Tuesday, December 31, 2013

* Happy New Life? Yale Divinity School student Sam Todd diisappears from a Manhattan New Year's Eve Party 30 Years Ago Tonight

Under the title “Haunted by a Disappearance"  Jennifer Boylan writes in her New York Times  Op-Ed  piece today of the Manhattan disappearance on New Year’s Eve 30 years ago of Yale Divinity School student, Sam Todd.

Her article swirls around her own feelings of  having wanted to escape the self  of her childhood and youth and its trans-gendered confusion.

My investigative report on Sam Todd presented to the president of Yale and the Dean of the Divinity School as well as Sam Todd’s parents, thirty years ago, suggests that  feelings of wanting to escape a childhood persona  were present in Sam at the time of his disappearance.

That report was published in Connecticut Magazine in May, 1985.

Is it  possible that Sam is still alive.these thirty years later?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

* "If I couldn't go to Yale I'd have Yale come to me."

Manson H. Whitlock, typewriter repairman, dies at 96

LINK Washington Post

LINK Washington Post

LINK New York Times

Link New York Times

Saturday, December 28, 2013

* "If I were a rich man . . . " : New Haven rabbi finds and returns $100.000

* My Birthday: The worst party time of the year.

Squeezed between two monumental

 party days, 

Happy 69th Birthday to Me

December 28th

Thursday, December 26, 2013

* For my friend, the entrepreneur Ron Richo, who opened New Haven's first sushi bar in the 1980's

* 72 Years Ago Today

 Link to Churchill's Cigar:


On Dec. 26, 1941, 

Winston Churchill 


 the first British prime minister 

to address 

 joint meeting 

of the 

United States Congress.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

* Putting Differences in Perspective for the New Year: Honoring Quality

Mr. Martin Frank, Editor
The Valley News
West LebanonNH

Dear Mr. Frank,

I happened to see the front page of the VN in the grocery store announcing your promotion .  Despite our disagreement on a recent matter, I think you have done an excellent job with the Forum over the last few years, evidenced by its having become one of the paper's most popular features.

All the best with your new responsibilities.


Paul Keane

Paul D. Keane
M.A., M.Div., M.Ed.

* Asking is always better than spying.

A prophet is not without honor except in his own country.

* Christmas Minus Christ

The late
Douglas Clyde Macintosh
(1878 - 1949)
Dwight Professor of  Systematic Theology
Yale University

Douglas Clyde 


Centennial Tribute 

September 11-17, 1978 

at Yale Divinity School

Works:  (1911). The Reaction Against Metaphysics in Theology  (1915). The Problem of Knowledge  (1919). Theology as an Empirical Science.  (1921). Christianity in Its Modern Expression  (1931). Religious Realism  (1937). The Nature of Religious Experience  (1939). Social Religion  (1942). Personal Religion.

 UNITED STATES V. MACINTOSH, 283 U. S. 605 (1931) U.S. Supreme Court No. 504 Argued: April 27, 1931. Decided: May 25, 1931. Overturned: 1946.

He described his own religious position as that of "untraditional orthodoxy."  While always a defender of the faith, he considered the best defense to be the relinquishment of the untenable.  This meant that the theologian could not hold out against the historian: whatever happened in the past happened, and whatever did not happen did not happen., and the only way to find out is through examination of the documents.  The scrutiny must be as rigorous in the case of the Biblical documents as for any other.  But research implies uncertainty and religion can brook no uncertainty, at least not on points of vital importance.  Therefore, religion must be independent of history, even the Christian religion, which takes its rise from the Jesus of history. Should it be proved, as it had not been, that Jesus never lived, Christianity might nevertheless survive.  On this assumption, in a book entitled 

The Reasonableness of Christianity, Macintosh devoted one hundred and thirty-five pages to a defense of Christianity without mentioning Jesus at all.  In defense of the procedure he said:

"It has been through no oversight that nothing has been said of Christology or the historical Jesus.  There is an important tactical advantage in showing how extensive and vital is that content or essence of Christianity which can be defended successfully without any assumption as to particular facts of history.  We escape the danger of infecting the entire content of essential Christian belief with the necessary incertitude of historical opinion.  All that has been said of the reasonableness and truth of Christianity is demonstrably valid, whether we have any Christology or not, and whatever we may or may not believe about the historical Jesus.  It would still be valid if it should turn out that Jesus was essentially different from what has been commonly believed, or even that he was not truly historical at all . . . it is the systematic thinker's task to lead faith to a sure foundation, independent of the uncertainties of historical investigation."

Roland H. Bainton

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

* The Spirit of Christmas Lives in Los Angeles

ronricho ronricho has left a new comment on your post "The Spirit of Christmas in Los Angeles" * The Spirit of Christmas Lives in Los Angeles": 

Hands down my favorite story of 2013! The word genius gets tossed around pretty

 freely these days but this kid actually is a genius and a businessman at that. You have 
to wonder what the future is for him. Something amazing I'll bet. 


2000 Years 


Male Tampering 


 Reproductive Functions 

A recent  PBS television series about a mystery-solving priest named Father Brown has the priestly sleuth  lecturing a severe nun who is inflexible on the sin of pregnancy out of wedlock with these words: “Even Our Lady was a single mother for a while.”  

Indeed, she was.

There is a great deal of debate about tampering with women’s reproductive functions these days, from  religious doctrinaires in the Roman Catholic Church to evangelical Christians in America, yet the world is about to unquestioningly celebrate tomorrow what is perhaps the most famous religious holiday in history, a holiday which depends on the story of just such a tampering by a divine tamperer.

The virgin birth of Jesus is believed to be a true occurrence by all Roman Catholics and a majority of Protestants in 2013 , even though scholars in dusty divinity closets debate whether in fact this doctrine is based on a centuries-long mistranslation.

The entire  virgin birth theory of Christianity in the New Testament is based on the translation of one word alleged to be predicting the birth of just such a messiah as Jesus; a word in the OLD Testament book of Isaiah 7:14; a word  which in Hebrew (the original text) is “almah“ meaning “young woman”.  However, when the Hebrew “almah”  gets translated in  into the later Greek version of the Bible ,  the word used is “parthenos” meaning “virgin”. 

Therefore, the Lord, of His own, shall give you a sign; behold, the young woman (the virgin?)  is with child, and she shall bear a son, and she shall call his name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14)

Hence the possibility that the entire superstructure of the Nativity in Chriitianity  (the event we are about to celebrate tomorrow across the world) is based on a willful or sloppy scholarly mistake made centuries ago and  universally ignored by the faithful.  (See below).

NOTE: There is a similar scholarly debate about the translation of “virgin” in another major world religion whose divine reward is “72 virgins” in paradise , but I prefer to deal with the religion of my upbringing here, and leave other religions to their own internal debaters.

Putting aside the question of patriarchal control of women's bodies, what can we make today, December 24, 2013, of this focus on women’s reproductive functions as the central pillar of the Christian religion?  

Joseph obviously is concerned about his future wife’s purity and even considers a 'divorce' when Mary becomes pregnant during the one year period of  Hebrew betrothal, a time to establish property rights and family relationships, and, incidentally, to figure out if your betrothed is pregnant with another man's child ! 

In one version,  Joseph is visited by an angel who tells him  to calm down, since the pregnancy has been caused by God so his own son can be born of human flesh.

Angel or no angel, Joseph calms down and Jesus is born in Bethlehem, out of wedlock, a situation which Joseph belatedly—and nobly -- remedies.

If sloppy scholarship has built up a story based on a mistranslation of the Hebrew text, sloppy believers have used that story to punish women for their reproductive decisions ----– and accidents ----- for centuries.

Perhaps Christmas (the birth day of the illegitimate son of God and Joseph)  is a time to focus our  judgments on  Hebrew and Greek translations of Isaiah, rather  than  on the reproductive functions of the  the world’s women.

After all, to rephrase Time magazine's  Man of the Year, who are we to judge?



Main articles: Isaiah 7:14 Isaiah 7:14 and  Immanuel Immanuel
Therefore, the Lord, of His own, shall give you a sign; behold, the young woman is with child, and she shall bear a son, and she shall call his name Immanuel. Cream and honey he shall eat when he knows to reject bad and choose good. For, when the lad does not yet know to reject bad and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread, shall be abandoned."
—Isaiah 7:14-16 Isaiah 7:14-16

In this passage from the Book of Isaiah Book of Isaiah the prophet predicts to King Ahaz Ahaz that a young woman will give birth to a son who will be called "Immauel Immanuel", meaning "God with us", and that Ahaz's enemies will be destroyed before this child learns the difference between good and evil, i.e., before he reaches maturity. The Hebrew word is "עלמה" (almah almah), which scholars agree means a young woman of child-bearing age, without any connotation of virginity, and the context of the passage makes it clear that Isaiah has in mind events in his and Ahaz's near future. The Greek-speaking author of Matthew, however, used the Greek  translation Greek translation of Isaiah, in which the word is given as "παρθένος", parthenos, meaning a virgin. [52] [52]

Friday, December 20, 2013

* Blind to See----------------- The Endarkenment

The Stars are Brightly Shining

We are blind to the significance of Yale  Professor Samuel See’s mysterious death in a New Haven jail.  The real significance is not a matter of personal or professional irresponsibility on the part of anyone. 

It is the despair of idealism soured. 

Mr. See was a young Ivy League scholar on the cutting edge of change: Generational ascendancy; sexual liberation; gay marriage, and queer literary theory.

To look too long at our imaginings of his lifeless form in the New Haven Police Department cell is to stare at the new world gone awry; the best and the brightest, living the life of the mind and the life of the body,  careens off the yellow brick road and never gets to find out what Dorothy learned in the magical land of Oz:  that if you can’t find happiness in your own back yard, you can’t find it anywhere.

No, we want to maintain the fantasy that our new world of liberation and revolution is the Emerald City come real, the El Dorado at the end of the rainbow, planted by the Flower Children fifty years ago, and now blossoming  under the aging gaze of those geezer avatars of the Age of Aquarius: a utopia of genderless equality, of neutered dominations.

Professor See’s lifeless hand points instead  to the same choking noose of emotions which has plagued the human heart from Helen of Troy to Oscar Wilde------------------Pride. 

We are blind to the meaning of this lost Yale professor’s secular comet come to naught.

We must instead turn away to other matters lest we see a reality we have preferred to deny with each accumulating era these 2000 years: 
                an emblazoned sky, empty; 
                an enflamed star, cold.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

* The Untimely Death of Yale Professor Samuel See

Michael has left a new comment on 
Yale Professor Samuel See...": 

"Homicide" was also ruled out as
 a cause of death. 

I would like to know the source
for this comment about 
"homicide".  I have not
seen such a comment.  
Furthermore , who would 
of a homicide be?  
The only folks in contact 
with Mr,. See were  the 
police, the spouse, the 
Yale-New Haven 
Hospital staff


Summary as of December 18, 2013 :

We have a Yale professor, arrested in his own home around  6 P.M. November 23  for violating a restraining order against his spouse which no journalist or official has published for the public to view.

During the arrest the Yale professor is wounded over his eye, but no one is so far named responsible for causing  the cut.  Before being jailed the Yale professor, in police custody, is treated at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where no medical personnel alert anyone of any medical irregularity which could pose a health hazard to the professor were he to be released for jailing from Yale-New Haven Hospital.

In jail where inmates are observed every 15 minutes, there is no record of anyone noticing any medical symptoms which might pose a danger to the professor’s life.

Around 6:00 AM November 24th  the  Yale professor is found “unresponsive” in his cell, suggesting that he was not unresponsive on the previous 15 minute check, presumably around 5;45 AM.  Thus, something apparently caused the professor to expire with no warning during that 15-minute period.

The New Haven Police Department, violating its own procedures, does not notify the public of the death of the Yale professor for three days, November 27th.

No record has emerged of when the NHPD notified the Yale administration of the death, or the professor’s next of kin of the death.  

Yale  issues an expression of sympathy and mourning and schedules a memorial service for January 25, 2014 at Battell Chapel. 

By December 4 a preliminary autopsy rules out “trauma” as a cause of death.

A UCLA professor and friend of the late professor organizes a protest march (“a death in jail is a political death”) in New Haven which occurs on December 10.

To date (December 18) , the wording of the restraining orders which precipitated these events nearly a month ago on November 23, have not been published in any news journal.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

* Yale Law School: Don't Soil Your Own Nest

A friend of mine who attended Yale Law School at the same time I went to Yale Divinity School, explains to me why we have heard nothing from the Law School faculty about the death in jail of Yale professor Samuel See.

How naive of me not to realize this myself.  I used to say to colleagues "Don't soil your own nest", a variation of Tony Soprano's less polite remark, cited by my Law School friend, below.

Yale Law professors as a matter of policy and practice generally decline to comment on matters involving Yale University.
I had a labor law professor who during an informal discussion with students refused to comment on the then ongoing cafeteria workers strike at Yale University.  I guess it is sort of a variant of Tony Soprano's maxim, "Don't shit where you eat."

Friday, December 13, 2013

*Home Sweet Home for the Holidays

* Unclean Hands

I have championed several lost causes since 1970: (LINKS)  Kent State; AIDS at Yale; the Boston bomber burial.

But always I had the sense that the Press was willing to do the background work.  This latest involvement with the cause of the young Yale professor who died in police custody in a New Haven jail at age 34, is the exception.

No one seems to want to do the simple investigative  leg work of obtaining and publishing documents-------first and foremost the restraining orders which propelled the professor into police custody..

Instead we spin our wheels reading endless posts filled with gossip and innuendo masquerading as attempts at clarification.

Even the latest (LINK) New Haven Register article while quoting a Quinnipiac University law professor (why not Yale Law School, may I ask?) about the intricacies of restraining orders, does not obtain and publish the actual orders.

Why not?

The entire news story hinges on the justification of the arrest.

Without that arrest, the professor would still be alive.

And the arrest was made based on the "existence" of the orders.


I am discouraged, to say the least, at trying to untangle this very tangled web of speculation and character assassination in the Yale Daily News'  posting board when journalists almost three weeks after the death have failed to provide  the documents necessary to understand the legitimacy of official actions in this matter.

And I feel my hands have been soiled by continuing to  (LINK)  engage posters who smear the professor's reputation.

I won't wash my hands of the affair, but I do definitely feel the need to wash my hands.

In the meantime I hope others will feel the need to press the Press.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

* "Crucify Him !" I must be nuts.

Crucifying the Reputation of a 
Dead Man
So much speculation;so little investigation. 

Why is it so difficult to ascertain and publish the wording of the restraining orders?
I question my sanity in continuing to navigate the psycho-dynamics of these fear filled posts. Why would anyone attempt to impede a crucifxion? I must be nuts. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

* An apology to Yale.

A memorial service to which all are welcome is planned for January 25, 2014, at 3:00 p.m., in Battell Chapel on Old Campus


 10 hours ago

Paul, there is no silence at Yale. The English Department

 website features a tribute to Prof. See. The Dean of Yale
 College spoke in memory of him at the Gay and Lesbian Studies
 Program last week. A memorial service has been scheduled in Battell
 Chapel. Your anger is fueled by what seems like willful ignorance
of these facts, and while I agree with you that the silence in the days
 after See's death was disturbing, you now seem to be consumed by a
 private truth that is distracting and upsetting to those of us who
 would mourn him in the context of reality.


My ignorance is not "willfull" it is geographical.
I am in Vermont. The Yale Daily News and the New Haven
Register are my means of communication. This is the first
I have heard of these good and decent items. and I hope you
publicize them widely.
Please provide me with the links. and the texts and I will put

them on my blog http://theantiyale.blogspot.com as I did the University's official statement last week 



as I will now post your comment and this reply----- immediately.

Thank you for your correction. It reaffirms my faith in humanity.
Again, my apology.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

* PK Lookalikes (10)

Katherine Hepburn, actress
Katty Kay, anchorwoman

Monday, December 2, 2013

* Something is Amiss in the See case

"I will kill you."

There is something missing from the narrative presented by journalists in the death of  Yale English professor Samuel See in a New Haven jail cell.

All accounts say that Mr. See shouted at the police after he was handcuffed "I will kill you. I will destroy you"

The accounts seem to explain this by saying "See became enraged" when he was arrested and handcuffed in his own home.

Well, let's look at that.

Mr. See was an ENGLISH professor. 

His field was studying WORDS and their impact.

Surely he knew that the word "kill" when directed toward the police would bring dire consequences and terrible publicity.  

Had he directed it toward his spouse against whom there was a restraining order, it would have been understandable as the irrationality of a domestic dispute: crise de coeur (crisis of the heart) as the French say.

But all news accounts report the police as saying it was directed against THEM not against the SPOUSE.

It is therefore vitally important to have more details than simply Mr. See "became enraged" when he was told he would be arrested in his own home for violating a restraining order.  

That might have prompted a "You will answer to my attorney for this" remark, but "I will kill you" is totally off the wall----especially for a scholar whose PhD was in the study of the use of words.

There is therefore a critical need  to interview the only non-police witness to the event, apparently a "sister" of one of the partners who called police over violation of the restraining order. 

If a deposition has already been obtained from her, then it is important that it be made public.

What needs to be established is:

  • relation of witness to Mr. See
  • sequence of events
  • length of events
  • escalation of anger
  • language used by all parties, especially law enforcement personnel
  • force used by all parties
  • source of the cut over Mr. See's eye

Mr. See's profession as a scholar of English cannot be trivialized here.  He knew the power of words and to whom he was directing them-----even if he was "enraged."

Something is missing and there is only one person who can provide that information.

Link to 12/4 Yale Daily News article

" See’s sister from out of state. "
This is excellent and crucially important reporting, unlike previous accounts which left the impression that the sister phoned the police from the scene of the dispute at See's Wooster Square home.
Thus there was no non-police witness to the event who can shed light on the content of the language and force used by all parties during the police visit to See's house and his arrest.

Accordingly, it is impossible to corroborate with a non-police witness the police statement "See became enraged" when he was told there was a restraining order against him and he would be arrested in his own house.
The only non-police witness then is the husband, who is not an emotionally disengaged party.
This makes challenging the police story impossible.
It is highly dubious that a professor of English would utter the words "I will kill you" to the police. His profession requires a subtle awareness of the power of words and an ability to analyze their potential consequences in a variety of situations. A professor of English might have said to the police"You will answer to my attorney for this" but it is unimaginable that he would have said to the police "I will kill you" .
He understandably might have said that to his spouse during the "domestic dispute" but unless he was professionally suicidal, he would NEVER have said that to the police.
Something is amiss here.
The toxicology report will probably be issued over Xmas vacation, making an effective campus response unlikely