Tag Archives: Book

Voting With A Porpoise

A new book to help educate our small fry on the importance and meaning of voting: Voting With a Porpoise by Russell Glass, Sean Callahan and Daniel Howarth (illustrator).

It is a whale of a book:

A pod of dolphins (and their porpoise friend, Petey) is in trouble. Their reef no longer provides the food they need to survive. The pod can’t figure out what to do until Petey suggests they hold an election to decide.

2018 Parent and Teacher Choice Award winner, Voting With a Porpoise is a fun, timeless, and beautifully illustrated story that teaches children how elections and voting have the power to solve hard problems.

The authors created this book to help change the culture around elections and voting. To that end, 100 percent of the profits for Voting With a Porpoise will be donated to 501(c)(3) non-partisan voting-related causes focused on getting more people of all backgrounds to the polls, such as Rock the Vote, Vote.org, TurboVote, and others.

This book is the next best thing to lowering the voting age to 16! Or lower!

The Fourth Impeachment

Andrew Johnson was impeached for matters related to what to do with the South after they were defeated in the American Civil War. I would like to know more about that. What I understand of it now is that it may have been a great Irony, in the sense that Johnson was a Democrat, appointed as a Republican’s VP, who had the intention of implementing that president’s policies after his assassination by a pro-Slavery assassin, but those policies went easier on the South because that is how Lincoln wanted to approach reconstruction, and the Republicans in Congress wanted to crush the South. But I’m sure I’m leaving out important details. Anyway, Andrew Johnson was impeached and nearly thrown out of office.

Later on, Richard Nixon was impeached because he and his minions carried out crimes that were kinda bad and then tried to cover them up, which led to the absurd modern day aphorism that “it’s not the crime, its the cover up,” implying that no matter how bad the crime is, the cover up is worse (wrong). Nixon was not thrown out of office, but rather, he left on his own.

Later on, Bill Clinton was impeached for his affair with a White House Aide. But other than anti-Clinton Republicans, most people, while not liking the affair thing, did not see this as worthy of impeachment, and recognized the Republican effort to impeach Clinton as a bald faced political move.

Now, we are faced with Trump. We don’t know where impeachment will go. It may be impossible until there is a Senate super majority, and that may not happen any time soon. Trump will have to be caught talking on the phone to Vladimir Putin, discussing their recent successful assassination of Bambi. But likely, that won’t do it either. Republicans put party over country every time. The only way Trump is going to leave office is feet first in the case he croaks on his own, or by being voted out of office, and the latter is not likely to happen because, face it, Trump represents American values in he (slim) minority, but that minority rules due to voter suppression and Russian-powered ignorance.

Whatever. The point is, impeachment is on the table, and there is a new book out that helps us understand the earlier impeachments, and I recommend it. Impeachment: An American History by Jon Meacham, Peter Baker, Tim Naftali, and Jefrey Engel.

Four experts on the American presidency examine the three times impeachment has been invoked—against Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton—and explain what it means today.

Impeachment is a double-edged sword. Though it was designed to check tyrants, Thomas Jefferson also called impeachment “the most formidable weapon for the purpose of a dominant faction that was ever contrived.” On the one hand, it nullifies the will of voters, the basic foundation of all representative democracies. On the other, its absence from the Constitution would leave the country vulnerable to despotic leadership. It is rarely used, and with good reason.

Only three times has a president’s conduct led to such political disarray as to warrant his potential removal from office, transforming a political crisis into a constitutional one. None has yet succeeded. Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 for failing to kowtow to congressional leaders—and, in a large sense, for failing to be Abraham Lincoln—yet survived his Senate trial. Richard Nixon resigned in August 1974 after the House Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment against him for lying, obstructing justice, and employing his executive power for personal and political gain. Bill Clinton had an affair with a White House intern, but in 1999 he faced trial in the Senate less for that prurient act than for lying under oath about it.

In the first book to consider these three presidents alone—and the one thing they have in common—Jeffrey A. Engel, Jon Meacham, Timothy Naftali, and Peter Baker explain that the basis and process of impeachment is more political than legal. The Constitution states that the president “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” leaving room for historical precedent and the temperament of the time to weigh heavily on each case. This book reveals the complicated motives behind each impeachment—never entirely limited to the question of a president’s guilt—and the risks to all sides. Each case depended on factors beyond the president’s behavior: his relationship with Congress, the polarization of the moment, and the power and resilience of the office itself. This is a realist view of impeachment that looks to history for clues about its potential use in the future.

Read this book as a distraction from the current intense and rather explosive (nearly explosive?) political climate. A little history to distrat you from the future…

Full Disclosure by Stormy Daniels

I swear, the Trump administration is going to produce more books during (and I assume just after) Trump’s term than Abraham Lincoln’s presidency produced in a century.

And the latest volume is Full Disclosure by Stormy Daniels.

If the use of the term “Full Disclosure” sounds familiar to you, it could be because you are a West Wing fan. I wonder if Stormy is a West Wing Fan?

She was already well-known in some circles before March 6, 2018, but that’s probably the first time you heard the name Stormy Daniels. That’s the day she filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump over a nondisclosure agreement negotiated before the election but never signed.

How did Stormy Daniels become the woman willing to take on a president? What is it like to be reviled by some, held up as a beacon of hope by others, and to be an object of fascination to all?

In this book, Stormy Daniels tells her whole story for the first time: about how she came to be a leading actress and director in the aderlt film business, the full truth about her journey from a rough childhood in Louisiana onto the national stage, and everything about the events that led to the nondisclosure agreement and the behind-the-scenes attempts to intimidate her.

Stormy is funny, sharp, warm, and impassioned by turns. Her story is a thoroughly American one, of a girl who loved reading and horses and who understood from a very young age what she wanted—and who also knew she’d have to get every step of the way there on her own.

People can’t stop talking about Stormy Daniels. And they won’t be able to stop talking about her fresh, surprising, completely candid, nothing-held-back book.

Fear and Loathing in Trump’s White House as only Woodward could Tell It

You know Bob Woodward, because he wrote All the President’s Men along with Carl Bernstein. Woodward was played by Robert Redford, and Bernstein by Dustin Hoffman, in the famous movie based on the book. That was about Nixon and Watergate.

But you might not know that Woodward has a new book just about to some out (you can preorder it), which reveals never before revealed revelations about the inside of the Trump White House. Fear: Trump in the White House.

With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One and the White House residence.

Fear is the most intimate portrait of a sitting president ever published during the president’s first years in office.

I’ve not seen it yet, but I’ve read a WaPo overview of it, and it looks fantastic. I’ve already ordered mine.

In case you’ve not see the movie adaptation of All the President’s Men, have a taste:

Logan’s Run

The book, now on Kindle cheap. You may not remember the movie, but if you do, you probably want the book.

Logan’s Run: Vintage Movie Classics (A Vintage Movie Classic) by William Nolan

The bestselling dystopian novel that inspired the 1970s science-fiction classic starring Michael York, Jenny Agutter, and Richard Jordan.

In 2116, it is against the law to live beyond the age of twenty-one years. When the crystal flower in the palm of your hand turns from red to black, you have reached your Lastday and you must report to a Sleepshop for processing. But the human will to survive is strong—stronger than any mere law.

Logan 3 is a Sandman, an enforcer who hunts down those Runners who refuse to accept Deep Sleep. The day before Logan’s palmflower shifts to black, a Runner accidentally reveals that he was racing toward a goal: Sanctuary. With this information driving him forward, Logan 3 assumes the role of the hunted and becomes a Runner.

Amazing Book On Amazing Arachnids

I am strongly recommending Amazing Arachnids by Jillian Cowles.

This book is in line to win the Greg Laden’s Blog Science Book of the Year.

Sample text, to give a taste of the science
It looks like a high quality, almost coffee table like, book on the arachnids, things like mites and spiders and such. But that is only what it appears to be on the surface. Just below the surface, it is a compendium of evolutionary amazingness, a detailed description of the photogenic history, behavioral biology, and co-evolution of plants and animals, with almost all the protagonists in the numerous loosely connected stories being one sort or another of amazing arachnid.

Geographically, the book focuses on the arid American Southwest. This allows the author to be quasi-comprehensive in coverage of species (about 300 from among 11 orders). It also allows the author to tell the story of these critters as a story, with interconnected features of evolution and ecology. This is literary hard core science, with great illustrations (about 750 color photos, and other illustrations).

Because of the US SW focus, it might be a better purchase for people living in just that area. But as is the case with a handful of other nature-oriented books, like the The New Neotropical Companion, the science content and overall interest of the book transcends geography. You’re not really going to want to get that close to these arachnids anyway….

This is a very good book. You will learn things, even if you already know a lot about arachnids.

The author is a clinical microbiologists and photographer.

A Big Garden Is A Big Book

At least is measured in the up-down, back-forth direction, and not the thickness direction.

A Big Garden is by Gilles Clement, Professor Emeritus at the Versailles National School of Landscape Architecture and holder of the Chair of Artistic Creation at the College de France in Paris. He is famous for creating several public gardens such as the Andre? Citroe?n Park and the garden of the Quai Branly Museum in Paris and the Henri Matisse Park in Lille. The illustrations are by Vincent Grave.

This is a large format coffee table or get-together-with-the-family-to-read style book. Interesting and insightful text accompanies a brilliant and detailed illustration for each month. The text waxes between poetic and informative, giving the impressions of a master gardener’s master gardener. The illustrations are of the type that invite a long period of inspection, looking for proverbial waldoes, and are often fanciful and humerus.

Even though the book is about gardening, which tends to be a seasonal activity, it well and truly covers every month of the year. This can be on your gift shopping list for anyone’s birthday or for the winter holidays, not necessarily someone who is a heavy duty gardener. We spend some time trying to figure out if this was a kids book or an adult’s book. After a while we realized we were asking the wrong question. Clearly the text is not for young readers, but it is for any listener, of any age. And, again, the illustrations are amazing and for everyone. Each of them is equivalent in content density to an entire graphic novel, which is not surprising since Grave is a graphic novel illustrator.

I highly recommend this book, for yourself, or as a gift.

This Book Is A Little Too Perfect For Summer Reading!!!!

When climate scientist Michael Mann and cartoonist Tom Toles wrote The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy, they had no idea how bad it was going to get. Perhaps they needed to be more alarmist.

Anyway, this overview of climate change politics and denialism, in both text and cartoon form, is out in a new edition that has an updated “in the times of Trump” chapter, and in paperback form.

Pick up your copy of The Madhouse Effect, excellent summer beach reading, today!

The award-winning climate scientist Michael E. Mann and the Pulitzer Prize–winning political cartoonist Tom Toles have been on the front lines of the fight against climate denialism for most of their careers. They have witnessed the manipulation of the media by business and political interests and the unconscionable play to partisanship on issues that affect the well-being of billions. The lessons they have learned have been invaluable, inspiring this brilliant, colorful escape hatch from the madhouse of the climate wars.

The Madhouse Effect portrays the intellectual pretzels into which denialists must twist logic to explain away the clear evidence that human activity has changed Earth’s climate. Toles’s cartoons collapse counter-scientific strategies into their biased components, helping readers see how to best strike at these fallacies. Mann’s expert skills at science communication aim to restore sanity to a debate that continues to rage against widely acknowledged scientific consensus. The synergy of these two climate science crusaders enlivens the gloom and doom of so many climate-themed books?and may even convert die-hard doubters to the side of sound science.

Facts and Fears: The Russians Did Elect Trump

General James Patton is famous for this advice. Carefully account for and consider all the facts, and all your fears. Armed with this information, make a plan. Then, put aide your fears and attack! James R. Clapper, who is the offspring of an intelligence operative and who has spent his entire life engaged in intelligence, under each and every one of the United States Presidents from Lancer through Renegade, just wrote a book. In it, he gives us something to be afraid of, when he presents a startling and important conclusion. Continue reading Facts and Fears: The Russians Did Elect Trump