A cautionary, timely gay rights manifesto with teeth.

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IT'S NOT OVER

GETTING BEYOND TOLERANCE, DEFEATING HOMOPHOBIA, AND WINNING TRUE EQUALITY

The noted outspoken gay journalist and radio host passionately appeals to the gay community to resist complacency in the struggle for equality.

In a thought-provoking call to arms, Signorile (Hitting Hard: Michelangelo Signorile on George W. Bush, Mary Cheney, Gay Marriage, Tom Cruise, the Christian Right and Sexual Hypocrisy in America, 2005, etc.) masterfully combines quotations and interviews from his satellite radio show with historical facts from the ever evolving gay rights movement to reiterate the “disconnect between the way we talk about the strides forward and the reality on the ground.” As revolutionary as the advancements in LGBT equality may appear, much work remains. Anti-gay violence, vicious schoolyard bullying, transphobia, Hollywood “gatekeep[ing],” and widespread discrimination in the name of religion are still occurring at alarming rates. The author surveys an impressive variety of contentious incidents (many already addressed on his radio program) ranging from the controversial, “morally complex” resignation of anti-gay Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich to extreme cases of homophobic bigotry, industry double standards, and hate crimes. Though it’s crystal clear whose side he’s on, Signorile fair-mindedly contrasts his pro-gay stance with contradicting conservative political and religious-leaning perspectives, and he points out the inherent flaws in their dictums. He severely criticizes the Republican Party for enacting widespread legislation based on the doctrine of “religious liberties.” By rebranding their backlash against marriage equality, the author shows how it directly threatens the freedoms of the LGBT community. Furthermore, he writes, this type of manipulative legal and social maneuvering places many other minority populations at risk for legalized discrimination as well. A summary of empowering steps forms a galvanizing takeaway for readers interested in making a difference. Though a tad vainglorious in spots, the thrust of Signorile’s urgent message is cogent and heartfelt, creating an essential reminder to the LGBT community to continue pressing forward toward the ultimate goal of “full civil rights and true equality.”

A cautionary, timely gay rights manifesto with teeth.

Pub Date: April 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-38100-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

ECONOMIC DIGNITY

Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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No one’s mind will be changed by Karl’s book, but it’s a valuable report from the scene of an ongoing train wreck.

FRONT ROW AT THE TRUMP SHOW

The chief White House and Washington correspondent for ABC provides a ringside seat to a disaster-ridden Oval Office.

It is Karl to whom we owe the current popularity of a learned Latin term. Questioning chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, he followed up a perhaps inadvertently honest response on the matter of Ukrainian intervention in the electoral campaign by saying, “What you just described is a quid pro quo.” Mulvaney’s reply: “Get over it.” Karl, who has been covering Trump for decades and knows which buttons to push and which to avoid, is not inclined to get over it: He rightly points out that a reporter today “faces a president who seems to have no appreciation or understanding of the First Amendment and the role of a free press in American democracy.” Yet even against a bellicose, untruthful leader, he adds, the press “is not the opposition party.” The author, who keeps his eye on the subject and not in the mirror, writes of Trump’s ability to stage situations, as when he once called Trump out, at an event, for misrepresenting poll results and Trump waited until the camera was off before exploding, “Fucking nasty guy!”—then finished up the interview as if nothing had happened. Trump and his inner circle are also, by Karl’s account, masters of timing, matching negative news such as the revelation that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election with distractions away from Trump—in this case, by pushing hard on the WikiLeaks emails from the Democratic campaign, news of which arrived at the same time. That isn’t to say that they manage people or the nation well; one of the more damning stories in a book full of them concerns former Homeland Security head Kirstjen Nielsen, cut off at the knees even while trying to do Trump’s bidding.

No one’s mind will be changed by Karl’s book, but it’s a valuable report from the scene of an ongoing train wreck.

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4562-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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