What the U.S. can learn from Finland

“If you want the American Dream, go to Finland,” said British politician Ed Miliband. This is the premise behind Finnish journalist Anu Partanen’s book, The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life. Partanen discusses what the U.S. can learn from Finland about love, taxes, education, and happiness. She describes how Finnish mothers receive 10 months of paid maternity leave, how Finnish schools lead the world in quality and performance, and how Finnish people are happier by many measures — all for a similar level of taxation as middle-class Americans. Finally, she reflects on how she will pass on these Nordic values to her newborn daughter, an American citizen. (November 15, 2017 broadcast)

Anu Partanen, author, The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life

Reuben Jackson: Poetry, jazz & dissent

Reuben Jackson has been the host of Friday Night Jazz on Vermont Public Radio since 2012, a job he has just announced that he will leave in 2018. Before this, he was curator of the Duke Ellington Collection at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. for 20 years. Jackson is also an accomplished poet and an educator with the Young Writers Project. Jackson discusses his poetry, jazz, and his experience as an African American in one of America’s whitest states. He also reads his poem, “For Trayvon Martin.” (November 8, 2017 broadcast)

Reuben Jackson, poet, VPR jazz host

Sarah Browning: Poetry of provocation & witness

Sarah Browning is co-founder and executive director of Split This Rock: Poetry of Provocation & Witness, and an Associate Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies. She talks about poetry as protest, white supremacy and privilege, her work organizing poets, and the annual Split This Rock poetry festival. She also reads from her new collection of poetry, Killing Summer. (November 8, 2017 broadcast)

Sarah Browning, poet, co-founder, Split This Rock

Bill McKibben: Radio Free Vermont & resistance

Could an aging Vermont radio man, aided by a crew of Olympic cross-country skiers and craft-beer drinking fellow travelers, lead the resistance to Donald Trump? That’s the plot of Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance, the latest book by author and activist Bill McKibben. The central character of McKibben’s first novel bears an uncanny resemblance to Ken Squier, the legendary owner and broadcaster of WDEV, the independent radio station that he and his late father have run since 1931 (on which the Vermont Conversation airs). “This is James Bond meets A Prairie Home Companion, and no one but Bill McKibben could pull it off,” writes author Naomi Klein.

McKibben is the founder of the grassroots global climate change organization 350.org and author of a dozen books, including The End of NatureEnough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, and Deep Economy. He talks here about resistance–fictional and real–how he has been personally targeted by the fossil fuel industry, why craft beer matters, and his recent travels to Alaska and Africa in search of climate solutions and sanity. (November 1, 2017 broadcast)

Bill McKibben, author and activist

Power Struggle: The epic battle to shut down Vermont Yankee

Vermont’s lone nuclear power plant, Vermont Yankee, operated from 1972 until 2014, when the plant shut down for good under intense political and financial pressure. POWER STRUGGLE is a new feature-length documentary by filmmaker Robbie Leppzer about the political battle to close Vermont Yankee. We speak with Leppzer and Arnie & Maggie Gundersen, key figures in the VY battle, about the story of how nuclear power ended in Vermont, the after-effects of the 2011 nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, and the future of nuclear power.  (October 25, 2017 broadcast)

Robbie Leppzer, award-winning independent documentary filmmaker, Power Struggle

Arnie Gundersen, nuclear engineer and whistleblower

Maggie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education 

 

Can a business change its culture?

Rob Miller wanted to shake things up: the president and CEO of Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU) wanted to make his company more transparent. And he wanted to be more responsive to customers. First, he had to change the business culture. He talks about how you pursue passion and purpose and change the culture in “unexpected places.” (October 25, 2017 broadcast)

Rob Miller, president and CEO, VSECU

 

#MeToo: Women fight back against sexual harassment and assault

The #MeToo campaign, in which women are taking to social media to share their experiences with sexual harassment and assault, has shined a bright light on what women deal with daily at work and in public. This campaign has been energized by revelations about how Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein routinely sexually assaulted, touched and humiliated countless women. Two experts discuss what sexual harassment is, their personal and professional experiences with it, and how women can fight back. (October 18, 2017 broadcast)

Cathleen Barkley, Executive Director, HOPE Works, Burlington, VT

Sarah Robinson, Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Is the media fair to Pres. Trump?

Pres. Trump insists the media is “terribly unfair” to him. Is it? Jesse Holcomb, formerly of the Pew Research Center and currently a professor of journalism at Calvin College, dissects media coverage of Trump, and delves into the quality of news articles on the right and left. He also explores the influence of far-right Breitbart News and its affiliates. Holcomb’s research finds that fewer than half of news stories about Trump for right-leaning audiences cite more than a single source, while 70 percent of stories for left-leaning audiences cite multiple sources. Holcomb says that the media “needs to take a look in the mirror” at how it has contributed to the rise of Trump. (October 18, 2017 broadcast)

Jesse Holcomb, Calvin College, Columbia Journalism School’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Pew Research Center

 

Changing the face of the outdoors: First all-African American ascent of Denali

In 2013, the first all-African American team of climbers tackled Denali, or Mt. McKinley, in Alaska, North America’s highest peak. The expedition was sponsored by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). The goal of the expedition was to inspire minority communities to look outdoors for enriching experiences and to encourage environmental stewardship. James Edward Mills, who was part of the expedition, is the author of The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors, which explores how minority populations view their place in wild environments. Mills is a journalist and media producer and maintains the blog and podcast The Joy Trip Project (joytripproject.com). He has worked in the outdoor industry since 1989 as a guide, outfitter, independent sales representative, and writer. Mills is also co-producer of a film about the climb, An American Ascent. (October 11, 2017 broadcast)

James Edward Mills, author, The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors

Co-working: Office & community for workers without an office

Co-working is what independent workers do who share an office but not a job. Vermont has seen a variety of co-working spaces pop up from Bennington to Burlington. They serve telecommuters, freelancers, and independent entrepreneurs. We speak with leaders of several Vermont co-working spaces. (October 4, 2017 broadcast)

Wayne Maceyka, organizer, HinesburgHUB

Dimitri Garder, Director, The Lightning Jar, Bennington 

Samantha Sheehan, owner and founder, Valley.Works, Waitsfield

Simeon Chapin, director, Community & Social Development, VSECU 

No room for refugees?

As the world refugee crisis swells, Pres. Donald Trump has capped the number of refugees that the U.S. will accept at 45,000 — the lowest level since the refugee resettlement program was established 37 years ago. In 2016, Pres. Obama set the cap at 110,000. Trump calls it the “America First Refugee Program,” evoking the name of the openly anti-Semitic WWII-era America First Committee. Mark Hetfield is president and CEO of HIAS, which was founded as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in 1881. HIAS is the world’s oldest organization dedicated to refugees.  Hetfield has led the transformation to a global agency that assists and resettles refugees of all faiths and ethnicities and is a major implementing partner of the United Nations Refugee Agency and the U.S. Department of State. In February 2017, under his leadership, HIAS became the first and only national refugee resettlement agency to file a court challenge against the Trump Administration and its executive order implementing a Muslim and refugee ban, a challenge which led to an injunction against the order. He discusses the impact of Trump’s refugee bans and his reaction to the protest movement that rose up to challenge Muslim bans. (September 27, 2017 broadcast)

Mark Hetfield, president & CEO, HIAS

 

 

Naomi Klein: Resisting Trump’s shock politics and winning the world we need

Bestselling author, activist and filmmaker Naomi Klein is known for her critical writings on corporate globalization and capitalism. Her books include No Logo (1999), The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007) and This Changes Everything: Capitalism Versus the Climate (2014). Her newest book is No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need (Haymarket, 2017), has been nominated for a National Book Award. In our interview, Klein discusses climate catastrophes, the rise of Trump, what Democrats and have done wrong, and resistance. (September 20, 2017 broadcast)

Naomi Klein, author, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need

Slow food pioneer: Visionary food writer Patience Gray

Today’s movements celebrating slow food and simple living owe a debt to food writer Patience Gray. In 1986, she published Honey from a Weed, considered one of the greatest cookbooks of all time by the likes of Mollie Katzen and April Bloomfield, and she has influenced culinary trailblazers like Alice Waters. For more than 30 years, Gray lived without electricity, modern plumbing, or a telephone in remote area in southern Italy. She grew much of her own food and also foraged. In the new book, Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray (Chelsea Green, 2017), Vermont author Adam Federman shares Gray’s fascinating and trailblazing life with a generation that may not know her name, but has been influence by her ideas. (September 20, 2017 broadcast)

Adam Federman, author, Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray 

Juan Gonzalez: Can mayors save America?

Juan GJuan González is one of the best known Latino journalists in the U.S. He has been a crusading columnist for the New York Daily News for nearly 30 years, co-host of Democracy Now! for 20 years, and is now a professor of journalism at Rutgers. His books include Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America and News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media (with Josph Torres). In his newest book, Reclaiming Gotham: Bill de Blasio and the Movement to End America’s Tale of Two Cities, González gives an inside account of the unlikely rise of a little-known progressive politician who stunned the political elite and was elected mayor of New York in 2013, and re-elected in a landslide in September 2017. González says that de Blasio is part of a nationwide revolt of cities against neoliberal, corporate-dominated state and national politics, and represent a powerful counterforce to President Donald Trump. (September 13, 2017 broadcast)

Juan González, journalist and author, Reclaiming Gotham

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“Give me your tired, your poor:” Peter Gould’s anthem for the immigrant rights movement

Peter Gould has been involved in Vermont arts as a performer, director, teacher, and author for more than 45 years. He is the founder of “Get Thee to the Funnery,” a youth Shakespeare program in Craftsbury, Vt. which celebrated its 20th season in 2017. As half of Gould & Stearns — a 2 man touring theater company — Peter traveled throughout the country and internationally, performing more than 3,000 performances, including their original play, “A Peasant of El Salvador.” Peter received a B.A. and Ph.D from Brandeis University, where he is currently an adjunct professor at Brandeis, teaching mindfulness and problem solving. Peter has published five books, including his latest, Horse Drawn Yogurt: Stories from Total Loss Farm. His first book was Burnt Toast, a legendary Back to the Land novel. His book Write Naked, which received the 2009 Green Earth Book Award, given to the writer of young adult fiction that most inspires environmental consciousness and stewardship in its readers. Gould is the recipient of the 2016 Arts Education Award from the Vermont Arts Council. In this Vermont Conversation, Gould performs and tells the story behind “Mother of Exiles,” a song he wrote based on the poem by Emma Lazarus, which is on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty. He proposes it as an anthem for the modern immigrant rights movement. (September 6, 2017 broadcast)

Peter Gould, author, performer, 2016 Vermont Arts Council award winner

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Is Vermont’s climate economy a national model?

A week after Hurricane Harvey broke climate records and tore through Texas, Vermont is hosting a “national innovation summit” about responding to climate change: building the climate economy. “Answering climate change could be the greatest economic opportunity in world history. The Climate Economy includes key sectors such as clean energy development, thermal and electrical efficiencies, sustainable transportation systems, working lands, smart growth development, and many more. The Climate Economy is the economy of the future,” write conference organizers. Paul Costello, executive director of Vermont Council on Rural Development and a conference organizer, discusses how Vermont’s climate economy can serve as a model for other states. Rob Miller, president of Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU), discusses how his small credit union is providing innovative financing for clean energy projects. (August 30, 2017 broadcast)

Paul Costello, executive director, Vermont Council on Rural Development, organizer, Catalysts of the Climate Economy: A National Innovation Summit

 Rob Miller, president of Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU) 

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Part 2, Paul Costello & Rob Miller: 

After Katrina: Trauma, racism, and recovery 12 years after America’s worst disaster

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. It was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. Nearly 2,000 people were killed in the storm, and millions were left homeless.

For New Orleans resident and author Alexander McConduit, the human impact of Katrina still stays with him. He has channeled his energies into writing for children: In 2010, Alex McConduit founded Big Boot Books and published his first book, The Little Who Dat, Who Didn’t.  In 2012, he founded W.R.I.T.E., a youth publishing program that transforms students in New Orleans into published authors. Since 2010, Alex has visited more than 100 schools throughout the Gulf Coast and in other countries to share his books and to encourage kids to read, write and follow their dreams.

McConduit wants to tackle a different kind of subject in his next book. He has titled this work-in-progress, “Katrina, We Need to Talk.” It’s about the lasting impact on the NOLA community of the storm. In this interview, McConduit also reflects on racism, the rise of the alt right, President Trump, and what gives him hope. (August 23, 2017 broadcast)

Alexander McConduit, New Orleans author

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How bullies can be stopped

Teen suicide rates have spiked dramatically, especially for teens in middle school. In many of these cases the cause is bullying. This disturbing trend has shaken Tom Murphy. Murphy, a resident of St. Albans, Vt., is a former All American wrestler and MMA fighter who has now dedicated his life to showing young people how to make peace. He co-founded Sweethearts and Heroes, an anti-bullying organization. Murphy and two colleagues have spoken to more than 1 million students around the country about how to intervene and prevent bullying. He offers a powerful message about how to stop bullying and prevent suicide. (August 16, 2017 broadcast)

Tom Murphy, co-founder, Sweethearts & Heroes

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Author Mark Pendergrast on Atlanta, Coca Cola, & repressed memory

Vermont author Mark Pendergrast talks about his books, from his latest–City on the Verge: Atlanta and the Fight for America’s Urban Future–to his previous writings about repressed memory, coffee, and Coca-Cola. (August 9, 2017 broadcast)

Mark Pendergrast, author

Can technology humanize the workplace?

As smart machines replace human labor, how do workers stay relevant and essential? Author Edward Hess, professor of business administration at the University of Virginia, argues, “To stay relevant, we need to excel at critical, creative, and innovative thinking and genuinely engage with others–things machines can’t do well.” We discuss his new book and how to survive in the age of smart machines. (August 9, 2017 broadcast)

Edward Hess, co-author (with Katherine Ludwig), Humility is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age

Sen. Patrick Leahy: A life in politics, as told by Philip Baruth

Sen. Patrick Leahy has represented Vermont in the U.S. Senate since 1974 . He is the longest serving senator in the U.S. Senate. Philip Baruth’s new biography, Senator Leahy: A Life in Scenes, chronicles how Leahy, a Catholic and a Democrat, was never expected to win his 1974 election. Leahy was Vermont’s first Democratic senator and won several subsequent elections by razor-thin majorities. Baruth is a professor of English at UVM and a Vermont state senator. He served as Vt. Senate majority leader from 2012 to 2016. Baruth discusses Leahy’s legacy, elections and oppositional roles under Pres. Bush and Reagan. Baruth also talks about Vermont politics and his assessment of Gov. Phil Scott’s first six months. (August 2, 2017 broadcast)

Philip Baruth, author, professor, Vermont state senator

 

From renewables to rails: David Blittersdorf & Deb Sachs

David Blittersdorf and Deb Sachs want us to reimagine how we live. Blittersdorf is a well known renewable energy entrepreneur. In 1982, a year after graduating from the University of Vermont, he founded NRG Systems, a wind-energy company. In 2004, he founded AllEarth Renewables, and he owns several small wind energy farms. In 2017, Blittersdorf launched an effort to bring commuter rail back to Vt.  He recently purchased a dozen rail cars that he plans to operate in the state. Debra Sachs is co-founder and executive director of Net Zero Vermont, which promotes carbon neutral solutions for communities, including Montpelier. Blittersdorf and Sachs talk about their work to move to a sustainable future and the promise and controversies around the expansion of renewable energy. (July 26, 2017 broadcast)

David Blittersdorf, founder, AllEarth Renewables, commuter rail advocate

Debra Sachs, founder and executive director, Net Zero Vermont

Ken Squier: A life on the air

Ken Squier 2017 has been an eventful year for Ken Squier: he became the first journalist ever inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, he sold Thunder Road, the race track that he has owned for over a half century, and he has put his beloved WDEV radio station up for sale. In its Hall of Fame announcement NASCAR paid tribute to him: “One of NASCAR’s original broadcasters, Squier began his career with the Motor Racing Network  in 1970. It was his golden voice that took NASCAR to a national audience thirsting for live coverage, giving his insider’s view of what he famously described as ‘common men doing uncommon things.’” Squier reflects on these milestones, growing up on the air, the fight to preserve independent media, what he is proudest of and his advice to young people. (July 19, 2017 broadcast)

Ken Squier, owner, WDEV Radio, NASCAR Hall of Fame 2018 inductee

An Alzheimer’s Journey: Vt. couple fights stigma & promotes understanding

In summer 2016, Sky Yardley, 66, was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s Disease. There is no cure for this disease. He and his wife, Jane Dwinell, decided to begin writing and speaking about their shared experience of Sky’s dementia. “We started this blog as a way to erase the stigma attached to dementia and to increase understanding of the way it affects people on a day-to-day basis. People with dementia, and their loved ones, are not to be pitied or ignored, but to be treated with the full respect accorded to anyone, and with the understanding that they can meaningfully participate in life and in society despite their disability.” Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting 5 million people in the U.S., including 12,000 Vermonters. Their blog is called Alzheimer’s Canyon, Sky’s term for a place with “no trails, no landmarks, nothing.”  In this interview, Sky talks about his slowly deteriorating mental state, how the couple is dealing with it, and what gives them hope. (July 12, 2017 broadcast)

Sky Yardley and Jane Dwinell, authors, Alzheimer’s Canyon blog

Is Trump’s vote fraud commission a fraud? Vt. Sec. of State Jim Condos says yes

Forty-four states and the District of Columbia have refused to provide certain types of voter information to the Trump administration’s so-called election integrity commission, according to CNN. Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos declared, “I will not compromise the privacy of Vermont citizens to support the Trump Administration’s witch hunt for widespread voter fraud, which has been disproven many times over by nonpartisan experts.” Condos talks about resisting what he has called a “sham commission.” (July 5, 2017 broadcast)

Jim Condos, Vermont Secretary of State

 

Dr. Ben Kligler: Alternative medicine goes mainstream

Dr Ben Kligler is a pioneer in the field of integrative health and medicine – sometimes referred as complementary and alternative medicine. Last year, he was named the founding National Director to leading integrative health strategy at the Coordinating Center for Integrative Health of the U.S. Veterans Administration. In his new position, Kligler, a family medicine doctor, will help to significantly expand veterans’ access to a range of integrative health services. Kligler discusses the mainstreaming of what was once called alternative medicine, and the promise it offers. (July 5, 2017 broadcast)

Dr. Ben Kligler, National Director, Integrative Health Coordinating Center, U.S. Veterans Health Administration, and professor of Family and Community Medicine,  Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, New York

Vt. veto session politics: Killing pot, attacking teachers

This spring, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott vetoed the state budget after the legislature rebuffed his last minute demand for the state to to strip local school boards of the right to collectively bargaining health care benefits with teachers. Scott also vetoed the Legislature’s marijuana legalization bill. The standoff over these issues forced the Legislature to stay in session two weeks longer than anticipated and required a one-day veto session last week. The result? Scott signed a budget almost identical to the budget he vetoed. The budget includes penalties for school districts that may result in property tax hikes. No deal was struck to legalize marijuana. Advocates discuss the politics of the veto session. (June 28, 2017 broadcast)

Dave Silberman, Middlebury lawyer and pro bono drug policy reform advocate

Darren Allen, communications director, Vermont NEA

 

Pete Seeger: The dissident who was never dissonant

“Wherever he went, he got people singing.” So begins the beautifully illustrated children’s book, Listen: How Pete Seeger Got American Singing (Roaring Brook Press, 2017), by Vermont author Leda Schubert. The book chronicles the life and times of America’s most famous musical dissident. Schubert discusses her meeting with Seeger, and her personal shared history: Seeger was hauled before Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee and charged with contempt of Congress, and Schubert’s father also lost his government job during the anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s. Schubert also discusses how a progressive summer camp first brought her to Vermont, and why she writes for children. (June 28, 2017 broadcast)

Leda Schubert, author, Listen: How Pete Seeger Got American Singing

The last hermit: Michael Finkel’s stories of crime, war, adventure and penance

Michael Finkel is the author of the bestselling new book, The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit, about a man who disappeared into the Maine woods for over 30 years. Finkel is also the author of  True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa, about a quadruple murderer who stole Finkel’s identity. The book was turned into the film, True Story, in which Finkel was played by actor Jonah Hill. Finkel was fired by the New York Times over fabrications in his 2001 article about child slavery in Africa, an experience that he revisits in his books. Finkel has written for National Geographic, GQ, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic and the New York Times. He lives in Bozeman, Montana. (June 14, 2017 broadcast)

Michael Finkel, author

America at the black & white edge

John Gennari and Emily Bernard are both professors of English and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of Vermont. As academics, they explore the volatile interface of race, ethnicity, politics, literature, music and culture. As a married couple, they live the issues they teach: Gennari is Italian American, Bernard is African American. They discuss issues ranging from teaching the N-word, the relationship between Italian Americans and African Americans, their experience when their local high school in South Burlington, Vt. engaged in a heated debate over a mascot that evoked the Confederacy, and being an interracial couple. (June 7, 2017 broadcast)

John Gennari, Associate Professor of English & Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, University of Vermont. Author, Flavor & Soul: Italian America at its African American Edge (University of Chicago Press, 2017)

Emily Bernard, Professor of English and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, UVM. Co-author, Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs, and author, Black is the Body (forthcoming).

Jay Karpin: D-Day veteran on liberating Europe, human cost of war, and life

One of the most moving Vermont Conversations was my 2016 interview with First Lt. Jay Karpin, a bombardier in the first wave of bombers that attacked Normandy in the famous D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. It was the first time that Karpin, 93, among the most highly decorated living WWII veterans, spoke about his own PTSD and some of his secret missions over Europe. Karpin, who has lived in Vermont since 1959, flew 39 combat missions over Europe and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 2016, he was named a Chevalier, or knight, of the French Legion of Honor, the highest award given to a non-citizen. Karpin did not speak about his WWII experiences for 50 years, until his wife and daughter pressed him for stories. Karpin talks about his experience during D-Day, the realities of war, and his advice to young people today (May 31, 2017 broadcast)

Jay Karpin, WWII veteran, recipient of Distinguished Flying Cross, Chevalier in French Legion of Honor

“We were too optimistic:” Sen. Tim Ashe on Gov. Scott’s marijuana veto and union attacks

Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe discusses Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of Vermont’s first-in-the-nation legislative marijuana legalization and the governor’s attack on teachers’ unions. “Perhaps we were too optimistic that there would actually be compromise,” he says. “I can imagine what might follow next is some type of proposal related to state employees, right to work laws which have gained currency in other states. …We will do everything that we can to stop that.” (May 24, 2017 broadcast)

Sen. Tim Ashe, Vermont Senate President Pro Tem 

Is Gov. Scott following national union busting playbook? A look at the Ohio and Michigan models

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott’s 2016 attempt to weaken the collective bargaining rights of teachers has a familiar ring. In 2010, Republican governors won elections in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan, in each case taking over from Democratic governors. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder surprised many by immediately attacking teachers’ unions. Another Vermont Conversation discussed Gov. Walker’s battle with unions. Today, we talk with leaders of teachers’ unions in Ohio and Michigan for the national dimension of this issue. (May 24, 2017 broadcast)

Michael Charney, former vice president, Cleveland Teacher’s Union

Amanda Miller, president, Kalamazoo Education Association

The Road Ahead for Socially Responsible Businesses

A live broadcast from the VBSR Spring Conference talking with leaders in the socially responsible business movement in Vermont and nationally about issues from SR Business 201, gender diversity in the workplace, a quarter century of SR business in Vermont, and social entrepreneurship and the new bottom line. (May 17, 2017 broadcast)

Jason Haber, keynote speaker, author, Business of Good: Social Entrepreneurship and the New Bottom Line

Duane Peterson, co-president & founder, Suncommon, VBSR board member

Lindsey Lathrop, Change the Story

Michelle Asch, VP, Twincraft

Leah Schulz, UVM sustainable MBA graduate, Cope & Associates

Paul Dickin, Senior Consultant, Cope & Associates

Who is behind the national campaign to weaken unions?

As Vermont Gov. Phil Scott attempts to assert state control over collective bargaining with teachers over their health benefits, we examine the national network of conservative organizations that is backing statewide efforts to weaken unions. A new expose shows how the Bradley Foundation, the Koch Brothers, and the American Legislative Exchange Council are behind national anti-union efforts and are leading a campaign to flip blue states red. (May 10, 2017 broadcast)

Mary Bottari, Deputy Director, Center for Media and Democracy

Is Vermont the next anti-union state?

In his first few months in office, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has attempted to level fund K-12 education and weaken teachers’ collective bargaining power. Scott’s moves have elements in common with the strategy of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and other Republican governors who have launched bitter fights with public sector unions. We explore whether Vermont is part of a national campaign to undermine unions. “Take this fight seriously and unite and push back harder than you’ve every pushed back before,” warns Wisconsin union leader Amy Mizialko. (May 10, 2017 broadcast)

Martha Allen, president, Vermont chapter, National Education Association

Amy Mizialko, vice president, Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association

Transcription available here.

Will paid family leave become law in Vermont?

Paid family leave for Vermont employees moved a step closer to reality when the Vermont House of Representatives passed legislation for it on May 3, 2017. What form will the coverage take, and what will it take for paid family leave to become law? (May 3, 2017 broadcast)

Jen Kimmich, co-owner, The Alchemist

Lindsay DesLauriers, state director, Main Street Alliance

Vermont’s outdoor economy breaks out

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, wrote in a recent editorial in the LA Times: “America’s public lands perform best when protected for recreation. In fact, the business of outdoor recreation, which relies heavily on public lands, supports more jobs (6.1 million) than oil, natural gas and mining combined. Americans spend more on outdoor recreation annually ($646 billion) than on electronics, pharmaceuticals or automobiles. Public lands power a sustainable, homegrown economy. From 2008 to 2011, during the height of the recession, the outdoor industry grew 5% every year.” Vermont’s outdoor economy has been experiencing a similar growth spurt. From an explosion in parks use to a proliferation of trail networks, Vermont’s outdoor economy is now touching every corner of the state. We talk with four leaders in the sector about the outdoor industry, land conservation, and the next big thing in recreation. (May 3, 2017 broadcast)

Amy Kelsey, executive director, Catamount Trail Association

Drew Simmons, president, Pale Morning Media

Elise Annes, Vice President for Community Relations, The Vermont Land Trust

Jessica Savage, Recreation Program Manager, Vermont Dept. of Forest, Parks and Recreation

Amy Goodman & Democracy Now!: 20 Years Covering the Movements Changing America

When Democracy Now! launched in 1996, it was planned as an eight-month experiment: a grassroots news hour on Pacifica Radio that would cover the 1996 presidential elections. Twenty years later, Democracy Now! airs on 1,400 radio and TV stations worldwide, with millions accessing it online. Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, internationally acclaimed journalist — and my sister — talks about how Democracy Now! has become “the modern-day underground railroad of information, bringing stories from the grassroots to a global audience.” Amy talks about our new book, Democracy Now! Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing Americatraces the roots of the show, the importance of independent media that challenges power, Trump and the corporate media, and what gives her hope. (April 26, 2017 broadcast)

Amy Goodman, host & executive producer, Democracy Now!

 

How corporations are remaking America

It has been seven years since the US Supreme Court Citizens United decision unleashed unfettered corporate influence in politics. What has happened as a result? In his new book, political economist Gordon Lafer follows where the big money is flowing: into state politics, where corporations have succeeded in flipping legislatures and governor’s races, and passing a raft of anti-labor, pro-corporate legislation through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). (April 19, 2017 broadcast)

Gordon Lafer, author, The One Percent Solution: How Corporations are Remaking America One State at a Time

 

An alternative to austerity

Are social service cuts necessary? One Vermont, a coalition of advocacy and social service groups in Vermont, argues that proposed state budget cuts will hurt the vulnerable, and can be avoided by closing tax loopholes for the wealthy and lowering tax rates for all. Three advocates make the case against austerity budgets and for a progressive alternative. (April 19, 2017 broadcast)

Stephanie Yu, One Vermont Coordinator, Public Assets Institute

Dan Hoxworth, Executive Director of Capstone Community Action

Ed Paquin, Executive Director, Disability Rights Vermont

Youth demand climate action

On April 12, 2017, hundreds of high school students from around Vermont descended on the Vermont State House to demand climate action in the second annual Youth Lobby Day. We speak with the student activists and the founder of Youth Lobby Day, Matt Henchen. (April 12, 2017 broadcast)

Matt Henchen, founder Youth Lobby Day, teacher, Harwood Union High School 

Zoe Werth, Liliana Ziedins, Ellie Zimmerman, Duncan Weinman, Page Atcheson, and Vermont student activists from Harwood, Stowe, Hazen Union, Winooski, and Randolph Union high schools

Time to put a price on carbon?

This week, Vermont state representative announced four proposals to tax carbon while eliminating or reducing other taxes. One bill would replace Vermont’s sales tax with a tax on carbon pollution; another would return all carbon tax revenue to Vermonters through dividend checks; a third proposal would cut income taxes while doubling a tax credit for low-income residents; and a fourth bill would cut property taxes for education and replace it with a tax on carbon pollution. We talk with two of the bills’ sponsors about how Vermont could put a price on carbon. (April 12, 2017 broadcast)

Rep. Diana González, P/D-Winooski

Rep. Martin LaLonde, D-South Burlington

Is justice biased?

According to Justice for All: “People of color are being treated unfairly as a result of institutionalized racism across the nation and here in Vermont. In the criminal justice system these disparities create challenges ranging from disproportionate traffic stops to overrepresentation in prisons. Ashley Nellis of The Sentencing Project reported that Vermont leads the nation with one in 14 African American males incarcerated. Stephanie Seguino of UVM reported that the Black arrest rate is almost double the White arrest rate.” Advocates discuss the reasons they are calling for a Racial Justice Oversight Board in Vermont. We begin with an update from Migrant Justice about the arrest of three of its members for immigration violations and the campaign to free them. (April 5, 2017 broadcast)

Will Lambek, Migrant Justice

Mark Hughes, Justice for All

Sarah Robinson, Vermont Network Against Domestic & Sexual Violence

The New Sanctuary Movement

As the Trump Administration intensifies its crackdown on immigrants in the U.S., the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia has received national attention for its creative and determined efforts to protect undocumented people. It has pioneered a Sanctuary in the Streets campaign to shield immigrants from police raids. The movement declares, “Through grassroots organizing led by affected immigrants, we fight and win immigrant justice campaigns with our members across nationality, faith, class, and immigration status.” We discuss its goals, tactics, and national implications. (April 5, 2017 broadcast)

Blanca Pacheco, assistant director, New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia

 

Gov. Howard Dean: Why Republicans can’t govern

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean discusses President Trump’s failure to repeal Obamacare, the Clinton-Sanders schism in the Democratic Party, what it will take for Democrats to win again, Gov. Phil Scott’s first 100 days, and why he believes that today’s Republicans can’t govern. (March 29, 2017 broadcast)

Gov. Howard Dean

Procuring fairness

Can the power of state procurement be used to give incentives to companies that create livable wage jobs and good benefits? We discuss legislation that would level the playing the field for socially responsible businesses. (March 29, 2017 broadcast)

Dan Barlow, public policy manager, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

Pat Heffernan, president, Marketing Partners

Jennifer Chiodo, co-owner, Cx Associates

Is there life after prison? Dismas House offers hope & second chances

Is there life after prison? For 30 years, Dismas House of Vermont has been a welcome home for those leaving prison. There are now four Dismas Houses in Vermont: Burlington, Rutland, Winooski and Hartford. The mission of Dismas is “is to reconcile former prisoners with society and society with former prisoners.” The success of Dismas can be seen in the fact that the recidivism rate for its residents is about 15 percent; the recidivism rate nationally is over 70 percent. The cost of living at a Dismas House is about $19,000 per year, versus about $60,000 per year to incarcerate prisoners in Vermont. We explore this innovative approach to working with former prisoners with staff and residents. (March 22, 2017 broadcast)

Richard Gagne, House director, Dismas House, Burlington

James King, resident, Dismas House, Burlington

Jan Tarjan, executive director, Dismas of Vermont

Prison nation: Are there alternatives to jail?

The US incarcerates more people than any country in the free world, and Vermont spends more money on incarceration than it does on higher education. Who is in jail in Vermont? Is there a better alternative than prison? (March 22, 2017 broadcast)

Suzi Wizowaty, execuive director, Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform

What was the source of the “fake news tsunami” that swamped the Bernie Sanders campaign?

Hillary Clinton murdered her political opponents, used body doubles, and ran child sex rings. Sounds absurd? It is. But these stories were part of a tidal wave of fake news that hit the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Where did it come from? An explosive Huffington Post expose details how fake news from Russia and Eastern Europe — from the same shadowy sources that were working to promote Donald Trump — began overwhelming Sander’s social media in mid-2016. We discuss the story, fake news, and its impact with two investigators.

Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for The Huffington Post and an MSNBC contributor 

John Mattes, former Emmy-award winning investigative consultant for ABC World News I-Team in Miami and reporter.