Commentary & Opinion

Stephen Gottlieb: Who We Work To Support

Sep 29, 2015

We've all seen bumper stickers that complain, "I work so welfare queens don't have to" and other complaints about taking care of people in need. Conservatives, Republicans, Tea Partiers all tell us the problem is “entitlements.” And people are mad. They do not want to work to pay for other people's entitlements.

The Drive

Sep 29, 2015

The crucial, life-giving fund drive begins Monday October 5th. I don’t have to tell anyone that this is where we live. No fund drive, no station.

Bill Owens: Kim Davis, A Conscientious Objector?

Sep 29, 2015

Kim Davis, County Clerk of Rowan, Kentucky, recently defied a court order to issue marriage licenses to any eligible person(s). She based her position on the concept that she was responding to a “higher power,” and therefore would not issue the licenses.

Last week, advocates across the nation celebrated “National Voter Registration Day.”  In New York, there was little to celebrate.

Rod Edelman: Toronto Overview, Part 2

Sep 28, 2015

Each year, a smorgasbord of films are screened at the Toronto Film Festival. They include Canadian and other foreign-to-the-U.S. titles, low-budget independents, documentaries, and so forth. But these days, the films that garner the most attention are the big-budget, highly anticipated titles that feature top-of-the-line talent. Of course, the producers of these films are praying that their titles will charm the international critics and emerge from the fest with positive buzz and Academy Award hopes.

Jeffrey Reel: Donald Trump And The GOP

Sep 27, 2015

“There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear” – Buffalo Springfield.

Donald Trump is a bombastic, narcissistic man-child. And although I would never vote for him, I do want to thank him. He is creating a seismic shift in the Republican Party and its political platform, and, in some respects, it’s for the best.

Karen Magee: Swinging Back Towards Sanity

Sep 25, 2015

I normally don’t put too much stock in opinion polls.

But, let me be honest with you: I smiled broadly when I heard about the recent Quinnipiac poll on education.

Sean Philpott-Jones: Orphan Drug Economics 101

Sep 24, 2015

Last month, the cost of a drug called Daraprim, used to treat a potentially life-threatening infection in cancer and AIDS patients, increased 5500% overnight.

Herbert London: Entropy And Foreign Policy

Sep 23, 2015

The Second Law of Thermodynamics, that relies on energy, states the every natural thermodynamic process proceeds with the sum of entropies of all bodies taking part in the process increasing. Entropy, in other words, is inevitable. In human relations, it is precisely what one wants to avoid. We struggle against entropy through hope, faith, determination and reason.

Stephen Gottlieb: Hillary

Sep 22, 2015

We were delighted when Kermit Hall, a friend since the early 80s, became president of the University at Albany. A week before he died, we had breakfast with Kermit at the President’s house. So I went to the memorial service at the University with a heavy heart. There was a woman standing in the crowd I didn’t recognize. She was just standing around quietly. My ability to recognize faces is poor, good enough for most things but it often fails me. She eventually made her way to the makeshift outdoor stage that had been organized for the memorial. Once the memorial got under way, she was introduced – as Senator Clinton. I don’t remember her reading anything. What I heard was a warm, heartfelt eulogy of my friend, a eulogy that flowed easily from her, filled with memories of their work together to strengthen the University in New York.

After a brief hiatus, Albany’s ethics are once again in the media.  Last week, two Assemblymembers were sentenced to prison for their ethics crimes and Governor Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” economic development program was reported to be under scrutiny by federal prosecutors.

Jeffrey Reel: Abortion In A Democracy

Sep 20, 2015

 “Pro Life,” “Pro Choice,” “Right to Life,” “Freedom of Choice.”

Herbert London: The Double Standard & Foreign Policy

Sep 16, 2015

In Europe today Christian symbols are often seen to be part of archaeological troves that tourists pay to admire, but they are not seen as true testimony of faith – a condition considered offensive to other religions. Blasphemous expressions against Christianity are tolerated as an invocation of free speech. By contrast, Islam is treated with care since the criminal code is a source of protection and the fear of violent reaction is the unspoken word.

This campaign makes me nostalgic for the draft.

The Republican candidates have been telling us who they want to keep out, and whom they don’t like or wouldn’t lift a finger for – Mexicans, Iran, Muslims, the poor, women, peaceniks. And they make it pretty obvious whom they do like – whites, “real men,” cops, soldiers, guns, the U.S., especially the U.S. before any of us were born, and Christians. It’s all stereotypes, of course. No group of people is all good or all bad – not even conservatives, a big stretch for me. There are always gradations – people need to be judged on their behavior. But that’s too much work. Simplification is so much easier.

Bill Owens: Governor Walker’s Bad Idea

Sep 15, 2015

Governor Scott Walker announced his support for considering building a wall along the Canadian border, which is clearly a really, really bad idea. It appears the governor is now back-tracking through his aides.

Blair Horner: The Debate Over Educating Prisoners

Sep 14, 2015

Recently the Obama Administration took a step to try to deal with one of the nation’s most intractable problems: how to reduce the recidivism rate of those released from prisons.  There are approximately 1.5 million people in state or federal prisons.  Those prisoners are serving time because they have been convicted of a serious crime.  But the question is – what happens when their time is up and they are released back into our communities?

David Nightingale: Zenobia (240 - 275?)

Sep 13, 2015

This essay is about Queen Zenobia of Syria.

The setting is Palmyra, a beautiful city on an oasis at the edge of the Syrian desert. While there is a Palmyra on the Erie Canal in NY State, not far from Rochester NY, the Palmyra that Zenobia grew up in is situated between a mountain and the Orontes river -- with a pleasant climate, palm trees, and fertile land for such crops as barley, olives, figs, pistachios.

Fred Kowal: Skin Deep

Sep 10, 2015

There’s this great song written by blues legend Buddy Guy called “Skin Deep.” He sings how people are much more than what they appear to be and that despite our differences, underneath we’re all the same.

Sean Philpott-Jones: A Question Of Conscience

Sep 10, 2015

On Tuesday, in front of a large crowd of supporters that included Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz, Kim Davis was released from federal custody.

Herbert London: Balance Of Power

Sep 9, 2015

When Klemens Von Metternich, 19th century Austrian diplomat extraordinaire, thought about European stability, he walked a tightrope between the Tsar’s goals with those of Napoleon. He had Austria serve as an “impartial mediator” in Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and at the same time promising to throw Austria’s weight against Napoleon. This pretense of neutrality was maintained until 1813 when Napoleon was increasingly pressed by this adversaries.

Stephen Gottlieb: Realism About Middle Eastern Priorities

Sep 8, 2015

Republicans in Congress have been holding up funds for Fulbright scholarships and the Peace Corps, anything that would actually allow Americans to learn about what is going on in the rest of the world. It's no wonder that foreign policy discussions have the smell of fantasy.

Bill Owens: Flat Wages?

Sep 8, 2015

Recent jobs data demonstrates that while employment continues to grow, wages have remained flat. There is speculation about the reasons with many economists offering different, but inconclusive analysis.

After the Labor Day weekend, both the House and Senate will begin debating a resolution of disapproval of the nuclear agreement between Iran and China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the United States and the European Union.  Later they will vote on the deal.  Millions of dollars are being spent by various lobbying groups to defeat it.  Much less is being spent by supporters.   (It is important to remember that this is not an agreement just between the US and Iran --- the US had many partners in this negotiation.)

Bill Owens: President Donald?

Sep 3, 2015

Donald Trump, after what most commentators and observers concluded was an outrageous debate performance, has gyrated but clearly gained in the polls. The Republican establishment appears astonished, and the other candidates look lost.

Herbert London: It’s Only A Paper Moon

Sep 2, 2015

Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan recently reaffirmed Iran’s position that issues involving Iran’s missile program are not matters for discussion. Presumably Iran is determined to keep developing its missile force. As for attempts to clarify Iran’s past activity regarding the “military dimensions” of its nuclear program, Dehghan noted that Iran will definitely not grant anyone access to its security and military “secrets.”

I have been very disappointed with Sen. Schumer and those of his colleagues in both houses of Congress who will not support the agreement with Iran. I’m sure they have convinced themselves that their stand is good for America, good for Israel, and good for their supporters. They should know better.

Bill Owens: The Defense Budget And ISIS

Sep 1, 2015

The House and Senate Appropriations Committee are advancing defense spending bills after the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by each House. Neither appropriations nor NDAA legislation is likely to make it to the President’s desk in the form they exist today. In both instances, the legislation will require a Conference and intra caucus negotiations likely being be the most intense.

This week marks the beginning of the semester for most colleges in New York State.  As students begin their next collegiate experience, families tackle how to pay for it.

Karen Magee: Drawing Meaning From The Meaningless

Aug 30, 2015

Earlier this month, the State Education Department released student scores on state standardized tests. Yet, most of the media coverage centered on the 220,000 students who opted out of those tests.

Bill Owens: Chinese Currency Manipulation

Aug 29, 2015

The recent Chinese government devaluation of its currency by approximately 4.4 percent is a cogent reminder of how the Chinese manipulate their economy, and the world economy.  There is no doubt that what the Chinese are doing is an effort to make these exports less expensive, which has been blatantly confirmed by senior leaders.  These actions continue a decades-long attack on US manufacturing with little or no negative consequences.

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