Tag Archives: Books

I’ve always wondered

Why do fictional detectives only get to drink bitter-but-better-than-nothing coffee when they get back to the squad room? And why do they only get to drink awful instant coffee when they question neighbors from crime scenes at their homes?

Ezra and Ron: not a Love Story

Puts me in mind of these fellows

In The New York Review of Books, Ezra Klein finds little to love about Ron Suskind’s new book, The Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President. Perhaps because Suskind found little to love about the economic advisors Obama surrounded himself with and the resulting policies, which, Suskind says, led to the decline in Obama’s poll numbers.

In criticizing this conclusion (and some others) as unproven, Klein makes an important point – one too often ignored in the current conversation – a point which may end up being just an historical footnote, if Obama is not re-elected (I’m confident he will be). But it’s a reminder of how much time we waste puzzling over what history tells us is quite predictable.

The President’s poll numbers aren’t the mystery Suskind presents them as. If you want to know what killed Obamaism, the answer is the stagnant economy. No president, no matter how politically graceful or personally confident, looks good in the midst of an economic crisis. When unemployment rose during the 1980–1981 recession, President Ronald Reagan’s approval ratings fell below 40 percent and his party lost twenty-six House seats in the midterm election. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Federal Reserve twisted toward austerity too early and sparked the 1937 recession, Democrats lost more than seventy seats the following year. No one would accuse either president of insufficient charisma or weak leadership. Americans don’t want leaders so much as they want jobs. And that’s Obama’s problem now, too.

I’ve read two of Suskind’s earlier books and found both to be  well sourced and so well written as to reach that novelistic heaven of “couldn’t put it down”. But I haven’t yet read this one, so can’t comment, except to say I usually find Klein to be a fine reporter and writer as well.

Good morning

CNN is on the teevee telling me that as of last week, Laredo TX, a city of a quarter million people, has no bookstores.

Access to books – an essential ingredient of a free society. Maybe they’ll get a book store when the troops come back from Afghanistan, where it is the 108th day of the War there.

After all, George Bush told us we were fighting for our freedom.

Life just got better: I love it when that happens!

About a year ago, the local Goodwill store – under a mile from my house – closed down to consolidate its operations with a larger store about five miles away. It was a  good move for them, but locally the closing left a hole.

But today, on the way home, I discovered they’re reopened – as a bookstore. A bookstore – a great big store just full of books. Well appointed, books arranged by subject and genre – by people who obviously know their stuff.

Move over

At a time when we see amenities disappearing or being cut way back (the ‘new releases’ shelf at my local library has been practically empty for a year or more), this is a very happy surprise. Like the first sign of spring, of hope, like a daffodil in the lawn – there it is, a valuable addition to the neighborhood and to my own quality of life.

Check out this what I brought home for under $17.o6 (every one of these is in tip-top condition):

Ashes to Ashes: American’s Hundred-Year Cigarette War – by Richard Kluger – Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Bush at War – by Bob Woodward (I have the other two of  this trilogy so it’s great to find this 0ne)

Beyond Peace – by Richard Nixon (I’m something of a Nixon freak)

When Presidents Lie : A History of Official Deception – Eric Alterman

Secrets and Lies – by Dilip Hiro (Indian born and one of the most knowledgeable writers on the Middle East)

Sabine – by Nick Bantock (sequel to Griffin and Sabine, an artful, charming pop-up book with an intriguing story)