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 Peter Lamb and the Wolves with Maceo Parker
Peter Lamb and the Wolves

For their latest album, "Carolina Tiger Milk," Triangle-based jazz group Peter Lamb and the Wolves invited some of North Carolina's most prominent musicians.

The band's guest  lineup includes vocalist Django Haskins of The Old Ceremony, saxophonist Maceo Parker and members of the Mint Julep Jazz Band.  

A picture of a gavel on a table.
Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Justice announced it will send election monitors to watch the polls in five North Carolina counties. This comes after the state chapter of the NAACP filed a lawsuit alleging local election boards acted illegally when they removed the names of thousands of people from voter registration rolls in three counties within 95 days of the election.

A view of the Blue Ridge Parkway on October 11, 2016 north of Devil's Couthouse in western North Carolina.
Jennifer Mesk / http://humansofasheville.net

New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau paints a complex picture of the changing demographics in western North Carolina. Carolina Public Press managing editor Frank Taylor sifted through the data to find trends in poverty, education, and employment, as well as to undercover political implications of the area's demographic makeup.

Lady Parts Justice League Graphic
Courtesy of Lady Parts Justice League

Hundreds of thousands of American women terminate pregnancies each year. But in the past decade, state governments around the country have enacted a series of laws that reproductive justice advocates argue impede women's access to safe, legal abortion.

An image 'Black Righteous Space' by Hank Willis Thomas
Hank WIllis Thomas

For Hank Willis Thomas, a good photograph is an image that sticks with somebody long after they first see it. As a photographer and conceptual artist, Thomas uses images to critique cultural perceptions about race, gender and class. 

Cover image for Death Faire
Courtesy of Tami Schwerin

Death and spirits are part of conversations this week more than most other times of the year. On Monday, many donned costumes of ghosts and goblins to celebrate Halloween, and yesterday others around the world gathered for festivals and celebrations to mark the first day of El Dia de Los Muertos, a Mexican holiday that honors the dead. But talking about death and dying is usually more taboo. While everyone experiences grief, illness, and death, these experiences are often kept private, discussed only with close friends and families.

Cover Image from ‘Resisting Arrest Poems To Stretch The Sky,’ a new anthology of poetry about police aggression against people of color.
Jacar Press

Does a smile help defend against potential police aggression? What is a mother’s role in protecting her child from a dangerous situation? A new collection of poems, “Resisting Arrest Poems to Stretch the Sky” (Jacar Press/2016), explores these questions through the work of more than 70 writers.
 

Affordable Care Act enrollment has increased in North Carolina.
U.S. Health and Human Services

Beginning this week, hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians will again shop for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act exchange.

Entering 2017, however, shoppers in this state will see fewer options than in previous years.

Political Junkie Ken Rudin
Ken Rudin

Early voting is underway in North Carolina and predictions for which party is leading the state have already emerged. Meanwhile both parties continue actively campaigning in swing states including North Carolina. Republican Presidential Candidate, Donald Trump, is raising a red flag concerning what he says is a rigged election and both parties have turned Trump’s ‘nasty woman’ comment into a rallying cry.
 

Screenshot from the 1961 cult film 'Hercules in the Haunted World' showing a male character hovering over a woman laying on a slab
SPA CINEMATOGRAFICA

It’s a battle oft overlooked by the history books, but North Carolina Opera is paying tribute to the epic battle between Hercules and vampires in their new live-film event.
 

Image of chicago alderman
Courtesy of Michael Karlik

With fewer than 15 days until the election, it is nearly impossible to avoid conversations about politics. While some Americans may be tempted to unplug their televisions until it is all over, comedian Michael Karlik is doing exactly the opposite. Michael Karlik is a Colorado-based writer who is actively seeking out conversations about civics and government from every corner of America.

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Incumbent Governor Pat McCrory spent 14 years as the mayor of the state's largest city, Charlotte, before making a run at the governor's mansion. He lost his 2008 bid but won the gubernatorial race in 2012. Four years later, he faces a tight battle with democratic challenger Attorney General Roy Cooper. Campaign issues include House Bill 2, voter identification, the state of the economy and body cameras. Host Frank Stasio talks with Governor Pat McCrory about his priorities and his re-election bid.  

A new exhibit at The Carrack Modern Art Museum in Durham features works from three generations of the Belans family. It includes photography by the late Herbert A. Belans reinterpreted and repurposed by his granddaughter, photographer and artist Leah Sobsey.  Linda Belans, Leah’s mother and Herbert’s daughter, links the works with her poetry. Host Frank Stasio speaks with Leah Sobsey and Linda Belans about how an inheritance of old film negatives turned into a multi-generational family art collaboration.

An image of former state senator Josh Stein
Public Doman

Democrat Josh Stein and Republican Buck Newton are vying for the open seat left by Attorney General Roy Cooper who stepped down to run for governor.

A gif image of a timelapse of host Frank Stasio's right underarm microbes grown at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences' Genomics & Microbiology Research Lab.
Courtesy Julie Horvath

They live in every nook and cranny of your body, from your belly button to your armpits. A new exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences explores the secret world of human microbes. Host Frank Stasio speaks with biologists Julie Horvath and Rob Dunn about the implications of microbial diversity for human health, and about Frank’s own armpit ecosystem.
 

Black On Black

Oct 25, 2016
Saba Taj

Artists of color share their thoughts on race and identity in a new exhibit at Raleigh’s Visual Art Exchange called “Black on Black.” A range of community programming expands the artist’s ideas beyond the gallery walls with educational events about music, film, justice, dance and preserving family history.

Cover image of Wedding Bell Blues, a new mystery novel by Ruth Moose
Courtesy Ruth Moose

An eccentric yet beloved, homeless bride-to-be, her freshly-murdered fiancé and an evasive white rabbit are some of the residents of Littleboro, North Carolina, a town where mysteries abound. They are also the conjurings of author Ruth Moose, that come to life in her new book “Wedding Bell Blues” (Minotaur Books/2016).

Host Frank Stasio talks with Moose about developing her cast of characters, and about picking up where her last book left off, a book she first wrote more than 25 years ago. 

Front pages of the News and Observer
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

For the majority of libel claims, the case never goes before a jury. However, in cases where the libel claim goes through to trial, juries tend to give big awards, something the Raleigh News & Observer found out this week when a jury delivered a verdict that could run north of $6 million.

Headshot of Roy Cooper
Courtesy of Roy Cooper

With the election less than three weeks away, the national spotlight is on North Carolina as a key swing state in this election. The latest polls in the governor’s race show incumbent Governor Pat McCrory head-to-head with democratic challenger Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battled it out on the podium earlier this week in their third and final debate of the season. It was the first time a Fox News anchor moderated a presidential debate.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Ken Rudin, the political junkie, about the candidates’ debate strategies and about their comedic spar at an annual charity roast. 

Political pins show off the name and campaign slogans of former US Congressman Nick Galifiniakis.
Courtesy Ken Rudin

The son of two Greek immigrants, Nick Galifianakis was a surprising pick for politics in 1960s North Carolina. "Pick Nick", a new book by former UNC history professor John Semonche, published by Tidal Press, takes an intimate look into Galifianakis’s rise to political prominence, first as a member of the North Carolina General Assembly and later as a United States Congressman.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Semonche and Galifianakis about his political legacy and the infamous battle against former US Senator Jesse Helms.​

Judge Mike Morgan, a candidate in the N.C. Supreme Court race, standing by an American flag.
Courtesy Mike Morgan

The race for a seat in the North Carolina Supreme Court is one of many down-ballot races that may not be top of mind for most North Carolinians. However, this year’s race carries the potential for a significant political shift.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan, a registered Democrat, says the N.C. Supreme Court is becoming increasingly politicized. He is fighting to win the seat of incumbent Justice Bob Edmunds, a registered Republican. 

Headshot of N.C. Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds.
Courtesy of Justice Bob Edmunds

Down-ballot races in North Carolina do not generally conjure the hearty debate and civic attention of higher profile elections. But this year, the race for a seat on North Carolina's Supreme Court may also carry a significant ideological shift.

An image from Bright's series '#1960Now' that explores the parallels between the Civil Rights Movement and the current  #BlackLivesMatter movement today.
Sheila Pree Bright

Photographer Sheila Pree Bright first picked up a camera in search of a means of personal expression. After her first public exhibit, it was clear that not only did she have a gift for making beautiful images, but her work also sparked thoughtful and unexpected conversations about race, politics, and justice. Bright first came into the national spotlight with the series “Suburbia,” which explored black suburban life in Atlanta.

Eric Loewen
GE

America’s reliance on fossil fuels is contributing to global warming, posing a threat to the future of the planet. Much of the discussion around mitigating climate change centers on sources like solar and wind power, while nuclear power is often left out of the conversation. Fear about safety and expense have hindered the development of nuclear power as a sustainable energy source for the United States, but Eric Loewen hopes to change that perception.

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