Commentary & Opinion

Bill Owens: Canadian Federal Election

Oct 27, 2015

The Canadian federal election was held Monday Oct 19. For most Americans, the response might be: who knew?

It is a well-established fact that the planet is heating up.  2014 was the hottest year on record and last week, the first prediction of 2015 came out – it wasn’t good news. 

David Nightingale: Serap

Oct 25, 2015

Serap was attractive, about 26, black haired (like most middle easterners) with neither burka nor chador; and she worked in our physics department at the university. I saw her as somewhat reserved, polite to all, and self-contained. In one course I was the instructor and she the assistant. I was a year or two older, and careful to be reserved myself, very careful actually, because -- in the 1960s anyway -- interactions between opposite sex foreigners and Moslems was an extremely sensitive matter. Westerners were unbelievers – there was a specific word for it in the dictionary – gavur (infidel) – and I had no intention of being attacked or receiving a ritual beating.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

Nippertown's Greg Haymes stopped by with something a little different this month: a roundup of some seasonal Halloween songs.

Sean Philpott-Jones: Reconsidering Cancer Screening Programs

Oct 22, 2015

In a public commentary that aired a little over a year ago, I caused quite a stir when I discussed the case of Amy Robach, the then-40-year-old ABC News correspondent who was diagnosed with breast cancer after receiving an on-air mammogram conducted as part of a Good Morning America story about cancer screening programs. Ms. Robach underwent a double mastectomy shortly after her diagnosis and is currently cancer free.

Herbert London: Israel Defending Itself

Oct 21, 2015

Recent reports have indicated that hundreds of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps troops entered Syria in early September. Moreover, the accord on intelligence among Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria suggests Russian troops will be assisting the Iranians in the war against ISIS. That may not be all.

Stephen Gottlieb: Good soldiers Know How To Play Chess

Oct 20, 2015

I’d like to start by stating my pride in WAMC and admiration of you, the listeners and members, who not only raised funds to keep the station on the air but also raised funds during the pledge break for the food bank, to help refugees and to retire pollution from the environment. That’s a lot to be proud of.

Blair Horner: A Perfect Storm For Ethics Reform?

Oct 19, 2015

 


Is it possible that there might be a “perfect storm” which will break Albany’s ethics reform logjam?  New Yorkers should hope so.

Rob Edelman: Daring Filmmaking

Oct 19, 2015

On the surface, VICTORIA-- a new film which has been making the rounds of the festival circuit, was screened in Toronto, and has just opened theatrically-- is nothing special. It follows a night in the life of the title character, a twenty-something who is first seen dancing wildly in a club. As the story progresses her personality emerges, and the words which best-describe her are tough and amoral. Before the night is through, Victoria hooks up with a bunch of rowdy guys and is attracted to one in particular. Plus, there is a robbery, among other bits of mayhem.

Herbert London: Who Lost The Middle East?

Oct 14, 2015

Much has already been written about the feckless foreign policy of the Obama administration or, in some instance, the president’s success in master minding a global American retreat from foreign affairs. As events are unfolding, it is clear the U.S. has voluntarily ceded its interest in the Middle East. In fact, I can anticipate the title of a book a decade from now that reads “Who Lost The Middle East?” similar to the host of books in the 1950’s entitled “Who Lost China?”

Stephen Gottlieb: End The War On Drugs

Oct 13, 2015

This commentary is occasioned by the partial legalization of marijuana and government efforts to regulate it. But I’d like to take the occasion to look at the drug problem more broadly.

Bill Owens: Obamacare Versus Drug Costs

Oct 13, 2015

The national media has reported on Turing Pharmaceuticals’ 5,000 percent price increase for Daraprim, a treatment for toxoplasmosis. There are numerous other pharmaceutical companies who have taken control of a drug and dramatically increased the price. After reading those stories and reflecting on comments made to me by a close friend and local pharmacist, I asked him to show me examples of price increases that he has seen in the last several years. He provided five examples reflecting the following dramatic price increases: Colchicine went from $18 per 1,000 to $578; Digoxin went from $0.88 per 100 to $78; Carac cream went from $402 for 30 grams to $2,425; Levothyroxine ( a generic) went from $12 to $48 in six months; and Tasmar (100 mg), selling for $165.50 per hundred in 1998, increased to $4,525 in 2014, and then to $9,895 in 2015.

Bill Owens: House GOP In Bad Spot

Oct 12, 2015

The recent resignation of John Boehner as Speaker of the House has, of course, set-off a leadership race that has been and will be most interesting to watch. On Thursday October 8, 2015, the Republican Caucus planned to vote before McCarthy abruptly dropped out. It now appears the vote will be in the House Floor on October 29, 2015 without a Caucus vote. Stay tuned.

Jeffrey Reel: GMO Labeling

Oct 11, 2015

The Genetic Engineering Transparency Food and Seed Labeling Act, H.3242, if passed in Massachusetts, would require the words “Produced with genetic engineering” to be printed clearly and conspicuously on product packages that contain genetically altered ingredients.

Keith Strudler: Is Fantasy Football Gambling?

Oct 7, 2015

Football and gambling are like matches and fireworks. They work well together, but it can get explosive.

Herbert London: Why Government Has Grown

Oct 7, 2015

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tip O’Neill, once said “all politics is local.” It was a sample statement that in time became axiomatic. One politician after another echoed the refrain. In fact, I cannot recall any public refutations.

Stephen Gottlieb: Shootings, Guns And The SAFE Act

Oct 6, 2015

The shooting at a community college in Oregon saddens me and leads me to these observations about guns.

Blair Horner: Government Needs To Help Patients

Oct 5, 2015

Recently, a National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine report identified a huge problem in health care:  the failures of health care providers to quickly and accurately identify a patient’s diagnosis.  The report estimated that most patients will experience at least one wrong or delayed diagnosis over their lifetime.

In many cases that delay can have no serious consequence, in others the consequence can be deadly.  For example, a delay in identifying a cancer can tip the scales from being easily treatable to catastrophic.

David Nightingale: Pickpockets 2015

Oct 4, 2015

In the last few weeks I have been issued a new credit card, because someone else has begun to use the old number -- apparently to order pizzas from Dominos and to buy a $750 item from a company I've never heard of.

Just three months ago, I commended the Papal Encyclical Laudato Si which focused on the need for humanity to unite in an effort to drastically cut back carbon emissions to mitigate climate change.  In this commentary, I want to focus on one of the Pope’s economic arguments.

Herbert London: Blindness In The Rationalist Tradition

Sep 30, 2015

President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have conceded that some portion of the money released to Iran through the lifting of sanctions will result in “bad behavior,” a euphemism for terrorism. The supposition of the president’s team is that despite the bad behavior, Iran, unconstrained by sanctions, will in time join the community of responsible nations. In other words our concessions will yield a positive response from the Supreme Leader Khamenei and his acolytes.

Herbert London: Blindness In the Rationalist Tradition

Sep 30, 2015

President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have conceded that some portion of the money released to Iran through the lifting of sanctions will result in “bad behavior,” a euphemism for terrorism. The supposition of the president’s team is that despite the bad behavior, Iran, unconstrained by sanctions, will in time join the community of responsible nations. In other words our concessions will yield a positive response from the Supreme Leader Khamenei and his acolytes.

Stephen Gottlieb: Who We Work To Support

Sep 29, 2015

We've all seen bumper stickers that complain, "I work so welfare queens don't have to" and other complaints about taking care of people in need. Conservatives, Republicans, Tea Partiers all tell us the problem is “entitlements.” And people are mad. They do not want to work to pay for other people's entitlements.

The Drive

Sep 29, 2015

The crucial, life-giving fund drive begins Monday October 5th. I don’t have to tell anyone that this is where we live. No fund drive, no station.

Bill Owens: Kim Davis, A Conscientious Objector?

Sep 29, 2015

Kim Davis, County Clerk of Rowan, Kentucky, recently defied a court order to issue marriage licenses to any eligible person(s). She based her position on the concept that she was responding to a “higher power,” and therefore would not issue the licenses.

Last week, advocates across the nation celebrated “National Voter Registration Day.”  In New York, there was little to celebrate.

Rod Edelman: Toronto Overview, Part 2

Sep 28, 2015

Each year, a smorgasbord of films are screened at the Toronto Film Festival. They include Canadian and other foreign-to-the-U.S. titles, low-budget independents, documentaries, and so forth. But these days, the films that garner the most attention are the big-budget, highly anticipated titles that feature top-of-the-line talent. Of course, the producers of these films are praying that their titles will charm the international critics and emerge from the fest with positive buzz and Academy Award hopes.

Jeffrey Reel: Donald Trump And The GOP

Sep 27, 2015

“There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear” – Buffalo Springfield.

Donald Trump is a bombastic, narcissistic man-child. And although I would never vote for him, I do want to thank him. He is creating a seismic shift in the Republican Party and its political platform, and, in some respects, it’s for the best.

Karen Magee: Swinging Back Towards Sanity

Sep 25, 2015

I normally don’t put too much stock in opinion polls.

But, let me be honest with you: I smiled broadly when I heard about the recent Quinnipiac poll on education.

Sean Philpott-Jones: Orphan Drug Economics 101

Sep 24, 2015

Last month, the cost of a drug called Daraprim, used to treat a potentially life-threatening infection in cancer and AIDS patients, increased 5500% overnight.

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