Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government

P. J. O'Rourke, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $19.95 (233p) ISBN 978-0-87113-455-4

As a conservative, political humorist O'Rourke ( Holidays in Hell ) can get on liberals' nerves with his mindless characterization of environmentalists as ``tree huggers'' or his mockery of Jesse Jackson's ``daft notions.'' Then again, any satirist who compares George Bush to Captain Kangaroo and would lop millions from the military budget can't be accused of partisan target practice. O'Rourke's basic theme--there's too much government, and what government we have is tremendously inefficient and wasteful--reverberates through his vitriol, as he takes readers through a congressman's typical day, unmasks the hollow charade of presidential conventions and offers squibs on the savings-and-loan bailout, the war on drugs, housing policy, the Supreme Court, etc. Loosely organized as a civics textbook, these essays at their best are deadly accurate, very funny and on-target, a purgation of the Augean stables of American politicswhew! . (June)