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Bill of Wrongs: The Executive Branch's Assault on America's Fundamental Rightsby Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose
Synopses & Reviews
Throughout her long career of “afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted,” the cause closest to Molly Ivinss heart was working to protect the freedoms we all value. Sadly, today were living in a time when dissent is equated with giving aid to terrorists, when any of us can be held in prison without even knowing the charges against us, and when our constitutional rights are being interpreted by a president who calls himself “The Decider.”
Ivins got the idea for Bill of Wrongs while touring America to honor her promise to speak out, gratis, at least once a month in defense of free speech. In her travels Ivins met ordinary people going to extraordinary measures to safeguard our most precious liberties, and when she first started writing this book, she intended it to be a joyous celebration of those heroes. But during the Bush years, the projects focus changed. Ivins became concerned about threats to our cherished freedoms–among them the Patriot Act and the weakening of habeas corpus–and she observed with anger how dissent in the defense of liberties was being characterized as treason by the Bush administration and its enablers.
From illegal wiretaps, the unlawful imprisonment of American citizens, and the undermining of freedom of the press to the creeping influence of religious extremism on our national agenda and the erosion of the checks and balances that prevent a president from seizing unitary powers, Ivins and her longtime collaborator, Lou Dubose, co-author of Shrub and Bushwacked, describe the attack on Americas vital constitutional guarantees. With devastating humor and keen eyes for deceit and hypocrisy, they show how severe these incursions have become, and they ask us all to take an active role in protecting the Bill of Rights.
In life and on the printed page, Molly Ivins was too cool to offer a posthumous valedictory (or even to take a victory lap for her many triumphs over inane, vainglorious, and addlepated politicos). But in Bill of Wrongs, her final and perhaps greatest book, the irrepressible Molly Ivins really does have the last word.
"The threats to the Bill of Rights cited by the late populist gadfly Ivins and Texas journalist Dubose (coauthors of Bushwhacked) in this scattershot survey run the gamut from physical to political violations. Dire indeed were the infringements of rights endured by Murat Kurnaz, an innocent German Muslim of Turkish descent held as an enemy combatant by the U.S. military for five years and subjected to waterboarding and electroshock. The Dover, Pa., school board's effort to insinuate intelligent design into biology courses has been much covered, though perhaps less bluntly than here (the defense lawyers 'just weren't as smart' as those for the plaintiffs). As for the Second Amendment, the authors castigate President Bush for being too protective of the right to bear arms. In between there are mentions of journalists jailed for shielding sources, librarians gagged by Kafkaesque government secrecy rules and a slew of citizens arrested for peaceably protesting in the vicinity of the president. (Many of these cases were quickly resolved once the ACLU got involved.) If, as Ivins and Dubose hint, there's a concerted assault on our freedoms, there 's still plenty of ineptitude: in one instance they cite, the feds accidentally sent top secret records of illegal electronic surveillance of suspected terrorists to the suspects' lawyers. (Oct. 23)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Readers who have missed Ivins's voice of common sense and those concerned with the erosion of our basic rights will appreciate this look at how the government is pushing around its citizens and how citizens are pushing back." Booklist
"The uninitiated, more than the well-informed, will get a decent education in constitutional protections, although some of the incidents the authors cover have yet to be resolved by the courts. One wishes this book showed more of Ivins's spark and less repetition." Library Journal
Until her death in January 2007, Ivins made at least one speech a month for no fee in defense of the Bill of Rights. During her travels, she met ordinary people going to extraordinary measures to protect their rights, and, in this book, she celebrates their courage and accomplishments.
About the Author
Molly Ivins, a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, began her career in journalism as the complaint department of the Houston Chronicle. She then went on to work for The Texas Observer, as co-editor, and The New York Times, as a political reporter and later as Rocky Mountain bureau chief. In 1982, she returned to Texas. Her column was syndicated in more than three hundred newspapers, and her freelance work appeared in Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Harpers, and other publications. Her first book, Molly Ivins Cant Say That, Can She?, spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list. Her books with Lou Dubose on George W. Bush, Shrub and Bushwhacked, were also New York Times bestsellers. Molly Ivins died in January 2007.
Lou Dubose has written about Texas and national politics for thirty years. He was editor of The Texas Observer and politics editor for The Austin Chronicle, and he currently edits The Washington Spectator. He was co-author (with Molly Ivins) of Shrub and Bushwhacked. In 2003 he wrote (with Texas Monthly writer Jan Reid) The Hammer: Tom DeLay, God, Money, and the Rise of the Republican Congress. In 2006 he wrote (with Texas Observer editor Jake Bernstein) Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency.
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