Sunday, 14 October 2018

Electricity is still very affordable

Alert readers of Around the Traps would have read an article by Ben Phillips on how the cost of electricity affects various households.

He finds that for most but not all households  there has been very little change on the proportion of money spent on electricity from ten years ago despite rises of some 117%!!

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Around the Traps 12/10/18

It is time again for Around the Traps

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

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Expelling gay kids?

Yesterday in breathless fashion we were emblazoned with the information gay kids could be expelled from 'religious' schools. See HERE for all the actual information.

This gets a bit boring for me but here goes again in no order of importance in relation to Christian schools,

Being homosexual is NOT a sin. Having sex outside marriage ( where there is a husband and wife) is.
Thus it is very easy to see straight away many more heterosexuals are affected then homosexuals.

No-one but no-one is forced to either apply for a job in a Christian school or enrol their children.
Teachers are affected as they enter into a contract to uphold the School's values. If they lie about it or flagrantly publicises their relationship as occurred recently in WA then yes you will be sacked.

Students are a different kettle of fish. no student has ever been expelled for being gay, probably for the above reasons.

The only scenario I could foresee is if the student ( or the parents much more likely) made public the student was engaged in fornication and openly paraded such beliefs. If after  counselling the student continued on this course then the School would have no option.  The student and their parents would be undertaking a political exercise.

I think this is unlikely.

The whole thing is much ado about nothing.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

A couple of home grown articles

Two interesting local articles from two of my favourite bloggers.

Firstly we have the kouk on the-bond-market-is-crashing-and-it-ll-affect-you.

Next we have ricardo ambivalence on here-comes-the-housing-downturn. ( more  writing please)

It seems to me one thing stands out.The $A will fall.

Next financial year might not be the windfall the government expects.

Monday, 8 October 2018

The IPPC Report

Sorry I have not read it. however Real Climate has done a neat job if you wish to do so.

Here is: Mark Howden and Ruth Colvin

Sunday, 7 October 2018

The US Supreme Court loses respect

When Brett Kavanaugh became a Supreme court judge the institution lost a lot of respect.

This again showed how Trump is no conservative. He clearly does not uphold institutions at all.Indeed he likes to destroy them. What is horrifying from this nomination process is that all the Republicans have joined him in desecrating important institutions.

There were the gravest of charges made against Kavanaugh. This should have involved a lengthy and quite thorough investigation. Not one that even comedians can show up as slipshod.

Imagine an investigative journalist examines these accusations in quite detail and find them corroborated at a later date!
The US Supreme court would be demeaned and the FBI been seen as a player in a political game.

The very quick investigation where the accuser was not even talked to did NOT declare Kavanugh not guilty of such charges and it never was. Yet for any person to sit on the Supreme Court that is what had to occur.

the US Supreme court has always been a political one. Now it is an overtly political one as Zack Beauchamp writes .

David Glasner criticises Kavanaugh testimony to the Senate.

Like his former boss Kenneth Starr Kavanaugh has changed his colours on whether anybody can investigate a sitting President. It seems it is dependent on whether the sitting President is a Democrat or Republican.

Kavanaugh's own testimony was very partisan and the linked article by Beauchamp shows how this will cause damage to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme court and the FBI are very important institutions of US polity. Their demeaning is not good for democracy.

Any conservative worth their salt would know and understand this.


The President is entitled to nominate anyone he or she wants to. The Senate is entitled to accept or reject the nomination. IMHO this nomination should have been rejected because the man is clearly a political animal.
As I said previously without a thorough investigation a taint is over Kavanugh and will  always be over him.  I do not like it when a man cannot even admit to being drunk at either school or Uni. If he cannot admit that what can he actually admit.

I would like to see Roe V Wade overturned.I would like to see it done in a very legal way. doing it in an obvious political way will merely foster the current differences further

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Around the Traps 5/10/18

It is time for Around the Traps.

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

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

A nice Trip

I have been away for a number of days.
I went to a place called Hillview which is not far from wither Wingham or Taree. My wife has friends who have retired there there.

They have now got the internet. It is pure countryside. The air is pure , the only noise are the animals and at this time of year it isn't too hot.

On a typical afternoon it is very pleasant to sit on the porch and sip red wine whilst taking in the sensational views.

A few things in no order of importance.

  • The drive along the pacific highway is boring. Trees , more trees and even more damned trees. Oh for some green countryside or a bit of the ocean.
  • The only upside of using the highway is fuel economy. Our Kia Cerato gets in the high 9s in fuel economy around the city. We got to 6 on the trip.
  • The ABC is an absolute boon in the countryside. It was a great pleasure to listen to ABC classic. ABC local radio is an absolute must listen whenever there is a bushfire.
  • homegrown vegetables taste way better than even those we buy at the local fruit and veg at Eastwood.
  • time goes much slower in the country. you can relax very easily.
  • with the advent of the NBN living in the countryside is becoming a very attractive proposition.
  • the only problem in retiring to the countryside is your family cannot visit you all that often

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Around the Traps 28/9/18

It is time again for Around the Traps

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

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Milne and the rest of the board must go

The Board of the ABC are simply smelling of a deep stink.

Milne has directed the previous Managing director to sack certain journalists because he thought the government did not like them and it inhibited getting the right amount of money from the government.
It does appear Milne is acting like Murdoch's editors. There was and is no clear instruction to take a particular line from the government. He was simply acting on what he thought they wanted.

A few things to be said here.

First it is not the job of anyone on the board to sack anyone BAR the Managing Director.

Second It appears Guthrie informed the board of Milne's directions to her re the sackings.
Despite this the board agreed with Milne that Guthrie had to go. Milne and the rest of the board appear to have a Steve Kates  understanding of politics. The very idea that if you sack a journalist the government does not like that you would get more money illustrates the whole Board does not understand what the word political  corruption means.

Thirdly and related to the last point the issue shows the Board has not one iota of what constitutes Journalism

Fourthly assume every so madly the sackings went through. how do you think that would affect all journalists at the ABC?

Fifthly this follows on on how the government of the day would react. They would know how to get favourable treatment.

The whole matter is an absolute disgrace both to the current Board and the government who appointed them


Milne has gawn. This man was no idea of basic australian polity

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The budget is balanced

The final figures for the budget of 2017/18 were released yesterday.
Naturally given the internet some-one has written about it before me and done a better job than I would have.
Warren Hogan has done this.
One interesting point is the estimates for the NDIS were way too much. This could very well mean the large increases we told previously was making it a very costly operation for the budget are over. Most people associated with the industry did say the increase in costs would be large to start with. It could well be they were right all along.

This 'improvement' has come about because of large increases in revenues.Those large tax deductions companies were using after the GFC have now gone. also important the Current government has continued the use of spending restraint the previous government utilised. However as Ross Gittins points out all the low hanging fruit has gone. to continue this restraint is going to be much much harder and it is hard to see this.

A couple of associated points.
The budget was already in balance on an accrual accounting basis. What I find amazing ( perhaps not) is that the budget papers never have the accrual figures in them. Why not? Cash accounting can be very easy to manipulate. Both parties have done this and continue to do this.

The structural balance of the budget has improved. Why?  The deficit was there because of revenue decisions made. No decisions have been made to improve revenues over the business cycle so the mystery continues. We should note the ALP already has a number of such policies to enact if they win office.
I strongly suspect that any major economic downturn will amazingly show a deterioration in the structural budget as occurred in Ireland following the GFC.

NOW  is the time for fiscal austerity. Strong nominal GDP growth means fiscal consolidation will facilitate economic growth as Keynes said in 1936 and not hold it back as it does when the economy is weak.

On a political note on my back of envelop calculations the ALP would have the Revenue to GDP ratio back to levls we saw when John Howard was Prime Minister.

Monday, 24 September 2018

ABC Boss gawn

The ABC Board has shown the Managing Director the door.
I tend to agree with Andrew Dodd. I still have little idea of why she was sacked. Tsk Tsk, Fancy the ABC imitating the private sector.

I also agree with Peter Manning that on my observations she was never the right person to head the ABC.

In my many years of experience of finding some-one to replace some-one who has left or to fill a newly created job you have to make up your mind which are the most important qualities you need. After that is is problematic on what other qualities are very helpful for the job.

With regard to the Managing Director the two essential skills would be:

  1. Political Smarts This not only incorporates understanding what happens at Senate hearings but also defending the ABC against Murdoch press lies. Mark Scott knew what to do at committee hearings. When Abetz alleged 'left-wing' bias in always vague team he said that must be why the ABS has produced more Liberal  politicians than Labor ones!  David Hill is another one. When Hawke was on the attack against the ABC Hill counter-attacked with the highly effective 10c a day.  He also knew how vital the ABC is to Rural Australia.
  2. They must understand journalism. the ABC is not just a news network but that is where most of the criticism comes from. If you do not understand journalism you will not not how to defend mostly against wilful ignorance. see Dennis Muller

It is significant that Guthrie had neither! Moreover even in her last days it appeared she still little idea of either. however the Board that appointed her knew that!

Milne's position is now untenable

Sunday, 23 September 2018

The cricket season cometh

At least I get to umpire a game of cricket on Saturday. ( Wouldn't it be ironic if having gone through the first football season in some 40 years without one round being washed out the first days play is curtailed because of rain!!)

This season is a first for me. I usually umpire for the local association as they start on the second Saturday of September but this season The Northern District Cricket Association ( NDCA)  and the North Shore Cricket Association ( NSCA) will have 6 divisions of cricket including the usual two turf competitions.

Mysteriously the NSCA do not start until after the October long weekend. Thus no matches to umpire until this Saturday.

For the first time in its history the Shires umpires now have more umpires than matches  and I have one of the newbies on Saturday. It seems only yesterday I was umpiring my first game at Lane cove and having to call a 'bowler' for throwing'

I mostly umpire in D grade and this is usually well behaved. I put this down as  teams are made up young boys with potential and some old experienced hands.

There is only one problem with umpiring. The weather is usually too hot. What happened to getting old and feeling the cold. It seems the  opposite is occurring to me. Once the sun is out in Sydanee you can wear a T shirt even in winter.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Around the Traps 21/9/18

It is time again for Around the Traps

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