The State of Things | Blue Ridge Public Radio

M - F Noon - 1PM

The State of Things host Frank Statio
Credit WUNC-FM

WUNC’s flagship program, “The State of Things” covers many diverse issues and topics in North Carolina. Host Frank Stasio talks with authors, musicians, politicians, policymakers and everyday citizens about subjects that matter to North Carolinians. The program can now be heard in Western North Carolina, M - F from noon to 1, thanks to an ongoing partnership between Blue Ridge Public Radio and WUNC, headquartered in Chapel Hill.

The State of Things is a live show that welcomes comments, feedback and questions from listeners. Call 1.877.962.9862, email sot@wunc.org, or tweet @state_of_things. Follow The State of Things on Facebook or Tumblr.

Get a daily show update, and special news.

Or, join the live audience for remote broadcasts from Greensboro's Triad Stage and Raleigh's Museum of Natural Sciences. And you can listen to Political Junkie Ken Rudin Fridays on the program.

A Congressional bill that would make way for a new casino is sparking controversy in western North Carolina. The bill would allow the Catawba Indian Nation to establish a gaming facility in Cleveland County. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians say this new casino would hurt their facilities in Cherokee and Murphy.

The slave narrative was the first form of literature indigenous to the United States. William L. Andrews analyzed more than 60 slave narratives published between 1840 and 1865 for his latest book, “Slavery and Class in the American South: A Generation of Slave Narrative Testimony, 1840–1865” (Oxford University Press/2019).

Artist Tristan Parks has spent so much time in communion with James Baldwin in the past year that he says he is “sure Baldwin is annoyed” with him at this point. Baldwin, of course, passed away more than three decades ago, but his spirit, words and philosophy are very much alive in Parks’ new performance-art piece, “They Do Not Know Harlem: In Communion with James Baldwin.”

 At 47, Marty Rosenbluth decided to go back to school. After 20 years working on international social justice issues, he thought that a law degree could help him get higher-level jobs with organizations he admired, like Amnesty International and Greenpeace.

 At 47, Marty Rosenbluth decided to go back to school. After 20 years working on international social justice issues, he thought that a law degree could help him get higher-level jobs with organizations he admired, like Amnesty International and Greenpeace.

Republicans in the House are moving forward with their version of the state budget. Teachers and supporters who took to the streets in protest over funding were disappointed that the proposal did not meet their demands. Gov. Roy Cooper was also left wanting; now questions have arisen over whether he would veto a budget that does not provide for Medicaid expansion. 

Superhero movies can be a massive money maker for Hollywood. Marvel movies, in particular, continue to break their own records, including the latest “Avengers: End Game,” which raked in more than $1 billion dollars globally opening weekend.

Durham-based guitar player Jon Shain and bassist FJ Ventre have known each other since high school. They have played music together on and off for more than three decades, and Ventre has played on or produced all of Shain’s CDs.

Expressions of shock and grief continue today after a shooting last night on the campus of the University of North Carolina Charlotte. Two people were killed, and four others were injured.  

 

Educators from around the state are descending on Raleigh today to call on lawmakers to increase support for public schools. Last year a similar teacher protest drew about 20,000 educators and supporters to North Carolina’s capital.

Working mothers have a lot stacked against them. From insufficient parental leave to workplace culture that penalizes family time, moms often find it extremely challenging to get ahead professionally while raising kids. In politics, the barriers are even more daunting. Young moms on the campaign trail are routinely asked about their ability to manage family and political life and field questions about their commitment to issues beyond kids and schools. 

After writer Samia Serageldin lost her mother, she traveled to Cairo to go through her belongings and remember the woman she thought she knew intimately. Yet when she read through journals her mother had kept as a young bride and throughout her life, Serageldin realized there was much she had never considered or understood about her. Along with co-editor Lee Smith, Serageldin put a prompt out to Southern writers she admired: Discover what you know, or do not know, about your mother. An anthology of essays aptly named “Mothers and Strangers: Essays on Motherhood From the New South” (University of North Carolina Press/2019) is the result. 

Although the majority of Americans support paid family leave, only 12 percent of North Carolina workers benefit from it. Employees are able to take unpaid family leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, but many workers simply cannot afford to go without pay while they take care of a new baby or sick relative. 

Following the success of last year’s walkout, North Carolina teachers are staging another protest tomorrow. This year an expected 31 school districts have cancelled classes in anticipation of the rally. Stated goals include: increasing minimum wage to $15; reinstating compensation for advanced degrees; and providing more classroom support.

Once criminals have served their time, they are released and expected to return to being productive members of society. But what resources are in place to help them do so? The documentary “Benevolence: A Journey From Prison To Home ” follows five women as they try to reintegrate into society while working on a farm in Alamance County.

As a boy Ernest Grant was enchanted by the nurses who attended his church in Swannanoa, a small area in western North Carolina. He often overheard them talking about their work at a local tuberculosis sanitarium and vividly remembers their stories of caring for patients.

Have you ever paid $10 dollars to see a movie in the theater only to walk out long before the credits? Or cozied up on your couch with all intention to watch the latest streaming movie, but you just couldn’t make it through to the end?

With the release of the Mueller report, some Democrats are calling for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings. Several Democratic presidential candidates have gone on record to say they support impeachment including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass).

There are not many women working behind-the-scenes in the music industry doing things like production and engineering work. Electronic music, in particular, is male-dominated, even though the genre is starting to break into mainstream pop music.

Los Angeles-based artist Caitlin Linney grew up in an environment that could not be more different from Hollywood. Linney was raised on 10 acres of farmland in Efland and attended Carolina Friends School, where her imagination was nourished and her creativity encouraged. That environment fostered confidence and a passion to try things that today make her blush — like singing original songs in front of her whole school when she was just in sixth grade.

North Carolina-based filmmakers Eryk Pruitt and Edith Snow have both submitted their work to film festivals plenty of times. But with their latest films, they wanted to do something different: take their work on the road, similar to a book tour.

Etaf Rum was on “the right path” according to many of her family members. She was married with children and had several degrees and a teaching job. She was doing everything right, but she felt stuck. Despite her education, Rum was living out the same pattern as her mother and many of the women of Palestinian descent that came before her. Though Rum was born in Brooklyn, her parents were born refugee camps in Palestine where they were raised by parents who spent their lives in refugee camps.

North Carolina Conservation Network just released its first-ever “State of the Environment” report. It includes data analysis, polling and more than 100 indicators that measure the overall well-being of the environment and the people of North Carolina.

Democrats in the North Carolina House are fighting to raise the state’s minimum wage, which has been stagnant at $7.25 an hour for more than 10 years. Lawmakers argue that wages have not kept up with the cost of living: full-time minimum wage workers in North Carolina earn $15,600 annually, while the federal poverty level for a family of two is $16,910. North Carolina Rep. Susan C. Fisher (D- Buncombe) is the sponsor of one of two Democrat-led house bills which aim to raise the minimum wage to $15 over the next five years.

 

History tends to repeat itself, and when it comes to new technology, the adage could not be more true. As with the advent of railroads and electricity, fiber optic connection holds huge promise for households and cities but is being held up and held back by companies who do not want to lose control over internet provision. While countries like Sweden, Japan and China surge ahead with fiber networks that are transforming medicine, education and city management, the U.S. lags behind and suffers from low-quality, high-cost connectivity. 

As a professional ghostwriter, Autumn Karen is usually forbidden to discuss her projects or her behind-the-scenes role in creating them. But the author of a recently-published book insisted that her name grace the cover along with his. “Mississippi Still Burning: From Hoods to Suits” (One Human Race Inc./2018) is James Stern’s incredible true story of being a black man incarcerated with Edgar Ray Killen, an Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and the man convicted of the 1964 triple-homicide of three civil rights activitsts. 

New reporting from Rewire.News reveals what some are calling alarming communications between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the services arm of federal immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The Rev. Rob Lee is a descendant of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee and an advocate for social justice. Despite his family history, Lee has confronted his own white privilege and actively works towards the goal of racial equity.

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