Friday, December 04, 2009

Tomorrow on the King Banaian Show 

Show starts at 9am on KYCR. I will cover the jobs report, the estate tax, and what does it mean that North Korea had a monetary reform this past week. I am pleased to be joined in the 10am hour with Paul Rubin, president of the White Bear Lake Superstore, to talk about both cash for clunkers and the turnover of leadership at GM.

There is an online stream available from the station link; you can reach us during the show via Twitter using the search term #kbrs or the show's Twitter stream.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Two questions 

Both of a personal nature:
  1. I'm off radio this weekend to take a long-planned trip with my brother. His birthday is Sunday and he's a big Steelers fan, so I'm meeting up with him in Pittsburgh with tickets for Sunday's game versus the Bengals, with first place in the AFC North at stake. Eat your heart out, Morrissey! Questions are on transportation and food. We don't want to rent a car in case we imbibe a little more than usual at the game. ("in case??" -- ed.) How do we get there, what do we eat and where should we enjoy the evening's Patriots-Colts tilt?*
  2. Is it time to get off Blogger? I still have to use the Classic version, widget-less, because this blog is so damn old. I keep wanting to tweak the sidebar and start pushing content from the radio show there; I also want a feed of just economics posts that can go to the KYCR page. There's no money for this to buy a fancy solution, pretty much DIY. So what to do?
* -- I won't blog from the game, but I expect to tweet a bit.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Tomorrow on the King Banaian Show 

The newly-constituted King Banaian Show (this still feels awkward and unnatural) continues tomorrow on KYCR, AM 1570, 9-11am with a replay Sunday 5-7pm. Please note that from the station's main page you can stream the show by clicking on the "Business1570 Listen Live" link on the right hand side of the page. I know a couple of people are saying they can't stream -- I know I can. (We're working on the podcasting part.)

This week we will visit with Ken Doyle, communications professor at the University of Minnesota, about his new book To Tax or To Ration: Medicare, Medicaid, and Our Long-Term Healthcare Crisis. The book's focus is on long-term care, and in particular its impact on senior citizens. While I've known Ken for awhile, I note his new bio refers to his profession as a financial psychologist. I am fascinated by what that could mean. He'll be on in the 10 o'clock hour.

We will also discuss the current economic and financial news from last week, what's coming up next week, and the impact of losing one's airline connection on a local community (following up on yesterday's Delta news, which was the headline in the St. Cloud Times this AM.)

Missed this last week: the new show gets some speculation from Saint Paul at Nihilist in Golf Pants. Regarding reason #1 for the real reasons I'm now on Business1570 -- the station expects to be at the State Fair with its own separate studio. Nothing keeps me from the State Fair. Not even buffalo.

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Friday, October 09, 2009


Sorry to have been so busy today. Still working on details for radio tomorrow -- looks iffy at this point, but we will know more shortly. Meanwhile, please see my first post at the new National Association of Scholars blog. Bookmark that blog for commentary on higher education from at least 22 academics.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Private channel to Chad 

The Tubes were always about sarcastic lyrics. She's a Beauty is off a later album in 1983, eight years after their eponymous The Tubes album. That one includes one of my unheralded greatest hits collection, White Punks on Dope, in which the singer says he would commit suicide if only he could afford the rope. And of course, What Do You Want from Life, which proves just that the Seventies contained the same solipsistic teens as come to my freshman classes today. Here's the finale:
What do you want from life
Someone to love
and somebody that you can trust
What do you want from life
To try and be happy
while you do the nasty things you must

Well, you can't have that, but if you're an American citizen you are entitled to:
  • a heated kidney shaped pool,
  • a microwave oven--don't watch the food cook,
  • a Dyna-Gym--I'll personally demonstrate it in the privacy of your own home,
  • a king-size Titanic unsinkable Molly Brown waterbed with polybendum,
  • a foolproof plan and an airtight alibi,
  • real simulated Indian jewelry,
  • a Gucci shoetree,
  • a year's supply of antibiotics,
  • a personally autographed picture of Randy Mantooth
  • and Bob Dylan's new unlisted phone number,
  • a beautifully restored 3rd Reich swizzle stick,
  • Rosemary's baby,
  • a dream date in kneepads with Paul Williams,
  • a new Matador, a new mastodon,
  • a Maverick, a Mustang, a Montego,
  • a Merc Montclair, a Mark IV, a meteor,
  • a Mercedes, an MG, or a Malibu,
  • a Mort Moriarty, a Maserati, a Mac truck,
  • a Mazda, a new Monza, or a moped,
  • a Winnebago--Hell, a herd of Winnebago's we're giving 'em away, or how about
  • a McCulloch chainsaw,
  • a Las Vegas wedding,
  • a Mexican divorce,
  • a solid gold Kama Sutra coffee pot,
  • or a baby's arm holding an apple?
I'll bet I played that nightly for my first semester in grad school. I have no idea why.

You're right, Chad, She's A Beauty is horrible. It's a good reason not to see the band, which still tours. But at least one Tuber redeemed himself when Fee Waybill brought Rocky Horror to stage.

Let's see if producer Tommy plays this on Saturday.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

I'll just have to tell you 

I'll post over the weekend on the financial matters of the week. �If you want to hear it instead of read it, I will be on the David Strom Show at 9:20 to discuss matters with David and Margaret, and then I will be flying semi-solo (Matt will be my co-pilot) for Final Word as Michael basks in the glow of his prize. �Please do listen in.

Meanwhile I'm helping to celebrate the inauguration of President Earl Potter here at SCSU. �Congratulations, Earl. �It was a marvelous ceremony, and a word of praise for the SCSU Concert Choir, who sang some beautiful and challenging music.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hot time 

It's been so busy I haven't posted here. Be sure to follow the Twitter feed for updates. Hear us tonight 8-10p CT at AM 1280 the Patriot.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

In case you forgot 

The NARN is at the Minnesota State Fair each night from 5-7pm. Tonight it's Michael and me, as Ed and Mitch get a breather from their week-long stint here. If you're not here, you can hear us on AM1280 the Patriot. (Streaming available there.)

UPDATE: Senator Norm Coleman will be with us at 5:20. We will ask about his new support for the expanded "Gang of 16". We also expect Zack Stephenson from MnPublius at 6pm to talk with us as the countdown to the coronation of Obama reaches its climax in Denver.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Media alert 

I will be subbing for Don Lyons on the Morning Show today at 6-8am on 1450 KNSI here in St. Cloud (streaming available through the link). Then at 5-7pm, the Final Word begins its State Fair duties. If you are at the Fair this afternoon, come by the Patriot booth, newly placed on Dan Patch Blvd, and visit with Michael and me. NARN will be at the Fair weekdays 5-7 along with our normal Saturday gig (11-5; the Final Word begins at 3.)

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Saturday on AM 1280 

Tomorrow, Saturday the 23rd, I will join Michael Brodkorb for the Final Word of the Northern Alliance Radio Network program on AM 1280 the Patriot. We will be joined by Mary Liz Holberg, MN House Representative from Lakeville. Main topic - the irresponsible transit bill our legislature is in the process of trying to ram through before the actual budget numbers are released.

Please join us and share your thoughts.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Back to morning drive 

Twenty-five years ago ("oh God, he's not doing one of those Mitch posts, is he?" -- ed.) I was a grad student-cum-radio DJ at KSPC in Claremont, CA, and morning drive was my beat that term, my last on radio before NARN began. The grad student wakes up usually earlier than your average Pomona College undergrad, so it fell to me to do this (the kids liked doing the after-midnight stints.)

Tomorrow morning I sit in for Andy Barnett on KNSI from 6-9AM, 1450 on your AM dial, here in the Cloud. (Hmmm, now that I look at your site, Andy, I notice a link missing from your blogroll?) Topics will be all over the place, I suppose, as I haven't been able to rustle up my usual collection of guests. Three hours of my voice? Maybe we'll invite Mrs. Scholar to her first radio experience!

Pray for me; I get up early enough, but talking to a corner of the world at that time will be quite the experience.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Five years ago today 

...this blog was born as
a group weblog for SCSU members of the NAS to discuss events at SCSU and elsewhere that would be of interest to us and to the SCSU faculty and staff.
It has obviously become something much different than that, due to a number of people and events. All the other members of the St. Cloud Association of Scholars either retired or moved on to other things. I decided to make it personal instead, and the habit of posting here each weekday was something I just fell into.

Later on, of course, came the Northern Alliance, the radio show and its evolution. Guest bloggers have worked here, and then last year we brought Janet, who I did not know before MAS, into regular posting. This is a statement about how often good things in our lives begin with an act you do that is unrelated, even orthogonal, to what happens in the end. There are so many blessings that have flowed from the decision to try out this Blogger thing that describing the beginnings of this blog cannot really be accomplished in a post. I'm probably going to write up an 'about' page (finally!) this week.

I will have to say the best part of this has been to find a whole new group of people to talk to, a group so large that even the list in my blogroll doesn't do the trick. So rather than name a whole bunch of people, I'd like to thank just the people who matter most.

The beautiful woman on the left is the woman that makes sure I get in the car each Saturday to do the show, who asks about the people on the right blogroll of the MOB, and who allows me to scoot down into the basement to post rather than do the housework that needs doing here. That too-tall kid on the right is the kid that ends up doing the work I would do if I wasn't doing this and is tied for the second-best thing in my life. That guy in the middle isn't my son, but the famed Psycmeistr, who can stand in for the dozens of other bloggers, readers and friends I've made through this. Put yourself in Leo's spot, dear reader, because you're one of our family, too.

The biggest of thanks, then, to Mrs. S and the Littlest Scholar for permitting me the pleasures of this blog. We'll stick this post at the top for the day.

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Friday, August 31, 2007

A hot day at the Fair 

Here we are again, Michael and me, ready for three more hours of NARN Live at the State Fair. We're here 5-8pm tonight; many guests are expected but unconfirmed, so I'll leave this list blank (Michael updates while we're on, so check to see from his link. I'm busy trying to keep this thing between the ditches.)

Tomorrow, we have John and the Fraters 11-1, Mitch and Ed 1-3, and then we're back 3-5, for our usual NARN turn. Below is video from a food eating contest two years ago created by Saint Paul, featuring Mitch and former Patriot program director Patrick Campion.

So stop by us at the Fair, or listen, on AM 1280 the Patriot.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back to the Fair 

I am behind the Patriot booth preparing for NARN Live at the MN State Fair. If you are at the Fair today or tomorrow at 5-8pm, or Saturday 11-5, be sure to stop by the booth on Judson Street, across from the Horticulture Building and say hi. We hope to have Sen. Norm Coleman on with us before he leaves for Iraq tonight, Prof. Larry Jacobs, a pollster at the University of Minnesota, Rep. Marty Seifert, along with Mark Yost, author of , and Sean Broom from MN Publius. He seems nervous, but we promise to treat him well.

If you're not at the Fair, listen in.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Do we need a special session? 

After Michael got off the air on his view that we should not be afraid of a special session, The Lady Logician struck back.
First off, we are echoing the sentiments of our friends and neighbors who just watched this Legislature fritter away a $2.2 BILLION DOLLAR budget surplus on"optional" expendatures [sic] --none of which was scheduled to go toward bridges and roads. Money went to just about everything else.
OK, but that was then and this is now. Priorities respond to circumstances. I agree as well with Gary that the DFL looked at transportation issues and saw only gas-tax-increase; what I don't agree with is that this is a reason to do nothing now.

I have a roof on my house. I look at it in spring and say, "it appears OK, it should be fine for another year," and I don't call the roofing company. After the tornado passes through and my roof fails because I didn't replace it (assume it would have been fine if I had replaced it in spring), do I not get to collect on my insurance to pay for a new roof? Do I not get to change priorities?
Second - the money is already there for use not only for the bridge but for the flood zones. Drew Emmer at Wright County Republican has the breakdown of the emergency funding access that the Governor has.
He has the power to get the money now, certainly, but that doesn't mean there wouldn't be a tax called for to pay for it later. It is my preference to have a regular session later and have all spending and tax options available, and a little more information about the 2008-09 biennium. I would prefer to wait. But you can read the July budget forecast which says the outlook for the economy is slightly weakening, and then look at the subprime/credit crisis, and argue that at some point we might need the rainy day fund for general obligations of the budget. Yes, they may have spent too much in May, but that's a sunk cost now. The alternative, of course, is unallotment after the emergency spending; for both political and economic reasons, that's an unattractive alternative.
Lastly, as Representative Seifert stated after the bridge collapse, the latest budget forecast shows an even bigger surplus than we had previously expected. The final numbers are due in November.
Tell you what, LL, let's have a bet. You can take the side that we'll have a bigger surplus in November than projected in July. I'll take the under. If the Global Insights weighted forecast (which the state uses for budget forecasting) had 20% on the pessimistic scenario in July, you don't think it'll be less in November, now, do you?

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

How Mitch does radio 

I have the distinct pleasure of broadcasting from the State Fair again this year, for the fourth year running of the NARN. I find hosting this rather than riffing off Mitch Berg's venerated radio skills hard. I mean, Mitch, you know, he really knows how to do the Fair.

Here, by the way, is the full schedule:
As the Fraters will tell you, there's no finer way to end your summer than with the NARN at the Fair -- at the bleeding edge of freak shows. See you there.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Tune in tomorrow 

I need to go tune up my golf game for MilF next week, so I'm off to take advantage of the weather. You get a double-dose of me tomorrow, and I get two guest co-hosts. I'll fill in for Mitch and Ed as the Headliner-of-the-Day, with guest host from the ether Duane Patterson, a/k/a the Generalissimo of the Hugh Hewitt Show. I will among other things talk about his post on the study of strike calls by Major League umpires (see Phil Miller, J.C. Bradbury and Skip Sauer; Skip gives us a link to the actual study.) That would be 1-3pm CT. Then, with Michael annoying his wife and new twins by live-blogging their births, Residual Forces' Andy Aplikowski will join me for The Final Word. You can bet the words "special" and "session" will be used liberally. The politicization has been noted as far away as New York and Washington. Andy has posted that the BPOUs (read: grassroots) are making inroads to slow the idea down.

That's all from 1-5 on AM 1280 the Patriot tomorrow. Stream it. Or (from Monday) podcast it.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

On the Final Word today 

We'll talk about the bridge in the second hour. Before that we'll hear from HD 28B special election winner Steve Drazkowski, and talk about financial markets with Western Illinois Professor (and blogger) William Polley.

Weigh your costs and benefits, and I'm sure you'll listen in.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

More bridge talk 

I will be appearing on Ed Morrissey's CQ Radio around 2:30 CT to talk about the economics of the Minneapolis bridge. You are invited to call in at 646-652-4889 to join the conversation!

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Radio Saturday: Whaddya think of Giuliani? 

Michael and I are starting a series this week on the Final Word in which we will focus on one presidential candidate per week and ask callers to tell us specifically what they like or don't like about that candidate. This week we kick off with Rudy Giuliani as the focus. Do you like him or don't you and why? Do you think he'll win or not? I'll focus mostly on domestic policy -- since Steve Forbes has signed on with Rudy as an advisor, should I be treating Rudy as a Forbes/Kemp tax warrior? -- as that's what I know. Michael will offer some thoughts as well. But what will make this feature work or not are opinions on the candidates from you, the listener. Be sure to listen and call us Saturday at 651-289-4488 with your view.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

One fine day 

If you are a blogger, or read blogs, just wonder what that word means, you need to be at Keegans tonight at 6pm for the Minnesota Organization of Blogs gathering. Usual ringleader Chad the Elder has decided he prefers Manila, enjoying his satellite TV connection, but the rest of us should be there. Cigars preferred.

You can start your fine day right now, listening to the second hour of Taxpayers League Live and then six hours of the Northern Alliance Radio Network beginning at 11am, on AM 1280 the Patriot (stream, later podcasts). Michael and I will have the Final Word starting at 3pm, with a focus on state and local politics. Exactly what? We're still working on guests while I hop in the car now and drive to the station; moonroof open because it's another gorgeous day in Minnesota.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

On the Final Word today 

Remember first that the Final Word comes after four hours of excellent local talk radio on AM 1280 the Patriot's Northern Alliance Radio Network. Be sure to catch some combination of Brian and Chad and John from 11am to 1pm, and Mitch and Ed from 1-3pm.

Seeing that blogs at two newspapers are fretting over the loss of a congressional district, Michael and I will visit with the guy who started this thing. Tom Gillaspy is the state demographer, has done so for quite some time, and I'm happy to have been on a couple of panels with him at Winter Institutes here in the past. Half an hour with a demographer is a lot more fun than you'd think, and you should try it during the first hour.

Back by popular demand in the second hour is our good friend Drew Emmer, whose unique view from Wright County is not to be missed. I'll try to keep my giggling to a minimum.

So at least one of us is having fun tomorrow on the Final Word. Maybe you will too.

Did you take the weekend off and miss the frivolity? Podcasts available.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Let's review 

On Saturday's show, we did a rather obscure story that I'd like to review now and provide some background.

A seat is available on the MnSCU Board of Trustees for a student from one of the four-year universities in the system (one of which is SCSU.) The current holder, Michael Boulton, goes off on June 30.

Chapter 136F of the Minnesota Statutes governs MnSCU and specific provisions are provided for the selection of trustees. 136F.04 covers the student board members' selection, assigning them "the responsibility for recruiting, screening, and recommending qualified candidates" to the board. They can recommend between two to four. The statute explicitly states that the governor "is not bound by these recommendations." The student association covering the four-year universities is the Minnesota State University Student Association (MSUSA.)

During the show we reviewed first the case of Luke Hellier. Luke is a graduate of St. John's University, has been active in Republican politics both on and off the campus, and has experience in SJU student government. I met him while he was at SJU and active with Students Fostering Conservative Thought; I have spoken as well to the campus' College Republicans chapter. Luke says he is enrolled for classes this fall at MSU-Mankato for a masters degree in public administration. He tells that upon speaking with Boulton, and realizing he met the requirements for the position, he decided to apply for the post. Using the Open Appointments process meant he filled out a form. He reports that last week, he was interviewed for the position. Nothing on that form indicated to him that he should speak to MSUSA for screening, nor did anyone from the governor's office when they interviewed him.

We also interviewed Adam Weigold, a candidate who went through MSUSA screening. When I asked how he knew of the post opening, he reported that as someone affiliated with MSUSA he was aware of the process anyway. How was the position advertised? I asked. He replied that it was up to campus student government presidents to make the position known to people on their campuses. While Adam was very supportive of Luke's candidacy, he felt that Luke should have known this process by finding the statute.

That's a fair enough point. But what I would ask is, when the statute says (136F.02) that "Three members must be students who are enrolled at least half time in a degree, diploma, or certificate program or have graduated from an institution governed by the board within one year of the date of appointment." (emphasis added), it clearly contemplates the applicant pool to include a student entering school. Nobody disputes this. And this would appear to be the case: The entering student would be a graduate student coming to a MnSCU school. We do not offer doctorates (yet) and master's programs typically take two years. So it's most likely that if grad students are contemplated to join the board, they would most likely join it at the very beginning of their enrollment in a program. Without the provision I italicized, it is unlikely that graduate students could gain the 4-year student seat on the MnSCU board.

Yet the system by which MSUSA announces the process it uses is exclusionary to those who would enter a program a few months after the announcement of a vacancy. It puts candidates like Luke at a disadvantage to insiders within MSUSA and the seven campus student governments.

If you think that's fair -- that there should be preference for current over incoming students, even if the incoming student has experience in student government from a non-MnSCU school -- you're welcome to argue that point. Please indicate how you read that into current Minnesota statute.

Enter last week's folderol from the leftist blogs inspired by Hal Kimball. Long-time readers of the Scholars are familiar with Mr. Kimball. He is a past student government president. During his tenure his student government helped get a man elected homecoming queen, interfering enough with the campus' student finances that its student finance committee quit en masse, and causing enough ruckus with the student newspaper to have its editor make Kimball the focus of his valedictory editorial, including these famous words:
Kimball is a whiny, two-faced, corrupt liar- all of the personality traits of a politician. He probably has a good career ahead of him.
The career path was rather evident early on. The year before Kimball became president of the student government, SCSU's students voted to remove themselves from MSUSA. To do so requires legislation, so the vote was to bind student government to seek that legislation. Throughout early 2004 the debate raged, and when Kimball won election that April, he indicated he would still abide by the students' preferences.
Kimball and [VP Bianca] Rhodes [who also tried to quit as Kimball's VP during the finance flap in 2/05 but was persuaded to stay] intend to keep the pressure on, they said.

"We will still be working on the MSUSA issue," Rhodes said. "That is very important to the students and student government."
But in the greatest about-face since Gomer Pyle, Kimball not only does not press for SCSU's departure from MSUSA, he becomes its chair. In a scathing editorial of Kimball's tenure, the campus newspaper notes that this is "similar to President Bush becoming the head of the United Nations after his term."

So those who think I might have been a little over-the-top last Saturday on my show should review this fellow who you have followed into your calumny over Luke Hellier's legitimate candidacy for the MnSCU Board. Is it really about protecting the recommending authority of MSUSA -- a body that Hal Kimball has both said he wanted SCSU students out of, and then became chair of -- or is it in fact about the politics of Luke?

After reading the facts above, and reading Hal's post, you decide: Does this look like the post of a 35-year-old adult that should serve on a board of MnSCU to you?

UPDATE: Michael looks at the reporting and finds it lacking.

UPDATE 2 (10pm): Since some people are missing key points, let's review again:
  1. I don't really care if Mr. Hellier wins or loses the Board seat. I think he is qualified, but it is reasonable to assume all three candidates are. Having not interviewed one and having only talked briefly to the other two, I'm in no position to pick. Nor is that my job: It's Governor Pawlenty's.
  2. Mr. Kimball is not a student at SCSU at this time. Having left the university, he is not subject to any special consideration from me as a faculty member. I checked this before agreeing to do the story on the show by establishing he no longer had an email account at the university. He has never been in one of my classes and his resume indicates he left the university in 2006.
  3. Reporting on his past at the university goes to motive. Mr. Kimball is a political actor in this issue; the post I offered of his above shows a political argument disqualifying his contention that the issue is about the MSUSA recommendation. Even in his questions he would ask of Mr. Hellier, he makes Hellier's work with the Bachmann campaign an issue. There is no political qualifications or disqualifications for a Board position. And his inconsistent position on MSUSA ("it's not your daddy's MSUSA") should call his judgment on the MSUSA recommendation into question. The target of his post is not Hellier but Pawlenty, and his willingness to smear Hellier with misrepresentations to get at Pawlenty is in fact part of a pattern of behavior.
  4. We are grateful for the listenership of the leftist blogs to our show. We are glad you found it entertaining. That is, in fact, what we do. We both inform and entertain. If leftists could figure this out, maybe they'd draw more than a 9% share of the talk radio format.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

More and less of me 

First the more: Because someone apparently has trouble with the concept of gravity (he can explain later), I'll host Taxpayers League Live tomorrow at 9am. Better, I will interview John Lott a second time. (We didn't get through all my questions last time.) Even better, because only one in the crib is gravity-challenged, I will have Margaret Martin with me. Phil Krinkie figures to come by in the 10am hour; maybe he can explain this silliness with the new House tax bill to me.

After that I have lunch at an undisclosed location, then Michael and I plot the Final Word at 3pm.

Sunday, I'll be on Race to the Right with Tony Garcia on KNSI, talking about blogs in Minnesota. That show begins at 1pm. Tony might keep me on for awhile, or I may annoy him enough to be shown the door by 1:10. We'll see. If I were you, I'd not be late.

Now the less: You may tell I am posting less on here right now than before. I had it in my head for some time there should be four posts a day (ideally, two AM and two PM.) Four. Why that number, I do not know. But if I didn't hit that number I felt I had shorted the pot.

While most people think summers are less busy for professors, for me at least summer is my busiest time. It's specifically the time I get to write professionally. And with a contract for a book in hand plus a number of obligations to journals and other outlets, hitting four is getting to the point where I feel pressures both to post and not to post. And when that happens, the blog has to get less attention.

So I've decided that, for now, the two morning posts will have to go, and the two afternoon posts will be most of what you see for the foreseeable future. If it costs readership, that'll have to be.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Nope, just playing hookie 

There are simply days where you can't blog. Sometimes it's work related, and today is one of those days. Yesterday, though, was the glorious day of golf for The Patriot. Met great people and played a fabulous golf course. (I was skeptical of their talk that golf carts were special, but they were, and fast as heck too!)
Sure, we had no birdies, but we had sun and fun, and at least one of us had great shoes.

Came home trying to think up something and instead saw my daughter wanting to go for a walk, and the blog lost to Littlest.

More tonight when I return from Chili and Chat.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

A special guest on the Final Word 

We are pleased to announce that Governor Tim Pawlenty will join us just after 3:30 today on The Final Word. Working in your garage? On a boat? Take twenty and listen in (well, you could listen to the whole two hours from 3-5, but I try to keep expectations reasonable.)

Michael and I will have other stories during the rest of the show. And you have to hear what's up today on the NARN:
Streaming from here at AM 1280 the Patriot; podcasts of all these shows will be up on Monday here.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Book review: Freedomnomics 

I was very pleased on Saturday to interview (and catch up an old acquaintance) with John Lott, whose new book Freedomnomics: Why the Free Market Works and Other Half-Baked Theories Don't is now available. Be sure to hear the interview on podcast.

I mention this at the outset: I've know Lott for some time as someone like me interested in public choice economics, particularly as it applies to campaign contributions and elections. We share a belief that the political system actually works pretty well, in a Chicago School tradition and both ended publishing in that area. So fair to say that one part of this book on the folly of campaign finance reform is something I was predisposed to like.

There's little question that the book is intended as a counterpoint to Freakonomics, and you'd have to be living in a cave not to know the backstory. But that focus is appropriate in a larger sense: Perhaps the subtitle of the book should be "Why the Free Market Works Better than the Alternatives." As Lott states at the conclusion of the book,
The free market isn't perfect, but that isn't the right standard by which to judge it. The government is hardly perfect either. (p. 194)
The idea of Government Failure is a neglected concept in Levitt and Dubner, in my view. A chapter titled "Government as Nirvana?" drives home the point. But this is not to say Lott thinks government is corrupted. He says in the previous paragraph to the one above:
There will always be some duplicity in the free market. But there is also an ever-present incentive ingrained in the system for individuals and companies to behave honestly. If someone can make a buck by treating his customers better than someone else, eventually someone will try it. Political markets also have their own mechanisms to limit cheating, resulting in the election of politicians who, by and large, accurately represent their constituents. (p. 194)
Not only will you get the government you deserve, you'll get something close to the one you want! This will come to some readers, I suspect, as a bit of a shock. But he uses two full chapters -- one on the incentives created by reputations and what my teacher Tom Borcherding always called "the discipline of continuous dealings" -- my term, not Lott's, and borrowing from Gordon Tullock again. Repeated plays of a prisoners' dilemma game by two people creates much different incentives than if it's a one-shot game. He also looks at the growth of government more generally, and comes to the surprising conclusion that "Granting women suffrage explains at least a third of the expansion in the size of government." (p. 5)

There is a chapter devoted to the guns, crime and punishment debate that centers much of the public discussion of Lott's earlier work. I didn't find much new in there, but it creates a nice summary of the debate as it exists. I liked that chapter less than the others because I had already followed those arguments, and because they get into the weeds much more than the others. There's almost a change of voice there.

Freedomnomics is in the genre of books used to supplement introductions to economics, as well as a stand-alone book to show economic principles to reasonably intelligent individuals (not necessarily having ever had economics in college, or even going to college.) I have continued to use Steven Landsburg The Armchair Economist for this (I haven't finished More Sex Is Safer Sex yet, will when I get a chance) when I've needed a supplement for an intro course, and I think Freedomnomics will do as well for that purpose. I think if you were to use it that way you would need a guide to help, or to cut up the chapters into smaller pieces. But even without that, students of economics inside and outside classrooms will learn some great stories to explain that markets actually work rather well.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

NARN live at the Capitol tomorrow 

NARN will be live at the World War II Veterans Memorial at the State Capitol tomorrow. All three shows will be there, with Scott, Brian and Chad 11-1; Ed and Mitch 1-3pm, and Michael and me 3-5. The dedication begins around 2.

We are looking forward to having John Lott on the air to discuss his book Freedomnomics. Those of you who remember Lott more for More Guns, Less Crime should listen in, as I may ask a couple of questions about that work as well. I'll have a review of the book up after the show.

UPDATE (6/9): Our current troops are also to be saluted. Mike from Lamplighter's News, a former guest host of Scholars, has done great work getting together some care packages for the troops overseas. So successful, he has 100 extra he's looking to send but needs addresses for. I know a few of our readers -- brought by Janet, who's enjoying Alaska right now -- are keenly interested in this and might know how to let supply create its own demand. Click through, and get Mike a note with an address to send these packages.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Media alert: Blog Talk Radio 

I will make my first foray into the Internet radio life this afternoon at 2pm CT, visiting with old friend and fellow NARNian Captain Ed Morrissey on Blog Talk Radio. One of the greatest things that has happened to me in blogging is meeting Ed, and this will be the first time we're on the air together in quite some time (since Final Word began; before that we were a weekly habit.) We'll talk about immigration and the report on the mobility of low-income families with children. The call-in number for listeners is 646-652-4889.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Tomorrow on the Final Word... 

We are looking forward to a great show with a couple of special guests. Brian McClung, communications director for Governor Tim Pawlenty, will be joining us. The Word has it that McClung is responsible for my favorite line of the 2007 Legislative session, spoken by Governor Pawlenty. If so, praise be upon him. I believe he will be on in the first hour, exact time is still firming up.

We're also please to have at 4:15 Evan Coyne Maloney, whose movie Indoctrinate U will be opening next week in New York. I am going to try to persuade him that his movie would make a good headline for a double-bill with the Penn and Teller episode that featured what one fellow calls "the ground zero of political correctness."

Watch the trailer below, then come listen to Mr. Maloney.

The show will be on 3-5pm on AM1280 the Patriot. The archive afterward should be up here.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

And we have a winner 

The victor of our first wave of ridiculous bills is HF 615, the sex education act which includes the possibility of sex ed for kindergartens. The rundown of the vote:
Total votes: 209.

If you want to see details on any bill, go to the House legislative site and put in the bill number in the left as hfnnn (with nnn the number of the bill.) The winner is linked as an example.

We expect to have a second poll later starting Monday, and then a runoff between HF615 and the second winner. Minnesota Democrats Exposed is already leading us to one strong contender.

Tune into the Northern Alliance Radio Network's Final Word at 3pm CT today for more, plus a return visit from U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann. Streaming here (Mitch and Ed are on right now!) and see if you can help us select which bills go on the list. Drew Emmer will be assisting us after 4pm.

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