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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, July 21, 2010 9B No e y $1dFFIFFIeF WELCOME, GENTLE READER by consulting the most recent Gallup poll, where rich peo- ple sometimes get away with murder and never end up on death row, then the death- penalty system w6 have here in America will embarrass you to no end." Dow writes in a breezy, Raymond Chandler- or Damon Runyon-esque style, but his passion for justice and for giving his clients fair and thorough representation is crystal clear. He acknowledges that many Adults and children -- book- sellers, book club members, book lovers and librarians -- are invited to submit short "'book reports" or recommen- people he has represented did dations on books they have in fact commit the crimes read and want to share with they were charged with, but others, he feels it is inexcusable for To submit a recommenda- someone to be sentenced to tion, include title and author, death because their first attor- your first name only, contact ney slept through much of the information (which will not trial, failed to call witnesses be published), hometown and who could have helped the three to five paragraphs about case, or filed necessary paper- the book and why it is recom- work after a deadline. mended (or not). Any and all Dow admits, "I have a con- book reports are eligible, al- fession to make... I do not like though the editor reserves the all my clients ... [One client] right to edit for grammar, assumed that because I repre- style and length, sent guys like him, I must like Send submissions to Mona guys like him. He assumed Hill by e-mail to mhill@ that because I am against the plumasnews.com or by fax to death penalty and don't think 283-3952 or mail to P.O. Box B, he should be executed, that I Quincy, CA 95971. forgive him for what he did. Well, it isn't my place to for- "The Autobiography of an give people like [him], and if it Execution" by David R. Dow were, I probably wouldn't." David Dow is litigation direc- The main thread of this book, tor of the Texas Defender however, concerns a case Dow Service, a nonprofit legal aid handled on appeal where the corporation that represents details, woven through stories death row inmates. An appel- of other cases and clients, tell of late lawyer, he has repre- a man wrongly accused and sented more than 100 death convicted of killing his wife row inmates over the past 20 and children, and of the many years. Here is how he de- ways justice was thwarted and scribes his work. denied. "I used to support the death Dow does not preach to the penalty. I changed my mind reader, but his feelings and when I learned how lawless conclusion are unmistakable. the system is. If you have This book is a sobering and reservations about supporting necessary read for all who a racist, classist, unprincipled support the death penalty. regime, a regime where white Ruth skin is valued far more highly Quincy than dark, where prosecutors hide evidence and policemen "Making Toast; a family routinely lie, where judges story" by Roger Rosenblatt decide what justice requires Amy Rosenblatt Solomon, 38-year-old pediatrician, wife and mother of three small children, collapsed and died J from a rare heart abnormality Dec. 8, 2007, in Bethesda, Md. On that same day, her parents, Roger and Ginny Rosenblatt, drove from their home in New York to Bethesda where, with their son-in-law's encouragement,. they have been living ever since. This book is a series of short vignettes that appear to be journal-style entries -- short summaries of daily activities [e.g. mastering his grandchildren's precise preferences for their morn- ing toast; reading bedtime stories], recollections of their daughter, and dealing with the many sad and happy events in this multi- generational family. Rosenblatt's writing is restrained and steers clear of sentimentality; but it is per- haps more moving for being both brief and thoughtful de- spite his grief. The baby's nanny, who loved their daughter almost as her own, tells them, "You are not the first to go through such a thing and you are better able to handle it than most." The Christian Science Monitor called this book a "hauntingly lovely memoir." I agree. Ruth Quincy "Bright-sided: How the Re- lentless Promotion of Posi- tive Thinking Has Under- mined America" by Barbara Ehrenreich In her latest book, veteran journalist Ehrenreich takes on positive thinking and its adherents. She begins with her personal experiences in the breast cancer world, or what she calls the pink rib- bon culture. What her experi- ence gave her, she writes, "was a very personal, agoniz- ing encounter with an ideo- logical force in American cul- ture ... one that encourages us to deny reality, submit cheerfully to misfortune, and blame only ourselves for our fate." She traces the history of positive thinking, from its start in the 19th century as a reaction to Calvinism, through Dale Carnegie ("How to Win Friends and Influence People" and Norman Vincent Peale ("The Power of Positive Think- ing"), to today's megachurch "pastorpreneurs" (think Rick Warren and Robert Schuller) and corporate CEOs. What she reveals is a world of crosspoUination in which churches are run like corpo- rations, and corporations like churches, abetted by "academic" positive psychol- ogy, whose research is fund- ed by corporate foundationl. More than anything, positive thinking is big business. So, what's wrong with posi- tive thinking? Ehrenreich concludes that it is a form of mind control. It's delusional, narcissistic and lonely. It ob- scures judgment and shields us from vital information. It asks us to internalize prob- lems and blame ourselves. It's a world in which cancer is a "gift" and losing a job is "the best thing that every happened to me." Confronted with the tsunami of 2006, Rhonda t~yrne, of"The Secret" fame, cited the "law of attraction" (a positive thinking staple that holds that you can control the world with your thoughts) and said disasters "can happen only to people who are 'on the same fre- quency as the event.'" Guess they got what they deserved. Ehrenreich makes a con- vincing case that positive thinking contributed mightily to our current economic melt- down. People like Byrne and megachurch pastor Joel Osteen exhorted people to "manifest,' their desires. At the same time. overly opti- mistic mortgage companies were relaxing their loan stan- dards. Tah dah! That dream house is now yours! Meanwhile, a cult of person- ality, intuition and leadership built on positive thinking had displaced actual analysis in many financial institutions and left CEOs, surrounded by yes men, oblivious to mount- ing evidence that the econom- ic bubble was about to burst. Ehrenreich finishes her book with a reminder that the largest impediment to happiness is poverty, and maybe, just maybe, collective action, not obsessive self- regulation, is the cure. Delaine Quincy "Last Night in Twisted River" by John Irving Irving's novels always give me fits when I start them -- they don't draw me in quickly and they take work to follow the plot and become interest- ed in the characters. I've come to the conclusion that is because he doesn't rush his plot or his charac- terizations: I got to know his characters over the course of the novel and the story un- folded in an even tempo and was richly detailed. Irving writes about the life of a 12-year-old boy until he is in his mid-60s. His father is a lamed cook for river loggers in the New Hampshire woods. They live in the lumber camp town of Twisted River. The father is a widower; the boy's mother having died when he was two. The story opens with a young logger's accidental death and that leads to another accidental death that forces father and son to flee Twisted River in the middle of the night. In all, Daniel loses six people who are close to him over the course of his life. The roots of each death have ties reaching back to the death of his mother. Daniel grows up to be a best- selling author who incorpo- rates unrelated and interrelat- ed bits and pieces from his life into his stories. The reader learns about his writing process and how he uses it as a refuge from the tragedies of his life until it can sustain him no more. This was not a cheery read from which I concluded, "It will all work out for the best." However, it is not a story of total despair either. Instead, Irving led me to look closely at how Daniel and the people around him endure the sometimes- excruciating pain of living. In a word: endurance. By enduring Daniel is eventually rescued from his solitary life. I always have to work to read Irving's work -- and I'm always rewarded when I do. Mona Quincy I Sudoku Puzzle #1870,D ::: .... Difficult Inner Selves D I N Oi AM E B; TAX Ii A N T E BEEN S W A I P O U T A N!D S S S H P I C S P A A R A L I V TAM E T E R Q U E E O I S T . I-i- m ViOl G N A T '-E'-- T "e E!L llll OIP A T EIS oisi,. s E RIT PilIE : e T : A!TIS N E C L!A S R E!I. O A B!E L M EIR E \ o Sudoku Solution #1860-D 71 '5234 94 8761 263!1945 1376482 5842397 62975 1 3 871 4659 4923876 35691 28 9 2 817 915 16 48 23 51 74 Where Two? ACROSS 1. Toot one's own horn 6. Competitor of Lexus and Infiniti . 11. However, for short 14. Acquired relative 15. Wrap brand 16. "Shallow " (2001 Paltrow movie) 17. Post-coffee-spill maneuver? 19. Long-eared equine 20. Suffix with farm or home 21. Cafe concoction 23. Auto-sticker abbr. 26. Highest tile value in Scrabble 27. Extended family member 29. Put a crease in 31. Sinatra ,ex Mia 32. Not as green 33. "Anything Goes" composer Porter 34. Fat unit 37. Cavern effect 38. Lithium's atomic number 39. Country name on some euros 40. "Now I've everything!" 41. Prohibitionists' foes 42. Aqua __ (gold dissolver) 43. Approve, as an amendment 45. Worked nicely together 46. Fig treats 48. Like Carnaby Street fashions 49. 61-Across's monogram 50. Ill-looking 51. Buenos 53. -Aztecan languages 1 2 3 7 nmm 14 17 23 24 25 m III. m 29 31 ..I--. ]2 m/m 37 Ill ;0 i 43 i ~,6 47 i 50 51 53 American Profile Hometown Content 54. Hip-hopper's 9. Did a 10K shawl? 10. Hook, line and 60. Minister's area: sinker user Abbr. 11. "Look, it's Wilbur's 61. "The Waste Land" brother Orville" poet 12. Must 62. "Mule Train" 13. Daily Planet cub singer Frankie 18. Call for 63. __ NO HOOKS 22. Orbital extremes 64. Car-door 23. Sticks in the mud blemishes 24. Sticker figure 65. Irish tenor Ronan 25. Burrowing animal, __ in its entirety? 27. After-Christmas DOWN events 1. Place for trash or 28. Cheshire cat's dust hangout 2. __ roll (winning) 30. New delivery 3. Chalet site 31. Winks or thieves 4. Big Apple retailer count 5. Social networking 33. White-hat wearers service with 35. Spring sign "tweets" 36. Victor at 6. Egypt's __ High Gettysburg Dam 38. Kirby Puckett was 7. Bingo player's one need 8. Ocean State sch. i 11 i.i 16 iii 19 49 57 I--.---d .-=t...-- i 7/412010 42. Gave out new hands 44. Served, as ice cubes 45. "Beetle Bailey" creator Walker 46. Tiny Pacific nation 47, Adlai's 1956 running mate 48. Atomizer outputs 51. Bug-eyed 52. Go to and fro 55. "Sting like a bee" boxer 56. "Delta of Venus" author 57. "Oysters .__ season" 58. Santa winds 59. 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