Commentary & Opinion

Rob Edelman: The Best and the Worst, Part 2

Jan 7, 2013

Two of the year’s very best films-- and these are must-see items-- are arriving in movie theaters at the tail-end of 2012. They are Quentin Tarantino’s DJANGO UNCHAINED and Kathryn Bigelow’s ZERO DARK THIRTY, and they are as different as TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and a Hope-and-Crosby road picture. But DJANGO UNCHAINED and ZERO DARK THIRTY are not the only must-see films released during the year. Some also are big-budget items that feature A-list directors and major stars. Others are more modest independent titles or foreign films.

Predictions for the New Year

Jan 5, 2013

Alan Chartock is back with his annual predictions for the new year. What does he see happening in 2013?

Keith Strudler - Pennsylvania v. NCAA

Jan 2, 2013

It seems the topic of the hour is government spending.  So I’ll continue that dialogue, at least as it pertains to the state of Pennsylvania.  The current governor of that state Tom Corbett is angry about $60 million of state funds that are scheduled to be spent largely out of state.  It’s a result of the penalty levied by the NCAA on Penn State for its part in the recent child abuse scandal in its athletics department.

Blair Horner: A Look Back on the Fight Against Cancer

Dec 31, 2012
Blair Horner
C.W. McKeen / The Post - Standard, 2006

The dawn of a new year is the time to reflect and to plan a new course.  When it comes to fighting cancer, in 2012 New York took one significant step forward by restricting the use of indoor tanning booths.  As 2013 dawns, more steps are needed.

First some background:  In July, Governor Cuomo signed into law a new restriction on the use of tanning beds by children.  The law, which went into effect in August, bans the use of indoor tanning beds for those aged 16 years old and younger. 

Members of Congress are ringing in the New Year down in Washington, D.C. racing against time to get a deal in place that averts sending the country over the so-called fiscal cliff.

After spending Christmas with the possibility of getting called back to Albany by Governor Cuomo for a special session hanging over their heads, it looks like state lawmakers can relax and enjoy themselves tonight.  Meanwhile, Cuomo has spent the past several days on a family ski vacation up in the North Country. It looks like it’ll be an Adirondack New Year’s for him.

Sean Philpott: Annus Horribilis

Dec 27, 2012

In Great Britain, where much of my family is from and still lives, there is an annual tradition known as the Royal Christmas Message. Begun in 1932 by then King George V as a radio broadcast, the tradition has evolved into an annual event in which the sovereign head of the British Empire delivers a speech on that year's events, as well as personal and national triumphs and tragedies.

Keith Strudler - 2012 In Review

Dec 26, 2012

So as years go, 2012 may not have been our finest.  But, alas, and mercifully, it is coming to a close.  Yet generally time is not the best aid to remembrance nor perspective.  And with that we look back on the year that’s nearly past, not with an acute vision on recent events but with a more reflective eye on this year’s whole body of work.  In other words, sometimes it’s hard to remember something that happened even a month ago, much less 10 or 11.

Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez - Standing Strong Against the Furies

Dec 21, 2012

Just as people in places like the Maldives, Bangladesh and Japan shook their heads at the cluelessness of Americans who suddenly woke up to climate change when Sandy came to town, people living in hot spots of violence around the world now have every right to be shaking their heads at the collective American refusal to see and understand how, in the wake of the Newtown massacre, we are the cause of our own misery.

Although the truce between Gaza and Israel didn’t lead to an unequivocal result, Israeli officials said they destroyed most rocket launchers and Gazan leaders maintain the settlement means they resisted the Israeli offensive and have been emboldened by their relative success. Is there a victor in this struggle?

Paul Elisha: Socialist!

Dec 18, 2012

The ultra-Right Wing Rat-Pack, who masquerade as role models for an America, they say was founded by an elite corps of individualists, to glorify Christian ideals of morality and promote Capitalist ideas for profitable corporate conquest, has revived an old bugaboo to bamboozle the American electorate into acceptance of their unseemly and unjustified efforts to force it into eternal captivity.  They’ve re-raised the specter of ‘Socialism’!  In the face of truly dire threats like air and water pollution, climate change and global warming, plus mounting numbers of dead and wounded victims of the unchecked and irresponsible sale and use of guns and ammunition, these imperturbable profiteers have resurrected the baseless badge of ‘Socialist’ to pin on any who dare to bare their truly self-serving shenanigans.  From the outset of its pretentious inaugural, as the savior of a special way of life for a special class of societal scions, dedicated to preservation of social separation (the elitist upper-crust – from the ordinary ‘others’) corporate potentates have used every ruse to elaborate the pronounced difference between Capitalists as the creators and dispensers of earnings opportunity and eventual wealth… and those who serve them as the eventual receivers of residual benefits, thus justifying the levying of taxes on their receipt.  In defense of this Capitalist canard, corporate captains have employed legions of legal virtuosi, whose sole goal is to rationalize and define this assertion as fact.  Behind this licit disguise, they have devised and practiced the most flagrant forms of corporate welfare imaginable.  Anything else to the contrary, they have branded as “SOCIALIST!”

Stephen Gottlieb: My wishes for 2013

Dec 18, 2012

Since the next two Tuesdays fall on Christmas and New Year’s Day when this station will be airing special holiday programming, I need to get my New Year’s wishes in now.

Blair Horner: The Fight Over Obamacare Continues

Dec 17, 2012
Blair Horner
C.W. McKeen / The Post - Standard, 2006

The clock is ticking for Obamacare.  The federal health care law goes into effect in one year – with uninsured Americans allowed to sign up for coverage in about ten months.  Last Friday, implementation of the new law took a big step forward.

Rob Edelman: The Best and the Worst, Part 1

Dec 17, 2012

Each year, so many downright awful movies make it into theaters. If you set out to compile a list of the ten-best films of a given year, you easily might cite the 25 worst films... or the 35... or the 50. And unfortunately, 2012 was no different.

The jobs report last Friday was confusing, to say the least. Yes, the core unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, but a major reason for that was a drop in the size of the workforce—now a mere 63.6 percent of the population, far below what it has been over the past decade. While 146,000 jobs were created, the employment market remains anemic, demand is still low, and median income is still trending flat to down.

Herbert London: Further Proof the Nobel Peace Prize Is A Perverse Joke

Dec 12, 2012

Just what is the Nobel Peace Prize committee up to?  In giving the prize to the European Union (EU) the Norwegians comprising the decision making committee made themselves a laughing stock… again.  In what sense, is this regional union an avatar for peace? This decision is comparable to giving an award to a committee held together with illusions.

Stephen Gottlieb: Why We Need a Carbon Tax

Dec 11, 2012

I hope you heard Steven Leibo’s commentary last week. If not, you can find it by searching for Leibo's World Watch. He focused on the need for a carbon tax. I’d like to follow up.

Having now selected their national leadership and the representatives of their national legislature, Americans face a more important decision; perhaps the most important in the history of their country.  They must make a choice between politics and preservation.  Not the lower case preservation of personal or political consequence but the towering CAPITALS that spell out the preservation of what may well be humanity’s last-best hope for truly representative government: of, for and by its people.  Of even more enduring consequence, is the physical preservation of a healthy, socially and eco

Tobacco kills more than 400,000 Americans every year and costs the country about $100 billion in health care bills.  Despite successes in curbing tobacco use over the past four decades, it still is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.  

There are two primary reasons why I shell out money each month for the privilege of cable television. One is having access to a range of baseball games during the spring and summer months. The other is Turner Classic Movies, otherwise known as TCM. 

Karen Hitchcock: Higher Education at a Crossroads

Dec 6, 2012

Vartan Gregorian, the highly respected head of the Carnegie Corporation, is championing the convening of a national commission, established by the President, which would, in his words, “work on the challenges facing higher education” and which would include all sectors of postsecondary education  -   public and private, two-year and four-year  -   in an inclusive discussion of how our nation’s diverse system of higher education can best serve the needs of a more global and more technology – driven society.   Be it in terms of completion rates, or participation in STEM disciplines, or prepar

Ever since New York’s nefarious Kinderhook ‘Kingfish’ unleashed the venal voice of political patronage that forever soiled what could have been a proud and venerable national heritage, with the merit-less motto of: “To the winner goes the spoils!”, those engaged in government via politics and pertinent appointments, at state and local levels, have made the concept of ‘You scrub my back and I’ll scrub yours,’ standard operating procedure.  The problem is that not a lot of dirty laundry has come clean, since political practitioners at state and local levels were seemingly seduced by Thomas Je

Blair Horner: The Case for Expanding Medicaid

Dec 3, 2012

A new report issued by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Urban Institute – two health care think tanks—described the benefits to states which choose to expand Medicaid coverage as allowed under the federal health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act.  The report found that states will receive more than $9 in federal money for every $1 they spend to cover low-income residents.

That’s right: a $9 to $1 ratio.

Liz Benjamin - Mr. Cuomo Goes to Washington

Dec 3, 2012

Mr. Cuomo is finally going to Washington.

That’s right, Governor Andrew Cuomo is making his first trip today to our nation's capital since he took office back in January 2011. Most governors would not have waited this long. But Cuomo is not most governors. Cuomo has largely avoided out-of-state travel. He has left New York's borders only a handful of times – for a West Coast fundraiser, a quick visit to the annual Somos el Futuro conference in Puerto Rico, a one-day jaunt to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

Rob Edelman: Holiday Cheer

Dec 3, 2012

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET. A CHRISTMAS CAROL (the 1938 and 1951 versions). CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT. THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER. THE BISHOP’S WIFE. A CHRISTMAS STORY. These are among the holiday perennials: the movies that we savor watching and enjoying, the films that are the equivalent of a warm fire on a cold night and the automatic smile that comes when you are handed a steaming cup of hot apple cider.

David Nightingale - Oliver Heaviside (1850-1925)

Nov 30, 2012

   Oliver Heaviside received not much more than a middle school education, leaving school at 16 -- yet became one of the most famous mathematical physicists of his time [ref.1.].

   In a short biography by Appleyard [ref.2, p.218-9] there are a few drawings of horses by the 11 yr old Oliver, perhaps because his own father was an artist. as well as a wood engraver. The family lived in an impoverished part of Camden Town, London. Nevertheless, his mother's sister was the wife of Charles Wheatstone, famous for the Wheatstone Bridge circuit used in telegraphy.

Tiffany Brown-Bennett - The Wedding Ring

Nov 29, 2012

The miniature hands of little girls are prepped and awaiting this powerful symbol as they play with their Barbies and Kens, mashing them together in perpetual matrimony. The budding bodies of adolescent girls speed heart-first into the arms of their first loves in hopes he’ll be the one she ends up with forever and happily ever after, but does anyone read the fine print?

Sean Philpott: An End to AIDS?

Nov 29, 2012

Just in time for World AIDS Day -- held every year on December 1st to remember the nearly 30 million people who have died since the epidemic began in the late 1970s -- the US Preventative Services Task Force has released new guidance on routine HIV testing. This is first time since 2005 that the Task Force has updated its HIV testing recommendations.

Herbert London: The Israeli War With Gaza

Nov 28, 2012

It is astonishing to see Ban-ki-Moon and Hillary Clinton, among others clamoring for a truce between Israel and Hams-led terrorists.  One wonders where these diplomats were when more than a thousand missiles rained over Israel without retaliation.

Stephen Gottlieb: Iran

Nov 27, 2012

Iran’s position looks a bit stronger once the war in Gaza shifted everyone’s gaze.  But let’s use the breather to understand the bombast about Iran which will surely return.

Public bombast is not an effective or accurate way to get so-called messages to the other side. What goes on in private is vastly different. Diplomacy is private until public deals are reached and announced.

Paul Elisha: Silence

Nov 27, 2012

The great Ancient Greek philosopher/poet Dionysius has written:  “Let they speech be better than silence, or be silent.”  There is a new sort of silence now being ordained in this land, where speaking truth to power was once finally given voice --- it was thought, forever.  But those ordaining this silence believe theirs is a much more effective gag; tied more tightly and held in place by fear.  All the more compelling reason, to speak out against it.