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.

Send Feedback | Guidelines To Submit A Commentary

Suzanne Spencer Rendahl

When I was a high school student in suburban Connecticut in the late eighties, I came across a letter on our family kitchen table one evening about an upcoming school board election.

The recently reported drop in Vermont’s national rating regarding child well-being should be viewed with concern. We’ve slipped from 3rd to 8th best in the nation.

In Article 3 of the U.S. Constitution, it’s stated that Supreme Court justices “shall hold their appointment during good behavior” - which is generally interpreted as a lifetime appointment.

First, Stephanie Wilkinson, owner of The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, upset by many of President Trump's policies, asked White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and her party to leave her restaurant – politely by first-hand accounts.

It’s been widely reported that three small Vermont towns issue about one-quarter of all speeding tickets in the state. And the resulting revenue is said to be used to boost town coffers.

Journalists are a little like doctors. Sometimes they have to give people bad news. The difference is there’s no arguing with a heart attack.

Regardless of where we all stand on the politics of immigration, I hope we can all still agree that our constitution can act as a salve beyond party and dogma to bind up our wounds of division.

Mary Holland /

Sea lampreys are a conundrum. In Lake Champlain they’re hated, while in the Connecticut River they’re championed.

When History Rhymes

Jul 2, 2018

In troubled times, people often turn to history for guidance: surely, they think, the past has some instructive message for the present.

Brooke Wilkinson

Vermont rarely sees temperatures in the triple digits.

I’m a lawyer, so of course I think a lot about the U.S. Supreme Court, commonly referred to by its social media generated abbreviation as SCOTUS.

Ron Chernow’s biography on Ulysses S. Grant is long – and for good reason. The big moments in Grant’s life span nearly 20 years, from the start of the Civil War in 1861 to the end of his presidency in 1879.

Betty Smith / VPR

As I walked out onto the boardwalk that crosses Eshqua Bog in Hartland, the trees opened out above me, a broad sky appeared, and the idea of trolls peeping up from under the resounding boards began to seem distinctly possible.

Ira Schwartz / AP

Recently, as my eight year old son was walking through the family room, I heard him chanting something unusual: “Build a Wall! Build a Wall!”

Julie Jacobson / AP

When I heard that the Miss America Pageant was ditching its swimsuit competition, I thought … it’s about time.

One of my favorite activities is go on bird watching trips and hang out with knowledgeable folks who can identify birds before seeing them – simply by their calls.

After the violence along the border with Gaza, where an estimated 120 Palestinians protesting the relocation of the American Embassy to Jerusalem were killed and more than 3,800 wounded by Israeli army fire, the UN issued a strong rebuke to Israel.

It all depends on how you look at it. That’s what a friend was saying about how the telling of history shapes the way we see things.

President John F. Kennedy and Prime Minister John Diefenbaker detested each other and made little effort to conceal it. Like today, trade was the contentious issue.

Brooke Wilkinson

It’s music festival season in Vermont. For those of you who recently caught any of the nine days of opera in Middlebury or the ten days of jazz in Burlington, you’re among the lucky crowd who got to partake in the unofficial start of it all.