Commentary Series

James Murdoch and his brother Lachlan, top executives at parent company News Corporation, say they’ve been trying to clean things up at Fox News.

Molnar: Land And Lens

Oct 31, 2017
Photographer: Richard Misrach (b. 1949 ) / Middlebury College Museum of Art

To paraphrase an old saying about the power of art, a photo exhibit at Middlebury College Museum of Art demonstrates that the camera can sometimes be mightier than the keyboard.

Levin: Ghost Butterflies

Oct 30, 2017

Recently, while visiting the rocky shores of Rhode Island and relaxing at George’s Beach in the unseasonable warmth of a protracted Indian summer, I watched a steady stream of monarch butterflies rise above pine and flaxen tangles and pass by our beach chairs.

I recently attended a program called “Deer in the Woods” about the synergy between the deer population and the forest in Windham County, sponsored by the Dummerston Conservation Committee.

Growing up in small-town, mid-century America, some of my friends were Girl Scouts. So I wanted to be one too - mostly to get the green uniform and Thin Mint cookies.

Back in high school English class our teacher introduced us to the timeless poem Elegy in a Country Churchyard; then he made us memorize all 128 lines of it.

In the early 1970s Amory Lovins called for a transformative new approach to providing electricity. He called it the nega-watt –  because, he said, the cheapest, greenest and cleanest watt of electricity is the one not used.

More people these days are asking whether the high cost of a college education is worth it, and many people are noticing the many expensive nonacademic facilities that some colleges and universities have built, partly to compete for students.

A recent review of public retirement and healthcare plans by Pew Charitable Trusts shows that many U.S. jurisdictions are on an unsustainable path.

In 2015, there were more than 52,000 drug overdose deaths in just that year. In 2016, it's estimated that number will be exceeded by 10,000 more.

By insisting that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem, President Trump may have actually validated their exercise of free speech under the First Amendment.

Some will be surprised to learn that The Crying Game, Like Water For Chocolate, Reservoir Dogs, Clerks, The English Patient, Good Will Hunting, Life is Beautiful, Garden State and Pulp Fiction are just a few of the large and diverse group of films that were produced by Miramax, Harvey Weinstein’s production company. And while they all remain classics in their respective genres, they unfortunately will now be forever associated with the taint, or stain, of scandal.

As you turn off busy Route 7 in Ferrisburgh and pull into Rokeby, the historic home of the Rowland Robinson family, you might think that you’re entering a different world

But you’re not.

For the last decade or more, my neighbor Walter has hosted an Annual Apple Squeeze on the Saturday of October’s long holiday weekend.

In recent days, my social media feed has been filled with posts with the hash tag “Me Too” - reflecting a movement that began ten years ago when Tarana Burke, an African American woman, wanted to bring attention to the problem of sexual assault in vulnerable communities. This time, “Me Too” caught fire when an actress sent out a tweet, telling about her encounter with movie producer, Harvey Weinstein. She urged women who’d experienced sexual harassment or assault, to put "Me Too" as their status to show the world the magnitude of the problem.

It’s no secret that many colleges and prep schools are in financial trouble. Accrediting organizations predict a significant number of institutional failures in the next decade. We even feel the pain here in Vermont but, understandably, no one wants to discuss it, as any faint whiff of distress further discourages applications.

“When they line up for a firing squad they form a circle.” So the late Democratic Congressman Mo Udall despaired when discussing his party’s disorganization some years ago. Today this seems to apply to both major parties, which are in a state of disarray not seen since the 1850's.

I’m what they call a “woman of childbearing age,” which means that every day, my ability and choice to or not to procreate is on my mind.

Vogel: Housing Trends

Oct 13, 2017

It’s always dangerous to make predictions about the housing market in the United States.

Former reporter Charlotte Albright decided it was time to de-activate her Facebook account after learning Russians may have used it to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
screenshot: facebook.com; illustration: Emily Alfin Johnson, VPR

Two weeks ago, I de-activated my Facebook account, after hearing that Russians may have used it to interfere with our last presidential election.

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