By Sherman Frederick/Battle Born Media

I’m a fan of Ken Burns’ work. His PBS series on baseball and national parks were a joy to watch. So, my ears perked up when he recently compared current times with the American Civil War.

Burns said things are “really serious,” adding that there have been “three great crises before this: the Civil War, the Depression, and World War II. This is equal to it.”

I see angst and division. A lot of stupid partisan politics, too. But do we really live in times equal to the turmoil of the Civil War?

I guess I’m not quite on board with that comparison. But Burns is a thoughtful historian, so I’m willing to give it more thought.

Burns cites Abraham Lincoln in this 1838 speech to highlight the danger in which he sees the nation:

“From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men, we will live forever or die by suicide.”

On the notion that we must mend, I think there is a point worth watching: The need to raise up better leaders than our last two presidents. Donald Trump was little more than a game show host and, if we’re honest, Joe Biden behaves like an old man wandering into the wrong movie theater.

So, the next election for president is only 36 months away. Is there an Abraham Lincoln out there?


I love getting notes from readers.

Ruth writes that “I really enjoy your writing … I always get a good laugh at some of your comments and your writing style.”

Thank you, Ruth.

And Ashley writes that she reads the newspaper because she thinks it is important to support the local newspaper. She is 100% right. So many communities have become news deserts after losing their local newspaper. Big city and regional newspapers are not built to cover local news. Your patronage keeps us here. Ashley also writes “I definitely got more than one good laugh while reading this morning. Kudos to all involved.”

Beautiful, Ashley. Thanks for reading.

Meanwhile, Vicki writes to say that my recent commentary of abject disappointment in Biden and Trump was “the most objective political commentary I’ve heard in years.” Awe shucks, ma’am. I was trying to irritate all readers.  Missed it by that much.


I’m in the middle of “Greenlights” book by Matthew McConaughey and, I must say, it’s quite good. I’m not much of a celebrity book reader, but this is quite different. Man, oh man, he’s got some stories to tell and he’s got ideas about what he learned from them.

McConaughey is an Academy Award winning actor. Google him. His first film, “Dazed and Confused” is a classic now. And, in the book he tells the story about how his famous line “alright, alright, alright” came to be.

Also, as a sidebar, “Greenlights” has been so well received that some are floating his name as a possible gubernatorial candidate in Texas. I can see him having some political party crossover appeal.


— I asked the librarian if they had any books about paranoia. She whispered: “They’re right behind you.”

— I can tell people in Reno are judgmental just by looking at them.

— Sleeping next to someone you love makes you fall asleep faster, reduces depression, and makes you live longer. Until they start snoring.

— The clerk at the grocery store fought off a robber with her labelling gun. Police are looking for a man with a price on his head.

— The patron saint of copying people on email is St. Francis of a CC.

— So to recap, just put the lid back.

Thanks for reading today. Until next week, be kind, laugh a little and always question authority.

Sherman Frederick is a longtime Nevada journalist and co-founder of Battle Born Media. You can reach him by email at