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.
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.
President Barack Obama talks with with former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and former First Lady Barbara Bush at the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, Tex., April 25, 2013. First Lady Michelle Obama talks with an unidentified person in the background. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.
Credit 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.