Commentary & Opinion

Stephen Gottlieb: The Value Of Democracy

Sep 12, 2017

Driven by the Tea Party, Republicans gave us a Congress that hasn’t been able to get much done. Saying less government is better, they take credit for getting nothing done, and leave immigration, tax policy, and health care to fester. It took the Democrats to make a deal with Trump to open the spigot even on hurricane relief.

Bill Owens: Trump And The Democrats

Sep 12, 2017

On the evening of September the 6th, at a meeting with Mr. Trump, Ms. Pelosi and Messrs McConnell, Ryan, and Schumer a negotiation ensued to resolve the debt ceiling, Harvey relief and a Continuing Resolution (known as CR - that essentially extends current spending into the future when Congress can’t agree on specific appropriations bills).  There was a back and forth amongst the assembled with the initial offer from the Republicans being a proposal for an eighteen month CR and debt ceiling raise to be included with Harvey relief of $7.85 billion, this was countered by a three month proposal from the Democrats; the Republicans then countered only to be pushed aside by President Trump who agreed with the Democrats.

Blair Horner: Immigrants In America

Sep 11, 2017

The incredible natural calamities occurring around the world have understandably taken away public attention from important policy decisions, such as the Trump Administration’s move to end federal policy protecting the children of undocumented immigrants. 

Ralph Gardner Jr: Getting Into A Jam

Sep 9, 2017
Ralph Gardner Jr. picking raspberries at Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook, NY
Ralph Gardner Jr.

With the headlines – a Mexican earthquake sandwiched between two superstorms – sounding apocalyptic, mental health almost requires those of us out of harm’s way not only to give thanks but also to take solace in life's smaller pleasures.

Audrey Kupferberg: Alone In Berlin And The Exception

Sep 7, 2017

If the topic of a film is unpleasant but presented in an exaggerated or outlandish manner, audiences flock to see the movie.  In superhero blockbusters, characters borne in comics fight to the death to save whole populations from misery and the world from mass destruction.  Audiences can’t get enough of this type of entertainment, and profits of hundreds of millions of dollars result.  

Bill Owens: The Health And Safety Land Account

Sep 7, 2017

A common sense Constitutional amendment has been put forward for a vote this November.  The State Assembly with strong leadership from Assemblyman D. Billy Jones and the State Senate with strong support from Senator Betty Little have voted in two consecutive years to move this amendment forward as well as having passed enabling legislation. The amendment creates a 250 acre land bank in the Adirondacks and the Catskills.  These two constitutionally protected areas of the state provide enormous green space which aid in the protection of our environment and are major attractions for tourism and recreation bringing tens of thousands of visitors from outside of New York.  This is the second proposal that I recall which provided for a common sense response to the needs of Adirondack communities.  Several years ago, a land swap occurred in Essex County for the NYCO mining facility, which was a hotly contested amendment to the state Constitution, but nonetheless, it passed and NYCO was allowed to expand in exchange for returning land of equal size to the Adirondack Park. 

Herbert London: The Lesson Of Charlottesville

Sep 6, 2017

The events in Charlottesville raise many questions about national cohesion. If a national government is to exist, it requires political loyalty that causes neighbors to treat each other as fellow citizens. Without a legacy of social trust derived form a sense of belonging, political stability is impossible. Those on either side of the barricades in Charlottesville were not united in common sympathies and could not in any meaningful way offer their fealty to government.

Stephen Gottlieb: Taking Care Of Each Other

Sep 5, 2017

Americans have been celebrating the reaction to Hurricane Harvey as an example of Americans taking care of each other. There is much to celebrate. But we have also wrestled for centuries with the problem of taking care of each other – the out of work, the working poor and others struggling to stay afloat.

A recent story in the Wall Street Journal indicated that Alibaba’s revenue will grow fifty percent (50%) due to an increase in sales to China’s growing middle class.  The dynamics of that reality may well cause a shift in Chinese production towards its own middle class, and thus, a shift in the utilization of resources for that production.  The level of Chinese exports to the United States in 2015 was $483,188,700,000 and 2016 was $462,618,100,000, resulting in a U.S. trade deficit during each of those years of $367,256,700,000  and $347,016,000,000  respectively.

Blair Horner: The Campaign Season Begins

Sep 4, 2017

Not only does Labor Day herald the beginning of the football season, it also kicks off the final quarter of New York’s election campaigns.  And while the focus of this year’s elections is on local offices, there are three ballot questions that impact the state’s constitution.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Traveling Beyond The Headlines

Sep 2, 2017
A memorial to victims of August's terrorist attack in Barcelona
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

There are many benefits to taking a vacation abroad – the charming, if unquantifiable stimulus on the brain when you visit new places; good food; and the opportunity to relax; whether in my case that means taking long walks through terrain more dramatic than our woods or going swimming in bodies of water significantly larger and less murky than our pond.

Bill Owens: NAFTA Talks

Sep 1, 2017

The United States, Canada and Mexico had their first day of negotiations on Wednesday August 13th, 2017. Prior to the U.S. Trade Representatives, Robert Lighthizer, remarks it was difficult to determine the direction those negotiations might take and their impact on our region. Most of what takes place in Washington has little direct impact on our region. NAFTA is a major exception to that axiom. 

Herbert London: The Lying Heart Of The Left

Aug 31, 2017

The idiocy of the hard left is in full display in a Huffington Post article by Jessica Schulberg entitled: “Sebastian Gorka, Who Has Downplayed Threat of White Supremists, Still Teaches Marines About Terrorism.” Ms. Schulberg claims that Sebastian Gorka, an adviser to President Trump, has been overly critical of Islam, yet dismissive of a white nationalist threat.

Behind The Scenes

Aug 30, 2017

It takes a lot of people to make WAMC the superb, fun place to come to work that it. Many of you know Joe Donahue, Sarah LaDuke, Ray Graf, Brian Shields, David Guistina, Wanda Fisher, and Selma Kaplan, among the many other on-air people. But there are a lot of unsung stars who really do make the place hum.

Stephen Gottlieb: God And Texas

Aug 29, 2017

I mentioned to Ian a couple of weeks ago, as I was preparing to take a brief vacation, that I thought I had enough commentary ready for a couple of months. Ian just smiled and said it might depend on what happened. He didn’t mention a biblical flood in Texas.

Every child should be taught by a highly skilled, qualified teacher.

A standard page out of the American Business playbook is that if there is a serious problem emerging down the road, corporate chieftains ramp up a massive disinformation and lobbying campaign to undermine the threat.

David Nightingale: Lucretius, Philosopher

Aug 27, 2017
Sculpture of Lucretius, 1859-1861, Parco del Pincio, Rome
photo by Colle Pincio / Wikimedia Commons

This essay is about Titus Lucretius Carus, a Roman, who was born around 99 BC.

He is known for a long poem “De Rerum Natura” -- “on natural things” -- or on natural philosophy.

Bill Owens: What Is Next For Healthcare?

Aug 25, 2017

The Republican Senate’s third failed attempt at repeal and/or replace was a surprise to many, including this writer.  I believed they would get something passed, even for the limited purpose of getting a bill back to the House, and into conference committee.  Senator Graham subsequently announced he had a plan which he would move forward with, but that too seems to have died as Senator McConnell said the Senate is moving on.  President Trump has continued to attack on Twitter those Republican Senators who voted against the last Senate bill, Mr. McConnell and Republicans in general for the failure to pass healthcare reform.       A group of house members from the “Common Sense Caucus” have issued a set of principles to create a framework for healthcare reform.  As yet, beyond the press release, not much has happened.  Will Republicans revisit healthcare, or, in fact, let the repeal and replace mantra die.

WAMC's political observer Alan Chartock speaks with WAMC's Jim Levulis about President Trump's battle over a government shutdown with the Republican Party's congressional leaders and the White House under Chief of Staff General John Kelly.

WAMC's Alan Chartock speaks with WAMC's Jim Levulis about the relationship between President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urging the U.S. government to reject racist speech and ideology, and progress on the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. 

Herbert London: From Assimilation To Hate

Aug 23, 2017

When the “new nation” was founded, it was a given that former British citizens would be transmogrified into Americans after the umbilical cord with Britain was cut. This was simple assimilation.

Stephen Gottlieb: I Have A Dream

Aug 22, 2017

The North was segregated after Brown outlawed segregation in 1954. It didn’t happen by private individual choices but by government decisions that blocked banks from lending to African-Americans in both the suburbs and inner cities. Those now well documented decisions created many of the inner cities’ problems and the struggle to make equality real. But who cares?

Blair Horner: Colleges Open Up

Aug 21, 2017

All across New York State, colleges and universities are opening up for the Fall 2017 academic semester.  This annual rite of passage is life-changing for the students and deeply impactful for the families.  One key way that college can impact is the cost.

WAMC's political observer Dr. Alan Chartock discusses the crash of the destroyer USS John S. McCain, President Trump's Afghanistan strategy, anti-racism rallies across the U.S. over the weekend and today's solar eclipse.

Not only is the production of the “The Elixir of Love” a wonderful professional offering of a delightful comic opera, it is probably one of the most charming entertainment experiences you can have this season.

Keith Strudler: Both Sides

Aug 16, 2017

The other side. That phrase, or a variant thereof, has gotten an unusual amount of play in the past several days. We’ve been told, by the President, no less, to look at both sides when assessing blame. Most every mediator or manager wants to hear both sides before making a decision. No matter your posture or position, it seems there’s always the other side to consider, even if it sometimes seems intuitively one-sided. Like the world is round. Or ice cream is delicious.

Herbert London: Never Trump and The Trump Presidency

Aug 16, 2017

For the so-called Never Trumpers, the president’s coarse cultural style is an unforgiving trait, one that undermines the dignity of the office. Never Trumpers (NTs) contend that even if there are policies President Trump embraces consistent with their philosophical suppositions, they will remain firm in their opposition.

Stephen Gottlieb: The Dagger In The Heart of Labor

Aug 15, 2017

Last week I spoke about labor. Next week is the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s speech at the 1963 March on Washington. I intended to connect the two. After hate intervened in Charlottesville, that’s even more urgent.

Blair Horner: The State Of The Climate

Aug 14, 2017

Last week the nation’s top science agencies released a report on the planet’s deteriorating climate.  The report, State of the Climate 2016, by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration made it official: 2016 was the warmest year in recorded history.  And it was the third year in a row that the record was set.

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