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

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Wages and the size of the Firm

We have known for some time that wages are greater in larger firms within the manufacturing sector. however it is the services sector stupid as James Carville would have said.

to date we have had little data to work with,

Thankfully on what I call Vox wonk today we have a news study entitled firm-size-productivity-and-pay-service-economy.

In short firm size still does count but it is nowhere as important as in manufacturing.

I like articles which show up results which are intuitive and add a bit of meat to the bones of theory. .

Well worth a read

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

The Trump Whitehouse

We now have had three books on what occurs at the chaos house lead by Donald Trump. No the Stormy Daniels book aint one of them!

What are the common themes?

  • He has the attention span of a cocker spaniel. Indeed Maureen Dowd had said this has always been the case even going back 25years!
  • He is very narcissistic
  • He is very self absorbed
  • He is not very intelligent  ( I think this is due to his age) More evidence the Trump/Turnbull transcript
  • He is no manager as the White house in regularly in chaos. Clearly some-one else did this when he was merely a property developer
I could go on but the list becomes too long.

Does Section 25 come into operation?
Nah. Remember like impeachment this is more a political than a legal decision. Do it for political reasons and you will get hammered as the Republicans found out with Bill Clinton.

You need clear  medical evidence and unfortunately this  probably will not occur until after the fact.

However this evidence all adds to the fact this President needs Congress to put a stop on him thus under any rational voting you would expect the Mid-term elections to show a large swing to the democrats.

Trump is way too old to change so chaos is the new normal.
Remember he is a minority President and thus in a weak position electorally. Most people who win the Presidency at least have positive approval ratings in their first year.

To the Democrats I would say nominate a  policy wok who has political your next Presidential candidate. It would be humiliating in the extreme for a Sitting President to know less of a topic than someone challenging him.

Monday, 17 September 2018

A few TV Shows

Trying to catch up on a few shows.

DCI Banks
This is on 9 gem  in Sydney. It is superb and I finally got to see the start of the show. Still good in repeats. The main question is why does Andrea Lowe always wear Jeans? As i have stated before Caroline Catz steals the show

Inspector George Gently 
This is on 72. I wanted to catch up on episodes i had missed on the ABC. It looks as though They are not showing all the seasons so I will not be able to catch up. one of the few series Martin Shaw's appalling acting technique does not hinder the overall show

I cannot speak highly enough about this show. Great acting, Scripts and characters who develop. Just when you think the series is over it is continuing. Obviously mistakes were learnt from Inspector Morse

The Split
This thus far is a disappointment. The script is very slow.Nicola Walker is not a glamorous woman thus it is  mutton dressed as lamb. A pity since she was brilliant in Unforgotten. It is on the ABC and is disappointing

This is new and on 7. A police officer murders a few people but no-body suspects a thing. did the yanks think this script up? very lame

Murdoch Mysteries
Just when you want to give up on this it comes along with a a script which grips you. Aghh!

Central Banks should not be inflation nutters

This is the title of a paper by several people on this subject.

To my mind Central Banks ,like government with fiscal policy, should be highly nuanced.

The recoveries following the GFC should have neither been traditional nor particularly strong. Wages growth is very anemic.
Under such circumstances it would not matter, indeed it could be beneficial to an economy, if the inflation target is temporarily breached.

If there is one clear lesson for Central banks from the GFC it is whilst they can reduce inflation with ease they cannot do the opposite when needed.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Dutton should be referred to the Court of Disputed Returns

We have learnt to our cost that lawyers briefs at thirty paces do not mean a row of beans with regard to disputes for the Court of Disputed Returns.

Peter Dutton certainly has a case to answer and to be honest we need the Court of Disputed Returns to make a decision sop we have certainty for future MPs.

We know ,except for one decision, that they are a black letter law court which means Dutton is looking suspect. They make decisions which clearly do not pass the pub test.

Therefore Dutton should be referred to the Court of Disputed Returns

Should you get rid of of a sitting PM?

The short answer is yes.

The major problem the previous Labor government had and the major problem the current government has is there were no logical reasons for getting rid of Kevin Rudd and now Malcolm Turnbull.
As the redoubtable Kevin Bonham has shown Rudd was clearly heading for a comfortable win and the polls had come in quite a lot for Turnbull ( and he was the best electoral asset).

In Rudd's case it was the factional power brokers ensuring they kept the power of being in charge of their factions.
In Turnbull's case it was simply People who wished to destroy Turnbull ( mind you people who live by the sword usually die by the sword!). It had nothing to do with either winning or losing closely the next election.

In the case of Gillard and Abbott it was clear why they were deposed. They were leading their parties into electoral oblivion. A change of leaders might change that. It did not for the ALP but it just did for the Libs.

If you bring in rules to stop getting rid of PMs then electoral oblivion is a result that will occur as a result.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Around the Traps 14/9/18

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, 12 September 2018

The GFC 10 years hence

10 years ago the world was hit by the GFC.

Naturally a few people have written about it in different ways,

Before I provide the links I think we should say before Lehnman Bros it was a credit crunch. Following Lehman Bros the GFC  occurred. This is why Wayne Swan was browbeaten by Glenn Stevens and Ken Henry to introduce a fiscal package which saved us from a recession. Thank the Lors he did.

I will post more as more people write about the topic

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Peter Dutton is still a grub

We found out some two years ago Peter Dutton was a grub.

He still is. in spades.

We heard a lot about grooming in the royal commission into child sexual abuse. Grooming is used by paedophiles.

Whatever you might think of Roman Quaedvlieg and his behaviour of having an affair some thirty years younger than he it did not involve grooming.

Dutton knew this so he used a slur without a shred of evidence to make unsubstantiated allegations against Quedvlieg.

It says a lot that a number of liberal politicians and so-called conservative commentators thought such a complete grub should be Prime minister.


Morrison supports Dutton over this and the man has the gall to call himself a christian

Monday, 10 September 2018

Mark Knight's cartoon was not racist

Mark Knight drew a cartoon which honed in on Serena William's appalling behaviour at the US Open.

Lets us just remember what cartoonists do. They draw caricatures of people in making a point as the cambridge dictionary shows.
When making a cartoon about Tony Abbott or Obama for that matter large ears are put onto the person.
Serena Williams is by far the largest woman playing tennis and has a reputation for having no dress sense. Hence Knight draws a   large black woman in whose dress is in questionable taste.

The definition for racism here is from the oxford dictionary.

If Knight has inferred Willams behaviour was due to her being black,
her appalling dress sense was due to being black,
Her large body was due to her being black then yes he would be racist.


Another thing if someone or people receive such a cartoon as racist this does not mean it is racist. It merely means the person or persons do not understand what the word racism means!!

Industry Funds rule

The Royal Commission has come and gone in its examination of Superannuation.

It barely looked at industry funds but looked at some retail funds in forensic detail. This tells us any problems in superannuation is at the retail side not the Industry side of the industry. The pouts to rest all the rumours put out by those ideological warriors who continually say everything is bad about industry funds.
It particularly puts to rest the insane claim these funds illegally put some of their monies into certain unions. I would not be surprised if this rumour started because union members of the board of various industry funds ( boards are usually made up equally of union and employer representatives) do not collect the money for their responsibilities but direct it straight to the union they represent. Note this accusation is borne out of ignorance and laziness.

Industry funds have lower costs and usually higher returns. They most certainly have much higher ethics than most retail funds as the royal commission has found out.

For most people  putting your superannuation into an Industry fund is the most obvious thing to do. Given you need at least $1 million  to operate a self managed fund this avenue is not a choice form most Aussies.

The Royal Commission has been an eye opener for most of us. It has become a marketing dream now for Industry Funds.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Macquarie Sports Radio

I wrote before on Sydney Radio and mentioned my scepticism about how successful a radio station could be if it merely talked about Sport all day and night.

My scepticism remains despite one large bright spot in their lineup. More later.

I should put on record whereas in my youth I enjoyed quite a lot of different sport on becoming a grumpy old man I find I only enjoy football the game all neo-liberal lovers of globalisation love as well as the great game of cricket which is of course the highest form of culture in sport!!😊

There has been quite a number of changes in personnel since its introduction as an all sport radio station. This indicates to me that management did not have any great idea on how to proceed when the station started. You cannot flick people after one survey and if people have left willingly then they put little thinking into the project. They also do not seem to understand what makes good presenters and others good at analysis etc

I am possibly not the only person who really does not want to listen to sport during the day. Current Affairs or music are my choices, It is different come night time and the week-end however.
The other BIG problem that has arisen is the lack of subject matter which means when a 'controversial' issue arises then that is the one subject you will hear about all day.  Okay I am exaggerating but you get the picture.
There have been three such issues since the station started, Israel Folau ( on which I have written), The lady from Tasmania who Cricket Australia dismissed and recently the Canterbury mad monday fiasco.  This means listening does get a tad boring.

Let us now look at the various line-ups.

I am going to concentrate on their truly great star to start with.
  • Their great success is at night time. Julian King and his producer Christian Jansen are very good. King has a great radio voice and is laid back only as much as you would want at night. The interaction and banter between the two is genuine and comes over very well. When he had Billy McGee doing expert commentary and analysis on say football it was essential listening. ( I think Billy  could succeed Les Murray as Mr Football if he gets the breaks and wants to.) Losing Billy to Afternoons has meant the night program loses a lot but Julian steadily works on and anyone who had played Shires cricket is always worth a listen to on cricket anyway. ( Yes I am hopeless biased). I should also confess I have phoned up on a few occasions as well. Yep that is how much I enjoy the program. King's is superb at leading the analyst so we get to listen to enjoyable radio. It is almost he is there with you sharing a beer or coffee. He was superb at enabling Billy McGee highlighting all his assets. Whether it be his ebullience, his personalty or simply his knowledge.
  • Breakfast is a time slot where changes have abounded for the worst. It is now inhabited by to people who think blokiness is the norm and treat it like talking in a pub. It is simply immaturity writ large and I didn't stay.
  • Mornings is inhabited by David Morrow whose ABC pedigree must always be respected however he is not a front man. He is a team man and it shows.His female offsider did not enhance any listening when I tried  the program.
  • Afternoons has also seen it share of changes. They have James Willis is for two hours and then the inimitable Billy McGee and the ageless Meike Buchan. I do think both James and Billy ( Billy is the better of the two) should stick to analysing and talking about various sports rather than being front men. Both speak far too quickly for a start. I assume this will eventually go away once the nervousness goes away as well. Both men are way better at responding to questions or suggestions rather than asking questions. ( David Morrow fits this bill so it is not age).
  • Can't talk about the two before Julian King as I have not listened to it. Sorry better thinks to do during that time.
  • I hate to say it but weekends are simply boring no matter what time of day. This could be as I am rushing to grounds refereeing ( it will be the same for cricket) I simply found myself putting my ipod on listen however rather than listening to the radio.
  • On the weekends after midnight they have an english station on and it is enjoyable. You can even listen to english radio ads!

Does the station have a future? I have my doubts but I have no idea of the business model. 
The other problem is what do you say when various matches are boring and there is little to talk about?  The winter sports are about to end and you cannot talk just nonstop cricket with a touch of EPL and  A-League in summer.

It seems to me not a lot of thinking went into the whys and wherefores of a sports station.

I should end on two unusual things that occurred when listening.

On any controversies' the presenters and others all appeared to have a quite liberal view of the world. In direct contrast to their sister station 2GB which is justly known as Radio R Pravda because of the propaganda ir so spews out from its fake news.

Interviews with sports 'stars or coaches are dead boring. It is as bad as listening top politicians. Indeed it is very similar as they simply talk their 'book'.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Around the Traps 7/9/18

It is time yet again for Around the Traps

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