Commentary & Opinion

It’s that time again; colleges are opening across New York and for many of the students, the campus experience will have a profound impact on their lives; their career choices, their world view, the connections that they make.  The public benefits too: more highly trained residents have a positive impact on the economic health of the state, the nation and the world.  Studies in New York have shown that every dollar invested in higher education results in multiple dollars more in tax revenues generated by students both while attending college as well as after they graduate.


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on the death of Arizona Senator John McCain.  Dr. Chartock also discusses the shooting Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla. 

Ralph Gardner Jr: Farming's Younger Generation

Aug 25, 2018
Lindsey Lusher Shute
Ralph Gardner Jr.

How do you reach farmers these days, at least young farmers? Podcasts, of course. “So many young farmers listen to podcasts while they’re farming,” Lindsey Lusher Shute told me. “They don’t have time to read. We knew it would be popular.”

Bill Owens: Is Trade Another Misdirection?

Aug 24, 2018

The answer to that question requires reading the latest tweet.  In terms of the two countries that have the most direct impact on the North Country, Canada and China, the game is still “on”. 

Alan Chartock

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on President Trump's reaction to the conviction of his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and the guilty plea by Michael Cohen, his former attorney.  Dr. Chartock also discusses U.S. Education Secertary Betsy DeVos reported idea to allow school districts to use federal funds to buy guns.

Herbert London: Diplomacy

Aug 22, 2018

From the ambassadors representing the Italian City States to Castlereagh and Henry Kissinger, a nation’s international relations were managed through representation aboard. Over centuries understandings evolved, including sanctuary for the visitor. While there weren’t any specific rules attached to diplomacy, protocols evolved. Discretion subtlety and delicacy were part of the attitudinal stance.

Alan Chartock

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on the conviction of President Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and the guilty plea by the president's former attorney, Michael Cohen. Dr. Chartock also discusses President Trump's rally Tuesday in West Virginia.

Stephen Gottlieb: The Climate Will Show No Mercy

Aug 21, 2018

With my grandchildren here, I’ve been slower getting my reading done, but they are also central to what we need to deal with. The entire NY Times Magazine of Sunday, August 5, was devoted to the story of climate change, when we knew it, what it would do, and our failure to stop it. Some of us have known for a long time without knowing how to ring the alarm bell. But there is no more time.

Alan Chartock

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on Microsoft's efforts to stop Russian hackers. Dr. Chartock also discusses New York's new commission to investigate prosecutorial misconduct.

Blair Horner: The President Abuses His Power

Aug 20, 2018

The President of the United States is considered the most powerful person on Earth.  That power emanates from the U.S, Constitution, the clout of being head of a political party and interest groups that helped elect him, and the nation’s economic and military might.  All combined, a President is incredibly powerful.


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses the current federal investigation into Micheal Cohen, the former attorney for President Trump. Dr. Chartock also discusses former CIA Director John Brennan's revoked security clearance. 

David Nightingale: Tycho’s Death

Aug 19, 2018
Tycho Brahe
Public Domain / Wikicommons

Those giants of astronomy, Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler, were both born in the 1500s. It’s never been clearly established how Tycho died, but there have been suspicions that the younger man, Kepler, poisoned him.

Ralph Gardner Jr: A Passion For Ponds

Aug 18, 2018
“Pool Master” Anthony Archer-Wills
Ralph Gardner Jr.

It didn’t take long for me to bond with Anthony Archer-Wills. No more than ten seconds from the time we met. That’s when he started singing the praises of his pond in Spencertown, NY.

Alan Chartock

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's comment "America was never great." Dr. Chartock also discusses a recent CNN poll showing Democrats ahead of Republicans nationwide as the November elections approach. 

Alan Chartock

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on Tuesday's primaries in Vermont and Connecticut. Dr. Chartock also discusses the sex abuse cover-ups by the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.

Stephen Gottlieb: Racists And Self-Interest

Aug 14, 2018

I have no illusions that anything I can say would convince white nationalists to flip their political sides. Nevertheless, I think it is important to engage them.


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on the president's visit to Fort Drum in upstate New York Monday. Dr. Chartock also discusses a Washington Post article highlighting President Trump's aggressive use of non-disclosure agreements.

New York is considered a “blue” state, one in which Democrats have a significant voter enrollment advantage over Republicans.  And it’s true: New York has about 6.2 million registered Democrats and 2.8 million registered Republicans (another 3 million-plus New Yorkers are either not enrolled in a political party or registered in a minor party).  But if you look at the state outside of the City of New York, in terms of party enrollment the state is very competitive for Republicans, with 2.8 million Democrats compared to 2.3 million Republicans. 


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on the president's visit to Fort Drum in Jefferson County, New York today. Dr. Chartock also discusses Western New York Congressman Chris Collins, who has suspended his campaign for reelection.  The suspension comes after the Republican was indicted last week on insider trading charges.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Which Way Do We Go?

Aug 11, 2018
Nicolas Kaiser / Wikimedia Commons

Are driving apps a good thing? This is a philosophical question. Also a literal one. The question occurred to me several times last weekend as we drove from Columbia County to a wedding in central Connecticut.


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses denuclearization in North Korea. Dr. Chartock also shares his thoughts on the impact of Uber and Lyft on public transportation.


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on the charges against Republican U.S. Representative Chris Collins of New York's 27th district. Dr. Chartock also discusses the ongoing trial of Paul Manafort, the former campagain manager for President Donald Trump.

Herbert London: NATO Redux

Aug 8, 2018

It has been said time and again that NATO is indispensable as a defense of the West. Even Trump accepts this assertion. What he doesn’t accept is the U.S. burden to sustain the treaty. A combative President Trump has made it clear member states must meet their obligation to spend at least two percent of gdp on defense. The U.S. presently spends 3.6 percent or about twice the average expenditure.


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses Tuesday's special election in Ohio. Dr. Chartock also shares his thoughts on the ongoing trial of Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager for President Trump.

I keep looking for things we can say to Trump’s supporters that just might wake them up. Here’s a very basic one.


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses the trial of Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign manager. Dr. Chartock also shares his thoughts on his conversation with NY-19 Congressional candidate Antonio Delgado. Dr. Chartock spoke to the Democrat on the Congressional Corner Monday.

Blair Horner: Trump Fiddles While The Earth Burns

Aug 6, 2018

The summer rolls on and the heat builds up.  But this is not like any other summer, it’s getting hotter in unprecedented ways.  July’s heat, for example, fueled ferocious wildfires, from the arctic to Greece, where more than 80 people died, to the Western states, where it feels like the entire state of California is burning.


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on the Trump Administration's sanctions on Iran. Dr. Chartock also discusses the lawsuit filed against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo by the National Rifle Association.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Where’s My Commemorative Coin?

Aug 4, 2018
Facebook: The White House Gift Shop

I called the White House gift shop the other day to find out where my coin was. I’m referring to the Korea Peace Talks Summit Coin, created to commemorate the June 12th meeting between President Donald J. Trump and North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.

Michael Meeropol: Once Again, Trump Contradicts Trump

Aug 3, 2018

Listeners may be forgiven if a July 21 article in the New York Times has been long forgotten. However, for this economist, the topic --  Trump’s complaints that the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policies were dampening economic growth -- was significant. Once again, President Trump was contradicting candidate Trump.