Politics

Credit Daniel S. Hurd

NHPR's political coverage from the New Hampshire State House to the First In The Nation Primary, Town Meeting, and the Congressional Delegation. Stories by Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers, Digital Journalist Brian Wallstin, and the NHPR News team. 

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she's skeptical of the credibility of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar Assad and the ability of the United Nations to execute a plan for Syria to relinquish its chemical weapons.

But Ayotte, commenting after President Barack Obama addressed the nation Tuesday night, said if the effort is successful, the world would be safer.

Salon.com via Reuters/Fred Greaves/Brendan McDermid

Anthony Weiner’s mayoral race is losing steam after revelations that he continued sexting women after resigning from Congress in disgrace in 2011.  San Diego Mayor Bob Filner says he will not resign, despite a number of women accusing him of sexual harassment and predatory behavior.  Both sex scandals revolve around married politicians, both are democrats, and both are getting tarred with the same brush, and not only by the media.  Katie Halper is humorist, blogger, and contributor to Salon, where she argued against conflating Weiner and Filner’s actions – even if both of them sound creepy.

MeneerDijk via Flickr Creative Commons

It’s been a pretty big couple of weeks for Amazon.com.  First, President Obama chose one of the company’s fulfillment centers as a backdrop for a speech on raising the minimum wage.  Then, news broke that Amazon’s founder, billionaire Jeff Bezos, had purchased the venerable Washington Post.  Amazon now has one hundred and twenty-six million monthly users.  But they might want to start reading product reviews with a grain of salt.  Cited as the largest single source of internet consumer reviews in 2010, the online giant is susceptible to a deceitful practice called astroturfing.  When Susan Crawford’s book “Captive Audience” about the Telecom Industry was published in January, it attached a number of bad reviews later revealed to be fake…with a political agenda behind them.  Our guest Mike Masnick weeded out these fake reviews and published an expose for Techdirt that reached the front page of Reddit.  Masnick is the founder and CEO of Floor64 and editor of the Techdirt blog, we spoke with him about his findings.

morteza bahmani via Flickr Creative Commons

Egyptian troops fired on supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo last week. In June, anti-government protests in Turkey were broken up by what the Council of Europe deemed to be excessive force. In Brazil, weeks of demonstrations climaxed on June 21, when millions spilled onto the streets in more than 100 cities. More than 180,000 citizen-made videos captured the throngs in Brazil alone and some were uploaded to support charges of undue police violence made by Amnesty International and other civil rights groups. As amateur media grows increasingly integrated into protest coverage, software developed by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley could support and protect activists against unjust persecution. Called the “Rashomon Project,” the program synchronizes films taken from multiple angles to creating a complete timeline that could to be used as evidence of abuse during human rights trials. Ken Goldberg is professor of engineering at UC Berkeley and leader of the Rashomon Project, and he spoke with us about the project.

In the current American political system, some say larger states can be at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to political representation in the U.S. Senate and electoral college, to a degree some say the Founders likely never imagined. Some are clamoring for a remedy of some sort, while others suggest the two Senators per State model still plays an important role in balancing political power. We'll look at both sides of this debate. 

Guests

A Thursday deadline is looming for House and Senate lawmakers to come to an agreement on the next two-year state budget. NHPR's Josh Rogers gets us caught up on the state of the negotiations, and what chance there is of Medicaid expansion being wrapped into the final deal.

It's committee season at the State House, as the legislative year nears its end. In the next couple of weeks, the budget will be getting the most attention, with some contention over Medicaid expansion, school building aid, charter schools, and personnel cuts. Other bills to watch for include medical marijuana and voter ID. US Senator Kelly Ayotte announces she supports a bipartisan immigration bill.

NHNewsRoundup

The Republican-led State Senate gets closer to a final budget, while carving out a deeper divide with House Democrats.   Also, new challenges for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act in the Granite State.  And a makeover for the Hooksett I-93 rest areas as a well-known New Hampshire restaurateur gets the bid.

 

Guests:

Norma Love, Statehouse reporter for The Associated Press.
 

Josh Rogers, NHPR’s statehouse reporter, and senior political reporter and editor.

Sara Plourde / NHPR
Sara Plourde / NHPR

In the wake of 9/11, the faith of many people was shaken to the core… with the help of authors like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, a movement many referred to as “New Atheism” emerged – pointing a finger at religion as a source of global violence and zealotry.  Now, more than a decade later, the rhetoric seems to have softened.  Our guest today argues that secular humanism is shifting into a new era, paving the way for a brand new conversation about religion and the faithless.

theqspeaks via Flickr Creative Commons

Mere hours after the Boston Marathon bombings, the internet lit up with conspiracy theories…Infowars and Alex Jones weighed in…so did Glenn Beck, who said he had proof that it was an inside job by the government. It’s kind of tough to back off from such a bold statement…and as evidence to the contrary mounted, those claiming to know the truth tend to get even more riled up and attack the poor saps who disagree with them. They get especially mad when one of their own disagrees. 

US Embassy Panama via flickr Creative Commons

Last week, after a long hiatus from the news cycle, a familiar voice graced the airwaves…President George W. Bush speaking at the opening of his Presidential Library and museum in Texas. The event put Bush on the podium, and back in the limelight after years of relative seclusion.  The library’s opening also made for an unusual photo op– all five current and previous living presidents – Jimmy Carter, Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, Bush Jr. and Barack Obama – sharing a stage, shoulder to shoulder.  Ex-presidents have  taken on a number of roles after leaving the oval office throughout American history… here to talk more about life after the oval office is political junkie and NPR political editor Ken Rudin, who you can hear Wednesdays on Talk of the Nation.

Senator Kelly Ayotte has been in the news for her opposition to expanded background checks for gun sales; the NH Senate set to vote on a number of bills this week, with a number of them expected not to pass; one bill that may find bipartisan support is the proposed freeze of the Voter ID law, which would mean that more stringent requirements set to go into effect in September would be put on hold.

In the wake of the bombings in Boston, NH Senator Kelly Ayotte and other lawmakers are arguing for treating the remaining suspect as an enemy combatant, which would break new legal ground; the national gun bill fails to pass, with Senator Ayotte being the lone New England Senator to oppose the bill; the casino bill backed by Governor Hassan and the NH Senate is now being examined by the NH House Finance and Ways & Means committees; both branches of the NH Legislature continue to work on their budgets.

After an election that saw unprecedented amounts of money spent – the call for limits has come up again, whether on dollar amounts…or more disclosure, so voters will know who’s funding what.  But these efforts, including one recently in New Hampshire, often bump into a variety of concerns.  We’ll look at the state of campaign finance in the Granite State.

Guests:

A Republican Re-boot

Mar 28, 2013

The Grand Old Party recently released a sweeping report on strategies for the next big election.  It’s been described as a hard hitting manifesto for the GOP, addressing problems ranging from a failure to attract younger voters and minorities, to a major re-vamp of the way the party chooses its President nominee.  We’ll find out what Granite State Republicans and state political analysts think.

Guests:

Thirty years ago, Corrections Corporation of America opened its first private prison. As demand for border patrol increased over the decades, so has its earnings. Last year, CCA brought in $1.7 billion dollars in revenue – a quarter of which came from government agencies enforcing immigration policy and incarcerating non-citizens in the US. Lee fang is Reporting Fellow with the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. He probed the connection between prison profits and stiffer immigration policies and came up with some unsettling answers.

Thirty years ago, Corrections Corporation of America opened its first private prison. As demand for border patrol increased over the decades, so has its earnings. Last year, CCA brought in $1.7 billion dollars in revenue – a quarter of which came from government agencies enforcing immigration policy and incarcerating non-citizens in the US. Lee fang is Reporting Fellow with the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.

The casino proposal faces its first major vote this week, is expected to pass in the Senate; the gas tax comes before the House Ways & Means Committee; medical marijuana legislation may have new life with Governor Hassan in the corner office; the House works on a revised budget.

The New Hampshire House votes this week on whether to raise the gas tax for the first time since 1991; considerations over this proposed tax and expanded gambling will affect implementation of the governor's budget.

jendubin via Flickr Creative Commons

Though political parties have long been responsible for drawn-out decision making in Congress, Michael Lind, writer and Salon columnist, believes that geography has also served as a formidable catalyst for inter-American dispute. Michael joins us to talk about his recent article for Salon, “The White South’s Last Defeat,” where he suggests that the root of the problem isn’t traced to the left or right, but rather, points north and south.

It’s the first State of the Union of President Obama's second term, and a major opportunity for him to set the agenda for the next four years…from jobs to reviving the economy.  But the President will have to bring Congress along with that agenda and that might not be easy. We’ll listen back to parts of the speech, talk about where there may be agreements and what the major roadblocks might be?

Guests

Dante Scala - Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of New Hampshire. He tweets @graniteprof.

In most cases, New Hampshire’s representatives in Congress have kept the state’s more open approach to gun ownership and gun rights during debates in Washington. There are exceptions, though, and they may tell us something about the state's role in today’s high profile national debate over gun violence.

Taking a look at how Governor Maggie Hassan handled her first weather-related test in the recent storm and what may be coming up in her budget proposal, being introduced on Thursday; Representative Annie Kuster's tax delinquency troubles.

The Local Government Center looks to replace its executive director; a look at bills that are coming down the pipe, including a bill to allow businesses to receive tax credits for donating private and home school scholarship funds, and a repeal of the Voter ID law.

The New Hampshire Republican Party voted this past Saturday and chose former Congressional candidate Jennifer Horn to be their latest chairperson; and a repeal of the "Stand Your Ground" law comes up before committee in the House of Representatives.

New Hampshire Republicans are set to choose their new leaders; Governor Hassan prepares her budget proposal, amidst debate over increased gambling; David Campbell's projection to raise infrastructure funds through an increase to the gas tax and vehicle registration fees; and the House looks at N.H.'s "Stand Your Ground" law.

Yesterday, President Barack Obama took his second oath of office for his second term and outlined his vision for the next four years.  Obama borrowed heavily from the Constitution in his speech and gave a hefty nod to Dr. Martin Luther King on his observed birthday.  Now the work begins.  We'll play excerpts of his speech and try to read between the lines as to what Obama hopes his second term may accomplish.

Guests:

The legislature starts hearing bills this week. On the agenda are Medicaid expansion, straight ticket voting, 911-related immunity; off the table is an education funding amendment

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