Commentary & Opinion

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.

For too many Americans, the end of the Thanksgiving meal was followed by a “food coma.”  During the holidays, many of us know that we eat too much.

It turns out that, on average, Americans eat too much during the rest of the year too.

Unfortunately, eating too much can have devastating consequences.  Three quarters of all healthcare costs are attributed to chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. The major drivers of those costly chronic conditions are tobacco use and obesity which are both preventable and treatable.

Sometimes "who says it" is just as important as "what they say." So it is with Warren Buffett's op-ed in today's New York Times about taxes and the fiscal realities of our budget. 

Rob Edelman: Presidents

Nov 26, 2012

At this moment in time, so many Americans seem to have overdosed on presidential politics and, in particular, the wave of negative advertising that dominated the recently concluded election. Nevertheless, as the year nears its close, two new films spotlight certain aspects of the lives and personalities of revered American presidents. They are Steven Spielberg’s LINCOLN, which stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, and Roger Michell’s HYDE PARK ON HUDSON, which features Bill Murray as Franklin Roosevelt. 

We are now almost three weeks past the November 6th elections, and there's still no resolution in sight to the leadership crisis in the state Senate.

All eyes today are on Ulster County - the fifth and final county in the new 46th Senatorial District to count its paper ballots. After Montgomery County completed its count this weekend, Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk trailed Republican Assemblyman George Amedore by 920 votes. The outcome of this race could very well decide who controls the upper chamber.

By all rights, President Barack Obama should have been beaten handily by Mitt Romney.  Usually, an incumbent President wins if the economy is doing well --- think of 1996 when Bill Clinton was re-elected, think of 1972 when Richard Nixon was re-elected.   If the economy is not doing well, an incumbent President loses:  Think of Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H, W. Bush in 1992.  There are “close calls” in this analysis – the two that come to mind are the successful re-election campaigns of Ronald Reagan in 1984 (which resulted in a landslide victory) and George W.

Where is my America?  The nation of rugged individualists has ceded its position to those who embrace the command economy. Moreover, a failed record doesn’t mean very much when media panjandrums use barrels of print to boost the fortune of their desired candidates.

      Maybe it is the proximity of Thanksgiving that has gotten to me - but here is a really positive take on the year in politics:

The good guys won. And I don't just mean the President got re-elected.

There was more to it - so let's take a closer look at two specific aspects of the political landscape.

First - democracy was elevated.

Yes -- that may sound crazy after all the bile and nasty TV ads that buffeted us this year. At the fringe the ugliness was there, as it will always be unfortunately.

Stephen Gottlieb: But for the grace of God

Nov 20, 2012

I have often thought back to a conversation I had many years ago with one of my students. She had come from a rural background with a strong, and in many ways admirable, streak of self-reliance. She was dumbfounded when I quoted the saying “There but for the grace of God go I,” often attributed to a sixteenth century evangelical preacher and martyr, John Bradford. How could I, her professor, imagine myself in the position of people who were down and out, people without jobs who needed help?

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