Commentary & Opinion

Herbert London: Islamophobia & Political Correctness

Jan 12, 2016

In accordance with a ten year plan of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to implement United Nations’ Resolution 16/18 which criminalizes all criticism of Islam worldwide, the U.S. House of Representatives issued H. Res. 569 condemning violence, bigotry and “hateful rhetoric” toward Muslims in the United States.

The 2016 legislative session kicked off quietly last week.  Typically, the governor unveils his legislative program on the first day.  His State of the State address serves as the legislative curtain raiser for the session.  This year, the governor has chosen to postpone his address for one week and has used that time to make daily announcements highlighting his upcoming initiatives. 

  I've been sad, as many have, since Robin Williams chose to leave us, in August 2014. We realized there'd be no more statements like:

On January 2, a group of armed protesters walked into the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns Oregon and vowed to remain there until their concerns were addressed.   What initially triggered this “protest” was the re-sentencing of two ranchers who had initially served a few months in prison for arson – setting fires that spread to federal land.   The protesters felt new sentences (requiring both defendants to serve 5 years) were too harsh.  In a January 6 statement, they announced that in addition to freedom for the two men, they wanted the land currently owned by the federal government to be returned to the people. They wanted “loggers get back to logging, ranchers get back to ranching, miners get back to mining and farmers get back to farming.” [part of this quote is from a press conference January 6 reported at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/militia-occupation-leader-in-oregon-were-like-rosa-parks/.  

Fred Kowal: Friedrichs

Jan 7, 2016

A historic moment in America’s struggle for economic and social justice is upon us, though few Americans are aware of it.  On Jan. 11th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association, the latest attempt by political extremists to turn back the clock on social progress in the U.S.

Herbert London: Los Abandonados Of Argentina

Jan 6, 2016

In 1994 the western hemisphere suffered its worst terrorist attack up to that time. A massive car bombing destroyed the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), the Argentine Jewish Mutual Aid Society, killing 85 people and leaving hundreds wounded.

President Obama commented a few weeks ago that Muslims in America must do more to stop Muslim violence and many have suggested that the Muslim community has not been doing enough to stop it.(1 ) That struck me as very false, given my own contacts in the Muslim community. So I reached out to learn what is happening in the Muslim community.

Bill Owens: Facts About The Borders

Jan 5, 2016

A recent report produced by the majority staff of Senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, dated November 23, 2015, provides some interesting data and insight about the security of our borders. The report, entitled “The State of America’s Border Security,” misses the target as it focuses on identification of immigration threats, with just a fleeting reference to the facilitation of legitimate trade. If you ignore the trade issue, then the feared threats will likely multiply as the number of jobs in the immigrants' home countries decline.

Blair Horner: Will Albany Open Up In 2016?

Jan 4, 2016

2015 was a bad year for openness at the state Capitol.  It ended with Governor Cuomo vetoing two bills which had been supported by the Committee on Open Government.  The Committee is a widely-respected state agency created in the 1970s to offer an independent judgment on New York’s Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Laws.

Sean Philpott-Jones: Dreaming Of A White Christmas

Dec 31, 2015

Most of my friends, upon learning that I was raised in sunny California, are shocked to find that winter is my favorite season. Since first moving to this area in the mid-90s, I’ve relished in the fact that I now live in a place with seasons, a region of the country that enjoys subzero temperatures and frequent snow during the darkest months of the year. No wonder then that the Snow Miser from the classic cartoon ‘A Year Without a Santa Claus’ is my yuletide Facebook avatar.

Keith Strudler: Straw Men, Sports And The Media

Dec 30, 2015

If Peyton Manning had known six months ago that he’d be on the bench backing up an unproven fourth year quarterback who had thrown all of thirty passes in his first three years in the league, while he fends off accusations of performance enhancing drug use, he might just have thought twice about coming back for an 18th NFL season. Granted, Manning assumed he had ample life left on his cannon of an arm, if last year was any guide. And his team the Denver Broncos stood to be a favorite to make the Super Bowl, giving him another chance to put a second ring on his finger, at least equaling his brother Eli and making a stronger case for his place in the pantheon of greatest QB’s of all time. And the $15 million he’s paid this year didn’t hurt either.

Herbert London: Perversion Of Islam?

Dec 30, 2015

In what can only be described as a “reassurance” speech is, President Obama in addressing the terrorist murders in San Bernardino, California said we should not be overcome by fear. Once again, he noted this terror is not a reflection of Islam. His Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, went further in contending that the real fear is anti Islamic prejudice, even though there is little evidence to support her concern.

Okay, dear readers, here are my fearless predictions for the coming year. I offer them every year with the following warnings. Some of them predict things that I don’t want to see happen so I offer them to put the evil eye on them. Then sometimes I offer predictions that I don’t necessarily think will happen but I want to make them self-fulfilling prophecies. Finally, there are those that I really think will happen. As always, it is up to you to figure out which is which.

Stephen Gottlieb: No Justice For The Vulnerable

Dec 29, 2015

In this season of charity, I’d like to talk about the fate of the less fortunate to make clear how our politics has been turning a blind eye to the damage it does.

Rabbi Dan Ornstein: Wisdom

Dec 29, 2015

Here is a story about something I learned this past semester.

Blair Horner: New Year's Resolutions For 2016

Dec 28, 2015

As 2015 recedes into the rear view mirror, it’s time to take stock of the year; its achievements and failures.  And it’s a good time to look to the future.

Jordan Sherman's Midday Forecast

Dec 28, 2015
Meteorologist Jordan Sherman
WNYT / WNYT

Newschannel 13 meteorologist Jordan Sherman delivers the Midday Weather Summary for Monday, December 28, 2015.

David Nightingale: George Westinghouse (1846 - 1914)

Dec 27, 2015
Public Domain

In past essays I've spoken of Morse from Poughkeepsie, Henry from Albany, and now -- George Westinghouse from Schenectady -- although he moved later to Pittsburgh, near where (at Wilmerding, PA) there is today a Westinghouse Museum.

Fred Kowal: 2016 UUP initiatives

Dec 24, 2015

Last December, UUP proposed a series of legislative initiatives that we pursued in 2015. We focused on student debt relief for recent SUNY graduates, and maintenance of effort plan so tuition increases aren’t used to pay basic costs like lights and heat. 

Herbert London: Why Belief And Foreign Policy Matter

Dec 23, 2015

In his magnificent book, The Roots of American Order, Russell Kirk cites five cities which have given us our rich heritage and from which we have created an exceptional civilization: Athens, Jerusalem, Rome, London and Philadelphia. Kirk offers a philosophically panoramic view. From Jerusalem came the order of the soul and leading a purposeful life. From Athens emerged the order of mind and how one ought to live. From Rome came an understanding of personal virtue. From London, our concepts of common law, private property and constitutional order were formulated. And from Philadelphia emerged the protection of individual rights and the understanding of liberty within a framework of law.

At this season in which charity is high on our agenda, I’d like to address some economic issues. I recently spoke with you about what the oligarchs are doing to American democracy. This time I’d like to talk with you about is happening to our jobs and wages. Jobs have recovered slowly from the 2008 crash; wages have flatlined for a decade. Candidates should be talking about jobs and wages.

As we survey the Republican field of presidential candidates, there is an air of disbelief from moderate Republicans, Democrats and Independents.

In a year of much bad news – both in New York and across the world – something positive has happened.  In Paris, France 195 countries met to hammer out an agreement to commit to curbing global warming.

To pop the champagne or not pop the champagne, that is the question.

Sean Philpott-Jones: Tempering Sheen’s Shame

Dec 17, 2015

Television actor and Hollywood bad boy Charlie Sheen revealed that he was HIV positive last month, breaking four years of silence during which he allegedly paid out millions of dollars in extortion in an attempt to keep his diagnosis private.

Herbert London: Iran Cheats Again

Dec 16, 2015

Despite the murder of at least 1200 Americans, including service personnel at Khobar Towers; despite lying about its nuclear weapons program; despite the largest terrorist attack in the western hemisphere before 9/11 that killed 85 Argentinians; despite support for Hamas and Hezbollah attacks against Israel; despite trumped up charges  against Americans who have been imprisoned or murdered; despite being a refuge for al Qaeda leadership; despite the apparent murder of Alberto Nisman who was investigating the terror attack in Buenos Aires; despite the cries of “death to America;” despite repeated cyber attacks against the U.S. ; despite the export of weapons to Syria and Yemen in violation of the arms embargo; despite the egregious violation of the nuclear accord with the UN Security Council with the testing of nuclear capable ICBMs; despite all of this and so much more that hasn’t been mentioned, the United States continues to assert that with the nuclear deal now completed – albeit still not signed by Iranian leaders – Iran will enter the ranks of a responsible nation.

Stephen Gottlieb: Political Correctness

Dec 15, 2015

I want to address one of the issues coming out of recent events on college campuses, not to mention the rhetoric of Mr. Trump.

Blair Horner: Can Albany Fix Itself?

Dec 14, 2015

Another week, another conviction of a high-ranking elected official. It’s hard to know if this is the tipping point for change. New Yorkers can only hope so.

David Nightingale: JJ & GP Thomson

Dec 13, 2015
J.J. Thomson
Wikipedia Commons

This essay is about Nobel prize winning fathers and sons in physics, of which there are quite a few, focussing here on JJ Thomson and his son GP Thomson.  JJ is famous for having discovered the electron, and 30 years later his son discovered that it was a wave. Today we can correctly describe all particles, be they electrons or Volkswagens, either way.

With the conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, one question that remains is what state lawmakers will actually do to prevent corruption.

WAMC's political observer Dr. Alan Chartock offered his thoughts to Lucas Willard on Midday Magazine.


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