As a liberal response to the wealth of pop conservative writing-such as last year's 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America by Bernard Goldberg and Peter Schweitzer's Do as I Say (Not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy-this collection of 100 pithy salvos against current U.S. culture, and domestic and foreign policy hits its mark. Tirman, an unabashed liberal and the executive director of MIT's Center for International Studies, has a sly style and makes his often predictable points with unexpected panache. Whether he `s skewering the American obsession with consumerism, the rise of the pro-war progressive ("when I see a liberal hawk, I smell a rat") or the recent globalization of Christian evangelism, Tirman stays just this side of cranky and avoids preaching only to the converted. About a third of the time, he makes arresting points, such as that the media obsesses over white "damsels in distress," like Laci Peterson or Natalee Holloway, while refusing to discuss truly important issues such as "rapes of girls as a weapon of war." As quick-sketch political commentary goes, these laconic essays are terrific. But the bottom line is that while Tirman is arguably fairer and more nuanced than Goldberg or Schweitzer, none of these books contributes to substantive political understanding or debate. (Aug. 1) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.