Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mob Scene at the Republican Caucus

“When Lyndon Johnson became Vice-President, he wasn’t welcome at Senate Democratic caucus meetings anymore, because it was for senators only,” Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, told me. “But every Tuesday since Bush has been President it’s been like a Mafia funeral around here. There are, like, fifteen cars with lights and sirens, and Cheney and Karl Rove come to the Republican caucus meetings and tell those guys what to do. It’s all ‘Yes, sir, yes, sir.’ (Jeffrey Toobin in the New Yorker).

While no doubt convinced that Iraq had at least some chemical and biological weapons, Bush administration officials, like the cop framing a guilty man, vastly exaggerated the evidence. (Mark Danner in book review, New York Review of Books).

“The Echo Maker” is probably the best Powers novel so far. I say "probably," because it's not possible for Powers to write an uninteresting book, and after that it's a matter of taste. Trying to describe it is a bit like four blind men trying to describe an elephant—which end do you start at, with something so large and multi-limbed? (Margaret Atwood, in New York Review of Books on new Richard Powers book).

You stagger out of Powers's novel happy to find yourself, like Scrooge the morning after, grasping your own bedpost, saying "There's no place like home," and hoping you still have a chance to set things right. (Margaret Atwood).

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