Tag Archives: VBSR

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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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#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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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, …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Juan Gonzalez: Can mayors save America?

Juan 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 …

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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 …

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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, …

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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 …

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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 …

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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

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Ken Squier: A life on the air

 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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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“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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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, …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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, …

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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

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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, …

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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 …

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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

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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 …

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Transformative education: Governor’s Institute of Vt changes lives

Every summer since 1982, high school students from Vermont and beyond spend up to two weeks living on college campuses and immersing themselves in current affairs, math, engineering, the arts, and other topics. This is the transformative experience offered by the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont which “provides young people with intensive, hands-on learning experiences in …

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Supporting schools, rejecting austerity

Vermont voters overwhelmingly rejected Gov. Phil Scott’s call to slash education spending, as 91 percent of school budgets were approved on Town Meeting Day. We discuss the politics of school budgets in Vermont, the impact of education cutbacks, the controversy around independent schools, and future of school district mergers. (March 8, 2017 broadcast) Nicole Mace, …

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High taxes, bad business climate, youth exodus, and other myths: Doug Hoffer challenges conventional wisdom

Vermont State Auditor Doug Hoffer keeps a watchful eye on the numbers, both in his official duties and as a frequent contributor to local blogs and comments. Here, he takes down some persistent economic myths. Doug Hoffer, Vermont State Auditor

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