Bill Mares

Commentator

Writer Bill Mares of Burlington is also a former teacher and state legislator. His most recent book is a collection of his VPR commentaries, titled "3:14 And Out."

Mares: Critical Thinking

Dec 15, 2017

For 20 years, my license plate read THINK as an injunction to both my students and the general public.

Mares: Smart Phone

Nov 2, 2017

On a recent trip to France, my cell phone died. I didn't quite experience the five stages of grief, but I was more than merely annoyed, and then annoyed that I was annoyed.

During the excruciating military, political and social tumult of the Vietnam War era, I experienced an intellectual and emotional arc that was probably not unusual.

Mares: Hurricane Lessons

Sep 15, 2017

I watched the house I grew up in become inundated by four feet of water as Houston, the city of my youth, endured 50 inches of rainfall – and was reminded that years ago I myself volunteered on a National Guard amphibious vehicle in one hundred mile per hour winds to rescue people from another September hurricane.

Thirty years ago I was a State Representative when I met with a small group of Burlingtonians intent on the revitalization of Pine Street, a long panhandle of businesses and studios in the city's South End.

Mares: Swimming Safety

Jul 31, 2017

Two refugee youths from Africa drowned recently in separate accidents in Burlington. One was Ali Muhina from Somalia, the other Christian Kibabu of the Republic of Congo.

Mares: Bees And Farming

Jun 30, 2017

The facts of Vermont beekeeping are quickly told: beekeepers number between eight hundred and one thousand; annual honey production from two to three hundred thousand pounds of honey, with a retail value of two million dollars.

Walter Scheidel, a Stanford humanities professor, builds on Joseph Stiglitz's and Thomas Piketty's work on economic inequality with his own book, The Great Leveler, Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-first Century.

Mares: The Palmer Raids

Apr 3, 2017

During World War One, a crisis in civil liberties began brewing as Germanophobia combined with anti-union sentiment and resistance to immigration from southern and Eastern Europe to ignite widespread fear of political radicals and anarchists.

Mares: Shared Sacrifice

Mar 17, 2017

The election of President Trump has reminded me of Elizabeth Kűbler-Ross' five stages of grief. The first is denial – as in how could 63 million people be so wrong? After that comes anger, followed by bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.

Mares: ESOPs

Feb 22, 2017

Switchback Brewing, with a thirty thousand barrel production capacity and 30 employees now joins half a dozen other breweries around the country that have established ESOPs - or Employee Stock Ownership Plans. More than six thousand other U.S. firms are now ESOPs, with a total employment of more than fourteen million workers.

I’ve recently had a good reason to take an interest in programs designed to improve senior physical and mental well-being - and along the way, perhaps even reduce Medicare costs.

Mares: Truth

Sep 30, 2016

Mark Twain once wrote "The Truth is a precious commodity, and you must use it sparingly!"

Mares: Immigration

Aug 30, 2016

I’m on the board of the Vermont Council on World Affairs, a 65-year old group founded by, among others, Vermont Sen. Warren G. Austin the first American ambassador to the U.N.

Mares: Hail Caesar

Aug 15, 2016

There I was in UVM’s Royall Tyler Theater watching a performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar when I became aware that, for me at least, the evening was turning into a mash-up of ideas, memories and politics.

The news from and about Russia hasn’t been good lately – what with Olympic doping punishments and suspicious hacking into Democratic party records. But this past week, as a member of the board of the Vermont Council of World Affairs, I got a different perspective.

Alvin Toffler, who died last week at age 87, was a self-taught social scientist, writer, and futurist - that is, one who engaged in wide interdisciplinary and systems thinking on such matters as diverse global trends, and possible scenarios. Toffler taught one of the first college course in futurism at the New School in New York City. But Toffler was no remote ivy-tower academic. He began his career as a welder in a Cleveland factory, and wrote: My wife and I spent five years working on assembly lines. We came to fully understand the criticisms of the industrial age, in which you are an appendage of a machine.

Mares: Donald Cook

Jun 8, 2016

Just a few weeks ago in the Eastern Baltic off the coast of the Russian outpost, Kaliningrad, Russian fighter planes buzzed a US guided missile destroyer - with one plane flying within 100 feet of the ship. It was just another one of the probings and provocations that have gone on for several years as Russia and NATO members joust for maritime rights in what many describe a New Cold War. So I wasn’t especially surprised when I heard about the confrontation in the news. But what did catch my eye was the name of the ship: the Donald G. Cook.

Mares: Memorials

May 26, 2016

In nearly every Vermont village cemetery today, American flags flutter near weathered gravestones - with a few rusting five-star medallions nearby. A close look reveals the letters GAR, an abbreviation for the Grand Army of the Republic, founded by the Northern veterans of the Civil War - who collectively were a powerful political force until World War One.

The controversy in Woodstock, Vermont over school uniforms resonated for me recently on a trip to Texas. I was playing paternal archeologist, excavating with my older son layers of places and memories of central and coastal Texas where I grew up.

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