Commentary & Opinion

Samuel Claiborne: The Current Crop of Republicans

Apr 9, 2012

Where to begin with the current crop of republicans? We have newt Gingrich threatening to lock up any judge who dares to disagree with his edicts when he’s crowned king, I mean, elected president. We have Mitt Romney’s utter tone-deafness to the woes of the middle class. And we have Rick Santorum, a man evidently sprung full grown from some bronze-age cave, fully convinced that women are chattel, and gays should be burnt at the stake.


Herbert London: The New Defense Posture For America

Apr 4, 2012

In testimony given to the Congress, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asserted that Congress’s war powers authority is irrelevant. As he described it, U.S. intervention in Libya, Syria or elsewhere would be justified by permission from “relevant” international tribunals, such as the U.N. Security Council and NATO. The approval of the congressional representatives being unnecessary.

Let’s understand what that argument about the health insurance mandate was about. Everybody agreed that a single payer system would have been constitutionally OK. It would have been based on the taxing power. However toxic taxes are to the public, legally they are not particularly toxic. Everyone admits the taxing power is broad.

In the noise surrounding the Supreme Court arguments over ObamaCare last week you probably missed the latest, small bit of progress in the Obama Administration’s effort to reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change.  Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the first draft regulations to regulate carbon pollution from new power plants.

Paul Elisha: On the Merits of Slaughter

Apr 3, 2012

Looking back across many eventful years, this commentator can attest that life is an apt vehicle for learning but not without exemplary teachers.  In this respect, no one could have been luckier than I.  The eventful year was 1986 and my nonpareil mentor was an indomitable New York State Assembly-person.  Louise Slaughter was elected several years earlier, as a democrat in a habitually conservative suburb of Rochester.  She’d espoused an interest in the arts and legislative leaders decided the Arts Committee was just the spot to keep her involved in diversionary limbo, away from the attract

The debate over how to provide health insurance to 50 million Americans – nearly 3 million of them New Yorkers – was center stage last week.  The US Supreme Court quizzed lawyers supportive of and opposed to the federal health care reform law.  In Albany, the debate over Governor Cuomo’s plan to create a health exchange – the entity that would provide health insurance to the states’ uninsured – was a key obstacle to conclusion of the state budget.

Blair Horner: Questions About Health Care Reform

Mar 26, 2012

This week the US Supreme Court will take up the question of the constitutionality of federal health care reform, the Affordable Care Act.  The Court has scheduled three days for debate, each day focusing on a different challenge to the law.

Blair Horner: What's Next in Albany?

Mar 19, 2012

Governor Cuomo and the legislative leaders had a busy week -- redistricting changes, creating a new pension tier, broader DNA collection for criminal activities, and a first step toward legalized gambling.  Despite all of that activity one big issue remains:  they have to wrap up the state budget.

Both houses of the legislature advanced their separate budget plans this week.   As part of its plan, the New York State Assembly included the governor’s proposal to create a health exchange.  The health exchange is the mechanism through which New Yorkers lacking health insurance, as well as small businesses, could obtain coverage.  According to the US Census, nearly 3 million New Yorkers lack health insurance.

Blair Horner: Colon Cancer Awareness

Mar 5, 2012

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in New York.  In 2011, nearly 10,000 new cases of colon cancer were diagnosed in New York State, and about 2,900 died of the disease. 

It doesn’t need to be.  The earlier colon cancer is found the better the chances of survival.  The good news is that more people in New York are taking advantage of screening tools available; but a large percentage are still finding their colon cancers at a later stage.  In New York, many colon cancers are still being detected at later stages when survival rates are lower.