“So, what is it like for you?” more than one friend has asked. My response depends on the day, sometimes the hour. “Confusing,” seems like a semi-accurate reply, but it scarcely captures the sense of existential vertigo that everyone I know seems to be feeling. Within my own small world, it is safe to say that there has never been anything quite like the Spring Semester of 2020 at Middlebury College. For me, anyway, life feels like an unfathomable interweave of extreme contradictions.
Consider this moment, the moment I am presently in, which feels basically like bliss. The sun is shining...
There is no more important factor for the health of a community than a strong and viable source of trustworthy information.
Those of us living in Addison County have known for years that the Addison Independent has admirably served that function. Now more than ever the survival of the Independent is crucial, and for some residents, it is a literal matter of life and death.
I say that not as hyper sensationalism, but as a critical component of our ability to fight and survive the pandemic caused by COVID-19. Clearly, the future of a financially strong Porter Medical Center, and its associated...
Editor’s note: This is the 56th in a series of essays on the history and meaning of the American political tradition.
“The Age of Reform” was an expression chosen by the historian Richard Hofstadter to describe political developments in this country from 1890 through The New Deal. This is the period I am about to enter. 1890 marks the beginning of two political movements, whose names are used frequently today: Populism and Progressivism. It was at the beginning of this era that the word “Populism” was coined. “Progressivism” was in use a half-century earlier; both gained common currency...
Knowing someone well inevitably means intimately knowing their habits as well. Each morning, my partner pours his coffee up to the very edge of his cup’s rim. Next he does a half forward bend, extending his body into much of our small kitchen’s width. Finally, he slurps. Loudly. Regardless of the knowledge of the certainty of this daily performance, my daughter and I continue to watch and relentlessly express dismay. So begins a morning on King Street.
As would be expected, we have recently had the opportunity to observe each other’s habits in great detail. Some habits, such as the morning...
As many of us are painfully and often personally aware, the cost of healthcare premium increases has been in the double digits over the past several years and there is no end in sight. What many Vermonters might not realize is the impact these increases have on our school budgets. As a result of the most recent increases, almost $4.9 million of the $39.5 million FY21 ACSD school budget can be attributed to healthcare costs.
If healthcare premiums increase another 12% or more during the next educational budget cycle, school boards will once again be forced to figure out how to prevent their...
(Trail Around Middlebury (TAM) - Chipman Hill – 4/7/20)
I sing these trails of my homeland,
with elegiac footfalls
on layers of fallen foliage.
A green-yellow striped garden snake
slithers and crinkles over dried leaves
then freezes in camouflage.
We consider each other.
Snake neither knows nor cares
about the 2020 plague,
Corona virus – our crown of thorns –
something between living and not.
But it brings us to our knees.
Climbing above the cloud of contagion
that hangs over my village below
like valley smog,
I breathe deep the respite,
and feel curious camaraderie
The surprise news story of the week was the announcement by Vermont State Colleges Chancellor Jeb Spaulding that he would propose closing three of the state college campuses in light of more losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. His proposal, he outlined late last week, would close Northern Vermont University and the Vermont Technical College campus in Randolph. The reason was financial: the losses those colleges were incurring were more than the state could afford.
To spring such a proposal on the Legislature and public without warning, however, was ill-considered. The public backlash...
I was a child in New York City.
Have you seen the pictures of the white tents in Central Park across from Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC? The tiny humps of rock, where I used to run and play with my best friend Susan in sight of our mothers, but far enough away to feel independent, and the softball field, where the boy hit me on the head with a baseball bat, so Susan’s mother had to drag me to the ER across the street — they are now engulfed by white tents, a field hospital.
From my friend Jeff’s 23rd-floor apartment on the West Side, where he watched crowds gather below as the Navy hospital...
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is starting to vet potential vice presidential candidates. Biden has said that his running mate will be a woman, and that she will be selected well in advance of the Democratic convention, now scheduled to begin — in-person or remotely — on Aug. 17.
There is little evidence that vice presidential selections make a difference in presidential election results. The choice of running mate can, however, provide some clues as to how a presidential candidate will approach difficult decisions.
Although the historical evidence of an electoral vote...
Editor’s note: This is the 55th in a series of essays on the history and meaning of the American political tradition.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was not only a pioneering feminist activist, she was also a philosopher of great sophistication and deserves to be remembered as such. This is amply demonstrated in her writings, two especially, which I shall review here: “The Woman’s Bible” and “The Solitude of Self.” She published them close to the end of her life. The former is a collection of critical essays about the Bible written by Stanton and other women scholars enlisted by her. The other is an...