Archive for January 12th, 2016

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Hallelujah

January 12, 2016

The Wall Street Journal reports:

NFL Owners Approve Rams’ Return to Los Angeles

The National Football League is headed back to Los Angeles in a big way.

After two decades without a team in the nation’s second largest media market, NFL owners voted Tuesday to move the St. Louis Rams back to the city they called home for nearly 50 years. NFL owners also gave the San Diego Chargers the right to join the Rams if the two franchises can work out a deal to share the planned stadium.

The vote came after years of negotiations, land deals, stalled talks and bare-knuckled lobbying within the exclusive club that is the NFL owners group. Ultimately, the owners voted to approve a move by one of its wealthiest owners, Stan Kroenke, who controls one of the most valuable large parcels of undeveloped land in the Los Angeles region—site of the former Hollywood Park Racetrack in Inglewood where the franchise plans to build a $2 billion stadium, and Alex Spanos, scion of the Chargers, who has owned his team for more than 30 years. […]

What great news. Now Mr. Kroenke (and the NFL owners cartel) won’t be trying to milk the city of St. Louis and the State of Missouri to build him a stadium.

A recent report about Kroenke’s unflattering comments about St. Louis as a venue for pro football excited some public resentment here. What amused me most was his remark that game attendance “has been well below the League’s average”. Maybe you should have given some thought to prices, chief, particularly given the StL Rams dismal record.

Good bye and good riddance, Mr. Kroenke. Take your Rams and go home.

What St. Louis needs is a business like one that-comes-after-TWA or that-comes-after-Google or that-comes-after-Caterpillar. Something productive, in short.

What it doesn’t need is the liability of subsidizing a wealthy person’s entertainment company.


Update

There’s more good news (says the person who couldn’t care less about pro sports).

Jaguars owner not interested in move to St. Louis

The Rams are gone. Mark Davis continues to insist he’s not interested in moving his Oakland Raiders to St. Louis.

So what about Jacksonville?

A small market that struggles to fill seats. Currently plays a game a year in London to help generate revenue. And owned by Shahid Khan. You know, the central Illinois businessman who unsuccessfully bid to purchase the Rams in 2010.

With the St. Louis market currently vacant as a result of Tuesday’s relocation vote by NFL owners, would Khan be interested in bringing his Jaguars to the Gateway City?

“I don’t see that at all, OK?” Khan said firmly.

He spoke just before midnight Tuesday in the lobby of the Houston hotel, where just a few hours earlier NFL owners decided to spurn St. Louis and let the Rams move to Los Angeles.

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Like a North Korea with palm trees

January 12, 2016

That’s one tourist’s take in this article from The New Yorker.

Shopping in Cuba
In the markets and shops of Cuba, handicrafts are in ample supply but certain mundane provisions are not.

A Spanish-English dictionary, sunscreen, insect repellent, a towel, chocolate ice cream: these are the items that eluded me during a recent trip to Cuba. For all the hoopla about the island’s opening and the more than three million tourists who swamped it last year, Cuba is no country for shoppers. The more mundane the object of desire, the more exasperating it can be to find.

I’m not saying that these common items are completely unavailable in Cuba—I’m sure they are for sale somewhere on the island—but I couldn’t locate them. And I did look. […]

Having been a foreign correspondent in Eastern Europe in the nineteen-nineties, and more recently in China, I have some experience with Communist and post-Communist countries. In Cuba I saw elements of many of them, from Albania to Vietnam. Like Prague in the nineteen-nineties, Havana’s old city is swarming with tourists who gaze at the faded splendor of its Belle Époque architecture. Private restaurants inside these elegant wrecks, called paladares, beckon tourists with creative meals made out of the few ingredients available locally, mostly chicken, pork, cabbage, rice, and beans.

But Cuba also looks to me like a North Korea with palm trees. To be sure, Cuba has evolved politically, investing in education and health care rather than weapons of mass destruction. But the economic fundamentals in these last bastions of Communism are much the same. Like North Korea, Cuba maintains a distribution system in which citizens pay a low cost for inadequate rations of staple foods. […]

H.T. Jeff G

As the author points out, el socialismo cubano is more humane than some of the Asian and European variants. But, still, economic central planning has yet to work as well free markets (to the best of my knowledge).

It makes you wonder about the motives of people who keep imposing that planning on others, doesn’t it?

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