This famous Latin phrase, “Work Conquers All”, was originally a piece of propaganda used by the Roman poet Virgil (70 BC-19 BC) in his poem Georgics to curry favor with the Roman emperor Augustus (63 BC- 14 AD). Augustus wanted to encourage Roman citizens to quit their enjoyable lives of drinking wine and discussing politics to take up the hard work of farming. Peg, and maybe your spouse too, has carried on this tradition. In the beginning were the innocent sounding words, “Jim, are you taking a vacation this summer?” I thoughtlessly replied, “I dunno, why?” “Oh, I just thought we could spend some time together at the Ranch, relax and catch up on some things.” “Sounds good, I’ll check … [Read More...] about Peg’s Motto: Jim’s Labor Omnia Vincit
Gentle Reader, you will, of course, remember the Gavel Gamut column of December 05, 2005 where one of Posey County, Indiana’s most infamous brawlers was mentioned. One Tom Miller was fond of drink and when drinking was fond of fighting. In the years just before the Civil War old Tom would get liquored up and lick whoever had the misfortune to run into him on the streets of Mt. Vernon, Indiana. As described by John Leffel in the Western Star newspaper Miller would, “Pace the streets of Mt. Vernon with his coat off, sleeves rolled up, his shaggy breast exposed and his suspenders about his waist.” According to the editor, Tom always bellowed the same challenge, “I’m a mean man, a bad man and I … [Read More...] about Hoosiers and Slave Auctions
My mother’s three brothers and one of her three sisters served in the army in WWII. Uncle Buck flew close order air support of ground combat soldiers, one of whom could have been Uncle Bill. Uncle Bud never saw a shot fired in anger but went where he was told. Aunt Betty was an army nurse. My two brothers and I served in the military during the Viet Nam War as did my sister Jane’s husband, Bruce. Bruce was stationed in North Carolina and was not sent to Viet Nam. My eldest brother, C.E., is a fine musician and the army decided it needed his saxophone for the U.S. Army Field Band more than they needed his rifle. My other brother, Phil, is an excellent attorney whom the army ordered … [Read More...] about Keeping the Flame
Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) was a professor of literature at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York. Campbell was America’s recognized guru in the area of myth and religion. He postulated that the ultimate/unpardonable sin was to be unaware. When Peg and I visited the just opened Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama earlier this month then participated in the Dred Scott convocation in St. Louis, Missouri last week, I was constantly made aware of Campbell’s admonition. I thought back to when I lived in an apartheid society of which I was barely conscious. When I saw the representations of lynchings and Jim Crow laws in Montgomery the stark reality … [Read More...] about The Ultimate Sin
I was married, had a son and was broke when I started Law School in Bloomington, Indiana in the summer of 1968. Although I was working full-time on a night stock crew at a Kroger’s grocery store and was receiving the G.I. bill for my Air Force service, our family just made it. My mission was to get out of school as quickly as possible. I.U. allowed 44 of us new law students to enroll on a new 27-month plan instead of the normal three years with three summers off. Only 6 of us completed the program where we actually started in June 1968 and took the Bar Exam in the summer of 1970 before we graduated in August. What this did for my family and me was to allow me to become a lawyer when that … [Read More...] about A Summer Place (Not the Movie)
“The American Creed” I believe in the United States of America As a government Of the people, By the people, For the people, Whose just powers are derived From the consent of the governed; A democracy in a republic; A sovereign Nation of many sovereign states; A perfect Union; One and inseparable; Established upon those principles Of freedom, equality, justice and humanity For which American patriots Sacrificed their lives and fortunes. Therefore, I believe it is my duty To my country to love it, To support its Constitution, To obey its laws, To respect its flag, And to defend it against all enemies. This poem by William Tyler Page was adopted by a Resolution of the … [Read More...] about Your Time Has Come
Most of us know of and many can even recite President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address delivered during the Civil War on November 19, 1863. And most of us know of and probably sometimes paraphrase his House Divided speech delivered when he was a candidate for United States Senator in Illinois (June 16, 1858). Lincoln lost to Stephan Douglas whom Lincoln later beat for the presidency in 1860. The topic might be a little heavy for a short weekly newspaper column but with our country’s birthday this week and the country in a perpetual state of mutual invective I humbly submit it is worth our attention. In an attempt to pare down the extremely complex and emotionally charged issues of … [Read More...] about A House Divided
I would like to return to those thrilling days of yesteryear, you know, when you could turn on the television and not hear overpaid jerks shouting at one another,“You are lying!” Unfortunately, unless I watch re-runs of “I Love Lucy”, invective is the only fare available. As Anne Murray sings, 🎵”We sure could use a little good news today”🎵. Well, here is some. My friends Glenn Curtis, Ray Kessler, Jerry King and Harold Morgan, Gentle Reader you might note a particular demographic here, all write a lot of good news. Glenn, Posey County’s Historian Emeritus, even drafts entertaining cartoons about current events and historical ones. Harold Morgan has written several books on … [Read More...] about History Reported – Not Repeated
The National Judicial College has asked me to submit an article on Implicit Judicial Bias for inclusion in its magazine, Judicial Edge, because unfortunately, as proven by the #MeTooMovement, Ferguson Missouri, and our current political climate, implicit bias is all too explicit in the good ‘ole U.S. of A even in our courts. Therefore, I have submitted the following article to NJC and since judges throughout America may be wasting their time reading it, why, Gentle Reader, shouldn’t you? Here it is. A syllogism: All sentient humans have learned implicit biases, all judges are sentient human beings, ergo, all judges have implicit biases. The issue is not are judges biased. The issue is how … [Read More...] about Judicial Bias
As this is a family newspaper I cannot recite the W.C. Fields (1880 – 1946) actual quotation about why he did not drink water. However, after spending two full days removing a winter’s worth of sludge from Peg’s above ground pool I side with W.C. My first clue as to the toxicity of the greenish, quivering mass clinging to the Walmart plastic liner was when my friend Paul Axton, who is a Department of Natural Resources officer, stopped by to retrieve the racoon trap he had loaned me. Paul smelled the acrid fumes rising from the pool and walked over to investigate. “Jim have you notified the E.P.A. about this concoction? It may require Congressional oversight to remove this junk. If this gets … [Read More...] about Putrid Porridge
As President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his lead negotiator Kim Yong Chol over a possible summit, the 5.7 million Americans who served during the Korean War (1950-1953) continue to pass away. We have already lost about two thirds of them and on May 23, 2018 we lost another, Harold Lee Cox. Harold and his brother-in-law Gene McCoy served in Korea at the same time. In September 2005 I wrote the following Gavel Gamut column about their service: AN UNKNOWN VICTORY You name the WAR: Two countries are created from one by the greatest military power in the world and are monitored by the United Nations; One country led by a ruthless … [Read More...] about Another Empty Chair
December 1 @ 9:00 am - December 2 @ 4:00 pm
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.