Don Williams
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Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email

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Government snow covers a variety of sins
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved   02/10/2006)

My friend knocked before daylight.

“I saw your light on. Turns out the road's too icy to get to work.”

“Well come in, help yourself to coffee, just hold it down, I'm writing my column.”

… Outside my yard resembles a giant wedding cake, with frosting festooning trees….

“Oh great, our democracy's imploding and you're writing how someone left the cake out in the snow,” my friend snorted over my shoulder as I typed. “I don't think that I can take it.”

“Do you mind, I'm on deadline here.”

… The wife and kids are sleeping, thanks to a snow day that blew in, cloaking all the trees in white….

“Mind if I add something?”


“Let me at that keyboard.”

… It's true. Our government's snowing us big time… .

“Hey, you can't write that,” I protested.

“Somebody's got to. How else is the public gonna know?”

“Let 'em watch CNN.”

“Are you kidding? ABC, NBC, Fox… those guys and dolls don't do real reporting. Sure, if you have all day to watch C-span you watch Congress at work. Just yesterday I witnessed two senators debate whether or not the public should see the names of companies that helped write a new bill to shut down all those asbestos lawsuits, but if the networks made a peep about that sneaky double-dealing, I didn't see it. If I'm not mistaken, Dick Cheney's old company has a pretty big stake in that particular piece of legislation.”

“That's a complicated story. It's not something you can report on in a few sound-bites.”

“Oh, sure, too complicated for mere consumers like me. And I guess that's why nobody I've talked to even KNOWS that a Halliburton subsidiary just won a $385 million contract to build concentration camps on American soil. Go ahead, Google it…”

“I heard about that. No respectable media are calling it a concentration camp though. They're calling it, let's see here. According to Reuters, it's a `customs camp,' see, a customs camp, and they're building it in case of `an unexpected influx of immigrants.' Says right here, `If, for example, there were some sort of upheaval in another country that would cause mass migration, that's the type of situation that the contract would address.'”

“Hmm, seems to me they're EXPECTIN' the influx,” my friend said. “Don't you wonder what they're up to? I mean, with a new all-time budget deficit in the pipeline, including a whopping increase for the military, you'd think Congress would ixnay the oncentration-cay amp-cay.”

“You're killing the mood here with your pig Latin. I'm writing about the first real snowfall of the year.”

“Unseasonably late, wouldn't you say, but never mind that. The point is, they're building big, expensive holding camps and nobody's asking why.”

“What are you, a conspiracy nut? Has anyone suggested you have a streak of paranoia?”

“Yeah, you and your conservative brothers have. You're all in it together. The point is, we're always learning months or even years after the fact that our government's doing secret stuff. Like torturing, spying, letting no-bid contracts to Halliburton, and other stuff Fox and them get all huffy about and then finally admit it was all true, in the middle of the night when no one's watching.”

“That's not fair.”

“And did you even NOTICE that the government's own General Accounting Office reported that those Diebold voting machines used in so many swing states in 2004 actually were vulnerable to tampering with? Why's nobody reporting on that?”

“Well, it's complicated.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

“Look, such charges just sound nutty to the average person. I'd look into them personally if I had the staff, but I'm a freelance writer and sometimes I just want to write about nature.”

“Nothin' wrong with writin' about nature. Just don't become one with the snow job.”