OF FOUNDERS AND RUSSIANSGavel Gamut By Jim RedwineHarvard law professor Michael Klarman was the keynote speaker at the June 2019 Indiana Graduate Judges Conference. As an attendee, I received a signed copy of Klarman’s book, The Framers’Coup, The Making of the United States Constitution. Gentle Reader, to give you some perspective on the exhilarating experience of a law professor’s book, the tome’s Note and Index sections run from page 633 to 865. Of course, the substance of the book contains 632 pages of which several pages thank the law students who did the grunt work. Regardless, I do recommend the book to you as an interesting and often surprising exposition of how our Constitution survived the throes of birth. As Klarman says of our pantheon of founding heroes:“In the book, I try to tell the story of the Constitution’s origins in a way that demystifies it. The men who wrote the Constitution were extremely impressive, but they were not demigods; they had interests, prejudices, and moral blind spots. They could not foresee the future, and they made mistakes.”This is Klarman’s raison d’etre for writing the book. His admonition is that the men and they were all white, Anglo Saxon, Christian men, who struggled for six months in Philadelphia in 1789 to create the United States were just men, not gods. Some of them owned slaves, some did not. Some were from populous states, others were not. But they were all mere mortals with virtues and defects.The underlying message of the book is that if those men could find a way to overcome their political and philosophical divisions, we and future Americans should also be able to. For example, in our current culture wars where President Trump alleges Ukraine helped Secretary Clinton in the 2016 election and Clinton alleges Russia helped Trump and more recently both Trump and Clinton and many others are flinging arrows in all directions alleging our leaders are “foreign assets” we should just chill. If James Madison and the Federalists and Thomas Jefferson and the anti-Federalists could reach compromises, we should be able to also.The salient issues and the thorniest were how could our Founders apportion representation among populous and less populous states, how was slavery to be addressed (or not) and could common citizens be trusted to govern themselves.According to Klarman, as our Framers struggled to hold the Constitutional Convention together with the Federalists and the anti-Federalists, “Questioned their opponents’ motives and attacked their characters, appealed to the material interests of voters, employed dirty tricks and made backroom deals when necessary.” Sound familiar?Okay, you probably are choosing to go sort your socks rather than to hear any more from Professor Klarman or from me. But a word of caution, Gentle Reader, if I have had to experience the joys of all the almost 900 pages of Constitutional history, you may have the same opportunity in next week’s column. We might even delve into the vicissitudes of whether the United States Supreme Court is truly independent or are its decisions as politically based as those of the other two Branches?For more Gavel Gamut articles go to www.jamesmredwine.comOr “Like” us on Facebook at JPegRanchBooks&KnittingFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
Late summer into fall is looking like high season for new releases. Here are four upcoming albums we can’t wait to hear.Langhorne Slim & the Law The Spirit MovesRelease Date: August 7Since his last release, 2012’s The Way We Move, folk-rock showman Langhorne Slim (real name Sean Scolnick) has undergone some pretty major life transformations. He moved from the West Coast to East Nashville, became completely sober, and ended some rocky relationships. Call it plenty of fodder for an open-hearted tunesmith, as lead single, the mellow highway cruiser “Changes” leaves little mystery about Slim’s headspace as he sings: “Things could be stranger, but I don’t know how. I’m going through changes now.”Steep Canyon RangersRadioRelease Date: August 28The Steep Canyon Rangers continue to step outside the boundaries of the traditional bluegrass persona they created as one of North Carolina’s favorite bands over the past decade and a half. The new Radio, produced by dobro legend Jerry Douglas, finds the group further branching into different areas of roots music. Banjo player Graham Sharp told the Wall Street Journal: “Radio travels the dial from top to bottom. The album tunes into the rock channel for a little while, then the blues, then country, pop and, of course, bluegrass.”Phil CookSouthland MissionRelease Date: September 11Phil Cook is best known as a member of the inventive indie folk trio Megafaun, a lauded band from the North Carolina Triangle with an uncertain future. He’s recently been on tour with Hiss Golden Messenger and not long ago teamed with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon in the bluesy garage-rock side project The Shouting Matches. Now Cook is stepping out on his own with a new solo album, Southland Mission. Leading single “Great Tide” has a gospel-rock vibe with melodic slide guitar, a hopping Second Line beat, and the soothing harmonies that made Megafaun so enjoyable.Widespread Panic Street DogsRelease Date: September 25Earlier this year Panic hunkered down at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, N.C., to make its first studio album in five years. During the sessions the Southern jam stalwarts were without founding drummer Todd Nance, who’s been on hiatus since last fall due to undisclosed personal reasons. Filling in ever since has been Duane Trucks—nephew of the Allman Brothers’ Butch Trucks and brother of guitar ace Derek—who’s proven to be a nimble, energetic replacement in the live setting. This should translate on the new record, which includes some road-tested new tunes like “Street Dogs for Breakfast” and the New Orleans-inspired rocker “Cease Fire.” The album’s 12 tracks also feature some interesting covers—lending Panic’s patented Dixie groove bent to Alan Price’s “Sell Sell,” Murray McLauchlan’s “Honky Red,” and Willie Dixon’s “Taildragger.”
New York Liberty rookie Sabrina Ionescu found out WNBA opponents are unwilling to give her a honeymoon period in the league, instead swarming her with defensive attention from the get-go.Ionescu struggled to handle the Seattle Storm’s aggressive approach in an 87-71 debut loss, shooting 4-of-17 from the floor with four turnovers. She missed all eight of her 3-point attempts. Ionescu became a national star at Oregon who carried more hype than almost any other collegiate women’s basketball player before her. She became the first-ever NCAA player to record at least 2,000 points, 1,000 assists, and 1,000 rebounds in a career. Many expected her to cap her decorated career in Eugene with a national championship — an opportunity taken from her by the COVID-19 pandemic.The Liberty are optimistic Ionescu can accelerate their rebuild and vault them from bottom-dwelling Eastern Conference nobody to playoff contender. They went 10-24 last year and 7-27 in 2018. In Saturday’s loss, though, New York guard Kia Nurse went down with a sprained ankle. The severity of the injury is not yet known. Still, the No. 1 overall pick from Oregon stuffed the box score as she so often did in college and demonstrated her inclination to be her team’s top offensive option. She finished the contest with 12 points, six boards and four assists.Here’s Ionescu’s first bucket as a pro:First career @WNBA bucket for @sabrina_i20 in the books! pic.twitter.com/P4y5myc1ku— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) July 25, 2020MORE: Ionescu formed tight bond with Kobe Bryant
MASON CITY — A plea change hearing has been scheduled for a Mason City woman charged with insurance fraud and theft.34-year-old Amber Griffin was charged with four counts of insurance fraud by presenting false information and one count of second-degree theft after an investigation by the Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau.The bureau says the charges stem from an investigation that started back in February of last year as Griffin allegedly submitted multiple fraudulent insurance claims to her insurance company seeking reimbursement through her insurance policy.Griffin’s trial was scheduled to start next week, but online court records show that Judge Karen Salic on Tuesday approved the scheduling of a plea change hearing on March 20th.