Commentary & Opinion


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement. Dr. Chartock also shares his thoughts on the 2018 New York gubernatorial race. 

Herbert London: Social Justice Warriors

Jun 27, 2018

In a new book that provides a powerful theological basis for something now ritualistically called “the social justice movement,” Jewish reformers among others seized on the concept of “healing the world.” Leftists in the Jewish community call it tikkun olam or “healing of the world.” Believers assert that Jews must endeavor to make the world a place better than what we now experience. As a consequence, an overwhelming number of Jews embrace this movement and the actions that result from it as biblically mandated. However, there is one problem as Jonathan Newmann in his book To Heal The World? points out, the bible says no such thing.


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses the Congressional primary results across New York Tuesday including Democratic winners Antonio Delgado in NY-19 and Tedra Cobb in NY-21.

President Trump’s behavior offends liberals’ deepest values. They are aghast at his having babies ripped from their mothers’ hands and sometimes even their breasts so their mothers can be hauled away to immigrant detention centers without their infants and children. Liberals were distraught by Trump’s neglect of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and they attack the Trump Administration for systematically unleashing corporate abuse of workers, consumers and those of us downwind or downstream the poisons they unload. Liberals condemn Trump’s preference for trade wars over respectful treatment of long-time allies like Canada and the E.U., with which the U.S. had fruitful trade relations. And they deeply resent his attack on the fundamental values on which American democracy was formed: his encouragement of racism, and his preference for dictators, among many others.

Ben Downing: Millionaire's Tax

Jun 26, 2018

The Millionaire’s Tax may not be before voters this fall, but the broad support it enjoyed should show legislators the way forward. For decades Massachusetts has underfunded transportation and education. We’ve prioritized tax cuts, to the benefit of the wealthy, and ignored investment, to the detriment of our economy and the public good. Economic inequality has grown, while commute time has skyrocketed, education achievement gaps have persisted, higher education has become less affordable and transit has become less reliable.


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses the national immigration debate. Dr. Chartock also shares his thoughts on today's federal primaries in New York.

Now that the 2018 legislative session is in the rear view mirror, what should New Yorkers think? 

Rob Edelman: This (Indeed) Is Cinerama

Jun 25, 2018

In recent years, Flicker Alley has been releasing to home entertainment some visually stunning films, most of which are well-over a half-century old. These titles were filmed in a three-panel widescreen process known as Cinerama. Back in the 1950’s, movie attendance was in sharp decline because of the advent and popularity of television, and so Cinerama as well as other widescreen processes were employed to lure audiences away from their TV sets and back into movie theaters.


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses President Donald Trump's assertion that undocumented immigrants should be sent back without due process or an appearance in front of a judge. Dr. Chartock also shares his thoughts on possible 2020 presidential candidates. 

Ralph Gardner Jr: Catching Up With Philip Marshall

Jun 23, 2018
Philip Marshall
Bobby McTigue

I couldn’t make it to Philip Marshall’s keynote address at an elder abuse conference in Newburgh, NY last week. Then again, Philip couldn’t make it to breakfast at my house the following morning on his way home to Massachusetts.


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on Governor Andrew Cuomo's tour of a facility in New York holding immigrant children separated from their parents after crossing the border illegally before President Trump reversed his administration's position this week. Dr. Chartock also discusses the U.S. Supreme Court decision on online retailer sales tax.


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses the executive order President Trump signed Wednesday regarding immigration. Dr. Chartock also shares his thoughts on the end of the New York state legislative session.

Syria has become the “sick man” of the Middle East, a territory laden with death and homelessness. In 2014 erstwhile president Barak Obama invited the Russians into the region to control the use of poison gas by their surrogate Bashar Assad. In 2015, as the Russians intervention expanded President Obama said this “is just going to get them stuck in a quagmire.” Senator McCain responded on the Senate floor that the policy of the Obama administration “replaced the risk of action with the perils of inaction.”


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on the Trump administration's immigration policies.

Stephen Gottlieb: Whitford Versus Gill

Jun 19, 2018

Commentators have treated the Court’s decision in Whitford v. Gill, the Wisconsin gerrymandering case, as just a technical decision, a delay in getting a substantive decision out of the Court. They’re nuts and I’m furious.

Not satisfied with taking away health insurance coverage for over 3 million Americans, last week the Trump Administration said it wanted to take away coverage from more.  While Americans have been distracted by the scandals, investigations, and policy flip flops, the Administration and its allies in the Congress have never been deterred from one deadly mission – to strip away health insurance coverage from millions of Americans.

David Nightingale: Some Old Cars

Jun 17, 2018
64 Chevrolet Corvair Monza
Greg Gjerdingen from Willmar, USA / Wikimedia Commons

My first US car, bought in 1965, was a 2nd hand Chevy Corvair.  Ralph Nader, in his book “Unsafe at any speed”, famously slanged the Corvair – and production was discontinued around 1969. Recently, out in the countryside, I saw half a dozen of them rusting away behind someone’s house.

Ralph Gardner Jr: No Need For Speed

Jun 16, 2018

I’m more of the bird watching type than the racecar driving type. Beauty and tranquility, peaceful walks in the woods are my thing, rather than roaring around a race track at a hundred thirty miles an hour.

Thank You!

Jun 14, 2018

Thanks to you, the June Fund Drive has come and gone. The Locked Box once again proved that at a time of real turmoil and chaos in this country, a lot of people were able to put their money and their good wishes into a place that would ensure the news and the best in culture and community would face as little interruption as possible. 

Keith Strudler: The Same Page

Jun 13, 2018

In a marriage, or really any relationship, it’s important to be on the same page. To know what the other person thinks, or what they want to do. For example, when you’re looking to buy a new house, it’s important to know how you define “move in ready,” and to have that definition negotiated before you’re touring homes with a realtor. I may know this from experience.

The factors behind the agenda are all too visible.

First, President Trump is committed to a North Korea without nuclear weapons, albeit some backsliding on the matter may be in the discussion, particularly the time-table.

In recent days the President and some of his attorneys have asserted that the President can pardon himself in the Department of Justice’s ongoing obstruction of justice investigation.  These statements are immediately followed by a qualification that the President has done nothing wrong, and therefore, does not need to pardon himself.  Constitutional scholars are torn on the extent of the President’s pardon powers as to him or herself, and whether or not the President can be indicted. 

Blair Horner: Another NY Corruption Trial Begins

Jun 11, 2018

It started three and a half years ago with a news report from the Investigative Post, a Buffalo-based media outlet.  In its review of the so-called “Buffalo Billion” economic development programs, the Investigative Post identified an incredible clause in one of the state’s bid offerings that would allow spending on construction projects.

Ralph Gardner Jr: No Hostility Allowed

Jun 9, 2018
Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett and Congressman John Faso (NY-19) at guns and school safety discussion at Hudson High School
Enid Futterman

I held a debate last Friday. The debate was whether to have a drink on my sundeck on a lovely spring evening or go to Hudson High School for a discussion about guns.

Bill Owens: What's Up With The GOP And Farmers?

Jun 7, 2018

Maybe it’s not the GOP, but the Trump administration whose proposals on tax reform, trade, immigration and regulation are causing me to wonder, what’s up with the GOP and Farmers.? The latest attack on farmers occurred on May 17th, when the House Freedom Caucus defeated the farm bill. The reason given by the Freedom Caucus was its desire for a vote on a strict immigration law, and, apparently, there was concern that Speaker Ryan would be unable to deliver on the promise, of a vote, if they voted for the farm bill.

Herbert London: Madeline Albright’s Fascism

Jun 6, 2018

With great fanfare Madeline Albright’s book, Fascism: A Warning, is being circulated to the leading lights in the publishing world. As the New York Times noted, “Who better to address these questions than Albright, whose life was shaped by fascism and whose contribution to the cultivation of democracy as a stateswoman and private citizen is unparalleled.”

I have been thinking about all the blue-collar workers who believed that Donald Trump would do a great deal for them.

The science is clear:  Human activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuels – oil, coal and gas – is heating up the planet in ways that have never been seen in recorded history.  According to the third U.S. National Climate Assessment, “Global climate is changing and this is apparent across the United States in a wide range of observations.  The global warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human activities, predominantly the burning of fossil fuels.”

Rob Edelman: Bobby Kennedy...And Joe McCarthy

Jun 4, 2018

These days, there is plenty of media hype surrounding the assassination of Robert Kennedy, which was exactly a half-century ago. Now of course, had he not been murdered, he just may have been elected to the U.S. presidency in 1968, and massive amounts of American history might have been altered. However, the one name that presently is popping into my mind is neither Bobby nor his brother, President John F. Kennedy. It is, of all people, Joseph McCarthy, the junior senator from Wisconsin. The connection here is that Bobby Kennedy, as a young lawyer, was an assistant council to the Senate committee chaired by McCarthy.

Ralph Gardner Jr: A Rural Resident

Jun 2, 2018
A tribute to Timothy Dunleavy
Ralph Gardner Jr

We ran into a friend as we arrived last Friday for the inaugural Design Hudson Festival. The event, spread over Memorial Day weekend, featured homes reimagined by local interior designers.