I just discovered this series and I believe I'll chase down the rest--but only after the earworm goes away from this one. The Everlys make a pleasant one, as earworms go. Carole King is one helluva songwriter and they did this one up right.

I feel the same way about music. I don't know if you've read my memoir, Lighting the Fire, but whether or not you have, I want to list off the tunes that I put in the credits. Paying back the musicians a tiny bit.

"Never Been to Spain" Hoyt Axton

"Little Egypt" Leiber and Stoller wrote…


LBJ Signs Voting Rights Act of 1965 (RIP) Photo by Robert Knudsen Courtesy LBJ Presidential Library

Intellectuals — sometimes I think most of them — go through thinking they don’t fit in. It takes a while to get that straight.

Law school, I used to tell my pre-law students, was like an intellectual boot camp. What basic military training did for your body, the first year law courses are supposed to do for your mind.

I gave some thought to whether I was creating a danger of putting them off by using the term, “intellectual.” While the danger was real, I decided, there is in fact a class of people for whom the world of ideas…


This article is inspired by the one Sal published in Medium on April 29, What if Hitler Had Won the War?

Image by Gerd Altmann in Public Domain by Creative Commons

Sal’s title attracts readers because it’s both scary and possible. It could even be argued that WWII was Hitler’s to lose, and he lost it.

Given the subtext of racism in any literary depiction of Hitler, it’s a good idea to confess any possible bias. I will cheerfully admit that I disagree with every position I know for certain Hitler took in his lifetime, with the exception of the unfairness and overreaching in the treaty that ended WWI.

“Treaty of Versailles” has come to stand for some 16 treaties among various belligerent parties that were supposed to redraw the world…


Public Domain Photo by White House Photographer Andrew Cutraro

I listened to the talking heads on the tube comparing Biden’s vision to FDR or LBJ, and I agree.

His various plans, taken together, would be transformative. America as an idea is something Biden understands. He probably grew up, as I did, thinking of this country as “leader of the Free World.”

When people of various nations organized to take back their sovereignty at the end of the epoch of imperialism, the Second World — self-described Communists — would step out in front of the nationalist parade and pretend to have created it.

The First World would react by taking up with whichever scumbags would ID as “anti-Communist.” It was so ugly there were no visible good guys.

I…


Join my “race?” Color your choice. Photo by Janis Oppliger on Unsplash

Derek Chauvin’s conviction for a slow and public murder in broad daylight should have been no surprise, but it was.

The Attorney General of Minnesota, overseeing the government’s case, started out two strikes behind for segments of the public.

Keith Ellison (D-Minneapolis) is black, and everyone knows whites can be fair to blacks but not the reverse; Ellison follows Islam, and everyone knows he must therefore intend physical harm to non-Muslims — -like his wife, who is not Muslim. Ellison told CBS:

“I was never convinced we were going to win this case until we heard the verdict of guilty.”

I am in no position to criticize Ellison because I share some of the same feelings that gave him pause…


Photo from Pixabay

Folklore and science seldom arrive at precisely the same spot at precisely the same time.

When they do, those looking for truth should pay close attention. The science in this case is political science — -with due respect to a not insignificant number of people who claim that politics and science are different domains with little to offer each other.

The time is January 6, 2021; the place is Washington, D.C.; the identity of the king is not yet decided. The aphorism being tested is:

If you strike at the king, you had better kill him.

The exact words contained a bit more starch, put there by the young nation’s transcendentalist poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson. While Emerson favored freedom and opposed slavery — for aren’t those…


I should confess a bias from most of my legal career happening in Austin. The practice of law takes place on another plane, something that came back to me every time I got assigned elsewhere. People come to Austin for the highest ranked law school in the state but then they don't want to leave....so they stay and bust the chops of anybody who does not read law until it gets in the books.


Photo from Pixabay

This morning brings another mass shooting, and all the politicians will be sending to the warehouses where they keep “thoughts” and “prayers” to lay in a fresh supply.

I predict that before the calendar rolls over to May, there will be another mass shooting, requiring a fresh application of thoughts and prayers to the wounds that have been open since at least 1966, when the University of Texas tower became a sniper perch.

Mass shootings have become as common nationally as tornados were regionally where I grew up. Whether mass shootings could be mitigated by law or were as random and dangerous as the tornados got no discussion that I recall. Semi-automatic rifles were as dangerous as chainsaws or nail guns and at least as common.

Pistols kill…


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 uses 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…


Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash

The first flurry of Joe Biden appointments to the federal courts has blown in, and those benches — largely reserved for white males in the 220 plus Trump appointments, are gaining a bit of color and more women. Some other federal judge stereotypes appear wobbly as well.

There is not only more chance for criminal law expertise, but for skills developed on both sides of the criminal docket. On the civil side, the baby judges will not come exclusively from what we call in the trade “rug lawyers” — poking fun at the deep pile carpet in their high rise tower offices. Some of us even expect to see appointees to the U.S. Courts of Appeals and later the SCOTUS who got their legal educations somewhere other than Harvard (21 alums and 17 grads in the history of the SCOTUS) or Yale (11 alums and 9 grads)…

Steve Russell

Enrolled Cherokee, 9th grade dropout, retired judge, associate professor emeritus, and (so far) cancer survivor. Memoir: Lighting the Fire (Miniver Press 2020)

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