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Thursday, May 22, 2014

David Brooks, "Really Good Books, Part I": What About the VA Scandal?

Are you looking for a good book? If you are at all like me, you are constantly seeking a brief respite from the horrors of reality. However, I don't read the columns of political pundits during times of scandal in order to learn about their most beloved novels and works of non-fiction.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Really Good Books, Part I" (, David Brooks offers us a list of some his favorite books. Brooks begins by declaring:

"People are always asking me what my favorite books are. I’ve held off listing them because it seems self-indulgent. But, with summer almost here, I thought I might spend a couple columns recommending eight books that have been pivotal in my life."

Okay, David, I agree that C.S. Lewis and George Orwell are masters of the English language. and I know that Oprah also has her book club. However, there's this VA scandal that has polluted the air over Washington, and I thought that you, or one of the other columnists at the Times, might want to say a word or two.

True, a recent Times editorial entitled "Troubles With Veterans’ Health Care" ( declared:

"President Obama expressed outrage on Wednesday at recent charges of wrongdoing in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ health care system. He also dispatched his deputy chief of staff to Phoenix to assess explosive allegations that government workers falsified data to hide long wait times for veterans needing to see doctors.

But expressing outrage is hardly enough for a president who, as a candidate in 2008, criticized the agency and vowed to improve care and address backlogs. It is past time for a more visible personal commitment to right these wrongs as well as strong White House support for legislation that would make it possible for top agency officials to fire those responsible for wrongdoing.

The allegations that veterans’ hospitals around the country manipulated data or created secret waiting lists to hide long delays are disgraceful. Those concerns initially focused on veterans’ medical facilities in Phoenix, but now involve 26 facilities in several states, including Colorado, Texas and Wyoming."

But is enough to observe that Obama purportedly expressed "outrage"? This is no "bogus" scandal, but instead of much needed commentary from Brooks, we get a book list.

Thanks, David, but I can somehow manage without your list.


  1. Seems my comment didn't upload. Seems awful to say but you too need a respite from the horrors of reality. Ironically, David's booklist, in the context of the current Veteran's crisis is a not a respite but an integral part of the horror.

  2. Yes, what would I do in life without Brooks's help?
    Another pompous idiot.