The Exchange

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.  

Uncertainty Over Undocumented Immigrants

May 3, 2017
Emily Corwin

Across the country, communities are grappling with how to handle people who are here illegally. Some cities and towns have declared themselves sanctuaries, in defiance of President Trump’s demands for close cooperation with federal immigration authorities. That’s a battle now in the courts. We look at how this debate is playing out in New England and nationally.


A Balancing Act: Congress and the Presidency. These two branches of government have ways of checking each other’s power and influence – including through the power of the purse, special investigations, the veto, and the bully pulpit. As part of the NPR series, A Nation Engaged, we’ll look at how these have been used in notable ways throughout  American history -- up to the present. 


Wynan Smith via Flickr/CC

The Division of Children, Youth, and Families has been under intense scrutiny in recent years, after two toddlers who had been involved with the agency were killed by their mothers in a span of just ten months.

The fallout has included legal battles, the director's ouster, and an independent investigation that revealed an agency beset by high turnover, an overworked staff, limited funding, and restrictive policies.

N.H. Public Radio

The uproar over Senate Bill 3 shows no signs of abating.

The bill's lead sponsor, Republican state senator Regina Birdsell,  insists it simply ensures that each vote cast in New Hampshire is valid and that voters meet certain requirements. She says she removed elements that were especially objectionable to opponents, including involvement of local police in helping to confirm voters' addresses. 

NHPR

For all the discord between Democrats and President Trump, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen sounded a few cautious notes of agreement during an interview on The Exchange.   

On Trump's missile attacks in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons, Shaheen affirmed her support.

A Conversation With U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Apr 12, 2017
N.H. Public Radio

Given her position on the Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, we get U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen's take on the recent air strikes against Syria.  We also cover G.O.P. health care reform efforts, New Hampshire's opioid crisis, and rising political rancor in the U.S. Senate. 


Andrew Filer via Flickr/CC

When it comes to Senate Bill 7, which lowers the income threshold for food-stamp  eligibility, among other changes, Democratic state senator Dan Feltes has some choice words:  "One of the worst bills I've ever seen."  And, also, "horrible." 

Feltes joined The Exchange this week, along with Republican state senator Jeb Bradley, co-sponsor of SB7, who  sees things vastly differently.

After more than 1,600 drug-overdose deaths over the last five years, Timothy Rourke, longtime advocate for expanded treatment and recovery services, says the state may be reaching a turning point.  Maybe.

Allegra Boverman via Flickr/Creative Commons

During an interview on NHPR's The Exchange Tuesday, Governor Sununu insisted that a GOP-led effort to require voters to provide proof they are connected to the community where they vote is not meant to exclude anyone but simply to ensure the integrity of the state's voting process.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

It's been about a month since N.H. Governor Chris Sununu delivered his budget address, which included $18 million for full-day kindergarten.  The House meanwhile appears to have somewhat different priorities  -- eliminating that funding in its version of the budget.

Scroll down to watch our Facebook Live video stream of Governor Sununu on The Exchange.

We'll get the Governor's take on this development, as well as his views on last week's collapse of the GOP health care bill. And we'll find out how far along he is on achieving his goal of talking with 100 companies in 100 days in hopes of convincing them to come to the Granite State.


Wikipedia Commons

Although the federal budget is in its very early stages, President's Trump's proposal to severely cut funding for many federal agencies has several N.H. agencies contemplating a range of possibilities -- from best- to worst-case scenarios -- and gearing up to fight possible cuts to programs they deem essential.  

Stefan Fussan via Flickr/Creative Commons

It's very early in the federal budget process, but President Trump's proposal  -- with its boost in military spending and severe cuts for several agencies, including the EPA, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. State Department  -- has made major waves,  including here in New Hampshire.   Now, Congress, which has the power of the purse, takes it from here, so whether President Trump's budget priorities hold sway,  is far from certain. 


Michael Brindley for NHPR

A Senate bill that would alter the definition of “domicile” for voting purposes has caused an outcry among Democrats and others who claim it unnecessarily complicates the voting process and would suppress the vote among certain groups, including college students.

At a recent packed hearing, the vast majority were in opposition to the proposed changes.

Republican State Senator Regina Birdsell, lead sponsor of the bill, says her intention is not to exclude anyone. 

New Hampshire Public Radio

We're discussing proposed changes, under Senate Bill 3, to the state's legal definition of domicile:  An inhabitant's domicile for voting purposes is that one place where a person, more than any other place, has established a physical presence and manifests an intent to maintain a single continuous presence for domestic, social, and civil purposes relevant to participating in democratic self-government.  A person has the right to change domicile at any time, however a mere intention to change domicile in the future does not, of itself, terminate an established domicile before the person actually moves.  

Supporters of Senate Bill 3 say the above definition needs clarifying and tightening in order to avoid voting abuses. Opponents say proposed changes are, at best, unnecessary, and at worst, could dissuade certain people from going to the polls. 


The Southern Illinoisian

Concord Lieutenant John Thomas has no sympathy for certain drug dealers.

“If you are providing the drug that kills that person, it’s just as if you’re sticking a knife in that person or shooting that person. You’re ending a life. You knew what you were doing, going into it,” Thomas said on The Exchange.

The Southern Illinoisian

Their mug shots are now regularly featured in the news -- people swept up in Operation Granite Hammer, an anti-drug enforcement program that started in 2015. Since then, police have made more than 100 drug arrests. They have been particularly tough on dealers whose deals turn lethal, pursuing long sentences in those cases.  But many on the treatment end warn tough sentences and tactics do little to quell the demand for drugs, and dealers themselves are often addicts, who need care, not incarceration.


New Hampshire Public Radio

Not too long ago, New Hampshire was faulted for casting too wide a net when it came to institutionalizing people with mental illness.  That led to a lawsuit and a $30 million settlement, with the state agreeing to boost community-based care.

Now, though, according to Ken Norton, executive director of the NH chapter of the Alliance on Mental Illness, the state has swung too far in the other direction, with inadequate access to institutionalized care:

New Hampshire Public Radio

Under a court settlement, the state agreed to boost support for community-based services, with the aim of keeping people out of institutions like psychiatric hospitals. But the need for this kind of care has not abated, raising the question: Does the state need to re-think how it spends it mental health resources, to shore up both ends of the system?


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Compared with the University System of New Hampshire, which was flat funded under the budget Republican Governor Chris Sununu presented earlier this month, the community college system did pretty well.

Rick via Flickr/CC

Update: Governor Sununu signed this bill earlier today, Feb. 22,2017. 

 

 

N.H. is heading with seeming inevitability toward joining the states that do not require a special permit to carry a concealed weapon. Governor Sununu is expected to sign SB12, which has passed both the Senate and the House, mostly along party lines.

 

Similar bills have failed in the past. Former Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan twice vetoed similar efforts.  

 

Supporters of repealing the permit requirement say local officials too often deny permits.

N.H. Debates Gun Rights and Restrictions

Feb 20, 2017
Rick via Flickr/CC

 New Hampshire lawmakers have been debating a number of gun-related bills this year, looking at where firearms should be permitted, who should be allowed to have them, and how they can be worn in public.  We'll look at these proposals, the issues they raise - also who's behind them and who isn't. 


Allegra Boverman for New Hampshire Public Radio

N.H. Republican Governor Chris Sununu reinforced his support for President Trump during an in-depth Exchange interview  last week, even as he acknowledged that certain matters could have gone more smoothly in recent weeks.   He also discussed his budget, defending his decision to boost funding for community colleges but not the university system, which expressed "deep disappointment" in the decision.

Caring for Those With Chronic Pain: A Doctor's Story

Feb 15, 2017
openDemocracy via Flickr/Creative Commons

In his new book, Needless Suffering: How Society Fails Those With Chronic Pain, Dr. David Nagel says that when the medical system can't cure patients' pain, it often blames them instead.  Nagel proposes what he calls a more effective and compassionate approach. 

  This program was originally broadcast on 8/10/16.

Herry Lanford via Flickr/CC

Repeal, Replace, Repair, Retain. Now that they’re in a position to dismantle Obamacare, some in the GOP appear to be urging restraint. Even President Trump, who joined the Repeal and Replace rallying cry during his campaign, has recently sounded more hesitant, suggesting that a new plan may be in place next year.

Republicans in Congress have meanwhile been contemplating their next steps, said Dan Gorenstein, senior reporter for Marketplace's Health Desk, on  The Exchange.

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