Bernie Sanders is running for president again.

In his commentary, “Inside information on the soul,” John Nassivera tries to provide evidence that souls exist. He points out that the “idea of the soul predates Christianity by a long shot.” Having read a great deal about the lives of our ancestors, it is clear to me that they did not under…

In the real world, global ocean temperatures set a new record in 2018, beating the previous record set in 2017. New studies show that both the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are melting faster than ever, so that sea-level rise is accelerating. In the third week of January, the weakening …

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act was, and still is, one of the most contested acts of health-care reform (in) the United States. Along with expanding coverage and access to health care, reducing costs was a main focus of this law. The ACA has helped to reduce the rate at which natio…

There has been some recent commentary about Vermont imposing a carbon tax, some of which has been biased, inflammatory and downright inaccurate. After doing some research into the issue, I’d like to share what I’ve learned about carbon pricing. You decide for yourself whether or not it deser…

There is a truism in the energy-efficiency world that the cheapest watt or Btu is the one you don’t need to generate. The same holds true with transportation. We primarily focus on miles per gallon, mass transit or electric vehicles, but like electricity, the cheapest and cleanest mile is th…

I was one of the 47 million earthlings who watched last week’s State of the Union show. Most of us in the audience understandably were Americans, as the show was staged mostly for us. People in the rest of the world have enough of their own problems, although the antic behavior consuming the…

We seem to have forgotten our filters. We all have biases and opinions. But that adage of “think before you speak” seems to have been lost. Now, in this world of social media and instant gratification and rapid response, we are more likely to shoot first.

The legislature’s Next Generation Commission was asked to “develop a plan to encourage Vermonters to live and work in Vermont.” Six months later, it reported that “Vermont faces critical demographic shifts” and we must “implement bold strategies immediately if it is to retain its economic vi…

Last summer, the Joint Fiscal Office awarded a legislatively mandated contract to Resources for the Future, a Washington consulting firm, “to analyze the costs and benefits for Vermont of adopting and implementing policies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by Vermont’s consumpt…

As the vice chair of the Elmore-Morristown School Board, I have seen the various ways in which Act 46 has impacted our communities. Even before the law was passed, the school boards in our supervisory union — Elmore, Morristown and Stowe — analyzed whether a merger of our districts would be …

There is an escalating crisis in higher education. The perception that a college education is too expensive is discouraging students from pursuing their dreams. Student debt is an issue, but it is important for students to understand that a college degree remains the single best investment i…

Before getting all warm and fuzzy over Donald Trump’s lame stab at bipartisanship in his State of the Union speech last week, a look at his remarks during the luncheon preceding the annual address to Congress might provide a more accurate assessment of just how seriously the nation should ta…

Two weeks ago, something happened in Abu Dhabi, something important that deserves our attention. On Feb. 4, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar (Egypt) and Pope Francis signed a joint statement titled “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” during their meeting in the city of Abu Dhabi…

One of the enviable aspects of my role at The Nature Conservancy is that I get to spend a lot of time outside managing and maintaining our 55 natural areas throughout Vermont, and meeting visitors enjoying our nearly 25,000 acres of forests, bogs, rivers and mountains.

On my first day in the Vermont State Senate, two veteran Chittenden County senators in front of me turned around to ask me a question. Senators Sally Fox and Hinda Miller, in many ways political opposites from this new senator from the Kingdom, asked if I’d consider co-sponsoring a resolutio…

Feb. 5 marked the 26th anniversary of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which guarantees workers access to job-protected unpaid time off to welcome a new child, care for a family member or tend to one’s own illness or injury. It was also my older daughter’s 4th birthday. (How …

I am saddened to hear of the coming closure of Green Mountain College. As a former faculty member and administrator at Goddard College in Plainfield, I also mourn the stresses on other small liberal arts institutions that point toward more potential closings. The losses are not just to the b…

We continue to be concerned by the marijuana misinformation in circulation and, in particular, by the number of “expert” sources making bogus claims and even ignoring relevant scientific data in ways that — ironically — put the public at greater risk. (Herein, we use the botanical name of th…

An article in this week’s Weekend Magazine looks at how Vermont farmers work through the winter months. Bottom line: They are just as busy in winter as they are in summer; the challenges are just a bit different.

Editor’s note: Vermont by Degrees is an ongoing series of commentaries by leaders in higher education that explores the challenges and innovations at schools across Vermont.

House Bill 57, co-sponsored by nearly 70 Vermont legislators, has been introduced in the Vermont General Assembly. It states that aborting an unborn child at any time during the pregnancy, up to the moment of birth, is a “fundamental right.”

The National Football League could easily provide an object lesson to the Trump administration on how to better utilize smoke and mirrors to get over the rough patches. Both the NFL and POTUS energetically strive to convince their respective fans of things that are inaccurate at best, but wh…

The bitterly cold weather we have experienced since the beginning of the year really focuses attention, especially in the State House, on the homelessness that Vermonters experience. It is a silent scourge, and that silence makes solving it even harder. People are usually experiencing homele…

Robert Frost said in one of his masterpieces, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” and further on in the same poem (“Mending Wall”) he adds, “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know / What I was walling in or walling out, / And to whom I was like to give offence.” That last word is o…

Shoring up the Trump administration’s hard-shell conservative base, 19 days into the tiresome “partial government shutdown” over funding for a border wall that only the willingly delusional could have believed Mexico would pay for, Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 9 further lowered the stan…

A report issued recently by the Department of Mental Health re-emphasizes why our state’s mental health system needs reform. But measurable progress is being made.

You realize, no doubt, that many feared household chores, when you finally get to them, turn out to be less onerous than you’d dreaded? This one did not.

As a result of the November 2018 elections, Vermont Democrats and Progressives achieved veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the Legislature. Their first priority flexing this new muscle is to pass a mandatory, government-run paid family leave program that will require a new payroll tax…

In his inaugural address, Gov. Phil Scott made a point of singling out Act 250 as a policy objective that needs modernizing in order to both grow the state and regulate development. Now more than 50 years old, demands on the guidelines have changed, as have the demographics and circumstances…

I’m saddened to see colleges closing across our country. We know that the number of traditional college-age students is declining and that Vermont is not immune. You may have read that some of Vermont’s private colleges are likely to experience transitions. It is difficult to predict how eve…

The Vermont Supreme Court issued a monumental decision of seismic proportion a couple weeks ago in Zullo vs. the State of Vermont. As legal scholars grapple with the ramifications of Article 11, monetary damages and search and seizure, the attorney general is still muddling through this volu…

Recently, The Times Argus and Rutland Herald ran an editorial imploring Sen. Bernie Sanders not to run again for president in 2020. The arguments against his candidacy amounted to the same “perhaps in another time, another place” laments that were so often deployed against Sanders in 2016.

Over the Christmas holidays, I am always presented with a similar question from my non-religious (and some atheist) friends, many of them highly educated. The question is basically: “John, how can you possibly believe in all that hocus pocus about the soul, the resurrection and everlasting l…

I love the formal rituals that mark the start of a new legislative session. There’s a sense of gravity as legislators rise to take their oaths of office, swearing to “do equal right and justice to all people.” The senators march in a procession into the House chamber to hear the governor giv…

As I explain that my only requirement for a cellphone is to make phone calls, the millennial Verizon sales rep looks startled, as though a stegosaurus just wandered out from behind the rose bushes. I’m only there because the planned obsolescence of my phone (of which I was unaware) inconveni…

The cliché about children being our future is true. Vermont’s schools do a great job of providing a base for our youth, but oftentimes there are students who need a little more. That difference might just be a mentor.

After a mile or so of battling the icy road, I’m carrying myself like someone anticipating a two-by-four across the back of the head: shoulders hunched up, adjacent to my ears; head bowed; and knees braced rigidly enough to cramp my thighs and have my lower back running a white flag up my sp…

In his commentary, “Dems, get some religion,” John Nassivera accepts the notions that “there is such a thing as ‘separation of church and state under U.S. law’” and “that the state can have nothing to do with establishing a particular religion.” So far, so good. He continues: “The separation…

Candidates and their entourages are already driving through New Hampshire, preparing themselves politically and culturally for the famously touted first-in-the-nation New Hampshire Primary. You can only imagine what a surprisingly depressing revelation this may be for some, especially candid…

As we enter a new year, many Vermont dairy farmers, as well as farmers nationwide, continue fighting through their economic fog. Trapped in an antiquated federal dairy-pricing system, Vermont’s hard-working stewards of the land are at the whim of a highly competitive global structure. Compen…

On July 1, Vermont became the ninth state to allow the legal possession and consumption of cannabis for adult use. In other words, cannabis is now legal in Vermont. Under current law, any Vermonter 21 years of age or older can cultivate up to two mature and four immature plants and possess u…

This January marks a watershed moment for Act 250, Vermont’s groundbreaking land-development law, on its 50th anniversary. The Legislature will be contemplating the recommendations of the Commission on Act 250 the Next 50 Years. Chaired by Middlebury Rep. Amy Sheldon, the Legislature tasked …

After 40 years of dairy farming, I sold my herd of cows. The herd had been in my family since 1904; I know all 45 cows by name. I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to take over our farm — who would? Dairy farming is little more than hard work and possible economic suicide.

Bernie Sanders should not run for president. In fact, we beg him not to.