Chris Murphy, a trial lawyer from Chicago, describes near death experience and his 'Visit to Paradise'
that was full of "Beauty, shining, energy, love".
In Dying by Degrees, Paula Span in The New Old Age reviews Dr. Ira Byock's new book, The Best Care Possible: A Physician's Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life.
Ira Byock has been writing books about the way Americans die since 1998, when he published “Dying Well.” For most of that time, he has been appalled.
He still is. Dr. Byock, director of palliative medicine at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., pulls no punches in his new book, “The Best Care Possible: A Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life.” The American way of dying, he points out, involves too much suffering for both patients and families, and routinized medical response with not enough individualized care. It means not enough listening, not enough support for families, way too much expense. “A national disgrace,” the author calls it in his introduction.
What makes Dr. Byock’s book particularly valuable is the chance to eavesdrop on the doctors we’re often quick to blame. He tells what it’s like on the other end of the stethoscope.
Physicians who comment here sometimes argue that they’re more than willing to stop futile treatments, to refer patients with advanced disease to hospice care so that they can die gently at home. It’s often families, they report, who angrily demand that patients remain in intensive care units, that doctors try one more procedure and then another, as though yielding to death were a moral failing.
The exam for brain death is simple. A doctor splashes ice water in your ears (to look for shivering in the eyes), pokes your eyes with a cotton swab and checks for any gag reflex, among other rudimentary tests. It takes less time than a standard eye exam. Finally, in what's called the apnea test, the ventilator is disconnected to see if you can breathe unassisted. If not, you are brain dead. (Some or all of the above tests are repeated hours later for confirmation.)
Here's the weird part. If you fail the apnea test, your respirator is reconnected. You will begin to breathe again, your heart pumping blood, keeping the organs fresh. Doctors like to say that, at this point, the "person" has departed the body. You will now be called a BHC, or beating-heart cadaver.
Still, you will have more in common biologically with a living person than with a person whose heart has stopped. Your vital organs will function, you'll maintain your body temperature, and your wounds will continue to heal. You can still get bedsores, have heart attacks and get fever from infections.
"I like my dead people cold, stiff, gray and not breathing," says Dr. Michael A. DeVita of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "The brain dead are warm, pink and breathing."
But BHCs—who don't receive anesthetics during an organ harvest operation—react to the scalpel like inadequately anesthetized live patients, exhibiting high blood pressure and sometimes soaring heart rates. Doctors say these are simply reflexes.
You might also be emitting brainwaves. Most people are surprised to learn that many people who are declared brain dead are never actually tested for higher-brain activity. The 1968 Harvard committee recommended that doctors use electroencephalography (EEG) to make sure the patient has flat brain waves. Today's tests concentrate on the stalk-like brain stem, in charge of basics such as breathing, sleeping and waking. The EEG would alert doctors if the cortex, the thinking part of your brain, is still active.
But various researchers decided that this test was unnecessary, so it was eliminated from the mandatory criteria in 1971.
It is possible that not being a donor on your license can give you more bargaining power. If you leave instructions with your next of kin, they can perhaps negotiate a better deal. Instead of just the usual icewater-in-the-ears, why not ask for a blood-flow study to make sure your cortex is truly out of commission?
And how about some anesthetic? Although he doesn't believe the brain dead feel pain, Dr. Truog has used two light anesthetics, high-dose fentanyl and sufentanil, which won't harm organs, to quell high blood pressure or heart rate during harvesting operations. "If it were my family," he said, "I'd request them."
That's why the choice of you want to be your health care proxy is critical. When you tell them want what you think about brain death and organ donation and why, it will be easier for them to do what you would want them to do.
What can you say read you read a story like this:
An 85-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and battered to death by a home invader who also shot her 90-year-old husband in the face with a BB gun.
Nancy and Bob Strait, who had celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in December, were discovered by their daughter at their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Both the pensioners were rushed to hospital where Mrs Strait, who was nearly blind, died from her injuries.
Mr Strait, who served in the 101st Airborne Division in World War II, suffered a broken jaw, broken ribs and severe bleeding. He is in a serious condition in hospital.
Police have arrested 20-year-old Tyrone Dale David Woodfork in connection with the case.
Their daughters Lanora and Andra told Tulsa World that the couple were loving and generous people who would do anything for anyone.
'Dad never talked, and Mama never quit talking,' Lanora said.
'Whatever she did, it came from the heart,' Andra added.
The pair could be found sitting on their porch singing and playing the guitar during warmer summer evenings.
Mr Strait, who had worked for the oil derrick supply company Lee C. Moore before retirement, enjoyed woodwork while his wife loved making quilts and baking.
Tulsa police believe burglars broke into the Straits' home either late Tuesday or early Wednesday last week. They were not found until the Wednesday evening.
The home invaders made off with their Dodge Neon, a television and $200.
Woodfork was later found hiding in a nearby house after a witness spotted the stolen vehicle being driven down the road.
Two extremes of human nature are on display in this tragedy.
Condolences to the Strait family and may they rest in peace.
A loyal horse died of a 'broken heart' just a day before its young owner tragically passed away from leukaemia.
Emma Smith, 23, of Minster, Kent, died on January 20 almost a year to the day she was diagnosed with the condition.
Her beloved horse Lavender died a day earlier from a rare form of colic, despite having never been ill in her life.
According to Emma's parents Julie, 52 and Malcolm, 57, the horse and rider shared a 'special', intuitive bond, which makes them believe Lavender knew something was seriously wrong.
Emma’s mother Julie, 52, said: 'Lavender had never been ill before, the vets couldn’t explain it, we think must have been a broken heart.
'Emma used to always be there looking after her and she hadn’t been because of her illness.
Emma only rode her twice after she started chemotherapy early in 2011 and her family believe the loyal steed had been simply been unable to live without its owner.
You don't want to miss 16 Manly Last Words over at The Art of Manliness complete with wonderful posters.
An unexpected death is shocking, shaking us out of our complacency that we have years to go.
Haley Verzani was fatally pinned to her bed when the 100-foot-tall fir tree, crashed down onto her house in the Northern California town of Arnold.....
The family told Fox 40 they noticed the towering pine tree was leaning and looked like it was about to fall, but they said it was growing on someone else's property so they didn't know what to do about it.
It was the worse snow storm of the winter.
At a luxury resort in Florida, a pregnant woman leaves her husband to go to the restroom and while she is there an out-of-control car veered off the road through two concrete pillars and a hedge to slam into the pool house restroom and killed her.
Witnesses describe hearing Michael crying out 'why, why, why' as people desperately tried to pull the debris off his wife.
The third-grade school teacher, of Medford, Massachusetts, and her unborn child died at the scene.
It was the last day of their vacation.
My hearts go out to both families.
Christians have gathered to pay their final respects to Pope Shenouda III as he sat on his throne for the last time. The church leader spent four decades in Egypt's Orthodox Church trying to soothe sectarian tensions between Christians and the majority Muslim nation.
Thousands of Christians queued in Cairo's Abbasiya district overnight and on Sunday morning at the cathedral where Shenouda's body was initially laid in a coffin.
The body was later seated on a ceremonial throne wearing gold and red embroidered religious vestments, a golden mitre on his head and holding a gold-topped staff.
So great was the crush of mourners, that three were suffocated in the crowd.
Tens of thousands of Coptic Christians lined up outside the cathedral Sunday to pay their final respects to the spiritual leader of their ancient church, whose embalmed body was seated inside on an ornate throne.
The grief of the faithful filing past Pope Shenouda, who died Saturday at 88, may also reflect the uncertainty felt by the country’s Christian minority after the recent rise of Islamists to power.
In his death, Egypt’s 10 million Christians have lost a seasoned protector at a bad time.
“He has been our protector since the day I was born,’’ said a tearful Antonios Lateef as he waited in line to take one last look at the pope, who spent 40 years at the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
The crowds outside the cathedral in central Cairo carried crosses and portraits of Shenouda. “Ya Allah!’’ or “Oh God!,’’ they chanted in unison.
A 56-year-old man was killed when he was buried under a 20-foot mound of pinto beans at a warehouse in eastern Colorado where he worked, police said.
Raymond Segura Jr. was working inside an 80-ft by 160-ft storage silo where beans are sent in bulk via conveyor belt.
But it remains unclear how he ended up buried under the massive pile of legumes.
He was pronounced dead at the Brush, Colorado, facility of the Kelley Bean Company on Thursday after efforts to reach him alive were unsuccessful, Morgan County Undersheriff Dave Martin told Reuters.
'We moved several tons of beans to get to him,' Mr Martin said in a telephone interview.
Mr Martin said emergency personnel were summoned to the site at 11:30 a.m. on reports of a worker trapped in a pile of loose pinto beans.
Mr Martin said dozens of rescue workers and even four inmates from the county jail spent an hour digging through a mound of the legumes to get to the trapped worker.
May he rest in peace
Irene Bernatzky, of Lindenhurst, Long Island, was about to board a train to visit her daughter in Manhattan when she apparently fell while on the escalator and her clothes became entangled.
May she rest in peace.
A boyfriend has published the heartbreaking final texts between him and his girlfriend before she died as she used her cell phone at the wheel of her car.
Emy Brochu, 20, was killed on January 18 when her car plunged into the back of a tractor-trailer as it merged with traffic near Victoriaville, Quebec on January 18.
Her boyfriend, Mathieu Fortin set up a Facebook page in memory of his girlfriend, whom he called 'BB' and to warn others of the dangers of using a cell while driving.
May she rest in peace.
A conductor suffered a fatal heart attack in the middle of a concert as his violinist wife watched in horror, it emerged today.
Vincent LaGuardia, 68, was taken ill as he conducted the Longtime Arapahoe Philharmonic, at Mission Hills Church, in Littleton, Colorado, on Friday.
He was conducting Bach’s famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor, during the orchestra’s second-to-last performance of the season.
The orchestra was about two thirds of the way through the piece when Mr LaGuardia fell to the floor.
Tracey LaGuardia, his wife of 25 years, was playing lead violin and looked on helplessly as desperate attempts were made to revive him.
‘All of a sudden, I looked up and he leaned into the front stand and fell onto his nose… he never came to,’ Mrs LaGuardia told AP.
She said he had suffered a massive heart attack in 1997 and had not been feeling well earlier in the week.
‘It happened so fast,’ she added. ‘He always said that’s the way he wanted to go.’
'One thing I just can't get out of my mind - this is what he loved to do and he died doing that,' Mrs Elias said Friday.
May he rest in peace.
Gerard Vanderleun writes of his 95-year-old mother In My Mother's Small House Are Mansions of Memory
The image above is of what once was a bulletin board. It is kept in my mother's kitchen in her apartment to the rear of an unassuming but decent collection of apartments in the small city of Chico, California.
It's too bad the image of it is so small here on the page. But no matter how much I might enlarge the image of it, it could never be as big as what it represents. Although small in scale it is larger than the lives it chronicles. It is the sum of all love.
My mother only adds the things of love to this board, never the things of disappointment, failure, heartbreak or betrayal. To do so would be a betrayal of the trust that keeping this board brings with it, and, to my mother at least, a waste of life.
My mother does not waste life.
If you knew all the pieces here as I do, you could review them and see the tokens of a life that begins before the end of the First World War and rolls along right up until today. It's a very big life to be contained on such a small board in such a small apartment, but my mother's genius when it comes to this collage is that, no matter how full it gets, she always finds room to add one more moment.
We don't know how she does it. It's a gift.
Young teen-age girls don't have the wherewithall to fight back against bullies on their own. The story of Eden Wormer tells the sad tale of a young girl so ashamed of being bullied that she begged her sister not to tell anyone about what she was suffering at the hands of her eighth grade classmates.
The bullying allegedly began when Eden was in the sixth grade, becoming more intense last year, and eventually tipping her over the edge.
‘Halfway through the seventh grade was when it started to get really bad,’ Audri told KATU News.
‘The bullying just kept getting worse, and I kept telling her I’m going to do something, I’m going to do something, and I should have done something.
'I should have just not listened to her. I should have done something, because maybe she would have been here. I just want her back.’
Audri recalled Eden's final words: 'She said, "I love you daddy, goodnight," and gave him a kiss and hug, and then the next morning he found her dead.'
How very sad for her sister, her brother, her father May she rest in peace.
With her silk scarves and immaculate make-up, Ding Yu looks every inch the modern television presenter. Indeed, for the past five years she has hosted a hugely successful prime-time show in China which has a devoted following of 40 million viewers every Saturday night.
But while in Britain the weekend evening entertainment will be The X Factor or Strictly Come Dancing, Ms Ding’s show features harrowing – some would say voyeuristic – footage of prisoners confessing their crimes and begging forgiveness before being led away to their executions.
The scenes are recorded sometimes minutes before the prisoners are put to death, or in other cases when only days of their life remain.
The glamorous Ms Ding conducts face-to-face interviews with the prisoners, who have often committed especially gruesome crimes. Her subjects sit in handcuffs and leg chains, guarded by warders. She warms up with anodyne questions about favourite films or music, but then hectors the prisoners about the violent details of their crimes and eventually wrings apologies out of them.
She promises to relay final messages to family members, who are usually not allowed to visit them on death row. The cameras keep rolling as the condemned say a farewell message and are led away to be killed by firing squad or lethal injection.
Officials in the ruling Communist Party regard the series as a propaganda tool to warn citizens of the consequences of crime.
The series has made a household name of Ms Ding, who is married and has a young son. She is often recognised in the street while doing her shopping with her family.
Denying her show is exploitative, she said: ‘Some viewers might consider it cruel to ask a criminal to do an interview when they are about to be executed. On the contrary, they want to be heard.
The undertaker, Atsushi Chiba, a father of five who cared for almost 1,000 bodies in Kamaishi, has now become an unlikely hero in a community trying to heal its wounds a year after the massive earthquake and tsunami that ravaged much of Japan’s northeastern coast a year ago Sunday.
“I dreaded finding my mother’s body, lying alone on the cold ground among strangers,” Mrs. Arai, 36, said. “When I saw her peaceful, clean face, I knew someone had taken care of her until I arrived. That saved me.”
Mr. Chiba, in his early 70s, whose home was also spared, raced to the gym on the day after the tsunami to look for friends and family, but was struck by the state of the mounting number of bodies there. Most were still clad in muddy clothes and wrapped in plastic, their rigid limbs jutting out and faces bruised by debris and contorted in agony.
“I thought that if the bodies were left this way, the families who came to claim them wouldn’t be able to bear it,” Mr. Chiba said Thursday in an interview. “Yes, they are dead. But in Japan, we treat the dead with respect, as if they are still alive. It’s a way to comfort the living.”
Mr. Chiba set to work. He became a fixture at the morgue, speaking to the bodies as he prepared them for viewing and then cremation. “You must be so cold and lonely, but your family is going to come for you soon so you’d better think of what you’re going to say to them when they arrive,” he recalled saying.
When you think how much we paid in blood and treasure to save this country and how it's turning out after we left, it's easy to despair.
More than 90 Iraqi students have been stoned to death for their Emo haircuts by religious extremists in Baghdad in the past month after Iraq's interior ministry dubbed it 'devil worshipping'.
Iraq's Moral Police released a statement on the interior ministry's website condemning the 'emo phenomenon' among Iraqi youth, declaring its intent to 'eliminate' the trend.
The move is part of a wider clampdown on young people taking on what government officials call 'Western appearances' in Iraq.
A group of armed men dressed in civilian clothing led dozens of teenagers to secluded areas a few days ago, stoned them to death, and then disposed their bodies in garbage dumpsters across the capital, according to activists.
The armed men are said to belong to “one of the most extremist religious groups” in Iraq.
“First they throw concrete blocks at the boy’s arms, then at his legs, then the final blow is to his head, and if he is not dead then, they start all over again,” one person who managed to escape told Al-Akhbar.
Iraq’s moral police was granted approval by the Ministry of Education to enter Baghdad schools and pinpoint students with such appearances, according to the interior ministry’s statement.
Al-Arabiya English reported lists have turned up with the names of dozens of teenagers who have been warned that if they don’t drop the “emo” culture they will be murdered.
How sad that this pretty young girl is now dead and her last words a text, which undoubtedly caused her death.
Taylor Sauer, a teenager who was texting every 90 seconds during her four hour commute from Utah State University to her parents’ home on January 14, made a fatal mistake while behind the wheel.
Her prolific last text was ‘Driving and facebooking is not safe! Haha.’ Seconds later, she slammed into a tanker truck at 80mph.
Now, Ms Sauer’s grieving parents are hoping to use their daughter’s tragic story as a way to change driving laws, and make texting while driving in Idaho illegal.
A year ago they begged for Britain’s help when Colonel Gaddafi’s tanks encircled their city, threatening annihilation.
Now former Libyan rebels in Benghazi – liberated with the aid of the RAF last March – have systematically desecrated the graves of more than 150 British servicemen killed in North Africa 70 years ago.
Headstones at the Benghazi War Cemetery have been torn down and crucifixes smashed with hammers by a mob of extremists, some carrying guns and dressed in combat fatigues.
More than 1,000 soldiers and airmen who lost their lives in the desert wars of Montgomery and Rommel are buried at the site in Eastern Libya.
Many were members of the famed 7th Armoured Division, known as the Desert Rats, who played a crucial role in the see-saw battle for control of Libya and Egypt between 1941 and 1943.
Sickeningly, the attack, which was carried out over two days last week and appeared highly organised, was filmed by one of the men involved and posted on the internet.
As they rampage among the graves, members of the mob are heard to repeatedly say of the dead servicemen: ‘They are dogs, they are dogs.’
Several uncomfortable conclusions can be drawn from the Benghazi outrage. The first is that Libya after the fall of Gaddafi is a lawless and ungovernable place where horrible actions can be done with impunity by those who have enough guns.
The second is that there is no gratitude among many of those we have helped. The third is that those who warned that we did not know – or care enough – who we were aiding have now been vindicated in the most spectacular and gruesome way.
The cemetery can and must be restored. But our leaders, and our media, should cease to be so simple-mindedly enthusiastic about endorsing every revolutionary movement that appears in the Arab world. Tyrants are bad, but their opponents are not necessarily any better.
A grieving mother has branded Facebook ‘heartless’ after it stopped her logging into her dead daughter’s page.
When Louise Palmer’s 19-year-old daughter died from a brain tumour, she was devastated. But at her lowest points, she found comfort by logging into Becky's Facebook page and reading her old messages.
However, four weeks ago Mrs Palmer discovered the log in details had been changed. And when she challenged Facebook
they told her she could no longer login – due to fears it could invade Becky’s privacy.
However at the end of January Mrs Palmer went to log into the page as usual to find the log in details had been changed with a strange message that the page had been ‘memorialized’.
At the same time the page was made only visible to confirmed Facebook friends.
She says: 'I felt there must be some mistake as a request for something such as this could only come from the next of kin and I hadn’t asked for it.'
However, when she contacted Facebook they replied in an email: ‘unfortunately for privacy reasons, we cannot make changes to the profile or provide login information for the account.'
'People who did not have a Facebook account or who weren’t friends on Facebook can now no longer even see the page even though they might want to leave a message of condolence on the Wall.'
The occasion of any death reminds that we are all mortal. Tradition and custom, based on accumulated wisdom gathered from ancient times up until the present day, has declared that we speak no evil of the dead. De mortuis nihil nisi bonum which translated literally means, Of the dead say nothing except good.
This does not mean that the lives of the dead are whitewashed. Facts about the dead and the consequences of their bad acts should not be made light of or hidden away. What should be hidden and suppressed from public expression are hateful emotions such as delight in someone's death, mocking or cursing the dead., callousness and cruelty.
One reason is that the dead are dead and can not reply and their families are raw, their lives torn apart with a gaping hole where their loved one was. Why add to their suffering?
Human decency demands that their immediate grief be respected. In the case of Andrew Breitbart, he leaves a widow, four young children under twelve, parents, in-laws, cousins, siblings and countless other close friends and colleagues.
This is especially true for political opponents. Even if you detest their politics, they are still human beings and fellow citizens, worthy of dignity and respect.
If you can not find one decent, kind thing to say about the dead, say nothing. Why expose a shrunken heart or bilious hate to the world for the momentary pleasure of a tweet. Everything lasts on the Internet. And those on the left who celebrated the death of Andrew Breitbart will be haunted by what they so recklessly and shamefully tossed on the internet.
They should be shamed. And so I am reposting some of their tweets.
The most influential tweet came from Slate's Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias), who tweeted: "Conventions around dead people are ridiculous. The world outlook is slightly improved with @AndrewBrietbart dead."
AlmightyBob @AlmightyBoob : @AndrewBreitbart haha youre dead and in hell being a gay with hitler
Jeff Glasse @jeffglasse : Andrew Breitbart now enjoying afternoon tea with Hitler #goodriddanceyouhack
@darrenfiorello: Andrew Breitbart died? Is it wrong that I'm happier about that than when they got bin Laden and Saddam?
Scott On Da Rox @ridinchillwaves : RT GOOD RIDDANCE..fascist prick @Gawker: Andrew Breitbart Dead? gawker.com/5889586/
John Kapp @johnkapp : Andrew Breitbart was a racist, sexist, homophobe. Good riddance.
Gabriel @gabriel0923 : Andrew #Breitbart has died having been finally consumed by his revolting hatred! The world is better off without him!
Dufus @dufus : Did we cry when Hitler died? No.. #Breitbart see you in hell asshole
Natasha Yar-Routh @xiomberg : Andrew Breitbart is dead, good riddance to bad trash. He was a vile excuse for a human being
Dave Lartigue @daveexmachina : Andrew Breitbart has died. Honestly, good riddance. He helped poison the country where I live and we are better off without him.
Lalo Alcaraz @laloalcaraz RT @Mfusion66: RIP Breitbart? Nah, too good to be true
vtred @vtred1 : Good riddance to Andrew Breitbart - a McCarthyite nutcase.
Sean Paul Kelley @seanpaulkelley Andrew Breitbart has died: bigjournalism.com/lsolov/2012/03… If so, good riddance.
CpG @Crow1138 : I know it's wrong, but good riddance “@cnnbrk: Conservative blogger Andrew #Breitbart has died, attorney says. on.cnn.com/wkDt4g”
TahitiNut @TahitiNut : Forgive me, God, for I have sinned. I err on the side of being pleased with a death ... of Andrew Breitbart. Good riddance.
michael mayer @prisonforbush: Breitbart dead? D Good riddance. More republicans should follow his lead.
DAC @dac2527 : Satan calls Andrew Breitbart home... Good riddance!
Kate Witko @katewitko : Andrew Breitbart is dead at 43 from "natural causes". hrm yes I suppose wine is pretty natural. good riddance, asshole.
WeirdArchives @WeirdArchives : Looks like it's official. Andrew Breitbart is dead. Personally I don't like the guy, so good riddance to bad rubbish.
Scott On Da Rox @ridinchillwaves : RT GOOD RIDDANCE..fascist prick @Gawker: Andrew Breitbart Dead? gawker.com/5889586/
@Sttbs73 It is very hard to have sympathy for an evil person like Andrew Breitbart! I am done being NICE.
@CleverTrousers: Andrew Breitbart died! Today looks like it's going to be a GREAT day. #deadgasbags
@crmlqt: Andrew Breitbart is dead....one less racist!!!!!
@jawillie: The saddest thing about Andrew Breitbart's death is that he died such a douchebag.
Inglorious Basterdz @TheLibertyLamp : Andrew Breitbart destroyed lives based on LIES, I will not be some phony liberal and pretend condolences. ROT IN HELL ANDREW U BASTARD!
James Q Wilson, co-author of "Broken Windows' policing theory, dies at 80. Washington Post obituary.
Political scientist James Q. Wilson, whose “broken windows” theory on crime-fighting helped trigger a nationwide move toward community policing, died Friday at a Boston hospital. He was 80....We was being treated for leukemia.
Wilson wrote or co-authored more than a dozen books on various topics, but his study of police work and the importance of quickly attacking even small signs of disorder have resonated for decades. He was a distinguished scholar in Boston College’s political science department at the time of his death.
Co-author George Kelling said... the article instantly resonated with law enforcement and also caught the general public’s attention because the “broken windows” metaphor was so effective.
“That was pure Wilson,” said Kelling, now a fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. “The thing about a metaphor is it takes a complex thing and simplifies it and makes it readily graspable.”
“Window-breaking does not necessarily occur on a large scale because some areas are inhabited by determined window-breakers whereas others are populated by window-lovers; rather, one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, and so breaking more windows costs nothing,” they wrote.
Peter Wehner on His Moral Sense
With the death of James Q. Wilson earlier today, America has lost a towering intellectual figure. The mind reels when thinking about the issues Professor Wilson wrote about with such precision, intelligence, originality, and elegance: crime and human nature; drug legalization, science, and addiction; moral character; benevolence; free will; families and communities; race; business ethics and capitalism; American government; democracy and the Islamic world; and much more.
James Q. Wilson was not only America’s pre-eminent political and social scientist, he was one of our leading moral philosophers. There was no subject, it seemed, on which he couldn’t deepen our understanding.
He was a man who deeply loved his country. In reading his books and essays over the years, it seemed to me that what animated him most of all was a commitment to citizenship, virtue, and the moral good. He believed in our capacity to improve, even if imperfectly, the human condition.
And he understood as only a few others have that the task of civilization is to educate the hearts and minds of the young; to shape, in the right way, the habits of the heart.
He ends with this wonderful quote from the professor's book on The Moral Sense
Mankind’s moral sense is not a strong beacon light, radiating outward to illuminate in sharp outline all that it touches. It is, rather, a small candle flame, casting vague and multiple shadows, flickering and sputtering in the strong winds of power and passion, greed and ideology. But brought close to the heart and cupped in one’s hands, it dispels the darkness and warms the soul.
Arthur Brooks on Wilson, Social Science with a Soul
Arguably, no social scientist had more influence over American public policy, on topics ranging from deregulation to welfare reform. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush and advised five decades of American presidents. Pat Moynihan once reportedly told Richard Nixon (who was known for his disdain for intellectuals), "Mr. President, James Q. Wilson is the smartest man in the United States. The president of the United States should pay attention to what he has to say."
Life for Wilson was like a roadside curio shop, full of hidden and unrecognized intellectual treasures.
Many authors over the decades have demonstrated the self-evident truth that without a healthy moral culture, a democratic capitalist society cannot survive. But Wilson showed—not with vague philosophy but with natural experiments and data analysis—that the moral sense is so much more than just what we need to prosper. It is the rhythm of our human flourishing. Wilson understood that the moral sense is what statist regimes crowd out with technocratic socialism—and why they ultimately deliver unhappiness. The moral sense is the reason freedom and individual responsibility give us the best chance at a meaningful life.
James Q. Wilson, a political scientist who coauthored the influential “Broken Windows” article in The Atlantic Monthly in 1982, which became a touchstone for the move toward community policing in Boston and cities across the country, died early this morning in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Dr. Wilson, who was 80 and lived North Andover, returned to Boston a few years ago to become the first senior fellow at the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy at Boston College, and a distinguished scholar in the college’s political science department.
He told the Wall Street Journal that he and his wife, Roberta, moved back to New England to be closer to their children and grandchildren, joking that his descendants “feel a legal obligation to live within 30 minutes of Fenway Park.”
Andrew Breitbart's death at 43 shocked everyone this morning. Apparently he collapsed while taking a walk near his home.
Andrew passed away unexpectedly from natural causes shortly after midnight this morning in Los Angeles.
"We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior," the post said. "Andrew lived boldly, so that we more timid souls would dare to live freely and fully, and fight for the fragile liberty he showed us how to love."
And then they quote Andrew himself
I love my job. I love fighting for what I believe in. I love having fun while doing it. I love reporting stories that the Complex refuses to report. I love fighting back, I love finding allies, and—famously—I enjoy making enemies.
Three years ago, I was mostly a behind-the-scenes guy who linked to stuff on a very popular website. I always wondered what it would be like to enter the public realm to fight for what I believe in. I’ve lost friends, perhaps dozens. But I’ve gained hundreds, thousands—who knows?—of allies. At the end of the day, I can look at myself in the mirror, and I sleep very well at night.
Matt Drudge in a personal note on the Drudge Report
DEAR READER: In the first decade of the DRUDGEREPORT Andrew Breitbart was a constant source of energy, passion and commitment. We shared a love of headlines, a love of the news, an excitement about what's happening. I don't think there was a single day during that time when we did not flash each other or laugh with each other, or challenge each other. I still see him in my mind's eye in Venice Beach, the sunny day I met him. He was in his mid 20's. It was all there. He had a wonderful, loving family and we all feel great sadness for them today.
What Andrew Breitbart meant to politics in The Washington Post
Based in the liberal enclave of Los Angeles, Breitbart viewed himself as a one-man conservative gang and he took to the task of delivering rhetorical body blows — primarily via the web but also through television appearances — with a gusto rarely seen even in these hyperpartisan times.
“There was no stopping Andrew Breitbart from fighting the good fight with every fiber of his soul,” said Michigan Rep. Thad McCotter
His biggest coup came in 2011 when he was at the center of a controversy regarding lewd pictures that New York Rep. Anthony Weiner had taken of himself and sent to a number of women who were not his wife.
Weiner initially denied that the photos — of his underwear-clad groin — were of him but Breitbart was dogged. On NBC’s “Today” show, he insisted he had more x-rated pictures of Weiner and threatened to release them if the New York Democrat attempted to get back at him for breaking the story.
And, in a final indignity to Weiner, Breitbart hijacked the Democrat’s press conference to demand that Weiner tell the whole truth. It was a surreal moment — the sort of truth is stranger than fiction stuff that makes politics fun to cover. And it was vintage Breitbart.
Breitbart also understood before many others that the world of politics — and the way in which it was covered — was rapidly transforming itself into a form of entertainment for the public.
Ed Morrissey , Andrew Breitbart, "Our merry prankster"
He was willing to take risks and look foolish in order to make a point or win an argument, with more courage than most would muster. No one who saw it will ever forget how he seized the podium at Anthony Weiner's press conference and demanded vindication from media outlets who had been disparaging him and defending Weiner when the former Congressman got caught literally with his pants down. Few men have had the kind of impact Andrew did in such a short time, and he leaves behind a media empire that is still gaining strength.
He was the spiritual leader of the modern conservative, libertarian cause. He was immersed in pop culture and wished to drag the right into the modern world - knowing this is how America speaks to the world. He was the heart of the matter. The fighter. Losing him is like a fiery planet going dark.
Breitbart's Unfinished Quest for a Punk Rock Republican in the Atlantic Wire
John Podhoretz in Commentary
Andrew Breitbart was a revolutionary, and I mean that almost literally. He was one of the few people who seemed to understand in his marrow the transformation of the way we would get and understand news and politics—and how that transformation would undercut the ideological narrowness that was the dominating condition of the media in the second half of the 20th century. And he helped bring about that transformation.
He was also my dear friend—garrulous, cheerful, raging, enthusiastic, hysterical, joyful, frenetic, passionate, untamed, smart, personally modest, technologically ambitious, weirdly visionary, compulsively pugnacious, monomaniacal—hard to take at times, and impossible not to love at all times.
Andrew left there (Drudge Report and went on to hugely exciting things. He founded Big Hollywood and Big Government and BreitbartTV and I’ve lost track of what else. He picked fights for fun and profit, but most of all for patriotism and an honorable sense of indignation at the hubris and hypocrisy of the mainstream media and the Left. We didn’t agree on everything and we differed on style. Hell, everyone differed with Andrew when it came to style.
Matt Welch Farewell to a Friend
Before talking about that "go out and create our media" part, which will be Breitbart's true legacy, I would like to stress here that Andrew's broader point about media bias, while always hyperbolic, was also based on something broadly true.
But as Nick Gillespie mentioned this morning, Breitbart's real accomplishment was his innovative, hyper-kinetic 21st-century media creation. Who else could say they helped make both The Drudge Report and The Huffington Post what they are today? Operating with budgets the fraction of daily newspapers you will never hear of, Breitbart consistently and gleefully produced about the highest impact-per-dollar political muckraking in the mediasphere.
A totally doting husband and father of four, and typing those words is kind of devastating me right now. RIP, Andrew, and my heart goes out to Susie and the kids.
What has happened to humanity that this could happen in Britian?
The busy scene on the banks of the lake appears to show our emergency services at their dynamic best.
An air ambulance stands by as two specialist officers in yellow ‘immersion suits’ deliver a man who has collapsed into the water to paramedics at the water’s edge.
They attempt to resuscitate him inside an inflatable tent. A queue of ambulances and fire engines stands by ready and waiting near a small crowd of shocked onlookers. Yet the story behind this picture is anything but impressive.
This was Walpole Park in Gosport, Hampshire, on an overcast lunchtime last March when no fewer than 25 members of the emergency services, including a press officer, descended on a 3½ft-deep model boating lake minutes after Simon Burgess, 41, fell into the water when he suffered a seizure. But as an inquest heard last week, he lay floating face-down for more than half an hour while firemen, police and paramedics watched and did nothing.
The reason? Even though they could all swim, the first fire crew to arrive hadn’t been ‘trained’ to enter water higher than ankle-deep. Instead they waited for ‘specialists’ to arrive to retrieve his body. They had decided Mr Burgess must surely be dead because he had been in the water for ten minutes. When a policeman decided to go in anyway, he was ordered not to. A paramedic was also told not to enter the water because he didn’t have the right ‘protective’ clothing and might be in breach of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.
Following the inquest, a Mail on Sunday investigation has now discovered that:
Mr Burgess had been feeding swans from a plastic bag that blew into the lake. He went in to retrieve it and while he was in the water he had a fit and fell unconscious. Last week, Coroner David Horsley ruled his death was an accident on the balance of probabilities, but said there was a chance, ‘albeit a slim one’, he could have been saved had the emergency services intervened sooner.
Mrs Hughes dialled 999 and watched the Gosport fire crew arrive. But as they waited on the bank, showing little sign of activity, her frustration boiled over.
‘I just could not believe how everybody stood around doing nothing,’ she told me. ‘I said, “Quick, go in and get him. He might be all right.”
‘One of them said, “We’re not allowed.”
‘After the body was recovered and I was brought over to give a statement to police, another fireman came over and said,
“We’re not allowed to go in more than ankle-deep.”
‘I asked why. He replied, “Health and safety.” I’ve never heard of anything so stupid in my life.’
Click on the link above to the the Picture that Shames Britain.