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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In 2002, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act to avoid the Florida controversy during the 2000 election. North Carolina had some $4 million in federal funds coming to it from the HAVA, but the state needed to provide an extra $600,000 in its own voting budget to release those funds. Last week, the House and Senate chose to hold back the $600,000.

Eric Wilson is interested in visionaries like William Blake, the human obsession with calamity and romance literature. It’s a radical departure for the young man who grew up aspiring to become a pro quarterback during his childhood in Taylorsville, North Carolina.

Liz Seymour was in her 50s when she found herself divorced, living in a group house with her foster son and dumpster diving for food. She had left her comfortable, middle class existence willingly in order to find what she calls her "right-sized life." She became an anarchist and activist. Today she is the executive director of the Interactive Resource Center, Greensboro's only day center for people managing homelessness. Liz Seymour joins host Frank Stasio to discuss her journey from orderliness into happy chaos.

Rising Tides

Jun 21, 2012

North Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that would use historical record rather than scientific methodology to predict rising sea levels. It’s in response to a report released by the North Carolina Coastal Resource Commission, predicting that the sea level will rise 39 inches by 2100.

The Moth

Jun 21, 2012

Al Letson never meant to get into radio. But after the playwright and poet won the Public Radio Talent Quest, he launched onto the public radio airwaves with the show “State of the Re:Union.”

A recent study at North Carolina State University highlights how deceptive advertising affects the brains of consumers. This could have implications for aging and injured brains and how they are able to vet advertising for falsehoods. Host Frank Stasio talks about the study with Stacy Wood, Langdon Distinguished Professor of Marketing at N.C. State University’s Poole College of Management.

Neuropsychologist Mark Solomon didn’t know what he was missing until one day in 1999 when a 1955 bottle of port opened his eyes to the complexity of wine. He soon embarked on a journey that would end with him leaving his career behind to become a wine auctioneer. Host Frank Stasio talks to Mark Solomon, fine wine director at Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales in Hillsborough, about his journey from neuropsychology to wine aficionado.

“One Man…Two Titanium Legs…100 Chickens.” That’s the tag line for a forthcoming documentary called “The Farmer Veteran Project” produced by Vittles Films. The movie centers around the story of Alex Sutton, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who was seriously injured on his final tour of duty.

Logan Mehl-Laituri joined the military before September 11th. After the towers fell, he served in Afghanistan and Iraq doing dangerous work as a forward observer in the Army. He then joined the Air Force, and there he had a powerful religious epiphany that led him to stop serving as he had before. Mehl-Laituri is now a student at Duke Divinity School and the author of a new book “Reborn on the 4th of July” (Intervarsity Press/2012), which details his experience in the military and his ideas about spiritual faith. He joins host Frank Stasio to talk about the book.

So Rich, So Poor

Jun 19, 2012

More than 20 million people in the United States are living in extreme poverty at this moment. That means that the income for a family of 4 is half below the poverty line, or $11,000. Six million people’s incomes consist only of food stamps.

Duke Integrative Medicine provides holistic health care based on the best practices of traditional Western medicine as well as fundamental aspects of health like nutrition, exercise, spiritual practice, personal and professional development and environmental safety.

Pitstache

Jun 15, 2012

When Deborah Aronin decided to stop shaving her armpits, she was surprised by the range of reactions she saw in the people around her. Strangers would come up to her, either expressing support or showing their disgust.

Different Drum

Jun 15, 2012

When Alex Weiss, the leader and composer of Different Drum, left his native New York to hitchhike across the US, his goal was to play music. That goal has traveled far and wide and landed him in Durham,

Jules Verne

Jun 14, 2012

The annual gathering of the North American Jules Verne Society takes place in Marion, North Carolina this year. Jules Verne, a 19th century French writer, is well known for books like "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," and "Journey to the Center of the Earth," but poor

Doc Watson's virtuosic guitar playing changed bluegrass music forever. He brought the guitar out from behind the banjo and fiddle and set the bar for acoustic musicians. His career took off with the folk revival of the 1950s and remained vital until his death last month. Now the Deep Gap, North Carolina native will forever be an icon of mountain music.

The idea for Robert Goolick’s latest novel, “Heading Out To Wonderful” (Algonquin/2012), began in a barbershop in Greece. Goolrick sets the story in his native Virginia, unfolding a plot that begins very simply, with a stranger who walks into a small town and falls in love. The consequences of desire, secrecy and loss of childhood innocence come to fruition in the book and Goolrick joins host Frank Stasio to talk about his new novel and the relationship between passion and sense of place.

Writer Moira Crone makes her first foray into science-fiction with the novel, “The Not Yet” (UNO Press/2012). In it, the year is 2121 and New Orleans is mostly underwater and the wealthy elite can use their fortunes to live for hundreds of years.

Meet Nico Katsanis

Jun 11, 2012

What can fish teach us about ourselves? Nico Katsanis thinks there might be quite a bit. He’s planting human genes in zebrafish to see what he can learn about brain development.

An assignment from his kindergarten teacher to make a book about the alphabet set Ashley Bryan on the path to become a writer and illustrator of children’s literature. It was unchartered territory for an African-American at the time, but Bryan broke through the barriers of the publishing industry and has written more than 30 books since 1962.

Mandolin Orange

Jun 8, 2012

Mandolin Orange has ripened since their first album. Their recently released double CD "Haste Make/Hard-Hearted Stranger" includes new instruments, new collaborators and sophisticated production. But they have held onto their signatures – the poetic lyrics and elegant melodies that first attracted attention. Host Frank Stasio will speak with Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz about the progression of their music and Mandolin Orange will perform live in the studio.

Slow money is a movement that grew out of the 2008 financial collapse. The first principle of that movement is to “bring money back down to earth.” It calls for investing in local farms and food products. On today's program we are going to consider the Slow Money movement in North Carolina and ask this question: what if we applied the principles of Slow Money to things beyond food and farms? What happens when we create a system that values businesses that create healthy local economies and environments? That system is slowly taking shape and it's called Impact Investing.

North Carolina voters recently approved an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The amendment outlaws same sex marriage and threatens the recognition of civil unions and domestic partnerships.

Jay Leutze was a non-practicing lawyer writing a novel, working for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and minding his own business in his home in western North Carolina when he got a phone call from an impassioned and outraged 14 year old named Ashley.

Writer Leonard Pitts Jr. is known for his nationally syndicated, award-winning newspaper column. Recently, he began trying his hand as a novelist. His second work of fiction is “Freeeman” (Agate Publishing/2012), a historical novel set in the post-Civil War South.

When the AIDS epidemic hit in the 1980s, it was a scourge unlike any other, one that weakened the body’s defenses and left victims to die an agonizingly slow death. Now, new treatments have made HIV/AIDS a manageable disease, while a cure and vaccine seem like more of a possibility than ever.

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