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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Meg Malone

Mount Philo in North Ferrisburgh was formed about five hundred million years ago, and ever since humans came along some millennia later, its summit has provided us with an unparalleled vista of the Champlain Valley.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Nearly identical appeals come from both Left and Right. “Only your contribution NOW can stop Brett Kavanaugh from savaging your rights!” Or, “Only your contribution NOW can stop those who would stop Brett Kavanaugh from protecting your rights!”

Schubart: Aretha

Aug 28, 2018
Bill Schubart

As a student fascinated with recording technology, I had the privilege of interviewing for a job at Columbia Records when I was in my mid-twenties. I was asked a lot of questions about production and then asked to critique a recent Columbia release from a technical and creative standpoint. The album was Aretha’s last album for Columbia.

Hogan: Return To Civility

Aug 27, 2018
A headshot of Con Hogan, with his head resting on folded hands.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

We’re experiencing a decline in civility, certainly in the nation and even here in Vermont.

Hanson: Lake Wise

Aug 27, 2018
Gayle Hanson

Along our stretch of lakeshore, some folks are already pulling their docks from the water. And the pressure to consume as many maple creemees as possible before school starts has begun.

Ram: Language As Destiny

Aug 23, 2018
Benjamin Barkley / The Lowcountry Digital History Initiative

Born into slavery in Charleston, South Carolina, Samuel Williams came to Vermont as a young man when the Civil War ended and lived in Springfield and Windsor, where he found a life of freedom and raised a family.

Front Porch Forum

I recently requested a recommendation on Front Porch Forum for a good plumber who was creative and had dealt with old houses.

John Locher / Associated Press

Seems like we’ve barely reacted to one wave of bad news these days when the next one breaks over us – reminding me of the '60's musical and film Stop the world I want to get off!

Anton: Teen Insurgency

Aug 22, 2018
Anna Ste. Marie / VPR

Ethan Sonneborn’s valiant yet ultimately unsuccessful campaign was groundbreaking, in that his respectable finish has cracked the glass ceiling of an entirely new wave of potential candidates.

Ed Adrian

With the summer primary season now behind us, and the general election just around the corner, it’s a perfect time to take stock and reflect on ways to remove impediments to those who desire to seek a seat in Vermont’s legislature.

James A. Cumming

I never thought too deeply about the details of what it takes to keep New England looking – well – like New England.

Community of Vermont Elders - Vermont SMP

My new Medicare card recently came in the mail as part of an effort to cut down on identity theft.

Willem Lange

'Way up in northern New Hampshire, almost at the 45th parallel, is a tiny glacial pond slowly filling in with water lilies. It’s a place I go to when I want absolute peace and quiet.

Richard Watts

Picture this: a group of news reporters assigned to cover a large rally. Roped off from the event at the back of the room, they type away, writing their news stories until the speaker draws the crowd’s attention to them. Then the crowd turns hostile, chanting, pointing and yelling.

Weis: The Last Straw

Aug 16, 2018
Russ Weis

Einstein famously said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” And lately, I’ve been trying to apply that deceptively simple-sounding bit of wisdom to the significant environmental problem of accumulating plastic.

It’s well accepted that a picture is worth a thousand words, as any visual learner or marketer will attest. But, how does one visualize something as enormous as the U.S. economy - the largest in the world at $19 trillion – and how do we view Vermont’s economy in comparison?

Keith Oppenheim

I’m preparing to teach a course this fall about social media. And I’m beginning to think it’s going to resemble something akin to a science fiction movie in which the creators of a vast new technology lose control over what they’ve made.

Photograph by Todd R. Lockwood / Burlington City Arts

Efforts to defund the National Endowment of the Arts are a quadrennial budget issue here at home. And in many countries, artists, like journalists, are censored, jailed, or even assassinated.

Deborah Luskin

On his ninety-second birthday just over a year ago, Dad announced, “This is my last birthday. No more.”

Hogan: Paying It Forward

Aug 13, 2018

Vermont has some very major long term problems to solve - like serious unfunded pension liabilities and increasing pollution of Lake Champlain.