Metropolitan Transit Authority Adopts New Rule Barring Some Ads In Wake Of Controversial Pro-Israel Campaign

While it has attracted little media attention, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has quietly changed its policy on the posting of ads deemed controversial after the outcry over an ad campaign by American Freedom Defense Initiative executive director and blogger Pamela Geller. Muslims and others objected to the ads and at least one columnist was arrested for destroying the posters. The ads read “In any war between civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” Now MTA has announced that it will reserve the right to refuse any ads deemed likely to “incite” violence or “other breach of peace.” It is another measure rolling on free speech and forcing speakers to adhere to the anticipated reaction of third parties.

The new regulation states “The licensee (‘advertising contractor’) shall not display or maintain any advertisement that falls within one or more of the following categories.” This includes the following category:

The advertisement, or any information contained in it, is directly adverse to the commercial or administrative interests of the MTA or is harmful to the morale of MTA employees or contains material the display of which the MTA reasonably foresees would incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace, and so harm, disrupt, or interfere with safe, efficient, and orderly transit operations.

So speakers will now be denied if any group is likely to react as did columnist Mona Eltahawy by destroying posters. It rewards the lawless conduct of such individuals and forces speech to meet the demands of the lowest common denominator of expression. It also leaves ample opportunity for selection denials of some speech in favor of others. Under this standard, any poster discussing subjects ranging from religion to homosexuality to environmentalism could be considered disruptive. The agency will no doubt demand deference in such agency decisions and it will be hard to contest the mere prediction of possible violence or disruptions. It will be interesting to see the MTA cite violent riots in other countries as the basis for such action.

We have been following the rise of anti-blasphemy laws around the world, including the increase in prosecutions in the West and the support of the Obama Administration for the prosecution of some anti-religious speech under the controversial Brandenburg standard.  Now that effort has come to a head with the new President of Egypt President Mohamed Mursi calling for enactment of an anti-blasphemy law at the United Nations. Mursi is also demanding legal action against the filmmaker by the United States despite the fact that the film is clearly protected by the first amendment.

The MTA’s regulation is a prime example of how the West is yielding to the demands to silence different forms of speech under the guise of tolerance and good public order. The vote was 8-0 to adopt the new rules in the wake of the recent controversy. Joseph J. Lhota, the authority’s chairman simply insisted that “We’ve gotten to a point where we needed to take action today.” That point appears to have been reached when people objected that they found the views in the ads to be offensive. Few forms of political or social advocacy do not offend someone. Indeed, many commercial ads are viewed as offensive by some, even the cartoonish image on a Starbucks cup. Will those who call the image the “Starslut” now succeeded in forcing the withdrawal of Starbucks ads or will the MTA pick and choose between who is legitimately incited or offended?

Source: New York Times

95 thoughts on “Metropolitan Transit Authority Adopts New Rule Barring Some Ads In Wake Of Controversial Pro-Israel Campaign”

  1. Landing a Swedish lobster on your table will cost about 50 a pound. Higher there. Are they wild? Everyone except the few Swedish ones are farmed. ie 97 percent farmed. Consider yourself lucky. Thank for verifying the recipe. The net gave nothing, only the memory lingers on in rock group names and provincial restaurant copies. See you another time.
    Hahbah, is that Bostonian or back bay. My my, whichever.
    Good rendering.

  2. idealist,

    Right–the original Alfredo recipe isn’t made with cream. I didn’t know it was made with a mortar and pestle.

    We get cooked lobster from a fish store near our house. The fish store is next door to the harbor…or as we pronounce it around these parts–the hahbah.

  3. Elaine,
    First, Al Freddos. I have eaten in Rome at a restaurant with that name. They had two places then, and we were at the original. Some Hollywood stars of the 30 gave them gold serving cutlery in appreciation.
    We loved their sauce, and their was a recipe in English to be had. It involved, I think, the warming to room temp of the butter, slathers, and grinding the parmesan (handgrinder), chopping the garlic and crushing it fine in the mortel, a little olive oil, and first the butter and then the parmagiano. Blend until smooth. Direct on freshly cooked tagliatelle. Served with white wine per their recommendation.
    The freedom to vary the quantities gives nice differences. It could be that it was fettucine instead.

    Re lobster sauce. It may be high in calories, but it sounds like a very memorable meal. Some good details also. Fresh or pre-cooked lobster. I’v only tasted precooked. but in a recipe, reducing the cooking water might be interesting. Of course the problem, how to reduce without losing the odor.


  4. idealist,

    “I like doing Al Freddo sauce, but is is laborious, by hand I must add, with pestle and mortel”

    Are you sure you’re not talking about pesto? I’ve never made alfredo sauce with a mortar and pestle.

  5. idealist,

    I saute minced shallots in butter. I then add a little chopped basil and deglaze the pan with cognac. After that, I add both light and heavy cream. I know Italian chefs say never to use cheese in seafood dishes–but I thicken the sauce with freshly grated Parmesan and some Romano cheese.
    My husband makes homemade pasta that he cuts in big squares and cooks briefly. For each serving, I place a square of pasta on a dinner plate, put a warm lobster tail or two on top of the pasta, then top with another pasta square. Next, I spoon a generous amount of sauce over the “open” ravioli, add two shelled lobster claws and garnish with some pine nuts, a chiffonade of basil, and shaved Parmesan cheese. The dish is sinfully rich–but everyone we’ve served it to loves it. (Sometimes, I heat pieces of lobster meat in the sauce and then serve it with angel hair pasta or thin spaghetti.)

  6. ElaineM,

    I would like to do a variant of your sauce.
    Exchanging the classic cognac and lobster with grappa and mussels or oysters. Do you add the cream to the butter at room temp while wisping, al Freddo style.

    I like doing Al Freddo sauce, but is is laborious, by hand I must add, with pestle and mortel.

  7. There is no french bread like that in Paris, no pasta like that in Italy, no…..etc.

    I was into another brand, much better than Barilla I thought. Just now don’t have it as the nearest stores are not convenient. But the main food chain here has bone private branding as has done well with even its basic line, then their is a better standard line, an ECO (organic?) line, and an expensive line,
    Their whole wheat spaghettini is very fine. Perhaps the taste of whole wheat is less appealing than the white durum, but the fiber for those who like that is good for you.
    For those on the glycemic search, machine pasta is better than homemade. The slick surface of machine pasta slows the cooking process and in glycemic tests do better.

  8. W=^..^

    I’ve tried the Barilla Plus and thought it was a pretty tasty product as well.


    I’ve never tried the Dreamfields, but I’ll keep an eye out for it.

    However, I recently saw someone make tagliatelle from scratch when Bourdain was in Emilia-Romagna. It didn’t look that hard to do process-wise. Didn’t even require a pasta mill. Since a wide variety of flours are available, I’m tempted to give it a try. I have no reason medically to switch but I’m looking at ways to avoid trouble before it starts based on family history.

  9. nick,

    “I would rather eat pasta once a week that’s good than twice a week that’s not good.”

    I agree. I’m not diabetic–but when I cut out pasta and bread from my diet a couple of years ago, I lost a lot of weight. The pounds just seemed to melt away. It’s been difficult though. I’ve begun eating pasta again because I love it so–with white clam sauce, seafood Fra Diavlo, carbonara, etc. My husband makes the best eggplant lasagna with homemade pasta. I make one of my specialty pasta sauces with shallots, basil, butter, cream, cognac, and lobster. Very lo-cal!

  10. Wootsy and Mike, Thanks much. I’ve tried many whole wheat pastas but none were very good. I would rather eat pasta once a week that’s good than twice a week that’s not good. I’ve seen the Barilla Plus pasta, I buy their regular pasta. I’ll give it a try as will I try the Dreamfields. With all the grape tomatoes we have now I make a roasted garlic, tomato sauce w/ fresh basil and parm reggiano.”.make you slap your mama!!”

    1. Elaine,

      I don’t know if your special sauce is lo-cal, but it is probably low carb.

  11. I have marked a couple of these books down on my list having read a couple of the others.

    But right now I am just getting started on Mad River, Sanford’s latest in “that f*ckin’ Flowers” series so will revel in pure escapism and leave the heavy lifting to you all for now 😉

  12. rafflaw, If you want a tour, my cousins own a bus company. I don’t think i would drive it again.

  13. SwM,

    The north? never. I take a passionate Catholic to a sour Protestant anyday. Just the look of them gives me a sour stomach.

    Doesn’t freeze? Sounds promising. But a camping bus in Morocco might not be bad either. Maybe too much sun, and goodness knows what other dangers lurk.

  14. Mike S.,

    I can recommend a young adult novel about a dystopian society that I think you’d find ineteresting reading–“Feed” by M. T. Anderson. It was a National Book Award Finalist.

    “In a future world where internet connections feed directly into the consumer’s brain, thought is supplemented by advertising banners, and language has gone into a steep decline, a little love story unfolds. Titus, an average kid on a weekend trip to the moon, meets Violet, a brainy girl who has decided to try to fight the feed. Assaulted by a hacker who interrupts their connection, they struggle to understand what has happened to them – and to everyone around them.

    “In his National Book Award Finalist Feed, M. T. Anderson has created a not-so-brave new world – and a smart, savage satire that has captivated readers with its view of an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now.”


    “Feed (2002), a dystopian novel of the cyberpunk genre by M. T. (Matthew Tobin) Anderson, is a dark satire about corporate power, consumerism, information technology, and data mining in society. The novel depicts humanity’s descent into a society that revolves around advertising and corporate gain.”

  15. nick spinelli
    1, October 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm
    Tom Pasta is oxygen to an Italian, but alas I’m diabetic and so it’s akin to chocolate cake. I can live w/o chocolate cake but have to eat pasta prudently. Just a lament, there are folks much worse off than I, something I always remember.
    I watch my glycemic index and have found Barilla plus pasta….higher protein with fiber and legume flour and I find it to be even tastier than reg pasta.
    And just to be ironic in this discussion, I’ve included an ad… 😉

    1. “nick, I watch my glycemic index and have found Barilla plus pasta.”

      Woosty & Nick,

      I watch my carbs so I use Dreamfield’s Pasta. Check the label it might meet your needs.

  16. It is partly sunny in Dublin this week, idealist. It does not freeze in the South. I would not care to visit Northern Ireland.

  17. Brunner, Stand on Zanzibar.

    98 of 101 people found the following review helpful
    A heady collage and futuristic homage to Dos Passos, April 16, 2004
    By D. Cloyce SmithThis review is from: Stand on Zanzibar (Paperback)
    British writer John Brunner’s novel, first published in 1968 (it won both the Hugo and British Science Fiction awards, and four years later, the French Prix Apollo), is certainly one of the most literary, complex, challenging, even difficult works of science fiction written during the twentieth century. Yet, in spite of the hurdles it may present some readers, the book manages also to be fast-paced and hysterically funny.

    One of the triumphs of Brunner’s book is that it can be read on any number of levels, which is probably why it seems to resonate with readers of extraordinarily divergent tastes. Having read it twice (once as a bookwormish Valley brat and now twenty-odd years later as a still-bookwormish publishing professional), I am not surprised that this book might be entirely different beasts to different readers; the enthralling, bewildering thriller I remembered from my adolescence has somehow transformed itself into a darkly sardonic political and social commentary–and I like both versions just fine.

    The novel is not, at first, an easy read. Its “unique” jump-cut/collage structure, its pseudo-hip prose style, its fabricated lingo–all are modeled rather precisely on John Dos Passos’s classic American classic trilogy, “U.S.A.” Like Dos Passos, Brunner interlaces chapters in several strands. The bulk of the storyline appears in the “Continuity” chapters, which detail the misadventures of secret agent Donald Hogan and corporate executive Norman House, and the “Tracking with Closeups” chapters, which describe two dozen characters who are peripheral to the action. The other two strands–“Context” and “The Happening World”–provide background material (film descriptions, encyclopedia entries, song lyrics, document excerpts, advertising jingles, news stories, etc.) that catalog a world drowning in both information overload and an excess of people who would no longer be able to stand “on the island of Zanzibar without some of them being over ankles in the sea.” Much of the novel revolves around how various nations and individuals deal with the perceived need to limit births both in number and in quality. (A helpful hint to the baffled reader: “Read the Directions,” the first chapter in “The Happening World” sequence, serves as both a dramatis personae and a jargon decoder.)

    After the first 75 pages or so, once you’re accustomed to the pace, the book is smooth sailing; it’s as much a novel to be admired as enjoyed. And it’s one of the most wickedly, playfully funny books ever written–in any genre. The plot is far too complicated to attempt to summarize here; suffice it to say that Donald is trying to thwart a potentially dangerous and politically volatile eugenics program and Norman is struggling to increase his company’s profits while simultaneously enriching an underdeveloped yet perplexingly peaceful African nation.

    The two plots seem disconnected, yet at heart is the juxtaposition of naked greed and dignified idealism, of selfishness and altruism, of capitalism and communalism, of totalitarianism and anarchy. (At times, the overt political and sociological messages recall Le Guin’s “The Dispossessed.”) Or, as the character Chad Mulligan puts it in one of his sociological treatises, “applying the yardstick of extremism leads one to conclude that the human species is unlikely to last very long.” Yet Brunner avoids the trap of losing himself in the hopelessness of his nightmarish world; instead, the resilience of human ingenuity and the vision for a better world still stand a chance, even on Zanzibar.

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