Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Lockdowns again

 From that excellent website The Conversation an article entitled yes-lockdowns-are-costly-but-the-alternatives-are-worse.

Well worth a read.

Whoopsy. I really should add what the counterfactual is. Poor old Nick Gruen has asked this of Paul Fritjers at Troppo more times than I have had hot dinners  ( okay that was hyperbole) but the key point is neither Fritjers, Foster nor Creighton will ever answer this.

Let me.

You can embrace covid in two ways. an aggressive or a passive way.

You can rule out an aggressive strategy because of legal reasons. Employers for one have a dur ty of care to their employees. I am reliably told this by legal practitioners in workplace relations. Just cogitate on that for a moment.

Thus the passive way is the only strategy. This would entail Governments telling all citizens to ensure their own safety. This would mean covid would spread slower and thus the hosptial system would be blown up sooner and longer and the staff would be so over-worked some would simply not turn up for work.

now cogitate on that!!

Late here is Richard Holden

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

The hopeless vaccination rollout

 Stephen Duckett from the best think tank in Australia the Grattan Institute writes a m ust read article on our woeful vaccine rollout.

HERE it is.   Add THIS as well


Monday, 28 June 2021

A-League + a bit on cricket

 I have immensely enjoyed the A-League season. I have watched far more games than usual due to my imposed rest time for a mild heart attack/ I only watched one game that was not good to watch. All the rest were quite good some were absolute crackers.

The A League final occurred on Sunday despite absurdly have no international players being able to play and on the same night as the state of ( alleged0 origin. It was a good game to watch. I thought the Referee had a good game and was correct in all the major decisions he made. I should also add I always like the best side all season winning the final as occurred here.

The A-League will now be on the TEN network so if people get their act together it is upwards and onwards. Let us hope they get their act together.

The Test 'final' was played recently between New Zealand and India. The Kiwis won principally because the much vaunted Indian batting line up failed badly. The Kiwis have a very good bowling up line up for english conditions as we saw in the two test series against england. It could be said India did not play enough cricket however this excuse has no legs for the poor batting shots we saw.

I always like it when the nice guys win!!

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Gladys hoisted on her own petard

 Unfortunately our gladys who has a hard problem on understanding what moral duty is seems to have believed her own publicity. NSW has the greatest contact tracers in the world so we do not have lockdowns here in NSW not like Victoria for example.

She did not count on the new delta variant which infects people far more easily and faster than the original. By Friday she had given in and we in NSW are living in a lockdown. ( how come there is so much traffic, Dan Murphys is still open and people are still bidding houses).

It appears the contact tracing is now little different from those bad Victorians. Worse it appears we in NSW have not learnt anything from Victoria. Gladys was very slow on this and do not give me the guff she is following health advice.

I saw a press conference last week where Kerry chant was asked why Gladys was not in isolation for 124 days because of the National party budget dinner. She said it was held in a large room.  Reporters then naturally followed up how come people who were on the same floor at Westfield bondi junction have to which is far larger yet gladys does not. She said nothing. This indicates to me that she is being lent on by our gladys.

Gladys is looking very bad. not as bad as Scotty from Marketing because of the utter failure of the vaccination rollout. 

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Around the Traps 25/6/21

 It is time ago for Around the Traps.


Northern America






Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)


Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)

Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

question time

 Question time in any parliament is overrated. Few people view or listen to it. journalists or former 'advisors' who do usually concentrate on the alleged theatrics of question time and not what has actually occurred.  Have you ever read or heard of a minister avoiding answering the question?

First of all question time is all in favour of the government. Even a good speaker is hampered in getting ministers to answer questions. All questions from government member are dorothy dixers.

But let us be bi-partisan about this. Paul Keating and Peter Costello were allegedly masters of question time. Did this 'ascendancy' help their governments in terms of polling? No. did it help them individually? No again.

It apparently only affects the 'morale' of the backbenchers however this is never measured and it appears to be on the backgrounding of one or two members at best or merely opinion at worst.

Both Keating and Costello desperately wanted to be Prime Minister however their performances in parliament did not assist them.

What you say what about Keating. alas he gained voted because he had a different political contest to john Hewson's fightback for which Hawke had no idea. Also important here voters thought he had a 'vision' for Australia which was different to fightback. This evaporated after the 1993 election. ( The punters never thought Costello had a vision!)

Why do so many people concentrate on question time when it has little effect on the electorate? They need something to write or talk about!!

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Polling problems

 Kevin Bonham is an excellent addition to the blogosphere. If you are interested in politics then understanding polling is  is a must.

He has several times pointed out the problems of political polling with his commentary of the polling failure of the last feral election being the stand out.

In THIS piece he points out reporting of the resolve polling is plainly inaccurate.

I am still astounded on how bad many politicians are at understanding polling. This was seen when Rudd was gotten rid of  with highly suspect 'internal polls' which were at odds with the published polls.

Simon Crean for one could well have been PM if the reporters at the Australian and others were numerate.

Monday, 21 June 2021

Barnaby again

 The Nationals have a new leader after threatening this for some time.

I find this extraordinary given the National's performance at the last election. It was because of them there is no new government. This has been ignored and apparently the old leader had no cut through. It was an opinion backed by no data. Were the Nationals polling badly?  was there polling to suggest that the Nationals vote would rise if Joyce was leader. Well the answers are no and no!

Then we get to Joyce himself. The man is a fraud as I said previously. Why does he wear a hat when there is little sun and can now crack a whip. It shows he is a farmer but in fact he has never been one. Merely an accountant in a regional city.

Next we get to his adultery which is hard to cop from such a 'devout catholic'. He also had sexual harassment allegations made against him which were poorly investigated. however we must acknowledge those who abhor such morals always do with much higher outrage to those of the Labor sside of politics than the conservative side.

Apparently being a climate sceptic was a big thing in his favour. He likes high priced electricity from unreliable new coal fired power stations and even higher prices from nuclear powered power stations even if we forget they take 8 to 15 years to build.  This assumes farmers have the same interests as those of fossil fuel producers.

I might add a final note the more Joyce tries to show the Nationals different to the Liberals the more divisive the coalition will appear but again the last election showed the punters are hypocrites when it comes to party division.

We live in interesting times.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

The sad decline of Club Troppo

 Club Troppo used to be a good blog. the articles were few and far between sometimes arcane but of pretty good quality.

Alas it is no longer so. Paul Fritjers has been on an anti-lockdown jihad for sometime. the quality of his articles has been quite poor.

However before we go into this a few figures to contend with. If Covid is allowed to fester then

  1. ! in 100 will die
  2. I in 3 to 8 will get long covid.
  3. 1in 12 will die from complications exacerbated by covid.
Also important is HERD IMMUNITY.

Fritjers originally advocated herd immunity without a vaccine. See HERE for problems with that.
He simply refused to debate any problems about this. This got worse when as many expected it was found you could get covid more than once. Again no response from Fritjers. Quite clearly under this scenario the heath sector would simply blow up. Covid would crowd out everything else. 

Like many who rail against lockdowns he thought Sweden was great. What about google stats showing little difference in behaviour between people in Germany and those in Sweden. no reaction from Fritjers on this.
What about the better economic performance by Australia compared to Sweden then and now. Not much except his embarrassing admission that Australia's better performance was because of higher iron ore prices. This is mixing up current prices with constant prices. See Noah Smith on effectiveness of lockdowns.

He than ran with an article which purported to show mask wearing had no impact on countering covid. EXCEPT it was based on a dud survey which Thomas Lumley . Kaiser Fung and Andrew Gelman all helpfully showed us. I could also show how he does not understand what a  lagging variable is.

All that has occurred is that Fritjers has entered wingnut territory with all the passion of a cultist. The problem is the  ideas are dangerous. When wingnuts actually gain power it becomes a disaster. Surely nick Gruen of all people should understand that.

That Fritjers continues to peddle such wing nut ideas at Club Troppo is both a disgrace and an embarrassment.

Whoopsy I forgot to add this is not the first time I have caught out Fritjers talking about a subject he has no idea about.  I had previously caught him out talking about when superpowers change. I suggested most people had the symbolic change over from the UK to the USA as the foremost superpower occurred during the Washington Treaty.  the actual change happened before that. He had no idea of what the treaty was and indeed did not even know what century it occurred in.
What was more embarrassing. Being caught out not knowing what you are talking about OR that I did it!!

This is not Catallaxy we are talking about where quality is a swear word. This is Club Troppo. It was wholly apparent after the very first article Fritjers had no idea of what he was talking about nor was he interested in an exchange of ideas.  He is now the Steve Kates of club Troppo.  The longer he 'writes' on that website the bigger the joke the blog becomes!

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Around the Traps 18/6/21

 It is time again for Around the Traps.


Northern America






Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)


Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)

Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Fred Gruen

 Nick Gruen over at Troppo has a nice and proud article on his dad Fred Gruen.

I was always fond of Fred Gruen. He was an Economics Professor who edited one of the best books on macro-economics I read at Uni. His wonderful voice with his distinct accent was heard numerous times on ABC current affairs programs also.

One Saturday in my late 30s I was coming back from unsuccessfully attempting to play golf at Bowral. I was not in a great mood .I still had to drive three mates and myself back to Sydney. It was hot and I was tired and I was hungry and thirsty. At my insistence we stopped at a small restaurant in Mittagong and ordered lunch. I was not drinking alcohol as I was driving.

I looked up and to my amazement saw Fred Gruen and his wife lunching. To my great surprise I walked over to both as I am not a very social person.  I gushed out how grateful I was to read his articles and hear him talk because it made economics come alive to me. He was taken aback somewhat because I think of my age ( it was some 15 years since I had finished Uni) and also  because he was retired. I cannot remember what he said back to me probably because of my embarrassment but I do remember seeing Fred's wife looking very proud.  I should also add I never went to university where Fred was either.

Fred had two sons. nick is an intellectual and David possibly the 'brainiest' ( is that a word) I have ever met. He had a Phd in Physics but got bored and then got a Phd in economics!

If he were still alive he would be immensely proud of both.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Returning to the Office.

Lots of arguments about whether we as a society will to the office.

THIS is from vox wonk as I call it and it is about the UK but every article I have read on this topic says the same thing no matter what the country.

The article is short but informative.

Monday, 14 June 2021

A Few Things

 I was in bed all the long weekend. I thought I was okay but my wife did not and she had people coming over for dinner on Monday night.

It was the Queens birthday long weekend. Why are we celebrating a queen's birthday and one that has been dead a long time ago?

Honours were awarded. as Nick Gruen said a long time ago most of these awards were given simply for people doing their job. Isn't that why they get paid?

Why are not the Sri Lankan children Australians since they were born here!!

Christian Erickson's problem with his heart at the Euros was terrible. I doubt if he will play again. Why did they not replay the match?

England were appalling against a weakened Kiwi side. The Ashes will be easy to win. At least we wlil play a decent side in Afghanistan!!!

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Around the Traps 11/6/21

It is time again for Around the Traps.


Northern America






Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)


  • nuttin

Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)

Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Scott Morrrison does a 180 degree turn

 It seems like only yesterday Scott Morrison was railing against  the WTO, WHO et al and indeed implying they were a threat to democracy. When Trump was curbing the WTO appellant powers our government did stuff all.

Two things occurred.

Trump was decisively beaten in the Presidential election. Those Trump lite statements looked pretty stupid after this

China started a trade war with Australia and attempted to intimidate us. Those Trump lite statements looked even more stupid when this occurred.

Australia is a small trading nation. We have always needed a rules based system to thrive as a nation. Saying and doing nothing when that dolt Trump was attempting to destroy the WTO was supremely stupid.

It will take time for the WTO to gat back to where it was lat alone move forward but you reap what you sow. 

Let us hope The present government will consistently support the above position.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Let the Sri Lankans go back to their QLD home

 We learnt yesterday of the woeful treatment to the youngest of the Sri Lankan family who have been denied refugee status. ( Tamils are safe in Sri Lanka. Say it aint so  joe .)  See HERE as well

This treatment of the family has been poor. Simply let them go back to the QLD town where they lived previously and whose citizens want them back.

Monday, 7 June 2021

some TV Shows

 Time for some not so serious stuff. When I was recovering from my heart attack I found that I had read most of the books I wanted to read from the library.

This meant watching TV more than I used to.

Blue Bloods.  I started watching this series not expecting to like it however it is a very good series. tom Selleck is the big star and is good but everyone else is as well. Why didn't TEN start from series 1!!!

Diagnosis Murder . This is an old but very enjoyable series. It features three generations of Van Dykes. they are all good as well. Afterall who actually dislikes Dick Van Dyke. all the characters are good and there is chemistry between them.

NCIS. I am afraid this series is on its last legs. It was good when the Characters Tony and Zhive were central to the series. The series then had great chemistry. With their leaving the series has lost whatever it had previously. Mark Harmon's acting is shown up badly without Weatherly there to obscure it. He looks as though he should retire. David McCallum looks as though he should be in the grave. a tragedy.

Sunday, 6 June 2021


 Dr Fauci seems to have gotten himself into trouble about certain e-mails that were released.

I have searched long and hard for an e-mail that showed up his 'guilt'. I have not found one yet. Fox news for example just uses generalisations. See HERE for example, If anyone can assist me then I will link it. THIS is a good summary of all of it. Essentially Fauci never said a leak from the Wuhan lab could not have occurred it was simply unlikely.

As for where covid came from try THIS. You need to go to around the 25 minute mark. Peter White who went to China and examined all the evidence  makes two points. We will never know where exactly covid came from . He puts a leak from the Wuhan lab at around 10%.!!

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Around the Traps 4/6/21

 It is time again for Around the Traps


Northern America






Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)


Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)

Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Kaiser Fung talks correlation

 A short but highly educational article by the highly esteemed Kaiser Fung on correlation. 

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

One sure lesson of politics

 When you are in power and you start arguing black is white you are in trouble.

Fraser did it, as did Hawke. Keating did it a lot and now Morrison is doing it.

It is impossible to argue the vaccination program is going well. It is slow, very slow and now we find out the vast majority of workers in aged care homes haven't got it despite being promised they would.

Each time you say black is white the punters will hate it. On such an important issue doing this is dynamite. 

Watch out!!