Council of the Eastern Band of Cherokee voted 9-3 to begin the impeachment process for Principal Chief Patrick Lambert. The vote exposes divisions rippling through the tribe’s governing body.

In January, the tribe’s Office of Internal Audit completed an investigation into contracts and human resources proceedings within Lambert’s administration. Members of the Tribal Council who voted for impeachment have used the results of the investigation as support for impeachment.

Courtesy Michael McFee

Poet Michael McFee is known for creating rich images of his native Appalachia that are grounded in the simplicity of everyday life and in the unique language used by his family over generations.

In his new collection, "We Were Once Here" (Carnegie Mellon/2017), the cast-iron skillet, chewing tobacco spit, and linguistic peculiarities of the mountains become anchors for stories woven from memories.

VG Photography

Comedian Aparna Nancherla is well known for her absurdist wit and introspective reflections. Her style is captured perfectly on her Twitter account, where she shares one-liners like, “I like to call therapy baggage claim,” and, “I once dated an apostrophe.Too possessive.”

Courtesy City of Greensboro North Carolina Police

Like many other law enforcement agencies around the country, the Greensboro Police Department is working to improve community relations while facing a period of heightened tension between police and the public, particularly with marginalized communities.

Host Frank Stasio speaks with Greensboro Police Chief Wayne Scott about the unique challenges his department faces along with the continuing battle over policies surrounding access to police body camera footage.

Felipe de Jesus Molina Mendoza speaking at a protest against the Trump administration’s immigration policies in Raleigh.
Laura Pellicer / WUNC

UPDATE: Immigration officials in Charlotte have delayed the deportation order for Felipe de Jesus Molina Mendoza until a federal appeals court renders a decision on his asylum case. 

Mexican-born Felipe de Jesus Molina Mendoza is asking for asylum in the United States. He says he faces harassment if he is forced to return to Mexico because he is openly gay. Last time he was in Mexico, Molina Mendoza says he and a former boyfriend were attacked with beer bottles because of their sexual orientation.

An image of Abdullah Khadra and his family
Abdullah Khadra

Abdullah Khadra and his family are originally from Syria and currently live in Raleigh on religious worker visas. Last fall, Khadra and his family traveled to Lebanon for a family emergency. But while they were there, the visa expired for Khadra’s three-year old daughter Muna.

Now, Khadra and his wife are struggling to get their daughter on a plane back to the U.S. and they are having difficulty because of President Trump’s executive order.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Khadra about his family’s struggle to bring their daughter back to North Carolina.

Courtesy Marsha Gordon

Starting in the 1950s, filmmaker Sam Fuller produced war films that gave his characters room to question the design of war and their role in it. He also raised conversations about equality of men on and off the battlefield. North Carolina State University film professor Marsha Gordon authored a new book on Fuller's work called, "Film is like a Battleground" (Oxford University Press/2017) that explores his legacy of genre shifting war films.

Will Gehrman / Courtesy The Pinkerton Raid

Durham-based band The Pinkerton Raid released a new album this week called "Tolerance Ends, Love Begins." The new music melds rock and pop with bright harmonies and the twang of traditional Southern instruments. It is the band's third album.
 

A judge's gavel
Wikimedia

The battle between the executive and judicial branches continues, both at the state and national levels. A three-judge panel halted the state Senate review of Governor Cooper's cabinet appointees, and the country awaits a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on President Trump’s travel ban. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC capitol bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest.

An image of comedia Myq Kaplan
Mindy Tucker

For more than a decade, comedian Myq Kaplan has concocted witty quips about time travel and veganism. He has appeared on programs like “Late Show with David Letterman,” “Last  Comic Standing,” and his own special, “Myq Kaplan: Small, Dork and Handsome.”

In his new comedy album “No Kidding,” Kaplan shifts from one-liners to a more long-form comedic approach, all the while mining the theme that he does not want to have children.

Image of young black kids in Chicago with a police officer.
Patricia Evans

In the mid ‘90s, writer Jamie Kalven became immersed in Stateway Gardens, an impoverished and embattled public housing community on the South Side of Chicago.

Image of atomic wasteland in Nagasaki
Hayashi Shigeo, Courtesy of Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

In 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs in Japan, killing more than 200,000 individuals within a year.

David Goldman / AP

UPDATE: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has granted an easement allowing the final portion of the Dakota Access Pipeline to be constructed under the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

In the wake of the Trump administration’s executive order allowing construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and their supporters say they will continue to fight the pipeline through the courts.

Photo Yoon Kim

Comedian Hari Kondabolu has performed on the Late Show with David Letterman, Conan, and Jimmy Kimmel Live. His work explores his experience being raised in Queens, New York by Indian parents. And though his parents have provided him with plenty of comedic gems, Kondabolu does not use Indian accents in his stand-up.

Image of Lisa Hightown-Weidman and her family
Courtesy of Lisa Hightow-Weidman

Lisa Hightow-Weidman grew up with her nose always in a book. She majored in English in college and had aspirations of becoming a writer.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The U.S. Senate convened early this morning to move forward on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. In a rare move,  Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scheduled the vote to advance the decision for 6:30am. Critics say DeVos lacks any educational experience and is unqualified to serve. DeVos is one of several controversial nominations by President Trump. Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the confirmation and the latest in political news.

UNC Program in the Humanities

We define ourselves based on our beliefs like conservatism, liberalism, socialism, or capitalism. In the 2016 election, these differing ideologies came to the forefront but these ideas are not as timeless as many believe.
 

Frank Stasio speaks with UNC History Professor Lloyd Kramer about the historical emergence of the ideologies that shape day to day relationships and civic engagement. Kramer gives a seminar at the Friday Center on the influence of Western “Isms” on Thursday Feb. 9.

 

A picture of the Gravy Boys
Christer Berg

Triangle-based Americana band, The Gravy Boys, recently emerged from the recording studio with a fresh batch of songs with influences ranging from pop to bluegrass. Their new tracks are rich and layered, and channel their foot-stomping stage performances.
 

Anb image of protestors at Columbia University
Frank Franklin II / AP Photo

President Trump’s travel ban on immigrants and refugees from seven countries last week left thousands of international students on college campuses feeling uncertain about their futures. Officials at universities in North Carolina continue to reassure international students of their security, but the ban’s effect remains uncertain.

More than 17,000 students currently enrolled in the U.S. are from the countries included in the travel ban, and many university officials worry that the new immigration policy will harm recruitment of international students in the future.

Yazmin Garcia Rico

During his campaign, Donald Trump said he would eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The program, also known as DACA, was put in place in 2012 by the Obama administration. It allows young adults who came to the United States without documentation as children to receive a two-year renewable protection from deportation, a work permit, and a Social Security number.
 

Carolyn Kaster / AP

At a primetime press conference Tuesday evening, President Donald Trump announced appellate court judge Neil Gorsuch as his pick for the Supreme Court. If confirmed, the 49-year-old judge from Colorado would take up the seat left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. 

President Trump giving victory speech
By Michael Vadon, via Wikimedia Commons

The first weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency have been marked by a slew of controversial executive orders prompting sweeping policy changes on immigration and healthcare. But what does a Trump presidency show Americans about their perspectives on government, society and their role in the world? 

An image of the book cover for 'The Blood of Emmett Till'
Simon & Schuster

 In 1955, a group of white men in the Mississippi Delta kidnapped and murdered a young boy named Emmett Till. Till was 14 years old from and was visiting relatives in Mississippi. News of the tragedy spread as Till’s murder helped spark the modern civil rights movement.

Courtesy of Anna Shternshis

More than two million Soviet Jews were killed during the Holocaust, yet their lives and experiences are not well documented in Holocaust history. 


Jose Angel Figueroa

Iris Morales was among the first women to join The Young Lords, a Puerto Rican nationalist group founded in the late 1960s that aimed to fight the colonial status of Puerto Rico in addition to poverty and racial inequality within the United States.

Image of special agent Rosalynde Fenner
Rosalynde Fenner

  Note: This program is a rebroadcast from January 25, 2016.

a windfarm near Elizabeth City
Jay Price / WUNC

ELIZABETH CITY — In the next few days, the last of an array of 104 wind turbines is expected to be hooked into the electrical grid, and North Carolina's largest wind farm — one of the biggest in the nation — will be complete.

Sign at the U.S. Border
Makaristos via Creative Commons

President Donald Trump signed an executive order ordering a wall along the 2,000 mile Mexican border.

He claims Mexico will pay for it, but Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto says otherwise. He canceled his trip to the U.S. where he was scheduled to meet with President Trump.

Host Frank Stasio talks with KJZZ Mexico City senior field correspondent Jorge Valencia about the latest.

An image of the book cover for 'We Hold These Truths'
Project Z Books

In 2008, writer David Mitchell watched with the rest of the country as Barack Obama became the first African-American elected president. While Mitchell’s friends were optimistic, he was skeptical. He saw the election as a historic movement but was wary of how it would change American politics.
 

An image of jazz vocalist Candice Hoyes
Jessie Obialor

A couple years ago, jazz vocalist Candice Hoyes was looking for a new direction and started digging into the repertoire of her personal hero Duke Ellington.

She started to unearth manuscripts from the National Archives of Ellington compositions that he had written for jazz and classical artists. In her latest album “On a Turquoise Cloud,” Hoyes showcases new recordings of the Ellington manuscripts as she blends her musical origins of jazz and classical training.

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