Commentary Series

Mon-Thurs 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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All the recent talk from our political leaders about making Vermont affordable reminds me of the expression "Moonlight in Vermont, or starve."

Soon after the Pilgrims landed, Plymouth’s William Bradford described a colony beset by dangers: What could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wild beasts and wild men. . . [A]ll things stand upon them with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hue.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Current headlines about the resignation of Andrew McCabe, Deputy Director of the FBI, and other controversy surrounding the US intelligence establishment, have reminded me of a recent disturbing story that got little notice beyond brief mentions by CNN and ABC.

Averyt: Canine Rescue

Feb 1, 2018

I’m one of those people who find the national news increasingly disheartening, so I appreciate when online sites and some mainstream media include “good news” in their coverage – like humanitarian stories that inspire and lift the bar instead of lowering it.

There’s hardly an industry in Vermont that doesn’t need more and better trained workers. Even Farm to Table, an organization that supports locally grown food, is promoting more agricultural workforce development.

I never met Ursula K. Le Guin. But her essays about the inequities of gender helped me navigate this man’s world.

Mayer: Troubling Echoes

Jan 29, 2018

We’re in the middle of a national flu epidemic. And it’s sobering to remember that fully half of those who died during the great Flu Pandemic of 1918, one hundred years ago, were both young and healthy.

Toby Talbot / AP


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Sadly, last week’s shooting at a rural Kentucky high school that left two dead and eighteen injured didn’t seem to hold our attention for very long.

Recent federal policies are putting our international standing at risk.

XKCD, creative commons

Wikipedia, operated by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, is arguably one of the first stops anyone makes in online research.

Adrian: The Greater Truth

Jan 24, 2018

As a lawyer, I’m well acquainted with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but I’m beginning to think our notion of what the truth really means is shifting - and that isn’t good.

Orwell and Churchill were two of my boyhood heroes. Both men regarded politics, not as dirty work, but as an honorable calling, capable of changing the affairs of people for the better and protecting both the individual and free speech. In fact, Churchill once declared that "A state of society where men may not speak their minds cannot long endure."

Vogel: Homeownership

Jan 23, 2018

For many years, I taught real estate courses at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and lately people have been asking if I think this is a good time to buy a home in Vermont. And my answer is a qualified yes.

For weeks, I slogged my way through the almost seven hundred page American Ulysses: A life of Ulysses S. Grant, one of the two recent big biographies of our 18th president, of whom I knew embarrassingly little.

Screenshot from the trailer for 'The Post'

Apparently perceiving a conspiracy of Democrats, the press and liberal elites, the president is seething. Those around him have never seen him so angry.

Joel Ryan / AP

Searching for perspective on today’s national climate of reckless self-interest some historians find an apt comparison in another decade of unparalleled greed and corruption, the so-called “Roaring Twenties."

Clean water. Good schools. Two excellent reasons to live in Vermont. But it’s easy to take them for granted.

My brother and sister-in-law have given the parents and me an Amazon Echo - or, as many know it, an “Alexa.” They love theirs and thought the more technologically “slow” of us should have one too.

My sixth-grade son came home from school last week and told me he’d heard about the new law legalizing marijuana. “Don’t they have any idea how stupid that is?!” he said in his pre-teen voice that just oozed disdain for grown-ups.

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