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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)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Ivins, the scathingly funny political columnist, died in January 2007. This posthumous publication is her third with political journalist Dubose. She leaves us with her last words on George W. Bush and his gang. In eight chapters, we hear of the Bush administration's depredations of the Bill of Rights, e.g., the attacks on free speech such as Bush operatives removing protestors from presidential speeches; the disdain for secular public education; the support of "intelligent design"; the hostility to a free press by subjecting uncooperative reporters to contempt charges; the assault on privacy through implementation of the Patriot Act; scorn for the rights of the accused, and the humiliation and torture of prisoners accused of terrorist activities. 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. Recommended for public libraries where there may be demand owing to a big push by the publishers. [See Prepub Alert, LJ6/1/07.]
Excerpted from Bill of Wrongs by Lou Dubose Copyright © 2008 by Lou Dubose. Excerpted by permission.
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