Commentary & Opinion

Keith Strudler -The NFL’s Problem With Numbers

13 hours ago

As is often said, numbers never lie. People, on the other hand, are quite adept in the art. Particularly when it comes to numbers. It’s like Mark Twain popularized, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

Herb London: America Must Watch the Chinese Tiger

16 hours ago

In the wake of a decision by the Permanent Court of International Arbitration that there isn’t any legal basis for China’s claim to territory in the so-called “nine-dash line” (an area which covers most of the South China Sea), the Chinese National Defense Ministry said “China’s armed forces would firmly safeguard national sovereignty, security and maritime interests and rights, firmly uphold regional peace and stability, and deal with all kinds of threats and challenges.”

We’ve looked at the way that our present system of campaign finance results in our being fleeced by businesses that use laws and regulations to protect them from competition and from lawsuits. Think about the repeal of legislation that regulated the financial services industry, or the NRA which got legislation to prevent funding for studies of gun violence, the companies that blocked state laws defining duties in their industries, the loosening of federal antitrust law, or a plethora of tax breaks. All of that was facilitated by grateful lawmakers, grateful for campaign help, contributions or expenditures, which made their elections or reelections possible

There has been a lot of hand-wringing lately about New York’s teacher shortage.

Blair Horner: A Closer Look At Nuclear In New York

Jul 25, 2016

When public officials reach for over-the-top metaphors, more often than not it’s an effort to distract the public from the question at hand.  Such was the case when Governor Cuomo argued that the state should spend billions of ratepayer dollars to shore up New York’s aging nuclear power plants.

Herbert London: The Road To War

Jul 20, 2016

The road to the future is filled with potholes. This metaphorical sentence speaks to a world war already in process. Despite denials from the present U.S. administration, the war is organized, promoted and managed by radical Islamists. Driven by an ideology, these religious fanatics want to undermine the West so that a global caliphate can be established. The war is in its twenty-fifth year, but the U.S. and its allies still do not understand the magnitude of the struggle.

Last time we discussed the difficulty of getting the Court to overrule Citizens United. Because of that, several constitutional amendments have been proposed as joint resolutions and introduced in Congress in order to undo Citizens United and overrule the idea that a corporation is a legal person. After studying them, however, it became clear they have been so sloppily drafted that no one could tell you what they would do.

Bill Owens: Brexit: A View From Ireland

Jul 19, 2016

I had the good fortune to be in the Republic of Ireland in the days leading up to the Brexit vote and a few days thereinafter.  European news reports, conversations with people I spoke with while traveling around Ireland gave me a pro-EU perspective on Brexit.

Blair Horner: NY Makes A Big "Green" Move

Jul 18, 2016

Following the hottest year in recorded history, and the warmest winter, New York State is enduring a scorcher of a summer.  In fact, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has declared that all of New York is now on a “drought watch.”  

Listener Essay - Becoming Fatherhood

Jul 17, 2016

How do you prepare for something like this? My wife and I are expecting our first baby this fall. It's a mayhem of tiny socks and booties, bottle warmers and YouTube live births. 

David Nightingale: Goldilocks Zones

Jul 16, 2016

Someone said to me a while ago 'all your essays are about science', and I read between the lines that they were consequently of little interest. But what about Borodin, Queen Zenobia, Dorothy Parker, Pickpockets, Granny D, Robin Williams, Selfridge, Adirondack murders, Robert Frost, Julius Caesar, Emperor Aurelius....? ... and it brings to mind the irate Archbishop who once accused the author of Principia Mathematica of only ever writing about sex.

Jeffrey Reel: Life Imitates Art

Jul 15, 2016

As Americans, we crossed a threshold and entered a very dark place in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting. Twenty innocent children slaughtered, babies really (and not slaughtered by a Muslim). That was our moment to shine, and to institute common sense gun laws.  We paused, and then chose to do nothing. We buried our collective soul along with those children.

As anyone who listens to my commentaries or reads some of my opinion pieces likely suspects, I tend to fall on the liberal side of the political spectrum. That said, next week I will definitely be watching the political three-ring circus that is the Republican National Convention.

Keith Strudler: Summer Basketball

Jul 13, 2016

This week my two boys, age 6 and 8, started summer league outdoor basketball in my town of Beacon. For the uninitiated, summer ball is a particular basketball pleasure, an offseason gathering for those who truly love the sport. Its lacks the structure and perhaps urgency of winter ball, the sport’s natural regular season. It’s outdoors, instructional, and really for people that see basketball as not simply a sport on the rotation, but a year round pursuit.

Herbert London: The New America

Jul 13, 2016

On July 4th I, like millions of Americas, celebrated the 240th year of our national independence. I celebrated, as well, the unique character of a nation based on the rule of law, a state where every person is to be treated equally under the laws of the land.

Last week we discussed the importance of taking political campaigns back from big donors. This week we begin examining the complexity of reinstating limitations without damaging what should be protected speech.

Michael Meeropol: Debunking Trump's Slogan

Jul 12, 2016

Do you know who Patrick Buchanan is?  In many ways, he is a former incarnation of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate.  He began his career as a political operative working for Richard Nixon, and became a well-known right-wing pundit on television in the 1970s before going to work in the Reagan White House during the 1980s.  In 1992, he challenged President George H.W. Bush in the Republican primaries.   In an attempt to build up Bush I’s bona fides with the right wing of the party (Reaganites mistrusted Bush I’s conservatism), Buchanan was given a prime time speaking slot at the 1992 Republican Convention.  In his speech he proclaimed that there was “culture war” in the United States. Bill and Hilary Clinton were identified with the “wrong side” and, in a backhanded compliment, Buchanan magnanimously proclaimed that “George Bush is on our side.” The negativity of the speech and the attempted demonization of the Clintons and the “side” of various issues they presumably represented caused some commentators to snarkily remark that the speech sounded better “in the original German!”Like Trump, Buchanan preached divisiveness and attacked the Republican establishment.  In 2000 he actually ran for President on a third party ticket.

Campaigns matter.  When candidates commit to a policy objective, there is a good chance, although no guarantee, that it will be taken up.

As Americans, we crossed a threshold and entered a very dark place in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting. Twenty innocent children slaughtered, babies really (and not slaughtered by a Muslim). That was our moment to shine, and to institute common sense gun laws.  We paused, and then chose to do nothing. We buried our collective soul along with those children.

  A decade or so ago…in reviewing a production of a play by Tennessee Williams…I quoted Steve Lawson, a scholar who has written extensively on the playwright. Lawson stated that Tennessee Williams called the theater, “a place where you make time for problems of people to whom you’d show the door if they came knocking for a job.”

About a month ago, a full-page story appeared in the Sunday travel section of the New York Times.

Bill Owens: Where Will The Jobs Come From?

Jul 7, 2016

            Each of the presidential candidates has talked about bringing jobs back to America and creating jobs in America as an enticement to the battered middle class suffering from job loss and income stagnation.

Herbert London: Turkey And Israel Reconcile

Jul 6, 2016

Terrorists assaulted and killed dozens in the Istanbul airport raising the prospect of Turkey on the precipice of all-out war with ISIS. While this carnage has alarmed citizens across the European continent, there was a political negotiation that holds out some hope for the future, despite a Turkish president who often exemplifies erratic behavior.

Bob Goepfert Reviews "Brighton Beach Memoirs"

Jul 5, 2016

Anyone who has ever called Neil Simon simply a writer of shallow comedies should be forced to see the production of his play “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” playing a Curtain Call Theatre in Latham.  Attending the play, which continues through July 16, is a revelation.   This is a tender and wise production of a marvelous play that is in danger of being neglected.

Simon is often called “Doc” because of his reverence towards Anton Chekhov, the legendary Russian playwright who was a country doctor.  “Brighton Beach Memoirs” is Chekhovian in style in that it creates a world that is so honest it reflects an entire culture at a specific place and point in time.

David Nightingale: Wm Henry Seward (1801 - 1872)

Jul 3, 2016

Driving on the quiet Route 20, roughly parallel to the NYS Thruway -- a far more peaceful way to go, at the state limit of 55 rather than the 70+ mph of close-packed semis and trucks -- I stopped overnight in Auburn. Auburn is one of those towns in New York's Finger Lakes region, some with delightful names like Canandaigua, Cazenovia, Skaneateles.

Keith Strudler: Turning off the Train Wreck

Jun 29, 2016

Last week I told someone I was done writing about Johnny Manziel. His story went from journalistic to voyeuristic, which is where I vowed to get off. I didn’t want to chronicle one young man’s unstoppable fall from grace, even if that’s not exactly the right term. My conviction lasted for all of a few days, as I now find myself writing again on this very bizarre topic.

Herbert London: Brexit Revisited

Jun 29, 2016

Now that the London fog has cleared, a dispassionate analysis of the Brexit vote is possible, even with murky clouds over the British Isles. The pound plunged with the Brexit vote as did global markets. Political elites from Cameron to Obama shuddered. Investors on both sides of the Atlantic were pummeled. Some say the British vote to leave the European Union is an invitation to anarchy.

Stephen Gottlieb: Iftar

Jun 28, 2016

This is Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting. We were invited to Albany’s City Hall for an Iftar, the evening feast after the sun-up to sun-down fast. Meetings aren’t polls and people put their best feet forward at public events. But I also know these folks. We greeted friends: a physicist, President of a Mosque on Central Avenue; an engineer who escaped repression in Iran, and ran a radio program to celebrate and protect American freedoms. We greeted a doctor whose daughter was my student and valedictorian at Albany Law, now working for the NY Attorney General. There were scientists, programmers, medical professionals, Sunni and Shi’a, Muslim, Protestant and Catholic clerics and public officials.

Not surprisingly, New York State’s political leadership has been crowing about the successes of the 2016 legislative session.  And there have been successes, as well as notable failures.  But in one key area, the governor and the legislature approved an important bill.  The bill requires that New York State schools will soon have to start testing for lead in drinking water.

Climate change skeptics, and those who favor the continued use of fossil fuels, continually fall back on the argument that those who continue to rely on fossil fuels – that is, virtually all of us – are hypocrites for wanting to evolve away from them. They seem to be saying:  “I am a hypocrite for heating with gas, and if I truly believe in the use of renewable technologies, then I should turn off the heat, cut the power and let the sun shine through my windows for heat and light.”

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