11:23 AM, Oct 16, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Floyd Abrams writing in the Wall Street Journal:
The Metropolitan Opera in New York on Monday will present John Adams ’s opera “The Death of Klinghoffer. ” The organization’s decision to mount the production has already spurred protests, with more to come.
A too-brief summary: In 1985 Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year-old disabled man, and his wife, Marilyn, were passengers on an Italian cruise ship, the Achille Lauro. The ship was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists, who shot Klinghoffer in the head and threw him overboard in his wheelchair.
John Adams is a serious artist, recognized as a leading creator of modern operas. “The Death of Klinghoffer,” first produced in 1991, contains a running debate between the killers—who voice a number of undisguisedly anti-Semitic slurs in the course of justifying their conduct—and their victim. Protesters are demanding that the opera be canceled; defenders couch their position, as has the New York Times , in terms of artistic freedom or—as one letter-writer to the Times put it—of helping us “understand the anger, frustration and grievances of other people.” ...
But the controversy over the Adams opera cannot be dealt with by simple reference to the First Amendment or artistic freedom. Those who direct the Metropolitan Opera made a choice when they decided to offer Mr. Adams’s opera, and it is altogether fitting that they be publicly judged by that choice.
Suppose the opera had been about a different murder and the Met offered an intense, two-sided operatic discussion of the desirability of the murder of, say, President Kennedy in a work called “The Death of JFK. ” Or a production about the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in which singers on the “side” of that assassination offer racist views in support of the murder. Or how about one on the death of one of the thousands of victims of the 9/11 attack that contained an extended operatic debate between her killers and herself about whether her death was justified.
Surely we recoil at all of these. They all would be protected by the First Amendment. The First Amendment is basically—and gloriously—content-neutral. It protects not only enduring works of art but also the dregs of human imagination, ranging from films of animals being tortured and killed to the publication of “Mein Kampf.” But it is inconceivable that the Metropolitan Opera would have chosen to offer the public any of the operas I have just hypothesized.
Whole thing here.
Sep 29, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 03 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Undoubtedly much to the chagrin of the former mayor, more New Yorkers are smoking these days. According to the latest data from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, adult smoking rates in New York City have risen to 16 percent, from an all-time low of 14 percent in 2010.
9:01 AM, Jul 11, 2014 • By ELI LEHRER
As anyone who has visited New York City knows, getting a taxicab in the city can prove very, very difficult. And finding a driver that speaks English, has working air conditioning, will let a visitor pay by credit card, and knows directions to major landmarks can be even harder. That’s why it’s utterly bizarre that the city is trying to stop drivers from offering taxi-like rides in the city for free.
11:48 AM, Jun 10, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The new documentary "Alise vs. the Mayor," produced by the Blaze, concludes with its final episode. Shot against the backdrop of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio's fight against providing rent-free public school space to charter schools, the film follows young Alise, a Harlem Success Academy scholar. In the final episode, we see the fallout from de Blasio's standoff against a fellow Democrat, New York governor Andrew Cuomo, and how this affects Alise.
Watch the episode below:
11:01 AM, Jun 4, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
New York City has become a central battlefield in the fight over school choice and education reform since Bill de Blasio, an ally of the teachers unions and opponent of charter schools, became mayor in January. De Blasio decided early on in his administration to force out charter schools like Harlem Success Academy (founded by de Blasio's longtime political opponent Eva Moskowitz) from open space in public school buildings. The negative response was overwhelming, with even New York's Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo coming out forcefully against de Blasio's anti-charter schools move.
Marching for and against Israel.Jun 2, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 36 • By KATE HAVARD
On a cold wet day in April, a small crowd of protesters stood outside the United Jewish Appeal-Federation headquar-ters in New York to oppose the inclusion of anti-Israel groups in the Celebrate Israel parade. This year is the 50th anniversary of the parade, one of the most prominent displays of American support for Israel.
One reaction to anti-Israel protesters yesterday at Zabar's.5:50 PM, Apr 23, 2014 • By KATE HAVARD
Yesterday, on the last day of Passover, protesters surrounded the doors of Zabar’s—the iconic Upper West Side grocer famous for its knishes and lox—to demand the store stop selling the carbonated beverage maker SodaStream. The roughly 40 protesters, carrying guitars and signs decrying “Apartheid Soda,” represented a coalition of volunteers from Adalah-NY (meaning “justice” in Arabic), Jewish Voice for Peace, and m
Romney still wrong about Russia, says Obama.11:56 AM, Mar 25, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Speaking at a brief news conference in the Hague, President Obama said he's more worried about a nuke being detonated in Manhattan than he is about Russia:
"With respect to Mr. Romney's assertion that Russia is our number one geopolitical foe, the truth of the matter is that America has a whole lot of challenges," said the president.
"Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neigbors, not out of strength, but out weakness.
4:29 PM, Mar 11, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The White House pool reporter says that President Obama has gone shopping at Gap in New York City:
12:26 PM, Dec 24, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The daughter of incoming New York City mayor Bill de Blasio opens up in a YouTube video about her drug use, alcoholism, and depression:
2:36 PM, Oct 30, 2013 • By EVAN SPARKS
This is why we can’t have nice things, New Yorkers might have muttered when they heard the news: Bill de Blasio, a shoo-in to be elected mayor next month, supports a plan to gut one of New York City’s most successful policy innovations of the past three decades.
Lou Reed went down and found a song that will survive.1:03 PM, Oct 28, 2013 • By LEE SMITH
Lou Reed died yesterday in Amagansett, N.Y., thus ending his life on the same island, Long Island, where it began more than 71 years ago in Kings County, better known as Brooklyn.