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Columns

Column: Legalize Pot in Vermont

Saturday, July 4, 2015

As a state senator, I’m used to getting missives from countless Vermonters who wish to weigh in on various subjects. But rarely do I get one, from someone not even old enough to vote, that is well researched and articulate on a controversial subject. Yet that is precisely what landed in my mailbox recently. A student at Camels Hump Middle School in Richmond, Vt., sent me a wonderful letter arguing …

Column: We Should Serve Those Who Served

Saturday, July 4, 2015

On the Fourth of July, our nation comes together to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy, freedoms our service members, veterans and their families have made possible through their sacrifices. Just as these Americans responded to the call to defend our liberties, our nation must respond to our call to duty: ensuring veterans and their families have a successful transition from service to community. …

Column: Freedom of Hyperbolic Speech, Too

Saturday, July 4, 2015

If you have dipped a toe into the fetid swamps of online political debate, chances are you have encountered — maybe even authored — acerbic one-liners like, “There is a special place in hell for that so-and-so ---!” (fill in the blank with your least-favorite public official’s name). Despite its literary origins in Dante’s Inferno, the special-place-in-hell formulation is admittedly juvenile and disproportionate, …

Column: Reframe the Argument About Guns

Friday, June 26, 2015

Washington Advocates of a saner approach to guns need a new strategy. We cannot go on like this, wringing our hands in frustration after every tragedy involving firearms. We said “Enough” after Sandy Hook. We thought the moment for action had come. Yet nothing happened. We are saying …

Column: Some Cultures Work More, Others Value Leisure

Friday, June 26, 2015

Why do people in some countries work more hours? The most common explanations have to do with labor regulations and taxes, but anyone who travels frequently will notice that work and leisure are valued differently in different places. If this sounds like prejudice, consider the findings of two …

Column: Scott Walker’s Test of Academic Freedom

Thursday, June 25, 2015

One hundred years ago this month, the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin dedicated a bronze plaque commemorating a historic victory for academic freedom. When a distinguished faculty member, economist Richard T. Ely, had been accused of promoting socialism and fomenting disorder through his pro-labor speeches …

Column: South Carolina’s Racist History

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The massacre by a young white man, according to police, of nine African-Americans last week at a Charleston, S.C., church Bible study has drawn the nation’s attention to lingering racial hatred in America. If there is a more …

Column: Amazon Readers Will Pay by the Page

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Books were the original “sharing economy.” Ben Franklin founded the first American lending library before there even was a United States to found it in. Amazon has brought this into the 21st century with Kindle Unlimited, which lets you borrow and read a certain number of books at …

Willem Lange: Something’s Stirring in America, I Hope

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Montpelier “The United States is a land of free speech. Nowhere is speech freer — not even here where we sedulously cultivate it in its most repulsive form.” — Winston Churchill I could be wrong — I’m old …

Column: Rand Paul’s Tax Plan Promises, Doesn’t Deliver

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul’s new tax-reform plan is a considerable improvement over his old one. He’s done what more politicians should: revise their ideas to take account of valid criticisms. But even the new plan doesn’t live up to the senator’s rhetoric. And it isn’t going anywhere. Paul’s earlier …

Column: All Sides Should Shed Blinders on Racism

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The horrific massacre in Charleston, S.C., where nine black churchgoers died allegedly at the hands of a white supremacist gunman, has been a powerful jolt to America, prompting a renewed focus on racial divisions and the need to …

Column: Lonely White Supremacists Wanted

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

In the wake of news reports that Dylann Roof, the suspect in last week’s horrific massacre at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, had become attracted to the ideology of white supremacy, I decided to make a visit, …

Column: Capitalism Can Stop Climate Change

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pope Francis has made it clear that all of us have a responsibility to be good stewards of this planet, and as such must address the challenge of climate change. Many frame this issue as capitalism versus Christianity, as economic prosperity versus morality. But it doesn’t have to …