Commentary & Opinion

The ethnic slaughter in so many parts of the world – Kenya, Myanmar, Rwanda, Sudan, the former Yugoslavia, the “troubles” in Ireland, Ukraine, the blood shed at the separation of Pakistan and India – make the uniqueness of American anti-discrimination rules stand out both for their moral high ground and for their protection of human life.

Alan Chartock

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on the Trump-Putin press conference Monday. Dr. Chartock also discusses New York's gubernatorial race.

Another week, another conviction.  The political establishment took another hit last week with the corruption conviction of former New York State economic development czar Alain Kaloyeros and key private developers of a major state-sponsored project.  Kaloyeros was Governor Cuomo’s right-hand man when it came to the state’s investments in hi-tech economic development projects, and in the case of the corruption conviction, the governor’s signature project was the so-called “Buffalo Billion.”

Alan Chartock

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses the U.S.-Russia Summit today in Finland. Dr. Chartock also shares his thoughts on the California U.S. Senate race. 

Ralph Gardner Jr: Labor Is A Form Of Worship

Jul 14, 2018
Columbia County Historical Society’s "Shaker Baskets from the Shaker Museum"
Ralph Gardner Jr.

It’s typically the objects not the wall text that catch the eye at an art exhibition. But a few words at the start of the Columbia County Historical Society’s new show of Shaker Baskets from the Shaker Museum|Mount Lebanon resonated with me.

Alan Chartock

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses Thursday's Buffalo Billion case verdict.  Dr. Chartock also shares his thoughts on the NATO Summit, which concluded Thursday.

Alan Chartock

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on the first day of the NATO summit in Brussels Wednesday. Dr. Chartock also discusses a nonbinding Senate resolution designed to give more power to Congress regarding international tariffs. 

Herbert London: Solzhenitsyn 40 Years Later

Jul 11, 2018

In June 1978 Solzhenitsyn delivered the commencement address at Harvard entitled “A World Split Apart.” It was a speech devoted to the emergence of “different worlds,” including our own Western society. On one side of the divide is a freedom diverted to unbridled passion with the accumulation of material riches to be valued above all else. Man is the center in this equation as there isn’t any power above him resulting in a moral poverty searching for meaning.

Alan Chartock

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses the NATO summit, which begins Wednesday in Brussels. Dr. Chartock aso shares his thoughts on a New York Times editorial that claims President Trump is misleading the public on U.S. trade tariffs. 

We hear a lot of talk about legality and illegality, about illegal aliens as a wrong inflicted on the U.S. I think we need to address the significance of legality and illegality head on.

Alan Chartock

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on President Trump's nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court Monday evening. Dr. Chartock also discusses the upcoming NATO meeting, which begins Wednesday in Brussels. 

Summers are getting hotter as the planet heats up.  The combination of hotter summers and strong storms are not only inconvenient; they also can cause serious health problems too.

Alan Chartock

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses President Trump's potential Supreme Court nominees. The president is expected to announce his pick to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy at 9 p.m. Monday. Dr. Chartock also discusses the resignation of England's Brexit Secretary David Davis.

David Nightingale: Ole Roemer (1644 – 1710)

Jul 8, 2018
A diagram of Jupiter (B) eclipsing its moon Io (DC) as viewed from different points in earth's orbit around the sun.
Ole Rømer

When I first heard about Ole Roemer I fleetingly thought the speaker was being overly familiar – but not so. Ole is a Norse and Viking name. For example, there is the Norwegian-born Ole Evinrude, famous manufacturer of outboard engines for boats.

This essay is about a Danish man born in 1644, just after Galileo died, and who became a student in the University of Copenhagen. Copenhagen was once a little fishing village, across the water from Sweden, (the two countries are now connected by a bridge) but is now the capital of Denmark – although with a population still less than a million. So why is Ole Roemer so highly thought of today?

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Heat

Jul 7, 2018
The Sun photographed at 304 angstroms by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA 304) of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). This is a false-color image of the Sun observed in the extreme ultraviolet region of the spectrum.
Public Domain / NASA/SDO (AIA)

In the same way that a forecast for a major snowstorm fills me with anticipation so the news that a heat wave was on the way last week triggered similar excitement. 

When I gave my last radio commentary five weeks ago, I decried the awful policy that was separating children from their parents at the border.   I had no idea that the revulsion I and many others (in fact the majority of Americans) felt would actually cause the Trump Administration to retreat – at least on paper.   Attorney General Sessions actually claimed --- falsely --- that family separation was NEVER the policy of this administration --- despite is promise --- that was video-taped --- that the government was prepared to separate families when they crossed the border.

Bill Owens: Has Justice Kennedy Been Trumped?

Jul 6, 2018

Justice Kennedy has carefully constructed an image of an independent member of the court and the “swing” vote.  He has sided with liberal justices and conservative justices to create majorities over his thirty years on the Court. 

Jordan Sherman's Midday Forecast

Jul 6, 2018

Meteorologist Jordan Sherman delivers the Midday Weather Summary for Friday, July 6, 2018.

Alan Chartock

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's resignation Thursday. Dr. Chartock also shares his thoughts on Democratic Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of the 14th House district, who is now endorsing candidates across the nation.

“The state must end its obsession with standardized testing.  Students are suffering.”

“I stand with parents.  I hear their frustration with testing and will do something about it.”

 “I support teachers.  I love teachers.  We will pass a law this session ushering in a fairer evaluation system that doesn’t rely on flawed state tests.”

Alan Chartock

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses the Fourth of July protest at the Statue of Liberty. Dr. Chartock also shares his thoughts on the Trump administration's push for race-blind admission policies at colleges and univeristies.

Welcome to Iran. Iran has a Guardian Counsel of men in long robes. We have a Guardian Court of nine judges in black robes. Both decide who rules. The Guardian Counsel of Iran decides who is allowed to run. The Guardian Court decides which party wins by blessing the vote rigging that favors Republicans – by blessing gerrymandering after the Republicans rewrote voting districts to favor themselves; by blessing registration requirements that Republicans erected to block anyone likely to vote Democratic from getting or staying registered and from voting; and by removing the protections of the Voting Rights Act against discriminatory devices in the former Confederate states and wherever discrimination had been the rule.

Alan Chartock

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on Monday's interviews by President Trump of possible Supreme Court justice nominees. Dr. Chartock also discusses German Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to reverse her stance on migrants. 

Blair Horner: A Political Earthquake In Queens

Jul 2, 2018

Congressional primaries occurred across New York State last week and the big news – national news – was the defeat of Congressman Joseph Crowley, the long-time incumbent, Queens Democratic leader, and fourth-highest ranking member of the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives.  Crowley was considered a strong contender to lead the House Democrats if current-leader Nancy Pelosi retired.

Rob Edelman: Happy Endings?

Jul 2, 2018

Sometimes, movies are serious, sobering sit-throughs that deal with serious, sobering issues. And sometimes, such movies get beyond these issues and feature solutions to these issues and upbeat, happy-ever-after endings. Their message is that, if you hang in there and focus on life’s positives, all will be well. The closing credits can roll, and you can leave the theater with a wide smile etched across your face. But how does this particular film relate to real life? Can all problems be solved in the real world? If you look hard enough, will you be able to transcend the pettiness that surrounds you? Can life’s everyday cruelties always be overcome by seeking out and embracing everyday kindness? These questions are dealt with in a range of films, produced across the decades.

Alan Chartock

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on President Trump's pending nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. Dr. Chartock also discusses Sunday's presidential election in Mexico.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Go Ask Ruth

Jun 30, 2018

Every community, every town and village in America ought to have its own Piwonka. I’m referring to Ruth Piwonka, the town historian for Kinderhook, NY. Though Ruth tells me her official title is Kinderhook municipal historian.

Things That Cannot Be Denied

Jun 30, 2018

There is no better reason to support WAMC than the turmoil that surrounds this country as you read this. No matter what you may think of the current president, there are some things that cannot be denied. The first is that he has declared war on the free press in this country. The New York Times is the “failing New York Times” and the press in general is the “enemy of the people.” It’s right out of Henrik Ibsen. As Casey Stengel, the great Yankee and Mets manager put it, “You could look it up.” The second is that early in his campaign, Trump made it clear that at least one anti-Trump demonstrator at one of his early rallies should be led out and beaten up and that he, Trump, would pay for the beater-upper’s defense. This is exactly the kind of thing that we saw during the rise of Nazi Germany. Then, when people do whatever they can to put a stop to this type of bullying and Trump sanctioned violence, Trump and his minions argue that they are the offended. Think of a second grader turning to his teacher and whining, “Teacher, Tommy hit me.” 

The last week has had any number of interesting developments regarding trade issues between the United States and China, as well as its various allies.  There has also been much consternation about the activities at the southern border regarding the separation of children from their families. 


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses Thursday's shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. Dr. Chartock also shares his thoughts on the upcoming U.S.-Russia summit in Finland on July 16.