5.4.2022 – enhanced use of force

enhanced use of force
deescalation training
so who but the Lord

Deadly force “is always the last resort” and that philosophy, as well as de-escalation training, needs to be ingrained into the department’s policies, Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom told The Detroit News Tuesday.

So starts an article in the Detroit News with the headline, “Grand Rapids police need enhanced use of force, de-escalation training, chief says” by Leonard N. Fleming.

The words, enhanced use of force, de-escalation training, strung together in a line, the syllables clicking in a row like the sound of the wheels of a train over gaps in the tracks, grabbed and held my attention.

The article details the efforts of the Police Chief of Grand Rapids, Michigan (where I grew up) to address publicly the death of Patrick Lyoya, 26, who was shot in the back of the head by officer Christopher Schurr on April 4 following a tussle on the ground … after a traffic stop.

Mr. Fleming quotes the Chief as saying, “From what I’m hearing from the community, a real vocal part of the community is there’s no rebuilding trust. You’ve got to build it because it was never there.

Chief Winstrom said that on April 26th, 2022.

In 1947, in the magazine, Poetry, Langston Hughes published this poem.

I looked and I saw
That man they call the Law.
He was coming
Down the street at me!
I had visions in my head
Of being laid out cold and dead,
Or else murdered
By the third degree.

I said, O, Lord, if you can,
Save me from that man!
Don’t let him make a pulp out of me!
But the Lord he was not quick.
The Law raised up his stick
And beat the living hell
Out of me!

Now, I do not understand
Why God don’t protect a man
From police brutality.
Being poor and black,
I’ve no weapon to strike back
So who but the Lord
Can protect me?

We’ll see.

The title of the poem is ‘Who but the Lord?

A footnote in the “The collected poems of Langston Hughes” (Knopf, 1994) says that the last line was added when the poem was reprinted in the book, The Panther and the Lash.

That was in 1967.

That last line again?

We’ll see.

I gots no real standing as a social critic so I will take refuge (hide) under the cover of saying I am only a social commentator.

I just hold up the mirror and you can see what you want to see.

The Rev. Al once said something along the lines of, “You can use a mirror to reflect yourself or you can use a mirror to correct yourself.”

You’ve got to build trust because it was never there.

We’ll see.

1.11.2022 – miss me a little

miss me a little
but not for long and not with
your head bowed low

Adapted from the poem, “Let Me Go” –

by Christina Rossetti (5 December 1830 – 29 December 1894).

Here is an excerpt.

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little, but not for long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that once we shared
Miss me, but let me go.

For this is a journey we all must take
And each must go alone.
It’s all part of the master plan
A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know.
Laugh at all the things we used to do
Miss me, but let me go.

Lots of things, on this anniversary of my Dad’s death back in 1988, come to mind from this poem.

I think my Dad would have wanted to be missed, for little while, but not with a head bowed low.

There was too much fun in our lives to hang my head.

1967? Me and my Dad on VACATION – well, that is how he dressed on vacation

We had a place out on Lake Michigan and every spring we would go out to repair any winter storm caused damage.

Usually this involved the whole crew of my brothers and brothers-in-law and a lot of building and digging.

One spring when I was back from college, my Dad took me and drove off to the lake with a plan to pick up a load of lumber that we would need later when everyone else could get out there.

We got the lumber at Lappo’s in Spring Lake, Michigan and drove to our place where I unloaded it.

I had a little more muscle I guess in those days.

As I unloaded my Dad looked over the deck we had built on the edge of the sand dune overlooking the lake.

It leaned back in one corner and had a couple of loose boards but otherwise was in good shape.

With the lumber unloaded Dad told me to “go get a bucket.”

Which meant one of the buckets we used at the beach for a tool box.

I knew he wanted a bucket with hammers, nails and a level.

We always used a level when working on decks or steps more so we could always say, “We used a level” no matter how the project turned out.

We also always used Grip-Tite nails, that ones that made noise when you hammered them in, ping ping ping, rising in pitch with each hammer blow.

I set the bucket down and took my jacket off and laid it on the deck.

It was warm in the sun.

When I brought out the hammers and nails, Dad positioned himself against the low corner of the deck with the level on the deck and he lifted the corner of the deck until he could see that he had it level.

“Put a nail in here,” he said, indicating a place where the deck brace lined up with the deck post.

And I did.

Never did something I had learned in 7th grade shop class or any class feel so good.

Dad pointed about 4 inches away from the first spot and said, “And here.”

And I did.

It went right in, straight.

ping – Ping – PING.

“Put another one in,” he said.

After about 5 nails, he got up on the deck and bounced a few times.

“Good,” he said.

Then he pointed to the loose deck boards.

“Pound some nails in there.” he pointed.

And I did.

“Good!” he said.

He walked back and forth on the deck, testing it, trying to make it sway.

Satisfied, Dad sat down on the bench that was built into the back of the deck.

I picked up my jacket and pulled two cigars out the inner pocket along with a small cigar cutter and some matches.

Dad looked at me and before I could ask, he held out his hand for a cigar.

He stripped off the wrapper and held out his hand for my cigar cutter and when the cigar was ready, he turned towards me.

He leaned over and I held a match out cupped in my hands.

Once Dad had his cigar properly lit he sat back on the bench.

I sat next to him in the spring sunshine, warmed by the sun, but cooled by the breeze off the lake.

Two guys and two cigars with troubles, like the cigar smoke, drifting away.

Dad took a few puffs, then gestured at the repaired deck with his cigar.

“We do good work!” he said.

And we sat and smoked.

It was kind of solemn, sitting by the big still lake.

We did not feel like talking loud.

And it seemed like nothing happened to us at all.

Yes, I stole that from Huckleberry Finn.

So what?

I will miss my Dad a little.

I will miss my Dad a lot.

But with my head bowed?

Nope.

Never.

No way.

That wouldn’t be right.

We had too much fun.

We had too much.

1.1.2022 – opportunities

opportunities
move on, never wanted to
was living MY dream

Robert Wayne Hendrickson (1933 – 2021)

Some years back when I worked at WZZM13 TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it was announced that the old Ottawa Hills High School Building, a building that currently was home to Iroquois Middle School, would be demolished.

At the morning news meeting, possible story lines about Ottawa Hills were brought up and I said that someone had to interview my Uncle Wayne.

The story was assigned to a very young Steve Patterson, now a national reporter with NBC News.

I got with Steve and called my Mom to get Uncle Wayne’s phone number and Uncle Wayne agreed to meet Steve at the old building for a walk through and interview.

My Uncle Wayne was known to the world as Robert Wayne Hendrickson.

(For some reason, my Mom’s family used that Southern tradition of family members using middle names within the family.)

Robert Wayne Hendrickson or Bob Hendrickson or Coach Hendrickson was Ottawa Hills High School.

While my Mom went to South High School in Grand Rapids, by the time her brothers started the 7th grade in school, the districts had changed and they went to Ottawa Hills.

While at Ottawa Hills, Uncle Wayne was an athletic wonder.

According to the stories my brothers told me, in basketball, he could lay up with either the left or right hand and was pretty much unstoppable.

The story was that Michigan wanted him but in those days there weren’t athletic scholarships and beside, he wanted to get married, so he went to Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

After college, he got a job teaching and coaching at Ottawa Hills.

He would stay there until he was retired at age 60.

Uncle Wayne was quoted in the Grand Rapids Press, “Ottawa Hills was my life from age 13 to age 60, with the exception of my four years at Hope College. When I returned as a teacher, my old teachers helped me so much. They wanted me to start calling them by their first names but I was never able to do it. Before I was old enough to start school there in the seventh grade, I would watch the high school teams on the practice fields and want to be a part of that. What a great break for me to spend so much of my life at Ottawa Hills. I had opportunities to move on, but I never wanted to go. I was living my dream.”

The dream included winning two Michigan Class A State Championships in 67-68 and 68-69. 

Each year, there was parade and celebration on the south end of Grand Rapids.

As the Coach was my Mom’s little brother, we went to see the parades from the vantage point of the front porch of the Coach’s house.

I was only 8 years old and after the 2nd parade, I figured these things happened every year.

We got to see the trophy’s up close.

I have never won a trophy in my life but that’s okay as any other trophy that I could have won PALED TO INSIGNFICANCE when compared to those trophies.

Also there with the trophies were the nets.

I have watched countless teams cut down basketball nets after big games.

Maybe of all sports traditions this one is the most special to me because of seeing those nets laying there.

Silent objects speaking volumes.

There were all sorts of stories of my Uncle as a Coach.

Those championship teams in the late 60’s were integrated teams.

I think that was unusual for the time, maybe inevitable but new.

Back in those days, BEFORE THE DUNK was made illegal, the story was that my Uncle Wayne’s team had a dunk DRILL in warm up.

His team would line and one by one they would dribble in and BA BOOM, BA BOOM, BA BOOM, they would dunk dunk dunk.

I was told that the backboards would be swaying and the crowd screaming.

And the other team watched.

Watched in disbelief.

Those games were over before they started.

My brother tells a story about a game against our high school on the North End, Creston (Ottawa was on the South End) and Uncle Wayne came off the bench, yelling at the refs.

My brother says, and as I remember it, this was in the OLD Creston High School Gym, where the basketball court was kinda wedged into a space surrounded by bleachers, my brother said the crowd just went crazy yelling at Uncle Wayne.

Uncle Wayne spins around and GLARES at the crowd.

And the crowd shut up.

Years later, Uncle Wayne happened to be at our house when we were watching a Piston’s game.

He stood there watching the end of the game and started coaching.

Never took his eyes off the screen but kept saying out loud how much time was left as the seconds ticked off on some click inside, he called all the plays, so it seems to me, and narrated how the Piston’s would win the game before it happened.

Uncle Wayne, to me, was bigger than life.

He was one of those guys who filled a room with his personality and physical presence.

I remember that I when I went to Creston, the Creston Basketball Coach, Jim Haskins, was my biology teacher.

Mr. Haskins told me once how the first time his team played Ottawa he watched that team run out on the floor and then their Coach came out and HE LOOKED SEVEN FEET TALL.

Mr. Haskins just stood there shaking his head.

Uncle Wayne knew it too.

He once said to me that, “Uncle Paul is the only one I know who makes me feel smaller.”

Uncle Paul, who also played basketball in the City League and at Hope, was 6′ 11″.

So Steve Patterson goes out on assignment to interview Bob Hendrickson.

Later that afternoon, Steve got back to the building and he sought me out.

“HOFFMAN,” says Steve.

“Your Uncle! …”

“Is a LEGEND!”

“Yes,” I said, “I know.”

Late on New Years Eve, 2021, I got email that, back in Grand Rapids, my Uncle Wayne has died.

I seem to say this often, but I say it because it is true, that in a era when experts mourn the lack of role models, I got more than my fair share.

My Father, my Grand Father, my Uncles; Wayne, Carol, Paul, Bud and Jim, my brothers; Paul, Jack, Bob, Tim, Pete, Steve and Al and even all my brothers in law.

I don’t know, maybe God knew something and made sure I had lots of help.

Love them all and proud of them all.

Proud to be a part of their family.

Proud of my Uncle Wayne.

Very very said to hear that my Uncle Wayne has died.

He was part of my life and part of what made my life.

Like Alistair Cooke when Duke Ellington died, “I don’t have to believe it if I don’t want to.”

12.22.2021 – it meant daring to

it meant daring to
disagree it meant to just
have an opinion

Trailblazing cultural theorist and activist, public intellectual, teacher and writer, bell hooks, has died of kidney failure aged 69.

She authored around 40 books in a career spanning more than four decades.

The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is – it’s to imagine what is possible.

“In the world of the southern black community I grew up in, ‘back talk’ and ‘talking back’ meant speaking as an equal to an authority figure. It meant daring to disagree and sometimes it meant just having an opinion,” she explained.

For a child, to speak when not spoken to was to invite punishment, so was a courageous act, an act of risk and daring.

It was in that world that the craving was born in her “to have a voice, and not just any voice, but one that could be identified as belonging to me … Certainly for black women, our struggle has not been to emerge from silence into speech but to change the nature and direction of our speech, to make a speech that compels listeners, one that is heard.”

bell hooks once wrote, “Now when I ponder the silences, the voices that are not heard, the voices of those wounded and/or oppressed individuals who do not speak or write, I contemplate the acts of persecution, torture – the terrorism that breaks spirits, that makes creativity impossible. “

The terrorism that breaks spirits.

That makes creativity impossible. 

bell hooks continued, “I write these words to bear witness to the primacy of resistance struggle in any situation of domination (even within family life); to the strength and power that emerges from sustained resistance and the profound conviction that these forces can be healing, can protect us from dehumanisation and despair

The strength and power that emerges from sustained resistance.

The profound conviction that these forces can be healing.

I did not know her writing as a Kid but I tried to live it.

Hard to believe she was just 8 years older than I am.

If I have a grave stone, please carve on it that, “fought against the terrorism that breaks spirits, that makes creativity impossible.

Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, well.

bell hooks was born under the name, Gloria Jean Watkin, but wrote under the pseudonym bell hooks – a name she adopted in tribute to her maternal great-grandmother, styling it in lowercase so as to keep the focus on her work rather than on her own persona.

Ms. hooks roamed around the academic world and landed of all places in Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, a school that has a long history in our family.

Berea College has it roots back in 1855 when a one room school dedicated to anti-slavery and to advocate of equality and excellence in education for men and women of all races.

1855?

1855!

This school grew into a private liberal arts work college in Berea, Kentucky.

Berea College charges no tuition; every admitted student is provided the equivalent of a four-year scholarship.

It has a full-participation work-study program in which students are required to work at least 10 hours per week in campus and service jobs in any of over 130 departments.

About 75% of the college’s incoming class is drawn from the Appalachian region of the South and some adjoining areas

Some of the work study programs are in crafts, woodworking and weaving.

Items that they make are for sale in the College store and now, online.

Somewhere along the line my family picked up a skittles games – kind of a 18th century pin ball machine that was the size of a cedar chest, that was made at Berea.

My Dad always talked about it but how he knew about it I do not know.

I know we stopped there at least once or twice

And I have ordered items from their catalog for my kids.

I carry a walking stick those students made.

I use a cherry-wood rolling pin those students made.

If you go, you can tour the work shops and watch the wood workers and weavers.

It seems to me that once my Dad watched a weaver for a bit and noticed something.

He leaned over and whispered in the ear of the young lady who was working the loom.

She stopped.

Looked.

Got up and ran off to get help.

I looked a question at my Dad.

“She wove her cloth measuring tape into the rug”, my Dad said.

From the beginning Berea was different.

Berea College was the first college in the Southern United States to be coeducational.

Berea College was the first college in the Southern United States to be racially integrated.

With a Curriculum Vitae that includes Stanford, Wisconsin and USC, I guess it makes sense that bell hooks, the person who said, “The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is – it’s to imagine what is possible” would end up here.


12.5.2021 – gross negligence , a

gross negligence , a
disregard, failure to act
no job, not your job

Another school.

Another school shooting.

Reading a legal analysts discussion of charges against the parents, I was struck by these sentences:

To convict the parents of involuntary manslaughter, the state will have to prove that the parents were “grossly negligent” in allowing their son access to a firearm, and that their gross negligence caused the deaths of the students.

Gross negligence means more than just carelessness. It means willfully disregarding the results to others from the failure to act.

Thursday night in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys beat the New Orleans Saints without their head coach due to Covid 19 Protocols.

Defensive Coach and one time Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn took over for the game.

Asked about the win, Coach Quinn said this.

I think it’s really an example of leadership from Mike and to say what happens when the leader is not here.”

Everybody had to chip it in and say, ‘No job is not your job right now. By any means necessary, we’ve got to get this job done.'”

Thinking back to the legal analyst and the sentence, It means willfully disregarding the results to others from the failure to act.

Thinking hard about the failure to act.

Thinking hard about the failure to act, I want to say, “No job is not your job right now. By any means necessary, we’ve got to get this job done.”

No job is not your job right now.

By any means necessary.

We’ve got to get THIS job done.

11.18.2021 – maintaining comfort

maintaining comfort
atmosphere and appearance
traditional pub

Mike Mercer has died.

Not to worry, I never heard of him before either.

He got an obituary and photo in the Online Guardian today.

The first line read, “My friend Mike Mercer, who has died aged 81, was for 50 years the landlord of the Albion Inn, an attractive street-corner pub in the heart of Chester.

The obit went on to state, “The words “pub” and “landlord” scarcely do justice to the Albion or to Mike. A romantic and a perfectionist, he devoted much of his life to maintaining the comfort, atmosphere and appearance of a traditional English public house. The Albion was a magnet for those who believed that a drinking establishment should be a retreat from the bustle and frenzy of the outside world, where real ale and good food should be enjoyed in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere.”

Not a bad note to go out on, is it?

When I thought about the possibility of one day having an obit, not saying I discounted the possibility of dying, just the possibility of someone writing and PAYING for an obit, I thought a worthwhile accolade would be, “Baked good bread.”

A lot of meaning could be contained in those short words.

Says a lot about the type of person you are today.

Of late, I have cut a lot of breads out of my diet so not sure what to make of that does to the plan.

Mr. Mercer’s obit also contained this line.

Its decor proclaimed Mike’s old-fashioned and benign patriotism, but the atmosphere of the place was politically ecumenical. 

Old-fashioned and benign patriotism.

Politically ecumenical. 

I know the as I get older, grass is always greener 10 or 20 years ago.

But when did we all get so mean?

The irreverence combined with flippancy and no real substance for the care of people.

To paraphrase slightly what CS Lewis wrote in the Problem with Pain of the people who are confident to the very end that they alone have found the answer to the riddle of life, that God and man are fools whom they have gotten the better of, that their way of life is utterly successful, satisfactory, unassailable.

Mr. Lewis wrote that back in 1940.

Maybe we were all just as mean back then as well.

But at least back then, those folks were all stuck on AM Talk Radio and not on social media.

1.18.2021 – measure of success

measure of success
unselfish spirit exists
purpose, dignity

It was Bill Clinton who famously said, “It’s the economy, STUPID!”

So call me stupid, but what is the economy and how do we measure it so we can understand if things are good or if things are bad.

The one economic rule of thumb that really made sense to me was that when other people had no money, it was a recession.

When I had no money, it was a depression.

The reporters and commentators on economic news of late seem to feel that the economy is doing okay, even good considering the covid and all.

Maybe even the impact of covid with have good long term economic imact.

Then the reporters and commentators start throwing out the economic textbook alphabet code words like GNI, PPP, OECD, GDP, Nominal GDP and REAL GDP.

By the time the reporters and commentators are done, I have tuned out and I listen for one word.

Good.

Bad.

After all, it’s the economy STUPID.

Then, feeling stupid, I ask good for who and bad for who?

A long time ago, Robert Kennedy questioned the use of economic factors as a measure for a success of a Country.

In one of the first speeches in his 1967 Presidential Campaign, speaking at the University of Kansas and speaking, according to legend, without notes Mr. Kennedy talked about GDP.

(First, a reminder that GDP measures those activities for which money changes hands or for which a monetary value can be attached. Paid childcare is included, but unpaid childcare by family members or friends isn’t.)

Mr. Kennedy said:

” . . .the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play.

It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.

It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.

And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.

BOY HOWDY!

I mean gee whiz just off the bat I love this just for the way Mr. Kennedy said it.

Then I love what he said.

Then what he said just, well, makes me sad.

Mournful, you know what I mean.

So much has happened lately that can tell us so much about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.

Will Rodgers would imitate President Calvin Coolidge giving a speech (a bit of humor that President Coolidge did not appreciate) and would deliver a text like:

The County as a hole is prosperous. I did not say the whole Country is prosperous but the Country as a hole. Usually, a hole is NOT prosperous. And this Country is in a hole.”

We are in a hole.

A hole that we dug.

As Mr. Kennedy said, “no one – neither industry, nor labor, nor government – has cared enough to help.”

I wonder if we can get out.

So much has is gone and still as Mr. Kennedy said, ” … there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction – purpose and dignity – that afflicts us all.”

But Bobby also said, “I think we here in this country, with the unselfish spirit that exists in the United States of America, I think we can do better here also.”

Can we get back there?

Can we go forward to get there?

Make America Great with an unselfish spirit.

For that answer I have to return to Mr. Kennedy’s GDP speech again and to Mr. Kennedy’s quote from George Bernard Shaw.

Some people see things as they are and say, ‘why?’ I dream things that never were and say, ‘why not?’

1.9.2021 – old voices, concerns

old voices, concerns
getting a grip on today
what will history say

I saw today that Helen Viola Jackson has died.

She was thought to be the last living widow of a Civil War verteran.

The reports state she married her much-older neighbor, 93-year-old James Bolin, in September 1936 during the depression with the idea she might inherit his pension.

My Great Great Grand Father was a Civil War veteran.

Wound in action and married after he returned home, I like to tell folks I came THIS close to not being here.

Grandpa also got a pension of 8 dollars a month after surviving being shot through the lungs in 1862.

I was going to cite to Helen Viola Jackson as an example of living history but since she just died, well, you know what I mean.

A voice from the past.

There was another voice from the past this week and like many surprise voices from the past, some surprise was connected to the fact that the person in question was still alive.

Browsing through the World Wide Web this past week I can across an opinon piece by none other than Danial Ellsberg.

Danial Ellsberg.

If there is a name that evokes more memories and little understanding of the Vietnam War era, I do not know whose name it would be.

Ellsberg has a big role in the anti Vietnam War effort during the Johnson era and while what he did had nothing to do with Watergate and the Nixon era, it had everything to do with Watergate and the Nixon era.

Ellsberg was a Pentagon staffer who had growing misgivings about US involvement in Vietnam,

The Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara (one time President of Ford Motor Company – another story for another time) asked that a report be compiled.

The report was to be titled “Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force, is a United States Department of Defense history of the United States’ political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967.”

Daniel Ellsberg got the assignement and produced an 11 volume report.

ELEVEN VOLUMES!

Mr. Ellsberg’s report came down heavily on the side that said Vietnam was the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong enemy.

Okay so Chief of Staff General Omar Bradley said that about Korea, but it fits here for this narrative.

Mr. Ellsberg was dismayed at the lack of attention his report received.

Mr. Ellsberg famously related that the only way you could really get something across to Secretary McNamara was to find out when he was flying to Vietnam and then somehow get yourself on the plane and you had 18 hours to talk to the Secretary and he couldn’t get away.

The report was kept under wraps during the Johnson years.

But the Vietnam War stayed on the front pages.

The Nixon Era began and the Vietnam War stayed on the front pages with every indication that the war would get bigger.

Mr. Ellsberg felt he had to act.

Mr. Ellsberg gave the report to the New York Times.

The New York Times published part of the report with the promise that the entire report was coming.

Even though the report was an indictment of the Johnson Administration, the Nixon Government took steps in court to stop publication.

The Nixonians cited National Security.

The Nixon reasoning was that the report said the war was both stupid and wrong and since they had the report when they took over, the were even more stupid and more wrong than Johnson to continue the war.

A Court set a restraining order in place and told the New York Times to stop printing the report.

The Washington Post got a copy of the report (strange how this things get around even then) and started printing.

The case quickly and I mean quickly got to the Supreme Court and the Supremes decided 6-3 in favor of the New York Times and the long and inglorious history of the United States’ political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967 was out there for all to read.

So what could the Nixonians do?

The could discredit Mr. Ellsberg.

The Nixonans knew that Mr. Ellsberg had been driven to seek psychiatric help.

The Nixonians broke into the office of Mr. Ellsberg’s Psychiatrist to get their hands on his case notes to prove that Mr. Ellsberg was crazy.

This did not work out too well for the Nixonians.

Not that they learned any lessons from this.

The Nixonians, if nothing else, felt they now knew what to do if they needed information.

When the Nixonians decided they wanted to know what the Democratic National Committee was doing they resurected the Ellsberg plan and broke in to the DNC Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC.

This also did not work out to well for the Nixonians.

That is how a very minor, low level Pentagon staffer entered the history books.

For a couple of years there its seems to me that you could not watch or listen to the news without hearing the words Ellsberg, Ellsberg Breakin or Pentagon Papers.

I haven’t heard the name in years however.

And here he was writing about his concerns about possible war plans for an attack on the middle east.

To be sure, he said, such PLANS are being considered.

Mr. Ellsberg even wondered out loud if the people working on these plans might be using his old desk.

Mr. Ellsberg wrote that he hoped if this was happening that who ever was working at his old desk would have his old feelings but have more courage and be a whistle blower for peace and release this information so these plans could be stopped.

Mr. Ellsberg said he was a whistle blower.

But that he waited too long.

Mr. Ellsberg wrote “I will always regret that I did not copy and convey those memos – along with many other files in the top-secret safe in my office at that time, all giving the lie to the president’s false campaign promises that same fall that “we seek no wider war” – to Senator Fulbright’s foreign relations committee in September 1964 rather than five years later in 1969, or to the press in 1971. A war’s worth of lives might have been saved.

A war’s worth of lives might have been saved.

Old voices voicing old concerns.

History has been kind to Mr. Ellsberg.

Kind of an anti-hero hero.

I am often asked my opinion on how history might treat our current man in the oval office.

And I consider Mr. Ellsberg.

Mr. Ellsberg wishes he could have done more to prevent the Vietnam War.

A war that lasted 20 years and in the end resulted in American casualties of 58,318 dead (47,434 from combat) and 303,644 wounded.

In his words, Mr. Ellsberg thinks that had he acted sooner, a war’s worth of lives might have been saved.

Right now in a pandemic lasting less than a year over 350,000 Americans have died.

I don’t have to ponder much as to how history will judge this feller currently in office.

7.24.2020 – a sweet demeanor

a sweet demeanor
selfless way, giving, caring
soft-spoken nature

Joyce Elizabeth Peterson was a rare gem on this Earth.

I only know that from reading her obituary.

And I only happened on to her obituary because I thinking about Duluth, Minnesota.

I only happened be thinking about Duluth, Minnesota because of where I live.

When the railroad came through here in the 1880’s folks said, ‘What is the furthest you can go on this railroad.?

And the answer was Duluth, Minnesota.

So the town where I now live was named, Duluth, Georgia.

And I was thinking about Duluth, Minnesota.

And wondered who lived up there or at least who had been living up there.

And I checked the obituaries in the local paper.

And I found Joyce Elizabeth Peterson.

The first line of her obit might be considered a life goal for any person any time any where.

Her sweet demeanor, soft-spoken nature, and selfless way of giving and caring for others made Joyce a rare gem on this Earth.

It certainly stands out today.

And maybe the fact that she stands out, she was a rare gem, is as sad a comment on us today as the fact that for us, Joyce Elizabeth Peterson has passed on.

Here is here obit.

Joyce Elizabeth Peterson

Her sweet demeanor, soft-spoken nature, and selfless way of giving and caring for others made Joyce a rare gem on this Earth. She will be greatly missed by her family and lifelong friends.

Joyce Elizabeth Peterson, 95, lifelong resident of Duluth, passed away peacefully in her sleep on July 17, 2020 at Barnes Care assisted living in Esko, MN.

Joyce was born in Duluth on June 26, 1925 to Wallace and Elizabeth Clemens. She graduated from Duluth Central High School and technical college. She married Gordon R. Peterson and they were married for 45 years. She was a hardworking Homemaker, raising their daughters and maintaining their home. She loved to knit and spend time at the cabin on Caribou Lake. She was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church and active in the church circles and bible study groups.

Joyce was preceded in death by her parents; husband; and brother, William.

Joyce is survived by her children, Debra (Ron) Brochu and Cynthia (Terry) Cossin; grandchildren, Derek and Jessica Brochu; great-grandson she adored, “DJ”; special nephew, Richard Ouellette; nephews, Tom (Carol) Ouellette and Lewis Wackler; and niece, Barbara Gwynn.

The family would like to thank the staff at Barnes Care in Esko for her great care during the last 16 months.

Due to Covid-19, a memorial service will be held at a later date, hopefully sometime in the fall. Interment will be next to her husband at Sunrise Memorial Park Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Trinity Lutheran Church, 1108 E. 8th St. in Duluth, MN 55805.