The Black Box

[Amazon Link]

Slowly, oh so very slowly, catching up with Michael Connelly's novels. This one came out in November 2012, a mere 4.5 years ago! It's a Harry Bosch book, and Harry's in his usual fine form.

Twenty years previous, Harry was assigned to a near-hopeless task: investigate homicides committed in the midst of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. One was the murder of a female Danish journalist, found crumpled in an alley off Crenshaw Boulevard. What was she doing there? Was this random violence or was there a motive? While riot cops and National Guardsmen look on, Harry investigates, with partner J. Edgar, as best he can, before getting hustled along to the next victim. Eventually, the murder gets assigned to a special task force, which does its best with a hopeless case.

But present-day Harry works for the Open-Unsolved Unit. Fortuitous forensic advances allow analysis of the shell casing found at the scene, tracing it to other shootings in the years since. It's a thin, two-decade-old, reed to work with, but there's nobody better at working thin reeds than Harry. Unsurprisingly, Harry has to contend with reluctant witnesses and a new boss who despises Harry's loose-cannon ways.

Another page-turner, of course, with a slam-bang satisfying finish.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I've also been streaming the Amazon series Bosch. It's a tribute to Titus Welliver, who plays Harry, that I now "see" him when I read the books. The series really gets Harry right.

URLs du Jour

2017-05-04

■ Proverbs 26:6 continues the chapter's musing on fools:

Sending a message by the hands of a fool is like cutting off one's feet or drinking poison.

Ouch! Or as Obi-Wan might say: Who's the more foolish, the fool or the fool who sends a message via fool?

Yes, it's May-the-Fourth-Be-With-You, so I figured I'd wedge (heh) a Star Wars angle in here somehow. I think that's it for the day, though.

■ I believe I extracted this lesson from reading Tom Nichols' book The Death of Expertise: "Approach expert advice with a certain combination of skepticism and humility." I'd add: adjust that "certain combination" appropriately, considering the source.

For example, if the United Nations is involved, crank up the skepticism. At the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Angela Logomasini claims that Polluted Logic Taints WHO Reports on Children’s Health.

Two recent World Health Organization (WHO) reports claim that pollution kills 1.7 million children a year—a claim that captured many news headlines. Policy recommendations outlined in the reports include reducing the use of fossil fuels and certain “toxic” chemicals. But these supposed solutions will do more harm than good because “pollution” is not really the issue as much as the lack of economic development.

One of the WHO reports points an alarmed finger at “endocrine disrupting chemicals”; I'm reasonably convinced such fearmongering is junk science. But as Ms. Logomasini details, that's not the only WHO sin.

NR's Jonah Goldberg analyzes the reaction to the new NYT (ex-WSJ) columnist's debut op-ed and finds that The Left Took the Bait on Bret Stephens.

Stephens wrote that the “warming of the earth since 1880 is indisputable, as is the human influence on that warming.” The work of climate scientists is “scrupulous,” Stephens insisted, and he went on to clarify that he does not “deny” climate change.

The reaction? A Slate headline captured it well: “Bret Stephens’ First Column for the New York Times Is Classic Climate Change Denialism.”

Never let the facts get in the way of a good witch-hunt.

■ Veronique de Rugy reports for us on The Fear-Based Campaign to Control the Net.

Public fear is an ally of big government. When fear sets in among the populace—often with encouragement from self-interested politicians—the result is usually an expansion of governmental power and a loss of individual rights.

Politicians typically stoke fear by exaggerating some perceived threat or by inventing one out of whole cloth. They then declare that government alone can provide the answer. Take the demonization of a recent move led by Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., to undo last-minute Obama-era rules from the Federal Communications Commission regulating online privacy.

Even self-described geeks overstated (but eventually corrected) the allegedly dire threat to privacy.

■ Some of my left-leaning Facebook buddies haven't unfriended me yet, but that's probably because I don't get in their political faces that often. One posted fawning words about Hillary Clinton's recent interview with sycophantic Christiane Amanpour—how nice it would have been to have a President who spoke coherent thoughts in complete sentences!

I thought, but did not post, my snarky comment. Which was approximately the same as that provided by Jake Tapper:

“Hillary Clinton today accepting full responsibility for the election loss,” Tapper said. “Except for the part when she blamed Comey, Putin, Wikileaks, misogyny, and the media.”

Yes, but she did all that in complete sentences!

Or I could have posted the recent work of Michael P. Ramirez:

A Curse of Her Own Making

Is it just me, or does that bring to your mind …