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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The North Carolina delegation has a prime spot on the floor at the Democratic National Convention arena. Hosting the party's party is a big deal, and for delegates it's fun, and fascinating. We'll meet several North Carolina delegates today. Frank Stasio is joined by Andy Ball, Nick Carpenter, Margaret Katherine Alexander and Sam Spencer.

The Youth Vote

Sep 5, 2012

Young people helped Barak Obama secure the presidency in 2008.  The question is: will they do it again? At Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, they hosted a cyber summit called U-FUTURE directly aimed at empowering young people to participate in the electoral process. Host Frank Stasio is joined by JCS President Ronald Carter, North Carolina State Senator Malcolm Graham and students Michael Jordan and Lauren Simmons.

Charlotte, NC is the host city for this year’s Democratic National Convention. That means thousands of supporters, protesters, reporters and delegates have poured into the Queen City in anticipation of President Barack Obama accepting his second party nomination.

Legend has it that architect Harvey Gantt fell in love with Charlotte, NC the moment he laid eyes on the city he would come to lead.  Gantt, a Democrat, served two terms as Charlotte’s first African-American mayor before running for U.S. Senate against Republican Jesse Helms.

Remembering Andrew

Sep 3, 2012

20 years ago on August 24th Hurricane Andrew turned South Florida upside down.  In this hour-long documentary, "Remembering Andrew" uses home videos, archival news footage, 911 calls, personal recollections and even a bureaucratic document from the British consul general in Miami to tell the story of Hurricane Andrew.

Wake Forest Debate

Aug 31, 2012

Many voters are looking forward to the Presidential debates this election year, but competitive debaters might say that the civil discourse of our times has given up on formal argumentation. True debate depends on a certain openness and on the possibility that minds can change on the strength of a well-crafted argument. Wake Forest University has an award-winning debate team and their members are already preparing for the upcoming season.

In 2011, magician Steve Marshall was living in Japan. That year, a deadly earthquake and tsunami struck and Marshall found it hard to get work in the aftermath of those disasters. He decided to take a magic tour across the United States to raise some cash.

Doug Largent has had a long career as a professional musician playing the bass. But in 2009, he decided to pursue his real dream: learning to play the organ. Soon after, he formed a jazz trio and they have a new CD called “Right in the Pocket” coming out. Host Frank Stasio talks to the Doug Largent Trio about their music, and they play live in the studio.

There must be something in the water in Craven County, NC. North Carolina’s first female governor, Bev Perdue, got her start there, as did the state’s first African-American President Pro Tem of the House, William Wainwright.

Since January, activists, journalists, non-profit workers and others have traveled around North Carolina to meet the state’s impoverished families. The idea behind the “Truth and Hope Putting a Face on Poverty in North Carolina Tour” is to understand those who live below the poverty line as people, rather than as statistics, and to hear their stories. The tour traveled 2000 miles and visited 27 different communities.

“Hate” is one of those words that gets thrown around recklessly in everyday conversation, but sometimes when we say it, we mean it. What is hatred and why do we feel it? Is it an emotion unique to humans? And why does hatred often lead to violence?

After years covering crime, investigative journalist Mark Pinsky had had enough of murder.  He made the transition to religion reporting and became a well-respected columnist and author by writing about spirituality in contemporary society and popular culture.

John Coltrane’s music blossomed during his time in Philadelphia and New York, but his roots are in High Point, NC where he played music at church and in the high school band.

Meet Al Buehler

Aug 27, 2012

Today, Duke University’s athletics program is world famous for basketball, but back in 1955 when Al Buehler came to Duke to coach the cross country team, football was the school’s big sport. The teams were all men and all white.

Our justice system is sometimes referred to as “retributive justice,” meaning when someone commits a crime, the response is to punish them. Now imagine a system where the focus is on healing, rather than punishment, one that allows the victim of a crime to experience a legal process that is interactive and engaging. That is the mission of restorative justice.

In the aftermath of the 2008 economic collapse, the public clamored for criminal prosecution of those responsible. While some corporations and banks have paid out big fines, few executives have gone to prison. Host Frank Stasio talks to Rick Rothacker, a Reuters banking reporter, about why many criminal corporations have gone unpunished.

Minority communities have always been aware of the problem of racial profiling, but by the late 1990s, it was at the forefront of public consciousness. By 1999, the New York Times was writing an average of three articles on racial profiling a week. The state of North Carolina took note, passing a law requiring police officers to fill out a form including information on the motorist's race at each traffic stop. More than ten years and 13 million traffic stops later, experts have analyzed the data.

There are many ways technology aids in the prevention of crime, but Elon University Law Professor Michael Rich has pondered how far should those methods go. What if software, computers and other digital equipment could actually prevent behavior leading up to a criminal act? Rich joins host Frank Stasio to talk about the social and moral implications of using technology at the risk of impeding on free will.

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina says there are potentially thousands of inmates who have been wrongfully convicted because of a problem with structured sentencing unique to North Carolina. Chris Brook, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina, joins host Frank Stasio to discuss how firearms possession and a change in sentencing laws have countless men and women serving undeserved stints in prison.

No matter how small the crime, having a conviction on your record can have a lingering impact on your life long after you’ve paid your debt to society.

LaMonte Armstrong was a graduate of North Carolina A&T University and a basketball coach before he became known as a murderer.  In 1995, he was convicted of killing his former college professor and family friend Ernestine Compton. Armstrong has maintained his innocence ever since, and he was finally released this year after two defense attorneys successfully presented evidence of wrongful conviction. Host Frank Stasio talks about the case with LaMonte Armstrong and his attorney Theresa Newman, co-director of Duke's Wrongful Convictions Clinic.

Meet Jon Powell

Aug 20, 2012

Growing up in Garner, Jon Powell stayed out of trouble.  His first encounter with the criminal justice system was as an attorney representing kids. The same kids, over and over again. After a while, his faith in the juvenile justice system to rehabilitate offenders was so low he turned to his religious faith to find a new path.

Just a year after an NCAA investigation into improper academic and financial benefits for members of the University of North Carolina’s football team, the school is under suspicion of academic fraud again. The first scandal resulted in the firing of Coach Butch Davis and the accelerated retirement of Athletic Director Dick Baddour. The latest probe involves student athletes and UNC’s Afro-American Studies program. WUNC Education Reporter Dave DeWitt joins host Frank Stasio for a look at the latest trouble brewing for UNC athletics.

The Old Ceremony

Aug 17, 2012

The Old Ceremony is well-known to music lovers in the Triangle. 

The band has been playing together for eight years and now their new album “Fairytales and Other Forms of Suicide” will receive an international release. Host Frank Stasio will be joined by the Old Ceremony as they talk about the evolution of their music over the years.

In 2010, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art had to return 16 silver cups and bowls to a little town in Sicily called Morgantina.

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