YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS UP: ‘Mother Antonia — Prison Angel’

She was born into the Hollywood life style, grew up in Beverly Hills, had a successful screen test, but wound up living in a Tijuana prison for 30 years until her death Oct. 17. While many stars chose to call themselves by another name to enliven their career recognition, Mary Clarke chose a new name because she believed God was calling her to a new life of service despite two failed marriages and seven children. The name she chose was Mother Antonia because she wanted to be a nun.

I first met Mother where she spent much of her time for the past 30 years — in the Federal Prison in Tijuana, Mexico. I had the privilege of producing a story about her for a program on Hallmark Channel. I watched as she came quickly across the prison yard in her habit with a warm smile beaming from her face, a constant nod of her head and a quick wave to the many prisoners who were trying to catch her eye, kiss her hand or just embrace this small 80 year old woman. The prisoners knew this nun was willing to do almost anything to make their lives better in a terrible situation.

Mother Antonia says she wound up in jail because she followed God’s call on her life, but that call emerged out of personal failures. Her story is the stuff of Hollywood since its arc began almost by accident at a time when the path in front of her was full of tremendous barriers. In mid life, after a second divorce, and while still raising her kids she was running a successful family business supplying office supplies to movie studios. As part of volunteer work with Rotary International she began to take gift packets to prisoners across the border from California to Tijuana. She developed a tremendous burden to help those behind bars in one of Mexico’s toughest jails. She was there so often the warden offered to put aside a cell for her to live in.

After Mass one day at her local parish she spoke to a priest who was a friend and told him she wanted to become a nun. He responded, “Mary there are no orders who are going to accept you at this age and with two marriages that didn’t work out.” She replied, “But what should I do-I feel God tugging at me?” He said, “I suggest you get a nun’s habit, go in the chapel, ordain yourself and see what God does.” She started showing up at the prison in her new garb. Eventually, the prisoners dubbed her “prison angel.”  She helped stop prison riots, dodged bullets from drug traffickers, worked on prison reform, and lived in a 10 by 10 foot jail cell. She took cold showers just like every other inmate for those 30 years.

Prisoners told me she is the one who gives them hope — in what could be an almost hopeless situation. She would bring blankets, food, phone cards and even paint supplies to help brighten their surroundings. After Mass one weekday I watched as prisoners eagerly lined up to speak with her and receive her blessing.

After several years the bishops of Tijuana and San Diego both officially recognized her and a new religious order she started for older women. It is called “Sisters of the Eleventh Hour.” It is for women who want to serve in a religious order in their later years. Whenever we talked Mother Antonia would inquire about my family, tell me she was praying for them and for me. With her I felt perfectly safe in that prison. As I watched her respond to the inmates I was flooded with a sense of God’s presence in the life of a woman who delighted in being an unconventional servant for God in one of the toughest spots in North American. Truly you cannot make up Mother Antonia’s story.


Since 2007 Bill Turpie has been pastor of New North Church in Hingham.  New North is a community church with a focus on the inward journey of faith and an outward journey of service. Before coming to New North he worked for two decades as a business reporter and documentary producer and for many years ran his own production company.


“World News” Continues to Surge in Total Viewers and Adults 25-54


Program Grows the Most in Total Viewers and is Only Evening Newscast to Gain in Adults 25-54 Year to Year

“World News” Ranks No. 1 on Monday and Friday in Key News Demo

Broadcast is Delivering its Best Overall Viewer Start to a Season in 4 Years

For the week of October 14, 2013, “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” averaged 7.768 million Total Viewers and a 1.7 rating/6 share/2.000 million in Adults 25-54, according to Nielsen Media Research.  Growing over the previous week (7.251 million and 1.812 million, respectively, on w/o 10/7/13) in both Total Viewers (+7%) and Adults 25-54 (+10%) to hit season highs, “World News” posted its strongest numbers in 5 weeks – since w/o 9/9/13.

“World News” was also the only evening newscast to deliver week-to-week increases in both Nielsen measures as “CBS Evening News (-1%-1%) was down, while “NBC Nightly News” was mixed (+3%/-4%).

Compared to the year-ago week (7.047 million and 1.710 million, respectively, on w/o 10/15/12), “World News” improved by double-digits in Total Viewers (+10%) and Adults 25-54 (+17%).  “World News” grew the most year to year in Total Viewers and stood as the only evening newscast to see gains in Adults 25-54 compared to “CBS Evening News (+4%-14%) and “NBC Nightly News” (+7%/flat).

In Adults 25-54, “World News” beat “NBC Nightly News” to rank No. 1 on Monday (+144,000 – 2.326 million vs. 2.182 million on 10/14/13) and Friday (+90,000 – 1.836 million vs. 1.746 million on 10/18/13).  In fact, it was the first time this season that “World News” beatNBC Nightly News” in the key adult news demo twice during the course of a week.  

In addition, “World News’” Monday airing stood as its top telecast of the season in both Total Viewers (8.217 million) and Adults 25-54 (2.326 million).

“World News” cut its week-to-week margins with “NBC Nightly News” by double-digits in Total Viewers (-29% – 662,000 vs. 927,000) and by more than half in Adults 25-54 (-61% – 168,000 vs. 435,000).   

“World News” also reduced in its year-to-year gaps with “NBC Nightly News” by double-digits in Total Viewers (-18% – 662,000 vs. 805,000) and by more than half in Adults 25-54 (-63% – 168,000 vs. 459,000).   

Season to date, “World News” is up versus the same point last season in both Total Viewers (+3%) and Adults 25-54 (+6%), delivering its best overall viewer start to a season in 4 years – since the 2009-10 season.   “World News” is also up the most from the same point last season in the key adult news demo compared to “CBS Evening News” (-10%) and “NBC Nightly News” (+4%).

For the week, “ABC World News” outperformed the “CBS Evening News” by its largest margins of the season in both Total Viewers (1.483 million) and Adults 25-54 (562,000).  In fact, it was “World News’” largest news demo advantage over the CBS program in nearly 3 years – since w/o 12/27/10.

“ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” airs at 6:30 p.m., ET on the ABC Television Network. Michael Corn is the executive producer of the broadcast. Follow Diane Sawyer and the “World News” team online: @DianeSawyer; @ABCWorldNews;;

EVENING NEWS (Week of October 14, 2013)

Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers and Adults 25-54 Live + SD weeks of 10/14/13, 10/7/13 10/15/12.  Most Current: 2013-2014 Season (9/23 – 10/20/13) and 2012-2013 Season (9/24 – 10/21/12).  All averages based on regular telecasts.

– ABC –

River View Care Home warned it must make urgent improvements

A Tilehurst care home has been formally warned again that it must make urgent improvements.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) published its latest report on River View Care Home, in Rodway Road, on Tuesday, October 9. It found the home was failing to meet three quality standards.

The previous CQC inspection in April found the site, run by Life Style Care, was failing to meet all six standards. At the latest check they had improved in three standards, but not sufficiently in three others to avoid further formal warnings.

Tilehurst care home failing to look after vulnerable residents

The failings were under the care and welfare of people who use the service, safeguarding people who use services from abuse, and assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision.

Examples of the failings included:

– Staff were not following wound care plans.

– One resident’s wound was not checked until four days after the date the care plan said it should. This was because the nurse and deputy manager – the only experienced staff to treat the wound – were on annual leave for the same nine days in August.

– Staff left call bells and fluids out of reach of capable people.

– People who developed very high care needs were not always supported.

The report said: “For example, we noted that one person was approaching the end of their life. We found the provider had not appropriately assessed this person’s end of life or palliative care needs. For example, there were no records of the person’s wishes recorded.”

The report said the care home had made improvements to support people with adequate nutrition and fluids, improved the skills of existing staff through training, recruited new staff and implemented an improved system to support staff.

Felicity Somerville, clinical operations director at Life Style Care, said: “The latest CQC inspection report demonstrates that, whilst the company acknowledges that some of the necessary improvements are taking longer to maintain in some areas, substantial progress has been made and is being sustained throughout the home.

“The whole staff group at River View, fully supported by the senior management team from Life Style Care, are working extremely hard to rectify the remaining shortfalls in practice.

“We would seek to assure our residents and their families that of paramount importance to us are the care, safety and welfare of the people whose home is River View.”

Adrian Hughes, regional director of CQC in the South, said: “Although there have been some improvements in River View Care Centre there is still, a lot more work to be done.

“People have a right to expect to be treated in services which are safe, effective, caring, well led, and responsive to their needs.

“We are satisfied at this stage the provider is genuinely seeking to make improvements, but if these improvements are not evident at our next inspection we will not hesitate to use our enforcement powers.

“We will return unannounced in due course to check that River View Care has made the changes required.”

Reading Borough Council spokeswoman Anna Fowler said: “The council does not own or run River View Care Home and it is not the regulator, however it does have an overview to ensure residents placed at the home are safe and well cared for.

“Following safety concerns raised by some family members in March, this year, the council raised the quality of care at River View with the regulator, Care Quality Commission (CQC). At the same time we immediately stopped placing people in the home.

“The CQC have since carried out two inspections of the home and whilst the latest report shows improved performance in three areas, there are still obvious areas of concern to the council.

“Residents placed in River View Care Home are frail, elderly and vulnerable. Our priority since we first reported concerns in March has been the safety and wellbeing of residents. This remains the case.

“We considered whether residents should be moved to alternative accommodation, but concluded that in view of their frailty it would be more appropriate to take action to ensure their safety and wellbeing at Riverview.

“For that reason, the council insisted on placing its own staff into the home in September and we are satisfied this measure is ensuring the safety of residents.

“The council’s position of not placing any more residents in the home remains in place and will continue until we are completely satisfied that standards have further improved.

“We will continue to monitor care at the home closely to ensure residents are being cared for properly.

“Riverview residents include a variety of people placed by different local authorities and health services, as well as a number of self funders.

“If relatives of Reading residents in the home have any immediate concerns, Reading Borough Council has set up an advice line they can call on (0118) 937 7210.”

NSA faces sweeping review into extent of surveillance

Link to video: Obama sidesteps questions on NSA spying and what he knew

The chair of the Senate intelligence committee, who has been a loyal defender of the National Security Agency, dramatically broke ranks on Monday, saying she was “totally opposed” to the US spying on allies and demanding a total review of all surveillance programs.

California Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein strongly criticised the NSA‘s monitoring of the calls of friendly world leaders such as German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Feinstein, who has steadfastly defended the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, added that both Barack Obama and members of her committee, which is supposed to received classified briefings, had been kept in the dark about operations to target foreign leaders.

“It is abundantly clear that a total review of all intelligence programs is necessary so that members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are fully informed as to what is actually being carried out by the intelligence community,” Feinstein said in a statement to reporters.

“Unlike NSA’s collection of phone records under a court order, it is clear to me that certain surveillance activities have been in effect for more than a decade and that the Senate Intelligence Committee was not satisfactorily informed.

“With respect to NSA collection of intelligence on leaders of US allies – including France, Spain, Mexico and Germany – let me state unequivocally: I am totally opposed,” she said..

Feinstein also provided the first official confirmation of a German report that indicated Merkel’s phone had been monitored for more than a decade. “It is my understanding that President Obama was not aware Chancellor Merkel’s communications were being collected since 2002,” Feinstein said. “That is a big problem.”

The senator’s dramatic intervention comes as the White House struggles to contain the diplomatic fallout from a series of revelations about the NSA’s spy operations abroad. They include a report in the Guardian, based on documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, that at least 35 world leaders have been monitored by the agency.

“Unless the United States is engaged in hostilities against a country or there is an emergency need for this type of surveillance, I do not believe the United States should be collecting phone calls or emails of friendly presidents and prime ministers. The president should be required to approve any collection of this sort,” Feinstein added.

“The White House has informed me that collection on our allies will not continue, which I support. But as far as I’m concerned, Congress needs to know exactly what our intelligence community is doing. To that end, the committee will initiate a major review into all intelligence collection programs.”

Feinstein’s statement comes at a crucial time for the NSA. Legislation will be introduced in Congress on Tuesday that would curtail the agency’s powers, and there are the first signs that the White House may be starting to distance itself from security chiefs. On Monday, the White House’s chief spokesman, Jay Carney, said the administration “acknowledged the tensions” caused by Snowden’s disclosures.

“The president clearly feels strongly about making sure we are not just collecting information because we can, but because we should,” Carney said. “We recognize there needs to be additional constraints on how we gather and use intelligence.”

Obama told ABC News on Monday evening that he would not discuss classified information but accepted that security operations were being reassessed to ensure proper oversight of the NSA’s technical abilities.

He said: “The national security operations, generally, have one purpose and that is to make sure the American people are safe and that I’m making good decisions. I’m the final user of all the intelligence that they gather. But they’re involved in a whole wide range of issues.

“We give them policy direction. But what we’ve seen over the last several years is their capacities continue to develop and expand, and that’s why I’m initiating now a review to make sure that what they’re able to do doesn’t necessarily mean what they should be doing.”

On Tuesday morning, James Sensenbrenner, the Wisconsin Republican and author of the 2001 Patriot Act, will introduce a bill called the USA Freedom Act that will ban warrantless bulk phone metadata collection and prevent the NSA from querying its foreign communications databases for identifying information on Americans. Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who chairs the Senate judiciary committee, will introduce the bill’s Senate counterpart that same day.

Also on Tuesday, the two most senior intelligence leaders are due to testify before the House intelligence committee. Both are now expected to be grilled on why they appear not to have informed either the White House or congressional oversight committees about the spying activities directed at foreign leaders.

James Clapper, the director of national intelligence who is under fire for misleading Congress on bulk domestic collection, will testify about surveillance reform Tuesday afternoon. He will be accompanied by General Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA, who last week mused to a Pentagon blog that “we ought to come up with a way of stopping” reporters’ stories about the NSA’s bulk collection programs.

Their performance is likely to be influential towards members of Congress on the fence about bulk domestic collection ahead of a vote on Sensenbrenner’s bill. A July predecessor came within seven votes of passage.

Feinstein’s shifting position was not the only emerging challenge confronting the NSA late Monday. A new disclosure from the Electronic Frontier Foundation added to the agency’s woes by suggesting that it began testing means to gather location data on cellphones inside the US before informing the secret surveillance court that oversees it.

A short document apparently written in 2011 by an NSA lawyer discussed a 2010 “mobility testing effort” involving “cell site locations.” The lawyer, whose name was redacted in a document obtained by the group under the Freedom of Information Act, said that the Justice Department was believed to have “orally advised” the so-called Fisa Court that “we had obtained a limited set of test data sampling of cellular mobility data (cell site location information) pursuant to the Court-authorized program” under section 215 of the Patriot Act, which the NSA uses to justify collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk.

Alexander recently conceded that the so-called “pilot program” for cellular geolocation collection existed and said it was potentially a “future requirement for the country.” It was previously unknown that the pilot program proceeded before the Fisa Court knew of it.

Just a month ago, in her own committee, Feinstein, delivered a full-throated and unequivocal defence of every surveillance activity conducted by the NSA.

“It is my opinion that the surveillance activities conducted under FISA, and other programs operated by the National Security Agency, are lawful, they are effective, and they are conducted under careful oversight within the NSA, by the Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and by the FISA Court and the Congress,” Feinstein said on September 26.

In August, following disclosures that the NSA had improperly collected data on thousands of Americans, Feinstein accused the Washington Post of misquoting her, saying her committee “has never identified an instance in which the NSA has intentionally abused its authority to conduct surveillance for inappropriate purposes”.

Feinstein is bringing her own legislation to enable superficial reforms of the NSA and the secret court system, but stops short of curbing the intelligence community’s powers, is being marked up at her committee on Tuesday.

Feinstein’s about-face presents the major challenge for the White House, which perceives the California Democrat as a key Senate surrogate on surveillance issues.

Obama has yet to take a position on the Leahy and Sensenbrenner bills. Congressional aides expect a major push by the NSA to defeat the bills, but are unsure how vigorously the White House will oppose them.

Carney’s remarks on Monday, prompted by a growing sense of diplomatic backlash against the US over the NSA, provide additional uncertainty. US officials have distanced Obama from the foreign-leader spying in anonymous comments to the Wall Street Journal.

Extra, Extra: Bed-Stuy Getting A Rock Venue

dannydalypix’s flickr

Entertainment News: Marcia Wallace Obit; Quincy Jones Sues M. Jackson Estate

Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Marcia Wallace, the voice of Edna Krabappel on “The Simpsons,” has died.
“Simpsons” executive producer Al Jean said in a statement Saturday that her death is a terrible loss. He says Wallace’s “irreplaceable character,” the fourth-grade teacher who has to deal with Bart Simpson’s constant antics, would be retired from the show.
The longtime TV actress’ credits ranged from playing a wise-cracking receptionist in the 1970s on “The Bob Newhart Show” to appearances on Candice Bergen’s “Murphy Brown” In the 1980s and 90s.

Quincy Jones sues Michael Jackson’s estate
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Quincy Jones is suing Michael Jackson’s estate claiming he is owed royalties on some of the superstar’s hits and was improperly deprived of a producer credit on music used in the “This Is It” film.
Jones’ lawsuit filed Friday in Los Angeles seeks millions in damages from the singer’s estate. The suit claims Jackson’s estate re-worked some of the superstar’s music that Jones produced and cut him out of the royalties and other profits.
The producer is also asking a judge to order Jackson’s estate to provide a full accounting of its proceeds to determine how much he is owed. Jones produced some of Jackson’s most popular albums, including “Off the Wall” and “Thriller.”
Jackson’s estate had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.