"The Magical Thinking of the Trump Movement"

Nobody I've read puts it better than Jonah Goldberg.

I hate discovering that so many people are disappointed in me for not playing my part in a racket. Every day, if not every hour, I am told that my true motives are in reality desires, goals, and ambitions that have never once entered my mind. I want Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States as much as I want to be a patient of a narcoleptic proctologist (“Oh, I’m sorry, did I leave that in there all that time?”). I want the Supreme Court to be handed to the Left as much as I want a lap dance from Chris Christie. . . .

I have nothing but sympathy for those who feel they must vote against Hillary Clinton. But I have scorn for those who think that requires lying about Trump. If you’re a true-believer in Trump, that’s fine. I think you’re making the same mistake that the Left’s 2008 true believers made about Obama. There are no saviors in politics. But when millions of people think there can be, those of us in the Remnant of doubt get treated like heretics.

If you can stand the discouraging commentary so early on a Monday morning, please read the whole thing.

Related: "It’s Not My Party".


"Pensions Are a Big Old Slow-Moving Disaster"

Fine, concise discussion until the conclusion: "We need a well-funded Social Security program for everyone who needs it (and not those who don’t need it because they are wealthy)." News flash: Social Security is run by the same types of folks, facing the same lousy incentives, as the ones badly running many state and local pension plans.

(And let's not mention that Social Security has been sold, lo these many years, to the American public as a social insurance program, not a transfer program.)

Related: "CalPERS’ unfunded liabilities grow as investment earnings lag".

You can smear lipstick on a pig, but that doesn’t change its innate porcinity.

Officials of the California Public Employees Retirement System, the nation’s largest pension trust fund, tried Monday to cast its very anemic investment earnings – well under 1 percent – in a positive light.


"The Republican Industrial Complex Has Turned Missteps Into Millions"

This is a very sad story.

The situation was further exacerbated by the Romney operation’s apparent inability to comprehend that ORCA was not a smartphone application like Angry Birds but rather a website designed to be viewed on a smartphone. This created a massive confusion among volunteers who went desperately searching in the app stores of Apple, Google, and Microsoft unsuccessfully trying to find it. To make matters worse, the secured website that ORCA was operating under had no redirect functionality to assist people who had mistakenly reached the insecure version. As a result, according to Ekhdahl, many activists mistakenly believed the system had failed completely since their web browsers literally displayed nothing on the page when they attempted to view the default website. . . . 

While Moffatt and others insisted afterward that ORCA continued to collect data, multiple reports suggest what the system did manage to collect was fundamentally wrong. “At the end of the day, they told us thatevery single swing state was looking either pink or red and the worst one was Virginia, where they were a little concerned,” one anonymous ORCA operator told Politico. “Of course, we know the opposite of that happened.” According to one Republican that Washington Examiner columnist Byron York spoke with, at 4 pm Eastern time, ORCA was predicting that Romney would win just under 300 electoral votes.


"We've been blaming America's 'new housing crisis' on the wrong thing all along"

What's the "right" thing? Take a guess. Go ahead, guess.

The unresponsiveness of housing supply to demand and price changes is blamed in part on restrictive zoning laws.

Economists measure this responsiveness as elasticity; in markets with higher elasticity, homebuilding responds to higher demand and prices at a relatively faster pace compared with places that are more inelastic.

A Trulia study published on Tuesday found that while zoning laws are a real burden for homebuilders, the bigger culprit is local government bureaucracy, measured by building-approval delays.


"The Koufax Conundrum"

Consider this:

Koufax was certainly a good baseball player as well. During his last four years, he averaged 24 wins and 7 losses per season.

These seem like numbers from some lost epic age. By way of comparison, the Dodgers’ current superstar pitcher, Clayton Kershaw (whom 88-year-old Dodger announcer Vin Scully, in a rare and forgivable slip, recently referred to as “Sandy Koufax”), had a record of 18 and 7 over his best four-year stretch.

Partly from stats like those, we get this:

To this day, Koufax remains the most legendary Jewish athlete since Samson.


"Why Do We Haggle For Cars?"

The article is skeptical, properly I think, of the "path dependence" explanation. (Across five generations of car buyers?) But this makes a lot of sense to me because I recently did a similar thing:

Desai speaks from experience. A few years ago, he decided to buy a Lexus. The process was short and sweet: he went online, found a price reference, called up a dealer and made an offer. Sure, with a little more time and cunning, the professor could have lowballed the salesperson and gotten himself a sweeter deal. But he says he opted for the simpler approach.


"Why you should care that the Diablo Canyon nuke plants are being shut down"

Jazz Shaw has yet another warning for the goofy people running California.

Unfortunately for Californians and their already stressed power grid, this is going to cause a lot of problems. Energy demand on the left coast varies wildly and the grid has to be carefully regulated. Operators can’t just scale back or ramp up wind and solar energy flowing onto the grid the same way they can with nuke plants or natural gas systems. It’s either on or it’s off. This has led to cases where the grid is actually flooded with more energy than is being demanded, leading to potential system damage and blackouts. At other times, there simply isn’t enough sun or wind and the deficit has to be made up by fossil fuel plants. That’s worked well enough so far, but the more you shrink the fossil fuel supply, the less flexibility you have to stabilize the grid during peaks and lows in the demand cycle. 

And what is being accomplished here for the eco-warriors who cooked up this idea? They supposedly want to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, right? Well . . . the nuke plants don’t produce any carbon.

See also "Thorny issues challenge California's commitment to renewable energy goals".