Commentary & Opinion

Herbert London: Remembering Roy Innis

23 hours ago
Roy Innis
Kishi2323 / Wikimedia Commons

He was a friend, a mentor, a hero and a courageous American. On Saturday, January 7, 2017 he passed this mortal coil. I am referring to Roy Innis, national chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality since his election to that post in 1968.

Stephen Gottlieb: The Future

Jan 17, 2017

What are the lessons of the election for the future of democracy?

Last week, Governor Cuomo took to the road to unveil his State of the State addresses.  The State of the State is a constitutional requirement that the governor report to the legislature on issues of concerns and to offer his recommendations.  For nearly 100 years, the State of the State address was delivered in a written and verbal format in the State Capitol complex.

Rob Edelman: Barry Jenkins

Jan 16, 2017

Of all the fine films that won theatrical releases this past year, one title for me stands at the very top of the pack. That is MOONLIGHT, directed and written by Barry Jenkins. 

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Second Avenue Subway

Jan 14, 2017
art in the new Second Avenue and 72nd Street station
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

These commentaries were conceived as celebrating the pleasures of country living, with occasional digressions. This is one of those occasions and one of those digressions.

About once a year on average, I seem to create a bit of a stir with a commentary on breast cancer and screening guidelines. In those commentaries, I sometimes question the message that is given to American women about the utility of breast cancer screening programs. In the weeks that follow, both my email and my answering machine tend to fill up with people suggesting that I am wrong, sharing personal tales of invasive cancers that were detected only because of screening, and sometimes (although very rarely) hoping that a relative of mine is stricken with the disease.

In the last debate of the 2012 presidential race Governor Romney discussed the potential threat of Russia. He was widely criticized by President Obama who maintained the Cold War ended in the 1980’s. Since then, of course, we have had a national “reset.” Vladimir Putin’s aggressive action in eastern Ukraine, Syria and his openly provocative statements about the Baltic states and the use of nuclear weapons offer revealing insights into Russian aims. Still there are those who believe Russia can be an ally, at least in areas where U.S.-Russian interests converge, e.g. battling militant Islam.

Stephen Gottlieb: The Challenges

Jan 10, 2017

Looking at the New Year, there are two existential challenges that must be dealt with: global climate change and the threat to American democracy.

Hilary Dunne Ferrone: Doing Good, Well 1/10/17

Jan 10, 2017


Happy New Year! For many, this is a time of personal reassessment when we look for a fresh take and perhaps make a few positive adjustments in our lives. Just as this is a good practice for ourselves, it’s a beneficial practice of funders and nonprofits, too.

Blair Horner: The 2017 State Of The State

Jan 9, 2017

New York State’s constitution requires that every governor submit a message to the legislature “at every session the condition of the state, and recommend such matters to it as he or she shall judge expedient.”  Since the early 20th Century, governors have delivered a State of the State speech in addition to delivering a written document.  Usually that speech was delivered in the New York State Assembly chamber.  The Assembly seats 150 and so jamming in the smaller Senate body plus staff and dignitaries was the appropriate venue.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Some Pig

Jan 7, 2017
Cleopatra the pig with Vicky the horse
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

Come the New Year we can’t help but look ahead to the next twelve months and wonder about the ways our lives will be different or the same a year from now. Personally, professionally, politically.

Keith Strudler: The Party Before The Storm

Jan 4, 2017
The logo of the New York Giants
Facebook: New York Giants

No one would argue that the New York Giants drew the best playoff assignment by any measure. In taking an NFC Wild Card spot, they’ll travel this weekend to NFC North champ Green Bay, who rarely lose at home and might be the hottest team in the league. The temperature will probably sink to single digits by game’s end Sunday evening. And mind you, New York actually has a better record than the Packers, but with the logistics of the NFL playoffs, they are still the road team.

At the end of the Second World War the United States established a liberal international order that included an institutional commitment to free trade and freedom of the seas. It also included unprecedented assistance to weak nations incapable of fending for themselves, through the Marshall Plan, NATO and other alliances. However one describes the U.S. rule, it did provide a period of equilibrium, notwithstanding challenges from the Soviet Union.

Stephen Gottlieb: The Legacy Of Barack Obama

Jan 3, 2017

Barack Obama has been one of our most decent and intelligent presidents. I’ll miss him. Instead of simplification and slogans, Obama explained the complexities of everything from medical treatment to foreign policy. Instead of shooting from the hip, he studied problems carefully and reached mature, intelligent decisions.

This week, lawmakers return to Albany to kick off the 2017 legislative session.  For the vast majority of state legislators, it is the beginning of a new session, for the newly elected lawmakers, it is the beginning of a new career.

David Nightingale: Christmas Sale

Jan 1, 2017
Christmas at the River Roads Shopping Center - Jennings, Missouri, 1970
Dwaynep2015 / Wikimedia Commons

I got to the front of the line, with many people heaving and pushing behind me. The woman in front of me had a drippy nostril, spreading down over her upper lip, but had finished signing things, and she performed two more sneezes before leaving. Good-day said the cashier.

Ralph Gardner, JR: Robert Morgenthau's Hard Cider

Dec 31, 2016
Robert Morgenthau in June at Fishkill Farms
Robert Gardner, JR.

Among the perks of being an empty nester is that you’re not enslaved by your children’s school calendar. When our daughters were younger we left the city as soon as school was dismissed Friday afternoon and returned Sunday night.

I can’t believe that it’s already 2017! Frankly 2016 could have been a lot better but I suppose it could have been a lot worse. So I am compelled to give my predictions which are given for three reasons. Some I really DON’T want to happen so I put the double whammy on them by predicting something that I fear. Or, sometimes I predict things that I want to see happen so I predict them to make them happen, a little positive energy. Or, and this is a big or, I predict things that I really think will happen. It’s up to you, dear readers to decide which is which.

Fred Kowal: Standing Rock

Dec 29, 2016

One hundred and twenty six years ago, on December 29, 1890, the US 7th cavalry gunned down over three hundred Lakota women, men and children in one of the worst massacres in the long history of violence perpetrated by the United States against Native Americans.  It is vital that we all remember that day and that history. 

Sean Philpott-Jones: A New Hope For Mental Illness

Dec 29, 2016

Every year, my husband and I throw a big New Year’s Eve party. Most of the time, we celebrate the coming of a new year with food, champagne and the company of good friends. This weekend’s party will be particularly poignant for me. I will be toasting not to the coming of 2017 but, rather, to the end of 2016.

It is clear based on this stage of political evolution in the West that democracy – to the extent it has meaning – is a form of inclusiveness, expanding the horizons of political participation. On one level it makes sense, why should anyone be denied participation when interests in the aggregate are why we employ the term representative government?

Stephen Gottlieb: On Egos In Skin, Muscles And Race

Dec 27, 2016

Years ago, when I was working out in a gym, a younger woman was obviously putting more weight on the equipment and doing more and faster reps than I was. I did not know this woman and there was no conversation between us. But as she passed me, she commented that it was OK because I would be stronger on the upper body exercises. When people catch me off guard with a comment like that, I often say nothing, and I don’t think I responded. But I have often wanted to say to her that I don’t keep my ego in my muscles.

Hilary Dunne Ferrone: Doing Good, Well

Dec 27, 2016


It’s the end of the calendar year. For some, this means holiday shopping, parties, sending greeting cards...and a mailbox full of year-end appeal letters from non-profit organizations. According to Charity Navigator, from the days leading up to Giving Tuesday in late November, to the last days of 2016, nonprofits will receive 41% of their annual contributions, with 10% coming in the last two days of the year! (Charity Navigator, Nov. 1, 2011) https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1302

After years of railing against the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Congressional opponents and the President-elect are now poised to eliminate it. Since its passage six years ago, opponents have argued to “repeal and replace” the law, but that has turned out to be merely a slogan, devoid of substance.

Ralph Gardner, Jr: The Holidays

Dec 24, 2016
Rob Shepperson

If you attend a party this time of year somebody will probably ask you, “Do you have plans for the holidays? Are you going anywhere?”

In the classic movie Groundhog Day, the main character — played famously by actor and comedian Bill Murray — finds he is trapped in a time loop, repeating the same day over and over again. As this year’s legislative session nears, I can’t help but think that students — and public education — are having a Groundhog Day experience of their own.

Rogovoy Report For 12/23/16

Dec 23, 2016

The weekend’s cultural highlights in the region include several chamber music concerts, vintage jazz, roots music, soul music, and a whole lot more.

Keith Strudler: The Downside Of Solidarity

Dec 21, 2016
The logo of the University of Minnesota
wikipedia.org

There is such a thing in sports as team solidarity. In some ways, it is the single adhesive that keeps disparate individuals together. It’s manifest when teams eat together, lock arms on the sidelines, attend family funerals of teammates, and so on. It’s a list of activities that often extend far beyond the sidelines in the widely accepted belief that teams that act as one will be stronger than those that don’t. Which theoretically means more wins and fewer losses, at least relative to your talent. If you’ve ever seen a team where the athletes look like they can’t wait to leave the arena and get away from each other, you’d probably agree. Jets fans know exactly what I’m talking about.

Herbert London: The Indefensible Obama Policies

Dec 21, 2016

On December 6 President Barack Obama defended his strategy for combating terrorism, a strategy – if one can call it that – based on restraint and withdrawal. Without mentioning Donald Trump’s name, the president went on to contrast his ideas with those enunciated by the president elect. He clearly attempted to make the case for why his successor should adhere to his approach.

Stephen Gottlieb: PC

Dec 20, 2016

I first heard the term political correctness when we were looking at colleges with our daughter. It was a term raised by other parents. I didn’t know what it referred to. Now it’s so common it’s just called PC. I just think of much of it as manners, and at the root of manners is kindness.

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