Commentary Series

Weekdays 7:55 a.m. and 5:55 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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Commentary
5:51 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Kashmeri: Bremer Appearance

Recently, I picked up my local daily paper and read that Mr. Paul Bremer had spoken at a fundraiser for a small, local library. Bremer, you may remember, was the former U.S. Administrator for Iraq.

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Commentary
4:21 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Dowling: Getting Ready

College students spend years of their lives and thousands of dollars getting a diploma they hope will get them lucrative and fulfilling jobs - that take perseverance. But as a member of the Community College of Vermont’s faculty, I’ve seen what real grit looks like. CCV has open enrollment and it’s a true melting pot. Because I teach public speaking, I’ve been honored to hear many personal accounts of danger and deprivation in far-away places - and some from right here in Vermont.

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Commentary
5:31 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Deffner: Delta Workshop

Prior to my recent trip to Mississippi, when I told friends where I was going, they’d ask “On purpose?" and "Of your own free will?"

Well, I did go on purpose and very much of my own free will, for a week-long Landmarks in American History and Culture workshop at Delta State University. The workshop was entitled, "The Most Southern Place on Earth: Music, Culture and History in the Mississippi Delta."  Every summer, the National Endowment for the Humanities sponsors competitive workshops like this one at historical sites throughout the country.

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Commentary
1:58 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Gilbert: Civil War Stress Disorders

When we think about the Civil War, we may think of the uniforms made familiar through re-enactors, movies, paintings, even some old black and white photos. We may think of political giants and charismatic generals; of disease and primitive medical care; of a soldier writing letters home, or fighting in battle. But typically we don’t make the connection between people’s experiences in that war and what we now call Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

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Commentary
3:51 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Kittredge: Nor' Easter

When I wasn’t attending camps in New England, the summers of my childhood were spent at the end of Long Island in a small beach house atop a sand bluff. Until the vineyards arrived about 30 years ago, there wasn’t much happening on the North Fork except lush fruit and vegetable farming. The small peninsula called Nassau Point on which my parents’ house stood jutted out into Peconic Bay and was, if you can believe it, pretty remote.

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Commentary
3:30 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Nadworny: Good For Business

A recent report notes that based on surveys for the Website Thumbtack.com, Vermont has received a failing grade for friendliness to small businesses. And the response to the report has been as predictable as a summer Champ sighting on Lake Champlain.

Those who’ve continually made an issue of Vermont’s business climate pointed to the report as validation. According to them, the report is further proof that Vermont ignores the critical needs of business, large and small.

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Commentary
12:58 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Henningsen: Fatal Attraction

Americans have a fatal attraction for other people’s revolutions. Perhaps because we believe ours was so successful - so right - we see ourselves, too, on the streets and in the squares, challenging oppression in the name of freedom. We’re incurable optimists: all popular risings are like ours and will end as ours did – with the triumph of liberal democracy.

Then we’re often horrified by the result.

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Commentary
4:15 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Radtke: Tag Sale Treasure

We’ve entered into the High Holy Days for Tag Sales, Lawn Sales and Garage Sales, which runs right up until Labor Day. Every weekend, our neighbors bedeck their lawns with their unwanted items for us to inspect and take home for a song: exercise equipment, toys and children’s clothes, kitchen ware, and an occasional treasure. (Visitors from other countries always are perplexed, charmed, and delighted by this tradition). Most of us slow down, at least, when we drive by.

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Commentary
4:09 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Averyt: Growing Old-er

It seems every time I have a medical appointment now, I'm asked if I have trouble with falls, do I live alone and can I afford my medications?
 

I just marked another birthday and while it's a celebration of life, it's also an awareness of slowing down. Every day I seem to be more aware of limitations. I think I've painted my last ceiling and I don't know how much longer I can climb the ladder into the attic where I store the summer fans.

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Commentary
2:45 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Williamson: Douglass in Vermont

Frontispiece from Frederick Douglass’ "Narrative."
Rokeby Museum

By the end of the nineteenth century, Frederick Douglass was the most famous black man in America, if not the world. He had escaped from slavery at the age of 20, thrilled audiences across the country with the power of his voice and of his intellect, met with presidents, devoted his life to the movement against slavery – and chronicled all of it in three separate autobiographies.
 

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