Commentary & Opinion

Hilary Dunne Ferrone: Doing Good, Well

Dec 27, 2016


It’s the end of the calendar year. For some, this means holiday shopping, parties, sending greeting cards...and a mailbox full of year-end appeal letters from non-profit organizations. According to Charity Navigator, from the days leading up to Giving Tuesday in late November, to the last days of 2016, nonprofits will receive 41% of their annual contributions, with 10% coming in the last two days of the year! (Charity Navigator, Nov. 1, 2011) https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1302

After years of railing against the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Congressional opponents and the President-elect are now poised to eliminate it. Since its passage six years ago, opponents have argued to “repeal and replace” the law, but that has turned out to be merely a slogan, devoid of substance.

Ralph Gardner, Jr: The Holidays

Dec 24, 2016
Rob Shepperson

If you attend a party this time of year somebody will probably ask you, “Do you have plans for the holidays? Are you going anywhere?”

In the classic movie Groundhog Day, the main character — played famously by actor and comedian Bill Murray — finds he is trapped in a time loop, repeating the same day over and over again. As this year’s legislative session nears, I can’t help but think that students — and public education — are having a Groundhog Day experience of their own.

Rogovoy Report For 12/23/16

Dec 23, 2016

The weekend’s cultural highlights in the region include several chamber music concerts, vintage jazz, roots music, soul music, and a whole lot more.

Keith Strudler: The Downside Of Solidarity

Dec 21, 2016
The logo of the University of Minnesota
wikipedia.org

There is such a thing in sports as team solidarity. In some ways, it is the single adhesive that keeps disparate individuals together. It’s manifest when teams eat together, lock arms on the sidelines, attend family funerals of teammates, and so on. It’s a list of activities that often extend far beyond the sidelines in the widely accepted belief that teams that act as one will be stronger than those that don’t. Which theoretically means more wins and fewer losses, at least relative to your talent. If you’ve ever seen a team where the athletes look like they can’t wait to leave the arena and get away from each other, you’d probably agree. Jets fans know exactly what I’m talking about.

Herbert London: The Indefensible Obama Policies

Dec 21, 2016

On December 6 President Barack Obama defended his strategy for combating terrorism, a strategy – if one can call it that – based on restraint and withdrawal. Without mentioning Donald Trump’s name, the president went on to contrast his ideas with those enunciated by the president elect. He clearly attempted to make the case for why his successor should adhere to his approach.

Stephen Gottlieb: PC

Dec 20, 2016

I first heard the term political correctness when we were looking at colleges with our daughter. It was a term raised by other parents. I didn’t know what it referred to. Now it’s so common it’s just called PC. I just think of much of it as manners, and at the root of manners is kindness.

Bill Owens: Made In India - And Where Else?

Dec 20, 2016

Surprise—India has a “Made in India” program! This program was highlighted during the process of Boeing entering into contracts to build fighter aircraft for India’s military. As you may have surmised, the “Made in India” requirement is very similar to “Made in America” provisions that exist at the federal, state and local levels in the US.

Under the U.S. Constitution this is the election that really matters.  Delegates are chosen by the states and each state gets a total number of delegates that equals of the sum of its members of the House of Representatives plus its two members of the U.S. Senate. 

Ralph Gardner JR: Fruitcake

Dec 17, 2016
A slice of American fruitcake
Stu Spivack / Wikimedia Commons

I’ve got a confession to make. I like fruitcake.

I don’t understand why fruitcake is a punch line. You know, like the joke that there’s only one fruitcake in the world and it’s constantly being regifted.

WAMC's Political Observer Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on President Obama saying the U.S. will retaliate for Russia's alleged hacking into the U.S. Elections, the conviction of Dylan Roof, President-Elect Trump's pick for Ambassador to Israel, and more.

Sean Philpott-Jones: Means To An End

Dec 15, 2016

My mother passed away last Wednesday. She was found unresponsive on the floor of her kitchen early Tuesday, in severe septic shock from untreated peritonitis and a perforated intestine. Although she was admitted to the intensive care unit and given aggressive medical treatment, she never regained consciousness. Because of her age and her poor health – exacerbated by the fact that she had ignored the signs and symptoms of sepsis for nearly a month – her body was simply not strong enough to fight the infection. Less than thirty-six hours after she was admitted to the hospital, we let her peacefully and painlessly slip away.

Herbert London: EDAP And NATO

Dec 14, 2016

While the Euro declines in value reaching parity with the dollar, with debt overwhelming the underbelly of European states and with serious questions arising about the viability of the Union itself, the EU at the Bratislava Summit in September 2016 concluded that the time has come for its own military force.

Stephen Gottlieb: Lessons From A Century Of Voting Reforms

Dec 13, 2016

Let’s discuss voting issues today.  Well more than a century of experience has gone into the way we vote. That century should be a source of confidence and concern because none of us is old enough to remember why all the rules are in the statutes.

Fred Kowal: I Will Not Be Silent

Dec 13, 2016

Stunned? Shocked? Disbelieving?

I’m sure many of us shared that same reaction in the wee hours of November 9 once it became obvious that Donald Trump had won the presidential election. So how did we get there, and what do we do now?

Blair Horner: The Trump Administration Takes Shape

Dec 12, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump has been revealing his proposed leadership team for the new Administration set to take office next month.  According to media reports, it appears that his nominee for Secretary of State will be the head of oil-giant ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson.  Of course, we do not know if in fact Mr. Tillerson will be the nominee, but the leaks of his nomination will undoubtedly trigger controversy.

David Nightingale: H.L.Mencken (1880-1956)

Dec 11, 2016
H.L. Mencken
Public Domain

After the 2016 US presidential election London's Observer quoted H.L.Mencken on democracy:

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents more and more closely the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

Ralph Gardner Jr.: The Hudson Valley

Dec 10, 2016

My grandparents bought our home in Columbia County in 1948. But I didn’t start visiting regularly until I was a teenager in the late Sixties. I’d walk deep into the woods to write bad poetry. Which I’ve come to understand is age appropriate behavior.

Herbert London: Grand Strategy And Grand Illusion

Dec 7, 2016

Is it possible to detoxify the United States’ relations with Russia, China and the Muslim world? Is there a grand strategy that could maintain the honor of America and at the same time introduce stability in areas of the globe fraught with tension?

Stephen Gottlieb: Is Democracy In America Coming Apart?

Dec 6, 2016

I wrote Unfit for Democracy to warn that American democracy could collapse in coming decades. But the problems are coming home to roost sooner than I expected.

Bill Owens: NAFTA - What Happens Now?

Dec 6, 2016

Much has been written in the Canadian press about the US/Canada relationship, particularly since the recent US presidential election, while the US press has largely ignored this relationship and instead has focused on the US/Mexico relationship.

Blair Horner: A Special Session?

Dec 5, 2016

The talk of a special legislative session heated up last week.  State legislators – particularly those in the Assembly – were still smarting from the governor’s moves to kill their long-awaited pay increase.  In 2015, the governor and the legislature created a pay commission to establish whether lawmakers – and top ranking members of the executive branch – should get a pay hike, and if so how much.

Rob Edelman: Ida Lupino

Dec 5, 2016

From the early 1930s through late 1970s, multi-talented British-born Ida Lupino acted onscreen and on television here in the U.S. She was at her best playing strong-willed, neurotic and cynical (but occasionally vulnerable) heroines in such films as HIGH SIERRA and THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT, both with Humphrey Bogart; THE LIGHT THAT FAILED, with Ronald Colman; and THE SEA WOLF, with Edward G. Robinson and John Garfield. And she is cast to perfection in ROAD HOUSE, released in 1948, which recently came to home entertainment from Kino Lorber.

Well, the die is cast. The election is over and now we have to live with the results until 2020. My best guess is that those who have differences with the incoming President will have to make adjustments. From where I'm sitting, WAMC is one such adjustment. We have a budget that hovers around $7,000,000. About $419,000 comes from the federal government. Because of you, I am not worried. Our fund drives are marvels. It has always been true that the rougher things are, the more we all end up pulling together. That really is the story of WAMC from Day One.

November 8 was a shock. I believed that Trump’s misogyny, racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and basic dishonesty would lead to a rejection by a large majority. I have come to agree with Greg Palast and others that years of Republican strategies to suppress the votes of members of the Obama coalition paid off in some key states. Palast persuasively argues that the election was actually stolen. For details see: http://www.gregpalast.com/election-stolen-heres/

High-stakes testing — and the over-testing of students — have been a point of conflict in New York State for several years now.

Sean Philpott-Jones: Leadership. Commitment. Hype.

Dec 1, 2016

Today is World AIDS Day. It is, in fact, the 29th annual World AIDS Day, which is held every year on December 1st to honor the 35 million people who have died from the disease and to support the 40 million who currently live with HIV/AIDS. The theme for this year’s event, at least according to the US federal government? “Leadership. Commitment. Impact.” You’ll have to excuse me if I scoff openly at the audacity of that motto.

Herbert London: Leadership And National Unity

Nov 30, 2016

The recent American election raised a host of hypotheses about how to make America great again, to quote Mr. Trump. What it suggests is what made America great in the first place. Clearly America is based on a Constitution and Bill of Rights that give and constrain simultaneously in a symphony of Judeo Christian beliefs. The free market opened avenues of wealth and opportunity. Most significantly, the nation was blessed with great leaders from Washington to Reagan.

Stephen Gottlieb: The Don In Giovanni

Nov 29, 2016

I don’t usually tell stories, but sometimes an ancient story seems to have contemporary relevance.

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