Morning Bulletin: Police Scuffle, New Pre-K Program, More Controversy Over Palestine Book

Photo by Scott Matthews in Central Park.

January 29, 2018 Weather: Sunny, with a high of 44 degrees.

Free readings and concerts, and more local events are on our calendar.

The 24th precinct has been roiled by controversy over an altercation in Riverside Park between two officers. “An NYPD police officer who suffered a massive knee injury when he was attacked by a fellow cop while on duty claims he was pressured to lie about the incident by his superiors, who encouraged him to tell everyone he slipped on the grass. Yet the lie Police Officer Donald Alexandre was asked to keep didn’t hold, and now he and six other officers — including his sergeant, lieutenant and his union delegate — are facing departmental charges for ignoring the fight and the cop’s injuries as he was allegedly encouraged to falsify reports, department officials said.”

The Upper West Side will get new dual-language pre-K programs as part of a citywide expansion. P.S. 145 will teach Spanish and Russian. “All lessons will be given in both English and another language with the goal of making the students bilingual and biliterate, according to School’s Chancellor Carmen Fariña.”

The controversy over the book ‘P for Palestine’ continues. “Now the apology has angered pro-Palestinian activists, who are pledging to boycott Book Culture unless it rescinds its statement and — wait for it — apologizes for the apology.”

The city will remove the statue of Dr. Marion Sims, a gynocologist who experimented on slaves, in Central Park. But one writer thinks the city is doing a disservice to the doctor, while another thinks it’s insulting the community by leaving the pedestal beneath the statue.

Now the state wants to charge property owners higher taxes if they live closer to new subway projects.

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NEWS | 32 comments | permalink
    1. UWSHebrew says:

      Book Culture will never get one cent from me or my family.

    2. Mary says:

      24th precinct, at it again

    3. Zeus says:

      ‘P for Palestine’ –
      Apologize for the apology…
      As the old saying goes:
      The Palestinians never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

      We sure live in interesting times.

      • Bartlett says:

        For the record, the “old saying” that the Palestinians never miss and opportunity to miss an opportunity was the coinage of Abba Eben

    4. UWS Citizen says:

      I would love to know the names of the Columbia professors who signed the petition. I am amazed that the owners of the book store would pay $650 toward the publication of this book without reading it and thinking what is really going on here. I have to believe that the husband of the author stirred this up.

    5. JerryV says:

      It is only lies that have generated pressure to remove the statue of Dr. Sims. I urge people to read this article by a distinguished medical historian and ethicist. If you disagree, please cite your reasons and evidence. (The West Side Rag does not have enough room to publish the full article and supporting evidence, so here is the abstract.) Interested people can try to obtain and read the full article in a library.)

      Vesicovaginal fistula was a catastrophic complication of childbirth among 19th century American women. The first consistently successful operation for this condition was developed by Dr J Marion Sims, an Alabama surgeon who carried out a series of experimental operations on black slave women between 1845 and 1849. Numerous modern authors have attacked Sims’s medical ethics, arguing that he manipulated the institution of slavery to perform ethically unacceptable human experiments on powerless, unconsenting women. This article reviews these allegations using primary historical source material and concludes that the charges that have been made against Sims are largely without merit. Sims’s modern critics have discounted the enormous suffering experienced by fistula victims, have ignored the controversies that surrounded the introduction of anaesthesia into surgical practice in the middle of the 19th century, and have consistently misrepresented the historical record in their attacks on Sims. Although enslaved African American women certainly represented a ‘‘vulnerable population’’ in the 19th century American South, the evidence suggests that Sims’s original patients were willing participants in his surgical attempts to cure their affliction—a condition for which no other viable therapy existed at that time.

      • ST says:

        What immediately comes to mind is the work of fiction Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese, an Indian-American physician and author. He writes extensively about surgery for childbirth related fistuals in Ethiopa. He clearly must have known the story of Dr Marion Sims when he wtote his book. Verghese writes eloquently and compassionately of the horrors for women with this condition. If indeed this is what Dr Sims treated as well one can only extrapolate that, like the characters in the book, the women under Sims care were willing to try anything in a search for a cure.

      • Debbie D. says:

        A few things:

        WSR, could we identify if a linked article is behind a paywall? I cant read the linked Sims article.

        Full length article you quoted: Works for me.

        Finally, I found the article to not be the most convincing. It tries to wash away and make excuses for the behavior, while failing to acknowledge many of the lurid and brutal details present in other recountings of his experiments.

        But regardless, the statue as it stands makes no mention of any of the problematic nature of his experiments. It paints only the rosiest of pictures while neglecting to highlight those who gave their lives and suffered for his work.

        We have better people to celebrate.

        • Debbie D. says:

          To clarify, thats the full length journal article posted in the comments. Still cant get to the WSJ article linked. 🙂

    6. Christian says:

      It sounds like the crux of the argument is the term “intifada.” It seems the book, by associating it with peace signs, is trying to disassociate it from the two uprisings that are identified with it, or at least to distance it from their violence. The author may be trying to reclaim the word or reframe it in a nonviolent context. If so, that’s ambitious. (I’ve heard that there is more to the word than is commonly understood.) If not, it’s disingenuous. (I’m sure many would argue that the author is trying to sugar-coat terrorism.) Either way, I’d rather see discussion than a boycott. The precedents for banning books generally aren’t pretty.

      • Still Hoping says:

        How about this: “I is for Israel, the country we hope to live in peace with someday when Palestine, too, becomes a country.

    7. Judith Kass says:

      What new subway projects? So far no one’s done anything but talk. De Blasio has no control over the MTA. Cuomo hates the city and will do all he can to screw it and de Blasio. By the time anything happens we’ll have gone through a couple of mayors and governors.
      Why get into some hooha about paying more to be near a subway that’s just the same old piece of s–t?

    8. Jim says:

      The tax will hit anyone living within 10 avenues of a subway line. 🙂

      • ST says:

        Totally unfair. No one who lives as far away as ten Avenues actually takes the subway. Nasty money grab.

    9. Scott says:

      More like Cuomo needs more NYC dollars to pay for his Buffalo Billions boondoggle. Only positive outcome is his cronies have been indicted.

    10. Phoebe says:


    11. DrMM says:

      Um…since when does any book store have to agree with every point made or opinion stated or even implied in every book they sell???

    12. drg says:

      good try, but dont confuse the issue with facts.
      for those interested here is a link to that review article
      The medical ethics of Dr J Marion Sims: a fresh look at the historical record:

    13. naro says:

      Ironically the sound P is absent in Arabic, and is pronounced like a B. There is no “Palestine” but “Balestine.”