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.

Democrat Doug Jones won the red state of Alabama in his senate race against Republican Roy Moore this week.

For many North Carolinians, food is the anchor for friends and family to come together over the holidays. And a simple request to “pass the potatoes” can be a welcome interruption that keeps the family dynamic from spiralling downhill. So how do family traditions emerge and what determines their staying power for generations to come?

Christopher and Taylor Malpass didn’t go to daycare when they were little boys. They went over to their grandad’s house instead and listened to the old country jukebox records he brought home from his store.

A few years ago, Cindy Waszak Geary and LaHoma Smith Romocki were sitting together in their writing group when they realized that not only did they both grow up in Durham, but they went to the same high school during a period of racial integration in the early 1970s.

Brendan Francis Newnam and Rico Gagliano are experts at hosting dinner parties, or at least virtual ones. As the hosts of the podcast and radio show “Dinner Party Download,” they guided audiences through 400 conversations about culture, history, arts and food – all packaged in segments that represented different phases of a dinner party, like “small talk,” “cocktails,” and “guest of honor.” 

Some children who rack up debt paying for lunch in their school cafeterias face a sudden swap when their hot meals are substituted for a cold sandwich or just a serving of fruit and vegetables and a cup of water. 

The #MeToo movement has broken a decades-long culture of silence around sexual assault and harassment and taken down a number of powerful men, including Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, TV host Matt Lauer, politician Al Franken, and 30 some others compiled in a list from The New York Times. But according to writer Rob Okun, the thing that ties together all of these individual incidents is a culture of power and privilege held in place by particular ideas about masculinity. 

Society is split apart into nodes, tucked into different corners of the world and connected by a common road. It is a land where chaos rules, but with the help of the ‘Champions,’ civilization is taking hold once again. 

The music for the live program in Greensboro was written and performed by Anne-Claire Niver. The Durham-based singer-songwriter was joined by Dan Faust on percussion and Charles Cleaver on the keyboard.

Two major data breaches in North Carolina have come to light in the past week. 

From a young age, humans receive messages from school, religion, and society about developing a strong moral compass and learning how to do “the right thing.” But according to expansive psychological research, there is a gap between how good we are and how good we think we are. 

For L.A. McCrae, beer is a ministry. She owns Black Star Line Brewing Company – the first black-owned brewery in Western North Carolina. 

The biggest healthcare provider in Western North Carolina and the largest insurer in the state have reached a deal over reimbursement rates. 

Alderman Ralph Hamlett wants symbols of hate and racism to be banned from parades in his town of Canton, North Carolina.

Music as a form of protest has a long history in the U.S. Activists have used songs to guide countless movements, from the abolition fight in the 1700s to anti-Vietnam War demonstrations and beyond.

Human beings have been learning long before schoolhouse walls were ever built, bubble tests invented and recess bells rung. So why is there still so much confusion and debate about the purpose of school, the goals of education and the best ways to empower students to succeed in life? 

Animation has come a long way, from the hand-painted drawings of The Walt Disney Company’s 1937 feature film “Snow White” to today’s dazzling computer-generated imagery. 

Almost one in 20 people jailed in Mecklenburg County last year were held on failure to pay court fines or fees. Now, a new program supported by the MacArthur Foundation is modeling an evidence-based approach to criminal justice reform that changes the way people are assessed, held and released. 

Friends Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett’s fascination with VHS tapes started in elementary school. The two would scour garage sales and thrift stores for odd and entertaining videos and then head home to host viewing parties for their friends. 

In the play “The Millennium Boy,” 17-year-old Johnny Reinhofer is radicalized by an “alt-right” group that declares hateful messages of white supremacy. 

Gabrielle Calvocoressi was born with nystagmus, a visual condition where the eyes are constantly in spasm. It took Calvocoressi a while to learn how to walk and balance, so the young child spent a lot of time sitting on the floor, daydreaming and observing the world. 

The U.S. Senate is busy debating its tax overhaul bill. A vote on the measure is expected later today. The bill has moved swiftly to the Senate floor, and Republican leaders say they are confident there are enough votes to pass it. 

The Republican tax overhaul is a $1.5 trillion package that features a wave of tax cuts with the goal of spurring the economy. GOP leaders said the plan would pay for itself, but new analysis out yesterday shows otherwise. 

Durham rapper Professor Toon has spent years performing music in the city. He has watched the hip-hop scene grow in the Triangle as he has continued to challenge himself as an artist.

Writer Joseph Fink is a big fan of the Durham-based band The Mountain Goats. Fink is the co-creator of hit podcasts like “Welcome to Night Vale” and “Alice Isn’t Dead” and says The Mountain Goats influences his creative process. For his new podcast, Fink wanted to explore the stories behind The Mountain Goats’ music, so he invited bandleader John Darnielle to dissect songs one at a time.

Duke Energy argued this week in hearings before the North Carolina Utilities Commission that the cost of cleaning up coal ash spills should be passed on to consumers. 

In 1980 red wolves were declared extinct in the wild, but a special program to preserve the population helped stop the species from dying out. Now U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina is asking the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to terminate the program, and he is not alone in his desire. 

Near-death experiences are undeniably difficult to study. And yet a passionate few scientists have dedicated their careers to understanding this phenomenon experiencers say creates an immediate and lifelong transformation. 

Starting in at least the 1920s, the U.S. Army recruited soldiers to test the effects of dangerous and powerful chemicals. 

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