Scarlet Snake Lake

via Daily Prompt: Conjure

Word count = 1,037 / Reading time = 5 minutes or less

I’ve been meaning for months now to write a new story in my Copperhead County series of short stories but have been lacking inspiration.  As I scrolled through my feed today, I was instantly inspired by a post from a Blogger I’ve only been following a short while, Telling Stories Together.  TST runs a unique and very interesting blog, and you’ll be doing yourself a favor to check it out.

TST’s post, titled “Conjure the Nouns”, is a brief exploration of Ray Bradbury’s “method of list-making as a means of creative thinking” and goes on to encourage writers to conjure a list of nouns in preparation to write.  I did, and the following story is the result.  If you like “Scarlet Snake Lake” and are interested in reading my previous Copperhead County stories, you can access them via my “Categories” dropdown menu in the sidebar.

By the way, this is a first draft so is in need of comments & constructive criticism.  Please feel free to help me think about making it better by offering your comments, good, bad, and indifferent, below.

Scarlet Snake Lake

Sunny raced to the rear of her stall, keys jingling in her shaking hand.  “Othankgod, othankgod” she murmured as she reached to unlock her cupboard full of backup jam.

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Following a week of calamitous meteorological volatility, the Lakeshore Open-Air Marketplace was in chaos.  The summer had begun perfectly; sunny, warm, and balmy, with just the right amount of rain to keep the weather from becoming too hot.  The Scarlet Snake Lake vacation crowd was over capacity.  All cabins were occupied, and every camping slip had a tent, trailer, or van in it.  Several dozen intrepid campers had erected their tents far back in the woods up on Pygmy Knob, where the shallow poplar, sycamore, and elm roots made for uncomfortable bedding.  The vendors had, for the most part, anticipated the additional volume and had stocked their wares accordingly.  But with everyone trapped there going into a second week, supplies were running low, and tempers were flaring.  Desperation sprouted like mushrooms after a cloudburst.

Sunny blamed it all on Ned Shelhauser, owner-operator of The Knick Knacks, next door to her own little stall, Sunny’s Sundries.  As if by speaking he had conjured up all that came after.  As was his habit before opening shop on Monday morning, Ned had slouched over Sunny’s register smoking a foul-smelling cheroot, sipping his coffee, and spouting his crack-brained conspiracy theories.  Last week, before the plague of disastrous weather, he’d ranted about the “Damned myth of global warming foisted upon us by damned bluebelly liberal mo-rons.”  Sunny had frowned and kept her mouth shut, not wanting to encourage him, but he persisted.  “You seen how perfect this summer’s been, there ain’t been a problem to speak of.  Hell, if anything, it’s been nice an’ cool.  He straightened up and punctuated his parting shot with a plume of noxious smoke.  “Global warming my shiny white heiny!”

Within a few hours of Ned’s rant, every cloud had vacated the sky, and the blue drained right out of it, leaving a dull, gray flatness that looked suspiciously like the lid of a Dutch oven.  The temperature rocketed to 105 degrees and only became hotter as the week progressed.  By Friday, still under the same sky, panic had not yet set in as the shopkeepers began to shut down their stalls and prepare to go home to resupply and get a little rest.  Then, as the sun was setting, the squall hit.  The pressure plummeted, the wind began to swirl, and just as the angry disk of the sun’s reflection hit the middle of the lake, an enormous waterspout arose, glowing as fiery red as the lake’s namesake.  Within minutes, the entire population of the camp congregated on the shore, mesmerized by the astounding spectacle.  Most were dumbfounded by the horrible beauty of it.

The flaming funnel threw off withering heat, and the lake began to boil.  Onlookers backed away singly and in groups, some hugging each other, some weeping, some running to start packing to go home.  Ned Shelhauser cackled, raised both fists to the sky, and screamed, “Lordy, it’s the end times a-comin’!”  Preceded by a stentorian thundercrack, a thick, three-pronged fork of lightning felled a stand of trees with a blinding flash, thoroughly blocking the only road into and out of the camp.

By the second Monday evening, almost all of the food in the camp was gone, and people were beginning to panic.  All day Tuesday, fights had erupted out as scared and hungry campers broke into the stalls in search of food while stall owners tried to fend them off.  Sunny’s Sundries, which stocked mainly packaged snacks like crackers, chips, and granola, also featured a large supply of Sunny’s handmade jams, jellies, and preserves.  She had so far avoided confrontation by offering her goods at reduced prices and allowing folks who were out of money to establish credit after providing their addresses and phone numbers.  She became frightened when she finally ran out.

As Sunny watched a massively muscled and very hungry camper shove Ned aside and enter his stall, she remembered the store of blueberry jam she’d laid in to the cupboard at the back of her stall.  Her blueberry jam was a perennial favorite.  She grew the berries herself and spent half of August and most of September every year canning them.  After several summers in a row of the blueberry jam selling out early in the season, she had the cupboard installed before the start of camping season this year and filled it full.  She praised her foresight now that the camp had seemingly gone to hell.

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Sunny steadied her hand enough to fit the key into the lock and turn it.  She flung the cupboard’s hinged door upward with a few tears of relief tracing down her smile lines.  The nature and number of her tears changed drastically when she was knocked back by the scent of fermented fruit and the frightening sight of jars shattered by the uncharacteristic heat.

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Let it rip, y’all, let the comments begin!

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A simple, silly poem

via Daily Prompt: Simplify

Word count = 221 / Reading time = 55 seconds

I didn’t think I would have time to post today, but I’ve come to enjoy posting so much that I busted my butt to get my work finished.  Okay, almost finished.  After seeing today’s Daily Post word, I reckoned a bunch of Bloggers would be posting advice about how to simplify or exhortations on the importance of simplifying.  My life is far too complex even to consider doing so, but I remembered this old poem I wrote when I was younger and sillier.  It’s not an intellectually taxing piece of poetry.  In fact, it doesn’t get much simpler than this one.  I hope you enjoy and tell me what you think of it either way.

An Irrational Fear

If I shrank down to the size of a pea,

crippling fear would paralyze me.

I could be crushed by a landslide of dust

or sucked dry by a vengeful flea.

 

If I happened to suffer such a fate—

a brand new way to lose lots of weight,

but don’t go try it, this new kind of diet—

I’d try like heck not to end up on a plate.

 

If I could avoid these horrible scenes

only to find out it’s not a bad dream,

I’d sit down, cry, and pray to God “Why?”

And try to get used to just being wee.

 

My Leader’s Initials Are D.T.

via Daily Prompt: Tend

Word count = 836 / Reading time = 4 minutes, 10 seconds

What?  Why are y’all looking at me like that?  Oh, ha ha ha!  I get it!  You thought I was talking about Donald Trump!  Silly you, you ought to know me better than that by now!  Well, yes, you’re kind of right.  After all, yesterday I did say that today I was going to post my personal statement about Trump.  But don’t be misled by this post’s title.  Trump may be the current, duly elected (by our Electoral College, anyway, which I have no doubt is made up largely of over-40 white members. I didn’t take the time to do the research, so if any of you out there feel like doing so, please enlighten correct me) President of the United States so the titular leader of my country, but he is most assuredly NOT my leader.

Before I expound upon that claim, I need to say a little bit about patriotism.  One of the Bloggers I’ve been following for a while, a fellow Southerner and over-40 white male, who writes some pretty entertaining short stories from time to time and I’m sure is a lovely human being, posted an eloquent and heartfelt statement of his own beliefs about what it means to be a patriot the other day.  I intentionally did not ‘like’ his post because our beliefs about patriotism are antithetical.  I’m not going to call him out by name here or link to his post because:  1) He’s entitled to his opinion, and I don’t want to be offensive; and 2) I don’t want to advertise that particular point of view, which, to my great chagrin, seems to be wildly prevalent amongst my demographic.  I believe that a key component of patriotism, which if nothing else is love and support of country, is to be willing and unafraid to stand up and shout out complaints when our leaders are wrong or when we believe our country is moving in the wrong direction.  Sadly, many people here in America seem to believe that patriotism means to support our elected leaders without question, to follow them blindly no matter what.  But when we follow blindly, we too often find ourselves walking off the edge of a cliff.

Donald Trump is not my leader in any meaningful way.  I tend to disagree with him on almost every level: intellectually, emotionally, politically, spiritually, economically, and nationally.  That’s not to say that I won’t support him if and when he proposes policies I agree with.  For instance infrastructure:  I fully agree America’s infrastructure is crumbling and in dire need of repair and upgrade.  But how to fund repairs and upgrades when we recently passed the “biggest tax cut ever”?

I digress.  My original intent for this post was to present a side-by-side comparison of what I consider to be Trump’s most offensive statements along with quotes from the man who on many levels I consider to be my actual leader.  But as I researched “most offensive Donald Trump statements”, I had an epiphany.  Trump’s corrosive rhetoric is already out there for everyone to see and hear.  I don’t want to share his poison here on my blog.  Instead, I’m going to paste a big, beautiful picture of MY leader below followed by my favorite, his most inspirational but in no particular order, quotes.  I hope you enjoy and are inspired.

Archbishop-Tutu-medium
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“We are made for goodness. We are made for love. We are made for friendliness. We are made for togetherness. We are made for all of the beautiful things that you and I know. We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders. All are welcome: black, white, red, yellow, rich, poor, educated, not educated, male, female, gay, straight, all, all, all. We all belong to this family, this human family, God’s family.”

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

“To remain neutral in situations of injustice is to be complicit in that injustice.”

“Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another.”

“You are either on the side of the oppressed or on the side of the oppressor. You can’t be neutral.”

“My father always used to say, “Don’t raise your voice. Improve your argument.”

“True peace must be anchored in justice and an unwavering commitment to universal rights for all humans, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, national origin or any other identity attribute.”

“If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn’t worship that God.”

“A person is a person because he recognizes others as persons.”

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”

So there you go.  Oh, did I mention Desmond Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize?  Can any of you imagine Trump saying anything remotely as inspiring or loving as the 10 quotes above?  Or winning the Nobel Peace Prize?

Take care, be well, and only, always, Love.

Denny

Reblog: lovenlosses

via Daily Prompt: Bewildered

Word count = 210 / Reading time = 45 seconds but who knows how  much longer if you visit the recommended blog!

I spent most of my day in court so didn’t think I was going to have time to post today, but when I read my friend Patty Richardson’s poem in response to today’s Daily Post prompt, I knew I was going to have to reblog it.  When I read this poem, I laughed out loud then stood up and clapped.  In open court.  That earned me a quizzical look from my judge, who, thank goodness, is good-natured and has a terrific sense of humor.

I’ve been following Patty since about December 6, 2017.  She’s one of my favorite (and most prolific) Bloggers.  She writes witty, humorous, well-crafted poems.  Today’s poem “It’s All About Him“, shows that Patty is as bewildered by Trump as I am.  Please read it and take time to check out some of her other great stuff while you’re there.

Speaking of Trump, if anyone shows any interest via my comments section, I may post a personal statement about him tomorrow.  Ahh, who’m I kidding?  This blog is for me, not you.  I’m going to post whether y’all want me to or not!  I do hope you’ll drop by tomorrow, though, and let me know what you think.

Take care, be well, and happy Blogging!

Love,

Denny

2 Book Rants

via Daily Prompt: Enroll

Word count = 896 / Reading time = 3 minutes, 35 seconds

I’m not feeling very creative today, y’all.  Figuring out how to fit these two rants into a post in response to “enroll” is about the extent of my creative ability right now.  In fact, I’m feeling kind of existentially angsty, partially induced by having recently finished two simultaneous reads that left me feeling sad and disturbed about the current state of my society and culture.  Although I’m not fully enrolled in the “Post-A-Day” curriculum, I recognize the value of the Daily Post forum for meeting new & interesting Bloggers, seeing what others have to say, and spreading my own good, if sometimes depressing or distressing, words.  Forgive me if it seems like I’ve betrayed the spirit of the idea today.  Also forgive me for the length of this post; it’s considerably longer than what I usually post and certainly much longer the kinds of posts I prefer to read given my limited amount of free time.  My only excuse is that I need some uplift, encouragement, and good cheer today.  Listen to me, I sound like a snivelling, self-pitying fool.  This post isn’t worth your time.  I won’t be offended if you don’t read, like, or comment upon it.  Honest I won’t.

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Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine

by Joe Hagan, audiobook narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris.

I rated this 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads.  You can read the synopsis here.

Sticky Fingers probably deserves 4 stars for its technical aspects. It’s extremely well-researched, cogently presented, and appears to be both accurate and fair to Jann Wenner, a man who has lived a reckless and ridiculously self-centered life. Joe Hagan deserves kudos for this remarkable work of history and biography not just because it’s his first published book but because he writes so clearly and in great detail. Dennis Boutsikaris is a solid narrator and does a good job here. Sadly, the book ends up revealing an awful lot of what’s wrong with our culture today.

I rated the book 3 stars because by the time I was only a quarter of the way finished, I was tired of listening to the exploits of so many reckless, profligate, drug-soaked, indsicriminately-fucking, spoiled, entitled, selfish, self-centered, nauseatingly wealthy, petty, self-important pricks and assholes who make up nearly the entire cast of characters. And that behavior just goes on and on and on throughout the entire audiobook, approximately 20 hours of it. Given that the story is about the very people who comprise the whole of our celebrity-besotted, rock & roll, pop culture and entertainment industry, I shouldn’t have been surprised that there would be so very much sex, drugs, and reprehensible treatment of fellow human beings. I’m certainly no prude, but as I have aged, I’ve noticed that those kinds of stories just don’t entertain me anymore. The people in Sticky Fingers exercise no restraint in their lives at all, and they think nothing of doing great harm to other people and their reputations. It just makes me very sad.

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Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby

by Candid R. Moss and Joel S. Baden

I rated this 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads.  You can read the synopsis here.

As with Sticky Fingers, I rated Bible Nation one star less than it probably deserves not because of the quality of the book but because its content so disturbs me.

Scholars Candida Moss and Joel Baden deserve 4 stars for the depth and quality of their research and their even-handed treatment of the Green family, whom the authors appear to admire for their sincerely held religious beliefs and convictions while simultaneously being dismayed by their misguided attempts to influence public education at all levels as well as public opinion through their vehicles of traveling exhibits, the Museum of the Bible, and sponsored (and highly troubling) research initiatives in the academy.

I rated the book 3 stars instead of 4 because I am tired of and sickened by the willfully ignorant but increasingly widespread revisionist-history, ‘Biblical worldview’ narrative propounded by American evangelical conservative Protestants (and now, it seems, some Catholics as well). When I’m attending a church service where that outlook is vividly on display, I become uncomfortable.  It made me physically ill to read about a family who conforms to that outlook, works so hard to spread it, and is so ridiculously wealthy that they are able to influence every aspect of our society, even jurisprudence and legislation at the national level, and to dictate the meaning of and denigrate the quality of scholarly product in the academy.

I complained in my review of Sticky Fingers that the aspect of our culture on display there is one of the major problems of American society today. The aspect of our culture represented in Bible Nation, the rapidly-growing number of evangelical conservative Protestants who propound a ‘Biblical worldview’, is another major problem. What’s worse, this group sincerely believes that theirs is the only correct answer to the problems we face, and they honestly and sincerely believe that God is on their side. That scares me. And the solutions to our country’s problems have to lie somewhere between these mutual tensions.

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Pretty pathetic, right?  So come on.  I pity anyone who took the time to slog through this drivel, but if you did, you can see I’m suffering right?  While I’m opening a fresh box of Kleenex, maybe some sympathetic soul out there will reach out to cheer me up, maybe offer me some encouragement that there is yet hope for America…  Is there?

Explaining the road rash on my forearm while working the register at Barnes & Noble

via Daily Prompt: Permit

Word Count = 587 / Reading time = 2 minutes, 40 seconds

SeventhCard 300

I wrote this long poem in the summer of 2007, when my daughter was 18 months old and the circumstances of my life briefly allowed me to ride my bicycle, in conjunction with the city bus, back and forth to my day job as a State Probation Officer 3 days per week.  While the events described in this story are true, I’ve taken some liberties with the timeline.  But don’t worry; poetic license permits such artful wrangling!

Explaining the road rash on my forearm while working the register at Barnes & Noble

If you have time, I’ll

buy you a grande latte.

We’ll sit at a table in the café.

I’ll start at the beginning,

6 weeks ago.

 

I thought how beneficial

to bike and ride the MTA to work

one or two or three days per week,

less money for gas,

less miles piled on my truck,

cubic tons of carbon dioxide I’d

not spew into our ailing atmosphere,

pedaling my failing body into

better shape each day.

 

 But of course you

don’t have time, how silly of me to think…

 

Let’s just say I decided it was time

to make my mark.  Absent a can of spray

paint, I graffitied my flesh

on a concrete wall.

And your total is $8.73.  Thank you;

come back and see us again.

 

No, I didn’t fall off my Harley.

I was on my bicycle,

 in fact,

and managed not to fall at all.

But the 4-foot wall on my left,

stubborn concrete construct,

refused to budge

when I nudged it with my

third knuckle and knobbly wrist,

not even after a prolonged push

from my ulna and elbow.  That

makes your total $27.26 unless

you’d like to join our discount club

to save ten per cent.

 

Hi, how’re you this evening?

No, it didn’t hurt at the time.

Shock, surprise, endorphins,

you know.

But washing it felt like exfoliating

raw flesh with 60-grit sandpaper,

and all day I’ve felt like some

cruel sadist has been stubbing

his cigar out on my arm.  May I

see a picture i.d. please?

Thank you!

Would you like your receipt

for your purse or in the bag?

 

Yes, it’s quite painful, but I’ve

only myself to blame. Tried to

straighten my poncho while

steering one-handed,

lost control,

made the coward’s choice,

hugged the cemetery wall on the left

instead of charging the speeding cars

in the oncoming lanes to the right,

remembered momentarily

I’m not invincible.

 

Yes, Jane Austen is one of the finest authors

in the Western Canon, and if you

become a member today, you’ll save $2.50 each

on your copies of Pride and Prejudice and

Sense and Sensibility.

 

Yes ma’am, it is as painful as it looks.

If you want the truth,

I was distracted,

unable safely to navigate the narrow

sidewalk bounded on one side by a

four foot cement wall and on the

other by a busy highway.

You see,

my wife of thirteen years

called me at work today.

Ha ha, no ma’am,

the call wasn’t unusual, but her

message and delivery were.

 

Sultry, barely above a breathy whisper,

she told me what she was wearing,

what she wasn’t.

Told me she

couldn’t stop thinking of me, had to

have me now, was turgid and

touching herself.  She didn’t stop there,

though, and I had to remain seated

for five minutes after she hung up.

 

Honestly, I wasn’t good for much

after that phone call

except speeding home

as quickly and recklessly as I could ride.  

SeventhCard 301

Special thanks to the awesome and amazing Judy Dykstra Brown, blogging at lifelessons, who gave me some helpful tips to make my poem look more like it’s supposed to look on WordPress.  Y’all do yourselves a favor and check out her space!  If you’re interested in seeing what my poem should look like on paper, you can click Explaining the road rash on my forearm while working the register at Barnes & Noble.

High School Algebra

via Daily Prompt: Puzzled

Word count = 104 / Reading time = 35 seconds

Wish I’d mastered the quadratic equation.

ax2 + bx + c = 0  sounded cool

because, hey, square water!

 

But I studied Cathy, my 9th grade

math teacher’s daughter,

harder than math,

than my beloved

English, hard enough that I learned

a new word from her,

mononucleosis,

 

a concept so profound

it kept me out of school a week!

The very week

I should have been

learning polynomials,

coefficients, etc.

 

So I became the a that equals 0,

rendering my equation linear.

I coasted along that straight line

as puzzled, it turns out, by

girls as I remain about higher math.

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Since I can’t figure out how to make it look right on WordPress, I’m attaching this picture of my poem so you can see what it’s supposed to look like:

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Trumpnocchio: An Acrostic

via Daily Prompt: Conveyor

Word count = 277 / Reading time = 1 minute, 15 seconds

Can we believe anything Trump says,

or is he a calumnious conveyor of falsehoods and lies,

not an inspiring purveyor of undisguised truth?

Various entities tally and track his deceptive claims.

Except for Breitbart and Fox News, most major media outlets do,

yearning for the day, I bet, they won’t have to work so hard,

or maybe hoping, fingers crossed, their tireless efforts are

rewarded by a righteous landslide of honest candidates.

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On the first anniversary of Trump’s inauguration. The Washington Post featured a story about the number of Trump’s false or misleading claims topping 2,000 in his first year.  I know he’s not the first American President to lie.  I know we have been steadily losing faith in the president’s honesty since at least Nixon.  I’m sure every president from Washington forward has lied from time to time.  But to so openly, willfully, hell, gleefully and publicly lie that often, 2,000+ times in a year, just boggles my mind.  Who does that?  Oh, yes, that’s right, my President!

As mentioned in my poem above, there are several online fact-checking resources available.  If you were previously unaware of them, or if you’re interested in checking them out, here are links to a few good ones.  The Trump Tracker has a nifty way of breaking things down.  Politifact is thorough, wide-ranging, and oh yeah, won the Pulitzer Prize!  FactCheck.org has won several awards including a Webby for best politics site.  There are others, but those three are my favorites.

What do y’all think?  Is it silly of me to expect honesty from the President of the United States?  Am I just being naïve?

Open Letter to My Elected Representatives: A Mashup

via Daily Prompt: Cavity

Word count = 875 / Reading time = 3 minutes, 30 seconds

A-sinkhole-in-Guatemala-C-010

(Image courtesy of Luis Echeverria/AP in The Guardian)

I was going to work on a new short story in my Copperhead County series today but got sidetracked by a couple of disturbing news stories that caught my eye after reading and reblogging my friend A Lot From Lydia‘s post then reading the Washington Post‘s report that the U.S. House Intelligence Committee voted, along party lines, to release a memo that may be damaging to national security.  Those stories together got me worked up enough to write my U.S. Congressman and Senators, a Democrat and 2 Republicans, respectively.  I’m posting a mashup of those emailed letters below.  If it reads a little awkwardly, keep in mind it’s combining 3 different letters.

*****          *****          *****

Dear Representative Cooper and Senators Corker and Alexander,

I thank you for your service and hope you’re doing well today.

I’m writing in the hope that you can allay my concerns about the House Intelligence Committee’s decision yesterday to release a classified memo that allegedly contains proof of surveillance abuses by the FBI and DOJ without first allowing those agencies to review it and weigh in on its possible risk to national security.  What is your opinion of the Committee’s decision to release the memo?

It seems to me that prominent and powerful members of our government, including  Representative Nunes and President Trump, among others, are taking steps to undermine confidence in the DOJ, the FBI, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller and to try to politicize them rather than continuing to allow them to be independent.  Do you have any concerns about that?  If so, what can you do about it?  What can I do about it?

I’m also concerned about President Trump’s decision not to impose any additional sanctions on Russia as required by the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which he signed into law in August 2017 after it passed both houses of Congress with veto-proof bipartisan majorities.

I know that, when he signed it, the President stated he might not impose additional sanctions and that the bill was deeply flawed and had portions that were unconstitutional, so his actions now come as no surprise.  I’m aware that, in accordance with CAATSA, the Trump administration has released a lengthy list of Russian political figures and extremely wealthy oligarchs, some of whom have already been sanctioned, to let them know they may face further sanctions in time.  I’m also aware that the Trump administration provided an additional, classified, report to Congress and stated that there’s no need for further sanctions at this time because the mere threat of them is already having the intended effect on Russia’s and other nations’ actions.

What is your opinion on the President’s decisions?  I’m hoping you can allay my concerns about the consequences of his inaction.  Prominent voices on the American political left are decrying the failure to impose additional sanctions.  Senator McCaskill and others have gone so far as to declare the President’s failure to follow the law a constitutional crisis.  What is your opinion?  Is the mere threat of sanctions having sufficient effect to justify delaying imposition of further sanctions?  Does the President’s failure to impose additional sanctions now qualify as a constitutional crisis?  Senator Corker posted a helpful statement on his home page that made me feel a little more confident in the administration’s actions, but I’m still curious as to how you feel about it.

Given the current divisive and confrontational state of our political discourse, each side aided and abetted in its opinions by a bifurcated media and countless unchecked Internet and social media outlets, I find myself daily adrift on an alien sea of conflicting reports, shouted accusations, and shocking actions taken by powerful members of our government who seem intent on leading us into an authoritarian autocracy ruled by people who consider themselves above the law and unaccountable for willfully spreading disinformation.  I cannot help but be afraid of these fraught and trying times in which we find ourselves.  I look to you for encouragement.

Thank you for your time and service.  Take care, be well, and God bless.

Sincerely,

Denny McBride

*****          *****          *****

Folks, I’m worried there’s a gaping and growing cavity right smack in the center of the United States government, and I’m scared almost shitless about the direction we seem to be headed.  Irish poet & playwright William Butler Yeats said it best in his 1919 poem “The Second Coming”, and his words seem prescient today:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Clearly, we are deeply divided, Liberal vs. Conservative, and the moderate center our politics have relied upon to hold things together is shrunken and withered.  Our inexhaustible menu of media options allows us to pick and choose our daily news, and social media increasingly allows us to huddle with our insular tribes.  What can you do?  What can I do?  What can we do?

I’m trying harder every day to see, to understand, both sides of the story, but I’ve almost given up hope.  Can anyone out there offer me some encouragement?

One Small Step from Democracy, One Giant Leap Toward Dictatorship

Hello friends and fellow Bloggers! After Trump refused today to take action on the Russia sanctions he signed into law in August 2017, my friend Lydia posted this excellent entry. Please read it, take action, and don’t forget to check out Lydia’s blog at https://alotfromlydia.wordpress.com/

Take care, be well, and happy Blogging!

Denny

A lot from Lydia

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, Donald Trump violated the Constitution of the United States of America yesterday when he refused to enforce the law.

What law?

Sanctions against Russia, as punishment for their confirmed interference with the 2016 presidential election, became law with a vote of 419-3 in the House and 98-2 in the Senate.

What is a “Constitutional Crisis?”

In the course of government, a crisis results when one or more of the branches of government, (judiciary, legislative, or executive), willfully chooses to violate a law of the constitution.

A constitutional crisis results when factions within a government ideologically disagree about the extent to which each faction holds sovereignty to legally exercise administrative power.

What action?—

Again, Congress voted 517-5 to impose sanctions on Russia. Yesterday was the deadline to enforce the law.

The President (Trump) decided to ignore that law.

Who…

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