Friday, July 24, 2009

Checking out 

Gone the rest of the day to the Millard Fillmore blogger golf bash. Maybe you'll see some info via Twitter; supposedly we'll have Mitch doing commentary again.

If you're in St. Cloud and not able to take part in the MilF, maybe I could interest you in a free night of comedy, courtesy of GREAT Theater.

A Funny Thing Happend on the Way to the Forum

Outdoors at Lake George
Performs: July 23, 24 and 25 at 7:30
Bring your own chair or blanket

Featuring a community theatre cast of fantastic actors with a live orchestra, you won't want to miss this hilarious Broadway Musical "Under The Stars." Featuring bawdy slapstick comedy this production is recommended for ages eight and up.

Among those appearing is Mrs. S. I saw the show last night and it's absolutely hilarious. The cast has a great time and the audience does too. Crowd fills in around seven, so if you want to sit up close show up early. (I am a huge Zero Mostel fan, and this is one of my favorite movies. Particularly when it includes Phil Silvers.)

NARN is in studio tomorrow, so please be sure to listen in.

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Tomorrow on the Final Word (and the David Strom Show) 

I will take my normal turn on the David Strom Show a week late this week talking about the economy. I would tell you there's plan for what we'll talk about but this is not true. Whatever comes out of David's mouth, I react to. This usually turns out well.

Then on the Headliners with Mitch and Ed and on the Final Word, we're auctioning off two spots in the DAV of Minnesota golf outing with the Final Word. I and a special NARN participant will join two winners of the auction for golf at the Wilds, a beautiful course in Prior Lake. All proceeds go to disabled veterans, a great cause, and while I am not a good golfer I can be quite entertaining. Dial in and make bids starting at 1pm to 651-289-4488 and then listen to AM 1280 the Patriot at 4:50 to see if you've won! (Actually, we hope you'll listen all afternoon.)

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fore privatization 

Tom Steward of the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota has been making some noise with his scorecard of municipal golf courses. �Many of them make losses, and if one was to use the yellow pages test developed by Stephen Goldsmith of Indianapolis you certainly wouldn't think muni courses were a good use of public dollars.

But to take one example, the Becker course (#5 on Tom's list) is largely funded by the revenues from Sherburne County coal burner operated by Xcel. �It looks like a loss because the City of Becker operates it as a separate enterprise. �It puts all the costs out for people to see, but you don't see all the revenue. �For instance, the third nine-hole tract was developed later, and about fifty homes and condos are built around there. �The property value is higher because of the course, and thus so are the tax revenues. �But those revenues aren't shown in enterprise revenues.

Revenues from the coal burner also fund a huge community center down the street from the Pebble Creek course. �That's not an enterprise;�parks are just held in a parks & recreation budget and unlisted. �According to a former city official I spoke with the loss on the community center is greater than for Pebble Creek. �But few of us would hold up a park and say "it has to pay for itself." �Public recreational space is likely to be underprovided.

The better point the FFM article makes is that there are so many other courses available against whom these muni courses compete. �For that very same reason, there isn't much of a market for these courses if you did privatize them. �The opportunity cost of the land devoted to golf, and the funds tied up in the course do not show up on any statement, but they are quite real. �

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Alchian on golf 

Having mentioned Armen Alchian today, and having just yesterday received some old articles from a colleague who is retiring, I thought I would scan and share Alchian's "Of Golf, Capitalism, and Socialism." This was originally written in 1977 as an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.
A puzzle has been solved. Despite their intense interest in sports, no golf courses exist in the Socialist-Communist bloc. Why is golf solely in capitalistic societies? Because it is not merely a sport. It is an activity, a lifestyle; a behavior,a manifestation of the essential human spirit. Golf's ethics, principles, rules and procedures of play are totally capitalistic. They are antithetical to socialism. Golf requires self-reliance. independence, responsibility, integrity and trust. No extenuation is� granted misfortune, mistake or incompetence. No second chances. Like 1ife, it is often unfair and unjust, with uninsurable risks. More than any other sport, golf explo1ts the whole capitalist spirit.
The rest is here. Reflecting on this, John Bunzel a few years ago related the story of former Detroit Lion Alex Karras, who said "My best score is 103, but I've only been playing 15 years."

There's hope for me yet. And given the sunny day and the end of classes for me this week I take my leave.

Thanks to Bill L. for the scannable piece. I will note a html copy from Emilio Pacheco.

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