A Little Privacy

When I was selected for grand jury duty decades ago, I learned a great deal.  I would suggest that one and all, if you are given the chance, take it.  It is a very enlightening experience.

First, it will open your eyes to the sort of people that are in this world.  Believe me, they are not all good.  Second, it will help you to realize that what you read in the paper is not always as it appears.

Indeed, there are many things it will teach you.  However, the one thing I learned on the first day is something they should teach in school, but don’t.  To the best of my knowledge, no one ever taught me one thing about grand juries or their purpose in all my twelve years of going to school.

Fortunately, the district attorney told us about them.  They actually serve three purposes.  They can perform investigations.  Indeed the grand jury I was on did perform a small investigation.  Primarily, the district attorney presents evidence and on the basis of that evidence, they vote, true bill or no true bill.

The interesting part about this is that if a true bill is returned, no one knows but the district attorney (and his team) and those on the grand jury.  The one being charged does not get a chance to pack his bags and head for Mexico, which he could do if he was forewarned.

Also, if a no true bill is returned, nothing happens.  Not only does the suspect not find out about it, but none of his friends, neighbors or family find out about it either.  It is one of the great parts about our justice system.  If the DA can’t get a true bill, he can’t ruin your reputation.  This is especially good, because if the DA can’t get a true bill against you, your boss will never know you were under investigation.  Neither will your girlfriend or boyfriend.

Moreover, it has been commonly held that any investigating body should keep things private for that reason.  In general, police do not go around telling the world that they are investigating John Doe until they have sufficient evidence to charge him with something.  I think everyone can see that this is a good practice and should be carefully followed.

Knowing this, I was surprised that when the southern US district court judge gave out the name of person “number three” when the demand was made by the an attorney representing The New York Times and some news channel.  She should have refused.  The man was not being charged and wasn’t even being investigated.  He wasn’t even a suspect.  Apparently, what he was guilty of was holding a few conversations with a friend, an attorney who also represents President Trump.

So, the Judge ordered the name be made public and we all now know he is Sean Hannity.  In this case, it did no harm.  However, it could have.  As it was, Mr. Hannity had to defend himself before Fox News, though he did nothing wrong.  Had it been something that he wanted kept quiet, too late now.

One of the things our justice system is supposed to do is protect the innocent people from being railroaded by over zealous investigators.  The judge, at the least, should be censured.  Yet, we have not heard one peep from the Bar association.  We have not heard a complaint from any official.

This of course means, if you are conservative, the justice system will not protect you.  Indeed, you need to be careful who you talk to.  You will need to be wary of what you say.  You will need to take care at hiring a lawyer.  Else, if you don’t, your name might appear on the front page of one of the best known newspapers in the world.

On the other hand, if you are a liberal, don’t worry about it.  It will never happen to you, that is, unless all the newspapers and media suddenly become conservative.  Then where will you be?  No need to worry.  That will not happen in our lifetime.

An Excerpt From “Wolf”

The following is  a passage from “Wolf,” one of my favorite books.  It might be a little bit of a spoiler, but if you don’t plan on reading the book, it won’t hurt to read the passage.  On the other hand, you just might want to read the book after reading the passage.

Just to set the stage a little, Darrel is the villain and is trying to force Gail to marry him.   As the passage opens, they are both armed, but Gail does not have her gun out.  She is on a ridge overlooking a travel trailer.


I need to give it just a little longer.  Maybe they’ll give up and I can get the GPS.  Gail lowered herself to a prone position so that she could just see the rangers.  I’ll wait fifteen minutes, not a minute more.  Then I’ll go.  Then she thought about the wolves.  We’ll go.  If nothing else, we can make it to the road.

After ten minutes she heard a familiar voice behind her.  “I always did like your looks.  It is particularly nice from this point of view.”

Gail knew Darrel had been there at least five minutes.  It was the sort of thing he did.  It made her feel even worse than being found.  Darrel said, “Just so you’ll know, I have a big handgun pointed at you.  You try any tricks and I’ll use it.”

“You would shoot me?” she called back over her shoulder.

“At one time, I wouldn’t have, but you’ve picked up some bad habits.  Now stand slowly.”

Once she was standing, she got an idea, but before she could do anything, Darrel said, “You need to get rid of that mean little weapon you have.  My shoulder is still sore from the last time.”

“I would hope you’ll let me get my purse.  It’s just inside the trailer.”  If I can just press the button for the horn.

“Not that you need it, one of the rangers can get it for you.  I don’t think I want you inside that trailer for a second.”

So much for that idea, thought Gail.  Then she yelled as loud as she could, “Wolf!  Wolf!”

Darrel laughed hard.  “Do you really think I’m going to fall for that trick?  That one is older than my grandma.”

He paused.  “Just the same, I think you need to stay quiet.  If you….”

He never finished the threat.  He felt a tremendous shove on his back almost giving him whiplash as he fell forward.  Gail turned and saw Wolf on Darrel’s back.  She was snarling at him and bearing her teeth.

Gail cautiously pulled the gun out and she moved up next to Darrel.  Softly she spoke, “It’s alright now, Wolf.  I have him.”

Wolf continued to growl, and it was clear she meant it.  “Wolf!  It’s okay!  Get off of him.”

Though Wolf got off the man, she remained vigilant.  Gail said, “If I were you, I’d not make any fast moves.  You try something and I might not be able to control her next time.”  She paused slightly.  “By the way, her name is Wolf.  I wasn’t warning you.  I was calling her.”


By the way, if you liked the passage, you will definitely want to know what happens after.   If you should decide you want a copy of this book, or if you would just like to browse the other thirty-five titles, please visit my author’s page at:


Also, you can simply log onto Amazon.com and lookup my name, Ben Rhodes.  Most of the books you will see there are by me.  You will kindly disregard the others.  They don’t belong there anyway.  Besides, you wouldn’t like the others, even if they have nicer covers or catchy names.



It Would Appear the Democrats Are Stuck on Stupid

Even before President Trump became President Trump, the Dems have been working overtime trying to get him out of office.  They act as if, by destroying the man, they can reclaim the office of presidency.

News item… it doesn’t work that way.  First, I don’t think they will drive him from office.  Even if they impeach him, it takes 2/3 of the senate to convict him.  That is just not going to happen.  Moreover, if they took a few minutes to think about it, they would know it.  When a crook frames someone and gets caught at it, it’s the one doing the framing that suffers.

However, assuming they did drive President Trump from office, it would just make matters worse for them.  That would mean Vice President Pence would become President Pence and, from what I can tell, his ideas are far more conservative than President Trump’s.  Moreover, VP Pence has legislative experience.  He knows how the system works and likely will be able to make it work better.

I don’t know everything about such things, but if I were one of the Dems and I wanted to raise taxes and bring a bunch of illegals across the border to vote for me, I don’t think it would be such a good idea to let VP Pence ascend to the presidency.  Not only is he more conservative, but he has strong Christian values.  It would be much more difficult to find skeletons in his closet.

If he became president, all you would be able to do would be to wait and hope to beat him in the next election.  Given his record and the will and desires of the people of the flyover country, I don’t think that will happen.  Moreover, VP Pence is younger and would be able to spend ten years in The White House, not just eight.

It sounds like a pretty stupid plan to me, but if you Dems insist, go ahead.  You won’t be hurting the Republicans and you just might help us conservatives a little.

(By the way, he just might be able to find Clinton’s E-mails and send her and Obama to prison.  Not likely, but it is a thought.)


I seldom want to quote Bernie Sanders, but I just heard him say something undeniably true.  “What was once considered radical is now mainstream.”

Sounds like a good reason not to compromise to me.  If he has his way, we will compromise all the way to communism.  As he said, we are already over half way there.  On the other hand, liberals never want to compromise when it means moving toward being more conservative.

As Lady Margaret Thatcher once said, (No matter how slow it is going, why get on the train if it’s going the wrong way?)  Notice I used parenthesis instead of quotes because it is a paraphrase.  I heard her on TV one day and I am not sure of the precise words.

I agree with what she said, but I think I would have said that doing such a thing is, “Crazy Nuts,” if I may quote the title of one of my own books.

Should you like to see any of my other titles, you might check my authors page at


Or you can simply log onto Amazon.com and enter my name in the search box.  Please do not confuse me with that other Ben Rhodes, the one that worked for Obama.

Casualties of War

Every war has casualties.  It is certainly one reason we should avoid them.  People are wounded maimed and killed.  Beyond that, there is usually a great deal of damage.  After WWII, there was a lot of rebuilding that had to be done, on both sides.  London certainly had its share of damage.  Two or three cities in Germany were leveled by bombing.  Then, of course there was Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The two cities were virtually rubble after the atomic bombs were dropped on them.

I am not writing to say anything pro or con on using the bomb, though I do believe it the proper decision.  There was a decision by the Japanese Emperor to gain control over the Pacific and it was decided by Hitler to gain control over Europe.  It is how the war started.  It is indisputable.  Had we not defended ourselves, we in this country would be speaking either Japanese or German, possibly both.  Our country might have been split down the middle.

Almost immediately after WWII came to an end, another war started, the so-called Cold War.  It was called The Cold War because the enemies did not attack each other.  Instead, we just threatened each other.  To be sure, there were some hot spots in The Cold War.  People died in Korea.  Who truly knows how many died in Vietnam and the surrounding countries?  Lives were lost in Poland and Hungary.  Others were imprisoned.  Though the Soviets did their fighting from behind surrogates, the motives were the same as the leaders of Japan and Germany, world dominance.

The Soviets went after Europe and China went after the Pacific.  They each had a doctrine in hand promising world peace, of course, under their control.  They promised a world where there would be no rich and no poor.  The phrase they liked to use was “From each according to his ability to each according to his need.”  Oddly, there have been a number of people who attributed the saying to the Bible.  It’s not there.  I know.  I have read the Bible cover to cover many times.

I guess I am getting off subject a little.  After all, my subject is supposed to be the casualties of war.  …and for a cold war, there were many casualties.  Perhaps the biggest casualty is FREEDOM.  The commies took over China, for the good of the people.  I don’t see much freedom in China, though the commies have had control in China almost since WWII.  As for equality, there isn’t much of that.  Well, let’s put it this way.  The leaders have more equality than everyone else.  The same might be said about the Soviets.  While the USSR might have fallen, it’s still the same leadership and their goals are the same.  Not much freedom in Russia either, no matter what the country is called.

As for the commies, they are still very active.  To be sure, the US suffered many casualties, that is, besides those that fell on the battlefield.  The fact is that the communists have taken over our colleges, our news media (almost completely), Hollywood (entertainment), as well as several other institutions.  They have infiltrated our government and our legal system.  If we don’t have 4 judges on The Supreme Court that aren’t communists, they are close to it.  They certainly enforce communist ideas, including atheism.  The lower courts are full of such judges too.  More important, had President Trump not won the last election, it would be five commies instead of four.  …and, by the way, they have even infiltrated the churches.  Those churches that refuse to accept communist ideas are pressed to make inappropriate changes to their Christian doctrines, regardless of what is taught in the Bible.

It is all being sold under the guise of being politically correct, same as communist.  If you truly know the communist doctrines and you compare the two, you will have to agree with me.  Moreover, it is the purpose of the communist to divide in order to takeover.  If you think it over, you will realize it is also the purpose of the democrats.

As I look over the country as it is today, I wonder if it is too late to stop the communists.  Each day I see control of another small aspect of our country taken from us.  For a while, I thought maybe President Trump will be able to pull us out, but now I don’t know.  He is being assaulted from every direction.  I don’t know how much longer he will be able to stand up to them, when even the RINOs refuse to support him.

The fact is that if we don’t stop the communists, the country will degrade to examples of Mexico or Russia… or China.  Is that really what we want?  Do we really want a nation that pollutes the air like China?  Do we want a nation with the freedoms of Russia?  Is it really such a good idea to starve as those who live in communist countries?

The Democrats like to use a term, compromise.  I have a different name for it, giving up land.  Each time there is a compromise, we give up a little land.  After a while, we don’t have any land left.  …or anything else for that matter.

I’m 70.  I won’t live here much longer.  It won’t be my problem.  If you ignore the commies, it will be yours.

About Electric Cars

I published a post on electric cars a few years ago.  Since then, they have made a few improvements.  I saw on TV where a man was going to make a car where the batteries could be recharged in five minutes.  I would be satisfied with thirty minutes.  On long distance trips, it would allow me to eat while my car was being charged.

I really do like the concept of electric cars.  I saw a Tesla the other day.  It was very impressive.  It never made a noise and it had an impressive appearance.  Still, I wonder how the driver stayed warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  Here in the Memphis it does get above the century mark in the summer and well below freezing in the winter.  The thing is, gasoline motors generate heat.  In the winter, we take advantage of that.  For cooling, the A/C compressor is driven by the engine.  Would someone like to tell me how the Tesla does it.  I can’t imagine such an expensive car existing without heat and air.

Regardless, there are still some problems, ignoring the creature features.  If, suddenly, everyone was to go out and get an electric car, our electric grid would likely be taxed beyond its limits.

Speaking of tax, we who drive gas cars pay a road tax.  It varies from state to state, but it helps to pay for our roads.  Those that drive Tesla autos get to use the highways for free.  I don’t know.  It might also apply to the battery powered trucks.  Eventually, the governments at all levels aren’t going to like that.  When and if electric vehicles become numerous enough, they will figure out a way to collect taxes on the vehicles.  There are a number of ways to do it and I would suspect there are a few that are already considering it.

So.  Whatever you are paying to run your car now, you might want to figure that you will likely pay a little bit more.  Let’s figure out what a fair amount would be.  Nowadays, I use about one gallon of gas for every 28 miles, more-or-less.  I guess, for that gallon, I pay about 25 cents.  (I remember paying 25 cents a gallon, gas and taxes.  Things sure have improved.)

At any rate, that means that those driving a Tesla should pay a little less than a penny a mile.  Maybe that would mean a meter placed in each car by law.  Maybe the driver would pay in advance as the rest of us do.  On the other hand, he might pay as with any other utility.  Once a month, the odometer is read and the driver pays based on his mileage.

It could also be done electrically over the internet.  The car would send a signal to the billing authority and a credit card would be billed.  I’m sure people smarter than I am have considered it.

I have no idea how it will be done, but those of you driving electric cars might as well get used to it.  You will start paying road taxes too.

Then, there’s those pesky batteries.  They just don’t last forever.  Occasionally, they will have to be replaced.  I have no earthly idea how much that will cost, but when I look at the cost of replacing my laptop battery, I get the feeling that they don’t just give the things away.

Maybe, sometime in the next few decades, we will all drive electric cars.  I hope so.  As I said, I do like electric cars.  I just don’t know if I would like paying for them.  Besides, I really like my A/C and heater.

A Few Words About Self-Driving Cars

I am sure there is much to be said about this subject, but let me start with the obvious.  I would suspect there are hundreds, maybe thousands of lawyers that are salivating at the prospect of taking some big company to court over an accident piloted by a computer.

First, there is the possibility of suing the car manufacturer.  Then they might sue the company that built the computer, or one of the sensors.  Then there is the software company or person who wrote the programming of the computer.  Then again, why discriminate.  They can sue all of them and let the jurors sort it out.

Each time they level a lawsuit, it means 40% of something they would be able to put in their pocket.  My guess is, few if any of the suits would go to court.  The defendants would not want to set any kind of precedent, so they would likely settle out of court.  They would admit no guilt and the plaintiffs would agree to drop the suit.

It would mean, after an accident, the lawyer would raise his hand and say “Suit,” and the defendants would ask how much.  Then, the nation would have two more instant millionaires,  The lawyer and his client.

Then again, I’m not sure.  It might be four more millionaires.  It is entirely plausible that the parties from both cars might sue to to get a piece of the pie.  On the other hand, what if there are more than two cars involved.  The little glitch in the software just might cause a ten car pileup.  I don’t want to even think about that.

The point is, the lawsuits are no longer limited to the tens of thousands of dollars that an individual driver can cough up.  We are talking megabucks now, millions of dollars over what we now call a fender-bender.  Every dent is a possible lawsuit.

It is all ironic.  Eventually, the driver-less cars will be safer than those driven by humans.  It is quite possible that the computer just might reduce crashes and deaths on the highway.  The computers, after all, have three advantages over humans.

Computers are not distracted.  That little instant that a man takes his eyes off the road to look at that barely dressed woman will no longer be a problem.  That misbehaving child in the back seat will not keep you from seeing that car pull out in front of you.  Moreover, should you nod off from staring at that endless ribbon of highway, it’s no problem.  The robot has it all in control.

It takes us humans about 1/4 of a second to react to an emergency.  From the time we see some child dart out in front of us to the time we put our foot on the brake, it takes at least two tenths of a second.  On the other hand, the computer would apply the brake in millionths of a second.  Even at thirty miles an hour, a car can travel quite a distance in a quarter of a second.

It has often been asked, what if the computer fails.  What if a component goes bad.  Today’s computers are incredibly reliable and will likely become far more reliable in the future.  On the other hand, we humans can and do fail from time to time.  I have known of many accidents that were the result of someone pressing on the throttle instead of the brake.  Then too, there are a few of us that are old.  If a heart goes out while we are driving, it can cause people to die… besides the heart attack victim.  Besides, even young people can have heart attacks, or black out from other ailments.

In the long run, computers will be far more reliable, though I would still be hesitant to put my life in the hands of one.

However, until something is done with the legal aspects, autonomous cars will continue to be the exception rather than the rule.  It means that women will not be able to put their makeup on at seventy mph and men will have to ignore that good-looking woman walking by.  As usual, it will be the lawyers that will impede the progress.  Even when it makes the roads safer, the driver-less cars are going to have to wait.  There is no way that our legal system will be able to handle it.  Our courts will be so backed up that they won’t be able to deal with the less important things… such as rape, robbery and murder.

Besides the legal problems, there are the recalls.  One accident, and it would likely result in the recall of millions of autos.  Talk about a nightmare.

Then again, there is one thing that I am really looking forward to… keeping all those alcoholics from driving.  That in itself would save uncountable lives, pain and suffering.  The problem is, as long as lawyers make the laws, driver-less autos will remain quite rare.