Little White Lies

[Amazon Link]

The title, according to Amazon, is technically Robert B. Parker's Little White Lies, but the implied attribution of such lies to the late Mr. Parker is "honoring" him entirely too much. The (understandable) little white lie here is that he had anything to do with writing the book, and that's on the publisher, not Mr. Parker.

A more honest book jacket would say

Another Attempt to Shake Money
Out of the Wallets of Fans of

Robert B.

Parker's

Spenser Novels

LITTLE WHITE LIES

BY ACE ATKINS

Hey, I'm not ashamed to admit: I am hooked. This is Ace Atkins' sixth Spenser-novel authorship, and it's fine. I just want to see what Spenser and his crowd are up to these days.

What he's up to this time: his sweetie-shrink Susan has sent over one of her patients, Connie Kelly, to see him. Connie's troubles extend beyond the psychological: her boyfriend, M. Brooks Welles, seems not only to be "a phony, a liar, and a two-timing, backstabbing, son of a bitch", but also a con man, making off with a cool $260,000 of Connie's savings.

Welles claims to have had an interesting, shadowy past: Harvard man recruited into the CIA, involved with all sorts of anti-terrorist, anti-Commie efforts. He's even a staple of right-wing TV news shows. And he seems to be involved with the local Massachusetts gun nuts hobbyists.

[I should point out that the politics in the book is mildly, simplistically, anti-conservative. Later on, there's even a phony church run by charlatans using Jesus as boob-bait. Tedious. I fast-forwarded through this.]

Hawk's here. Other characters from past books: Rachel Wallace, Tedy Sapp, Belson. No Quirk, I think he retired.

Finally, another consumer note: the unsubtle cover illustration might lead you to suspect that there's a money-laundering scheme underlying the plot. There is not. I swear, they must have had this illustration lying around and said: "What the hell, use it."

URLs du Jour

2017-05-10

■ In Proverbs 26:12, the Proverbialist finds people he considers even more hopeless than the fools he's been ragging on in previous verses:

Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.

I'm looking at you, Bill Nye.

■ KDW@NR writes on El Camino de Servidumbre, which I'll let you translate on your own.

Socialism is either the unluckiest political movement in the history of political movements, one that just happens to keep intersecting with the careers of monsters, or there is something about socialism itself that throws up monsters. There is nothing wrong with Venezuelans, and nothing unusual about them: Here at home, our own progressives dream of imprisoning people for holding unpopular political views, nationalizing key industries, and shutting down opposition media. They have black-shirted terrorists attacking people with explosives on college campuses for the crime of holding non-conforming political views. And they aren’t averse to a little old-fashioned Stalinism, either, provided there’s a degree or two of separation: Bernie Sanders, once an elector for the Socialist Workers party, remains the grumpy Muppet pin-up of the American Left.

Do I need to suggest: lee todo? Probably not.

■ Matt Ridley asks the musical question: The Paris climate treaty is weak, so why do climate activists defend it? Specifically, why is it such a big deal that Trump might pull the US out of the (Senate-unratified) "treaty"?

I am not quite sure why his critics mind so much. Indeed, if I were one of those who thought climate change the biggest threat to humankind bar none, then I would be far more critical of the Paris agreement than I actually am. I would rail against the fact that it is a futile gesture, neither legally binding enough to be enforceable, nor of sufficient scale to make a difference to climate change. It’s those people who most worry about global warming who should be most critical of Paris.

Why, it's almost as if the whole thing were about increasing government power instead of dialing down the global thermostat.

■ I got a chuckle out of this Slashdot post: FCC Should Prove DDoS Attacks Stopped Net Neutrality Comments.

After John Oliver urged viewers of HBO's Last Week Tonight to fight again for net neutrality and post comments in support of it, people hit a wall — the FCC's site essentially crashed. Originally, it was believed that the number of people trying to access the site caused the problem, but then the FCC released a statement saying "multiple" DDoS attacks -- occurring at the same time Oliver sent viewers to the site -- caused the site to crash[…]

The article goes on to note: "People are even questioning whether the FCC's tech team knows what a DDoS attack is."

Yes, the same people that advocate the FCC be given vast power to regulate the Internet are skeptical that the FCC knows what a DDoS attack is. (I've left a comment at Slashdot pointing out this cognitive dissonance.)

As bears repeating, the FCC should be abolished.

■ Another don't-know-whether-to-laugh-or-cry incident in Academia was a recent article in Hypatia, a self-styled "feminist journal". Title: "In Defense of Transracialism" by philosophy prof Rebeccal Tuvel. Writing in The Hill, David S. D'Amato outlines the issue and the funny/depressing reaction: If progressives believe gender is fluid, then why not race?

In it, Professor Tuvel argues that we ought to support those who identify with a racial group other than the one into which they were born just as we support transgender people.

But:

Outrage ensued, and Hypatia has, in less than a day’s time, apologized for publishing the article, enumerating several spurious problems with it.

You can read D'Amato's defense of Tuvel, or…

■ You can check out uber-hacker Eric Raymond's thoughts on the issue: Your identity is not your choice.

As a culture, we got to the crazy place we’re at now by privileging feelings over facts. The whole mess around “identity” is only one example of this. It’s time to say this plainly: people who privilege feelings over facts are not sane, and the facts always win in the end. Though, unfortunately, often not before the insanity has inflicted a great deal of unnecessary suffering.

I left a comment to this effect: I wonder about the "not sane" bit. How much of this gasbaggery is garden-variety delusion, how much is cold-blooded calculation aimed at gaining power, status, and (above all) keeping one's phony-baloney job?