"Why Bernie Sanders Says Terrible Things about Israel"

Nicely done by Roger L. Simon:

That reason is moral narcissism, the underlying motivation behind what Andrew McCarthy so accurately calls "willful blindness." Bernie is willfully blind about Israel, even though he spent time on a kibbutz and still has relatives in the country.

This moral narcissism that grips Bernie -- unlike the traditional narcissism of Narcissus admiring his handsome reflection -- is a narcissism of ideas and opinions. The views that make you feel good about yourself, that make others praise you and make you part of the "club," are what is most important to you and your self-image. They literally define you. Whether those views are based in fact or whether the results of those views are the least bit salutary is immaterial.

The moral narcissist, therefore, is almost always blind to reality, indeed disinterested in it. It's the pronouncements that count and are real. Moral narcissism leads inexorably to politically correctness. It is, in fact, the mother's milk of political correctness.


"Catalog Slog"

Theodore Dalrymple comments on something I also find puzzling:

At least as interesting, sociologically, as the clothes themselves were the models who wore them. I don’t know whether the company follows fashion or makes it, or whether there is some dialectical relationship between the two, but the models were distinctly freakish, the women half-starved and the men half–both starved and androgynous.

More than by anything else, however, I was struck by their facial expression. It was surly, sulky, sullen, sour, and morose. It was the kind of expression to which only thoroughly spoiled brats might aspire. Even in my far-off days as a lazy and impertinent youth, I would never have adopted an expression half so insolent.


"The Roads Not Taken"

Entertaining review of Richard Posner's recent book, Divergent Paths: The Academy and the Judiciary, by Paul Howitz (Gordon Rosen Professor of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law).

The individual criticisms of the article may be sound, but his conclusion—that the author “misperceives what judges need in the way of academic analysis,” which turns out to be more articles telling judges to be like Posner, to delete their ibids and unleash their ids—is ridiculous. . . .

I agree with most of Posner’s diagnoses and many of his prescriptions; I admire his work as a judge and a scholar; I wish more judges, lawyers, and law professors were like Posner. But all of them? By the end of the book, one can’t help recall a scene in the movie Being John Malkovich, depicting a world with nothing but Malkoviches. Even a world filled with first-rate Posners would be an unsteady place; one filled with inevitably less capable people, taught nothing but how to emulate him, would be calamitous. Whatever legal academics’ job is, it can’t be that.


"How the ACA Is Really Performing"

Seems like a calm and reasonable summary to me. Conclusion:

The ACA’s advocates and opponents are fully within their rights to highlight what they respectively regard to be the positive and negative aspects of the law. Anyone seeking to simply understand the ACA’s effects, however, will need to note many factors the policy combatants may not. While it is true the ACA has expanded health insurance coverage, its effects on health prices are yet unknown and its effects on the labor market and the federal fiscal outlook are almost certainly damaging.


"One of the nation’s largest pension funds could soon cut benefits for retirees"

"More than a quarter of a million active and retired truckers and their families could soon see their pension benefits severely cut — even though their pension fund is still years away from running out of money."

More: "'This Is Going To Be A National Crisis' - One Of The Largest U.S. Pension Funds Set To Cut Retiree Benefits".


"What’s driving Illinois’ $111 billion pension crisis"

"But ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. In 2015, Illinois’ state pension debt reached a record $111 billion. Government-worker pensions already consume one-fourth of the state’s budget. And every day Illinois goes without a solution to its pension crisis, the state’s pension debt grows by over $20 million."

Related: Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute proposes what sounds like a reasonable start to a solution.


"Glaciers and sex"

"On the academy’s latest folly.

There's no way I'm going to summarize this. If you have a few minutes, you just have to read it.

But--credit where credit is due--Professor Carey says a very smart thing about climate change models:

Carey is hardly skeptical about climate change or its catastrophic impacts: In the book, he documents (among other things) how melting glaciers have contributed to more than 20,000 deaths in Peru. But Carey also cites Peru as a fitting example of what gets missed by economic climate models. Despite the retreating glaciers and declining water flows, the country’s Andean communities are actually using more water these days, not less, thanks in large part to human adaptation and social investment. With economic climate models now predicting costly water shortages in the future, Carey says that history provides grounds for reasoned skepticism.