Mendocino County Today: Sunday, May 1, 2016
by AVA News Service, April 30, 2016
OUR MAN at the Boonville Fairgrounds gate enjoyed watching the beer-revelers leaving the 2016 event. It’s pretty much confined to the Fairgrounds where an array of craft beers are free for the price of a ticket, which runs about $60. And it closes down at five, open at noon. Which means a lot of people pound down a whole lotta suds as fast as they can.
The weather was warmish, breezy, perfect for beer-drinking. Mostly an orderly, friendly young crowd, considering they were varying degrees of loaded. Our man says he only saw three local people he recognized and ethnic minorities were way in the minority, few and far between.
Whoever arranged the pedi-cabs made a serious miscalculation because about a hundred revelers were waiting for who knows how long for the only one we saw in town, and it was parked at the Pic'N'Pay a couple blocks away.
Out of the hundreds of patrons who came streaming out of the fairgrounds after the 5pm closing, our man counted only 11 stumbling drunks who were so drunk they were draped over the shoulders of friends who were helping them out of the festival, two of whom were young women.
One very drunk young dude was so pleased with the festival that he broke free from his friends and started trying to high-five everyone nearby, exclaiming, "Beer Fest! Yeah!" over and over. Except they weren't exactly "high" fives because the dude was too drunk get his arm above his shoulder — sort of a slo-mo medium-five.
DEPUTY WALKER said there was only one arrest that could be attributed to the festival, and that was of an "aggressor" in a scuffle-fight between two drunks Friday night at the brewery's campground up the street. The Medstar quick-response mini-ambulance driver on the scene reported no calls.
CONSIDERING that some five thousand people descend on Boonville for this event, incidents were a remarkable almost nil.
MENDOCINO REDWOOD COMPANY says it is paying too much tax, specifically $9,384 so far paid to the Albion-Little River Fire Protection District. MRC wants the money back. MRC says it doesn’t own property within the Albion-Little River Fire Protection District. County Counsel says MRC is being fairly assessed via County property taxes while MRC has hired big gun lawyers out of Ukiah’s Mannon-King law firm to elude the Albion Fire part of its property taxes.
MENDOCINO COUNTY’S HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES Standing Committee made up of Supervisors John McCowen and Tom Woodhouse are unusually critical of the County staff’s handling of the abortive Animal Shelter privatization process. In an agenda item for their May 3 Supervisors meeting, McCowen and Woodhouse report “…Animal Care Services has continued to be controversial and an ongoing topic of public comment. The Board has also received regular updates from interim Animal Care Services manager Mary Jane Montana but has not had the opportunity to discuss the issues or give direction.”
The two-Supe Committee said they “believe: 1) it was appropriate to close the RFP [end the shelter privatization] process; 2) the RFP process went on far too long; 3) questions remain about the RFP process and related issues that are not easily resolved; 4) shelter operations, management, staff morale and volunteer relationships suffered during the extended RFP process; 5) there is broad consensus of the need for improvement in Animal Care Services operations, management and transparency; 6) for the benefit of the animals in our care the focus for the immediate future needs to be on improving existing shelter operations.”
County staff (presumably the newer managers they’ve got in Health and Human Services — the “staff” being complained about is gone with the exception of CEO Angelo) “is expected to present information on possible short and long term strategies for improvement of shelter operations and management, including improvements to the physical plant.”
Conclusion: “The HHS Standing Committee recommends that the RFP process not be reopened at this time; that staff be directed to consider alternative means of improving shelter operations, including identification and implementation of improved programs, practices and protocols. It is further recommended that the Board consider staff and public input and provide additional direction as deemed appropriate.”
THE BOARD will take input on the subject on Tuesday. Lots of local animal people are expected to be on hand.
TOO BAD THEY DON’T LIST the best option which could be called “Turn the Shelter over to the Sheriff who has said he would take it and put it back together with its natural co-department, Animal Control, which is already under the Sheriff’s Department like they’ve been doing successfully in Humboldt County for years.”
LOCAL CANDIDATES RELEASE FINANCES
Below is what the Mendocino County Assessor-Clerk-Recorder’s Election Division has on file for the current election year for campaign finances received from Jan. 1, 2015 to the present as of Thursday afternoon. The candidates who are running unopposed and are not actively campaigning are not included.
Mendocino County Superior Court Department 5 Judge
Patrick Pekin: Money from individual contributors received to date: $2,449. Largest money contribution: Sandy Schmidt, retiree, $300. Total loans received: $40,000 ($20,000 each from Amanda Pekin and Michael Pekin). Expenditures made from campaign finance account: $17,060 (includes value of nonmonetary contributions received, i.e. gifts, or the value of a service provided by an organization/individual to the campaign). Largest expenditure to date: Indie Politics, campaign consultant, $7,753
Keith Faulder: Money contributions received to date: $6,275. Largest money contribution to date: Keith Faulder, attorney at law, $3,000. Total loans received to date: $27,500 from Keith Faulder. Expenditures made from campaign finance account: $4,249. Largest expenditure to date: Delphi, Herb Phillips, campaign consultant/feasibility study, $3,000.
District 1 Board of Supervisors
Carre Brown: (no filings to report)
Montana James Podva: (no filings to report)
Countywide ballot measures
Measure W: Charter Commission: Money contributions received to date: $6,046. Largest money contribution to date: Vandana Shiva Fundraiser ticket sales, $4,849. Total Loans received to date: $1,506 ($1,441 from Robin Sunbeam, and $65 from Mary Zellachild). Expenditures made from campaign finance account to date: $21,380. Largest monetary expenditure to date: 40 books by Vandana Shiva for resale, $538.
Measure V: Public Nuisance Standing Dead Trees.
Citizens for Safe Forests (proponents). Monetary contributions received to date: $5,842. Largest monetary contribution to date: Frey Vineyards, $2,500. Total loans received to date: $0. Expenditures made from campaign finance account to date: $1,832. Largest monetary expenditure to date: Netbrands Media Corp., campaign paraphernalia, $1,350.
Humboldt Redwood Co./Mendocino Redwood Co. (opponents): Total independent expenditures reported: $27,279.
Mental health initiative
Revive Mental Health Services (proponents): Monetary contributions received to date: $1,500. Largest monetary contribution to date: Barbara Newell, executive, Performance Coatings Inc., $1,500. Total loans received to date: $0. Expenditures made from campaign finance account to date: $0. Largest monetary expenditure to date: $0
(Note: The mental health initiative has not yet qualified for the ballot.)
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
BOB BUSHANSKY, host of his new alternating Fridays KZYX show, “Politics: A Love Story,” will interview Congressman Jared Huffman, a Democratic Party Superdelegate who has announced his support of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, next Friday, May 6 at 9am.
THE CLOVERDALE POMO INDIAN RANCHERIA received official notice Friday from the federal government that its longstanding request to create a reservation on 62 acres of land had been approved, a decision that a tribal representative described as a major step toward developing a third tribal casino in Sonoma County. The federal approval, which delighted leaders of the 540-member Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians, sets up the possibility of another prolonged local dispute with opponents of casino development, including the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. … Cloverdale Mayor Mary Ann Brigham said, “It’s a done deal … no point in getting upset about it.”
(photo by Mike Kalantarian)
RECOMMENDED VIEWING. Maybe. I liked it, but I like Hemingway so I was naturally interested in a film about the great writer. It’s called “Papa: Hemingway In Cuba” and filmed in Cuba, much of it in Hemingway’s house near Havana. I’ve always wanted to see that famous house. It’s grander than I’d imagined it from reading about it but of course Hem had become a wealthy man by the time he was 35 or so. But it was the house he lived in most of the time and the country he seemed to like living in most. It’s not hard to see why.
THE MOVIE’S PRODUCERS say it’s based on a true account by a newspaper writer befriended by Hemingway when the newspaper writer was a very young man. Hard to say how closely the movie resembles either the newspaper guy’s book or the known facts of Hemingway’s life in Cuba, especially the time depicted here, which was when Castro’s revolutionaries were making their move on the usual US-backed corrupt junta many of us associate with latin governments.
THE MOVIE EVENTS are so many and so varied they could all be movies by themselves. None of them are boring, but some of them are painful and may or may not be true, They involve Hemingway and his fourth and final wife, Mary. When they were drinking they’d say unforgivably cruel things to each other. Most of us adult-type people have either experienced this kind of thing directly or been unwilling witnesses to couples destroying each other. I’d rather not pay $8 to watch domestic cruelty but, fortunately, we don’t get unbearable amounts of it. What we do get is plenty: she belittles him, he says the only wife he loved was his first wife, Hadley.
IN BETWEEN marital battles, Hemingway drinks a lot and drops occasional profundities about how life ought to be lived. We get the famous shortest short story ever written, attributed to Hemingway, a newspaper man in his early days whose prose style was newspaper-spare but powerful: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
Sparks as Hemingway
HEMINGWAY is played by an actor named Adam Sparks. He’s very good as the great man. I thought the entire cast was good in their parts. The movie got real interesting where the famous American fascist and cross-dresser, J. Edgar Hoover, goes after Hemingway because Hemingway, drunk, once told an FBI agent and true Hoover believer that he knew Hoover was gay. Hoover heard about it and devoted much time to investigating Hemingway who was allegedly smuggling guns to the revolutionary Castro. The movie assumes Hemingway was indeed running guns to the revolutionaries. An American gangster, Santo Trafficante, is depicted as getting the news to Hemingway that Hoover was trying to get him.
THIS THING is a kind of Hemingway in Cuba stations of the cross — Castro, Cuba itself as backdrop, American thugs, the writer on his boat, the writer unhappy, the writer with writer’s block, the writer besieged as a celebrity, the writer as good guy, the writer as not such a good guy, the writer as suicidal. Which he was 18 months after he left Cuba.
CONGRESSWOMAN TULSI GABBARD to Hold Ukiah Town Hall Saturday for Bernie Sanders
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) will hold a Town Hall gathering in support of Bernie Sanders for President this Saturday May 7 at the Ukiah Convention Center on School Street. Starting at 1pm, Tulsi will explain why she resigned as Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for President.
Tulsi Gabbard, first American Somoan and first Hindu in Congress, is concluding her second Congressional term. A veteran of two combat zone deployments to the Middle East, now a Major in the Hawaii National Guard and a rising Democratic Party star, she took significant political risk in her endorsement of Bernie Sanders.
When asked by CBS news (3/9/16) about how her DNC resignation and Sanders endorsement would impact her political career, Congresswoman Gabbard responded “I was heavily warned by people who care about me to not endorse Senator Sanders because of that fear of retaliation and, look, that fear is something that exists in a lot of folks I’ve heard from.”
“But there is far too much at stake here to let politics get in the way of what’s real. And what’s real is war and the cost of war.
I’ve seen it and felt it first hand through my deployments to the Middle East. I cannot stand on the sidelines and do nothing when we have a clear choice that many people are not informed about.”
“There are very stark differences between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and I’m going to do everything I can to explain what those differences are so they can at least make an educated, informed decision.”
“We need to make a distinction between experience and judgment. I’m looking for someone who exercises good judgment, someone who has foresight and considers what the consequences of military course of action will be. I know Senator Sanders has that good judgement to assure we are no longer spending our precious resources and lives in these counterproductive regime change wars and instead use those resources to invest in our communities right here at home. “Such wars,” she noted in her earlier endorsement “undermine our national security and economic prosperity.”
While there is no admission charge to the Town Hall gathering with Tulsi, donations to defray expenses of this event supporting Bernie Sanders for President will be greatly appreciated. Seating is limited to 500 so it may be worthwhile to arrive a few minutes early. The Ukiah Convention Center is located at 200 South School Street between Church and Stephenson near Alex Thomas Plaza. Sponsoring this event is Bernie Sanders - Mendocino County; for more information see the group’s Facebook page or call 485-2068.
— Phil Baldwin
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 30, 2016
Christensen, Frey, Hernandez
ELOISE CHRISTENSEN, Inverness. DUI-drugs.
MICHAEL FREY, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault.
DANIEL HERNANDEZ*, Santa Rosa/Hopland. DUI-drugs&alcohol, no license.
Hernandez-Sutherland, Lafountain-Matson, Lerski
MIGUEL HERNANDEZ-SUTHERLAND, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, probation revocation.
NATHAN LAFOUNTAIN-MATSON, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI-drugs, under influence, petty theft, brandishing.
DANA LERSKI, McKinleyville/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
Macias, Ohagan, Patient
FRANCIS MACIAS, Hidden Valley/Ukiah. Pot for sale, probation revocation.
HAMES OHAGAN, Petaluma. Drunk in public.
MICHAELLE PATIENT, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.
Peterson, Schoenahl, Taylor, Villagomez-Cruz
JENNY PETERSON, Talmage. Meth for sale, pot for sale, receiving stolen property, injection-smoking device.
ROGER SCHOENAHL, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
TIMOTHY TAYLOR, Libby, Montana/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
PEDRO VILLAGOMEZ-CRUZ, Santa Rosa/Hopland. Drunk in public.
FRAUD, n. The life of commerce, the soul of religion, the bait of courtship and the basis of political power.
— Ambrose Bierce
by Jeff Costello
Obamacare? I know nothing about it, but it seems those who hate it are the same ones who hate Obama for the usual reason. I've never had commercial medical insurance of any kind. This is where a chronic lack of money pays off, how the US differs from places with real socialized medicine. Anyone can be seen regardless of income and social status, but here you must be seriously broke and able to prove it. Reagan's mythical welfare queen is a fairy tale concocted for reasons of racism and resentment of anyone "getting something for nothing." Going through the hoops to get medicaid coverage is not "nothing." It requires time, social skills and willingness to suspend all traces of vanity.
In the early 70s I found out about Medi-Cal, as Medicaid is called in California. This came in handy although I didn't use it much. Coming down with double pneumonia in 1976 I was admitted to Marin General, told I was at death's door and prescribed heavy-duty antibiotics. Once you're into the Medicaid program it's easy to stay in. My health was relatively good until I went to stay in Wisconsin in 2004, where I needed prostate surgery and entered the university hospital system. Not long after the prostate issue was resolved, it was cancer, something I wouldn't have afforded treatment for if not for Medicaid.
Middle class - that's who's getting the shaft and it's getting worse. If you want decent medical care, you're better off being rich or poor - in between is where it's dicey. If being middle class is the American Dream, you can have it. A lot of people who qualify will not sign up for reasons somewhere between fear and pride. Wait till they find out what an MRI costs, or even a basic doctor appointment.
The university hospital system, to be sure, is not your friendly home town doctor with the black bag. I first heard the term "HMO" in the 90s, the Clinton years. Health Management Organization. The university system appears to be a giant HMO, or a chain of HMOs. The experience is a bit Orwellian but the hospitals are highly rated, and once you get in, the doctors generally behave like human beings. The staff does not know or care if you're on Medicaid (or Medicare these days, since I achieved age 65). Since then I've had follow-ups and any peripheral medical business at three more university facilities - UW in Seattle, UC in San Francisco, and University of Colorado. One's medical records move easily through the cyber world. These places are usually crowded, parking is a nightmare.
Do I have a choice? No, it's the only option there is. Your doctor is called a "primary care provider." He or she mostly manages information and writes prescriptions, gives minimal exams and shuffles you off to a specialist (a department) if anything specific needs attention. I've gotten used to it and am glad to have it. Fortunately I don't need to be coddled. It's business, not personal.
CYCLING & "NUMB NUTS"
Still another doctor warns cyclists about spending too much time on their bikes.
Doctor Richard S. Lang of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute in the Cleveland Clinic's Men's Health Advisor newsletter:
How great is the risk of erectile dysfunction with bicycling?
Evidence suggests that sitting on a bicycle seat for extended periods of time may generate enough pressure on the perineum (the area between the testicles and the anus) to damage nerves and the artery that supplies blood to the penis. Adequate blood flow is necessary to produce and maintain an erection.
Many cyclists prefer bicycle seats with narrow protruding saddle noses because they provide for better control and steering, but these seats seem to be most associated with erection problems.
Instead, use a wide, well-padded seat or a newer ergonomic seat. Make sure your bike is the right size for your height and weight and that the seat is positioned at the correct height so that you don't fully extend your legs at the bottom of your pedal stroke. Avoid leaning forward all the time, which puts more pressure on your perineum.
Raising your handlebars so that you sit upright can help shift more of your weight and seat pressure from your perineum to your buttocks.
Take breaks during longer rides, and lift yourself off the seat occasionally to relieve pressure on the perineum. Most importantly, don't dismiss any genital pain or numbness.
Rob Anderson (Courtesy, District5Diary)
CLIMATE CHANGE HAS HAD A CRITICAL IMPACT ON THE MARSHALL ISLANDS
The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) which has a current population of 50,000 located on the 24 inhabited of 34 atolls and islands in 1986 signed a Compact of Free Association with the United States.
The Compact provides that while RMI is free to conduct its own foreign affairs (it is a member of the United Nations) the United States has full authority and responsibility for security and defense of RMI. The Compact provides for continued use of the US Army missile range on Kwajalein atoll. The Compact provides RMI with an annual subsidy of approximately $70 million which represents a significant portion of its GNP. Marshallese citizens may work and study in the US without a visa and join the US military. There are already colonies of thousands of Marshall Islanders in Springfield, Arkansas and Salem, Oregon.
Climate change is having a continuing profound affect on the low lying atolls and islands which have very limited sources of freshwater and must rely on rain during the months of November through February. The rains did not come in 2013 and the US provided drought relief.
The drought has continued and just recently President Obama declared the drought a disaster which will allow FEMA to provide emergency relief.
Equally critical is the rising sea level. The islands are 3-6 feet in elevation and the rising seas are beginning to flood the islands at high tide. Seawalls have not been effective against tidal flooding and it can only get worse. The time will come when the islands are not livable and the population will have to leave. In their case, since they do not have to have visas the majority can seek refuge in the US.
In peace and love,
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I see a total meltdown at the Republican Convention as a perfect storm is brewing. The Trump Supporters and the Leftist protestors will have violent clashes outside the convention and the whole thing will sink into a giant crater of fire and blood with Trumpzilla standing over all. Meanwhile Hillary will appear on stage in Philly dressed in her Chairman Mao outfit with a bunch of female clones dressed identically all chanting phrases out of the little red book of political correctness. Meanwhile I am working on getting off the grid in the RURAL area I moved to about 6 years ago. Whomever takes office will have to deal with a global collapse that will see the breakup of the US into more manageable pieces.
RICK WEDDLE WRITES:
I think I saw an item yesterday on the rancid Big Noose Machine, TV Version, that pretty much peels the cute label off this 'Land of the Free' illusion. I'm wondering if someone...anyone...noticed that brief mention of current 'deportation' practices along the U.S. border with Mexico? If I wasn't flat out hearing things, it was reported that U.S. authorities (?!) have decided that those among the zillions of undocumented aliens who are working, paying taxes, that 'small' group who have actually been charged or convicted of serious crimes will be held here for the duration of their maximum sentences, and only then deported to their respective countries of origin. This sounds squirrelly enough just by itself, but then figure in the recent trends to 'privatize' the penal phases of 'our' system of Justice. Turns out, all those rapists and criminals ARE worth something! All this has the distinctive (diSTINKtive) aroma of Systematic Slavery, served up with a straight face and no shame whatever as the 'policy' of a civilized bunch of Free People, Good Ol' U.S. of A. Style!! And the Booty Part? This whole Drive-By Shooting Match is being funded with some enthusiasm by the Taxpayers...Hey! Free (SLAVE!) Labor combined with free money! There's a deal that's hard to beat! If there was anything to mention in my stomach, I'd be hurling it.
Somebody tell me I'm wrong...
It's a miserable Friday night;
I'm so lonely
And nobody'll give me a ride
To the Grateful Dead concert… Oh rats!
I got to be free
Free as the wind
Free is the way I got to be
Maybe I'm lost
Maybe I sinned
I got to be
Our parents don't love us
Our teachers they say
Things that are boring
So we're running away
And we will be free
And people will see
That when we are free
That's the way we should be
Nothing left to do but get out the 'ol glue
(Sniff it good now…)
Our parents don't love us
Our teachers they say
Things that are boring
So we're running away
And we will be free
And people will see
That when we are free
That's the way we should be
(We must be free!)
The glue! The glue! I can't find the glue!
(We must be free as the wind!)
If I was at the concert now, I'd be RIPPED!
(We were free when we were born!)
I could tighten my headband for an extra rush
During Jerry's guitar solo
Then I could go to a midnite show of 200 MOTELS!
(We were born free, but, now we are not free anymore!)
"Opal, you hot little bitch!"
"You can take this pin n' hang it in yer ass!"
"You ain't the devil!"
"Where's my waitress?"
But we wanna be free
An' we’re gonna be free
Yes, we want to be free
And we're gonna be free … did you know that?
Free is when you don't have to pay for nothing or do nothing
We want to be free — free as the wind!
— Frank Zappa
HOI, HOI U EMBLEER HRAIR! M'SAION ULE' HRAKA VAIR!
The recording of last night's (2016-04-29) 107.7fm KNYO (and 105.1 KMEC) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available to download and listen to via
Scott Peterson called at 9:30 (half an hour into the show) and we talked for an hour about the glaring financial chicanery involved in Mendocino County’s nonprofit corporations in general and the ones that run the Coast Hospital and KZYX in specific, who seem particularly prone to roll over under the leadership of perpetrators of what some might call obfuscatory ethical jiggery-pokery.
Also at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a plethora of links to not necessarily radio-useful but worthwhile things to see and do and learn about, such as:
Kung fu motion visualization.
Web of life.
Even better NASA high-rez solar flare videos than ever before.
And the Snowden trailer.
DANIEL J. BERRIGAN, Defiant Priest Who Preached Pacifism, Dies at 94
by Daniel Lewis
The Rev. Daniel J. Berrigan, a Jesuit priest and poet whose defiant protests helped shape the tactics of opposition to the Vietnam War and landed him in prison, died on Saturday in New York City. He was 94.
His death was confirmed by the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at large at America magazine, a national Catholic magazine published by Jesuits. Father Berrigan died at Murray-Weigel Hall, the Jesuit infirmary at Fordham University in the Bronx.
The United States was tearing itself apart over civil rights and the war in Southeast Asia when Father Berrigan emerged in the 1960s as an intellectual star of the Roman Catholic “new left,” articulating a view that racism and poverty, militarism and capitalist greed were interconnected pieces of the same big problem: an unjust society.
It was an essentially religious position, based on a stringent reading of the Scriptures that some called pure and others radical. But it would have explosive political consequences as Father Berrigan; his brother Philip, a Josephite priest; and their allies took their case to the streets with rising disregard for the law or their personal fortunes.
A defining point was the burning of Selective Service draft records in Catonsville, Md., and the subsequent trial of the so-called Catonsville Nine, a sequence of events that inspired an escalation of protests across the country; there were marches, sit-ins, the public burning of draft cards and other acts of civil disobedience.
The catalyzing episode occurred on May 17, 1968, six weeks after the murder of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the outbreak of new riots in dozens of cities. Nine Catholic activists, led by Daniel and Philip Berrigan, entered a Knights of Columbus building in Catonsville and went up to the second floor, where the local draft board had offices. In front of astonished clerks, they seized hundreds of draft records, carried them down to the parking lot and set them on fire with homemade napalm.
Some reporters had been told of the raid in advance. They were given a statement that said in part, “We destroy these draft records not only because they exploit our young men but because they represent misplaced power concentrated in the ruling class of America.” It added, “We confront the Catholic Church, other Christian bodies and the synagogues of America with their silence and cowardice in the face of our country’s crimes.”
In a year sick with images of destruction, from the Tet offensive in Vietnam to the murder of Dr. King, a scene was recorded that had been contrived to shock people to attention, and did so. When the police came, the trespassers were praying in the parking lot, led by two middle-aged men in clerical collars: the big, craggy Philip, a decorated hero of World War II, and the ascetic Daniel, waiting peacefully to be led into the van.
Protests and Arrests
In the years to come, well into his 80s, Daniel Berrigan was arrested time and again, for greater or lesser offenses: in 1980, for taking part in the Plowshares raid on a General Electric missile plant in King of Prussia, Pa., where the Berrigan brothers and others rained hammer blows on missile warheads; in 2006, for blocking the entrance to the Intrepid naval museum in Manhattan.
“The day after I’m embalmed,” he said in 2001, on his 80th birthday, “that’s when I’ll give it up.”
It was not for lack of other things to do. In his long career of writing and teaching at Fordham and other universities, Father Berrigan published a torrent of essays and broadsides and, on average, a book a year, almost to the time of his death.
Among the more than 50 books were 15 volumes of poetry — the first of which, “Time Without Number,” won the prestigious Lamont Poetry Prize, given by the Academy of American Poets, in 1957 — as well as autobiography, social criticism, commentaries on the Old Testament prophets and indictments of the established order, both secular and ecclesiastic.
While he was known for his wry wit, there was a darkness in much of what Father Berrigan wrote and said, the burden of which was that one had to keep trying to do the right thing regardless of the near certainty that it would make no difference. In the withering of the pacifist movement and the country’s general support for the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, he saw proof that it was folly to expect lasting results.
“This is the worst time of my long life,” he said in an interview with The Nation in 2008. “I have never had such meager expectations of the system.”
What made it bearable, he wrote elsewhere, was a disciplined, implicitly difficult belief in God as the key to sanity and survival.
Many books by and about Father Berrigan remain in print, and a collection of his work over half a century, “Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings,” was published in 2009.
He also had a way of popping up in the wider culture: as the “radical priest” in Paul Simon’s song “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard”; as inspiration for the character Father Corrigan in Colum McCann’s 2009 novel, “Let the Great World Spin.” He even had a small movie role, appearing as a Jesuit priest in “The Mission” in 1989.
But his place in the public imagination was pretty much fixed at the time of the Catonsville raid, as the impish-looking half of the Berrigan brothers — traitors and anarchists in the minds of a great many Americans, exemplars to those who formed what some called the ultra-resistance.
After a trial that served as a platform for their antiwar message, the Berrigans were convicted of destroying government property and sentenced to three years each in the federal prison in Danbury, Conn. Having exhausted their appeals, they were to begin serving their terms on April 10, 1970.
Instead, they raised the stakes by going underground. The men who had been on the cover of Time were now on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most-wanted list. As Daniel explained in a letter to the French magazine Africasia, he was not buying the “mythology” fostered by American liberals that there was a “moral necessity of joining illegal action to legal consequences.” In any case, both brothers were tracked down and sent to prison.
Philip Berrigan had been the main force behind Catonsville, but it was mostly Daniel who mined the incident and its aftermath for literary meaning — a process already underway when the F.B.I. caught up with him on Block Island, off the Rhode Island coast, on Aug. 11, 1970. There was “The Trial of the Catonsville Nine,” a one-act play in free verse drawn directly from the court transcripts, and “Prison Poems,” written during his incarceration in Danbury.
In “My Father,” he wrote:
I sit here in the prison ward
nervously dickering with my ulcer
a half-tamed animal
raising hell in its living space
But in 500 lines the poem talks as well about the politics of resistance, memories of childhood terror and, most of all, the overbearing weight of his dead father:
I wonder if I ever loved him
if he ever loved us
if he ever loved me.
The father was Thomas William Berrigan, a man full of words and grievances who got by as a railroad engineer, labor union officer and farmer. He married Frida Fromhart and had six sons with her. Daniel, the fourth, was born on May 9, 1921, in Virginia, Minn.
When he was a young boy, the family moved to a farm near Syracuse to be close to his father’s family.
In his autobiography, “To Dwell in Peace,” Daniel Berrigan described his father as “an incendiary without a cause,” a subscriber to Catholic liberal periodicals and the frustrated writer of poems of no distinction.
“Early on,” he wrote, “we grew inured, as the price of survival, to violence as a norm of existence. I remember, my eyes open to the lives of neighbors, my astonishment at seeing that wives and husbands were not natural enemies.”
Battles With the Church
Born with weak ankles, Daniel could not walk until he was 4. His frailty spared him the heavy lifting demanded of his brothers; instead he helped his mother around the house. Thus he seemed to absorb not only his father’s sense of life’s unfairness but also an intimate knowledge of how a man’s rage can play out in the victimization of women.
At an early age, he wrote, he believed that the church condoned his father’s treatment of his mother. Yet he wanted to be a priest. After high school he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1946 from St. Andrew-on-Hudson, a Jesuit seminary in Hyde Park, N.Y., and a master’s from Woodstock College in Baltimore in 1952. He was ordained that year.
Sent for a year of study and ministerial work in France, he met some worker-priests who gave him “a practical vision of the Church as she should be,” he wrote. Afterward he spent three years at the Jesuits’ Brooklyn Preparatory School, teaching theology and French, while absorbing the poetry of Robert Frost, E. E. Cummings and the 19th-century Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins. His own early work often combined elements of nature with religious symbols.
But he was not to become a pastoral poet or live the retiring life he had imagined. His ideas were simply turning too hot, sometimes even for friends and mentors like Dorothy Day, the co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, and the Trappist intellectual Thomas Merton.
At Le Moyne College in Syracuse, where he was a popular professor of New Testament studies from 1957 to 1963, Father Berrigan formed friendships with his students that other faculty members disapproved of, inculcating in them his ideas about pacifism and civil rights. (One student, David Miller, became the first draft-card burner to be convicted under a 1965 law.)
Father Berrigan was effectively exiled in 1965, after angering the hawkish Cardinal Francis Spellman in New York. Besides Father Berrigan’s work in organizing antiwar groups like the interdenominational Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam, there was the matter of the death of Roger La Porte, a young man with whom Father Berrigan said he was slightly acquainted. To protest American involvement in Southeast Asia, Mr. La Porte set himself on fire outside the United Nations building in November 1965.
Soon, according to Father Berrigan, “the most atrocious rumors were linking his death to his friendship with me.” He spoke at a service for Mr. La Porte, and soon thereafter the Jesuits, widely believed to have been pressured by Cardinal Spellman, sent him on a “fact-finding” mission among poor workers in South America. An outcry from Catholic liberals brought him back after only three months, enough time for him to have been radicalized even further by the facts he had found.
For the Jesuits, Father Berrigan was both a magnet to bright young seminarians and a troublemaker who could not be kept in any one faculty job too long.
At onetime or another he held faculty positions or ran programs at Union Seminary, Loyola University New Orleans, Columbia, Cornell and Yale. Eventually he settled into a long tenure at Fordham, the Jesuit university in the Bronx, where for a time he had the title of poet in residence.
Father Berrigan was released from the Danbury penitentiary in 1972; the Jesuits, alarmed at his failing health, managed to get him out early. He then resumed his travels.
After visiting the Middle East, he bluntly accused Israel of “militarism” and the “domestic repressions” of Palestinians. His remarks angered many American Jews. “Let us call this by its right name,” wrote Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, himself a contentious figure among religious scholars: “old-fashioned theological anti-Semitism.”
Nor was Father Berrigan universally admired by Catholics. Many faulted him for not singling out repressive Communist states in his diatribes against the world order, and later for not lending his voice to the outcry over sexual abuse by priests. There was also a sense that his notoriety was a distraction from the religious work that needed to be done.
Not the least of his long-running battles was with the church hierarchy. He was scathing about the shift to conservatism under Pope John Paul II and the “company men” he appointed to high positions.
Much of Father Berrigan’s later work was concentrated on helping AIDS patients in New York City. In 2012, he appeared in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan to support the Occupy Wall Street protest.
He also devoted himself to writing biblical studies. He felt a special affinity for the Hebrew prophets, especially Jeremiah, who was chosen by God to warn of impending disaster and commanded to keep at it, even though no one would listen for 40 years.
A brother, Jerry, died in July at age 95, and another brother, Philip, died in 2002 at age 79.
Father Berrigan seemed to reach a poet’s awareness of his place in the scheme of things, and that of his brother Philip, who left the priesthood for a married life of service to the poor and spent a total of 11 years in prison for disturbing the peace in one way or another before his death from cancer in 2002. While they both still lived, Daniel Berrigan wrote:
My brother and I stand like the fences
of abandoned farms, changed times
too loosely webbed against
A really powerful blow
would bring us down like scarecrows.
Nature, knowing this, finding us mildly useful
her backhanded love of freakishness
allows us to stand.
(Courtesy, the New York Times)
Kali Activated for May Day
Realizing that the spiritual mojo which we have collectively brought into the peace & justice/radical environmental movement over the past 40 years has run its course, I spent today in New York City paradigm shifting. Made a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and spent the whole afternoon in the Asian art area on floor two. For an hour or so, I hung out with various Buddhas, Guan Yin, temple attendants, and assorted bodhisattvas. It was fun, considering how much they've contributed to contemporary society's enlightenment while introducing an ethical and moral compass. But sad to say that this does not address the fact of a planet earth in peril, nor the global political chaos. Venturing into the Indian section, I hobnobbed with primary deities, particularly Shiva, Vishnu, and the celestial flute player Krishna; all of them dancing to the tune of the mrdanga drummers. But again, not really mojo enough for the ecodefense necessary in an era of extreme energy and global climate destabilization. And then I met an horrific goddess garlanded with severed heads, her eyes bulging, a smiley icon in her crown, a scorpion on her stomach, and teeth...lots of teeth. Mother Kali in all of her divine magnificence! I began chanting her mantram "Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce" over and over, as a paradigm shift was taking place on the eve of May Day. Leaving the museum, I went down to the East Village, and while chanting "Om Sri Kali Ma", found a cluttered Indian gift shop on 2nd Avenue, and inside bought a small framed picture of Mother Kali dancing on the chest of Shiva (who once laid down on the battle field in an attempt to calm her down during her victory dance, because she was throwing the planet earth off of its axis with her intensity). It is now on the electrical light box above my head where I sleep on a lower bunk at the Hostelling International travel hostel at 103rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue. I'm going to be here until my exit date of May 9th, so I will be going to goddess temples in other boroughs, continuing to energize the performance of this critical sadhana. I invite everyone to bring in their own spiritual mojo, in the face of serious national and international political confusion, global ecological implosion, and your own fragile existence on the edge. Beyond May 9th I have no plans, so you might contact me at CraigStehr@inbox.com or just come find me wandering the side streets of the lower east side chanting to the dark mother. I'm ready. Are you ready? ~HAPPY MAY DAY~
BETSY CAWN writes from Lake County
Tremendous work is being undertaken here to support the long-term recovery process from last year’s fires. And yet we are still struggling with the problems described by Steve Greenberg, a well-spoken resident of Hidden Valley Lake, who published this compelling essay — "Lake County’s Valley Fire - What Happened and Why?” on December 8, 2015. Many of the emergency management issues he describes remain unresolved, and serve to remind us of our enormous scope of work:
Steve’s previous report, on the Rocky/Jerusalem Fires and the Hidden Valley Lake preparedness efforts are equally worth your while, to understand what’s missing here (besides the millions of lost trees) — see the links appended to the December 8 publication for a lot more.
(If your heart can take it, listen to the 5+ minutes of 911 calls that came in on September 12, 2015. We are amazingly fortunate that so many people evacuated safely in spite of the inferno: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj7jme8PGPI&sns=fb)
Immeasurable gratitude to all responders, supporters of our long-term recovery, and dedicated community members coming together to bring our friends and neighbors back home. So much has been done, so much lies ahead — Team Lake County (www.teamlakecounty.org) and KPFZ (88.1 FM, www.kpfz.org) are here for everyone.
See you on the radio!
[Sunday, 2-3 pm: “Team Lake County Hour” and Sunday, 3-4 pm: “What’s Next?” — Disaster preparedness and emergency management for all Lake County Communities. 707-263-3435 for the live call-in line; 263-3640 to join or donate to Lake County’s only listener-sponsored Community Radio resource!]
GLENN GREENWALD, THE RIO OLYMPICS, AND MEMORIES OF PRINCE — AN EDGE OF SPORTS PODCAST
Despite heavy hearts due to the passing of Prince, we are honored to welcome one of the most prominent journalists of our time, co-founder of The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald. We speak to Greenwald primarily about the political crisis roiling Brazil and the effect it could have on the 2016 Summer Olympics… as well as the effect the Olympics could have on this political crisis. Greenwald is based in Rio and his recent writings on this subject are vital for anyone seeking to understand what is happening, with the Games less than 100 days away. Dave also pays a heartfelt tribute to Prince, reading a column about what it meant to go to college in the Twin Cities, the place Prince ruled. And sure enough, our ‘Just Stand Up’ award is to his Purple Highness for turning the 2007 Super Bowl on its head.
In struggle and sports,