“Throughout the 200-year history of the United States the American nation has been at war.” That was how author William Koenig led into his 1980 book, Americans at War. Although ostensibly a study of American warfare from about 1775 at Lexington and Concord to 1975, the end of the Viet Nam War, Koenig actually starts with the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620 and Native Americans meeting the ship. Had he waited until today to publish he could have included another fifty years of Americans at war, right up to Ukraine. In general, we Americans view our involvement in foreign wars, that is, non-Native American warfare, as justified by the belligerence of others who have forced us reluctantly … [Read More...] about D-Day
My earliest memories of Memorial Day involved hot cemeteries where all the adult women spent a great deal of time loudly hushing all the children and the few men in attendance furtively smoked cigarettes while shifting from foot to foot. Any attempt by me or my brother, Philip, to chase butterflies or engage in horseplay was met with stern stares and an occasional knock on the head or a swat on the tail. Mother had three brothers and one sister who had served in the Army in WWII and Mom observed the service of all veterans solemnly and reverently; she demanded her children properly learn the ritual. Our role was to honor the dead soldiers and show gratitude to those veterans who were still … [Read More...] about Memorial Day
They tore down my grade school and built a church. It is a nice church that regularly fills up with nice people, some of whom I do not know and some I do. In fact, some of the church members whom I do know I first met in the first grade in our old sandstone elementary school that is now their church. I expect almost every time one of those old classmates pulls up to their new church, they get a nostalgic image of our old school. I know that every time Peg and I happen to drive by the fine new brick church with its lovely green lawn and flowering shrubs, images of a sward of almost non-existent short grass interspersed with small pebbles and an occasional anthill fiercely guarded by large … [Read More...] about Changes
I like brown grass. It matches the unfallen brown leaves I don’t have to rake and the brown stagnant water in the pond that hides my fish from the ravenous blue heron. Also, brown grass does not engender chiggers. Ah, chiggers, Mother Nature’s reminder that we humans are, in fact, at the top of the insect world’s food pyramid. Here’s how the internet waxes eloquent about chiggers: “They bite their human host (who invited them?) and by embedding their mouthparts into the skin cause intense irritation with intense itching.” Ugh! The omniscient internet says chiggers prosper in grasslands, like the Osage County, Oklahoma prairie, and are most numerous in early summer when grass is heaviest; … [Read More...] about ♪ All The Grass Is Green ♪
Liberals are upset that the leak from the U.S. Supreme Court may signal that the case of Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), may be overturned or, as is more likely, modified. Conservatives are upset there was a leak from the Supreme Court that may allow public pressure from Liberals to influence the Court to not modify Roe’s holdings. Neither Roe v. Wade nor the case that followed it, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), is before the Supreme Court for decision. They could be referred to and overturned or reaffirmed by the Court within its decision of the pending case of Dobbs v. Jackson, No. 19-1392 that will be decided in 2022. As there has not yet been an official decision in … [Read More...] about Lemonade
As did Athena, the goddess of wisdom who sprung full grown from the head of Zeus, occasionally a Mozart-type creative genius is born into the world already with great mental acuity. But most people only develop wisdom over a substantial amount of time. That is why virtually every culture honors its older citizens, not because they have lived a long time but because they may have accumulated knowledge and may possess sound judgment as a result. Of course, good judgment often is earned the hard way, that is, in response to earlier bad decisions. If one survives enough poor choices, better choices and better advice become more likely. When it comes to good choices, I have been impressed by the … [Read More...] about Good Things Come With Time
Louis and Mary Leakey discovered some early human ancestors in Tanzania, Africa’s Olduvai Gorge in 1959. Donald Johanson discovered who may be our original grandmother in Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley in 1974. He named her Lucy because he was a Beatles fan and listened to the song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” right after his discovery. It may be uncharitable to Johanson and paleontology to point out many believe the song was a paean to LSD. On the other hand, those who question Lucy’s bona fides may find solace in this theory. At the opposite end of those Doubting Thomas’ is the atheistic biologist Richard Dawkins from the University of Oxford who pushed human origins back to as much as … [Read More...] about Blame Lucy
For the past two weeks as a member of the National Judicial College’s faculty I have helped to present an online continuing education course to judges from several states. A significant portion of the course involved an examination of America’s penal system. In general, the continuum of criminal justice runs from Deuteronomy, 10:21, to Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, scene 1. Deuteronomy provides: “Thine eye shall not pity. It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” But Shakespeare’s Portia pleads with Shylock to show mercy: “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. … [Read More...] about When Mercy Seasons Justice
Happy Birthday, Peg! Photo by Jim Redwine We are almost one full month into spring, the season of renewal for some wives and ennui for their husbands. There is something about damp earth that calls out to such wives as Peg much as the Sirens called out to the crew of Ulysses. Though it would not be politically correct, the Devil is pushing me to try to lash Peg to the steering wheel of her Mini Cooper so she cannot frequent every garden center within twenty-five miles of our cabin. Peg must have beaucoup amounts of potting soil, countless plants and varieties of seeds, containers of metal, clay and plastic and every conceivable fertilizer and pesticide that is touted by Peg’s countless … [Read More...] about Happy Birthday, Peg!
Lily Tomlin’s character, telephone operator Ernestine on the TV show Laugh-In, set the standard for bad telephone service. Laugh-In was on NBC from 1969-1973. In 2022 life has overcome art. At least Ernestine was human. Today, robots and recorded messages insulate businesses from the needs of customers. Good luck on getting through a telephone “menu” to speak with someone who will admit a company’s responsibility for poor service. Things were bad enough before COVID-19 and our current no-one-ever-goes-in-to-work society. But after more than two years of encouraging everyone to avoid contact with anyone many people apparently see any request for service as a borderline criminal assault. It … [Read More...] about One Ringy-Dingy
President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points set forth a vision of a WWI peace treaty based not on total victory for any one country but a permanent peace for all countries founded on generous terms of self-determination and economic recovery. Germany sued for peace thinking it would be treated fairly, but mainly France and Great Britain joined by several other countries demanded Draconian subjugation of Germany including ruinous reparations. The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 was a testament to vengeance, not peace. It also led directly to WWII. If there is no war like a civil war for hatred and carnage, there is no dispute like a conflict between neighbors for animosity. Ukraine and Russia … [Read More...] about President Wilson Was Right
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Unanimous for Murder
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Unanimous for Murder picks up where JUDGE LYNCH! left off. A gripping story of small town murder and judicial shenanigans on the western frontier when the western frontier was east of the Mississippi.
Echoes of Our Ancestors: The Secret Game
Jim’s new novel tells the exciting story of a long hidden but important football game that occurred between representatives of Haskell Indian Institute (now the Haskell Indian Nations University) and professionals from the then Kansas City Cowboys in 1924 at a secret location on the Osage Indian Nation near Pawhuska, Oklahoma - where Jim was born.
“Judge Lynch Holds Court!” That was the banner headline in a Posey County, Indiana newspaper after seven African American men were murdered by a white mob during October, 1878.
Gavel Gamut Greetings from JPeg Ranch
“Gavel Gamut Greetings" is an anthology of topical and historical selections mainly about regional events and personalities that have appeared in my weekly newspaper column, Gavel Gamut.