Commentary Series

Weekdays 8:50 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. Sundays at 10.55 a.m.

More than 50 commentators provide perspective and opinion about current events, topics of interest, and often showcase the work of writers and storytellers.  The VPR Commentary Series is produced by Betty Smith-Mastaler.

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Just a mile from the Connecticut River, in Hanover, N. H., stands old ivy-covered Memorial Field, where once some of the finest of all collegiate football was played. Dartmouth College still competes well in the Ivy League. In the late 1970s, during my Dartmouth employment, 20,000 fans turned out to see perhaps the best-known passing combination in the country.

One of my favorite books is very short, but it’s about another book that is quite long. Isaiah Berlin’s The Hedgehog and the Fox is a brief study of Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel War and Peace, which ostensibly depicts Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. What it’s really about, of course, is the relationship between individual human agency and the inexorable, ultimately unknowable forces that determine the course of history.

Lorber: Prisons

Jan 29, 2015

Vermont has a huge addiction problem. We’re addicted to prisons. We love them. And we love to think that they work - but they don’t.

McCallum: State Dog

Jan 28, 2015

Most Vermonters know the Morgan horse, hermit thrush and honeybee are three critters currently on the list of “state things” that represent Vermont, along with the apple and painted turtle. And if a Vermont lawmaker has his way, a bill recently sent to the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee could add a new face to the mix.

Mares: Deflategate

Jan 28, 2015

The latest football scandal - known as Deflategate - may not rise to the level of Presidential philandering or the infamous Citizens United Supreme court case allowing unlimited political campaign money. But it has certainly taken a bit more luster from the gridiron for me.

Whenever I’m invited to come back to the Vermont State House I experience both the familiar and the new. The golden dome still sparkles in the sun against the blue sky like it did the day I was sworn into office as the governor of Vermont thirty years ago. I have affection for the state house, almost as if it were a person. For sixteen years I walked through its doors, as a legislator, Lt. Governor and Governor.

The health conscious mother of my college roommate used to tell her kids that Saltines were “cookies.” The logic went that little kids haven’t actually learned what a cookie is, only that “cookies” are a treat, and a simple rebranding would mean they’d happily eat low cal, low fat crackers for dessert.

Woolf: Education Funding

Jan 26, 2015

One of the most challenging issues for this year’s legislature will be to address the dissatisfaction over high and rising property taxes. Whatever plan they come up with, it’s important to understand how we got to the current situation.

The Little Free Library, no bigger than a breadbox and perched on a post outside Town Hall, was pretty well stocked the day I peered inside.

President Obama has come in for a lot of criticism for not attending the solidarity rally in Paris that followed the terrible murders of journalists, policemen and other innocent French men and women by French terrorists. By not being seen, arm in arm with other world leaders the President’s critics say he showed disrespect for the French and that he damaged U.S. leadership.