American soldiers stationed in Germany picked up the German saying “Macht nichts” and anglicized it to Mox Nix. Either way it means, it doesn’t matter, kind of short hand for don’t sweat the small stuff. If you read the Gavel Gamut entitled “Wheat from the Chaff” you might recall the general topic involved the American legal system’s treatment of high-profile cases such as the George Floyd/Derek Chauvin matter. Judge Cahill in that Minnesota jury trial was faced with several issues related to publicity about the case. The judge was asked to change the venue of the jury trial out of Hennepin County, MN; he refused. The judge was asked to sequester the jury; he refused. And he was asked to … [Read More...] about Mox Nix
“If a woman’s just a woman but a good cigar’s a smoke” (Rudyard Kipling), football’s just a game but baseball’s who we are. Or, as my friend and favorite song writer, Randy Pease, sang about baseball (and life), “Maybe I should quit but that’s a hard thing to admit, God, I love this game.” Randy honed his musical skills when he took a break from his studies at Oklahoma State University where I also found pursuits other than the prescribed curricula. Another Cowboy that Randy occasionally played guitars and sang with in Stillwater, Oklahoma was a songwriter named Garth Brooks who also loved baseball. I wonder if he ever made the big leagues? For as Garth, Randy and the rest of us frustrated … [Read More...] about Baseball vs. Football
The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been Committed ….” Our Declaration of Independence raised these issues and complained of King George III: “For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by Jury; (and) For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offenses.” The Book of Matthew uses the example of separating edible wheat from its husks as an analogy about dividing the good from the bad. In our legal system we almost always assign this task to judges with probably less … [Read More...] about The Wheat From The Chaff
Gentle Reader, should you have read last week’s Gavel Gamut you may recall that another reader, Dr. Michael Jordan of Osage County, Oklahoma, sent a letter to the editor asking that I address the topic of immigration. No, I do not know why, but after a couple of minutes of reflection I thought, “Why not?” So here goes. Our current immigration mess should not be any more challenging than Winston Churchill’s view of the old Soviet Union that he called, “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. A few quick paragraphs ought to suffice. Let’s start back in the 1960’s when our national immigration policy began to gradually change from one based on admitting immigrants based on … [Read More...] about One Game At A Time
The great Greek philosopher Hippocrates (460-370 BC), balanced the art of healing with scientific observation. His most famous admonition was to, “first do no harm”. Plato (429?-347 BC) was a contemporary of Hippocrates in that blazing caldron of brilliance of ancient Greece. Plato balanced the art of legal philosophy with observations on the law such as what Socrates (470-399 BC) told his jury, “The jury (or a judge) does not sit to dispense justice as a favor, but to decide where justice lies”. Dr. Michael Jordan is a disciple of Hippocrates who lives near JPeg Osage Ranch on a similarly sandstone-studded tor and occasionally shares his prescient observations on life via letters to the … [Read More...] about The Arts of Medicine and Law
President Joe Biden held his first news conference in the White House East Room on 25 March 2021. Twenty-five reporters were allowed to attend; the President took questions from eleven of them. The news conference lasted one hour. Each reporter began their questions as follows: “Mr. President”. Is not the Presidency of the United States prestigious enough? How about “President”? We do not say Mr. Judge, Ms. Senator or Mr. Congressman. Mr. President sounds like a relic from the days our mothers would begin their scoldings of their young children with, “Now listen here, Little Man” or “Little Lady”. One knew to expect bad news when our mom started a one-way conversation with such an address. … [Read More...] about Messages From Space
As Martin Scorsese ramps up production for his movie of David Grann’s book, Killers of the Flower Moon, concerning the tragic murders of members of the Osage tribe in and around my home town of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, I thought Mr. Scorsese might appreciate a little movie making advice. Here is some information he may find helpful. Ten years before Pawhuska’s favorite son, Ben (Son) Johnson, Jr., won an Academy Award for his role as pool hall/movie theatre owner Sam the Lion in The Last Picture Show I sold him a Stetson hat. Son, I called him Mr. Johnson, was home for a visit in Pawhuska, Oklahoma in 1960 and I was working Saturdays at Hub Clothiers Men’s Store on Kihekah Avenue. Son had just … [Read More...] about Dear Mr. Scorsese
Just when it looked like it might be safe to leave the beach and go back in the water the beach is disappearing. After more than a year of masks and isolation Peg and I finally got our second Pfizer shots last Friday. We just need to avoid all human contact for one more week. We were anticipating a return to a normal life. Then I read of an alarming new and totally unexpected world crisis, a sand shortage? Yep, that was the cautionary tale screaming from the Internet. I know I should not use my iPhone for anything but ordering from Amazon, but I find it impossible to ignore the AOL pop-ups in my email. I know better but still click on the cleverly worded come-ons beseeching me to read about … [Read More...] about Sans Sand
Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) was a professor of literature at Sarah Lawrence College for over thirty years. Campbell is probably best known as George Lucas’ source for the mythology permeating the Star Wars anthology. Good versus evil, light versus darkness, hope versus despair and, throughout human existence, alertness to being alive versus remaining unaware of our experiences. To Campbell, the unpardonable sin is to be unaware, that is, to not be truly alive as we meander through our lives unaffected by what is happening around us. For me, Black History Month evokes an introspection of my callow youth and its blissful ignorance of the difference between my white world and that of my, as we … [Read More...] about The Unpardonable Sin
Joe McCarthy (1908-1957) was a U.S. senator from Wisconsin. He was also a Wisconsin circuit court judge just before being elected to Congress. He brought no honor to either branch of government. McCarthy’s favorite tactic of smearing people was to accuse them of being Communist sympathizers by naming the victims, say a political opponent or a college professor or movie actor, then while holding up a piece of paper say, “I have here in my hand proof of treasonous activity”. McCarthy’s “exposés” were often later exposed to have been unfounded allegations. McCarthy was not but could have been the role model for “Big Brother” of George Orwell’s English novel Nineteen Eighty-Four in which the … [Read More...] about I Have In My Hand
Last Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. Peg and I joined supplicants from numerous Oklahoma communities at the Grant County Health Department in Medford, Oklahoma, population one thousand. Medford is 105 miles from our home in Barnsdall, Oklahoma but there were pilgrims there from even further away. The convocation had the feel of a Hadj with the tiny health department being the Ka’bah and Medford being Mecca. Instead of seeking a later reward we were all beseeching the higher authority, our government, for salvation here and now from COVID-19. The congregation consisted of a continuous stream of persons all of whom had the same color hair, were of similar size and shape and shuffled along as if … [Read More...] about A Goat Roping
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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.