The Kings of Cool

[Amazon Link]

This is billed as a "prequel to Savages", Don Winslow's previous novel about mellow California pot dealers, Ben and Chon, who run afoul of a Mexican drug cartel. As I remember it would have been tough to make a sequel to Savages. And, although I'm a Winslow fan, I didn't care for Savages very much when I read it back in 2012. But… let's give this a try.

And I liked this one a lot. I'm not sure why, it has the same choppy style ("short sentences in short paragraphs, unusual use of whitespace, occasional passages are rendered in screenplay format"). It is an origin tale, mostly set in 2005 as Ben and Chon get into business and immediately run afoul of the Association, who would like to, um, acquire their enterprise.

There are also flashbacks to decades previous. It doesn't become clear why until near the end, but there's some real Ross Macdonald-style reasons for it. There are a lot of characters, and it will behoove the reader to keep them straight. Slight spoiler: people who have read Winslow's oeuvre will be pleased to note a couple cameo appearances from other books.

Overall, it's a sobering tale of how the War on Drugs corrupts and kills.

But conservatives and libertarians will want to read Chapter 35. It's hilarious.

URLs du Jour

2017-06-14

■ I envision that the Proverbian took a bathroom break while composing Chapter 24, and his mischievous cousin, Shecky snuck in, grabbed the writing implement, and dashed off Proverbs 25:24:

24 Better to live on a corner of the roof
    than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

"Amirite, folks?"

■ Jacob Sullum at Reason is so old, he can remember… By Trump's Logic, His Foot-Dragging on 'Extreme Vetting' Endangers Us All.

When Trump issued his first executive order restricting entry into the country on January 27, he presented it as a temporary measure aimed at facilitating better screening procedures. "We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days," he said on Facebook. White House Press Secetary Sean Spicer likewise emphasized that the whole point was to "make sure that the people who are coming in are vetted properly." According to the order itself, the 90-day ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries and the 120-day ban on refugees were supposed to give the administration time to "ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals." That was 137 days ago.

Why, it's almost as if the issue is whether Trump gets his way, instead of making sure the bad hombres don't get in.

■ Also on the Trump/immigration front, @kevinnr notes Trump’s Executive Amnesty:

Getting control of illegal immigration is at the top of Donald Trump’s to-do list, and, on the campaign trail, he vowed to end the Obama administration’s “unconstitutional executive amnesty” on his first day in office.

So why hasn’t he done it?

Why indeed?

■ You know, sometimes it seems Our Federal Government can't do anything right. But, as Henry Miller points out in the WSJ, it has successfully prevented an Attack of the Killer Petunias.

Sometimes government regulators do things that are not merely misguided but gratuitously stupid. A classic example came last month, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture called for the destruction of at least 13 varieties of petunias with striking hues. These plants don’t pose any danger to health or the natural environment. But because they were crafted with modern genetic-engineering techniques, technically they’re in violation of 30-year-old government regulations.

I, for one, welcome our new flowery overlords.

■ David Henderson prefers calling it Forcibly Paid Parental Leave. And notes the damage to the languate committed by those who say the US "has no policy on paid parental leave."

Imagine that you and I are discussing what to do today. You strongly want to go to the zoo. I strongly want not to. You say you have a policy of going to the zoo. That makes sense. But does that mean I don't have a policy on going to the zoo? Not at all. My policy is not to go to the zoo.

I like the zoo, too, but never mind that.