David Goldman / AP

The flu vaccine turned out to be a big disappointment again.

The vaccine didn't work against a flu bug that popped up halfway through the past flu season, dragging down overall effectiveness to 29%, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

Jeremy Jacobs, Curator Emeritus National Museum of Natural History

In 2008, G. Wayne Clough became the 12th secretary of the Smithsonian. The Douglas native and Georgia Tech president emeritus was the first Southerner to hold the position.

When Clough retired from his post, he decided to write about his birthplace of South Georgia. At the same time, he dove into the Smithsonian's vast collections, searching for artifacts from the region. He shares what he found in his memoir Things New and Strange: A Southerner's Journey through the Smithsonian Collections.


There has been a huge push to end the stigma, the bigotry and intolerance surrounding the LGBT+ community.  


But despite that, for many people who identify as LGBT+, there are still  experiences and memories of discrimination, violence and familial rejection which are recognized as significant factors contributing to mental health concerns.


Rosser Shymanski / GPB

For the past three decades, Rosser Shymanski has played a critical role in almost every program you've watched on Georgia Public Broadcasting. Shymanski, GPB's television production manager, retires Friday after 31 years with the organization. He will say "Aloha" to his colleagues Friday with his final "Hawaiian Shirt Friday," a tradition that has become a mainstay of GPB, just like Shymanski himself.

But before Shymanski worked behind the scenes and won the hearts of his colleagues at GPB, viewers around Atlanta knew and loved him as DeAundra Peek – a character he created and portrayed for The American Music Show on People TV, a public access channel, from 1987 to 2004. The full collection is now archived at Emory University's Rose Library.

Kate Brumback / AP Photo/File

On this edition of Political Rewind, members of the Democratic U.S. House of Representatives votes in favor to send billions of dollars in humanitarian aid to detention centers holding immigrant children under conditions described as deplorable. Will the Republican held senate go along with the effort?

SanjibLemar / Wikimedia Commons

In many American neighborhoods, it's illegal to build anything other than a single-family home on most lots zoned for residential properties. Take Sandy Springs for example: 85% of the Atlanta suburb's residential land allows for only detached, single-family homes. Some people want to change that, and regional leaders are passing laws to increase density. Others want things to stay exactly as they are: One family. One house. One yard.

Elizabeth Karmel/AP Images

While the particulars, origin stories and claims to be the barbecue capital of world may vary, Jim Auchmutey has found one thing we can agree on: Barbecue has a Southern accent. 

The veteran journalist and smoked meat sherpa recently wrote a new book — Smokelore: A Short History of Barbecue in America. Auchmutey stopped by On Second Thought to give a taste on what to expect from the history of barbecue.

In Search Of Flannery O'Connor's Peacocks

Jun 25, 2019
Marianna Bacallao / GPB

Once you turn onto the dirt road leading up to Andalusia, it’s easy to forget that you’re in a college town and not a rural 1950s farmland.

Flannery O’Connor’s historic home appears almost exactly as it did when she lived in Milledgeville, with a notable exception: the writer’s famous aviary, which once housed more than 40 peacocks, has been whittled down to just two of the colorful birds and moved to the opposite end of the backyard.

This month, researchers broke ground on an archaeological dig at Andalusia, hoping to find the exact location of O’Connor’s peacock pens.

In 2015, the first Republican presidential debate featured 17 candidates. The first Democratic presidential debates will feature 20 candidates.
Brennan Linsley / AP Photo

On this edition of Political Rewind, with the first Democratic presidential debates soon to get under way, controversies so far have plagued a small number of the crowded field of candidates. How will candidates set themselves apart and distance themselves from unfavorable headlines in hopes of coming out of the first debate unscathed? 

Ng Han Guan / AP

A Georgia city is trying to reduce its contribution to global warming by outfitting city workers with electric cars.

News outlets report the city of Savannah added two electric vehicles on Monday, with plans to grow the fleet as vehicles retire each year.

Sign for the plan in front of construction
City of Atlanta Twitter

Atlanta is launching a new comprehensive plan to address affordable housing in the city, but one expert thinks it doesn't go far enough.

Migrants watch clashes with U.S. border agents, seen from Tijuana, Mexico.
Ramon Espinosa / AP Photo

On this edition of Political Rewind, the immigration community takes a sigh of relief after President Donald Trump temporarily delayed plans to round up millions of undocumented immigrants across the country. What is next for Georgia’s immigrant community?

Georgia's Fulton County Jail is overcrowded once again, with more than 500 inmates over capacity.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that some 180 inmates have to sleep on floor mattresses in an open area.

Chief Jailer Mark Adger says they've got room for 2,500 inmates, but are holding more than 3,000.

After 30,000 poor, elderly and disabled people were cut from Medicaid, the Department of Community Health said it would reinstate benefits to 17,000 people.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution health reporter Ariel Hart spoke with On Second Thought last week about her breaking story. On Friday, she reported that state officials still believe they properly notified most of those people before cutting their benefits, but out of “an abundance of caution” they will restart the process, said Blake Fulenwider, the agency’s chief health policy officer.

Read the story on

Brandon Chew / NPR

Atlanta has one of the highest eviction rates in the country. According to Apartment List, the city ranks third in the nation — with a nearly 6% rise in evictions between 2015 and 2017. 

Earlier this month, On Second Thought spoke with Brooke Gladstone about a reporting series NPR's On The Media created with the Eviction Lab at Princeton. Our conversation on the series called, "The Scarlet E: Unmasking America's Eviction Crisis" garnered a lot of feedback from listeners so we decided to do a follow up, while getting a landlords perspective.  

VA Announces Renewed Focus On Mental Health Outreach

Jun 24, 2019

Garrett Cathcart of Atlanta waited six years after the end of his active duty military service to step into a therapist’s office.


He says his military training taught him to be “alpha” and “macho,” which discouraged him from expressing emotional vulnerability.

“The Army...does an amazing job of creating a soldier,” Cathcart said, “not so hot on taking a soldier and turning him back into a civilian.”


Veterans Affairs wants to change that going forward.

The agency that manages Jekyll Island on the Georgia coast is raising parking fees at the state park by $2.

That means beginning July 1 it will cost $8 to drive a vehicle onto the island state park. The Jekyll Island Authority's governing board approved the fee increase during its meeting Tuesday.

Winners of the Georgia Associated Press Media Editors contest were announced Saturday in Atlanta.

GPB News won first place awards for Best Staff Coverage: "Hurricane Michael and Georgia's Path to Recovery"; Best Website and Best Newscast: Rickey Bevington and Sophia Saliby.

Andrew Harnik / AP

Most weekdays, Ana wraps up cleaning houses around 4 and gets in her car. That’s when she starts her second job: cruising the streets of Houston County on the lookout for law enforcement officers.

Ana, who asks we only use her first name, cruises the four-lane arteries in the county south of Macon with eyes peeled for the police. Why? So she can warn undocumented immigrants about where not to drive.



On this edition of Political Rewind, racial issues continue to dominate the headlines this week as candidates aim to court African-American voters in the south.

Jennifer Brett

Neighbors are still missing their newly retired mailman.

Floyd Martin was a beloved mail carrier who worked the same route in Marietta for nearly 35 years. So beloved, in fact, that when he retired a few weeks ago, the community he served so well started a GoFundMe page to send him to Hawaii. Delta Air Lines pitched in too — providing airfare. 

Known as "Mister Floyd" to his Marietta residents, Floyd Martin joined On Second Thought in the studio to reflect on his life and career with the postal service.

Ryan Myers

When Bryan Rucker and Ryan Bars became step-brothers, they also became a band. Based in Atlanta, The Norm fuses hip-hop, rock and pop, creating a sound far from normal.

Just in time for the summer solstice, The Norm's new single, "Summer Days," is out today. The band is set to perform at AthFest on Saturday, but first, Rucker and Bars stopped by GPB to add two songs to our Georgia Playlist of songs written or performed by a Georgian. Rucker chose OutKast's "Ms. Jackson" and Bars picked "Rubber Band Man" by T.I. 

Stavrialena Gontzou /

Celebrations continue across the country as the LGBTQ community celebrates Pride Month.

President Bill Clinton declared June as “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month” in 2000. The designation commemorated the Stonewall Riots in Lower Manhattan in June of 1969. Nine years later, President Barack Obama included bisexual and transgender people — the “B” and “T” of LGBT.

Nowadays, rainbow flags are in front yards, tourism posters, along with sponsorship banners and ad campaigns. With brands like Campbell’s Soup, Apple, and Taylor Swift feeling comfortable aligning themselves with Pride, On Second Thought sat down with Georgian members of the LGBTQ community for a conversation about the history of Pride and how corporate commodification has changed the event over time.


Some students in Georgia will receive debt relief for private loans they took out to attend a failed for-profit school.

According to a press release from Attorney General Chris Carr's office, 471 former ITT Tech students in Georgia will receive $4,171,314.43 in debt relief for loans obtained to attend the school. 



The Atlanta Hawks made some big moves in the 2019 NBA Draft on Thursday, picking up two of the top college players in the country.


After a flurry of trades, Atlanta jumped up to the fourth pick in the first round to select De'Andre Hunter, who helped lead Virginia to a national title this year.



Andrea Smith / AP

An inmate executed by the state of Georgia for a slaying decades ago said in his last moments that he never killed anyone.

Whether you're into the arts, crafts or live music scene, there's a plethora of events to choose from in Savannah this weekend.

Claire Sandow of the Tourism Leadership Council and Anna Chandler of Savannah Magazine have your guide. 

Tom E. Puskar / AP

The state health department on Thursday confirmed the seventh case of measles in Georgia this year.

An unvaccinated metro Atlanta resident was diagnosed with measles after traveling overseas, Department of Public Health spokeswoman Nancy Nydam said.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

June 20 marks World Refugee Day. The United Nations defines refugees as people forced to flee their native countries "because of persecution, war or violence." On Second Thought covered a variety of aspects of the refugee experience in Georgia. 

undated mugshot of Marion Wilson Jr.
Georgia Department of Corrections

Georgia's parole board has denied clemency to a man set to be executed Thursday at the state prison in Jackson.