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Politics and Social Justice

Life and Legacy of Sister Elizabeth Candon

When young Hamlet vented his anger against Ophelia, he shouted, “Get thee to a nunnery!” That was what had happened to young women when they were spurned by lovers — their only recourse was to be condemned to a cloistered life. Not so for Sister Elizabeth Candon. For 74 years, she happily served as a […]

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States Should Maintain Role in Nuclear Oversight

Governor Peter Shumlin’s efforts to challenge the safety of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power plant does not mark the first time that a Vermont governor went toe to toe with the plant. In 1985, when I was Governor, I learned that the plant had falsified inspection reports for years and that thousands of unchecked parts […]

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Occupy Congress

There will be no more sleepovers in public spaces for Occupy Wall Street. The tents and camp stoves have been picked up and carted away — gone. But the impact of this upstart political movement remains. The voices of students, union members, the disenchanted, the disenfranchised, the angry, and the ever hopeful have entered our […]

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E Pluribus Unum or Social Darwinism?

This past weekend, hundreds and hundreds of Vermonters responded to the governor’s call to help clean up the debris left behind by the onslaught of tropical storm Irene. We may never get the exact count–it doesn’t matter. What we got was another affirmation of the Vermont sense of community. Ever since the rivers overflowed their […]

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Memories of 9/11

“Ah, we’re almost half way there,” I said to myself as I got up to stretch my legs on the flight from Moscow to New York on September 11, 2001. A group of us were returning from a site visit to an environmental project of the Institute for Sustainable Communities, an organization which I had […]

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Compromise Is Not a Dirty Word

The widening schism between Congressional House Republicans and the president and Senate Democrats is more than a debt ceiling crises. It is more than a budget balancing crisis. The inability of the two sides to reach a compromise reveals crises in the workings of Democracy itself. The United States has always been diverse with lots […]

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Thanks for Paving the Way, Gerry

My most vivid memory of Geraldine Ferraro, who died recently, is when we were on the stage together at Memorial Auditorium in Burlington for a Democratic rally. It was the fall of 1984. She was making a campaign stop in her race for vice president and I was running for Governor. The photo of the […]

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Boys Can Cry

When John Boehner cries, as he did at a press conference the morning after the election as the anticipated new Speaker of the House, he wins plaudits. So different from the time when Senator Muskie ran for President and was pilloried for shedding a tear in a snow storm in defense of his wife. But […]

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Where Are The Women?

I already miss Speaker Nancy Pelosi. During the President’s state of the union addresses it was reassuring to see her sitting behind him. It will take some time for me to get used to John Boehner, not only because of his different politics, but also because once again, the Congress is returning to an old […]

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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

The Senate vote against the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” was more than a repudiation of equal rights for our gay and lesbian citizens; it was downright unpatriotic.

I know we in Vermont have high expectations on this subject, having been the first state to create civil unions ten years ago and more recently, we were the first state to give legislative approval to legalize gay marriage, even over-riding a Governor’s veto. Since then, the majority of Americans have come a long way. Vermont is no longer alone. Polls indicate that 57% of Americans believe that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

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