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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“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.

When the book “Empire” (2000/ Harvard University Press) first came out, it was called the “Communist Manifesto of the 21st Century.” Co-author Michael Hardt and his collaborator Antonio Negri were hailed as the Marx and Engles of the Internet age and they went on to work on three books that are sometimes called the “Empire Trilogy.” It’s a hypothesis about the state of our political culture.

Leaving No Child Left Behind

Jun 1, 2012

Although put into law with bipartisan support in 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act has failed to create a good accountability system to best serve schools. Due to its shortcomings, many states have petitioned for exemption from the act. This Tuesday, President Obama granted eight states, including North Carolina, exemptions from the most rigorous parts of No Child Left Behind in exchange for state-developed accountability systems. Host Frank Stasio is joined by Dave Dewitt, WUNC’s education reporter, to take a look at the changes and their potential effects.

Writer Christopher Tilghman is known to some as the bard of the borderlands. His short stories and novels, including the much acclaimed “Mason's Retreat," are set on the eastern shore of Maryland. It's a place where water and land meet, where slavery existed north of the Mason-Dixon Line and most of life is a calculation rather than a dream or a conviction.

The Bulltown Strutters bring the street band traditions of New Orleans to their own home in Durham, NC. The 20-member group urges their audiences to join them in parade, dance, and merry-making.

Bo Xilai was a fast-rising politician in China. His sudden downfall plays out like a soap opera, with stories of corruption, hidden money, and murder. This story was picked up by the international press, but the details first broke on a Chinese language website called Boxun.com, which is run out of an office in Durham, NC. Host Frank Stasio will take a look at citizen journalism, working from half a world away with Watson Meng, the founder and editor of Boxun.com, and Scott Savitt, a China journalist and translator.

North Carolina music legend Doc Watson died yesterday in Winston-Salem, NC. He was 89. Watson was a guitarist and folk singer, best known for his flat-picking style on the guitar.

More than 13 million American children and teenagers suffer from anxiety, depression, eating disorders, hyperactivity and other mental illnesses. The naturally irrational, impulsive or volatile behavior kids exhibit every day makes it tough to accurately diagnose them and medicating minors is a controversial practice, particularly when the study of child mental health is considered under-researched.

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