Midday Magazine

Weekdays, Noon - 1pm; Weekends, Noon- 1pm

WAMC's award-winning daily news magazine brings listeners the latest in local, national and world news. Join Brian Shields each weekday for the latest. The work of the WAMC News team is complemented each day with news and features from the BBC, The Innovation Trail, and Stardate. Midday Magazine also offers a comprehensive regional weather summary and a range of commentators who span the political spectrum. Highlights from the WAMC Listener Comment Line are usually aired on Friday's edition of Midday Magazine.

New York State is on "fire watch" - Governor Andrew Cuomo is urging all New Yorkers to take extra caution, as dry weather conditions have led to a very high danger of wildfires across the State. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

"Farewell to Factory Towns?"
Written and directed by Maynard Seider

Tuesday, April 17th @ 7pm

Murdock Hall, Room 218

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

375 Church Street, North Adams, MA

A panel discussion will be held afterwards. The event is free and open to the public. Guests are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the fight against hunger.

WAMC

Events to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic are scheduled for later this week by the Titanic Historical Society.  The oldest and largest organization in the world devoted to preserving the history of the doomed luxury liner is headquartered in Springfield Massachusetts.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau  Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

A growing body of science is raising concerns about hydrofracking's public-health impacts from air pollution, just as the Federal EPA is completing rules to protect air quality from onshore oil-and-gas development — including fracking operations. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

HOUSE OF PLEASURES, which was shown on the film festival circuit under the more appropriate and less commercially exploitable title HOUSE OF TOLERANCE, is a stinging mood piece which explores the plight of a group of prostitutes in a high-end Parisian bordello at the turn of the 20th–century.

A hospital in Texas recently made the national news when it announced that it would no longer hire obese workers. According to the new employment policy at the Citizens Medical Center in Victoria, Texas, all new employees — be they physicians, nurses, orderlies or janitors — must have a body mass index (BMI) of less than 35.

While the Road to Serfdom is paved with good intentions gone awry; the road to self fulfillment—the dream of the modern person—is constructed with freedom stones resembling personal license. What is emerging in the United States, based in part on the empirical data in Charles Murray’s Coming Apart, is a selective version of morality. If it feels good, do it. The constraints inspired by the Judeo-Christian tradition, our genetic inheritance, even our sex, are mere trifles compared to personal choice and desire. To my astonishment, even murder is justified as an act of personal morality.

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The Joint Committee on Public Health heard from advocates and opponents for the legalizing marijuana for medical use. S 1161 and H 625, the two bills before the Committee have been sent to further study.

H 3885, the medical marijuana ballot initiative, if passed by the legislature, would go to voters in November.

The Committee for Compassionate Medicine testified in favor of legalizing pot for individuals suffering from debilitating disease.

The Vermont Clean Energy Investment Summit was hosted by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Governor Peter Shumlin and the state Department of Public Service.   Senator Sanders says it’s part of continuing efforts to make Vermont a leader in sustainable and renewable energy.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to introduce a plan for state campaign finance reform. Supporters of what they refer to as a “fair election system” are holding a press conference this hour outside the Rensselaer County Board of Elections office in Troy.

Charles Albanetti, communications director with Citizen Action of New York, tells WAMC’s Brian Shields the coalition wants a system where candidates are as even as possible when it comes to campaign financing.

  Faced with a major decrease in property tax collections and no
expected increase in state aid, budget writers in Springfield
Massachusetts are proposing scores of fee hikes. But the city's top
finance officer says it still won't be  enough to avoid budget cuts.
WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports..

To echo the March 28th front page of the New York Times, “Adrienne Rich, a poet of towering reputation— and one of the best known American intellectuals— has died,— at the age of 82.”   Author of  two dozen volumes of superb and searing poetry, plus a half-dozen more of prose, all totaling close to a million copies in sales, she was for me and countless other committed readers, a revered teacher and prophet.  As our nation approaches an historic crisis of conscience, a most appropriate tribute to this towering literary Titan is found in her own clairvoyant words, written in 1983 but amazing

Today Dr. James Hansen, the well known American climate scientist, will accept the prestigious Edinburgh Medal for his work on climate change science. The Edinburgh Medal is awarded each year to a person of science whose professional achievements are judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding and well-being of humanity.  Dr. Hansen will reportedly use the occasion to talk about climate change as a moral issue of unprecedented scale.

IN DARKNESS, directed by Agnieszka Holland, tells the story of a coldhearted sewer worker and small-time criminal in Nazi-occupied Poland who hides a group of Jews who are in grave danger of being exterminated. He does so for profit only, but as time passes he forms a bond with his charges and becomes deeply involved in their lives, and their plights.

 

The five member Massachusetts Gaming Commission is now in place. The commissioners will draft regulations to establish a new casino gambling industry in Massachusetts and award the much coveted licenses for resort casinos.  One member of the new commission is from western Massachusetts. Bruce Stebbins is a Springfield resident, a former member of the city council, and a small business development specialist.    He spoke recently with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.

Samuel Claiborne: The Current Crop of Republicans

Apr 9, 2012

Where to begin with the current crop of republicans? We have newt Gingrich threatening to lock up any judge who dares to disagree with his edicts when he’s crowned king, I mean, elected president. We have Mitt Romney’s utter tone-deafness to the woes of the middle class. And we have Rick Santorum, a man evidently sprung full grown from some bronze-age cave, fully convinced that women are chattel, and gays should be burnt at the stake.

 

The Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Bio-Medical Research will officially be awarded May 11th in Albany, but the winners of the prize have already been announced. Drs. James Darnell junior and Robert Roeder both with the Rockefeller University in New York City will share the award of $500,000, which is the largest monetary award in the U.S., second only to the Nobel Prize. Both men are being honored for their work to unlock the secrets of DNA, and RNA processing, that is how cells express their genetic information. WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke with both men, beginning with Dr.

Paul Elisha: On the Merits of Slaughter

Apr 3, 2012

Looking back across many eventful years, this commentator can attest that life is an apt vehicle for learning but not without exemplary teachers.  In this respect, no one could have been luckier than I.  The eventful year was 1986 and my nonpareil mentor was an indomitable New York State Assembly-person.  Louise Slaughter was elected several years earlier, as a democrat in a habitually conservative suburb of Rochester.  She’d espoused an interest in the arts and legislative leaders decided the Arts Committee was just the spot to keep her involved in diversionary limbo, away from the attract

Let’s understand what that argument about the health insurance mandate was about. Everybody agreed that a single payer system would have been constitutionally OK. It would have been based on the taxing power. However toxic taxes are to the public, legally they are not particularly toxic. Everyone admits the taxing power is broad.

In the noise surrounding the Supreme Court arguments over ObamaCare last week you probably missed the latest, small bit of progress in the Obama Administration’s effort to reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change.  Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the first draft regulations to regulate carbon pollution from new power plants.

The debate over how to provide health insurance to 50 million Americans – nearly 3 million of them New Yorkers – was center stage last week.  The US Supreme Court quizzed lawyers supportive of and opposed to the federal health care reform law.  In Albany, the debate over Governor Cuomo’s plan to create a health exchange – the entity that would provide health insurance to the states’ uninsured – was a key obstacle to conclusion of the state budget.

As some education advocates praise the additional school funding announced as part of the New York State budget agreement, schools must now work through their own budgets, while, for the first time, considering the state’s 2 percent property tax cap.

WAMC’s Patrick Donges spoke to Tim Kremer, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association, on the fiscal future of New York’s schools in the wake of yesterday’s budget agreement.

Blair Horner: Questions About Health Care Reform

Mar 26, 2012

This week the US Supreme Court will take up the question of the constitutionality of federal health care reform, the Affordable Care Act.  The Court has scheduled three days for debate, each day focusing on a different challenge to the law.

Blair Horner: What's Next in Albany?

Mar 19, 2012

Governor Cuomo and the legislative leaders had a busy week -- redistricting changes, creating a new pension tier, broader DNA collection for criminal activities, and a first step toward legalized gambling.  Despite all of that activity one big issue remains:  they have to wrap up the state budget.

Both houses of the legislature advanced their separate budget plans this week.   As part of its plan, the New York State Assembly included the governor’s proposal to create a health exchange.  The health exchange is the mechanism through which New Yorkers lacking health insurance, as well as small businesses, could obtain coverage.  According to the US Census, nearly 3 million New Yorkers lack health insurance.

Blair Horner: Colon Cancer Awareness

Mar 5, 2012

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in New York.  In 2011, nearly 10,000 new cases of colon cancer were diagnosed in New York State, and about 2,900 died of the disease. 

It doesn’t need to be.  The earlier colon cancer is found the better the chances of survival.  The good news is that more people in New York are taking advantage of screening tools available; but a large percentage are still finding their colon cancers at a later stage.  In New York, many colon cancers are still being detected at later stages when survival rates are lower.

Blair Horner: A New, Growing Cancer Epidemic

Feb 27, 2012

A generation ago, smoking was the number one cancer menace in America.  From the 1930s through the early 1960s, smoking was portrayed as glamorous.  Advertisements even suggested that smoking was healthy.  And those advertisements were everywhere.  For those of you old enough to remember, cigarette companies even sponsored some of the most popular TV shows.

According to government statistics, that advertising blitz worked with nearly half of all adult Americans smoking by the mid-1960s.

Albany, NY – And here we go...

Albany, NY – Today's listener comment: a thank you for WAMC's Alan Chartock...

Albany, NY – Here's what WAMC listeners had to say this week...

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