Commentary Series

Adrian: Summer Detour

Jun 30, 2017

Vermonters live in a bubble. And there are sub-bubbles such as those found around Montpelier and Burlington. Indeed a frequent quip is that “Burlington’s a great place to live because it’s so close to Vermont.”

As is typical on the last day of a Supreme Court term, we heard announcements about some controversial cases last Monday. And it was notable how many involved religion.

I’ve done a little time traveling, courtesy of The New York Times. The paper recently crunched age and diversity data from the US Census Bureau, combined the result with population projections, and compared 3,000 counties with the country as a whole, over time.

When people tell me they’d love to live in Vermont, I jokingly ask if they enjoy roof raking, then add that they might need to bring their own jobs with them.

Vogel: Church And State

Jun 28, 2017

In the recent case of Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Trinity Lutheran Church – potentially changing the way faith based organizations provide social services and whom they serve.

On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass, former slave, eminent abolitionist, and perhaps America’s greatest orator, spoke near his home in Rochester, New York at an event commemorating the Declaration of Independence.

Last week my son Ari turned 22. He’s a good kid, but as most mothers do, I worried about him as he grew into a young adult. I remember the summer when he turned 14 and we discovered that he and his friends had been sneaking into the city pool after hours. We talked with him about respecting public property and the dangers of drinking and drugs. We also talked about what to do if he ever happened to be approached by a police officer. I felt confident assuring him that if he responded to authority with respect, he would be treated fairly.

How quickly we forget. Just short of four decades ago Vermont policymakers decided that a competitive healthcare system had not lowered healthcare costs, but was, in fact, driving costs up, as hospitals vied for more expensive technology and market share. The relationship between our thirteen community hospitals and our tertiary-care hospitals – then Fletcher Allen and Dartmouth – were tortured and riddled with expense.

Krupp: New Recycling Law

Jun 22, 2017

Landfill disposal of recyclables like glass, paper and plastic milk jugs – fully half the trash discarded by Vermont residents and businesses – is banned by Vermont’ New Recycling law.

I’ve often wondered about the standards we expect political candidates to meet. Not the formal requirements of age, citizenship, or length of residence; but the intangibles – a kind of “litmus test” of qualities that candidates must pass before we entrust them with public office.

When Governor Phil Scott made his last minute Hail Mary pass to the legislature with a proposal to move local teachers’ insurance to the state level, his staff claimed that a statewide insurance contract would save $26 million that the state would use to reduce property taxes.

Every time I hear the word “leak,” as in “surreptitiously disclosing information,” I cringe. It’s not that I oppose the practice itself - as a former reporter, I occasionally relied on leaks to start stories, or get facts. But lately, “leaking” information has taken on a negative connotation it shouldn’t have.

I attended my first gay pride festival in 1973, a mere four years after disenfranchised drag queens rioted against police harassment at New York’s Stonewall Inn.

As more tapes from President Richard Nixon’s oval office conversations have been released, the transcripts make for some compelling reading.

Amazon’s planned purchase of high end grocery chain Whole Foods introduces a lot of questions - many of them around technology, delivery, and the future of retail. It’s also a time to consider what, exactly, the Whole Foods value proposition is. After all, we’re told that Whole Foods seeks the finest organic food, but not all their customers have been fully satisfied with what they get in return for their dollars.

While the announcement of new Cuba policy changes has been rumored for months, it looks like the President’s newly announced directive may have a significant impact on the ability of United States citizens to travel, trade or generally engage with our Cuban neighbors.

Artwork by Joanna Bodenweber

On Saturday, June 10 at 11 a.m. VPR hosted a new, streamlined version of the annual Commentator Brunch at our recently expanded Colchester facility on the theme: SLEUTH! UNCOVERING THE TRUTH!

When I was in the third grade, kids in my class were spreading a rumor. It was 1968, Hubert Humphrey was running against Richard Nixon – and in Massachusetts, where a Nixon Presidency was widely feared, my classmates insisted if Nixon got elected, we would have to go to school on Saturdays.

Superlatives are rare.  The biggest, the best, the oldest – they are unique: there’s only one “biggest.”   Superlatives are particularly noteworthy when they relate to something important, something people value, and perhaps collect, like books.  

My husband celebrated his own first Father's Day after welcoming our son three years ago. By this time next year, he'll have double the pleasure on his big day since I’m now pregnant with a little girl.

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