W is for Wasted

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I picked up a paperback of A is For Alibi by Sue Grafton in a long-gone Crown Books in Bethesda, Maryland back in the early 80's. I fell behind Ms. Grafton's chronicles of hardboiled female private eye Kinsey Millhone for awhile, but now I've caught up again. W is for Wasted is an above-average entry in the series. Kinsey is confronted with two deaths: one, a homeless guy named R. T. Dace has passed away on the Santa Teresa beach, apparently of natural causes acerbated by his substance-abusing lifestyle. But he has Kinsey's name and phone number in his pocket. And, to Kinsey's surprise, R. T. is a long-lost relation. (Kinsey's lack of knowledge about her family tree has been an occasional plot point in previous books.)

The second death occurred a few months previous: private eye Pete Wolinsky was shot for reasons unknown. Although ostensibly in the same line of work, Pete was as shady as Kinsey is honest. Numerous flashbacks describe the events leading up to Pete's demise. We learn that, although he is professionally slimy, he loves his wife dearly, and he's fond of feeding the pigeons.

Are these two deaths connected? Well sure. Sorry if that's a spoiler. Kinsey half-blunders into the connection (about a hundred pages after most readers will have seen it coming), but she follows things through to a satisfying conclusion.

The book is padded out to 480 pages; I assume this is a contractual obligation. In addition to the main plot, there's plenty of irrelevant and unnecessary detail, and side narratives involving Kinsey's usual acquaintances. (And there's a surprise appearance by a guy I thought was gone for good. No spoilers on that, but I hope we see him again in X, Y, or Z.

So I know much more than I did about the Beale Memorial Library on Truxtun Avenue in Bakersfield, CA. ("The interior was spacious and smelled of new commercial carpeting. The ceiling was high and the light was generous. I couldn't even guess at the square footage or the number of books the building housed, but the patrons had to have been thrilled with the facility. …" Sheesh. Sorry, I just don't care whether they were or not.)

But I just fast-forward through that stuff now. Rest assured that what's left is worthwhile: when Ms. Grafton is good, she's really good.

Senator Jeanne: A Deer in the Headlights

[Deer, Headlights] [Inspired by yesterday morning's mail from Jim Geraghty.]

Tuesday, the Washington Post featured a story from "Kaiser Health News":

Some Democrats have now joined their Republican counterparts in asking the Obama administration to moderate scheduled Medicare Advantage payment cuts for 2015.

Wha? Well, cut to the letter wherein this request is made to Ms Marilyn Tavenner, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS). Sure enough, one of the signatories is:

[signed by Jeanne]

Yup, that's one of my state's Senators, Jeanne Shaheen. Our other Senator, Kelly Ayotte, also signed, but that's not important to my point.

Which is this: the Medicare Advantage cuts are (in fact) part of Obamacare.

And Jeanne cast one of the deciding votes for Obamacare. It wouldn't have passed without her.

Worse: there was a separate vote that would have prevented these changes (see vote 72 description here). Like all but two Democrats, Senator Jeanne voted in favor of keeping the Medicare Advantage cuts in the final legislation.

In short: Jeanne should have known these cuts were coming. She voted for them. (And she voted, separately, against preventing them.) Now (as I type), 256 days away from Election Day, she wants backsies? Her letter to the CMMS Administrator is a good indication that she's aware her Obamacare support is sinking her polling numbers. (Her near-mindless voting record in support of President Obama continues to this day.)

Back in 2009, Jeanne was fully invested in the "if you have health coverage that you like you can keep it" lie; in fact, she has not yet memory-holed her response to "Emil from Salem" where she proclaimed this was "a requirement that I have for supporting a bill".

But many of us knew that was a lie back then; see the e-mail I sent to her back then in response to her empty promise, and (if you're feeling masochistic) my response to her form-letter reply.

Last Modified 2014-02-21 9:48 PM EST