Monday, 27 March 2017

The Productivity puzzle

Productivity has fallen almost everywhere around the world.

 The ever conversable Timothy Taylor examiner this in lieu of a talk by  Andy Haldane.

 Dan Andrews et al  also examine this with a short paper at Vox wonk as I call it.

Plenty of food for thought here. We are still discussing this in Australia and reasons why productivity has fallen in recent times.                            

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Cricket Season has ended

We had the finals of both the Junior and Senior cricket associations on over the weekend.

It proved very hard work. for some unfathomable reason council suddenly got anal about having cricket played on the grounds one week before football starts,

We did say it did not matter if grounds were marked out for football or even posts inserted into the ground however it seemed Councils seemed to simply want no play at all of cricket in the last week of March despite this occurring for both Junior and Senior Cricket last season and nothing whatso ever occurring.

Also given the wet weather I was phoning up Umpires  on Saturday night informing them of one-day matches for finals in some age bracket as well as change of venues!

for the first time in its history we had fully qualified umpires for all our semi-final matches .These matches were unfortunately washed out.

The NDCA and the NCU ( A turf competition where 6 teams from the NDCA and 6 teams from the NSCA battle out in two competitions) went through tough circumstances but came out better for it. Just have to wait until mid-September now!


I should have added the best batsman for the club I was associated with was told by Gladesville Spirit the football club he plays with that  his cricket team was playing in the final. He was told if he played he would be benched for the whole season, Lovely club!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Around the Traps 24/3/17

It is time for Around the Traps again.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)
Vox wonk

Bill Leak and Cant

Bill Leak was the author of a quite racist cartoon.
Why was it racist?

It showed a male aboriginal as both a drunkard and a man who did not know even the name of one of his children.
Bill Leak had to know this cartoon went way over the line with regarding taste. If he was too stupid to understand this then his editor should have known.

The fact neither did shows either both were very stupid or they actually courted the controversy.

Let me be very firm on one thing before going on. I am not alleging either was a racist.

Both had to know this cartoon would attract blow back.
If Bill Leak did not want the heat of that blow back he did not have to draw the cartoon. He could have at the very least either apologise or explain what his cartoon was all about . Nuance is very hard to draw! I do not remember this at all.

Now let us go to the  infamous 18c action.

His legal team went hardball on this, They at no time drew on 18d as a defence Although the plaintiff wanted to reconcile his team did not.

If Leak was affected by all this he only had himself to blame.

His legal team would have explained the strategy. He could either agree with it or say he did not and wanted another strategy.
We can only assume he wet along with the hardball strategy. That being the case I have absolutely no sympathy if Leak suffered at all.

HE brought it all on himself . We have to admit we do not know why. We only know he was a willing 'victim'. I would not be surprised if it all went too far and in the end he could not speak out.

However he was a willing victim.

18c was NEVER going to be a reason why Leak would be prosecuted.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Problem with FACTS

Tim Harford has written a brilliant and somewhat lengthy post on the problem with facts.

It is well worth a read but of course you read it over the weekend because it was in Around the Traps!

Simon Wren-Lewis adds to this as well.
Added bonus, Peter Dorman

Hidden Figures

I have just come back after watching Hidden Figures with my wife. After watching Lion and being dreadfully disappointed this move was fantastic. It is essentially about three remarkable women who were black who worked in the NASA space program only this occurred way back in 1961.

No spoilers just go and watch it and feel good. Even Kevin Costner is good!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Trumps kicks another own goal , possibly a game changer

The heads of both the FBI and the NSA both essentially said Trumps allegations re Obama and wiretapping was a load of old cobblers.
So we now know for sure when Trump made these reckless allegations he did so without any input from intelligence and security agencies. He did it on the basis of a fake news outlet!

Neither he nor his cronies will apologise.
See Kumuda Simpson

However much worse for Trump is the announcement by Comey that the FBI is investigating to see if there was any collaboration between Russia and the Trump team during the election.
Of this Trump has no idea given his chaotic management style. He now must be worried sick because if any of his team is found to have been collaborating with Russia then it is goodnight Irene on this Presidency.

No Yank likes Treason!

Why Penalty rates are different between unionised and non-unionised industries

Malcolm Turnbull showed a lot of ignorance yesterday ( as did the Royal Commission into Unions) on penalty rates.

They do not understand the word negotiation.

In most unionised industries the penalty rates have been negotiated down. If negotiations have been made then you have to see what was negotiated. Neither Turnbull's staff nor the Royal Commission had the nous or the work ethic to discover what was involved. It involves a hell of a lot of work to discover this.

I have neither the time nor the interest to do so but let us simply examine what employees for Coles or Woolworths might have that employees in say a restaurant might not have.

  • Flexibility on rosters
  • Long service leave
  • ability to take annual leave when you wish to
  • other forms of leave
  • protocols involving dismissal
That is merely off the top of my head. Just remember as well a Union might negotiate a EBA BUT it is the employees who have to sign off on it.

If a person mentions that say the SDA have  not the same penalty rates for their member as employees on the award there is a very good reason for that. You cannot compare both as it is comparing apples with oranges.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

The USA on the decline?

Possibly the only topic not broached since we have had the extraordinary chaos and incompetence of Donald Trump is the decline of the USA as a superpower.

The last time we see this was when the USA overtook the UK as the major superpower. Some historians see this occurring during WW1. Some others see it happening following the Washington Naval Treaty.

What is occurring now is quite extraordinary. Donald Trump does not understand what NATO is about. He makes allegations about foreign agencies which patently has no evidence to back it up.
 He abuses other countries leaders and then leaks the conversation as we know only too well in Australia.
We know he is an ignorant braggart. It is not a quality to endears himself to other leaders.

He is very unpopular overseas. If he tried to lead the other Western Countries they would be loathed to follow because of the electoral consequences or because he has no clout!

His cabinet is highly unimpressive. Whether it be a Treasury Secretary which refuses to endorse free trade or a Secretary of State which goes overseas with no journalists. We still do not know whether an ex-General can be a decent Defence secretary! And the Administration is at war with its own intelligence and security community!

What about the big picture?

The US policies on free trade and the environment (climate change) has enabled China to come out as a leader on the world stage on these two policy areas.
The policy on free trade is obvious to everyone who has expertise on the matter. Protectionism leads to lower living standards, less industry and less employment. Again we have seen all this in Australia.

It is not surprising Trump does not acknowledge evidence concerning climate change as he never does in any policy area where it collides with his prejudices. His idiotic EO on refugees and immigrants shows this.

China has observed this and is sharply changing its stance. All coal fired generators will be gone from Beijing for example.

It will be highly ironic that Trump who wants to make the USA great again will be the main reason why it declines as a world superpower. This will come down to a President who simply does not understand what is going on and will not change his mind despite evidence to the contrary. His main advisors either are in the same boat or cannot explain this to their President!


Neither Trump nor anyone else seem to appreciate soft power. I thought that obvious above but it seems some people did not get that.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Around the Traps 17/3/17

It is time for Around the Traps again. from a very wet Sydanee! More evidence of global warming.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman (mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)
Vox wonk

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Kaiser Fung destroys Scott Pruitt

Scott Pruitt is the New EPA Secretary and is disputing climate change.
Eminent statistician Kaiser Fung absolutely destroys his argument HERE


Faster Broadband

Rod Tucker from Melbourne University looks at the NBN and considers australians-could-get-faster-broadband-with-more-kerbside-nbn-connections.

If I can say something about speed I am vastly amused when people such  Sinclair Davidson talk in grandiose terms about using a wifi network and how fast it is. They clearly have no idea that speeds on a wifi network slow down commensurately with the amount of people using it. If for example you no longer had the NBN and people only had access to wifi the speed would be very slow.
Ah research!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Free market has not worked with power prices

Tony Wood is with the Grattan Institute which is undoubtedly the pre-eminent think tank in Australia.
He has written about why-the-free-market-hasnt-slashed-power-prices-and-what-to-do-about-it.

There is a link in it which will lead you to the Grattan Institute paper he has written.

Highly impressive and very interesting.


Two comments on South Australia.

Coopers are gutless

Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie had a highly civilised debate on gay marriage. Wilson was for it and Hastie against it.

They both argued their cases well and whats more understood the others case as they had to summarise the other case which both could do well.

They did this whilst drinking Coopers lite. ( I much prefer coopers export). The homosexual lobby was very unhappy about this.They thought this was hate speech.

Now Coopers have cravenly caved in to this fascist lobby by absolving themselves from the event.

This whole thing is an absolute disgrace.

THIS is a great column.  I will no longer drink Coopers!

Monday, 13 March 2017

We have more than enough gas

I have been amused to hear Federal government ministers say the States need to have more gas exploration to boost supply.

It is incorrect.

Allan Pears gives a great snapshot of gas and it future.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Around the Traps 10/3/17

It is time for Around the Traps again.

Aussie,Aussie,Aussie, Oy,Oy,Oy
Northern America
Andrew Gelman (mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)
Vox wonk

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Still NO evidence and there never will be

It is now Thursday and Trump and his administration (?) have produced not a shred of evidence to back up his disgraceful claims about Obama spying on him.

Producing the evidence would not be hard for him to do. The President has to approve any request by the FBI to the Court so there are records in at least three places.

More over if Obama was the man portrayed by Trump why in the hell did he not leak the alleged recordings of Trump. They would have destroyed his campaign.
Also if said evidence is available then Obama. Clappers and Comey all know they will be caught out.
If Trump was SOOO worked up about these claims how come he tweeted about the Apprentice after this?

Let us be honest. Trump is a fruitloop. A little boy who has never grown up. People who defend are just as bad. They are defending the indefensible.

Imagine if you will how Trump would react in a REAL crisis. God forbid!

If the Democrats have any brains they should go full bore towards a senate inquiry into all of this.
Plenty of material to ensure embarrassment for many months.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Pauline Hanson shows her true colours

I have written previously about Pauline Hanson.

to be brutal she is not very intelligent and is ageing badly. Her claim that Asians were taking over the country was simply ridiculous. Just as bad was a similar claim about Muslims. There are more one nation voters than there are Muslims!

However in two interviews one on the ABC and another on Channel 9 she has shown she is simply yet another hate filled conspiracy theorist.
Her remarks concerning vaccinations was simply dog whistling about vaccines and autism. something that has been shown to be complete cobblers. In this she is encouraging your parents who are as stupid as her not to vaccinate their children. This is bad not just for their children but for children who go to school with those children.

Her admiration for Putin shows her liking for those men who have a dictatorial streak in them Does anyone really believe the Russians were not involved in blowing up the Malaysian airlines plane?

Finally her attitude to all Muslims is simply mind blowing. Could all simpletons please cogitate on this.
To implement Sharia law firstly you would have to get agreement form all Muslims what that in fact incorporates Sharia law.
More importantly people who are worried about Sharia law cannot count. For this to occur you would need Parliament to pass legislation in BOTH houses.
This means to the simple minded A government ( Muslim of course) would have a majority in both houses.
Given there are more votes for One Nation then there are actual Muslims living in Australia in what time period could this ever occur?

One Nation could very well be a  nuisance to major parties but views like those above means they will never be a major party.
They would either dissolve into intra party squabbling like last time and even now or some members might think they would be better leaders than the ageing Pauline!

Monday, 6 March 2017

John Quiggin on re-nationalising the electricity grid

John Quiggin has written a typical thoughtful paper on re-nationalising the electricity grid.
I had this in Around the Traps on Friday.

I support his argument. electricity is an essential good and therefore a public good.

Quite clearly the private market for electricity is not working. There are huge problems with the inter-connector ( a reason for not one but two blackouts in South Australia.)
The regulator AEMO is not up to task at all. They imposed yet another blackout on south Australia through their incompetence.

I agree with john that it is only by the State government's owning their electricity assets that all aims of electricity can be gotten.

Privatising these assets were very problematic at the time and in retrospect can be seen as simply disastrous. If the public sector holds assets that are easily traded in the marker then by all means privatise but when those assets are clearly public goods leave them well alone.

It is a shame this argument was never made when these assets were privatisied.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Steve Kates and Catallaxy are both a disgrace and complete and utter wood-ducks

We now know Donald Trump made a number of tweets to accuse Obama of wire tapping him  at his tower
See Steve from Brisbane HERE and HERE.
He offered no evidence to back this up.

Naturally when he did this our own made man in a white coat Katesy went overboard here and here.

Now let us get a few things right here.

  • Trump has a history of making completely unsubstantiated allegations and then moving on people ask for evidence
  • Trump is a great believer in fake news as we have seen in spades since he has entered office
  • Trump had full access to all intelligence and security briefings once he had won the election
  • Trump can authorise the opening of any damn file he wants now he is President
  • Trump's allegations were made on the basis of a fakenews outlet not a briefing. A normal President would have had the official files to show what he was saying was true.
  • No-one at the Chaos house can get their story aligned so there is no official file to provide evidence. 
  • Clappers and Obama have fervently denied such a wiretap. Comey wants the FBI exonerated from such a charge as well.

Normal people would have completely and utterly rejected Trumps charges unless he provided evidence. Once is was apparent that Chaos House had no evidence whatsoever they would have at least retreated from this stupid and utterly highly inept charge.

Katesy and the rest of the fruit loops stand out as not only as stupid as you can get but willing to accept any mad thing Trump makes up.

Goebbels would be proud.


I see the Catallaxy clowns have gone the full monty.
Let us assume their accusations are true. Why in the hel did Obama not leak what would have been highly damaging phone -call transcripts. Why did he do absolutely nothing with any of the information that was gathered?

As President Trump would be told of all phone tapps ( get it) re FISA. They are not automatically given. He would have known of this quite some time ago.

There is NO evidence.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Sam and Dave Live

The kiddies of today simply do not know what a good show is.

Here is Sam and Dave doing Hold on I'm coming live. Booker T and the MGs and some others support them.
You can feel the electricity ( renewable energy of course) in the air as they perform.
Why oh why did they never tour Australia!
Sam does a great performance of this with the Boss if you are interested.


Thursday, 2 March 2017

Around the Traps 3/3/17

It is time for Around the Traps again.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman  (mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)
Vox wonk