Dark Sky

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I started reading C. J. Box back in 2010. And now I'm almost caught up! And this is yet another page-turner. (Oops, sorry. Kindle version. Make that "yet another screen-swiper".)

Box's continuing hero, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett, finds himself in real trouble. Again. He's tasked by the (unlikeable and dishonest) governor to lead an elk hunt, escorting an arrogant, entitled tech billionaire and his retinue up into the mountains. The hope is that the tech guy will enjoy himself so much that he locate a massive server farm in Wyoming. The governor threatens Joe's job if he doesn't pull that off.

Little does Joe realize he's walking into a trap set by a demented rancher and his sons; they plan to exact murderous revenge on the Zuckerberg-like baron, and leave no witnesses. So what starts as an interesting hunting expedition soon turns into a deadly game of hide-and-seek in the Wyoming wildnerness. Who will survive?

(Well, Joe will. Barely. C. J. is not gonna kill off Joe.)

There's also a Nate Romanowski subplot. A sociopathic rival falconer has encroached on Nate's territory, looking to enrich himself by selling birds illegally to Saudi sheiks. That plot is not concluded, but a development late in the book guarantees that it will continue in the next volume. Which I already have in my Kindle library.

URLs du Jour

2022-04-17

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  • California dreamin'. The WSJ looks at a recent bit of social engineering: California’s French Four-Day Workweek.

    The popular book “The 4-Hour Workweek” provides tips on how to make more money by working less. Now California Democrats are taking a page from the book by proposing to mandate a four-day week, which would require businesses to pay employees the same wages for less work. As labor economics goes, this is up there with paying people not to work and expecting more people to work.

    A bill moving through the Legislature would shorten California’s normal workweek to 32 hours from 40 for companies with more than 500 employees. Workers who put in more than 32 hours in a week would have to be paid time-and-a-half. And get this: Employers would be prohibited from reducing workers’ current pay rate, so they would be paid the same for working 20% less.

    Now anyone with a smattering of sense can see how this would play out. The WSJ describes the likely effects. But the real issue they save for the end:

    Why do progressives think any idea they come up with has to be imposed by political coercion? You know the answer. Because they believe in their superior moral virtue, and they like to order other people around.

    Yeah.

    Our Amazon Product du Jour is the referenced book The 4-Hour Workweek. The top comment (as I type) from a verified purchaser:

    Conclusion: this book is for naive, weak, dummies who hate their jobs and will take any terrible advice to give them hope. Ultimately this book is like his own online business which sold a product of little value he wasn’t an expert in. Which is what this book is.

    But it sounds as if a number of those naive weak dummies are now in California politics.


  • What if we gave a primary and nobody came? Our quadrennial New Hampshire Presidential Primary may be in dire straits. NH Journal has the story: Dems Abandon FITN, Throw Open Early Primary Slots to All Comers. And they put the big reason up front:

    New Hampshire’s First in the Nation primary has not picked a Democratic nominee since John Kerry in 2004 — or a winning Democratic president since Jimmy Carter in 1976 — and now it appears the national party has had enough.

    On Wednesday the Democratic National Committee threw out its presidential primary calendar, threw Iowa and New Hampshire under the bus, and threw open the doors for every state to apply to be one of the early states in the nomination process.

    The primary brings in a lot of cash and attention from the rest of the nation, and I suppose that's why a lot of locals like it. Especially the cash part. But (cribbing the points I made back in 2020): we do a lousy job of picking the eventual president.

    • In the 2020, Joe Biden did not win. In fact, he came in fifth. Behind Bernie, Mayor Pete, Amy Klobuchar, and Fauxcahontas.
    • The last time the Democrat winner of a contested New Hampshire Primary went on to win the general election was 1976 (Jimmy Carter). (NH Journal omits the needed qualifier "contested".)
    • Republican primary voters can congratulate themselves on a slightly better record. In the last seriously-contested GOP-side primary in 2016, Trump soundly beat the field, and (as you know) went on to win. (Whether that was a wise choice for GOP voters… well, longtime readers know my opinion there. Probably also short-time readers.)
    • But before that, to find an NH GOP primary winner who went on to become President, you have to go back to 1988 when George H. W. Bush beat Bob Dole.

    But as many point out, we have an actual law that says the NH primary must be scheduled "7 days or more immediately preceding the date on which any other state shall hold a similar election." So we'll see what happens.


  • As the WSJ said above… progressives like to order other people around. J.D. Tuccille pleas with them to knock it off, specifically: Drop the Useless Mask Mandates and Leave Us Alone.

    Across the country, government officials seem eager to revive mask mandates and, perhaps, other artifacts of pandemic policy, if only as reminders of the high-tide mark of their emergency authority.

    "If we do start seeing an uptick, particularly of hospitalizations, we may need to revert back to being more careful and having more utilizations of masks indoors," Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the White House, taunted a COVID-weary nation on ABC News earlier this week.

    Sure enough, within days the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended the mask mandate for federally regulated travel; Philadelphia's city government did the same for indoor spaces. (Many colleges and universities followed suit.) Philadelphia officials offer no specifics about acceptable masks, but do say that restaurant patrons only have to wear them "while not seated and eating or drinking." For its part, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which enforces the CDC mandate, allows that "masks can be either manufactured or homemade and should be a solid piece of material without slits, exhalation valves, or punctures." It's hard to see what good masks are supposed to do if they're crumpled up in pockets while people talk and laugh or, for that matter, if they're worn but made of common fabric.

    According to the CDC, my own county (Strafford, NH) has ticked up to a medium "community level" recently (based on their essentially arbitrary criteria). I'm not seeing any changes in masking requirements, though. (My canary in the coal mine here is UNH, which rescinded its indoor masking requirements a month ago.)


  • I call a personal foul on Max Boot for unwarranted use of the first-person plural. And David Harsanyi backs me up, using Boot as an example of a general phenomenon: Elon Musks Twitter Takeover Bid Terrifies the Pro-Censorship Blue Checks. Here's the violation:

    And here's David:

    First of all, who is “we”? There is no grand “we” in a pluralistic open society engaged in debate. He wants content moderation. And maybe the inability, or refusal, to comprehend this obvious fact is the root philosophical problem with all those who say they are “frightened” by unmoderated political speech. If “democracy” meant small-l liberalism, then Boot would be defending free expression, as a neutral value, not just a principle upheld by law. But these days, “democracy” often amounts to little more than majoritarian bullying. And “content moderation” is little more than an effort to control political discourse.

    For those like Boot, democracy’s future is always hanging in the balance; it depends on shutting down dissent, or holding on to unilateral one-party rule, or ensuring an ideological monopoly over major cultural institutions. For democracy to survive, Democrats must federalize elections, Democrats are the only ones allowed to gerrymander, and elected Republicans must be stopped from implementing curricula in schools. For democracy to survive, we must squash any deviation from the dominant view.

    Similarly, this graphic has been making the local rounds:

    [pests]

    Comparing your political adversaries to subhuman pests is a traditional tactic used by both anti-Semites and Communists.