Commentary & Opinion

Hilary Dunne Ferrone: Gender Equity In Nonprofit Leadership

Mar 16, 2017

Last weekend I attended a panel discussion in my hometown regarding the future of our county and the role nonprofits can play in shaping that future.  We touched on many things: economics, jobs, demographics and community institutions. The conversation led to people sharing ideas as to how we can strengthen nonprofits so that they can continue to do the work that creates a sense of place and community.  Encouraging diversity – in its many forms -- on nonprofit boards was one suggestion for breaking down barriers among people, and reducing a feeling of “us” and “them.” Ironically, however, there was just one person in the room under the age of 50, the entire audience was white, and there was just one woman on the four-person panel.

Herbert London: Change In Our Time

Mar 15, 2017

From Heraclitus to the present, historians and philosophers addressed the issue of change. Is change built into the nature of society or is it a mirage that reflects a different side of sameness? It would appear that there are years in the so-called modern age that suggest a departure from the past: 1789 and The French Revolution; 1914 the Great War and the End of Innocence; 1939 and the onset of World War II. Although it is too early to argue with any certainty, 2016-2017 may be a candidate for historic proportions, since the institutions and their philosophical underpinnings which accounted for relative global stability are in disarray. The world is turning and not necessarily on its axis. “The wheel keeps turning the sky’s rearranging.”

Stephen Gottlieb: Trump And Jobs

Mar 14, 2017

Last week I commented that scholars of intolerance tell us that feeling threatened often leads to hate. That’s one reason the economic threat to some American workers matters to all of us.

Ben Downing: National Service

Mar 14, 2017

It is nearly impossible to avoid discussions about what divides us. Urban vs. Rural. Boomers vs. Millenials. Conservative vs. Progressive. Red state vs. Blue States. These discussions don’t just say something about the different groups their proponents try to drop folks into, they also say something about what is missing in our society - a shared experience.

Blair Horner: Trump Fires Bharara

Mar 13, 2017

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s statement was brief, but packed a punch: “Today, I was fired from my position as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.”

David Nightingale: Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

Mar 12, 2017
Robert Louis Stevenson in a work by Count Girolamo Nerli
Count Girolamo Nerli / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Let's take a break from politics and trumpitudes, and look at the early life of Robert Louis Stevenson -- for that's about all a short essay can encompass. Specifically, let's go as far as the time Stevenson fell off his horse in California, on his way to his future wife ... and lay there for two days, before a couple of ranchers saved him ...

Ralph Gardner Jr: A Taste Of Poland

Mar 11, 2017
Hudson Polish Delicatessen
Ralph Gardner, JR

A nation’s museums and monuments, parks and restaurants aren’t the only things that interest me on vacations abroad. I also love visiting their supermarkets.

Bill Owens: Wire Taps By Whom And Of Whom?

Mar 9, 2017

President Trump’s latest offering of fake news is that President Obama wiretapped his campaign phones.

Sean Philpott-Jones: The Problem With Binary

Mar 9, 2017

Throughout his raucous 2016 campaign, President Trump repeatedly claimed that he would be an ardent defender of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. During the Republican National Convention, for instance, he proclaimed that, “As your president I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens.” Despite this statement (which stood in stark contrast to the Republican Party’s virulently anti-LGBT political platform), and diverging from the public comments and actions when he was still a private citizen, since gaining the nomination and later the presidency, Donald Trump has largely kowtowed to the more homophobic wings of his party.

Herbert London: What The World Sees In The U.S.

Mar 8, 2017

The secular religion of America is in disarray. Black Lives Matter disavow loyalty to the Constitution. Many Americans of various ethnicities have detached themselves from the bedrock beliefs that made this nation unique in the history of the world.

Stephen Gottlieb: How Can We Protect American Workers

Mar 7, 2017

Trump’s power, and his policies on jobs, immigrants, religious and ethnic hatreds and the Alt-wrong are all related.

A few months ago, Governor Cuomo held a news conference with the U.S. Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, to announce a new initiative: to make public college tuition free for families whose incomes were no more than $125,000.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Catching Mice

Mar 4, 2017
House mouse
Public Domain/ National Institutes of Health / Wikimedia Commons

One of the secrets to success as a newspaper columnist, or probably a radio commentator for that matter – and no, it’s not having something to say – is self-deprecation. Because the question will eventually arise, “What gives you the right to mouth off?”

On February 21, David Brooks wrote an OP ED for the New York Times entitled, “This Century is Broken.” 

Herbert London: Revanchism And Crisis Management

Mar 1, 2017

Revanchism, from the French revanche or “revenge”, is the will to reverse territorial losses following war or social movement. The dismantling of the Soviet Union, to cite one example, has led to a Putinesque policy of irredentism, the reclamation of territory once within the Soviet orbit. In a strange way revanchism has become the twenty- first contrary foreign policy perspective.

What If?

Mar 1, 2017

A while back, I told you that the Trump White House was on track to eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (the organization that provides some federal funds for public broadcasters like WAMC) and the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. We know that the Breitbart organization, formerly run by senior White House Advisor Steve Bannon, had called for the privatization of the CPB. When I mentioned that on WAMC, the money came rolling in and we made history. I suggested that each time we have a fund drive we tack on an extra $133,000 that would add up to the $400,000 CPB contributes to our $7,000,000 budget. You were smart enough to make sure we got it.

Stephen Gottlieb: Choose Life

Feb 28, 2017

I want to focus on a serious issue that is being ignored in favor of all kinds of fake news and grandstanding. In college, I took a course on demography. That means we were looking at the explosion of population in parts of the world, which then leveled off, but at much higher levels than before. Everything we are struggling with in this twenty-first century is related to that explosion of population.

Hilary Dunne Ferrone: Finding The Silver Lining

Feb 28, 2017

I consider this my “silver lining” segment. You’ll likely understand why in a moment.

Recently, a Congressional committee once again took aim at New York State Attorney General Schneiderman and his investigation of oil-giant ExxonMobil.  The action was a subpoena issued by Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas. Representative Smith is the chair of the United States House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.  His subpoena is to obtain internal records from the New York State Attorney General’s investigation of ExxonMobil, which may be intended as a way to derail any action.

Ben Downing: Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities

Feb 26, 2017

In the early stages of 2017, there is seemingly much to be happy about in Massachusetts. The state’s unemployment rate is at a very low 2.8% and a record numbers of Massachusetts residents have found work. More than many other states, our combination of higher education, healthcare and high tech institutions and companies has positioned Mass to thrive in the 21st century economy.

Ralph Gardner JR: Soul Of The Cat

Feb 25, 2017

Only once did a walk in the woods upstate disappoint me. It happened in the spring of 2015 shortly after my family and I returned from a safari in Botswana.

Karen Magee: Everyone Should Pay Their Fair Share

Feb 24, 2017

New York is a big, diverse state, with a long list of societal needs.

Judith Enck: Assault On Our Environment

Feb 23, 2017

It is hard to overstate the seriousness of the Trump Administration’s assault on environmental protection. 

Herbert London: Democracy v. Republic

Feb 22, 2017

Plato argued that democracy by its very nature cannot work. The direct involvement of the people in the affairs of state will lead to a situation where takers outnumber givers thereby rendering the economy precarious. But that isn’t the only issue the demos introduces. Direct participation can lead to the belief a majority rules denying the rights of minorities or there is justification for “the people” to take matters into their own hands.

Stephen Gottlieb: Investing In The Environment

Feb 21, 2017

The White House isn’t explaining government’s environmental options.

It’s budget season in Albany and higher education issues are getting lots of attention.  It’s about time. 

The governor has done a lot to promote the state’s program to boost breast cancer screening rates.  He spent considerable time advocating for the expanded program and made it a centerpiece of his 2016 State of the State address.  But cancer is not only a women’s issue, it affects all of us. 

David Nightingale: Smart Meters And Microwaves

Feb 19, 2017
Talbott/National Institute of Standards and Technology / Wikimedia Commons

This essay is about the 'smart' technology that many utility companies have introduced, and to which there is a degree of nationwide opposition.

Ralph Gardner Jr: A Walk In The Woods

Feb 18, 2017

Here’s a suggestion for unsettling times: take a walk in the woods. I notice I’ve been doing a lot more of that lately.

Bill Owens: A Positive Step With Canada

Feb 18, 2017

The atmosphere at the White House appeared cordial with the Prime Minister wearing a charming smile which appeared to coax the President out of his usual scowl.

Pages