Latest Posts





MN Wineries Sue Over Law Against Out-of-State Grapes

There's plenty of threats for the state to keep track of  about when it comes to crossing state lines. Most Minnesotans wouldn't put grapes on the watch list. Yet state law prohibits Minnesota vintners from using a majority of grapes from other states in blending their wines. Grapes from other regions of the country help soften the edge of the harsher varieties that grow in Minnesota's climate. But an arcane state law on the books requires wineries to use a majority of Minnesota-grown grapes in their vintages. The limitation serves the purpose of protecting Minnesota's grape growers from outside competition. “We’re fighting for...

Continue reading

What’s CTE? And It Increased High School Graduation Rates by HOW Much?

If I had to guess, there is a general sense among adults in general that high schools in Minnesota and elsewhere around the country currently offer many fewer shop classes then they used to.  They’re right if they think that. If I had to guess a second time, I would say people in general are less familiar with the rise of something called “Career and Technical Education,” which might be thought of as encompassing – and significantly adding to – the aims of old-time shop classes. My own aim here is to report on an important 2016 study that found, among other...

Continue reading

An Economist’s View: Dayton’s rich-vs.-the-rest economic view is simply wrong

This op-ed appeared in the Duluth News-Tribune on June 13, 2017. Embattled Gov. Mark Dayton has been on the road lately. On May 30, after a marathon legislative session that went into overtime, he finally signed off on a state budget for the next two years. Then, suddenly, he yanked funding from the Legislature, saying he would reinstate it only if legislators agreed to renegotiate the deal they had just reached with him. After such shoddy maneuvering, you can't blame him for high-tailing it out of town. As reported in the News Tribune, Gov. Dayton told Duluth media that the Republican majority...

Continue reading

The Educational Value of Beautiful and Physically Demanding Things

What follows is propelled by Center of the American Experiment’s multi-year project “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree: Good News for Students, Parents, and Employers.” As a rule, I stay miles away from proposing that high schools expand their curricula to address assorted lists of societal problems.  I’ve been in meetings, for instance, when participants have said it’s essential that students take a required course regarding the personal and societal benefits of marriage.  An avid proponent of marriage as I may be, I’ve argued against these suggestions on two grounds: Such additions would further clutter what frequently are overstuffed curricula already. ...

Continue reading

My Quick Conservative Take on the Minneapolis Mayoral Candidates Debate

I attended the Minneapolis mayoral candidates debate today at the Humphrey School at the University of Minnesota.  The best part was the excellent questions asked by the moderators, Larry Jacobs of the Humphrey School and Lee Schafer, business columnist for the Star Tribune.  Their common-sense questions called the candidates to account for all the anti-business craziness that’s been coming out of City Hall in recent years.  Here’s what they asked: Are you seeking the support of business owners? What do you say to business owners who say that their complaints about hostility in city government toward the business community has fallen on...

Continue reading