At a time when some of the most sweeping national initiatives in decades are being debated, Congressman Henry Waxman offers a fascinating inside account of how Congress really works by describing the subtleties and complexities of the legislative process.
For four decades, Waxman has taken visionary and principled positions on crucial issues and been a driving force for change. Because of legislation he helped champion, our air is cleaner, our food is safer, and our medical care better. Thanks to his work as a top watchdog in Congress, crucial steps have been taken to curb abuses on Wall Street, to halt wasteful spending in Iraq, and to ban steroids from Major League Baseball. Few legislators can match his accomplishments or his insights on how good work gets done in Washington.
In this book, Waxman affords readers a rare glimpse into how this is achieved-the strategy, the maneuvering, the behind-the-scenes deals. He shows how the things we take for granted (clear information about tobacco's harmfulness, accurate nutritional labeling, important drugs that have saved countless lives) started out humbly-derided by big business interests as impossible or even destructive. Sometimes, the most dramatic breakthroughs occur through small twists of fate or the most narrow voting margin. Waxman's stories are surprising because they illustrate that while government's progress may seem glacial, much is happening, and small battles waged over years can yield great results.
At a moment when so much has been written about what's wrong with Congress-the gridlock, the partisanship, the influence of interest groups-Henry Waxman offers sophisticated, concrete examples of how government can (and should) work.
Stine has written 56 YA novels and one adult novel, all horror. Readers will recognize this as the adult novel because it's hardcover and several characters in it curse, enjoy X-rated sex and die gruesomely detailed deaths. Otherwise, this simple, sturdy story of occult mayhem on a bucolic college campus features the sort of crude yet functional casting, plotting and prose that have made Stine America's bestselling YA author: characters verge on caricature, for easy identification; stormy nights and cliff-hangers abound; and no-frills prose, arranged in short sentences and paragraphs for speed reading, tells the tale (``The fingers stab deep. Her eyeballs make a soft plop plop as they are pried out''). Even those with minimal attention spans will keep turning pages as grad student Sara Morgan meets and marries hunky prof Liam Morgan. So what if Liam has a murky past, lives with his sister and takes his field-Irish folklore-so seriously that he throws salt over his shoulder for good luck and cringes in terror when a black cat jumps on his lap? Does that mean he's involved in the brutal mutilation-murders that are plaguing Moore State? Stine shakes a finger at two other suspects but doesn't reveal the reason for the bloodletting until novel's end. And that's just as well since, like the rest of this story, the underlying premise is about as sophisticated, though as effective, as jumping out from a dark corner and yelling ``boo!'' Major ad/promo; film rights to Miramax (Brandon Tartikoff, producer); Time/Warner audio due in October; author tour. (Sept.)