Commentary & Opinion

Herbert London: Is War The Real Alternative?

Apr 15, 2015

Coruscating through the bloodstream of American history are wars that devastated the young and plunged the nation into despair. In World War II millions lost their lives across the globe. Recently thousands were casualties of the attenuated war in Afghanistan and the conflict in Iraq. Bodies were broken, minds impaired, suggesting yet again that war is hell.

Madison, Wisconsin; Ferguson, Missouri, Staten Island, New York; the list is endless and growing. And the tears keep flowing. Mostly young Black men deprived of their lives without benefit of any opportunity to defend themselves. They can’t defend themselves physically because that will be treated as a threat on the officers’ lives. They never get a chance to hire an attorney and defend themselves in court. It’s all over before it starts. More lives gone. More families grieving. That, apparently, has become American “justice.”

Rabbi Dan Ornstein: Convoys

Apr 14, 2015

Every year prior to Holocaust Memorial Week, my synagogue conducts a vigil in which we read the names of Jewish children from France whom the Nazis deported in cattle car convoys to Auschwitz and other death camps.  Their identities are known to us almost exclusively from lists the Nazis meticulously compiled, which were later confiscated by Allied forces.  The lists were documented by Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, renowned Nazi hunters and Holocaust historians who published them, first in French, then in an English language volume by New York University Press, entitled French Children Of The Holocaust. The book, nearly nineteen hundred pages long, lists the names, ages, addresses, and deportation locations of more than eleven thousand French Jewish children, some of them as young as two and a half.  It also contains a large collection of pre-war photos of them, preserving the last images of their individuality as young people who were once alive and free. Serge Klarsfeld once remarked that to preserve their memories most appropriately, he would have produced a book eleven thousand pages long, if he could have. 

Most New Yorkers correctly assume that the state’s campaign finance system is a mess.  New York has the highest campaign contribution limits of any state that has limits, the law is riddled with loopholes and enforcement is essentially nonexistent.  One government-appointed commission described New York’s campaign finance law as a “disgrace.”

Sean Philpott-Jones: What's The Matter With Indiana?

Apr 9, 2015

With all of the hoopla over Indiana's recent enactment of its Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a poorly-written law that gives businesses and individuals broad license to discriminate against members of the lesiban, gay, bisexual and transgender community, another travesty unfolding in that state has gone overlooked. Specifically, Indiana is experiencing the largest outbreak of HIV in the Hoosier State's history, an epidemic sparked in part by partisan politics.

Keith Strudler: Blame The Refs

Apr 8, 2015

You can make several superlative claims about Monday night’s men’s NCAA Division I basketball title game, where Duke defeated Wisconsin, and the entirety of this year’s men’s Final Four, which saw the end of Kentucky’s undefeated season. For example, it was one of the most intensely played series in recent memory, at times resembling a football game more than the game Naismith envisioned. It was also one of the youngest, at least for Duke and Kentucky, which were constructed primarily of first-year players headed straight for the NBA, or one-and-done as the common pejorative vernacular goes. And it was one of the most competitive events in recent times, with two of the three games essentially a toss-up.

After weeks of wrangling, a framework for a nuclear agreement with Iran was reached, albeit the details still must be worked on.  As expected, President Obama ‘guaranteed” this “historic” deal – please don’t call it a treaty – “would cut off every path to Iran developing the bomb.”  While one could surely appreciate the president’s enthusiasm since this is regarded as his legacy, it would seem that the president did not read the fine print.

Stephen Gottlieb: Prosecuting The Prosecutor

Apr 7, 2015

Here’s a news flash from the Innocence Project that left me both cheering and in tears:

The Texas State Bar filed a formal accusation of misconduct against the prosecutor in the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in 2004 for the arson murder of his three young daughters. The bar accuses the former prosecutor, John H. Jackson, of obstruction of justice, making false statements and concealing evidence favorable to Willingham's defense, according to a disciplinary petition filed in Navarro County District Court this month.[1]

Since this commentary was aired, nearly a year ago, last June, the hoodlums in ‘The People: Yes’ poems of Carl Sandburg, have become emboldened.  The House-Divided, that Lincoln warned against, has become an American sanctuary…, a refuge for rowdies.  A hooligan hierarchy has infested it, while hard-pressed defenders of freedom waffle over how and when to do what they know they must.  This pundit’s re-edited update is offered, now, in the ardent hope that it might help.

Blair Horner: Flawed Budget And Ethics Deals

Apr 6, 2015

The big news last week was the passage of the new state budget.  As has happened all-too-often, the budget was the product of horse trading and negotiations conducted in secret.  That’s right, despite the fact that it’s your money, Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers agreed to a $142 billion state budget and approved it in a way that meant that New Yorkers only found out the details after the fact.