My new favorite author

I've been doing a very poor job of updating my on-line book reviews (partly, because its been a slow year for me until pretty recently).  But, short of updating it, I did want to put in a plug for my new favorite author: Peter Abrahams.  I almost never seem to find the time to finish a book in less than two weeks anymore, but I just tore through both Oblivion and End of Story, finishing each in a matter of days.  I enjoyed Oblivion so much that I thought I'd try and squeeze in one more Abrahams book before Harry Potter comes out on the 21st.  As it turns out, I ended up reading almost every spare moment the past few days and now I'll have to make due reading political science articles needing reviews until Saturday because I'm definitely not going to be in the midst of another book for The Deathly Hallows.  I don't generally read a lot of mystery/suspense because I often find it too formulaic, but Abrahams has great way of tweaking conventions and creating novels that are compulsively readable, but funny and thought-provoking, too.

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Surgeon General

You know, I sometimes feel a bit like a broken record going on about just how awful Bush's administration, but most of the news reports just scratch the surface.  And as I've mentioned before, I think we are truly dealing with an historically bad presidency.  One of the most prominent and consistent flaws of Bush's presidency is the politicization of everything.  Ideology always trumps facts and reality.  The latest example comes from Congressional testimony from the previous Surgeon General.  The lowlights:

The administration, Dr. Carmona said, would not allow him to speak or issue reports about stem cells,
emergency contraception, sex education, or prison, mental and global
health issues. Top officials delayed for years and tried to ?water
down? a landmark report on secondhand smoke, he said. Released last
year, the report concluded that even brief exposure to cigarette smoke
could cause immediate harm.

Dr. Carmona said he was ordered to mention President Bush three times
on every page of his speeches. He also said he was asked to make
speeches to support Republican political candidates and to attend
political briefings.

And, if you are not yet bewildered by the political operatives in the White House who want our Dear Leader constantly mentioned, it does not get much worse than this…

And administration officials even discouraged him from attending the
Special Olympics because, he said, of that charitable organization?s
longtime ties to a ?prominent family? that he refused to name.

?I was specifically told by a senior person, ?Why would you want to help those people?? ? Dr. Carmona said.

The
Special Olympics is one of the nation?s premier charitable
organizations to benefit disabled people, and the Kennedys have long
been deeply involved in it.

That's right.  Senior Bush officials have politicized the Special Olympics.  I wonder if they kick puppies, too.

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