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Book clubbing



News Hits has decided to steal from Oprah's well-oiled hype machine and start a book club of our own. The first selection for a tome we'd like our readers to peruse en masse is a piece of nonfiction that became available Monday: Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush.

Here's part of the publisher's blurb trumpeting the book: "In these highly charged times, it is the word that dare not speak its name: impeachment. Democrats and other opponents of the president, as well as people in the media, are afraid to raise the topic for fear of being called too partisan or extreme."

The book is the work of the good folks at the Center for Constitutional Rights, a nonprofit legal and educational organization based in New York City.

Again, we quote the publisher: "The experts at one our nation's leading institutions of constitutional scholarship ... set out the legal arguments for impeachment in a clear, concise, and objective discussion. In four separate articles of impeachment detailing four separate charges — warrantless surveillance, misleading Congress on the reasons for the Iraq war, violating laws against torture, and subverting the Constitution's separation of powers — it is, say the CCR attorneys, a case of black letter law, with abundant evidence."

We talked with Michael Ratner, president of CCR, and asked him why the group decided to have the case against the president published in book form. He told us that after fighting the administration on varying fronts, it became apparent that, taken together, Bush's actions add up to a presidency intent on subverting the Constitution, and that the book is a way to put the whole frightening mess into concise perspective.

The hope, Ratner said, is that the book will motivate the American public as a whole, and members of Congress in particular, to take a serious look at stopping the blatantly illegal actions of a president he describes as being "drunk with power."

Granted, the book doesn't have the sex appeal of, say, a tawdry scandal involving lies about an intern's blue dress and Oval Office BJs. But News Hits is hopeful nonetheless that our readers will find this a page-turner. Hell, if the report produced by a prig like Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr could become a bestseller, there's reason to hope this book can find an appreciative audience. As Ratner pointed out, "Destruction of the Republic is a much more serious issue than a president lying about an affair."

The $9.95 book is available online from Melvin House publishing ( In the interest of expanding literacy as well as the formulation of legislative spine, the publisher will cover shipping costs if you also buy a copy of the book for your congressman.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact the column at 313-202-8004 or

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