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Hawk on the Wing Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash

Joe Walker, by Martha Ture. (Lulu Press 2007); paperback; 370 pages; $23.95 on

Author’s Note: This note comes to you from the author of the review rather than the author of the book. It’s only fair to admit that I have run this suggestion by the author of the book, Martha Ture. She captured my love of a common sight here in the Texas Hill Country — a hawk riding the thermals, something that in our time can be presented from the hawk’s point of view — on the first pages.

The hawk “veered aslant the wind to scout a new position, her tail glowed orange in the sun.” …

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F/A 18 Hornet, Amy McGrath’s ride for 89 combat missions. Photo from Pixabay.

These thoughts collide at the intersection of veterans serving in Congress and women serving in the military.

I favor both. When I was a youngster, I did not give veterans in Congress much thought. For an Indian kid in Oklahoma, pulling a hitch was what you did if you were male. Failure to pull a hitch made you the object of pity among some folks, because it meant you could not pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test or you failed the physical examination.

There were not quite the percentage of veterans in Congress as there were among my peers, but you expected to see a military record in a candidate bio. By the time I signed up, the custom had spread to women or, I should say, girls. …

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Citizen Napoleon Becomes Emperor Napoleon by His Own Hand from Pixabay

Has it come to this, with the role of the Sturmabteilung played by the Proud Boys?

Are we watching the implosion of the last great post-Westphalian revolution? Mr. Madison’s attempt to guarantee democracy was brilliant. From the get-go, there was debate whether the bargain with the Devil called chattel slavery was worth the prize. The bargain may have been morally corrupt, but it did put off the Civil War.

Was democracy protected by a bulwark of ideas or merely by the Atlantic Ocean? I counted myself among those who thought our Constitution was proof against the errors that had undone all the other populist uprisings.

When the Peace of Westphalia redrew the maps, it also, viewed in the great sweep of history, ended the Divine Right of Kings. Ideas of that size, of course, do not just lie down and die. Let it be — please let it be — the same with democracy. …

$750 Worth of Equality

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The Strongman from Pixabay

In France and in the European colonies of North America, two revolutions were fought over the same French ideas and key battles were turned by French naval cannon.

The principal idea on the rise was equality, which turned out to offer catchy slogans but few methods for governance. The ensuing chaos led to the rise of Napoleon in France; in post-revolution America, the same chaos produced only one strongman capable of pulling together all the important interests, the man who might have defeated George III to become George I if he cared to grasp for the main chance.

France’s return to autocracy as the newly minted United States continued to struggle with creating new democratic institutions could be explained by the “great man” theory or by economics or the peopling of the “new” continent might have created a politics sui generis. …

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Graphic from Pixabay

This election stands at a crossroads that is both cultural and political.

Teenage rebellion is what it is and probably always has been. I may be ancient now, but my coming of age involved sideburns, leather jackets, and switchblade knives in the world of fashion and endless conflicts with our elders in the world of art.

I found it hilarious that my elders thought “rock ‘n roll” was a “Negro” slang description for the sex act, an act the music would cause, albeit with the lights out and in the missionary position. “Race music” invaded from Mexico, pushed by monster AM transmitters far outside broadcasting regulations in the U.S. …

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Only He Can Fix It. Graphic from Pixabay.

This retired judge just got out of the hospital and is in no condition to do a lick of research and therefore should not be practicing punditry.

I have in past writings made my admiration for Ruth Bader Ginsburg abundantly clear and the same could be said about my contempt for Moscow Mitch McConnell. Every excuse to keep my mouth shut beckons me to preserve what reputation I have in case I do not recover.

Instead, I shall eliminate one possible epitaph: “Here lies retired Judge Steve Russell, perished from an overdose of common sense.”

I am of the generation that added to the English language the verb, “to Bork.” It’s a measure of how quickly we move along in the world and how we describe it that I consider it necessary to briefly explain how an obscure legal scholar named Robert Bork got to be a cause when President Ronald Reagan nominated him in 1987 to vacant seat on the U.S. …

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Graphic from Pixabay.

Labor Day is here, and with it the traditional starting bell of Silly Season.

In this cycle, though, Donald John Trump has been running for reelection since the day of his inaugural. Whether this is because he lost the popular vote or just because he’s a guy with small hands, I am not informed.

The latter reason would be aggravated by comparison to Barack Obama’s first inaugural in 2009. Most differences, it seems to me, can easily be attributed to Obama being the first black president of this young nation. His inaugural, therefore, carries more historical significance than the typical swearing in.

Obama did Trump’s ego no good when he went out and raised the record sum of $53 million to pay for the parts of the festivities not picked up by other contributors or the taxpayers. The biggest bill the taxpayers normally have to eat is for security, always a concern in this time when one path to fame is thought to be killing a famous person…but by the time of the inaugural, the Secret Service had already seen Obama collecting record numbers of death threats. …

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Leroy? Graphic From Pixabay

I don’t know much about dying, because I’m a bit inexperienced. So far, I’m unable to recommend the experience.

For all of my life, metaphor has been my sword, my shield, my refuge. Two metaphors about death have served me well so far and I am just an humble writer who has little to offer but the tools at hand.

Until I grew up and became a person wearing loan applications on my outer clothing, I would be concerned with two numbers from the used cars on offer: frequency of repair and cost of repair. If the seller asked my plans for the vehicle, I expressed my intent to “drive it until the wheels fall off.”

That expression sounded to my rural Oklahoma ears much more spiffy than most of the cars on offer to my income level appeared, but I learned later it was as common as horny toads in West Texas, particularly around college campuses and the main gates of military installations. …

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Tactic by Fr. James Groppi in Milwaukee, WI. Graphic by Pixabay.

Not All Traditions are Worth Keeping

Failure to cease perambulation upon the order of a white man has been a capital offense in some part of North America for over 300 years. In the unlikely event Jacob Blake did not know that rule, he will be ready to state his objections to it by the time he gets out of the hospital — assuming his mind and body are still properly connected after the pistol shots that tore into his back.

The Black Lives Matter movement represents the third major attempt since the Civil War to clean up the legal mess still getting all over the boots of any picker who steps out into the field when for so long the relationship between black people and white was between the formerly owned and the former owners. …

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Executive Time without TV; Stock Market Chart Behind. Photo from Pixels

Donald John Trump, self-identified as “The Donald” when he can get away with it, did something highly unusual a couple of weeks ago. He gave a real interview. On television.

Naturally, the lucky recipient of The Donald’s time was what we on the left have jokingly called Trump TV.


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Fox on the Road to Washington Photo from Pixels.

There The Donald’s good luck ended because he drew Chris Wallace, the éminence grise of the hardy band of real reporters at Fox. This is a band so small that it was diminished in double digits when Shepard Smith left.

As an illustration of how a real reporter prepares, when the POTUS swung into the brag he had been floating on for some time that he was given a test of his mental faculties and “aced it,” and this was offered as more proof that Mr. Trump is “a very stable genius,” Mr. …


Steve Russell

Steve Russell is enrolled Cherokee, a 9th grade dropout, retired judge, associate professor emeritus of criminal justice, and (so far) a cancer survivor.

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