Thursday, February 25, 2010

Notes from the road 

Las Vegas is such a weird place that it's hard to pay attention to much news. I am in my hotel room but have enjoyed some great food, people watching, and zero gambling. (I'll be speaking about sports betting in about an hour for a conference here.) We have this bizarre little group of five who study gambling here in the middle of a finance conference. We're the ones NOT wearing blue blazers.

Gary sends me a link to a criticism he wrote to a St. Cloud Times editorial. You see these in many newspapers -- why can't they get along? Why can't government get things done? Simple answer: We aren't designed that way. The Times seems to prefer a parliamentary system of government to our current form. Having lived in and worked with parliaments as an advisor, I can say that legislating in haste is seldom a good idea. Our system is meant to work slower. Smallish groups can slow things down because we want legislation to be considered. I would like to see an editorial board actually call for a constitutional convention to move us to a parliamentary system and explain why they think that's a good idea. If anyone at the Times is reading this, I promise I will give you a link and praise for boldness. But it's a bad idea.

Are the people who jog at 7am on the Strip the people who are at the blackjack table at 7pm? It's a little incongruous to see them jog by the four cops trying to get a drunk off the ground. I was neither -- we went to a breakfast place featured on Man v Food that had the best eggs benedict I have ever had. The plates were the size of manhole covers.

Walking through a casino I saw one thing and heard one thing that was worth noting. I saw TVs with CNBC on over a row of slot machines. Ben Bernanke was on the screen. Four people playing the slots below. Let your mind run with that. And for your aural pleasure, all those machines are playing your favorite 80s hits. In case you were worried Huey Lewis wasn't getting enough airtime, rest assured he lives on in Vegas casinos.

Just visited with a Canadian journalist on the phone for 20 minutes, who reads this blog. If I end up in his article, I'll post it here. In the meantime, I'm just happy to know someone wrote a piece after thinking about something I wrote here.

Thanks. Off to see if I can get this paper presented, and then go veg out on sports at Caesar's later this afternoon.

P.S. SCSU is 6-1 to win the Frozen Four here at Flamingo; to put that in perspective, the Red Sox are 5-1 to win the World Series. Good bet? I don't think the Sox bet is, but $10 is placed faithfully each year.