Commentary & Opinion

In this year’s race for the White House, candidates have addressed college affordability and student debt – two issues that are vitally important to New York families.

Herbert London: The Void

Apr 27, 2016

Deployments of U.S. forces continues despite the claims of drawdown and withdrawal. The numbers may be on the decline and the use of Special Forces may be on the rise, but the issue that is emerging is why are our military forces in harms way at all. From Rand Paul to Barack Obama, from Donald Trump to Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public, many are asking a fundamental question: What is the benefit to the United States of overseas deployments? It was once a question easily addressed within the context of the Cold War. But at a time when there is a quagmire in the Middle East and modest European expenditures for self-defense, the question emerging directly, and often inadvertently, is why the U.S. is burdened with defending the civilization. Why is President Obama now sending an additional 250 troops into Syria?

Some of you may have been following Shankar Vedantam on NPR or the discoveries of Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize winning psychologist on the Princeton faculty, and their demonstration of the irrational ways that people very naturally and ordinarily reach decisions. Indeed, for quite a long time it’s been apparent that rational decision making often demands too much of people. As Cornell’s Vicki Bogan said in a talk in Albany, the rational choice model of economics assumes that people:

Last week, the world’s leaders gathered on Earth Day to formally agree to the climate change deal hammered out last December.  While there are still lots of questions about how effective the global agreement will be in limiting the damage from planetary warming, one message is clear; the world has got to move away from relying on fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – to generate energy.


Presidential candidate, Donald Trump visited Plattsburgh, N.Y. on Friday, April 15th.  Fortunately, I was out of town.

David Nightingale: Gerard K. O'Neill (1927 - 1992)

Apr 24, 2016

This essay is about Gerard K. O'Neill.

There are many O'Neills that are better known -- for example Eugene O'Neill, author of "The Iceman Cometh", or the nine-times-married actress and model, Jennifer O'Neill, known especially for her role in the movie "Summer of '42".

Rabbi Dan Ornstein: A Wake Before Passover

Apr 22, 2016

He had worked for our local Jewish day school for decades.  Whenever I went there for a meeting or to teach a class, he, a Catholic, and I, a rabbi, would greet each other comically.

Sean Philpott-Jones: The Weight Of The World

Apr 21, 2016

When I was a young child, I was a very picky eater. I would often refuse to eat the meals my parents put before me, even if it was something that I’d eaten and enjoyed before. Some kids are so-called “selective” eaters because of a medical problem like gastroesophageal reflux disease, gluten intolerance, or some other nutritional or sensory disorder, but my picky eating was a result of sheer stubbornness.

Notwithstanding all of the commentary to the contrary, the Iraqi army assisted by U.S. Special Forces is putting the Islamic State on the defensive in Iraq. In fact, the Iraqi army is poised to retake the northern province of Nineveh and may soon gain control of Mosul, the province’s largest city and a militant stronghold. This is the good news, but it is not the whole story.

Bernie and Hilary argue about trade pacts. We know trade pacts cost some jobs and open up others. That’s not a satisfying trade-off if your skill is suddenly unmarketable and you’ve become unemployed or underemployed. An effective response is crucial.

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