14 November 2007

It took a force as powerful as Bill O'Reilly to get me back into blogging. I spotted his lastest work, Kids are Americans Too, in the bookstore last week, and I was hooked - I spend the next forty minutes devouring it (this wasn't very difficult - the book is 130 pages long and is double-spaced with generous margins). I even wrote an Amazon review, the first time I've ever done that with a book.

While I won't repeat what I said on Amazon, suffice to say that this book is an awful embarrassment. I usually don't read books about current events by people like Bill O'Reilly because I already know what they're going to say, but they're just giving opinions that people can accept or reject. What makes this book so fascinating/infuriating is that it purports to be something of a treatise for young people about their constitutional rights. I am quite certain no lawyer ever read this book before it was published, and the legal analysis is astonishingly inaccurate. (To take one example, O'Reilly asserts that the Constitution protects the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," which of course it does not. He then frames a hypothetical to analyze how different people's rights to "happiness" might conflict and how courts resolve those conflicts. Quite bizarre.) Shouldn't publishers at least feel some responsibility to ensure that informational guides for children aren't filled with falsehoods?

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