The Doobie Brothers Announce First Ever Full-Album Shows At NYC’s Beacon Theatre

first_imgThe Doobie Brothers have announced a pair of very special performances at New York City’s historic Beacon Theatre. On November 15th and 16th, the band will deliver their first ever full-album performances. On Thursday, November 15th, The Doobie Brothers will perform their 1972 sophomore studio album, Toulouse Street, in its entirety. The following night, Friday, November 16th, the band will perform their third studio album, 1973’s The Captain and Me. Both nights’ performances will be supplemented by select Doobie Brothers hits.Tickets for both shows go on sale Mon, July 23rd at 10 a.m. (ET). Fans will have first access to tickets for both nights starting tomorrow, July 17th, at 10 a.m. local time using the code DOOBIESNYC. American Express card members will have pre-sale access Wednesday, July 18th, at 10 a.m. (local).A limited number of special VIP packages will also be available, including premium seating, a pre-show meet and greet with the band, exclusive commemorative merchandise, and more.Tonight, July 16th, The Doobie Brothers will wrap up their summer co-headlining tour with Steely Dan in Holmdel, New Jersey. For more information about the Beacon shows or to see a full list of The Doobie Brothers’ upcoming tour dates, head to the band’s website.last_img read more

Read More »

The Islamic State of play

first_imgWhether it’s called ISIS or ISIL, few people a year ago had even heard of the radical Sunni Islamist group that had splintered from al-Qaida. But as the Iraq-based terrorist organization rapidly swarmed and took control of cities and towns in Iraq and Syria, it suddenly became a front-burner issue in American foreign policy.After the group beheaded American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and conquered territory all the way to the outskirts of Baghdad, the United States last month began a bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria. President Obama said the objective of the airstrikes was to “degrade, and ultimately destroy” ISIS. Thus far, the U.S.-led coalition does not appear to have made significant headway in thwarting the group’s ambitions.So who are the members of ISIS, what do they want, and how have they taken center stage so quickly? The organization has grown so rapidly and claimed large swaths of territory with such alarming speed that even the name of the group is contested. It is called interchangeably “ISIS” or “ISIL,” which are geographic-based names, or simply “Islamic State.”“I think that the name is instructive; it tells you what their goals are: They aim to create an Islamic state,” said Deborah Amos, an award-winning Middle East reporter for National Public Radio (NPR). “They tax, they police, they run the education system, they have a minister of oil, they have a minister of telecommunications, they are self-financed, they are wealthy, they are working on an ideological revolution in the places that they control.”Amos joined Noah Feldman, the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School (HLS), and Professor Kristen Stilt, co-director of the Islamic Legal Studies Program at HLS, for a wide-ranging discussion about ISIS before a standing-room crowd at Austin Hall Thursday afternoon.“Where they come from is Iraq. They come out of Sunni disenchantment with the government in Baghdad. They crossed the border into Syria because they are picking up on the same disenchantment of a Sunni population who … feel that they have been dealt out of the regional game and feel that they have no other alternative to get their message across, which is, ‘We do not like the deal that we have,’” said Amos, a 1992 Nieman Fellow and a 2010 fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS).“The most distinctive thing about the Islamic State thus far is how successful they’ve been in holding territory. The United States has been bombing now for more than 50 days … there hasn’t really been very substantial change on that map since the president went on television,” said Feldman. “It tells you that the strategy of holding territory has been fairly effective thus far.”Feldman has written several books on Iraq and Islamic democracy and served as a senior constitutional adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2003. He said that while many of the group’s actions and public statements thus far indicate it is “on the far end of radicalism,” it differs from other groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaida and therefore, it’s “too soon” to say definitively what the ISIS ideology is.“I think in some ways their ideology is evolving as we watch them,” said Amos. “It’s not necessarily ideological, but it is really about power. So I do think in some ways you can’t say that they have a fixed ideology because I don’t even think they understand all the parameters. They are, in some ways, making it up as they go along.”So how has the organization been able to pick up so much support? In Syria, ISIS has grown in part because it is seen as a better alternative to the many brigand-like groups operating in towns under the misnomer umbrella term of the Free Syrian Army, Amos and Feldman said.“What ISIS offered was order, and people were craving order in Syria. The second thing ISIS offered was a respite from the bombing,” said Amos, noting that the Syrian government largely refrained from bombing ISIS-held territories. “If you were a Syrian and you’d been through two years of complete chaos in northern Syria, ISIS looked pretty good.”In Iraq, “By and large, the Iraqi Army had behaved so badly in Mosul that they [ISIS fighters] were welcomed when they first arrived,” said Amos. “So that is how they do it: They find places where there is chaos — people don’t know how to survive, they have no way to make a living — and ISIS brings order.”The group is surprisingly modern in its communications and has been very good at recruiting through social media, reaching “angry, young Muslims” who see a future in an Islamic state, said Amos. The group also uses conscription.“In Mosul, we heard stories that ISIS would come house to house and ask for a son. And if the answer was no, then they said, ‘Well, we’ll take the daughter.’ And so a lot of families felt that it was wiser to give a son. In some towns that wasn’t a hard bargain to strike,” she said.For many recruits, ISIS offers a way to feel powerful and provides a reliable income. Foot soldiers can earn $600 a month or more if they advance, and they sometimes get free housing or even a wife, a typically expensive undertaking. “If you stay on their side of the law, life is not that bad,” said Amos.The public beheadings of kidnapped Western journalists and aid workers, which were loaded onto the Internet, accelerated the U.S. confrontation with ISIS. They also served a longer-term strategic purpose for the group.“Here, it has a dual effect: On the one hand, it signals to anybody who might be a potential recruit that this is a serious organization that isn’t afraid of anybody,” said Feldman. “The fact that they didn’t care about those inevitable consequences” of inciting Western retaliation “is itself an extremely powerful signal that they are acting as though they were a sovereign state.”The Oct. 3 beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning, who had strong and active support from Muslims in England, including close affiliates of al-Qaida who vouched for him, also indicates ISIS’s growing confidence, said Amos.“They killed him on a Muslim holiday and I think that the message was, ‘Too bad. I don’t care what you people in Britain think. We are not of you; we are a completely different organization, and we will show you what we will do.’”The violence against outsiders and anyone deemed insufficiently loyal to ISIS has already had a desensitizing effect on many inhabitants under their control. “I think the most interesting thing is, over time, how [well] people adjust to the brutalities,” said Amos, who recalled a woman telling her of a scene in Raqqa where people sat outside eating lunch in view of decapitated heads that had been put on display in the center square. Also, ISIS is funneling teenage recruits into ideological camps for training.“I think both of those things tell us it’s going to be very hard to unravel a generation that’s lived under ISIS, even if it’s just for a couple of years. They are really seeping into the heads [of people] in the places where they control,” she said.While both Feldman and Amos said ISIS ultimately will be defeated, given the wide range of opposition the group faces and the unsustainability of an economic plan that relies on theft, smuggling, and extortion, it remains an open question whether the current airstrike campaign by U.S.-led forces can push ISIS back.Feldman said some alternative efforts could include stepping up the bombings “very substantially” and working to motivate Iraqi forces on the ground, which would likely require the commitment of some U.S. ground forces, probably Special Forces acting in an advisory capacity.It’s a conundrum the Obama administration is struggling with internally, he said.“On the one hand, if they’re seen not to have had any impact” on pushing back ISIS during the rest of Obama’s presidency, “it will be very costly to the administration, the Democratic Party, and the president’s legacy. So there is reason to think he will act. On the other hand, there’s the understandable deep opposition domestically to putting in any ground forces. So this is a real puzzle.“If I had to bet, I would bet that we would see a significant stepping up of air attacks, coupled with this very limited commitment of a very small number of Special Forces, to see if that makes a difference experimentally. It may, but my guess is it probably wouldn’t make a very significant difference, in which case there’s going to be a real crisis point in the policymaking process.”last_img read more

Read More »

With No Triple Crown Hopeful, Smaller Crowd Expected at 2016 Belmont Stakes

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By John DundonEvery summer since 1904, crowds have stampeded to Belmont Park in Elmont to see the Belmont Stakes—the weekend-long horse racing festival that aficionados dubbed the “test of the champion.” The championship track—1.5 miles of brown dirt, contrasting starkly with the some of the greenest infield grass around—is the final leg in the quest for horse racing’s Triple Crown, one of the most elusive feats to capture in sports, which makes the Belmont Stakes so special. The goal? To win all the three major horse racing competitions in succession. It’s happened just 12 times since 1919—most recently last June, when American Pharaoh become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. But this time, there is no chance of a horse winning the Triple Crown.After winning the first leg at the Kentucky Derby, Nyquist lost the Preakness Stakes due to a late inside dash by Exaggerator. Jockeyed by Kent Desormeaux, Exaggerator comes in to Belmont Park as a 9-5 favorite over the field. Nyquist—undefeated before the Preakness—is a late scratch from the race due to a fever.“We know we’re not going to have a Triple Crown race every year,” New York Racing Association (NYRA) President Chris Kay told reporters during Friday during a news conference at the Garden City Hotel. “We said, let’s make sure people understand this is one of the must-see days for incredible horse racing—it’s an incredible card.”Kay noted that aside from the race itself, the racetrack will host a day of “partying, fun and great racing.” Among the festivities, rock artist Daughtry is expected to perform at Belmont Park on Saturday.The novelty of the Belmont Stakes has pushed the spectator count to astronomical levels, in the last 10-15 years especially. In 2015 about 90,000 people packed into Belmont Park to see American Pharaoh be the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed won it all three legs in 1978. Last year would have likely seen a crowd that shattered the previous attendance record of 120,139 set in 2004, had NYRA not put a cap on the crowd capacity.With no Triple Crown threat in this year’s field, attendance is expected to take a nosedive from last year. The question is, how many people will be there on Saturday, June 11? Kay anticipates the crowd will be between 45,000 and 55,000.In ‘04, over 120,000 people made their way to the track. That year’s Triple Crown contender horse, Smarty Jones, placed second. The year following that record crowd when there was no Triple Crown winner in contention? Attendance was cut in half—less than 62,000 made the trip.From ‘02 through ‘04, three consecutive Triple Crown hopefuls propelled attendance to over 100,000 each year. The three years thereafter—when no Triple Crown was on the line—attendance struggled to hit the 60,000 mark. The same is likely this year. The average crowd volume of the last five non Triple Crown races at the Stakes is 57,451, according to NYRA.Despite the lessened interest from last year, both Nassau County Executive Mangano and NYRA remain confident in the entertainment factor that the 2016 Belmont Stakes will offer. Mangano predicted it will have a “$10 million economic impact on the county.” With no Triple Crown hopeful in this year’s field, Preakness winner Exaggerator will be the most talked about horse coming in.“He ran great in the Derby, and he ran great in the Preakness,” said two-time Belmont Stakes winning trainer Todd Pletcher. “He’s shown up every time.”Kay also expressed excitement over the fact that Lani, a horse from Japan, will be racing.“There’s huge interest in Japan for this race,” Kay said.Nassau County police encouraged spectators to take the Long Island Rail Road to Belmont Park. Hempstead Turnpike is expected to see extensive traffic delays, and Plainfield Avenue will be closed.Despite the expected attendance drop business owners surrounding Belmont Park are expected to be packed.“Of course, it’s busier when there’s a Triple Crown up for grabs, maybe it’s a 10-15 percent difference,” said Tracy Cooleen, general manager of Jameson Bar and Grill in Floral Park, one of dozens of businesses on Tulip Avenue that feels the impact of attendance numbers at the Belmont Stakes. “The area is busy either way, but certainly you can tell when it’s a Triple Crown year.”So while there may not be record-breaking crowds this year, it’s still the place to be on Long Island this weekend.last_img read more

Read More »

Ignorance and racism a losing combination

first_imgby Tim DahlbergAP Sports Columnist (AP)—Oh, the things that come out of kids’ mouths.College kids in this case, making some noise at an NCAA tournament game that will probably be their last.“Where’s your green card?” members of the Southern Mississippi band chanted at Kansas State’s Angel Rodriguez during the Wildcats’ second-round win in Pittsburgh.Rodriguez heard them, and later he heard an apology on behalf of them. It came from Southern Mississippi officials, and the freshman guard accepted it because “there’s ignorant people and I know that’s not how they want to represent their university.”Write it off, if you will, as just some college students trying to be funny and failing miserably. There’s probably some truth in that, though school officials said that won’t save them from “quick and appropriate disciplinary action.”There was certainly nothing funny a few weeks earlier at a high school game in the Pittsburgh area, when a team from a predominantly Black school said fans of a largely White school shouted “monkeys” and “cotton pickers” at them. Fans of Monessen High were also upset when two Brentwood High students ran past them while wearing banana costumes.Isolated incidents, maybe. And we’ve certainly come a long ways from the not-so-distant days when college teams from the south were all White or when Black major league baseball players weren’t allowed to stay at the same hotel as their White teammates in certain cities.Unfortunately, though, racism is still finding a place in sports.We saw it recently when an ESPN employee wrote a headline about Jeremy Lin that used a word that is often used as a slur against Chinese. That, too, was supposed to be funny, though the humor was lost on ESPN executives who fired the headline writer.And we saw it sink to a new low on Sunday when a man in Britain allegedly made racist remarks on Twitter about Bolton soccer player Fabrice Muamba, who is fighting for his life in a hospital after going into cardiac arrest and collapsing during an FA Cup match. That not only outraged soccer fans, but got the man from south Wales arrested on charges of violating the Public Order Act, which makes acts of racist abuse illegal.Ignorant people, offensive comments. There’s no shortage of them, even in an era where Black players outnumber Whites in several major sports and teams are becoming increasingly homogenized in most others.The great thing about sports is that it unleashes passions in people that they ordinarily wouldn’t show in other ways. The not-so-great thing about sports is that sometimes fans—and players themselves—channel those passions in destructive ways.How else would you explain a group of fans in Germany directing Hitler salutes during practice last month at an Israeli player on the Kaiserslautern team? Did they think Itay Shechter would get a chuckle out of the reference to the reviled German leader responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews in World War II?Steve Williams certainly thought he was funny when he railed on about his former boss at a caddies award dinner. The former bagman for Tiger Woods said “My aim was to shove it up that Black a—–” when he did a TV interview celebrating a win by his new employer, Adam Scott. Amid accusations of racisms, Williams apologized, and Woods said he did not believe his old caddie was a racist.There’s nothing funny about racism. It goes against the core of everything sports is supposed to mean, but it goes on anyway.It cost John Terry his job as England’s soccer captain, and it could cost him some money when the Chelsea defender faces trial in July on charges of racially abusing Queens Park’s Anton Ferdinand during a premier league game. The charges were part of a string of incidents that included Liverpool striker Luis Suarez being banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.That incident got two heads of state involved. Uruguay President Jose Mujica defended Suarez even after he refused to shake hands with Evra in their first meeting since the incident, and British Prime Minister David Cameron ordered the English Football Association to come up with a full report on how racism and other forms of discrimination can be eliminated.That’s an improvement over soccer czar Sepp Blatter’s contention a few months ago that there was no racism in soccer. The FIFA chief suggested that any problems could be solved by a handshake at the end of the game.Blatter later apologized, just like Southern Mississippi did on behalf of the band. Like him, the band members have some learning to do.Turns out Rodriguez is from Puerto Rico and a U.S. citizen, just like them.Proof again that ignorance and racism is a losing combination.(Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at [email protected] or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg.)last_img read more

Read More »