Tag Archives: VBSR

Vt. Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman: Vt. is not protecting most vulnerable

Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, the lone third-party lieutenant governor in the country, often finds himself at odds with Republican Gov. Phil Scott. Zuckerman argues that Scott is not keeping his promise to protect the most vulnerable while cutting budgets. Zuckerman also discusses his support for a $15 minimum wage — despite acknowledging that it …

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Is Vermont’s renewable energy revolution over?

Gov. Phil Scott says he is committed to the goal of having Vermont meet 90 percent of its energy needs with renewable power by 2050. But Vermont is moving in the opposite direction: Renewable Energy Vermont says that in 2017, there was a 50 percent drop in new net metered solar projects. Are new state …

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Do Vermont schools spend too much? Rep. Dave Sharpe says no

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott promised not to raise taxes, but he is now presiding over the largest property tax increase in memory. What happened? Gov. Scott says that schools spend too much. But Rep. Dave Sharpe, chair of the Vermont House Education Committee and a former teacher, dismisses this charge and says the tax hike …

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The fastest women in the world: The remarkable rise of the US Women’s XC Ski Team

The U.S. earned its only Olympic medal in cross-country skiing in 1976, when Vermont skier Bill Koch captured silver. That may soon change: The women of the US cross-country ski team are serious contenders for an Olympic medal in South Korea in 2018. In this Vermont Conversation, and author, coach and skiers discuss the remarkable rise …

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VT Attorney General T.J. Donovan: Yes to reform, no to private prisons

On January 23, 2018, Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan issued a statement strongly opposing a plan by Gov. Phil Scott to build a $140 million 925-bed private prison in Vermont. “Vermonters should ask some tough questions about whether there is a better way to address the need for correctional facilities in the state of Vermont,” …

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Can we end mass incarceration?

According to the ACLU, Vermont currently incarcerates approximately 1,700 people. That’s three times the number of people it incarcerated in the 1980s and 50 percent more people than in the late 1990s.  According to the Sentencing Project, Vermont imprisons Black men at a higher rate than any other state. All this comes at great cost: …

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The Post and the leaker: Daniel Ellsberg speaks

The Post is a new Hollywood movie about the dramatic decision by the Washington Post (together with the NY Times) to publish the Pentagon Papers in 1971. The movie features Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. The real-life star of this drama was Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the top-secret history of the Vietnam War to the newspapers. Ellsberg was a former Marine …

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The people’s treasurer: Beth Pearce

State treasurers are not typically viewed as crusaders for economic justice. But Vermont State Treasurer Beth Peace has quietly and doggedly championed programs, some of them first-in-the-nation, aimed at strengthening the economic security of working people. She pushed for passage of one of the broadest public retirement programs in the country, Green Mountain Secure Retirement, …

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Trailblazers: Vt Sen. Becca Balint & Rep. Kiah Morris on #MeToo, activism and politics

Vermont Sen. Becca Balint and Rep. Kiah Morris are political trailblazers. Balint, the Senate Majority Leader, is one of the first women to be elected to Senate leadership and the highest ranking openly gay legislator in the state. Morris is just the second African American woman to serve in the Vermont legislature. In separate interviews, …

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Bill McKibben & Ken Squier: Media, resistance & the way forward

A rare meeting of two icons: Bill McKibben, author, activist and founder of 350.org, and Ken Squier, owner of WDEV Radio Vermont and a legendary sports broadcaster who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January 2018, held a public conversation moderated by Vermont Conversation host David Goodman on December 6, 2017 …

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How the GOP “lost its soul:” Republican strategist Stuart Stevens on Trump and his enablers

Stuart Stevens has been a top Republican strategist in the presidential election campaigns of Mitt Romney and George W. Bush. But Stevens has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump and now describes himself as “homeless” in his own party. He talks about why he wrongly predicted Trump could not win, how Trump has …

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Don’t cry for the fallen: Madhulika Sikka on downfall of once-mighty media men

Matt Lauer of NBC, Charlie Rose, of PBS and CBS, Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, John Hockenberry of NPR – all of these powerful men of the media have one thing in common: they no longer have a microphone due to sexual harassment allegations. Are these men getting their just due, or being denied due …

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Ethan Allen, poser? Revisiting Vermont history

Journalist-turned-historian Mark Bushnell has been writing about Vermont history since 2002 for the Rutland Herald, Barre-Montpelier Times Argus and VTDigger. His latest book, Hidden History of Vermont (History Press, 2017), takes a new look at some old stories. He questions whether Ethan Allen, leader of the fabled Green Mountain Boys during the American Revolution, was the war …

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Can local food save the world?

Vermont’s local food movement is a national leader. There are ambitious goals: the Vermont Farm to Plate plan calls for 10% local food consumption by 2020, while the New England Food Vision aims for 50% of all food consumed in New England to be from local sources by 2050. But we have a long way …

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Billionaire Bonanza: America’s oligarchs

A new report, Billionaire Bonanza 2017, shows that the three wealthiest Americans — Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Bill Gates of Microsoft, and investor Warren Buffet — have more wealth than the bottom half of all U.S. households combined. “If left unchecked, wealth will continue to accumulate into fewer and fewer hands,” says Josh Hoxie, report co-author. …

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Terri Hallenbeck on two decades as a Vt. political journalist

Terri Hallenbeck started work for the Burlington Free Press in 1998, where she served as copy editor and assistant metro editor. She joined the paper’s capital bureau from 2005 to 2014, when she left to join Seven Days, where she was the staff writer covering state politics until November 2017, when she left journalism to work for …

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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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