Aeschylus (c. 525-455 BC) is the earliest sage credited with the ironic observation that, “The first casualty of war is truth”. However, it does not require an ancient Greek playwright to point out such an obvious truism. Whatever the times, whichever the country and whoever the politicians, gossamer justifications for attacking other nations is de rigueur. Sixty thousand Americans were killed in the Vietnam War that was escalated by President Johnson from a failed CIA coup to a full blown war based on the false premise of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. President George W. Bush took America to war against Afghanistan and Iraq recklessly and wrongly alleging Iraq had “Weapons of Mass … [Read More...] about Gulf of Tonkin, Weapons of Mass Destruction or Tankers in the Persian Gulf, Each a First Casualty of War
When I want to take a walk I prefer my most comfortable pair of boots. When I want to return to a destination I choose the route I previously successfully traveled. Even when I mow my yard I normally approach the task the same way each time. Surprises are okay for birthdays and Christmas, but for almost everything else familiarity tends to work best if it is an option. So when the New Harmony, Indiana Working Men’s Institute asked me to speak this Fourth of July after the initial glow of pride the rush of trepidation led me to seek out shelter in time-tested material such as the following offerings. As most of the original authors have already received their “summonses to join that … [Read More...] about Name That Phrase
Woody Guthrie (Woodrow Wilson Guthrie 1912-1967) came of age in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. When one hears Woody sing about the America of those times Guthrie’s personal experiences and perceptions should be considered. In that context, his song’s ironic lyrics that point out America might not have been made for everybody speak to those Americans left out by our Founding Fathers, who were all well-to-do white men. James Madison (1751-1836) is called the Father of the United States Constitution for good reason. He conceived of and drafted most of the Constitution including its first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights. Madison and the rest of the fifty-five well-to-do white men … [Read More...] about This Land Is Our Land
As our country nears its 243rd birthday we Americans may feel as if all is gloom and doom. Members of Congress are calling for the impeachment of President Trump. President Trump is tweeting out claims that some Congress people are traitors. CNN accuses FOX News of being a sycophant for the White House. Rush Limbaugh proclaims CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and The Washington Post are not news agencies but simply “fake news” whose agendas have a single minded mission to remove the President from office. At coffee shops and taverns throughout the United States one-time friends cannot carry on a respectful conversation. Even churches are choosing sides. In short, the last election drags into … [Read More...] about Not So Bad After All
Christmas and the Fourth of July were my father’s favorite times of the year. He would start “practicing up” for each commemoration about December first for Christmas and right after Memorial Day for the Fourth of July. Christmas is a ways off but our country’s birthday is rapidly approaching with Memorial Day having been this past weekend. Memorial Day is an officially recognized federal holiday enacted to honor those members of our armed forces who gave their lives so the rest of us could enjoy the blessings of liberty. It is altogether fitting and proper that Memorial Day and the day we declared our freedom from Great Britain are linked in our minds and hearts. It brings forth sadness … [Read More...] about Practicing Up For The Fourth
Last week Peg and I drove down I-44 from the eastern edge of Missouri to the eastern edge of Oklahoma. We observed the remains of a few deer, several opossums, one or two raccoons and over one hundred dead armadillos on the roadside. The normal final position of an armadillo was on its scaled back with its clawed paws stuck straight up. Occasionally a beer can would be nestled among the claws. Frequently the carcasses were totally flat. This phenomenon occurred so often it became obvious people went out of their way to squash the critters. Such a violent reaction to the mere existence of the armadillos becomes understandable if one should have to deal with the creatures on a daily … [Read More...] about The Armadillos Cometh
Folk singer Phil Ochs (1940-1976) wrote a ballad about old people, mainly politicians, giving young people orders on how they should behave and believe. The closing verse is: “So keep right on a talking And tell us what to do. If nobody listens, My apologies to you. And I know that you were younger once ‘Cause you sure are older now, So when I got something to say, Sir, I’m going to say it now.” Ochs applied his sarcastic insight to the United States as well. In a song he wrote about American incursions from South America to Southeast Asia he criticized our government for interfering militarily when a country elected a leader we did not like and could not control: “We’ll find you a … [Read More...] about Rattling Sabres
America consists of four countries: (1) everything east of the Mississippi River excluding Florida; (2) Florida, (3) everything west of the Mississippi River excluding California; and, (4) California. Rodeos are the province of people in country (3) although some folks in Florida and California do know there is no accent on the term rodéo except for a certain drive in Beverly Hills frequented by the frou-frou set. Yankees, that is almost all of those people in countries (1) (2) and (4) snub their noses at those of us from country (3). Yankees tend to talk funny while casting aspersions on the pleasing western drawls of those of us from country (3), and Yankees dress odd while failing to … [Read More...] about A Yankee Girl Does Rodeo
Peg and I bought a cabin on the prairie in Osage County, Oklahoma. It came furnished with bovines who appear to have formed a four legged resistance to a destiny as Big Macs. When we visited recently we drove across the cattle guard and were met by the steely gaze of the Leader of the Pack. He was mainly black but had a white Mark of Cain on his left jaw and sharp hooves which he pawed into the dirt as he snorted fire through his flaring nostrils. Having grown up in cow country I was able to recognize that neither the Lead Steer nor any of the others retained the necessary accoutrements for bulls. Therefore, I advised Peg to relax as I directed her to get out of the pickup and wade through … [Read More...] about MOOrauders
William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was an English poet who in 1807 wrote the poem The World Is Too Much With Us. “Getting and spending we lay waste our powers. Little we see in Nature that is ours.” Wordsworth was inundated with a world in chaos: The American Revolution (1776-1783); the French Revolution (1789-1794); and most significantly the Industrial Revolution (1760-1840). Wordsworth was twenty-eight years old when his British contemporary, Thomas Malthus (1766-1834), who was a scholar and cleric, wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population. Malthus looked at the earth’s burgeoning population, about one billion humans as 1800 neared, and wrote: “The power of population is definitely … [Read More...] about Circle Up And Fire!
China’s National Science Review reported in March 2019 that Bing Su of the Kunming Institute of Zoology has inserted human genes into monkeys. His apparent goal was to investigate how the brains of early primates developed along different paths with monkeys remaining in the trees and Homo sapiens progressing to the Internet. Chinese scientist He Jiankui while at the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China claims to have modified the genome, the DNA, of twin female humans in an attempt to preempt the possibility of them someday contracting the HIV virus. Both of these researchers dealt with DNA and CRISPR. DNA is familiarly known as deoxyribonucleric acid and … [Read More...] about Do We Want To Fool Mother Nature?
Unanimous for Murder
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.