Riding the Rap

[Amazon Link]

Continuing the project of reading Elmore Leonard's Raylan Givens-related works. This one was written in 1995.

The troubled bookie from Pronto, Harry Arno, is in even deeper trouble here. He has sent his enforcer, Bobby Deo, to collect on bad bets from dissolute pothead Chip Ganz. Unfortunately, Bobby and Chip, together with Chip's associate, Louis Lewis, decide instead to take Harry hostage, planning on extorting the millions Harry has stashed in the Bahamas.

Raylan, in the meantime, has been canoodling with Harry's sometime-girlfriend, Joyce. When Harry goes missing, Joyce worries, which causes Raylan's fugitive-seeking instincts to kick in. And it's not long before he zeroes in on the bad guys.

Fans of the Justified series will notice some similarities between this novel and the Season One episode "Fixer". Although many details differ, even down to character names. Most of this is probably due to the series having the rights to some, but not all, of Elmore Leonard's oeuvre. Another example: a lady psychic, "Reverend Dawn" plays a key role in this book, and she's awfully similar to the show's Season 4 character Eve Munro. And a Crowe family member has a small cameo at the beginning of the book.

A fun read, as expected. Leonard is as interested in the bad guys as he is the good guys. And (as we've seen before) the bad guys are violent, dishonest, volatile, and generally poor candidates to sustain their criminal plotting.

URLs du Jour


[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs 11:15 asks: who can you trust? And comes back with the answer: not strangers:

    15 Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer,
        but whoever refuses to shake hands in pledge is safe.

    For once, "The Message" translation seems pretty accurate: "Whoever makes deals with strangers is sure to get burned; if you keep a cool head, you’ll avoid rash bargains."

  • At NRO, Kevin D. Williamson muses on Harleys, protectionism, and America: On the Road. Excerpt:

    Harley-Davidson, like the Pilgrims, finds itself at odds with the authorities. In this case, it is the Trump administration, which is displeased with the Motor Company’s decision to shift some additional production overseas. The proximate cause of that decision is tariffs imposed by the European Union in retaliation for tariffs imposed on European goods by the Trump administration. Trade wars cause a great deal of collateral damage.

    Harley-Davidson already operates facilities in Brazil, India, and Australia, and it has plans for a factory in Thailand. Avoiding protectionist measures drives some of that, but so do other factors, including proximity to customers — which is why Mercedes-Benz manufactures SUVs in the United States, where most of them are sold. Indians buy nearly 17 million motorcycles and scooters a year, and Harley-Davidson covets a larger share of that market. It also has a following in Europe, and its executives calculate that the Trump administration’s anti-trade policies will cost it as much as $100 million a year in the EU market alone. The president has sternly warned the company that there will be consequences for its decision to move some production to Europe.

    The Trump Administration is a frustrating array of brilliant and stupid. Protectionism, with associated bullying of American companies, is irredeemably stupid.

  • On the other hand, as Reason's Baylen Linnekin reveals, Trump's Proposal To Reform Federal Food Regulations Is Long Overdue.

    Last week, the Trump administration proposed to significantly overhaul several federal regulatory agencies. Food-safety oversight is one of the key elements of the proposal.

    "Food safety programs, now overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), would be consolidated into a new Federal Food Safety Agency," Politico reported. That agency would become part of the USDA.

    The Trump administration says the food-safety proposal, part of its larger plan to consolidate various agency responsibilities, would shift thousands of current FDA and USDA employees and billions of dollars into a new Federal Food Safety Agency.

    The need for reform is real. The USDA and FDA currently operate under completely different food-safety laws and regulations. When it comes to food safety, which agency oversees what foods (and what the agency's process is for regulating those foods) has long seemed arbitrary. One classic example is that frozen cheese pizzas sold at your local grocer are regulated by the FDA, while frozen pepperoni pizzas are regulated by the USDA.

    Darn, now I'm hungry.

    Some critics are quoted. Some are against the proposal, well, because Trump. Others (mostly bureaucrats and their enablers) are deeply invested in the status quo. So the prospects are grim.

  • I made one of my rare tweets yesterday:

    … referring to this ABC News story: From Twitter fingers to judicial decisions: Examining a potential SCOTUS nominee's odd social media habits.

    On New Year’s Eve, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Don Willett channeled Rick Astley by tweeting “People of Earth—In 2018, @JusticeWillett will never: give you up, let you down, run around, desert you, make you cry, say goodbye, tell a lie, hurt you.”

    Before that, Willett, at the time a justice on the Supreme Court of Texas, tweeted out his son confusing “Eminem” and “eminent,” a picture of three puppies and a picture of cornbread shaped like his home state.

    But with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announcing his retirement on Wednesday, and Willett’s name appearing on a list of Trump’s potential Supreme Court nominees, the judge’s frequent tweeting last year raises questions for some of judicial impartiality.

    Right. Here's one of Justice Willett's tweets that has ABC clutching its pearls:

    Can a rectangular state ever hope to be treated fairly in Justice Willett's America?

  • At Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen has a mini-essay in response to Civility in politics queries. RTWT, of course, but I especially liked this bit:

    Driving a public figure out of a restaurant may seem like fun, but in fact they don’t know at which point you are planning on stopping. You’re coming pretty close to threatening them with violent aggression, and there are very very few situations where such actions will end up improving the world as a whole. There is no better venue for politeness than commerce.

    Good point.

Last Modified 2019-01-06 6:28 AM EDT