Us & Them

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we visit Paden City where citizens are concerned that years of poorly reported water contamination has led to clusters of disease and health hardships.

Rich Egger/Tri States Public Radio

There are now more students of color at some universities and colleges in the U.S. In the past decade at Western Illinois University, the non-white student population nearly tripled to one-third of the enrollment. The change helped fill classrooms and satisfy the school’s mission. But it’s part of what pushed the school’s first African-American president out of his job.

When we learn our history, we see things that reflect our past. Paintings of famous battles and statues of men who were heroes to some. But how we interpret our legacy changes. Time can warp our notion of a once righteous cause.

There are examples around the world of ways we have edited our past. In the U.S., recent decisions to move Confederate monuments and take down Confederate flags. But the effort to cleanse the past is global.

Max Nesterak

North America’s early experiences with Us & Them come from our history with indigenous people. In the 19th century, a nascent U.S. government used treaties with Native tribes and nations to take land and resources. Those treaties relocated Native people to reservations. More than a century later, from 1950 - 1970, U.S. programs were still moving people around.

Mauro Milanich and Andrés Corbo

Music can entertain and inspire and serve as a way to share another person’s truth. This episode, Us & Them talks with two musicians, each with roots in Appalachia, whose work offers their view of the world.

Us & Them: We The Purple

Dec 12, 2019

Democracy may need a reboot, or a kickstart. Pick your favorite term, but the fact is, our system of government requires our participation. When we lose trust, it suffers.

Do you disagree with any of your close friends or family members about abortion? When’s the last time you actually talked about it? For many of us, the abortion debate defines Us & Them and sometimes, we feel it better to avoid the subject altogether.

Recently, several states have enacted laws restricting access to abortion services. Some states have signed laws banning the proceedure and next year, the U.S. Supreme Court hears a case that could change the right to legal abortion.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, abortion can be a hot button topic to avoid around the Thanksgiving table. But it’s a key issue at the heart of a highly polarized political climate. Several states now have abortion restrictions in place. Some states have signed abortion bans, but those aren’t in effect yet. And next year, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case that could change the right to legal abortion.

Nikki Tundel / Photo of Paul Dorr from APM Reports, a production of Minnesota Public Radio®. © 2018 Minnesota Public Radio®. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Paying taxes is one of those things we just can’t avoid… except for the local tax measures we get to vote on. One of the best examples is school spending. When local school officials ask for additional money for new academic programs or school buildings, taxpayers must approve it. There’s one man who has worked with citizen’s groups in dozens of places to fight against more money for public schools. He’s been successful in many places and his efforts highlight the Us & Them in all of these communities.

WV Archive

For decades, coal was king in West Virginia. It paid good wages, paid the bills for many local services through taxes, and kept small towns alive. But more of our nation’s electricity is starting to come from other sources like wind and solar power. Coal is losing out.

Jesse Pratt Lopez/100 Days in Appalachia

We’re in the midst of the 2019 hurricane season, and people in the Bahamas are still digging out from Hurricane Dorian. In 2018 hurricane Florence hit the coast of North Carolina, which left 51 people dead and caused $24 billion in damage in the state. 

Bob Aaron / WCHS-TV

The Us & Them team has tracked the case of James Means - a 15-year-old boy who William Pulliam shot and killed in Charleston, W.Va., in November 2016. The case got national attention partly because Pulliam is white and Means was black. It was one of a number of shootings that focused on questions about racial injustice in our legal system. Last month, Pulliam agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder. A week later, he wrote to the judge and asked to revoke his plea. Last week the judge called Pulliam into court to get a clarification.

Daniel Breen

Last spring, we put out an episode called “Farm Wars.” It was about Arkansas farmers' never-ending battles with “pigweed” or as some call it “Satan’s Weed.” It’s incredibly hard to get rid of. There’s a controversy in that state over a herbicide called “dicamba” that’s used to keep the weeds at bay, but has divided the farming community. 

Mitch Hanley

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in the last two years, 2 million people in the United States misused prescription opioids for the first time. “Steve,” a curious kid from New Hampshire, found his mom’s oxycodone pills in the medicine cabinet and liked the way they made him feel. Before long, he wanted to see what the big deal was with heroin, and doubted that he’d become addicted. As it turns out, he got hooked on his first try. In this episode, we’ll hear Steve’s struggle to stay clean and how his addiction became a family affair.

William Pulliam
KENNY KEMP / Gazette-Mail

Last week, William Pulliam -- a 65-year-old Charleston, West Virginia man -- agreed to plead guilty to second degree murder. He was originally charged with first degree murder for killing an African-American teenager named James Means. On Tuesday, the judge received a letter from Pulliam, asking for the plea deal to be revoked.

Classic Alfred E. Neuman
Norman Mingo / MAD Magazine

MAD Magazine, once the touchstone of American satire and snark, is winding down its publication after 67 years. Trey says, as a kid, MAD’s adolescent-focused, subversive content helped him connect with his inner “wise ass.” It made him feel smarter and stupider at the same time. And now he’s trying to reconcile an Us & Them world without MAD firing its arrows toward the sacred cows of our culture.

Nafea (Fay) Adkins (left), mother of the late James Means, and Dominique Cole outside of a courtroom in Charleston, WV
Trey Kay

For nearly three years, the Us & Them team has followed the James Means’ case - a 15-year-old boy who was shot and killed  in Charleston, WV, by William Pulliam, who was 62 years old at the time. The case got national attention partly because Pulliam is white and Means was black. It was one of a number of shootings that focused on questions about racial injustice in our legal system. Pulliam’s trial was scheduled to begin  late this summer, but instead there’s been a surprise outcome.

My Friend From Camp

Jul 25, 2019
Albert Melise and Mitch Hanley

Two men, one a British citizen of Pakistani heritage, and the other a former housing police officer in the Boston area, were unlikely to meet, until the terror attacks of September 11th, 2001. But after the Bush Administration launched the War on Terror, Moazzam Begg was detained and held at the U.S. Detention Camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where Albert Melise was a guard. You can’t get much more Us & Them than that.

Ted Brightwell performing at Gay Pride Celebration, Charleston, WV June 2019
Chris Gosses

It’s Gay Pride month across the country and a celebration of increasing tolerance and rights for the LGBTQ community. Attitudes have changed in many places, including the Mountain State - where more than 50 percent of residents believe the Bible is the word of God.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, as the world waits for resolution from the Trump Administration’s trade war with China, it’s a tough time to be a farmer -- especially a soybean farmer. Soybeans are a $40 billion business in the U.S. But the crop price plummeted last year because of the trade war. Farmers are desperate for anything that can help keep their profits up. Like weedkillers.

Still Waiting For Justice

May 8, 2019
Charleston Gazette

For the past two and a half years, a first-degree murder case has worked its way through the courts in Charleston. A 15-year-old boy, James Means, was shot and killed in the city's East End back in 2016.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a civil lawsuit against 23 coal companies owned by the family of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice. As Brittany Patterson reports, the DOJ is seeking over $4.7 million in unpaid fines and fees for mine health and safety violations.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Measles cases have spiked in the first quarter of 2019 with outbreaks in ten states. Vaccinations prevent many communicable diseases, but measles is back. Epidemiologists believe it's because some parents do not immunize their children. As a result, the so called “herd protection” from disease that public health officials rely on, is weaker.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Trey Kay -- host of WVPB’s program Us & Them -- first heard about a transgender woman in Charleston, West Virginia in 2014. Anne Kelly Skinner -- formerly Greg Skinner -- was in the process of transitioning from male to female. Trey got in touch with Anne and they ended up talking about what we’ll hear in this excerpt from our show Us & Them -- the way Anne talks.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the very first Senate bill introduced this session is awaiting action in the House Finance Committee. Senate Bill 1 would provide the “last dollar in” to in-state students seeking education from a community and technical college in West Virginia.

As a West Virginia teenager, Amber Miller dropped out of school, took drugs and robbed homes. She wound up on the wrong side of the law and served time for a felony. In a youth correction center, she turned her life around, but after her release, had trouble finding a job to support her two sons.

Throughout history, men have been seen as the dominant gender. Why is this? Some assume the model goes all the way back to the primitive cave man. Others believe the gender pecking order was commanded by God.

In this episode, Trey speaks with John Biewen and Celeste Headlee about their “Men” series for the "Scene On Radio" podcast. In this episode we dive deep into how, when and why men invented the patriarchy, and how it hurts everyone.

 

 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear from WVPB’s Us & Them podcast. Host Trey Kay explores one of the world’s most fundamental ‘us and them’ divides -- the power imbalance between men and women. We hear an excerpt from an episode called “Cave Men, The Patriarchy & Fairytales.”

My Friend From Camp

Jan 14, 2019

Moazzam Begg, a British citizen of Pakistani heritage, and Albert Melise, a former housing police officer in the Boston area, were unlikely to have their life stories intersect and become friends; but then September 11 happened.

After the Bush Administration launched the War on Terror, Begg was detained and held at the U.S. Detention Camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Melise was a Gitmo guard. You can’t get much more Us & Them than that.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear an excerpt from the latest episode of Us & Them, in which host Trey Kay responds to a cyclical flare up of social media comments related to a “War on Christmas.” Hubbub over politically correct holiday greetings, or nativity scenes on government property, traditionalists and secularists are often at odds.

In this excerpt, Trey speaks with a childhood friend who worries the religious aspects of Christmas are being eroded from the holiday.

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