"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.


"Catalog Slog"

Theodore Dalrymple writes something I've long thought:

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.


"Leicester City: Dirty Dozen or Harvard Case Study?"

Entertaining article about one Leicester City fan's failure--for the first time in 20 years-to bet on his team to win the EPL this year. The odds were 5000 to 1, the same odds as Bono "being the next pope".

But "Hack Check: The Best of the Worst in Mainstream Media" thinks maybe the author is making his story up. (The piece is long but very worth reading on its onw.)


"The sugar conspiracy"

This piece has some enormous lessons.

1. "Science" can be go badly wrong when a small group of individuals, who've taken control of journals and funding in a field, decided to protect their positions at the expense of truth.

2. This is especially true if controlled experiments are few to none.

3. This is even more especially true if the federal government is involved.

Do 1 through 3 remind you of anything?

4. Nobody--absolutely nobody--should be allowed to tell the public what to do unless they've had a thorough grounding in the difficulties of establishing causality.

5. Unexpected effects are almost everywhere.

Related: salt, too, was terribly misjudged.


"SACS, Lies and Audiotapes"

Mary Willingham and Jay Smith posted this before the amended notice of allegation against UNC-CH was released. It's deeply felt and strongly argued.

Indeed, many of the actors at UNC who facilitated shameful athletics favoritism over the years are still with us on the campus; some of them exercise positions of real influence. Over the past two years there has been a lot of rearranging of deck chairs on the good ship Carolina Way (though, to be fair, sometimes the deck chairs were simply left in the exact same spot.) But there have been no signs of a bold change in direction. Until Carol Folt, Jim Dean, and other leaders tell the world their plans for countering the influence and the long-established habits of the many athletics-friendly personnel at UNC, until they outline the steps they will take to overturn an institutional culture that fostered fraud and willful blindness for decades, skeptics will be right to scoff at the “70 reforms” and the diversion they were meant to create.

UPDATE: link fixed now.


"The Conservative Way Forward?"

Arnold Kling reviews a forthcoming book by Yuval Levin, The Fractured Republic: Renewing America's Social Contract in the Age of Individualism.  Kling likes it but . . . 

In his important new book (forthcoming, May 24, 2016 from Basic Books), Yuval Levin offers a diagnosis of America's illness and a prescription for a cure. His diagnosis blames both the left and the right for promulgating an untenable vision of an individualistic society under the umbrella of the central government. . . . 

For me, Levin offers an appealing vision. However, I wonder if it can ever attract broad public support. In 2016, it appears to me that Americans do not value freedom as much as they used to. If President Obama represented the nostalgia for the era of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, then currently his party seems to be moving even further to the left, with many believing that some form of socialism is the answer. On the Republican side, it seems ironic that the candidate who gained ascendancy by promising to wall off our southern neighbors would appear to wish to run the United States like a Latin American strongman. And on college campuses, many students and administrators prefer "safe spaces" to free speech.


"San Francisco Torn as Some See ‘Street Behavior’ Worsen"

Tells me as much about San Francisco as I care to know.

San Francisco, America’s boom town, is flooded with the cash of well-paid technology workers and record numbers of tourists. At the same time, the city has seen a sharp jump in property crime, up more than 60 percent since 2010, though the actual increase may be higher because many of the crimes go unreported.

Recent data from the F.B.I. show that San Francisco has the highest per-capita property crime rate of the nation’s top 50 cities. About half the cases here are thefts from vehicles, smash-and-grabs that scatter glittering broken glass onto the sidewalks.

The city, known for a political tradition of empathy for the downtrodden, is now divided over whether to respond with more muscular law enforcement or stick to its forgiving attitudes.