Thursday, April 10, 2014

Guess who wasn't an economics major?

In the ongoing battle over monetary compensation for student athletes, perhaps no voice is more stridently ignorant than that of Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby:

"I came up as a wrestler and I can tell you I worked just as hard as any football player in the country, as any basketball player, in fact I would say I worked harder than those guys,"

"The fact is we have student-athletes in all sorts of sports that, if you apply any form of value to their labor, you cannot pay football players and not pay gymnasts just because the football player has the blessing of an adoring public. That's the only difference. There are a lot of student athletes that are worthy."

Well maybe he did take a class in Marxian econ and fell in love with the labor theory of value!

Of course a simple glance at the real world (as opposed to wherever the hell Bowlsby lives) refutes his thesis.

Just change the context and see if you buy it: "you cannot pay movie stars more than teachers just because the movie star has an adoring public. Teachers work harder than those guys".


Look people, the hard truth is that football and basketball players have been cross-subsidizing tennis players, swimmers, rowers, golfers, you name it, for a very long time. Now that the handwriting is on the wall for that (to me at least) blatantly unfair system, there are going to be big adjustments.

No more cross country air travel for the golf / tennis / field hockey teams. Heck maybe even no more scholarships for them either.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Amster, Amster, Dam, Dam, Dam

So, when you enter Europa via CDG, from the US at least, and you remain in the international transit part of the airport, the passport check is...well, there isn't one.  At all.  I had thought this was fairly typical (except in the U.S., of course, where we try to maximize hassles for travellers).

I thought little of the fact that the "passport control" on my entry into Prague, from CDG, was  also desultory.  The guy was waving US passports through like it was rush hour and he was a traffic cop.  Didn't scan my passport, didn't even open it.

Today, I tried to leave.  Got a car from Bratislava to Wien, and then flew Wien to Amsterdam.  And tried to cross through passport control, leaving the Schengen area to go to a connecting flight to the non-Schengen area.  The Dutch passport guy, leaved through my passport, and announces, as if it were a movie, "Sir, you are in Europe illegally!

And suddenly there were four men with guns, all around me." The guns weren't drawn, but there were guns, in an airport.  They "suggested" that I take a walk with them.

It seems that I must have entered the "country" (the EU, it turned out, which is no country) illegally, because, according to the remarkably self-important Dutch police, "No country ever allows anyone without stamping their passports."  (This is not only mistaken, but absurd.  Nobody stamps passports...The comments here claim that it's never a problem.  Of course, they are wrong, but it was a problem for me!)

I was ushered into a room to talk to a man who did NOT have a gun, and (thank goodness) was endowed both with excellent English and wisdom.

I said that it was hardly my fault that France doesn't check passports, and that Czech Republic doesn't stamp them.  There is no way I could have gotten a stamp in Paris, which is where he claimed I should have been checked, because they didn't even operate a passport control station inside the international transit area.

The gentleman smiled ruefully, and said, "That's quite true.  And yet that is also what someone would say if they really were in the EU illegally, now, isn't it?  If we simply believed people about when they entered and exited, the whole process could be done on the honor system.  We have to try to enforce the law."
I had to admit this was actually true, from his perspective.  And of course he had no way of knowing if I was telling the truth, because there was no stamp.

He asked if I had my tickets still from the journey into the EU.  Fortunately, I did.  He looked at them, and said, "Now I doubt you just forged these, so you must be telling the truth." And did a carefully placed, handwritten "correction"entry stamp proving I had entered the EU.

And then added an equally careful exit stamp allowing me to leave.

I have to ask:  while it's true that could not have forged tickets RIGHT THEN, it would be easy to forge tickets before the fact.  He didn't check the bar code, didn't make a copy, didn't do anything to verify that the tickets were legit.

Does this happen often?  Thoughts?

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Entrepreneurial Virtues: My Lecture In Bratislava

Here is the video of my speech last night at CEQLS, in Bratislava.  I had to speak rather slowly because it was being simultaneously translated into Slovakian.  So it's a little frustrating to listen to, because there are lots of pauses.

But it was  a fun talk to give, and a great audience!  Thanks to Dr. Peter Gonda and the M.R. Stefanik Conservative Institute for doing such a wonderful job of sponsoring it!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Monday's Child

1.  Westerly, RI:  Where there is always action around the Brazen Hen.   (It's on Canal Street, the busy hub of Westerlyness, close to Toscano's Men's Shop if you want to rent a tux before trying to kill somebody).  Much to enjoy here.  The guy is 24 and has "an extensive criminal record."  He assaulted a funeral direct and violated his parole before assaulting a romantic rival using his mother's Kia Optima.  And the headline makes it sound like the hit-and-run took place IN court.  How he got his mother's Kia Optima into court I'll never know.

2.  Brain teasers trigger alarms of Venezuelan government.  Sometimes, the jokes just write themselves...

3.  If Marlon Brando weren't dead, was short, and had a band, it might look something like this.

4.  If you are the sort of guy who even NOTICES "toe cleavage," then you are likely to want to pay more attention to a lady's toes than most ladies will feel comfortable with.   Like this guy.  A little toe-sucking can be fine, of course, but never on the first date.  (UPDATE:  It was an April Fool's joke...But since I am in Bratislava, Slovakia now, I just left it..)

5.  "Neglect, carefully cultivated."  That sounds like my physical fitness regimen!