Top Books/Videos for SHANANNAREEFERS

(updated October 31, 2009)


Seekers Humanists Atheists Naturalists
Agnostics Nonreligionists Nontheists Antireligionists
Realists Educationalists Experimentalists Freethinkers
Enlightened Rationalists Secularists

- - - Books Added on October 31, 2009 - - -

040 The Healing of America : A Global Quest
for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care,
by T.R. Reid
"... In The Healing of America, New York Times
bestselling author T. R. Reid shows how all the
other industrialized democracies have achieved
something the United States can't seem to do:
provide health care for everybody at a reason-
able cost.

In his global quest to find a possible prescription,
Reid visits wealthy, free market, industrialized
democracies like our own - including France,
Germany, Japan, the U.K., and Canada - where
he finds inspiration in example. Reid ... finding
that foreign health care systems give everybody
quality care at an affordable cost. ...

... Is health care a human right? Most countries
have already answered with a resolute yes, leaving
the United States in the murky moral backwater
with nations we typically think of as far less just
than our own. ..."

039. Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare
Reform : How We Can Achieve Affordable Medical
Care for Every American and Make Our Jobs Safer,
by Howard Dean (Author),  Igor Volsky (Contributor),
Faiz Shakir (Contributor)
"... As both a Democratic Party standard bearer
and a former practicing physician, Howard Dean
has placed himself at the forefront of grass-roots
organizing for healthcare reform.

In a searing indictment of private insurers who put
profits ahead of care, Dean advocates a public-
health insurance option, posing the question: 'Is
private health insurance really health insurance?
Or is it simply an extension of the things that have
been happening on Wall Street?'

Charts illustrate the disadvantages faced by U.S.
industry against competitors in other countries,
and dovetail with his plan for 'healthcare reform,
not just insurance reform,' including more preven-
tative medicine, home-care for seniors, standards
set by medical professionals rather than insurers;
ultimately, he concludes, the result would be lower
costs and better medicine.

Dean is most controversial when he proposes to
fund reforms with a carbon tax on gasoline, and
only slightly less so when asserting that a 'reform
bill is not worth passing' without a public option. ..."

038. What Liberals Believe, Thousands of Quotes
on Why America Needs to Be Rescued from Greedy
Corporations, Homophobes, Racists, Imperialists,
Xenophobes, and Religious Extremists,
edited by William Martin
"... In a political and media environment domin-
ated by corporate and conservative interests,
liberals need every opportunity to be heard,
without distortion and in their own words. What
Liberals Believe contains thousands of cutting-
edge quotations culled from the best alternative
media sources and the keenest progressive minds,
past and present ...

Covering topics from Christian fundamentalism
to the Iraq War, from feminism to homophobia,
What Liberals Believe is packed with timely, in-
sightful quotations covering hundreds of critical
issues. (And, to be fair and balanced, there is
a section of "Callous and Clueless Quotes from
the Right.")

What Liberals Believe will appeal to anyone who
has grown weary of the extremism of the shame-
less right and needs a fresh perspective on Amer-
ican political life.  ..."

037. The Conscience of a Liberal,
by Paul Krugman
"... Krugman's great theme is economic equality
and the liberal politics that support it. America's
post-war middle-class society was not the auto-
matic product of a free-market economy, he writes,
but was created ... by the policies of the Roosevelt

By strengthening labor unions and taxing the rich to
fund redistributive programs like Social Security
and Medicare, the New Deal consensus narrowed
the income gap, lifted the working class out of pov-
erty and made the economy boom. Things went
awry, Krugman contends, with the Republican
Party's takeover by movement conservatism, prac-
ticing a politics of deception [and] distraction to
advance the interests of the wealthy.

Conservative initiatives to cut taxes for the rich,
dismantle social programs and demolish unions,
he argues, have led to sharply rising inequality,
with the incomes of the wealthiest soaring while
those of most workers stagnate. ... a compelling
historical defense of liberalism and a clarion call
for Americans to retake control of their economic
destiny. ..."

036. The Problem of Punishment, by David Boonin
"... examines the problem of punishment, and par-
ticularly the problem of explaining why it is morally
permissible for the state to treat those who break
the law in ways that would be wrong to treat those
who do not. Boonin argues that there is no satisfac-
tory solution to this problem and that the practice
of legal punishment should therefore be abolished.

Providing a detailed account of the nature of punish-
ment and the problems that it generates, he offers
a comprehensive and critical survey of the various
solutions that have been offered to the problem
and concludes by considering victim restitution as
an alternative to punishment. ..."

035. The Case Against Punishment : Retribution,
Crime Prevention, and the Law, by Deirdre Golash
"... What ends do we expect and hope to serve in
punishing criminal wrongdoers? Does the punish-
ment of offenders do more harm than good for
American society? ...

... this book argues that the harm done by punishing
criminal offenders is ultimately morally unjustified.
... we should address criminal acts through trial,
conviction, and compensation to the victim, while
also providing the criminal with the opportunity to
reconcile with society through morally good action
rather than punishment. ..."

034. Why the Religious Right Is Wrong
About Separation of Church and State, 
by Rob Boston
"... traces the origins of church-state separation from
the Reformation into the present. He debunks the
claims made by many on the religious right that the
United States was founded as a 'Christian nation,'
reproducing key documents and the testimony of
the founding fathers. This book is a must-read for
secular progressives. ..."

033. The Fight to Survive : A Young Girl's
Struggle with Diabetes and the Discovery
of Insulin, by Caroline Cox
"... In 1919, when 11-year-old Elizabeth Evan
Hughes was first diagnosed with what we now
know is Type 1 or juvenile diabetes, the medical
community considered it a death sentence. In
The Fight to Survive, Caroline Cox weaves the
heart-wrenching story of Hughes’ role in a med-
ical discovery that stopped the disease in its
tracks — only weeks before her imminent death.

The only account of one of the very first patients
to be successfully treated with insulin for juvenile
diabetes, this book tells two fascinating stories in
tandem: that of Hughes’ personal struggle, and the
medical detective story that occurred during a time
when endocrinology research made significant

It was Frederick Banting and John Macleod, doc-
tors and researchers, who were finally able to
create a testable version of insulin treatment to
save Hughes’ life. She lived until the age of 74,
and Banting and Macleod won the Nobel Prize
in Medicine for their work. ..."

032. Good Dogs Doing Good : Lives
Transformed by Man's Best Friend,
by The Healing Project (edited by
Richard Day Gore and Juliann Garey)
"... Filled with heartwarming stories of lovable
dogs helping their masters cope with life-threat-
ening diseases or chronic illnesses, this moving
collection will comfort and encourage readers
to face their own challenges.

The courage, loyalty, love, and determination of
these canine companions is faithfully documented
in each touching story.

From rambunctious pups whose antics have yanked
down the curtain of depression and let the sun shine
into their owners' lives to loyal and resourceful dogs
who have become vital aids in their owners' strug-
gles with chronic or life-threatening diseases, these
stories are rich with the drama, humor, and pathos
that have earned the humble dog the beloved status
of man's best friend. ..."

031. Marijuana is Safer, So why are
we driving people to drink, by Steve
Fox, Paul Armentano, Mason Tvert,
forward by Norm Stamper (former
chief of the Seattle Police Department)
"... 'In truth, it turns out The Devil Weed is safer
than alcohol. If that shocks you, you better read
this book. It could be a game changer.'
--Mike Gray, author of Drug Crazy: How We
   Got Into This Mess & How We Can get Out

... 'As one who has been entrusted with maintain-
ing the public's safety, I strongly believe --and
most people agree-- that our laws should punish
people who do harm to others. But by banning
the use of marijuana and punishing individuals
who merely possess the substance, it is difficult
to see what harm we are trying to prevent.

From my own work and the experiences of other
members of the law enforcement community, it is
abundantly clear that marijuana is rarely, if ever,
the cause of disruptive or violent behavior. That
marijuana causes very little social harm is reason
enough in a free society to legalize it for adults.

But as Steve, Paul, and Mason so brilliantly
demonstrate in this book, an even more persua-
sive reason is that by prohibiting marijuana we
are steering people toward a substance that far
too many people already abuse, namely alcohol.'
--Norm Stamper, former Chief of the Seattle
   Police Department

... 'I took great pride in my performance on and
off the field, and often questioned why our culture
embraces alcohol while simultaneously stigmatizing
those who choose to consume a less harmful alter-
native, marijuana.

Marijuana Is Safer makes an irrefutable case for
liberating current cannabis policy by comparing
and contrasting its use with that of alcohol. This
outstanding book makes it clear that it is incon-
sistent, both legally and socially, for our laws to
punish adults who make the safer choice.'
--Mark Stepnoski, five-time NFL Pro Bowler
   and two-time Superbowl champion with the
   Dallas Cowboys

030. The Chemical Muse : Drug Use
and the Roots of Western Civilization,
by D.C.A. Hillman, PH.D.
"... uncovers decades of misdirection and obfusca-
tion to reveal the history of widespread drug use in
Ancient Rome and Greece. In the city-states that
gave birth to Western civilization, drugs were an
everyday element of a free society. Often they
were not just available, but vitally necessary for
use in medicine, religious ceremonies, and war

Their proponents and users existed in all classes,
from the common soldier to the emperor himself.

... D. C. A. Hillman ... appeals for an intellectual
honesty that acknowledges the use of drugs in
ancient societies despite today’s conflicting social
mores. ... The Chemical Muse offers a unique and
long overdue perspective on the contentious topic
of drug use and the freedom of thought. ..."

029. Wikipedia (The Free Encyclopedia)
Freethought and Secular Humanism, by User Contributions

"... Sociology (Latin: socius, 'companion'; -ology, 
'the study of', Greek λόγος, lógos, 'knowledge')
is the study of human societies.

It is a social science (with which it is informally
synonymous) that uses various methods of empir-
ical investigation and critical analysis to develop
and refine a body of knowledge on human social
activity, often with the goal of applying such know-
ledge to the pursuit of social welfare. ...

Law is a system of rules, usually enforced through
a set of institutions. It shapes politics, economics
and society in numerous ways and serves as a pri-
mary social mediator of relations between people.

 ... Law provides a rich source of scholarly inquiry,
into legal history, philosophy, economic analysis or
sociology. Law also raises important and complex
issues concerning equality, fairness and justice. ..."

- - - Videos Added on October 31, 2009 - - -

028. DVD : Sicko

027. DVD : Sick Around America

026. DVD : Sick Around the World

025. Pro-Humanist FREELOVER Posts which
include videos pertaining to Social/Legal
(as of October 31, 2009)

- - - Books from the 1999 & 2000 Versions of this post - - -

024. The Godless Constitution: The Case Against
Religious Correctness, by Isaac Kramnick
"... This book examines American History to
discover the original intent of the First Amendment.
America is not, nor has it ever been an instrument
for religion. It was purposely founded on secular
ideals to avoid the oppression which all too often
plagued governments where church and state were
not separated. The American form of government
is founded on ideals which were formulated in the
mind of man.

023. The Myth of Christian America : What You
Need to Know About the Separation of Church
and State, by Mark Weldon Whitten, James Dunn
"... Whitten outlines what Christians need to know
about proper relations between religion, Christian
or otherwise, and government. Far from being
a 'myth' or a 'lie,' church-state separation is a
constitutional principle and philosophy that is
enshrined within the First Amendment. ..."

022. Why the Religious Right Is Wrong About
Separation of Church & State, by Rob Boston
"... A journalist's account of how the religious right
is using the political arena to wage war against the
governing principle of separation of church and
state to promote their ultraconservative agenda. ..."

021. The Most Dangerous Man in America?
Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian
Coalition, by Rob Boston
"... Despite televangelist Pat Robertson's high ranking
in the powerful Christian Coalition, many Americans
are unaware of his extreme political views or his goals
for the United States. This book examines the role
Robertson plays in contemporary politics and his
efforts to influence American society through his
various political organizations, businesses, and
broadcast empire. ..."

020. Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy
and Democracy, by Frederick Clarkson
"... provides a chilling road map to a growing move-
ment whose roots go back to the founding days of
the country. ... consider what it would be like if hav-
ing an abortion was punishable by death, if gays and
lesbians were thrown into jail, or if our constitutional
rights were replaced by biblical law.

... it was Clarkson who first exposed the Christian
Coalition's plans to take over the Republican Party,
plans which have largely succeeded in several states
and was actually seen as it was acted out on tele-
vision in the 1996 Texas Republic Convention.

Clarkson was also the first to expose how elements
of the Christian Right were encouraging the formation
of citizen 'militias' almost five years before the Okla-
homa City bombing propelled the militia movement
into general public awareness.

Eternal Hostility is a warning bell in the night and is
essential reading for any secular humanist or free-
thinker needing to be aroused from a complacency
that 'it can't happen here' -- because it has, it is, and
it may well succeed if enough good men do nothing
to stop it. ..."

019. Not by Politics Alone: The Enduring Influence
of the Christian Right, by Sara Diamond
"... The Christian right is many things. Its a political
coalition with strong ties to and influence on the
Republican Party, but it's also a subculture that
provides, as she puts it, 'a safe haven when political
success is not forthcoming.' Through the media,
church and community organizations, and other
avenues, the right creates a strong ideology. ..."

018. Rage Against the Veil : The Courageous
Life and Death of an Islamic Dissident,
by Parvin Darabi, Romin P. Thomson
"... For many years, I wondered what happened
to Dr. Homa Darabi, my coworker and friend.
Recently I saw her name in a letter to the editor
in Ohio Dispatch from her sister Parvin. I imme-
diately purchased the book, Rage against the
Veil, and when I saw her picture on the back
cover I could not believe that such a thing could
happen to my friend. I remembered my friend,
Dr. Darabi, the best physician I have ever known.

What a waste, such a lively, compassionate and
beautiful human being she was. I read the book
without putting it down from cover to cover and
cried all through out. I remembered how much
I had asked her to stay in America and how she
had insisted that she must return to her native
country to help the children in need. ..."

017. Sleeping With Extra-Terrestrials : The
Rise of Irrationalism and Perils of Piety,
by Wendy Kaminer
"...  Review excerpt from Kirkus Reviews: "A
thorough examination of faith-based beliefs, from
visitations by angels to abductions by aliens, with
a detailed list of the problems these beliefs create
in society at large. ... She cites case after case
of religious viewpoints appearing in school and
work settings, in which Protestant Christianity is
the favored viewpoint. Kaminer is quick to point
out this double standard, present not only in
schools and workplaces but also in government
at all levels. ..."

016. Women Without Superstition : No
Gods - No Masters, by Annie Laurie Gaylor
"...  A superb collection of original writings ... tells
the story of how female heretics, agnostics, and
atheists influenced the women's movement. It is
particularly valuable to history buffs and women
activists. The writings are provocative, timely,
and give the eloquent views of women--past and
present--who were social reformers as well as
revolutionaries. ..."

015. Wrath of Angels: The American Abortion
War, by Jim Risen, Judy Thomas
"... Wrath of Angels is hard-hitting, objective, scary.
From governmental agencies more concerned about
their egos than solving clinic bombings, to the terrorist
praising God in prayer and song while driving from
a clinic she just torched, it is not only scary; it is sick-

Whether Catholic or fundamentalist, from the left or
the right, blockades or bombings or shootings, these
are people who believe they have some message
from God to deny women the ability to make per-
sonal, medical decisions about their reproductive
lives. ..."

014. Discipline and Punish : The Birth of the Prison
by Michel Foucault, Alan Sheridan (Translator)
"... In this brilliant work, the most influential philoso-
pher since Sartre suggests that such vaunted reforms
as the abolition of torture and the emergence of the
modern penitentiary have merely shifted the focus
of punishment from the prisoner's body to his soul.
Beginning with the emergence of Western penal
methods in the seventeenth century, the noted
French philosopher explores the role of prisons
in society and shows that prisons today, as always,
simply define, refine, and perpetuate crime. ..."

013. Sex, Drugs, Death, and the Law: An Essay
on Human Rights & Overcriminalization,
by David A Richards
"... The best philosophical treatment of decriminal-
ization available. Among the most commonly arg-
ued legal questions are those involving 'victimless'
crimes--consensual adult sexual relations (including
homosexuality and prostitution), the use of drugs,
and the right to die. How can they be distinguished
from proper crimes, and how can we, as citizens,
judge the complex moral and legal issues that such
questions entail? ..."

012. A Brief History of Drugs: From the Stone
Age to the Stoned Age, by Antonio Escohotado
"... A fascinating and informative history of human-
kind's checkered and often ambivalent relationship
with psychoactive plants and drugs. From the role
of the opium poppy in ancient Mesopotamia and
the ergot-based mystery cult of Eleusis, through
the opium wars in China and the persecution of
medieval herbalist witches, up to the 'psychedelic
rebellion' of the sixties and the insanities of the cur-
rent 'war on drugs,' Escohotado covers an enor-
mous subject with scholarly acumen and brings the
light of reason to bear on topics often shrouded in
bigotry, ignorance, and cupidity. ..."

011. Drug Crazy: How We Got Into This Mess
and How We Can Get Out, by Mike Gray
"... Drug Crazy is a scathing indictment of America's
decades long 'war on drugs', an expensive and
hypocritical folly which has essentially benefited
only two classes of people: professional anti-drug
advocates and drug lords. ..."

010. Drug Warriors and Their Prey : From
Police Power to Police State,
by Richard Lawrence Miller
"... Miller (an independent scholar) argues that
America's 'war on drugs' promotes public fear
in order to convince citizens to relinquish their
civil liberties. The author presents cases of drug
law enforcement agencies sacrificing civil rights
without just cause, victimizing blameless people,
and promoting an authoritarian conspiracy to
undermine democracy which, he believes, will
lead to mass murder. ..."

009. Our Right to Drugs : The Case for
a Free Market, by Thomas Stephen Szasz
"... 'My aim' states Szasz, 'is to mount a critique
of our current drug laws and social policies,
based on the fundamental premise that a limited
government, epitomized by the U.S., lacks the
political legitimacy to deprive competent adults
of the right to ingest, inhale, or inject whatever
substance they want.' ..."

008. Drug War Politics : The Price of Denial,
by Eva Bertram, Kenneth Sharpe, Peter Andreas
"... The authors argue that the U.S. government's
drug policy has been mired in get-tough measures
of a 'punitive paradigm' that plays well with voters,
but has clearly failed, caused great 'collateral dam-
age' within society, and blocked more rational and
successful public health solutions implied in a 'public
health paradigm.' Although the authors consider the
legalization approach, they argue that a new public-
health strategy will do more to 'heal the suffering
caused by drug abuse and addiction.'... ..."

007. Ending the War on Drugs : A Solution
for America, by Dirk Chase Eldredge
"... This conservative Republican has examined
our drug policies in considerable detail. He details
the failures of the Justice Department, FBI, US
Customs Service, and others in their futile quest
for a 'drug-free America.' He clearly points out
the horrendous effects of these policies on our
country: the overcrowded prisons, police corrup-
tion, violence, spread of AIDS, unjust sentencing,
judicial overload, and the tyranny of asset forfei-
ture. ..."

006. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive
Substances, by Richard Rudgley
"... Provides the first reliable, comprehensive
exploration of this fascinating and controversial
topic. With over one hundred entries, acclaimed
author Richard Rudgley covers not only the
chemical and botanical background of each
substance, but its physiological and psycholog-
ical effect on the user. Of particular value is
Rudgley's emphasis on the historical and cultural
role of these mind-altering substances. ..."

005. Dead Wrong : A Death Row Lawyer Speaks
Out Against Capital Punishment,
by Michael A. Mello, David Von Drehle
"... It is astonishing how many cases Mello can
cite, from his own experience, of prisoners either
executed or nearly executed in flagrantly unconsti-
tutional circumstances due to indifference, incom-
petence, or outright hostility from the courts, con-
sidering that he has performed a mere 14 years
of 'deathwork', as he calls it. ..."

004. An Eye for an Eye? : The Immorality of
Punishing by Death, by Stephen Nathanson,
Arthur J. Goldberg
"... From the foreword by Arthur J. Goldberg,
former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
of the United States: "The Eighth Amendment to
the Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual pun-
ishment. That the death penalty is cruel, no one
can deny. That it is unusual is established by the
fact that juries are increasingly reluctant to im-
pose it. And most civilized nations, e.g., Great
Britain and France, have abolished it. My objec-
tion has been expressed, in main part, on legal
grounds, although it is also based on moral con-
siderations. ..."

003. The Rope, the Chair, and the Needle : Capital
Punishment in Texas, 1923-1990, by James W. Marquart,
Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Jonathan R. Sorensen
"... A comprehensive examination of capital punish-
ment in Texas, drawing on data for legal executions
from 1819 to 1990. The authors demonstrate how
slavery and the racially biased practice of lynching
in Texas led to the institutionalization and public
approval of executions skewed according to race,
class, and gender. ..."

002. Democracy at Risk : Rescuing Main Street
from Wall Street, by Jeff Gates
"... 'We've created a mean economy--a sumptuous
heaven for some, an ungodly struggle for most, and
a living hell for many,' writes Jeff Gates in Demo-
cracy at Risk. The United States, he says, suffers
from 'affluenza.'

It is a democracy in name only: 'Who would vote
for a system in which just three Americans -- Micro-
soft cofounders Bill Gates and Paul Allen plus Berk-
shire Hathaway's Warren Buffett -- have a net worth
larger than the combined GDP of the forty-one poor-
est nations and their 550 million people?' ..."

001. One Market Under God : Extreme Capitalism,
Market Populism, and the End of Economic
Democracy, by Thomas Frank
"... At last, a brave, witty dissent from the hype and
cant of the so-called New Economy! An astonishingly
well-written argument on behalf of American workers
who have seen their jobs disappear, their benefits cut,
and their incomes reduced in the name of the great
global marketplace. ..."