Commentary & Opinion

The social justice movement of the modern era showcases the pursuit of “equality” as one of its defining objectives.

A few days ago, I came back from a meeting at the Atlantic Council in Washington on the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution.

John Faso: Beyond The Reproductive Health Act

Feb 19, 2019

“He’s got a knife! He’s going to kill the baby!” Those are the words spoken by Jennifer Irigoyen, a 35-year old Queens real estate agent who was killed in the vestibule of her apartment building in the early morning hours of February 3rd.

Dr. Alan Chartock
Eric Korenman

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses a lawsuit filed by a group of 16 states, including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maine, against President Trump's declaration of a national emergency, calling the president's decision to use executive power to fund a border wall unconstitutional. Dr. Chartock also discusses news that President Obama does not plan to endorse anyone for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. 

Voting reforms, civil justice changes, expansion of reproductive rights, state financial shortfalls, economic development strategies, all have dominated the recent discussions over the coming year’s New York budget. Yet one important issue has received too little attention: protecting New York’s drinking water supplies.

Dr. Alan Chartock
Eric Korenman

On this Presidents Day, WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares who his favorite president is. He also discusses the potential for a showdown between President Trump and Congress over the president's declaration of a national emergency on the southern border and Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders' chances if he enters the 2020 presidential race.

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Presence Of Pets

Feb 16, 2019
Ralph Gardner Jr.

There are words in other languages that nail aspects of the human experience and for which there are no English equivalents.

Michael Meeropol: The Green New Deal

Feb 15, 2019

I assume most listeners have heard of the proposed GREEN NEW DEAL.   The proposal was mentioned by three separate OP ED columns in the New York Times on February 12.

Rogovoy Report 2/15/19

Feb 15, 2019

This week’s cultural highlights in our region include several jazz events, a new play festival, indie rock, chamber music, Cajun music, and a whole lot more.

In 1979 I took over the leadership of WAMC. We’ve had a lot of great fund dives. Each was known for something special that happened in that drive. One time a nasty guy called up and pledged twenty five cents with the notation “This is what you station is worth.” It was really great. The wonderful audience added a quarter to every pledge that was made throughout the drive. One can only wonder what the creep was thinking. That’s what you call comeuppance.

Ben Downing: Moral Capitalism

Feb 13, 2019

Recently, Congressman Joe Kennedy called for a “moral capitalism,” in which our economy is “judged not by how much it produces but by how widely it shares.”

Stephen Gottlieb: What We Can Do About Climate Change

Feb 12, 2019

This is the birthday of Abe Lincoln who saved the country. It’s our job to keep it safe. My message last week was that government is the key to minimizing world-wide genocide by climate change. Now let’s talk about our role.

Andrew Pallotta: On Property Taxes, We Need Cuts Not Caps

Feb 12, 2019

When I listen to politicians in Albany debate property taxes, I am reminded of a famous quote from T.S. Eliot, who said, “Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.” The rush to make New York’s flawed and undemocratic property tax cap permanent is an example of something that started with the best of intentions, but has led to the cruelest of outcomes. 

A lot is happening in Albany.  Unified Democratic control of the governor’s mansion and both houses of the Legislature, coupled with pent-up demand for action – which had been long stymied due to partisan gridlock – has triggered a frenzy of legislative action. 

Ralph Gardner Jr: A Perpetual Valentine

Feb 9, 2019
Jim and Kate Vasilow
Ralph Gardner Jr.

If a child were looking for convincing proof that magic exists in the world, and that one need never relinquish the passions of youth, that kid would have to travel no further than the local candy store.

The State of the Union went off without any significant or unusual outbursts or demonstrations.  POTUS gave the anticipated speech and the Democratic response was similarly what was anticipated.  There were no remarkable disclosures that had not been previously vetted in the news media, particularly as it relates to the Wall, North Korea and the economy.  There was one startling event and that was the Anchor’s interview with Mr. Trump in the afternoon preceding the State of the Union, in which POTUS trashed, and I want to emphasize, trashed, Mr. Biden- he’s dumb, again referred to Senator Warren as Pocahontas- not sure there is enough DNA to prove that one, and, Mr. Schumer was called a nasty son of a *****, and Governor Northam as “choking like a dog.”, maybe that’s appropriate.  Then POTUS talked unity and working together- go figure.  

Bryan Griffin: Lines And Where To Draw Them

Feb 6, 2019

Within the last two weeks, three Democrats in Congress have suggested tax rates on the wealthy as high as 70, 77 and even 90 percent.

Stephen Gottlieb: How Do You Talk About Climate Change?

Feb 5, 2019

I’ve been trying to figure out how to talk about climate change. It’s a scary subject. Climate change is likely to injure and embitter people we care a lot about, our children and grandchildren – hurt them with disease, draught, famine, floods and storms, destroying their homes, houses and business too, indeed their towns and communities. That’s scary all right, but what do people do when they’re scared? Fight or flight? But where do you go? Unfortunately a lot of people do neither. They just can’t bear to think about it. But climate change will find them and their children and grandchildren anyway. What they don’t know will hurt.

Blair Horner: NY State Shortchanges Tobacco Control

Feb 4, 2019

Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the Master Settlement Agreement between the tobacco industry and the nation’s states. The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) ended litigation brought by the states against the nation’s major tobacco companies. In that litigation the states charged that the tobacco companies deliberately misled the general public, and specifically smokers, about the dangers of their products. As a result, more people smoked, more people got sick, and the states had to pick up additional – and significantly higher – health care costs, particularly through the Medicaid program. Medicaid offers health insurance for the poor and states’ pick up much of the tab. Big Tobacco also settled a separate case with the federal government over similar claims.

David Nightingale: Russian Protestors

Feb 3, 2019
A USSR stamp, Soviet Nobel_Peace_Prize_winners
Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

In a time of dictators – for example right now in South America’s Venezuela – there will always (thankfully) be dissidents.

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Art Of The Croissant

Feb 2, 2019
Chef Cody Fitchett at Bartlett House
Ralph Gardner Jr.

This part of the world has a lot going for it: verdant nature, great vistas, a world-class river. But one of the areas where it cannot pat itself on the back is an abundance of good, let alone, great bakeries. 

John Faso: The Elephant In The Room

Jan 31, 2019

While the attention of the nation has been focused on the 35-day partial government shutdown and the issue of border security, little attention has been paid to the looming fiscal crisis facing the federal government and the American people. The national debt is now over $21 trillion and current estimates suggest that we will soon be approaching annual deficits in excess of $1 trillion. Our debt and deficits are the elephant in the room which few policy-makers wish to address.

Stephen Gottlieb: Our Handling Of Iran Is Juvenile

Jan 29, 2019

While we have been focused on domestic politics, some of what this Administration has been doing abroad poses serious risks. The Administration has been trying to make Iran the devil behind everything we don’t like and threats have been flying back and forth. That has many of us concerned about where we are going.

POTUS in response to the Speaker’s letter delaying the State of the Union, sent a letter to the Speaker canceling her trip to Europe, although he does offer her the opportunity to fly commercial.  Secretary Pompeo and his wife traveled throughout the Middle East on government aircraft, and at great expense, yet a trip to Afghanistan by the Speaker was denied.  Aw, the games we play.

Over a decade ago, then-Governor George Pataki and the Legislature came to an agreement: undocumented immigrants living in New York and accepted to public college would be allowed to pay in-state tuition.  But there was a catch: they would not be eligible for financial aid.  Since then, advocates have been trying to eliminate that obstacle.  Last week, the Legislature acted.  It passed legislation to allow financial aid for those students. 

Ralph Gardner Jr: Snow Day

Jan 26, 2019
picture of trees in snow

Snowstorms are more complicated than they used to be. I’m not referring to the weather, though that, too. I read that because of global warming we can expect more balmy winters, or at least balmy Decembers, followed by blizzards and bone chilling polar vortexes, or is it vortices, later in the season.

All eyes are on the continuing stare-down between Speaker Pelosi and President Trump over the government shutdown.

Stephen Gottlieb: Democracy Needs Generosity

Jan 22, 2019

What’s wrong with our politics is its too common don’t-tread-on-me selfishness.

“What’s-in-it-for-me” politics in the early republic held up roads, canals and other internal improvements for decades until we learned to share. Democracy needs some generosity.

As the shut-down continues, Mr. Trump stands fast as do Democrats, federal workers are not paid, demonstrations and lawsuits are filed, TSA employees are calling in sick at greater rates, federal employees file for unemployment insurance, but the best is for last.  The White House Economic Advisor, Kevin Hassett said that federal employees who were not getting paid are better off because they don’t have to take vacation days.  If they could take vacation days, they would get paid and be able to pay their bills.  What planet is he on?

Lead is a metal found around the world and it is toxic to humans.  For years, lead was used in paint, gasoline, plumbing and many other items.  Lead can still be found in some products and, due to aging infrastructure, occasionally in drinking water supplies.  As products containing lead are used and get worn down, say in paint, lead particles can get into the environment and pose a threat.