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Between the Lines: In D.C., climate voices for the future

Posted on February 21, 2013 |
By Greg Dennis



Most Americans have never joined a political demonstration.

That’s too bad. Because as I was reminded again last Sunday while joining yet another demonstration, it can be tons of fun.

The rally this time was “Forward on Climate,” a boisterous gathering in Washington, D.C., of 35,000 people, who called on President Obama to block the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The future of the pipeline is up to Obama because it would cross the Canada-U.S. border to bring the dirtiest oil on the planet from Alberta to refineries in the southern U.S.

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Between the Lines: Tar sands and Town Meeting Day

Posted on January 10, 2013 |
By Greg Dennis



Vermont town meeting is traditionally a forum for issues that are local and often relatively small — how much money to spend on mosquito control, for example.

But sometimes the matters brought to town meeting are global and large. Many towns, for example, voiced their opposition to the continuing war in Iraq in 2005.

This year, a number of Vermont towns will be considering another big question with global implications: Should they go on record as opposing a proposal to pipe highly polluting “tar sands” oil through Vermont?

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Between the Lines: Tar sands and Town Meeting Day

Posted on January 10, 2013 |
By Greg Dennis



Vermont town meeting is traditionally a forum for issues that are local and often relatively small — how much money to spend on mosquito control, for example.

But sometimes the matters brought to town meeting are global and large. Many towns, for example, voiced their opposition to the continuing war in Iraq in 2005.

This year, a number of Vermont towns will be considering another big question with global implications: Should they go on record as opposing a proposal to pipe highly polluting “tar sands” oil through Vermont?

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Between the Lines: Books: My picks and pans of 2012

Posted on December 27, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



There are few things as boring as a dinner party where the dominant subject of discussion is what movies we’ve all seen. We’re all just casual moviegoers offering up pablum about how great Meryl Streep is and wasn’t the scenery pretty.

But a dinner gathering where the discussion turns to books? That’s my kind of party.

A conversation like that forces us to actually use our brains. To offer an informed view of why the novel we just finished was so remarkable, or what was lacking in the memoir that preceded it.

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Between the Lines: The election and deja vu

Posted on November 15, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



Has anybody else noticed that it’s the 1960s again?

We’re trying to wind down an unpopular war.

The voices of blacks, women and young voters are louder than ever.

Last week, two states approved the use of marijuana just for fun. Three states voted to approve same-sex marriage.

Gays can now serve openly in the military and have increasingly prominent roles in business and government. Wisconsin just elected the first openly gay U.S. senator.

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Between the Lines: Lessons learned in 20 years of living

Posted on August 2, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



On the verge of turning 60, I find that I’ve learned a few things. Here are some of them:

In the face of all the misery in this world, I don’t know of a better response than to try to be happy. And while I admire people who sacrifice their own happiness to make the world a better place, I think a wiser choice is to work both on giving something back and on developing one’s own inner happiness. The responsibility goes outward and inward.

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Between the Lines: In springtime love's labors lost

Posted on June 7, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



It was one of the hardest phone calls I’d ever had to make.

We’d been seeing each other since last fall. Now it had finally become clear that things just weren’t going to work out.

Even when you know you’ve got to end it, though, it’s always hard to tell the other party.

Our relationship had seemed so right at first.

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Between the Lines: Curmudgeonly commencement advice

Posted on May 24, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



Once again this year, I have been asked to be a last-minute fill-in as the Middlebury College commencement speaker.

Those of you who were at last year’s commencement will find this especially puzzling. You may recall that my speech ended with a public disavowal by the college president, an escort off the premises by campus security officers, and the filing of multiple charges against me.

But my attorney assures me that most of the charges have been settled. And (more good news), the visits to my parole officer have been reduced from daily down to weekly.

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Between the Lines: Doyle Poll: Hang up and get stoned?

Posted on April 12, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



“Legalize it!”

You don’t see that bumper sticker on many cars in Vermont. But support for the legalization of marijuana is close to a majority sentiment, if the results of a recent statewide poll are to be believed.

The state Legislature is still taking a very cautious course toward decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

But according to this year’s 42nd annual Town Meeting Day poll by Sen. Bill Doyle, a near majority of Vermonters favor not just decriminalizing marijuana, but legalizing it altogether.

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Between the lines: Eco-impacts of home sweet home

Posted on March 29, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



“Dear Mr. Dennis,

“I recently read your article in the Addison Independent issue dated March 1, 2012, about your thoughts at building a house in Vermont. I wish to take you to task.

“Some months ago you wrote an article about how you considered yourself a ‘Vermontaholic’ citing various attributes about Vermont with which you compassionately connected…

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