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The Truth with Jokes
by Al Franken
ISBN 0452287677 / 9780452287679 / 0-452-28767-7
Publisher Penguin Group USA
List price $15.00
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Nearly a year after the presidential election of 2004, Al Franken is still checking facts, exposing lies, and trying to clear the record as he sees it. Sneering at President Bush's declaration of a mandate after a two-and-a-half percent victory, he deconstructs Bush's 2004 platform of "fear, smear, and queers," and explains how the president has done some flip-flopping of his own. He offers comment on well-known stories, including the Terri Shiavo case, and some more obscure, such as reports of forced prostitution, indentured servitude, and squalid conditions at clothing factories in Saipan (which is part of the American Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands). Franken focuses on Tom DeLay's connection to the territory and his efforts to prevent bills from being passed that would have required Saipan to follow U.S. labor laws. Iraq, too, is discussed, from its planning stages to the huge sum of money currently unaccounted for, including $8.8 billion missing from the Coalition Provisional Authority's coffers.
On the home front, Franken covers President Bush's attempt at Social Security reform, explaining how they came up with the projected shortfall figure of $11 trillion. For one thing, they adjusted life expectancy to 150 years, while leaving the retirement age at 67: "That's an eighty-three-year retirement. They're never gonna get to that without stem cell research." He also takes some wickedly funny swipes at Karl Rove, lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pundits and hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Tim Russert, and Sean Hannity, and, of course, President Bush. The Truth succeeds in providing ammunition to liberals and others dissatisfied with the current power base in Washington, D.C.--only this time (with jokes). --Shawn Carkonen [via]