The Exchange

N.H. Mulls Over Marijuana Legalization

Nov 15, 2017
Seattle City Council via Flickr/CC

The cause of marijuana legalization in New Hampshire hit a road block this week -- but not a dead end. A House committee has voted against legalizing marijuana but a special commission will continue to explore the idea, weighing various aspects of legalization through December of 2018, when it presents a final report.

Read our story on this show:  Debate Continues Over Marijuana Legalization in New Hampshire

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After mass shootings, mental health professionals find themselves at pains to explain that people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than aggressors.

And they’re more likely to die by suicide than to harm others.

That’s again been part of the conversation after the Texas church shooting in which 26 people died, and the shooter, by several accounts, dealt with some form of mental illness or instability, including erratic, violent behavior.

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With explosive stories coming out of Hollywood and other industries, we look at this issue in New Hampshire: how workplace harassment is defined, in what settings it occurs, why it continues despite widespread awareness, and what role the legal system and human resource departments play.   


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500 years ago this month, the German monk Martin Luther delivered his 95 theses to an Archbishop of the Holy Roman Empire, and the Reformation was born.  Among Luther's complaints about the Catholic Church: the practice of granting indulgences in exchange for good works or acts of piety.  Although he didn't intend to cause a religious revolution, Luther  would become a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation, inspiring a schism in Christianity that resonates to this day. 


Michael Saechang via Flickr/CC

After the Las Vegas massacre, the debate over guns is back, in Congress and in the Granite State. At one point soon after the shooting, it seemed there might be a narrow area of agreement:  banning or regulating a device called a "bump-stock" that accelerated gunfire in the most recent mass shooting.  Still, as our conversation made plain, vast differences of opinion remain, and common ground may be fast disappearing. 


U.S. Army Europe

A month after the attacks on Sept. 11, President Bush authorized strikes against Al Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.  Those limited attacks have since grown into an enormous commitment, amounting to thousands of American lives and billions of dollars. Meanwhile, President Trump recently renewed American involvement there, vowing victory. 

Doctors Increasingly Seek a Cure for Burnout

Sep 5, 2017
Wall Boat via Flickr/CC

While the role of a physician has always been demanding - there's a spike now in doctors who say they're overwhelmed, and spending more time in front of computers than tending to patients. That's contributing to a burnout epidemic, leading to high turnover, early retirement, and greater malpractice risk. We'll find out how doctors in New Hampshire are coping. 


N.H. Lakes Association

Our Week of Summer Favorites starts with a dive into New Hampshire's lakes.  It's hard to overstate the importance of the state's lakes and ponds -- for recreation, tourism, the environment.  But with several water bodies already posted for cyanobacteria, we look at policies and practices  aimed at keeping lakes healthy -- and why they aren't always followed.

This show originally aired on June 20, 2017.   

Tom Hart via flickr/CC

With efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act set aside, states have been struggling to stabilize their Obamacare insurance markets, likely to see double-digit rate increases.  In New Hampshire, officials have been debating how to proceed -- while keeping an eye on what Congress or the President  might do next. 


NHPR’S Rewind: Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Aug 1, 2017
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Last month, NHPR’s Laura Knoy hosted an Exchange discussion on electric cars and their challenges. Interestingly, the worries and obstacles of alternative fuel cars discussed in this episode were also present in previous Exchange shows aired some 20 years ago.

NHPR’s Rewind: How Mental Health is Treated

Jul 24, 2017

Medical scholars have long researched and debated the best methods to treat people with mental health problems. A recent Exchange episode explored how the philosophy of wilderness therapy – the idea that camping in a natural setting can be a treatment for patients struggling with mental health problems. But when gauging the benefits of wilderness therapy, it may be useful to examine the success of more common methods used to treat mental health: medication and talk therapy.

Ben Henry for NHPR

The Manchester VA Medical Center is under federal investigation after a report by the Boston Globe's Spotlight team  revealed allegations of seriously substandard care at the facility. Among the conditions described in the report: an operating room infested with flies, veterans with crippling spinal damage that might have been prevented, and obsolete surgical instruments.   

After top officials there were removed, Alfred Montoya was named interim director. Montoya is also director of the White River Junction VA. We talked with him four days after he landed in Manchester and a day after a pipe failure flooded five floors of the hospital. 

NHPR’s Rewind: New Hampshire Town Life and History

Jul 11, 2017

On July 3, The Exchange took a closer look at town life in New Hampshire. Granite State towns are recurring themes for The Exchange. Three stories in particular caught our collective eye at Rewind as revelatory of our state’s diverse history.

“Our Nig: Sketches from the life of a Free Black”

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

On The Exchange, Governor Chris Sununu addressed the uproar over the White House request for voter information and defended his decision not to join an alliance set up by states pledging to uphold the Paris Accord on climate change. He reaffirmed his support for the Northern Pass project and called for a "smart portfolio of renewables," including geothermal.  As for the political dimension of these and other debates,  Sununu had this to say: "I do my best to throw politics out." 

Gov. Chris Sununu says turning over the state’s voter information (or, at least, what’s included in public voter checklists) to a Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is a step toward restoring confidence in the nation’s elections.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As N.H. Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan explained on The Exchange, the voter information requested by the Commission on Election Integrity is already publicly available and has been for about ten years -- though there are laws governing who gets access to that voter information, as well as how it is accessed and used.  For election-law attorney Paul Twomey, the Commission's request, in addition to being politically suspect,  does not fall within that legal framework and could lead to major security risks.  

Both Scanlan and N.H. Secretary of State Bill Gardner have seemed somewhat taken aback by the uproar over the Commission's request. Scanlan places some of the blame on a polarized political climate.  Since our conversation, as NHPR's Casey McDermott reports here, the ACLU has joined with two N.H. lawmakers in suing Gardner over his plans to comply with the Trump Administration's request for voter information.

Incirlik Air Base

For Dr. Gary Sobelson who practices family medicine in Concord a recent study suggesting that people with mental illness consume a disproportionate share of prescription painkillers was concerning but not necessarily surprising.

Incirlik Air Base

A new Dartmouth study finds people with mental illness are much more likely to use opioids, despite the risks these drugs pose especially for these patients. Possible explanations, according to the study: People suffering from depression may feel pain more acutely, prompting empathetic doctors to write more prescriptions.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

N.H. lawmakers Republican Senator Jeb Bradley and Democratic Representative Cindy Rosenwald have worked long and hard, in bipartisan fashion, on health care issues, including Medicaid expansion -- which is why they've been closely watching the national debate surrounding the U.S. Senate's health care bill.

The Humane Society of the United States

Animal cruelty has been in the public eye this year.  About 80 Great Danes were recently rescued at a mansion in Wolfeboro - living in filthy conditions.  Just last week, four horses were taken from a Deering farm, ill and neglected. And in February,  more than 30 Persian cats were found in a Barnstead home, in squalid conditions.  These cases raise questions -- about whether our state laws on breeding and animal cruelty should be tougher, about when neighbors and town officials should step in, and about the psychology of animal hoarding.

NHPR's Rewind: Malice on the Internet - Then and Now

Jun 22, 2017
jacobfg via Flickr Creative Commons

Since the inception of the internet and the computer, society has been challenged with balancing technologies’ benefits and demerits.

On June 12, 2017, The Exchange held a discussion on cyberethics. This session discussed crimes captured on video and posted online. The program examined viewers’ and digital platforms’ responsibilities when coming across online crime videos; and how the excitement and potential celebrity status is an incentive for people to perform malicious acts.

iStock Photo

Child care in the U.S. is expensive. For a typical family, child care can take up to a third of the household income. For years, Democrats and Republicans have debated tax deductions, subsidies, and how to provide quality and reliable childcare for families of all income. With these problems and questions, it is useful to study child care models in other countries. NHPR’s The Exchange did just that on November 8, 1995 when it explored Italian methods of child care.

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In the wake of a bear family’s relocation after two cubs entered a Hanover household, New Hampshire communities are reconsidering their responsibilities as environmental stewards and asking the question, “What does it take to live with bears?”

Mark Moz via Flickr

New Hampshire's housing market is fiercely competitive and expensive these days. Available homes are few and far between --  a situation otherwise known as "low inventory."  That means it's  a good time to sell --  but buying a home is another story. 

Here's how quickly houses are selling, according to Russ Thibeault, president of Applied Economic Research, an economic and real estate consulting firm in Laconia: "If the paint’s dry, the unit’s filled."

Coast Guard Compass

Decades after President Nixon declared drugs "public enemy number one,"  the criminal justice system is still grappling with the problem.  In recent years, we've seen bipartisan calls for an end to so-called mass incarceration for drug crimes and a shift away from the so-called "war on drugs" toward greater emphasis on treatment for addiction.

As Acting U.S. Attorney John Farley sees it, the phrase "war on drugs" is a bit of a buzz term that oversimplifies a battle now being waged on two fronts.   

NuLawLab; Vimeo

Where are we - in The War on Drugs? Decades after President Nixon declared drugs "public enemy number one,"  the criminal justice system is still grappling with this.  In recent years, we've seen bipartisan calls for an end to so-called mass incarceration for drug crimes.  But now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is taking a tougher stance on sentencing. 


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu has called the GOP's American Health Care Act a "huge win" --  for moving the conversation forward on repealing and replacing Obamacare. As for the content of that House bill, Sununu said on The Exchange: "I don't think anything in this bill is a huge win. I have reservations. I wouldn’t have voted for it myself."

What's Next With North Korea?

May 9, 2017
(Stephan) via Flickr/CC

The Trump Administration says the "era of strategic patience" is over as the secretive country's regime increasingly threatens the region with both actions and words.  We examine the tensions today, their roots going back decades, and the huge importance of North Korea's neighbors, including China and South Korea.


Smithsonian Institute Magazine

With North Korea flexing its nuclear muscles and the U.S. calling for an end to the "era of strategic patience,"  it's a good time to re-examine where we are as a world when it comes to nuclear weapons -- and where we've been.  Lisbeth Gronlund, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, says giving one person the power to launch a nuclear strike has long been a dangerous proposition.  She joined The Exchange recently to discuss her ideas for reducing the risk of nuclear conflict.  

Allegra Boverman/NHPR

When news broke that the Democratic National Committee had been hacked last June, NPR correspondent Mary Louise Kelly, who was in Russia at the time, says she told her editors she didn’t think it was a big deal, that she didn't need to file a story. 

“The reason I said that is that it’s not a surprise that Russia would be crawling around inside U.S. political databases and trying to get in there, and that the U.S. would be doing the same," Kelly said.

But that DNC hack would turn out to be no ordinary hacking.  

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