Bill Schubart


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

Pilgrims fleeing religious persecution in Europe made up the first great American in-migration. Lincoln ended the bitter debate on slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, leading a century later to Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights Amendment.

Incarceration’s original purpose - to punish crime, ensure public safety, and rehabilitate - is still with us, but doesn’t come close to explaining the seven million Americans currently under the care and oversight of corrections. Key metrics of a healthy society are levels of employment, food security, graduation rates, longevity and, negatively: incidences of chronic disease, discrimination, addiction, and homelessness.

If you’re wondering why our bridges collapse, our trains collide, security lines stretch on, and our courtrooms have no judges … it’s because “potty politics” has become a more important legislative issue.

I grew up in the arms of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Morrisville and, although I fell out with the church in my teens, I maintained a deep friendship with the priest I had served as an altar boy. We continued to meet even after he had retired and a stroke had impaired his communication skills. We often talked about what we were reading, philosophical and moral issues, and how the years had changed us.

As the legislative term winds down, it’s time to consider what happened, what didn’t, and more important, why? Many Vermonters are vocal about wanting their government branches to change how they do business; others have altogether given up on government’s ability to better their lives. And while it’s fine to distrust and criticize government leaders, an outright anti-government stance, unfortunately, denies help, hope, and invites tyranny.

There are many actors in the Jay Peak/Q-Burke tragedy playing out on our Northern Vermont stage.

Schubart: Childcare

Apr 8, 2016

Public education is Vermont’s largest and best investment. And by re-imagining it as a publicly financed continuum of learning, we could deepen its value and cost-effectiveness.

“We must agree to disagree” is a fair resolution to any discussion and such was the case with a thoughtful discussion I had recently about S. 107, a bill to split the Agency of Human Services into its traditional social safety net role and a new “Agency of Health Care Administration”.

The rationale in the bill’s language is this:

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.