Op/Eds

09/09/2019
A major issue facing patients in Vermont and around the country is surprise medical billing. This occurs when a patient is treated by a health care provider who is out of network and can often happen when a patient seeks emergency medical care. The subsequent bill for that service can come as a complete shock to patients who, most of the time, have no idea they were being treated out of network. Thankfully, Congress is now addressing this matter. I encourage Sen. Leahy’s efforts to look at this issue through the lens of rural healthcare providers and to consider a model that New York...
09/09/2019
At the start of summer, my ancient and rusty Briggs & Stratton lawnmower bit a jagged piece of Vermont granite outcropping and I was told it was no longer repairable. Fine. I certainly could not complain after so many years of service. That’s when I made a startling discovery. There was a new brand in town I’d never heard of. Husqvarna! Excuse me? Yes, Husqvarna. “Where is it made?” I asked the salesman. “They have factories all over the world,” he said. “Where’s their really big factory?” I persisted. “I think they have a large manufacturing plant in Georgia,” he said. This was getting...
09/09/2019
There is absolutely no way to explain much of what President Trump does nationally or internationally, largely because he changes his mind so often on so many things. What can be said is that his actions are almost invariably consistent with the goals of Russia. Equally, up until this moment, there is absolutely no way to know what the motivation for his policies truly is. Some have speculated that he is motivated by his own personal economic goals. He would like to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Others have speculated that his past dalliances in Moscow have compromised him and that he has...
09/05/2019
Thirty years ago, the Addison Independent reported and published a multi-part series on Lake Champlain water quality and how it was being negatively impacted by phosphorous run-off from agricultural and non-farm pollution. The story, which was written by Steven Rosenfeld, reported that if the state took immediate action to remedy the problem the lake might avoid serious consequences, but if no action were taken, such neglect would contribute towards its demise. Thirty years later, the state is finally pursuing a quantifiable plan to reduce what has been a growing amount of phosphorus...
09/05/2019
This is a confession. I am a hoarder of the written word. I am surrounded, subsumed, obsessed by ideas, humor, thoughts, possibilities, fantasies, and happenings that are manifested in books and articles. This obsession is very obvious in my personal surroundings: In my living room is a bookshelf with 127 books — history, religion, personal development. In the dining room, three bookshelves are home to approximately 160 nonfiction books, 120 books of poetry and 150 novels. There are five books on my coffee table (three personal development and two picture books) and three anthologies on an...
09/05/2019
Years ago, someone gave me a copy of “Life’s Little Instruction Book,” a pocket-size volume written by a father to his son, who was leaving for college. I hated that book. Among its “511 reminders for a rewarding and happy life,” it did offer some valuable, if obvious, suggestions, such as “Admit your mistakes” and “Floss your teeth.” But other tips — “Drink champagne for no reason at all” and “Buy a house with a fireplace” — smacked of privilege and hinted that the real key to a rewarding and happy life was “Have a lot of money.” I say it’s something much simpler: “Make a weekly meal plan.”...
09/05/2019
President Trump and his MAGA cult claim to hate social media. Liberals worry that it’s stealing their privacy. The El Paso mass murderer used it to spread lies he had read online about an “invasion” at our southern border. Older folks say they’re baffled by “Tweeter” and use Facebook only so they can communicate with their grandchildren. Social media has a bad reputation. And it’s getting worse. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been forced to explain how his social media empire allowed Russian trolls to help swing the election to Trump. The president himself uses Twitter for anti-Semitic...
09/05/2019
Editor’s note: This is the 33rd in a series of essays on the history and meaning of the American political tradition. Reading Emerson may be compared to taking a shower. Instead of streams of water falling gently and pleasantly over one’s body, there is a steady flow of words that infuse the mind and cleanse it of the grime and mire of the vulgar world, of common opinions and fashionable novelties and their grinding effects. His words elevate the mind to a consideration of nobler, purer things; they awaken in the conscience a longing for perfection; they induce in consciousness a sense of...
09/05/2019
As we look around at today’s landscape it is easy to question “where have all the leaders gone?” Effective leadership seems to be absent on every front and it appears that things are not about to get better any time soon. When I speak of leadership I have a very simple definition: It is the “influence of others.” A very simple definition, which most folks don’t seem to realize. In essence, we are all leaders in some way, shape or form, whether we are: •  husbands or wives •  fathers on mothers •  housewives or househusbands Whether we are: •  farmers or farmworkers •  student, teacher or...
09/02/2019
I recently attended a quiet conference that brought together leaders and innovators in the arts, humanities and public broadcasting. We met for two days to explore how the arts and humanities, writ large, contribute to articulating and solving some of society’s most intractable problems. The program opened with a heads-up ceremony by Vera Sheehan of Abenaki Arts acknowledging and honoring the land and its earliest inhabitants. It was a wonderful reminder that we white Vermonters are not the beginning of civilization. The program looked at major challenges Vermont faces, such as health care,...

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100