Books, TV shows, and a Governor's Councilor I like
© by Barbara Anderson
The Salem News
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Let's begin the fall political season with some positive commentary and
First, I want to thank the American labor movement for creating a
holiday for all us working people, even those who wouldn't dream of
joining a union. Sure was a beautiful Monday for late-summer activities.
I was in the hammock, reading Michael Crichton's new novel, "Next," in
which he does to the biotech industry what he did previously to the
global warming thing.
Chip didn't go sailing -- too much wind and too many weekend
powerboaters. Besides, he was having trouble putting down "Charlie
Wilson's War: The extraordinary story of how the wildest man in Congress
and a rogue CIA agent changed the history of our times," by George
I read it first, and my limited understanding of foreign affairs was
turned upside down, in the midst of wild laughter. Though it came out in
2003, it will probably be in bookstores again with the movie due out
later this year. As UPI said on the cover, the book "weaves together the
actions of belly dancers, beauty queens, rogue CIA agents, and rugged
mujahideen warriors to show that truth is, in fact, stranger than
fiction". Hilarious and terrifying, I promise you.
We did take time out to grill steaks with a friend, but didn't take
enough time to meditate on the fact that Labor Day began as a holiday as
the result of riots, anarchists, a bomb that killed seven policemen in
Chicago followed by executions of possibly innocent men, and, over the
years, many workers killed in the unionization battle.
Back before organized labor, the bad guy was Big Business, especially
when combined with the growing size and corruption of government. Later,
many of the unions became Big Labor, with its own corruption and greed;
and when combined with now Very Big Government and Big Business, became
a triple threat to Little Citizens. So here we are; but no reason not to
celebrate the eight-hour work day and paid holidays which were created
at the beginning of the movement.
Speaking of government, I heard Jim Braude on WTKK recommending the
abolition of the Governor's Council. I remember when that entity was on
everyone's list of "where to cut," but I have to note that the only
current politician I get to vote for that I like is my Governor's
Councilor, Mary Ellen Manning of Peabody. Kennedy; Kerry; Congressman
Tierney; my state senator, Tom McGee; and state representative, Doug
Petersen -- none of them represent Little Citizen me; but she does, most
recently with her vote against the latest candidate for the Supreme
Judicial Court, Margot Botsford.
According to the State House News Service, Manning was one of three
councilors to vote no, "charging that Botsford was 'soft on crime' as a
judge and citing her husband's campaign contributions." Nothing wrong
with supporting Deval Patrick, but donating three times the allowable
amount -- well, a former Dukakis legal adviser should know better. Of
course, it worked, and Botsford is the newest liberal on the SJC to see
the Constitution as a "living document.
But at least my governor's councilor gave me a voice, saying "What?!"
Now that we've moved on to state issues, here's another must-read book:
local WBZ political analyst Jon Keller's "The Bluest State," where
"addiction to tax revenues and a raging edifice complex couched in
disrespect to wage earners; phony identity politics without real results
for women and minorities; reflexive anti-Americanism in foreign affairs;
vain indulgence in obnoxious political correctness; self-serving
featherbedding; NIMBYism; authoritarian distortion of the balance of
governmental power, all simmered in a broth of hypocritical
Naturally, I can't wait to read this. Wonder if Jon will tell us what he
really thinks about Massachusetts' political culture?
As long as I'm ordering from Amazon, I will go for the Super Saver
Shipping by also ordering Robert Whitcomb and Wendy Williams' recent
book, "Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Class, Politics and the Battle for
American's Energy Future on Nantucket Sound," which sounds like a lot of
fun for those of us who long to learn more about liberal hypocrisy.
And I might as well pre-order "The National Debt of the United States,
1941-2006" by my fellow Eagle-Tribune/Salem News columnist, Robert
Kelly, due out this fall with a forward by our mutual editor, Nelson
I wrote a review of Bob's first book on the national debt: "A
fascinating read, with everything you really need to know about the
federal government in one compact place," or so I thought at the time.
Now that I've read "Charlie Wilson's War" I know a lot more; in
combination, I know how covert foreign policy helped spend us into the
national debt, while starting World War III with Islamic extremists,
once known as "freedom fighters."
I'm looking at the fall TV schedule, and figure I'll have lots of time
to read, with just "House," "Boston Legal" and "Friday Night Lights"
returning now for my must-see viewing. And I'll try the new vampire
show, "Moonlight," too.
No reality TV, thanks. The reality I get from the above books, and my
political activism is all I can deal with this year.
Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens
for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and
Eagle Tribune, and often in the Newburyport Times, Gloucester Times, and
Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the
Providence (RI) Journal and other newspapers.