The “See Something Say Something Act”

Fun With a Mirror 3

Citizens are encouraged to spy on their neighbors and report any activity deemed inimical to the State. Sound like something from behind the former Iron Curtain? Sound like something from the archives of East Germany’s Stasi? Nope, just another milestone as the U.S. Congress tries to nibble away at our country’s concepts of what constitutes civil society and the rights of persons to act in private and without authorities’ observation or interference.

Think that an overstatement? Here’s the official Congressional news release:

Today, ­U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, along with 11 other Committee Republicans, introduced legislation that would provide legal protections to individuals who report suspicious activity that may reflect a terrorist threat.

The See Something, Say Something Act of 2011 would provide civil immunity in U.S. courts for individuals who, acting in good faith and based on objectively reasonable suspicion, report threats to appropriate law enforcement officials.

“I have long advocated for a multi-layered approach to securing our homeland,” said King. “Alert and vigilant citizens who report suspicious activity provide one critical layer. Good citizens who report suspicious activity in good faith, should not have to worry about being sued. In 2007, I pushed for a law protecting vigilant Americans from frivolous lawsuits when they report suspicious activity involving our transportation systems. The See Something, Say Something Act of 2011 extends that protection to those who report suspicious activity anywhere. This legislation would enhance the Department of Homeland Security’s national ‘See Something, Say Something’ awareness campaign.”

This, by the way, from the same Rep. Peter King who chaired the recent infamous Congressional hearings into domestic Muslim terrorism. (The bill itself was introduced in January; it has a companion Senate bill; at the moment it has been referred to the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, which is either appropriate or very laughable.) Commentary on the David Icke website (extreme language alert):

A new bill proposed by Representative Peter King (R-NY) called the See Something Say Something Act seeks to encourage Americans to spy and report information on their neighbors by ensuring that those who make such reports would be immune from lawsuits.

Even if the reported claims prove to be entirely false, the accused would be unable to take action against the accuser so long as it is believed that the accusations were made in good faith and with reasonable suspicion. This means that the true purpose of this bill is only to encourage people to be more willing to spy on and report information on their neighbors to the authorities.’

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An Important Reminder Amidst the Rejoicing Department

Radley Balko, whom I follow (as most know who read me regularly), put together an important post that explains — in excruciatingly painful detail — how in fact, even in death, Osama bin Laden actually won by achieving not only his primary goals of causing the United States to wage war both geographically and ethnically, alienating Muslims everywhere, but as well changing the nature of American society, and not for the better. See his post, “He Won.”

I doubt Balko’s commentary will offend anywhere nearly as much as did Bill Maher’s remark immediately following 9/11 that, whatever one might call the 9/11 terrorists, “coward” could not be one of them. Nevertheless, he’s stuck his neck out a bit at this time when nearly everyone is treating bin Laden’s death as unalloyed good.

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Met Opera 2011-12 HD Details Department

More details of the 2011-12 HD schedule, taken directly from the Met Opera site:

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Donizetti’s Anna Bolena – New Production
October 15, 2011

Anna Netrebko opens the Met season with her portrayal of the ill-fated queen driven insane by her unfaithful king. She sings one of opera’s greatest mad scenes in a production that also stars Elīna Garanča as her rival, Jane Seymour, and Ildar Abdrazakov as Henry VIII. Marco Armiliato conducts.


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Mozart’s Don Giovanni – New Production
October 29, 2011

Mariusz Kwiecien brings his youthful and sensual interpretation of Mozart’s timeless anti-hero to the Met for the first time, under the direction of Tony Award®-winning director Michael Grandage and with James Levine conducting. A troupe of refined Mozartians appears in this new production, including Marina Rebeka, Barbara Frittoli, Isabel Leonard, Matthew Polenzani, Ramón Vargas, and John Relyea. Gerald Finley steps into the title role later in the season, and Andrew Davis also conducts.


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Wagner’s Siegfried – New Production
November 5, 2011

In part three of the Ring, Wagner’s cosmic vision focuses on his hero’s early conquests, while Robert Lepage’s revolutionary stage machine transforms itself from bewitched forest to mountaintop love nest. Gary Lehman sings the title role and Deborah Voigt’s Brünnhilde is his prize. Bryn Terfel is the Wanderer. James Levine conducts.


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Glass’s Satyagraha
November 19, 2011

The Met’s visually extravagant production is back for an encore engagement. Richard Croft (right) once again is Gandhi in Philip Glass’s unforgettable opera, which the Washington Post calls “a profound and beautiful work of theater.”


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Handel’s Rodelinda
December 3, 2011

Sensational in the 2004 Met premiere of Stephen Wadsworth’s much-heralded production, Renée Fleming reprises the title role. She’s joined by Stephanie Blythe and countertenor Andreas Scholl, and Baroque specialist Harry Bicket conducts.


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Gounod’s Faust – New Production
December 10, 2011

With Jonas Kaufmann in the title role, René Pape as the devil, and Marina Poplavskaya as Marguerite, Gounod’s classic retelling of the Faust legend couldn’t be better served. Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff updates the story to the first half of the 20th century with a production that won praise in London last season. A later run features two other first-tier Fausts: Roberto Alagna and Joseph Calleja, with Ferruccio Furlanetto stepping in as the devil. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts on the heels of his Don Carlo success.


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The Enchanted Island – New Production
January 21, 2012

Inspired by the musical pastiches and masques of the 18th century, the Met presents an original Baroque fantasy, featuring a who’s who of Baroque stars led by eminent conductor William Christie. With music by Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, and others, the new libretto by Jeremy Sams combines elements of The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. David Daniels is Prospero, Joyce DiDonato is Sycorax, Danielle de Niese is Ariel, Luca Pisaroni is Caliban, and Plácido Domingo makesa special appearance as Neptune. Lisette Oropesa and Anthony Roth Costanzo also star. This dazzling production is directed and designed by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch (Satyagraha and the Met’s 125th Anniversary Gala).


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Wagner’s Götterdämmerung – New Production
February 11, 2012

With its cataclysmic climax, the Met’s new Ring cycle, directed by Robert Lepage, comes to its resolution. Deborah Voigt stars as Brünnhilde and Gary Lehman is Siegfried—the star-crossed lovers doomed by fate. James Levine conducts.


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Verdi’s Ernani
February 25, 2012

Angela Meade takes center stage in Verdi’s thrilling early gem. Salvatore Licitra is her mismatched lover, and all-star Verdians Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Ferruccio Furlanetto round out the cast.


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Massenet’s Manon – New Production
April 7, 2012

Anna Netrebko’s dazzling portrayal of the tragic heroine in Laurent Pelly’s new production travels to the Met from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Piotr Beczala and Paulo Szot also star, with the Met’s Principal Guest Conductor Fabio Luisi on the podium.


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Verdi’s La Traviata
April 14, 2012

Natalie Dessay will put on the red dress in Willy Decker’s stunning production, in her first Violetta at the Met. Matthew Polenzani sings Alfredo, Dmitri Hvorostovsky is Germont, and Principal Guest Conductor Fabio Luisi is on the podium.

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Fun with a mirror.

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