Commentary & Opinion

 

Four years ago, state lawmakers approved a plan that changed its relationship with the state’s public colleges and students.  The plan contained two major changes: public college tuition would be raised automatically and the state would commit not to cut state support for those institutions and would not use the increased tuition to close budget holes.

Karen Magee: The Value Of Union Membership

Jul 24, 2015

Driving on the Thruway recently, I saw a bumper sticker that made me smile.

The bumper sticker read:  Labor Unions:  The folks who brought you the weekend, child labor laws, overtime, minimum wage, pension security … and more.

What It's All About

Jul 24, 2015

Wow, there are some days that the first hour of The Roundtable gets almost too hot to handle. As you know, we try to keep things moving, switch out the people on the panel, and read e-mails so that everyone can have a say.

Rabbi Dan Ornstein: Losing the iPhone, Finding The I

Jul 23, 2015

The Vacation by Wendell Berry

Like any good poem, this one by the poet, Wendell Berry, employs a concrete  metaphor – a man who misses every moment of his vacation because he is too busy recording it – to examine a universal theme: how we absent ourselves from our own lives when we rush through them, disengaged, contracting them out to someone or something else.  Berry uses the word, “move”, with great rhythmic and symbolic effect.  We feel like we are on that speed boat with our vacationer, peering through his video lens at all the beauty which the film captures more accurately than our own minds.  However, for all the movement, there is nothing really moving about the experience:  the man’s camera is a pathetic emotional replacement for the man himself.  Berry also repeats deceptively simple phrases like “have it”, “having it”, “be there”, “would be” and “would not be”.  This turns the poem into a mournful tune about how technological devices are becoming our stand-ins for authentic living.

Herbert London: The U.S. In The U.N.

Jul 22, 2015

In 1922 Antonio Gramsci, one of the founders of the Italian Communist party, argued that the major impediment standing in the way of a Marxist revolution in Italy was nationalism. So he attempted to insert Italy in the firmament of the Communist International. Since that time there have been many activists who have campaigned for a One World government contending that nationalism is the catalyst for war. Foremost among those “strategists” was Saul Alinsky who maintained the belief that a pathway to socialism is only possible through deracinating national fervor.

Stephen Gottlieb: Future Oriented Diplomacy Toward Iran

Jul 22, 2015

We did something that infuriated Iranians in 1953 by organizing a coup removing their democratically selected Prime Minister. They did something that properly infuriated us in 1979 by taking our embassy staff hostage. George Bush announced that Iran was part of the Axis of Evil. So now is the die cast? Are we doomed to permanent enmity? Trapped in stereotypes and hatred, too many see no way to a better future except by deepening the conflict with every kind of force.


Last week, a Siena Research Institute poll reported that 90 percent of New Yorkers thought that government corruption is a serious problem.  When 90 percent of New Yorkers agree on anything, it’s amazing.  So you’d expect that elected officials would get the message and respond.

Sean Philpott-Jones: Giving Drug Users A Shot In The Arm

Jul 16, 2015

Every July I have the good fortune of spending a week at Fordham University in New York City, where I teach ethics and mentor fellows enrolled in a training program supported by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Herbert London: Greece At The Front Of The E.U. Line

Jul 15, 2015

The Greek Population, or more than sixty percent of the population, voted “no” in the recent referendum, a position in opposition to austerity or any concession for the European Central Bank (ECB). Apparently Greeks love things just the way they are. Unfortunately, others in Europe—more specifically Germany—is unwilling to pay the bill for Greeks to retire in their fifties, receive disability payments for phantom ailments and conduct themselves so profligately that the debt has escalated to over 300 billion euros.

Stephen Gottlieb: How America Would Handle Greece

Jul 14, 2015

What are the lessons from the Greek crisis? Their economy had major problems. People with plenty of money weren’t bothering to pay taxes. And the Greek government provided benefits beyond its means and beyond the pace of investment to maintain. So the EU was certainly correct that Greece had problems that Greece has to deal with. But that’s not the whole story. Greece needed multiple remedies, to cure its mistakes but also to stimulate its economy.

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