The search for parents, the truth about the Civil War, vaping and more.

Thomas Hicks was once a local hero in the small mining community of McCaysville, Georgia. He was the town doctor who made middle-of-the-night house calls. But Hicks had a terrible secret, one still reverberating today. From 1950 to 1965, he sold more than two hundred babies on the black market. Some parents knew, others were told their children had died. These children are now fully grown adults, still known as the “Hicks Babies.” We talk to Melinda Dawson and Kriste Hughes about their search for birth parents. 

Georgia’s legislative session begins January 8. But a bill addressing the debate over Confederate monuments has already been filed by Decatur’s State Representative, Mary Margaret Oliver. The bill would allow local governments to decide whether or not to keep or remove monuments. Georgia has about 175 Confederate markers and they are mostly protected by state law. Supporters often say those monuments are about history. But a recent study from Georgia State University study found many people who support the display of the Confederate flag lack basic knowledge of the Civil War. We talk with historians Kevin Levin and Daina Ramey Berry.
This week, the Pentagon announced it will allow openly transgender people to enlist in the US military starting January 1. President Trump signed a directive banning transgender military recruits in earlier this year, and two federal courts ruled against Trump’s ban. Untold transgender service members have already served this country. Monica Helms of Marietta delivers a commentary.
Electronic cigarettes have been around for more than a decade. They allow users to inhale a puff of vaporized nicotine and flavoring, instead of smoking. There’s no doubt these products are safer than cigarettes, if you already smoke. But safe? Not really. And what a person believes about the risks of vaping versus smoking depends on their worldview of authority. We discuss with Michael Eriksen, Dean of the School of Public Health at Georgia State. Kristin Higgins from Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute also joins us.
Around the holidays you might be getting a few extra emails from friends and colleagues. And you might be deleting a few more responses intended for one sender, which, for some reason, are delivered to the entire group. The villain? The reply all button. Some people are pushing it to excess. Which means, it’s time open the gripe bag. Host Celeste Headlee vents.