Commentary & Opinion

The New Geography

Aug 28, 2015

Everywhere I go, people stop to tell me how much they love this radio station. I really appreciate those on-air testimonials that people volunteer to record, attesting to their “WAMC-hood.” Now that we are all “apped” up and you can hear the station anywhere in the world (I heard it as clear as a bell in Colombia S.A, and in Italy), people listen all over.

Sean Philpott-Jones: A Delicate Balance

Aug 27, 2015

Long the subject of science fiction stories, fertility treatments and sex-selection have been in the headlines lately. Our commentator Dr. Sean Philpott-Jones of Union Graduate College calls it a delicate balance. 

Herbert London: Money & Iran

Aug 26, 2015

Lead performers in “Cabaret” sing “Money makes the world go round.” Little did these performers know about the Middle East where money not only makes the world go round but props up dictators like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Iran is presently spending billions to keep him in power and prosecute a war in which more than 230,000 people have been killed and poison gas has been employed.

Stephen Gottlieb: Amtrak Subsidy

Aug 25, 2015

I’d like to talk about an issue that has been below the surface of the news but reflects a constant disagreement in our politics. Economic conservatives would displace almost everything in favor of the marketplace. But when you decide what to pay for, what are you including or excluding from the transaction?

Blair Horner: Summertime - Beaches, Ocean And Trash

Aug 24, 2015

As the nation begins to cram in its end of summer vacationing, many Americans head to the beach, particularly those on the ocean. Little do they see the increasing reality: the oceans are choking on garbage, particularly plastic waste.

David Nightingale: Bikinis And Bombs

Aug 23, 2015
nuclear test at the Bikini atoll
Wikimedia Commons

 In 1946 a Parisian engineer, whose mother owned a lingerie business, designed a women's swim suit consisting of 3 -- or at most 4 -- tiny triangles. A little earlier in 1946 explosive testing of nuclear bombs had been resumed after the horrific damages in Japan of 1945. These nuclear tests were on the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The engineer knew his swimsuit design would also be explosive, and he named it the "bikini".

Herbert London: Appeasement Here And Abroad

Aug 19, 2015

After years of inaction, NATO is now attempting to develop a strategy to cope with Russian aggression. A State Department report indicates that Iran has not reduced its global terrorist activity despite the accommodative stances of the P5 + 1 on Iranian nuclear weapons acquisition. The elimination of “stop and frisk” preventive policing action, has resulted in an increase of gun violence in New York City and in other major cities where lapsed police measures have been imposed.

Stephen Gottlieb: Regression To The Mean

Aug 18, 2015

Social scientists have a phrase, “regression to the mean.” What they mean is that the law of averages eventually fells families, companies or countries that are doing better than average, and eventually lift those doing much worse than the average. Now for all of us who like to say the United States is the best in the world, there is a prospect to consider.

This commentary first aired on November 6, 2012.

Ever since the first American hostages of church-state confederacy resolved to sever themselves from authoritarian domination by coalitions of royalty and its religious authenticators, self-styled advocates have attempted to influence the form of our newly-won freedom.  Prompted by profit oriented off-shoots of the original order, they have invariably prodded their quarry to cede autonomy for the assurance of corporate stability and significance.  Their lucre-amplified logic?  Fiduciary federation provides the most dependable source of freedom.  What they’ve blithely and intentionally overlooked was who controls the combination to the lock on the cash box.

Blair Horner: Some Good News

Aug 17, 2015

The scandals and controversies that have engulfed Albany surely feed public cynicism.  However, the vast majority of the time, government is providing services that help people, and it does so in a reasonably efficient and ethical way.

After a lot of arm twisting, the Gulf Arab states publicly backed the Obama administrations nuclear agreement with Iran. On the surface, this appears as a diplomatic victory for the president as he seeks to build support for his signature foreign policy initiative. But is this true?

Stephen Gottlieb: Government And Our Trip South

Aug 11, 2015

Many people in this country believe that the Founding Fathers established our Constitution to get government off of people’s backs. My wife and I just traveled to North Carolina where that idea is big. They expect people to take care of themselves without the help of the nanny state. We are all expected to earn and pay our own way.

Herbert Wolff Reviews "Macbeth"

Aug 11, 2015

Lovers of Shakespeare attending a performance of Macbeth await the familiar opening curtain and the appearance of three witches dancing around a boiling cauldron and the familiar lines: “Double, double…toil and trouble.”

Blair Horner: Ethics Stays In The News

Aug 10, 2015

When Albany is in the dog days of summer, it is usually quiet at the state Capitol.  Lawmakers are doing whatever they do during the summer and, in recent decades, the governor is usually downstate.

Herbert Wolff Reviews "Frankie and Johnny"

Aug 9, 2015

Here’s a recipe.

Michael Meeropol: Black Lives Matter

Aug 7, 2015

Recently, at the convention of Netroots Nation Presidential candidates Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders were confronted by members of the audience demanding that they address the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement.   Both men missed the opportunity to show that they GOT IT.

Rogovoy Report for August 7, 2015

Aug 7, 2015

We are in the home stretch of the summer cultural season in our region but there are still plenty of things to do and see.

About a century ago there was no switch we could flip to cool things down, except perhaps for a simple fan... but now, in sweltering and humid summers we have much to thank Mr Willis Carrier for.

Willis Haviland Carrier's family came from New England. His male ancestor emigrated from Wales in 1663, and married an early settler from Massachusetts, a woman who was later accused of being a witch because she defied the Andover town fathers in a boundary dispute. Refusing to admit to being a witch she had been hung from the gallows in Salem.

  ‘Shipwrecked,' being produced by Saratoga Shakespeare at the back box theater at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, is a very theatrical event in which three actors play 25 roles and create a number of locales with minimal scenery and costumes.  It’s an often funny work that is deliciously performed and imaginatively staged.   

The humor is not always laugh out loud, but it always charming enough to bring a smile to your face.  

There are a lot of things you can do with a doctorate in psychology. Like be a psychologist. Or teach. Or be an NFL assistant coach. That's right, an NFL assistant coach, which probably puts that degree to ample use. Of course, oddly enough, a Ph.D. is only the second most surprising part of the Arizona Cardinals new coaching hire. The real story is that the new hire is named Jen Welter, who is obviously a woman, the first female coaching hire in the NFL.

Stephen Gottlieb: Don't Shoot

Aug 4, 2015

Perhaps you read the NY Times story over the weekend about the self-described expert in police killings, William Lewinski, who justifies every police killing on the ground that the policeman had no time to protect himself, no time to do anything but shoot. Victim’s back turned, no time. Hand in pocket, no time. Victim doing what the officer told him to do, no time. All the evidence contradicts the statement of the officer, no time.

  The cities of Plattsburgh, Ogdensburg, Watertown, Saranac Lake, Malone, Potsdam, and Glens Falls in the North Country have all recently received accolades as places where people want to live as well as start and grow their businesses, all located in my old Congressional District.

Blair Horner: Is Albany Throwing In The Towel On Ethics?

Aug 3, 2015

  Even by Albany’s scandal-stained record, last week was unique: 2 state Senators were found guilty of corruption in two separate trials.  Former State Senate Majority Leader John Sampson and current Deputy Majority leader Tom Libous are now facing prison time for violating the public’s trust.

Given the historic nature of those convictions, it would be reasonable to expect reaction from Albany’s political leadership.  But that was not the case.  Instead of news releases and calls for action, only the sounds of crickets were heard from the state Capitol. 

Rob Edelman: 3-D Rarities

Aug 3, 2015

INSIDE OUT, a computer-animated feature from Disney-Pixar, is one of the season’s very best theatrical releases: a dazzlingly original must-see treat. It also is the latest major film to be made available theatrically in 3-D. To be sure, 3-D is not a new technology. Experiments in 3-D date from the early 20th-century and, at the dawn of the 1950s, 3-D feature films produced in Hollywood became fashionable and marketable.

The Ticonderoga Mill of International Paper recently invested $13 million to enable the use of compressed natural gas (“CNG”).  The project has been completed and is in operation as of June 1, 2015.  There had been discussions for several years about bringing natural gas to the Mill through a pipeline under Lake Champlain from Vermont which was not brought to fruition for a number of reasons. 

Die ZauberfloteThe Magic Flute – is an opera icon.  Composed in 1791, three months before his death, it is one of the most performed and most popular works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

In 1956, playwright Lillian Hellman conceived an idea to use Candide – Voltaire’s 200-year-old satirical attack on prevailing religion-based optimism – as the basis for a stage play.  It was Leonard Bernstein who convinced Hellman to structure it as an operetta.  They collaborated …but the result was a mismatch.  Bernstein’s music was lauded, but Hellman’s story and lyrics were considered confusing and clumsy.  The show lasted 73 performances.

Rogovoy Report for July 31, 2015

Jul 31, 2015

It’s a weekend full of new music, old music, folk music, country music, Broadway, opera, and more in our region. Here are just a few highlights.

The other night I went to the theater in Glens Falls and a rock concert kept interrupting the play. To be clear, the music interrupted the drama it did not intrude on it.   But to be blurry, neither did it always enhance the story.

This past Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (or ADA). Enacted with broad bipartisan support, the ADA was the first (and last) significant piece of human rights legislation passed in the US since the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Pages