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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A few weeks ago I heard a former Stanford University dean discuss the perils of overparenting. Julie Lythcott focused on college students, but her message also applies to younger children.

When I was eight, I took the NRA safety and target training at a camp in Maine. Two years later, my parents gave me a Winchester .22 long rifle. We kids would peddle our bikes up to the dump after it closed on Saturday to “pop” rats. During deer season the high school boys brought their 30.06s to school and left them in the principal’s office so they could hunt right after school before sundown.

My Mom, if she’d been born in a different era, might have been a candidate for the DACA program. A Dreamer. She was born of German parents in Saskatchewan in 1916. Sometime around 1920 the family crossed the border and headed east. I don’t believe they had work permits or visas. They just came to America to have a better life.

Lange: Trail Magic

Sep 29, 2017

The Appalachian Trail enters Vermont coincident with the Long Trail and follows it for one hundred miles. It peels off near Killington and heads east to Norwich.

During the excruciating military, political and social tumult of the Vietnam War era, I experienced an intellectual and emotional arc that was probably not unusual.

Nearly three and a half million Puerto Ricans are suffering from the worst hurricane to hit the Island in eighty nine years. And I know this because when I was a child my father would tell me about the hurricanes he had survived as we prepared for another one.

I was there when it happened. Nobody expected it to happen. Nobody was prepared for it to happen. And when it happened, it changed the course of history.

The automated teller machine or ATM turns fifty this year. And while I use it less these days, since I now pay for most things with credit, its anniversary reminds me of how a series of miscalculations and poor planning once stranded me in midtown Manhattan with less than a dollar in my bag.

As human beings we’re living in a time when our evolutionary capacity to understand, regulate, and use technological innovation in a way beneficial to mankind and our planetary home is simply overwhelmed by the relentless speed of discovery and invention.

Vogel: Block Grants

Sep 26, 2017

Proponents of block grants believe that funds can be administered more effectively at the state and local level, and that block grants allow for greater flexibility and innovation.

With their eighteen-hour film on Vietnam airing on PBS, filmmakers Lynn Novick and Ken Burns remind us that this was a war that never goes away – in part because it was never clear at the time how it came about in the first place.

Krupp: Light Rail Service

Sep 25, 2017

From the re-development of Church Street to plans for a thirty million dollar, two and a half mile Champlain Parkway, Burlington is re-inventing itself.

Beaupre: School Rules

Sep 24, 2017

Schools have rules that everyone is expected to follow. Be safe, be respectful, be responsible. Keep your hands, feet and objects to yourself. We added feet and objects because - well - you can imagine.

Every time I hear someone use the word “dreamers” to define children brought to this country by undocumented parents, I think back to when the so-called D.R.E.A.M Act - which stands for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors – was first introduced in Congress in early August, 2001.

When I was in college my parents moved to Hawaii, and during that time they arranged for the daughter of friends to rendezvous there with her boyfriend. He was coming in from Vietnam for a few days of R&R, and they agreed to meet at my parents' house.

The state of Vermont has been deeply embarrassed by the fraud allegations up at Jay Peak. It also wants to make the best of the hundreds of millions of dollars invested in projects there and at unrelated projects across the state. Scandal, yes, but it’s also created thousands of jobs in the critical hospitality industry, which was the intent of the EB-5 program in the first place.

First proclaimed in 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month features many community festivals and activities organized to honor the achievements, culture and contributions of Hispanics, Latin Americans or Latinxs in the United States.

In nineteen eighty nine, after living in Washington State, Ohio, Virginia, and Connecticut, I moved to New Hampshire to attend college.

ESPN is similar to cable news networks, where executives like personalities, people who go beyond merely reporting facts, but show passion, spout opinions and keep things lively.

Craven: Vietnam Preview

Sep 18, 2017

My generation came of age during the Vietnam War. Some of us volunteered or were drafted to fight in Vietnam. Others had friends and family who fought and some who died. ManyOthers of us joined or led the battle against the war, dropping other pursuits to take risks in those trenches, determined to change U.S. policy. By 1968, Eugene McCarthy, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and others had called for withdrawal.

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