December 25, 2010 archive

On Death And Clemency, Or, Here’s A Real Christmas Story

There are many gifts to be given and received this holiday season; some that you can wrap and put under a tree, and some so intangible and ethereal that they cannot be held within the boundaries of paper and ribbon.

Instead, they exist within the boundaries of our hearts.

Among those intangible presents, few matter more than the chance to be with those we love-and at the time of our death, it’s the most important thing of all.

We have a chance to bring all of this to a dying woman and her family-but the only way it can happen is if we convince the Florida Department of Corrections not to kill her first.

It’s not a tale of light and joy-but if we get lucky, there could still be a happy ending.

You Are the Gift!

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  Empathy And Education; BeThink or

Perchance, on this the twenty-second commemoration of a lesson learned, it is time to reflect on our first, foremost, and greatest Teachers.  More than a generation has passed.  In that time, I have acquired much knowledge. Yet, I am forever reminded that the more I know, the more certain I am.  I know nothing with certainty.  What I once thought was the greatest treasure, a tradition I could never part with, was other than it appeared.  I never imagined what would become my truth.  Today, I share the tale with you.

Evercookies for Christmas

Mom makes the best cookies ever. No one can change that fact. Argue all you like, but you will never be able to change that fact. On Christmas Eve, we leave a glass of milk and a plate of mom’s cookies for Santa.  At night, when we are all asleep, the fat guy sneaks in with his elves to stuff our stockings and pile gifts under the tree. Even Santa knows mom makes the best cookies ever.

Christmas For Children

“Merry Christmas” 2010, not in Iraq

Every action has a reaction, every destructive action has destructive reactions!

This report is just a part of the legacy we’ve left to an entire small Country of innocent people, as well as their neighboring countries, whose doctoral leader was under our thumb, right up till his hanging, as to the policies of that whole region we push in the names of Freedoms and Democracy!

Six In The Morning

I’ll Play Scrooge To Your Grinch

And Don’t For Get To Hand Over All The Damn Money

Daniel J. Langevin was 35, mentally ill and broke. He had been living in psychiatric institutions on and off since his early 20s.

A friend who visited him at the Rochester Psychiatric Center in February 1995 remembered that Mr. Langevin had pain in his jaw, eye and face that was not getting much attention from the staff. A week later, he was discovered unconscious, with a near-fatal infection spreading to his brain and other organs.

Mr. Langevin sued New York State, which operates the hospital, and probably would have won a sizable award.

Late Night Karaoke

Random Japan

 2010 Roundup  


Bored in space

It was reported that Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi celebrated New Year on the International Space Station with hanetsuki (hitting a shuttlecock with a battledore) and kakizome (writing the first calligraphy of the year).

It depends on your definition of “disaster”

After kicking up a national storm by claiming that “[a]dvanced medical care allows those to live who would once have been weeded out by natural selection,” the mayor of Akune, Kagoshima Prefecture, lashed out at his critics via the city’s community PA system, which was set up for use during disasters.

That works out to ¥.00000000003/hr

The Diet is set to consider a bill that would provide compensation ranging from ¥250,000 to ¥1.5 million to former detainees of labor camps in Mongolia and Siberia. Some 600,000 Japanese, mostly servicemen, were thought to have been imprisoned by the Soviet Union after World War II, and approximately 100,000 are still alive.

This just in: asbestos is bad for you, too

For the first time ever, a Japanese court acknowledged that smoking causes health problems.

You hachi-go, Chad!

Attention-craving wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (né Chad Johnson) of the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals, who wears jersey No. 85, is considering changing his name again next season, this time going with the Japanese version: Chad Hachi Go.

Original v. Cover — #57 in a Series

CountryMorning Currier and Ives Pictures, Images and Photos

This evening and tomorrow many among us will celebrate what they consider to be the most significant holiday of the year.

The weekly installment of this Friday evening series falls on the eve of that holiday, an opportunity that will not present itself again until the year 2021. This country, and much of the world, for that matter, will likely look much different then than it does now.  


Popular Culture 20101224: Doc’s Favorite Christmas Songs

I was going to write on a completely different topic, but decided that some Christmas music would be appropriate, since I often write about music here.  Most of the songs are either from my childhood or from comparatively long ago.  I have no “new” favorite Christmas songs.

What I intend to impart is just this:  Christmas is a legal holiday in the United States, but is also a time for people of any, or no, faith to come together and celebrate family and friends.  I care not a whit if you are Jewish, Wiccan, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Shinto, Taoist, Buddhist, a believer in Confucius, or any other religion, or none at all.

In the United States, Christmas is recognized officially, for good or ill.  If all of the great religious can agree about anything, it is good will towards everyone.  With this in mind, please enjoy with me a bit of music that sort of makes the season for me.

Good for the Jews? Fourth Annual Upper West Jewish Christmas Essay

“You know, like a good Jew, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.”

-Elena Kagan at her confirmation hearing, responding to Lindsay Graham’s question, “Where were you on Christmas Day?”

Justice Kagan — Definitely good for the Jews, and a perfect introduction for the Upper West Fourth Annual Jewish Christmas Eve Diary, in which each December 24, we Torah folk huddle around a handsome piece of driftwood,* rest after a tough war on Christmas and review the year for Yids.

On Kos, in 2007, we groused about right wing Jews like Bill Kristol.  In 2008, we commiserated about Bernie Madoff. And in 2009, we kvetched about Joe Lieberman and kvelled about Bernie Sanders.

(cross-posted on Kos)

And 2010?  Well, just for starters, this year I realized that Barack Obama is a Jew.  Don’t believe me? Follow me below:

The Year in Jews:

1.  Barack Obama

The Birthers and Dunkers have it all wrong.  Obama cannot be a Muslim.   First, as we know by reading certain diaries here, he is a capitalist tool who has sold out the left.  On the other hand, to the teabaggers, he is a dangerous Marxist/Communist who nefariously wants to “spread the wealth.”

Well, there’s only one group that has consistently been denounced as being both capitalists tools and communists at the same time:  Since Father Coughlin and before, and in Hollywood, Jews have been simultaneously villains of the left and right.

So by definition, Barack Obama, marxist revolutionary and capitalist tool, must be a Jew.  

2.  Eric Cantor

An open letter to Eric’s mother:

Dear Mrs. Cantor,

    Eric seems like such a nice Jewish boy.  What is he doing hanging out with such a disreputable bunch of goniffs like  Michelle Bachman, John Boehner, Darrel Issa and Andy Harris (the “I want my government health care guy”).

Please have a talk with him.  Really, it’s a shonda.

With concern,

Upper West

3.  Jew or not a Jew?

Amar’e Stoudemaire? (21st c. Willis Reed, in my view)  visited Israel, but a long shot (farther than a three pointer).

Forever Rapper Drake.  Yes!

Pink?  Yes.  So what?

Natalie and Mila.  Of course!  Best Jewish fantasy/reality cinematic ballet stars evah!

4. Abe Foxman: Schmendrick of the year:

From the Burlington Coat Mosque to Glenn Beck on Soros, Abe has been a complete disgrace.  Just cut it out, Abe.  You’re embarrassing us.


So, nu?  Who are some other newly revealed Jews?  What were your favorite Jewish events of 2010?  New Nixon and Kissinger tapes — anti-Semite and self-hating Jew?

Discuss amongst yourselves.


* My mother, a devout Jewish Ethical Culturalist, every year actually decorated a nice piece of driftwood she got from the beach from our house in Rockaway Beach when I was a kid. Last year’s diary mentioned that she was in the late stages of Pulmonary Fibrosis.  She died a month later at 94, after a life filled with dance, beauty, music and love.

“Dear God, when’s this recession going to end?”

WILTON, CT-Michael Chandler looks out the windows of his sun room, past the swimming pool and guest cottage, to the wide backyard where his two children are playing with their pet dalmatian, Scotty. At a time when Americans everywhere are sharing the struggle of a once-in-a-generation recession, Chandler can’t help but wonder how he and his family fell through the cracks.

“It’s just not fair,” said the 49-year-old real estate developer and grandson of oil baron Duncan Chandler. “Everyone is worrying about an uncertain future and coming together to express their outrage, and I don’t get to be a part of it.”

Staring out at the ornate garden where workers were installing a large marble fountain, Chandler sighed and added, “It’s like I don’t even exist.”

According to the multimillionaire, the past 18 months have been incredibly difficult to endure, as he is often left feeling excluded from an American populace that includes millions who struggle every day to make ends meet. Chandler, who watched helplessly as his enormous fortune easily withstood the market freefall, has been “completely left out” of one of this nation’s most significant cultural moments.

“Everybody’s suffering,” Chandler said. “And here I am, not scrimping and saving at all, with no demoralizing periods of financial hardship, or frantic weeks living paycheck to paycheck. What about me, you know? Where’s my struggle?”

“Everyone’s supposed to get a fair shake at this misery,” Chandler added. “Even incredibly wealthy people of privilege like me.”


“Every month they announce tens of thousands of layoffs,” Chandler said, “and every time, I’m not one of them. No matter what I say or do, it’ll never be me. My only memory of this historic point in time will be the prosperity I have always known.”

Added Chandler, “Dear God, when’s this recession going to end?”


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