Commentary & Opinion

Herbert London: The Reemergence Of Tribalism

Nov 2, 2016

For those who believe in a “one-world” thesis - the union of people in a harmonized legal system – these are unsettling days. Rather than singing kumbayah each morning, tribes are displaying a form of loyalty bred in the bone. In fact, tribalism is alive and well and driving political judgments across the globe.

I encountered two images last night worth talking about.

What A Drive!

Oct 31, 2016

Oh, what a fund drive it was! It was surely some sort of a record breaker. First off, thanks to you we made over $400,000 in our locked before the drive even started. We went on-air Monday morning and ended, a million dollars later, on Thursday around noon. That's a lot of money andmany of you followed us every minute of the drive. It's always interested me how some public stations never tell you how much they've raised. We think that it's incredibly important to keep you in the loop as we go. After all, we are all in this together. 

Blair Horner: The Myth Of Voter Fraud

Oct 31, 2016

As the national election season races to the finish line, one issue that has made its way to the top of the debate is voter “fraud.”  It is stated frequently and consistently that voter fraud is a huge problem that could undermine the results of the national elections. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is no exaggeration to observe that ALL GOVERNMENTS LIE, Fred Peabody’s provocative new documentary, is extremely timely as it puts forth its point-of-view. That point-of-view may not be original, but it still is well-worth repeating and pondering. And that is that politicians tell untruths as frequently as the daily sunrise.

David Nightingale: Bricks

Oct 30, 2016
Stack of bricks
ArnoldReinhold / Wikimedia Commons

On a sunny mid-October Saturday, reading that the Hutton brickyard 'Market' -- Smorgasburg -- was closing down for the year, I drove to Kingston. I'd never visited the Hutton brickyard, but many times when putting my little Sunfish into the river at Kingston Point, had noticed all the broken bricks labelled 'Hutton' lying north of the beach.

On October 30, the National Geographic Channel will broadcast the first episode of the second season of a series entitled Years of Living Dangerously.  The series explores the dangers of global warming and associated climate change.   The first episode, A Race Against Time, focuses two compelling stories:  the promise of solar energy in India and the political obstacles to wider use of solar energy in the U. S.

Imagine a social, political and economic environment in which domestic violence has disappeared.

Herbert London: The Radical Turn In World Affairs

Oct 26, 2016

The voice of an angry populace will be heard. Recent elections in Germany, Austria, and Spain suggest the migration of displaced Syrians across the continent is leading to political convulsions rarely seen since World War II. Some will describe it as the radicalization of conventional politics. Others will describe these convulsions as a safety valve for the Europeans obliged to deal with the migration issue. For many, any party willing to say “stop” will receive a hearing.

Stephen Gottlieb: A Scary Election

Oct 25, 2016

Over a century ago, populism was sweeping the country, with white and African-American workers standing together, until a scared Southern aristocracy started race-baiting. Whites took the bait, breaking the back of Southern populism. The rest of the country surged forward because their governments cared about the people, the regular people, not just the fancy financiers. But not in the South, which languished.

Fred Kowal: SUNY Under A Microscope

Oct 25, 2016

Corruption. Fraud. Bribery

A bid-rigging scandal that involved SUNY Polytechnic Institute and other upstate nanotechnology development projects. The result: federal charges leveled against nine people, including Alain Kaloyeros, the now former president of SUNY Poly.

During the lazy, hazy days of last summer, the Cuomo Administration approved a plan to hike New Yorkers’ electric utility bills by billions of dollars. The hike is to bail out three upstate nuclear power plants in central and western New York. Some of these plants, built during the Vietnam War era, were slated to be shut down because they were no longer efficient or profitable, having run well past their projected lifespan of 40 years.

Jeffrey Reel: The Presidential Election

Oct 23, 2016

When Michelle Bachmann appeared on the political scene in 2007, I wondered how a person that uninformed could be popularly elected to federal office. At the time, I thought that it doesn’t get much worse than this.  

Keith Strudler: Chicago Cubs Fans

Oct 19, 2016

Cubs fans, it is now time to get nervous. A few days ago, you were up one game to zero in the National League Championship Series. Three more wins against the Dodgers, and it was off to the World Series, where you would be the favorite to win over what now appears to be the Cleveland Indians, who are up three-nil on the Toronto Blue Jays. This would be your first trip to the Series since 1945. And if you won, the first time since 1908. As you’re well aware as a Cubs fan, this is the longest championship drought in professional baseball. Or more precisely, in all professional sports.

Herbert London: Watermelon Politics In America

Oct 19, 2016

Watermelon politics are on the rise in the United States. The green Islamist groups intent on undermining the West through self-proclaimed “civilizational jihad” have aligned themselves formally and informally with the red radicals such as Black Lives Matter (BLM). For many, this union seems unlikely. Islamist’s want to turn the clock back to the Seventh Century and BLM is eager to push the clock ahead to a time when race consciousness is a national preoccupation.

Stephen Gottlieb: Fugue For Pledge Breaks

Oct 18, 2016

Hi folks. When you hear this I’ll be boarding a plane for Pittsburgh to give a talk, and I’ll be missing a couple of days of the fund drive, though friends and family from our Peace Corps days will be helping out at the station as well as contributing from home. This station is important to us – and this election season makes clear why. On WAMC we get news that is fact-checked. We get opinions that are explained, not just thrown at us like so many ipse dixits. We get interviews with people on both sides of political campaigns. And we get cutting edge science about energy, water, the climate, the economy and other matters of interest and importance. This station is a treasure.

Herbert London: The New World Order

Oct 12, 2016

Recently the Russian military force deployed an advanced anti-missile system and sophisticated radars over Syria. In doing so, Russia and its allies in Iran and Hezbollah realize the ability of the U.S. to assist the rebel groups in Aleppo is severely limited. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president, may not know what Aleppo is, but for anyone following current events this city of 250,000 is now a “killing field.”

Stephen Gottlieb: Personality And Presidents

Oct 11, 2016

I walked by a group talking about the election and a young woman was saying she would never vote for Hillary because of her personality – I forget the word she used. So I stopped and asked her if that was the most important thing in a candidate. She responded “Yeah” like wasn’t it obvious and went on talking. I moved on shaking my head about her naiveté. This president is going to have to deal with Russia, China, the Muslim world, climate change, and her personality is the issue? The next president is going to have to be cool under pressure, not shoot wildly from the hip, and understand the stakes, the pressures, the possibilities and the limitations of what we can accomplish, and her personality is the issue?

Bill Owens: Another Debate, Another Win For HRC

Oct 11, 2016

As we all watched and waited, we tried to guess would he apologize, would he be believable, will he implode? The apology was weak and unconvincing and the excuse of it being lock room banter was in exceptionally poor judgement.

Blair Horner: Hunger Hits Colleges

Oct 10, 2016

College students are not the ones that we think of when identifying people who are hungry in America.  Yet, as the income gap has grown, there are an incredible number of college students who go hungry.

According to the polls, a high percentage of the population has negative views of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  As a result, the Libertarian candidates Gary Johnson and William Weld are getting a good look from many voters.   Though national polls have them well below the 15% threshold for the Presidential debates, they are polling over 30% among young voters.   (Jill Stein, the candidate from the Green Party is polling in the low single digits and has not generated anywhere near as much support.)   I want to focus this commentary on some of the substance of Libertarian Party proposals.

Ruth Abram: Bud Godfroy

Oct 6, 2016

The establishment of a small business that is passed on through generations of family members is a common fact of rural American life.  Despite the onslaught of technology, and the reported migration back to cities, something special is going on in Columbia County, New York.

Herbert London: Withstanding A Second Muslim Invasion

Oct 5, 2016

After two months of an onslaught by troops of the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg Monarchy along with the Polish Commonwealth and the Holy Roman Empire under the command of King John Sobieski rose to defend Christianity at Kahlenberg Mountain near Vienna in September 1683. The battle marked the turning point in the 300 year Ottoman-Hapsburg wars with Christianity on the European continent prevailing.

Stephen Gottlieb: Trump’s Tax Returns

Oct 4, 2016

Let’s talk about Trump’s secrets, what he doesn’t want us to know about. Not secrets that may not exist – like his secret plans to deal with ISIS, North Korea or unemployment. Those might be secret as he claims because there’s a problem in revealing them. Or they might be secret because there’s nothing to reveal, they don’t really exist – but calling them secret makes it sound OK. No I mean secrets we can be quite sure really do exist – his tax returns.

Reformers kept up the pressure last week for Governor Cuomo and the state Legislature to overhaul the state’s economic development programs.  In a letter to the state’s political leaders, the groups urged that steps be taken to reduce the risk of corruption in how the state doles out government contracts.

David Nightingale: Leon Theramin (1896-1993)

Oct 2, 2016

That was Leon Sergeyevich Termen (tair-MEN), better known as Lev Theramin, born in 1896 in St Petersburg [ref.1]. By the time he was 30, which would be 1926, he was demonstrating his extraordinary invention which made music simply from hand-waving, and he was being welcomed enthusiastically musicians and scientists in Germany, France, England and the US. His instrument, the theramin, was just a small-ish box of electronics, with a vertical rod looking like an antenna (but actually only a rod that was one side of a capacitor, the other side being his body.)

The fund drive begins on October 17th and it may just be the most momentous of all time. That's because on November 8th, shortly after the fund drive is completed, Americans will be voting for President of the United States and a new Congress. This is arguably the biggest news item of the year and no one has covered this election more assiduously than WAMC. Not only have we interacted with you on Vox Pop every week but our first hour of Roundtable has become our most popular locally produced program. We have spent enormous amounts of time discussing what Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have said and done. Probably never in American history has there been such a stark choice between the candidates for the presidency.

Karen Magee: America Gets a Raise

Sep 29, 2016

America’s workers finally got a raise.

Herbert London: The Rising Taliban

Sep 28, 2016

On 9/11 Americans recalled the 15th anniversary of the vicious al Qaeda attack on the United States that took 2800 lives. It was yet another day in infamy. Although largely forgotten in the public memory bank, the Taliban of Afghanistan harbored the terrorists and assisted in the planning of the attack. President George W. Bush’s final act of retaliation was to strike back at the Taliban.

Stephen Gottlieb: Hillary

Sep 27, 2016

I’ve been traveling and so I’m playing catch up. But I was shocked at the reactions I heard to Hillary’s illness. I expected people to do what we do when most people get sick – wish her well and hope she can get over it quickly. What I heard was just grousing that she said she was fine.

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