Civics 101: A Podcast

Listen & subscribe:   iTunes   |   Stitcher  |   Audioboom

Ever wonder what a White House Chief of Staff actually does? How about a Press Secretary? And is gerrymandering still a thing in this country?

The first 100 days of the Trump administration is the perfect time to bone up on civics you should have learned in school…but probably didn’t. Civics 101 is your podcast guide to what you need to know, when it matters most.

Have a civics question you'd like us to answer? Fill out the form below!

_

Episode 10: Impeachment

Feb 24, 2017

A number of listeners have asked about a consequential government procedure: How is a president impeached? And why is it that the presidents that have been impeached haven’t been removed from office? Our guide today is Julia Azari, Associate Professor of Political Science at Marquette University.

Episode 9: Overturning a Supreme Court Ruling

Feb 21, 2017

We're staying on the federal court system beat with a deeper look into the Supreme Court. The word "supreme"is defined as: “an authority or office superior to all others.”  So when the Supreme Court decides on a case, it’s final, right? Not exactly. In Episode 9, we cover the handful of ways a Supreme Court ruling can be overturned.

Episode 8: Federal Courts

Feb 16, 2017

When a trio of judges on a federal appeals court in Washington state upheld a freeze on president Trump's Executive Order on immigration, some people celebrated, the administration protested - and at least a few people said: “Wait a minute... How do the federal courts work? Episode 8 looks into the structure and power of the federal courts - what they can do, how they do it, and why it matters.

Episode 7: Executive Orders

Feb 13, 2017

You may have heard of executive orders, but how about executive memoranda? Today, we talk about the different tools of executive action that the President uses to direct his administration, and enforce public policy. Are they laws? Can they be revoked by Congress? How are they vetted? Karen Hult, Chair of the Department of Political Scientist at Virginia Tech, fills us in.

Episode 6: The National Security Council

Feb 10, 2017

What's the purpose of the National Security Council? When was it created? Who serves on it? And why is Steve Bannon's appointment to its principals committee such a big deal? Former NSC member Stephen Sestanovich helps answer those questions.

Episode 5: Calling Your Congressperson

Feb 9, 2017
Logan Shannon

We're often urged to call our elected representatives to voice opinions on the issues, but what happens after that call is made?  Where does the message go? And do those calls ever sway decisions?  In this episode of Civics 101, we go into a congressional representative's office to find out.

Episode 4: How to Amend the Constitution

Feb 2, 2017
Logan Shannon / New Hampshire Public Radio

It’s been 25 years since the last constitutional amendment was ratified. How hard is it to change our most sacred document? We discover that there are not one, but two ways to amend the constitution – and one of them has never been used. Walter Olson, senior fellow of the Cato Institute explains that the founders didn’t exactly spell the process out clearly.

James Cridland via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/Wd54U

On today's show:

Logan Shannon

You've probably heard the term "comment period", but do you know what it means? What exactly happens when a government agency opens a proposed rule to public comment?  And do these comments ever sway decision making? Today, a look into the notice and comment rule making procedure. 

Episode 2: White House Press Corps

Jan 26, 2017
Logan Shannon / New Hampshire Public Radio

What's it really like for a journalist stationed at the White House? We go inside the press briefing room with NPR's Senior White House Correspondent, Scott Horsley.

Eugene Kaspersky via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/rBHFRr

When confronting transphobia, what's the best way to encourage understanding? How about a face-to-face discussion? Today, a study follows a group of door-to-door canvassers, and quantifies what we probably know instinctively - conversation is an effective tool for empathy and persuasion.

Plus, just because you saw The West Wing 10 years ago, does not mean you understand how government works. And that's ok. Today we introduce Civics 101 to untangle the fundamentals you learned in school and probably forgot - like what exactly does a Chief of Staff do?

Episode 1: Chief of Staff

Jan 20, 2017
Logan Shannon

We're all familiar with the title, but what does a White House Chief of Staff actually do? What does the daily routine entail? And how much power does the position hold?  Our inaugural episode covers the basics of the President's gatekeeper.

Skipped Civics Class? Send Us Your Questions!

Jan 19, 2017
Logan Shannon

Just because you saw The West Wing a decade ago, doesn't mean you actually understand the mechanics of the American government.  Don't feel bad, it's been years since most of us had to study any of this stuff, and there are lots of well-informed people out there who – when pressed – might not remember how the Electoral College works, or what it takes to pass a constitutional amendment.

Wally Gobetz via Flickr/CC

A recent survey finds most adults are a little rusty on their civics, with three-quarters unable to name all three branches of government -- the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.  That's the lowest showing in some time. We ask why and how much it matters.


Jason Moon for NHPR

Today, millions of Americans around the country are performing their civic duty at the voting booth. But here in New Hampshire, there’s growing concern that students aren’t learning enough about the historical foundations behind that tradition. 

Kyle Flannery/USFWS / Flickr/CC

A bill proposed by fourth graders from Hampton falls was harshly debated and defeated in the legislature last month, leading to some late-night satire but also a conversation about the best way to get students involved in the democratic process. We’ll look at that and also examine bills this year addressing voter requirements.

GUESTS, VOTER REQUIREMENTS:

We’re back in school again, and back at the polls. Seemed like a good time to listen back to this conversation on the Exchange from 2009. Laura spoke with a few members of a newly appointed task force to examine the state of civics education in NH.