Read Absolute Power by David Baldacci (goodreads.com)

A grizzled professional cat burglar gets trapped inside the bedroom closet of one of the world’s richest men, only to witness, through a one-way mirror, two Secret Service agents kill the billionaire’s trampy young wife as she tries to fight off the drunken sexual advances of the nation’s chief executive. Running for his life, but not before he picks up a bloodstained letter opener that puts the president at the scene of the crime, the burglar becomes the target of a clandestine manhunt orchestrated by leading members of the executive branch.

Meanwhile, Jack Graham, once a public defender and now a high-powered corporate attorney, gets drawn into the case because the on-the-lam burglar just happens to be the father of his former financee, a crusading Virginia prosecutor.

Embroidering the narrative through assorted plot whorls are the hero’s broken romance; his conflict over selling out for financial success; the prosecutor’s confused love-hate for her burglar father; the relentless investigation by a northern Virginia career cop; the dilemma of government agents trapped in a moral catch-22; the amoral ambitions of a sexy White House Chief of Staff; and the old burglar’s determination to bring down the ruthless president.

Meanwhile, lurking at the novel’s center like a venomous spider is the sociopathic president.

Testing to see what happens with post properties and syndication using Jetpack.

This is a read post with a book cover as its featured image.

I want to see if the photo and other information goes through.

Read Wish You Well by David Baldacci (goodreads.com)

Precocious twelve-year-old Louisa Mae Cardinal lives in the hectic New York City of 1940 with her family. Then tragedy strikes — and Lou and her younger brother, Oz, must go with their invalid mother to live on their great-grandmother’s farm in the Virginia mountains. Suddenly Lou finds herself coming of age in a new landscape, making her first true friend, and experiencing adventures tragic, comic, and audacious. But the forces of greed and justice are about to clash over her new home…and as their struggle is played out in a crowded Virginia courtroom, it will determine the future of two children, an entire town, and the mountains they love.

I gave this three out of five stars on Goodreads mostly due to the narrator.

The story was good, but this was the third family-oriented book I’ve read in as many days, so I think I sort of reached my limit on that kind of story for a while.

Read Educators from C. Wayne Collier enjoy reunion by an author (The Fayetteville Observer)

Each time the door to the banquet room at Sammio’s Italian Restaurant opened last Thursday, a swell of laughter would follow. Every entrance was greeted by genuine warmth and appreciation — like a long-gone family member had come home.

This is so cool. C. Wayne Collier Elementary School is the school my mom taught at/drove a bus at/ basically lived at for a huge chunk of her career, and I’m glad they all got to get together and have some fun for old times’ sake.
Read Quillette Duped by Left-Wing Hoaxer Posing as Communist Construction Worker by Will Sommer (The Daily Beast)

“Archie Carter,” who pretended to be a blue-collar member of the Democratic Socialists of America, says he set out to humiliate the conservative site with his error-riddled story.

Something something glass houses and stones. There should probably be a discusion on the right about how all that media criticism could just as easily apply to conservative outlets, or about how conservative outlets need to be careful that they don’t do the things they accuse so-called mainstream publications of doing, or about how maybe the same “view-them-in-the-best-light” policy that’s applied to conservative publications when they fuck up maybe should also be applied to mainstream ones, but none of those discussions are going to happen.
Read Reform coming to Chemawa Indian School in Salem, say Reps. Schrader and Bonamici by Natalie Pate (Statesman Journal)

Kurt Schrader and Suzanne Bonamici visited Chemawa Indian School Thursday after almost two years of being stonewalled by school, federal officials.

Yes, residential Indian boarding schools still exist in this country, but (and I type this with the utmost sarcasm) yeah state-sponsored racism against Native Americans is totally not a thing and they should just quit focusing on the past or get over it or something.
Read Yes, Virginia, You (Probably) Got a “Tax Cut” by Michael Siegel

People have been demanding a simpler tax system for a long time. We’ve had various presidential candidates promise that the IRS could do your taxes or the code could be simplified down to a postcard or whatever. But what people say they want and what they actually want are sometimes two different things. People want a simpler tax code … except for the mortgage interest deduction. And the charity deduction. And state/local taxes, definitely. And daycare, obviously. And healthcare expenses. And retirement contributions. And is it really fair to tax capital gains like income?
Therein lies the rub: the tax code didn’t get complex because of a ancient Egyptian curse. It got that way because we wanted it that way. We want our special deductions and social-engineering credits and alternative systems and all the other jazz. We will never simplify the tax code until a majority of Americans decide that it’s worth giving up their favorite deduction for. Or worth giving up a refund for. And this outcry is a reminder that we’re not there yet, if we ever will be. I suspect, after a year or two, most people will get used to the new system and this hubbub will die down. But this portends a tax system that will mostly go on as the shambling drunken mess that it is.
Of course, in the long run, nobody’s taxes have been cut. As Harry Browne argued in the 2000 election, a tax cut without a spending cut is not really a tax cut; it’s a shell game. Eventually, things have to be paid for. The deficit is surging right now and we are on a completely unsustainable fiscal path. Trump’s tax cut has not reduced the tax burden, Laffer Curve misrepresentations not withstanding; it’s re-arranged it so that the burden falls on the future rather than the present.
So if you’re upset that your refund is smaller or non-existent this year, better hold on to something. Because it’s only going to get worse.

The united States tax situation is, I think, worthy of having a well-known user experience design truism applied to it. To paraphrase the truism: Don’t listen to what people tell you, watch what they show you, and then proceed accordingly. Everyone wants to pay less taxes, until it comes to their favorite, (for the lack of a better term), handout: Medicare or the military or supposed border security for the red, and supposed social programs for the blue. The only people who seem to be completely honest about their positions are the libertarians and the socialists. I personally disagree for the most part with both, but I respect their consistency. I’m thinking that, for the most part, Americans treat politics like religion, and the two are almost indistinguishable at this point. Maybe we should ease up on the holy wars, because there are enough logs for all of our eyes.