Wrecked

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The author, Joe Ide, was recently picked by the Raymond Chandler estate to write a Philip Marlowe novel. I haven't been impressed with those "authorized" efforts in the past. (Whether by Lawrence Osborne, John Banville, or even the late, sainted, Robert B. Parker.)

But while e-reading this book, I highlighted this bit:

She greeted him at the door with a bottle of Crown Royal, glittery purple eye shadow, and a negligee that looked like a lace tablecloth thrown over a buffalo.

Oh, hell yes. That's perfect. Joe Ide could be a great choice to write a Marlowe novel. And I bought his effort, The Goodbye Coast, near-immediately after reading that.

But this book: it's number three in Ide's series centering around IQ, aka Isaiah Quintabe, a young man of mixed racial heritage, Sherlockian skills of observation and deduction, and (unfortunately) near-negligible skills in romance. Which governs the path he follows in taking on the case of Grace, the mysterious young woman he encounted back in book number one. Grace was abandoned by her mother, Sarah, years back, without explanation or clue. But Grace saw her recently, sitting in a parked car. Can IQ track her down?

Well, sure. Of course. But Sarah's on the run, thanks to her efforts to blackmail the rich head of a secretive security corporation, one that makes Blackwater look like Pepperidge Farm. It involves very nasty deeds in an Iraq prison during the war. So IQ has to deal with them too, and they have access to state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, and no scruples about murder and torture to find Sarah themselves.

There's less detective work going on here, it's more of a deadly cat-and-mouse game, where the mice are Sarah, Grace IQ, and their allies. A page-turner of course.

URLs du Jour

2022-03-04

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  • As previously predicted here two days ago, the latest CDC calculation of my county's "Community Level" has changed from "High" (bad) to "Medium" (less bad). The difference being that at "Medium" level there's no recommendation for us peons to "Wear a mask indoors in public". Yay!

    Even better news, New Hampshire now has no counties in the "High" classification. And three counties are at the "Low" Community Level: Belknap, Hillsborough, and Rockingham.

    But (sigh) as I type, some institutions are not Following The Science. UNH (also in Strafford County) still demands:

    Masks are required in all indoor campus spaces except when eating, in private offices or in personal residence hall rooms. The requirement applies to everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated. This includes classrooms, hallways, elevators, restrooms, break rooms, entries and exits to buildings, laboratories, meeting rooms, shared offices and work areas as well as on all Wildcat Transit buses.

    [UPDATE: Note the "as I type" caveat above; UNH rescinded its indoor masking requirement later on March 4.]

    And despite being in "Low" Rockingham County, the Portsmouth Public Library continues to mandate:

    Anyone over the age of 6 will be required to wear a face mask to enter the library, and at all times while in the building.

    This is even after the City of Portsmouth rescinded its mandate back on February 15. No explanation is offered, inviting me to speculate that the PPL directors get a sick little kick from making arbitrary and unfounded demands of their patrons.

    I wonder if I can claim to identify as being under the age of six.


  • "Creepy" is too mild a word. But we'll excuse it, coming as it does from Jacob Sullum: Vivek Murthy's Demand for Data on COVID 'Misinformation' Is Part of a Creepy Crusade to Suppress Dissent.

    Last July, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued an advisory that called for a "whole-of-society" effort to combat the "urgent threat to public health" posed by "health misinformation." Today Murthy asked tech companies to do their part by turning over data on "COVID-19 misinformation," including its sources and its propagation through search engines, social media platforms, instant messaging services, and e-commerce sites, by May 2.

    While Murthy himself has no power to compel disclosure of that information, the companies have strong incentives to cooperate, since the Biden administration can make life difficult for them by filing lawsuits, writing regulations, and supporting new legislation. President Joe Biden has endorsed the campaign to suppress "misinformation," going so far as to accuse social media platforms of "killing people" by allowing the spread of anti-vaccine messages. Murthy's advisory, which defines misinformation to include statements that he deems "misleading" even when they are arguably or verifiably true, says the battle against it might include "appropriate legal and regulatory measures."

    "Misinformation" is defined (roughly) as anything deviating from the Official Government Line (at the time). Even if the "misinformation" turned out later to be more accurate than what the CDC/NIH/FDA were saying.

    As I've tiresomely said in the past, one of my mottos here is "used to be disgusted, try to be amused".

    But We Are Not Amused by this. It's an attempted end run around the First Amendment, the state enlisting private companies to do the dirty work of censorship that the state is prohibited from doing itself.

    And given the redoubled push to bring "gun violence" under the CDC's aegis, how quickly can we expect Second Amendment advocates to be investigated for "misinformation"?


  • I wasn't waiting for your permission, Dominic, but thanks anyway. Prohibition has been over for nearly 90 years, but the prohibitionist mentality never went away. Dominic Pino looks at the latest manifestation, and suggests that you Buy a Truck If You Want One.

    It’s not uncommon to hear gun-rights advocates emphasize that guns don’t kill people; people kill people. To further illustrate the point, they’ll sometimes add other examples, such as saying that spoons don’t make people fat and cars don’t drive drunk.

    The weakness of reductio ad absurdum arguments is that sometimes the opponent just accepts the absurd argument, too. That seems to be happening with cars. Cars themselves are becoming a boogeyman for some on the left.

    Killer Truck, Dude” is the headline of a recent piece by Slate’s Dan Kois, which makes an argument that’s gaining popularity among some progressives: Large vehicles are senselessly dangerous, and purchasing one constitutes a grave moral failure. Kois writes that when you buy a pickup truck or large SUV, “you’ve announced, very clearly, that you don’t care if you accidentally kill a stranger. . . . I’m not saying you’re a murderer if you own a gigantic truck. I’m saying you’re a manslaughterer” (italics in original).

    Pino looks at the data, doesn't find much to support Kois's blustering accusations. (But at least I know that Slate hasn't returned to its more sensible early days. Don't have to bother checking.)

    I suppose Kois's next move will be to brand motorcycle riders as suicidal. I'm pretty sure the statistics there are even more dire.


  • Lawdy, Walt must be a-spinnin' in his cryogenic coffin. Megan McArdle notes inconsistent messaging coming from Big Mouse: The corporate world collides with this old-fashioned thing called ‘patriotism’

    Disney, bless it, recently made two decisions that perfectly encapsulate the current confrontation between liberal internationalism and a revanchist power that seems determined to upend it.

    Last month, the Los Angeles Times noted that Disneyland Park’s revived Main Street Electrical Parade will be shorn of the patriotic Americana finale that capped off the pageant for decades, instead featuring a float with Disney characters from recent movies. “The new float will give the Main Street Electrical Parade an infusion of fresh film- and park-inspired intellectual property,” wrote game critic Todd Martens, “and strike Disneyland of one of its last remaining symbols of arguably stale patriotism.”

    Six days later, as Ukraine was having its patriotism refreshed by Russian tanks and missiles, the Walt Disney Company announced that it would be “pausing” the release of its films in Russia, including, a spokesperson somberly noted, “the upcoming ‘Turning Red’ from Pixar.”

    I just watched West Side Story on Disney+ last night. It passed the new Disney guidelines, since it reveals America as irredeemably racist and violent.


  • Warning: Radical content ahead. I've mentioned one of my few radical (and politically hopeless) positions: repeal school compulsory attendance laws. But even more radical (and possibly more intellectually consistent) is C. Bradley Thompson, whose substack was brought to my attention by Instapundit. Here, he writes on The New Abolitionism: A Manifesto for a Movement. Sounds cranky!

    In the first essay in this series on educational freedom (“How the Redneck Intellectual Discovered Educational Freedom—and How You Can, Too”), I recounted the intellectual journey by which I went from being an education “reformist” to being a “separationist”—a proponent of the principle of “Separation of School and State.” I argued that if you support the principle of “Separation of Church and State,” which virtually everyone does, then you must, logically, by definition, support “Separation of School and State.” The argument for the former is identical to the argument for the latter.

    If “Separation of School and State” is true in theory (which it is), then the obvious question is: how do we get there from here? In other words, what must be done to achieve this moral-political ideal in practice? More specifically, what are we to do with the current education system?

    The answer is clear: if you are a “separationist” then you must be an “abolitionist,” that is, you must favor abolishing America’s dominant education system in one way or another. The one follows the other as night follows day. Simply put, “separationism” means “abolitionism.” Again, the logic is irrefutable. You can’t be a proponent of the one and not the other. Separation of School and State is the end and abolition is the means.

    C. Bradley Thompson is both certain and strident, things I try to avoid. I'm finding it very difficult (however) to disagree with anything he's saying. Maybe if I looked harder. I've subscribed to his RSS feed.


Last Modified 2022-03-05 9:08 AM EDT

West Side Story

[3 stars] [IMDB Link] [Amazon Link, See Disclaimer]

My pick for Thursday night viewing was this Steven Spielberg musical tragedy, recently moved to free-to-me status on the Disney+ streaming service. It has been nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.

I almost always do plot descriptions, no matter how unnecessary, so here you go: it's set in a dying Manhattan neighborhood in the 1950s, due to be demolished to make room for Lincoln Center and other urban renewal projects. But the turf is still considered worth fighting for by the youngsters, split into a white gang (Jets) and a Puerto Rican gang (Sharks). Into this toxic mix are thrown (1) Tony, a Jet recently let out of the slammer, trying to go straight; and (2) Maria, a young Puerto Rican girl. When they espy each other at a local dance, it's love at first sight. Maria dumps her date to canoodle with Tony under the bleachers. But…

Yes, to belabor the obvious, it's based on Romeo and Juliet.

The musical/dance numbers are impressively staged and filmed. Steven Spielberg looks to be a decent director, and I hope we'll hear more from him in the future.

The actress playing Maria, Rachel Zegler, is very pretty. According to the IMDB, she was hired straight out of high school, and this is her first movie role. Impressive.