Some opening salvos from Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose's new book Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush.
Looking at the Record
Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush (Random House, 186 pp., $19.95), by Molly Ivins and Texas Observer editor Lou Dubose, begins with an explanation: "Young political reporters are always told there are three ways to judge a politician. The first is to look at the record. The second is to look at the record. And third, look at the record. ...
"So here we are, with a record about property-tax abatement and tort reform, and if that's not a by-God recipe for bestsellerdom, you can cut off our legs and call us Shorty. Can't you see it now, poor ol' Random House touting this book: 'Read all about George W. Bush's thrilling adventures with the school-equalization formula, his amazing reversals on the sales tax, and most exciting of all, his tragic failure to take a stand on the matter of 150 versus 200 percent for the CHIP program.'" That's the authors being self-deprecating since Shrub is actually a quite funny book. Besides, what Random House actually came up with to promote the book is: "Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose take a good, hard look at Bush's gubernatorial record and his stand on issues such as the environment, welfare reform, education, the death penalty and abortion to reveal what 'Dubya' stands for, what he's fought for and what motivates the man who could be the next leader of the free world," which is itself kind of funny since the authors do quite a bit more than take a "good, hard look." They're more withering than that. No book tour this time around for Ivins due to her diagnosis of breast cancer.
UT's Michener Center for Writers hosts Larry Brown, whose new novel Fay will be out in March, on Thursday, February 24, in the fourth floor auditorium of the HRC (21st & Guadalupe)... Southwest Texas State will host a symposium titled "Understanding Vietnam" on March 2. Oral historian Joan Morrison, author of From Camelot to Kent State: The Sixties Experience in the Words of Those Who Lived It, will discuss Vietnam and the Sixties at 3:30pm in the Taylor-Murphy history building, room 101. At 7:30pm, National Book Award winner and SWT Mitte Chair in Creative Writing Tim O'Brien will deliver a talk titled "Inventing Vietnam." Following his talk, he, Morrison, and SWT history professors Mary Brennan and Gary Rice will hold a panel discussion on Vietnam and the 1960s... The Pflugerville Library, Friends of Pflugerville Library, and the reading clubs of Pflugerville are sponsoring a Mystery Night panel on Tuesday, February 22, at the Pflugerville Library (102 S. 10th St.) at 7pm to be moderated by roving mystery maven Jan Grape, whose short stories can be found in Cat Crimes for the Holidays and The First Lady Murders. Panelists include Linda Bingham (Flashpoint), Susan Rogers Cooper (Not in My Back Yard), Charles Meyer (Deathangel), and Rick Riordan (The Last King of Texas).