Wednesday, 30 September 2020

The morning after a complete embrassment

 That was not a 'debate' it was a farce and an embarrassment.

possibly the best review come from why evolution is true. ( Thanks Jim Rose).

I do not agree with al lot of it but it is a good article.

I agree with Bob Woodward that Trump never has a plan. I think overall if he loses he will merely whinge about it rather than doing anything else and he will do it for a long time.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Behind Trump's financial house of Cards

 The wholesale dumping of a whole of of Trump's tax returns was very illuminating.

Here is one of the best articles on the main point.

Trump is in a lot of trouble. 

Monday, 28 September 2020

Herd Immunity and related Covid stuff

 Brian Resnik is a great journalist at Vox

He has recently written two related articles which are of great value.

They are:

I didn't realise that getting the virus from touching something is very very unlikely.  Some-one tell Cricket NSW!

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Is the USA a failed State plus a bit on the debates

 It seems Donald Trump really does want the USA to become a failed state and a banana republic.

IF and it is a really  big IF he 'wins' the election  simply  because a lot of postal ballots are deemed invalid and you have to realise this the Supreme court would have to rule this way then democracy has simply vanished.

The USA is then little different to Russia, Belarus etc.

This is exacerbated if Trump refuses to leave because he thinks he has 'won'.

McMaster is correct as well.

On a worst case scenario a lot of people will give up on democracy and simply not recognise the institutions. riots will proliferate and there will be possible armed resistance to both a illegitimate Presidency and Supreme Court.

I don't think it will get there. My guess is there are a majority of Justices who will rule against the specious reasons Trump and his supports put up. They are aware of how history will judge them ( pun intended).

The Debates are over-rated as THIS article shows.  Trump has overdone expectations of how Biden will perform. Biden only has to perform moderately to 'win'.

What also helps Biden is  neither are very good 'debaters'. Watching the 'debates' will be like pulling teeth.

THIS could be front and centre.


It won't happen

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Around the Traps 25/9/20

 It is time again for Around the Traps


Northern America






Andrew Gelman (mainly stats)


Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)

Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

I thought Dan Andrews was immensely unpopular.

 Daniel Andrews has taken an absolute battering from the press, mainly the Murdoch press, Yet When I read Kevin Bonham I find this is narrative is dying.

I am trying to ascertain how the Murdoch press is so different to the ordinary Australian ( or in this case Victorian). 

Of course i am being sarcastic!

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

NBN again

 The government does a back slip with pike on the NBN.

Their original policy made no sense. You simply cannot have copper combined with fibre. It is like putting a sped hump on at Bathurst for motor cars.

It seems to me they have realised three things.

1) Their current policy is an absolute crock so change it now when everyone is concentrating on  covid 

2) When wholesale rates are so low this makes even more sense.

3) their current policy is a vote loser

Why did it take so long. Maybe a quick look at their lack of energy policy tells us it takes them a long time to understand how bad some of their policies are 

Monday, 21 September 2020

West Ryde Smash Repairs

 My wife was unfortunately rear-ended by another teacher when leaving the school she teaches at.

He was insured by the NRMA and we ended up at West Ryde Smash Repairs.

I simply cannot speak highly enough of them. I was given all the information and more that I needed.

What I found interesting when I picked up the car was all employees are still on job keeper. I assumed given the traffic that their work would be back to normal. It is not. It is still well below normal levels.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg

 Ruth Bader Ginsburg died late last week.

The major question is when should she be replaced.

Given it is essentially only one month and one week until the Presidential election, which is totally unlike Anthony Scalia  who died in February of the last presidential election year, it would seem logical that the winner of the election then nominate the successor to Ginsburg.

Let us leave the utter hypocrisy of the Republicans on this issue for the moment one cannot understand the haste of Republicans unless they believe Trump will lose.

The Senate Majority Leader now is in a pickle. If he goes ahead and attempts to put in a replacement post haste he will not only put the credibility of politicians further down the ladder but more importantly he will put some senate seats the Republicans hold up for grabs.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Around the Traps 18/9/20 birthday edition

It is time for Around the Traps.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)
Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)
vox wonk

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

more on reducing emissions and a sustainable economy

We examined the PM's bizarre proposal to have a large gas fired power station.

Everything would go swimmingly if we simply introduced a price on carbon. We both deal with the negative externalities  and ensure business knows what is occurring.

The electricity industry in particular would boom in terms of renewables.

Another industry to benefit would be transport. It would exacerbate the trend to electric and hybrid cars. Of course much stronger emission standards would help. As we have said previously if we had the same standards as say Europe car prices should fall.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Scott Morison is both mad and ignorant

Scott Morrison has announced if the private sector will not build a gas fired power station then the government will via the Snowy Hydro. He is worried that the closing of Liddell power will leave a void such as occurred with the closing of Hazelwood.

One big problem. AEMO said there was not a problem. Indeed AGL said they would replace the power with wind, gas, battery etc.

It does not work addressing the energy trilemma.

Let us go back to basics.

If gas power is the answer then why has not the private sector into it in a big way?

The reason is solar and wind power are vastly cheaper. It is useful on the margins but that is all. Not as expensive as coal fired power stations and not as unreliable as them either.

So in this case the government knows more than the market.

Also Snowy Hydro is a wholesale producer. If this power station went ahead it would be a high cost producer. That means it would only sell electricity if there was no other electricity. In other words it would be a very costly white elephant.

what happens when we have so much renewable power we can export it.

Stupid is as stupid does!


Simon Holmes A Court

Monday, 14 September 2020


Here in Australia we have a three tiered system of retirement Incomes. They are:

  1. Compulsory Superannuation
  2. Voluntary superannuation ( where you put in extra contributions)
  3. The government pension
Paul Keating brought in compulsory superannuation many moons ago because of two reasons.
  1. Superannuation was only available to public servants and some white collar employees usually on quite high incomes. It is important to note most people did not make any personal superannuation contributions at all.
  2. The pension is adequate if you own your own home but only then.

Retirement incomes therefore was one of the clearest examples of market failure.

There was a timeline of the SGC gradually rising to 12% where it was thought most people could live as a self funded retiree. ( At present less than 20% of people in retirement are self funded retirees.)

I am always staggered that people who claim to want people to live free of government support in retirement support policies that lead to the opposite

Sunday, 13 September 2020

John Barilaro is the most over-rated politician in Australia

The National party led by John Barilaro try to blow up possibly the most successful government in Australia.
This is despite the legislation had passed cabinet which he is in and in fact was not doing any of things he alleged.

Aunty Gladys stared him down and so he and his party had to backdown although that did not stop him saying black was white.

In the last election in NSW the Nationals went backwards and indeed lost two of the safest seats to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party principally due to water ( although to be fair the two successful candidates had completely opposite 'solutions' to the problem.
He is also aware there are independents waiting to compete for other safe National seats. They are confident because they believe they can represent farming interests where the Nationals cannot.

The Nationals problems these days is that leaders or potential leaders are not farmers. Think Barilaro or McCormack or Joyce at a Federal level.

Moreover whenever Barilaro  protests about government decisions he as part of cabinet approved it only weakens the government he is part of.

His behaviour before the Eden Monaro by-election again showed he is politically witless. And he had ambitions to lead the nationals at a national level!

quite easily the most over-rated politician in Australia

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Around the Traps 11/9/20

It is time again for Around the Traps

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)
Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)
vox wonk

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

The best article on US elections.

Andrew Gelman is a gem. This year he and two others have constructed a model for forecasting the US Presidential election.
Thus courtesy of him we have information-incentives-and-goals-in-election-forecasts.

Quite easily the best article i have read on the topic.

A must read if you are interested at all in US politics

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

China is playing with fire part 2

The forced exit of two Aussie journalists who were based in China is disturbing.

  1. Rowan Callik
  2. Richard McGregor

This merely exacerbates what I wrote earlier about what China.

Companies must be quaking in their boots about any employees they have in China. It matters not whether they are expatriates or local chinese.
hostage diplomacy will not attract companies to china. Arresting local employees on so called national security grounds does the same thing.

What China is doing will do long term damage to their economy as companies simply make the decision is it too hard to trade with China or to have subsidiaries in China.

Monday, 7 September 2020

Media watch

Media watch is a great program.

Last night it devoted itself to three topics

  1. A 'reporter for domain who simply made up stuff for her articles. She was fired
  2. Mick Fuller been shown up tet again as a politician not a police commissioner.
  3. Climate deniers who claimed the bushfires were started by arsonists did not  fess up after the NSW  Royal Commission found otherwise.
Excellent viewing.

Sunday, 6 September 2020

Fathers Day

I had an enjoyable fathers day yesterday.

I am lucky in that I have a very close relationship with my two sons. Possibly because I was forced to become Mr mum a few times.

It got me thinking when did Fathers or mothers day for that matter become so big?

I do not recall it when I was growing up either when going to school or when in employment.

Why has it become so big? I suspect it is because of the business it creates.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Around the Traps 4/9/20

It is time again for Around the Traps

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)
Retired but still retired Dave Giles ( econometrics)
Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)
vox wonk

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Renewable energy

Two recent articles makes me want to write a general statement on the topic.

what do we know?
  • New solar and wind and a lot cheaper than  old coal stations let alone 'new' ones
  • South Australia now has the cheapest and most reliable energy in the wholesale market.
  • We should reach 50% of total energy BEFORE 2030
  • We could get to 100% by 2050
  • The greatest challenge to reliability are the aging coal stations.
  • Assuming Hydrogen works out then steel making and other industries will not need coking coal.