Bill Schubart

Commentator

Bill Schubart lives and writes in Hinesburg. His latest book is Lila & Theron.

Periodically, we must relearn old lessons. A key such lesson is Franklin’s “Ounce of prevention…” adage - as relevant today as when Franklin applied it to fire prevention 250 years ago.

Americans are crossing ideological lines to question why we have the highest incarceration rate in the world.For every 100,000 citizens, China jails 165, Russia 450, and the U.S. 754. In 2008, one in 100 Americans were behind bars and one in 32 was under the supervision of the criminal justice system.

When I was young and in search of the facts of life, there was no discernable pornography. The closest we ever got was a book we found hidden in our parents' bedroom called The Physiology of Love, that offered up textbook how-to drawings.

It’s a New Year. Daylight’s lasting longer, though our perception is mostly mathematical. We have a sprinkling of snow if not much sun, and I’m ready for a new year.

I’m not obsessive about pet names. I usually leave them to the kids, perhaps with a little parental guidance, like avoiding undistinguished names like Fluffy or Spot, or ambiguous names like Pussy, or aggressive names like Genghis or Trojan.

The Solstice Holidays are a time for us to pause and think about who we are, our purpose on earth, and where we reside in the universe of religious tradition, family, and material well-being.

A substantial amount of money is poised to address the issue of Vermont’s bloom in opiate addiction. And this time, I hope we’ll do something more effective than having agencies and non-profits compete for a share of it.

I love France, the French people, and French culture. I’ve visited there at least fifteen times in my seventy years, most often by choice but also on business, attending the annual music, film, and broadcast markets in Cannes. Like so many, I was heartbroken to learn of the most recent violence visited on Paris by ISIS.

How does a tiny state with a $5.5 billion budget – half of which is allocated to help struggling people and communities, a philanthropic community that contributes another nearly $300 million to the non-profit-sector for community reinvestment, and a business community that spends significant time and money addressing shared socio-economic problems fail to substantially solve the problems of our 70,000 poor, many of whom are homeless, hungry, and jobless?

The national media’s rife with bread-and-circus candidates of every ideological stripe and I.Q., and that’s gotten me thinking about what I’ll want to see in Vermont’s next governor.
 

A market vertical is the integration of related goods and services in an effort to control a specific sector of the market. A more critical business vertical, however, is the up and down flow of profits within a company.

In the early-mid-19th century the British East India Trading Company maintained large poppy farms and opium factories in India to supply their growing market in China. When the Chinese defended themselves by seizing and destroying opium cargoes, the British Navy enforced what they called their "right to a free-market” – consigning a third of the Chinese population to addiction.

Two predicates for civil society and peace in our world - neither of which we'll see in our lifetimes - are widespread, localized legal and judicial systems that support social and economic equity in a majority of countries, and equal enfranchisement of, and opportunity for, women.

NASA defines a black hole as… “a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light cannot get out. The gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. This can happen when a star is dying. Because no light can get out, people can't see black holes.”

Schubart: Obesity

Aug 26, 2015

Obesity is a principal driver of health care costs, our nation is obese, and at 350 pounds I, too, am obese. But my doctor tells me that at seventy years old, I’m otherwise in good health.

I’ve swum in ponds and pools. And I prefer ponds. I know ponds have yucky bottoms and slippery reptiles but the pools I’ve swum in are usually a witch’s brew of shock chemicals designed to blind the eyes, burn the skin, and destroy the biome that thrives in natural waterways.

I’m not one to spoil a party but I remain puzzled by Castleton’s decision to become a university. It’s a fine school and President Wolk deserves kudos for making it so, but times are changing and so must higher ed. Aspirational renaming won’t make this happen.

We look at a stranger and subconsciously register gender, race and perhaps class markers. These reflexive cognitive observations reveal nothing about the person yet often carry heavy judgmental baggage. In gender, it may be sexual; in race or class it may be the accrued social and economic biases of generations. If someone walking behind us is a white man wearing a suit, we may feel more secure than if he is an African-American wearing a hoody. Yet either is capable of ill will and harm.

Schubart: Monopolies

Jul 8, 2015

Antitrust prosecutors recently issued subpoenas to major airlines to explore possible collusion – but all they had to do was ask air travelers.

I don’t believe in economic development. There, I said it. Now, let me clarify. I believe the best business development strategy is being a great place to live, educate, and conduct business, as the Business Roundtable likes to say.

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