Farewell, My Lovely, by Raymond Chandler

Farewell, My Lovely, by Raymond Chandler. Definitely second-rate Chandler. The Big Sleep was much better. Amusing for the historical snippets, not amusing for the casual bigotry, and the writing is sloppier than The Big Sleep. Plot also more convoluted: let’s make it an eleven,

Posted in Book and film reviews

I’m Thinking of Ending Things, by Iain Reid

I’m Thinking of Ending Things, by Iain Reid220px-Reid_I'mThinkingofEndingThings. Billed as a “literary thriller” I thought this might be a good read after some more mundane books. But I was wrong. The novel was interesting for awhile, but then it started to get gratuitously creepy, and by the end I felt like I was in a bad version of Shutter Island (a movie which actually I have only seen previews and snippets of, for good reason). So I am sure there i an audience for novels like this, but not me.

Posted in Book and film reviews

Affordable housing at about $200,000 a unit in San Jose?

I wish reporters would give  better sense of the financing and ownership details of these affordable housing projects. For example, from SJ Spotlight, an excellent new online newspaper serving the South Bay:

The two proposals on the agenda are located at 425 Auzerais Ave. and the corner of Gallup and Mesa Drives in San Jose. As part of the 10-year goal of creating 4,800 housing units across Santa Clara County, these sites would add 176 new homes for low-income and homeless residents. The board will consider allocating up to $33 million to support the developments – $15.6 million in Measure A funding and $17.4 million from No Place Like Home funds.

So at $33 m for 176 homes that is about $187,500 each. Pretty good. But maybe this is just a pure subsidy, and the actual cost per unit is $500,000? And this $33 m, does that entitle the county (and hence the residents of the county) to an ownership stake? Will the county get a stream of returns from the affordable rents? Will the county continue to own the property? Who benefits from appreciation? How long do the affordable rent deed restrictions last? 10 years? 20 years? Perpetuity?

Posted in Burkina Faso, United States

The dustup between Paul Paul Kéré and Rémi Dandjinou over the Burkinabè army’s preparedness

Totally relevant for those who call for former President Compaoré’s return to “help” deal with the insurgency. From the comments section:

Cher Maître,Vous n’allez pas vous faire oublier un peu?Qu’est ce que le ministre a dit qui ne soit pas vrai? 1-Nous savons tous que les mutineries de 2011 ont achevé le désarmement de notre armée avec les armes qui ont été ramassées et confiées au RSP. 2- Nous savons aussi que c’est avec le courage seulement munis de quelques armes, parfois sans carburant que nos boys sont venus faire échouer un coup d’état ici. 3- Nous savons que la puissance de feu de notre pays était juste derrière Kosyam et que les super-militaires étaient là bas. 4- Nous savons aussi que là bas le grade ne comptait pas et que la discipline militaire était foulée au pied.Ce qui est plus grave : 5- Pendant des années le Boss que tu défends à affaiblie nos garnisons soit par des déménagements soit par le non renouvellement du matériel. 6- Alors que les hordes de bandits deferlaient sur le Mali ton Boss au lieu de prendre les mesures pour protéger nos frontières a vu en cela une mine d’or. Il accueille les réfugiés du Mali, deal avec les terroristes qui endeuillé nos frères Maliens, encaissé les commissions sur les libérations d’otages. Quel « VISIONNAIRE » fut-il?

Source: « L’armée burkinabé est une armée qui a été désarmée en 2009 pour permettre au régime de s’asseoir »: Me Paul Paul Kéré répond  au ministre Rémi Dandjinou  | NetAfrique.net

Posted in Politics

Great reporting by Abdel Aziz Nabaloum about lack of public services in village of Koumna in Loroum #Burkina #lwili

Situé dans la commune de Ouindigui dans la province du Lorum, Koumna est un village enclavé. Cerné dans ses limites géographiques par les eaux, cette localité connaît un problème d’accès aux infrastructures sociales de base, à l’eau et à l’assainissement. Un véritable calvaire pour les 6 043 âmes qui y vivent…Ouahigouya-Koumna, 39 kilomètres à parcourir, en passant par le village de Rambo. La route en terre battue est impraticable. La pluie de la veille, 1er septembre, a fortement arrosé les terres du Yatenga. Embourbé, le camion d’une société de cimenterie obstrue le passage. Il faut user de tact pour se frayer un chemin. Rambo-Koumna. Plus de tracé de voie. Il faut désormais se «débattre» comme un beau diable dans la broussaille pour parcourir les 5 Km qui sépare les deux localités.

Source: Village de Koumna dans le Nord : L’île des oubliés | Quotidien Sidwaya

Posted in Economy

What did Mulvaney actually say?

So the context of the rather raucous press conference was that Mulvaney wanted to say that the overall reason for aid holdup was corruption in Ukraine and Europeans not contributing. Rather lame of course because all that should have been happening before Congress approved the air. But maybe it is a brinksmanship game, and Mulvaney was making that point. But he committed an unforced error. From the White House transcript:

Q But to be clear, what you just described is a quid pro quo. It is: Funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happens as well.

MR. MULVANEY: We do that all the time with foreign policy. We were holding money at the same time for — what was it? The Northern Triangle countries. We were holding up aid at the Northern Triangle countries so that they would change their policies on immigration.

So he clearly agreed (previous sentences make clear this was no misunderstanding, or misspeaking) that an investigation into the Democratic server was one of the conditions for letting the military aid flow. So without some link from corruption in Ukraine to the Democratic server (which to my knowledge there is none… nor even any link of server to Ukraine) then Mulvaney indeed flubbed it.

Posted in United States

Looking forward to reading some new Sarah Shun-lien Bynum

If you saw my comments in Mookse on the story by Joyce Carol Oates, then you can easily tell why I happened to google Bynum during a break.

Chinese American writer Sarah Shun-lien Bynum is causing waves across the Atlantic with an auction and six-figure deal for two books with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, as buzz around a UK deal begins.The short story collection and novel were bought at auction by Jenna Johnson, executive editor at FSG, from Bill Clegg at The Clegg agency for North American rights. FSG will publish the story collection, Likes, in winter 2021 and the novel in winter 2023. It was understood to be a be a high six-figure advance … FSG described Likes as “a short story collection exploring friendship and motherhood, celebrity and obsession, love and loneliness, which weaves in elements of contemporary life – including social media, fairy tale, and myth”.

Source: Sarah Shun-lien Bynum signs six-figure two-book deal with FSG | The Bookseller

Posted in Burkina Faso