That's Trillion, With a T

An October tweet that was only just now brought to my attention:

That's from CNBC, not some dubious "news" station where the next feature is on Jewish Space Lasers.

And that's not some wacky rando CNBC picked off the streets making that assertion; that's Jeffrey Currie, employed by a little firm called Goldman Sachs. In fact: he is their "global head of Commodities Research in Global Investment Research"

So that's a pretty amazing factoid, indicating a massive waste of capital that could have been more productively directed. As near as I can tell, undebunked; let me know if you see otherwise.

Briefly noted:

  • Now that the Libertarian Party has been taken over by wackos and grifters (even more than usual), I cast my liberty-lovin' eyes once again to the Republicans. Any hope for me there? Bonnie Kristian is not too optimistic: Making the GOP Liberty-Friendly Requires More Than Just Rejecting Donald Trump.

    Former President Donald Trump is running for president again, seeking the nomination of a party which, for the first time in six years, isn't wholly sure it wants him back. What the GOP base decides remains a wholly open question; Trump is still the only candidate officially on offer, and history teaches polling this early in the race is useless. But the sort of Republican voter who airs his opinion in the pages of The New York Times and National Review has decided, emphatically, that the time for Trump is over.

    This may seem like a promising development to any libertarians waxing nostalgic about an earlier era of libertarian-Republican relations—a time when libertarianism was deemed, in Reason's pages, "the very heart and soul of conservatism," when the GOP's rhetorical commitment to limited government made it libertarians' preferred vehicle for political action within the two-party system, when yawning gaps between libertarians and Republicans on social and foreign policy were ignored because, uhhh, you know, communism! Taxes!

    So if the Republican Party finally rejects Trump, is that also a rejection of the authoritarian and illiberal impulses his political career has amplified? I'm open to being pleasantly surprised, but so far, the evidence answers with a resounding "no." Even if Trump loses this primary race, there's every reason to think his party will retain its present will to power.

    I had to hold my nose real hard to vote for Don Bolduc and Karoline Leavitt a couple weeks back. I hope I won't have to do that again.

Lethal White

[Amazon Link, See Disclaimer]

Well, first: it's very long, 647 pages in hardcover.

It's number four in "Robert Galbraith's" series of novels centering around ace British detective Cormoran Strike and his plucky assistant Robin Ellacott. And you really should read them in order. Because…

This one opens pretty much where book three left off: Robin's wedding, at which Strike has unexpectedly shown up,(unintentionally) wrecking the newlyweds' happy day. Will Robin and her hubby recover marital bliss from this setback? No spoilers here.

A year later, and Strike is intrigued by Billy, a troubled young man who shows up at his office babbling incoherently about a long ago murder, then runs off without further details. Intrigued, Strike's (unpaid) investigation leads him to Jasper Chiswell, a Tory cabinet minister who's being blackmailed by Billy's brother. For what? We're not told straight off.

In fact, we're told pretty much nothing straight off. Strike's investigation encompasses many, many colorful (and mostly unpleasant) characters from Chiswell's family and acquaintances, who have a long history of (mostly) sordid behavior. And it's not until page 281 that an actual dead body shows up. Seems to be an "obvious" suicide, but is it really?

Well, the investigation reveals a lot of complex and dysfunctional relationships. It was (frankly) difficult for me to keep track of all the characters and their past and present doings. Britishisms kept popping up in the text, some of which I knew, some of which I figured out via context, and many remained a mystery. Surrounding it all was Strike's and Robin's troubled relationships, with others, and themselves. (There are some rom-com notes here.)

And did I mention it's really long? And it's getting worse: Amazon says book number five is 944 pages, book six is 1024 pages. Should I keep going? The sunk-cost fallacy says yes!