Weekly salon 4/5

1. Thailand is ‘least miserable’ country in the world again

Thailand is happy about being the least miserable country in the world in the in the Bloomberg Misery Index, which is an economic indicator devised by Arthur Okun, and is derived by simply adding the forecasts of unemployment and inflation for the following year.

However, Thailand’s performance in the index is due to the Thai government’s unique way of tallying unemployment. More noteworthy are the performances of Switzerland, Japan and Singapore. For what it’s worth, here are the 10 least miserable:

For misery, the standout is Venezuela, where inflation last year reached 8 million per cent:

Wikipedia cites a 2001 paper which reckons unemployment contributes more to misery then inflation. They say “the estimates suggest that people would trade off a 1-percentage-point increase in the employment rate for a 1.7-percentage-point increase in the inflation rate.”

Russia was the big mover, moving 17 places to become the 17th most miserable, which is due to projections of higher prices and stagnation in joblessness. American sanctions over Ukraine must be working.

I think economists here would be happiest with 2-3 per cent inflation and 4 per cent unemployment, the level economists deem ‘full’ employment. Employment is usually defined at least one hour per week. Obviously underemployment and casualisation can make people miserable, which is missing from this over-simplistic formula.

2. Happiness is…

Happiness, of course, is an entirely different concept.

First, there is the Bloomberg Happiness Index:

Obviously the Nordic model shines, as it does in the UN World Happiness Report, which seems more sophisticated, and is at least available (with Bloomberg full access is pay-walled):

That’s the top 25 of 154. The top 10 from this article::

    1. Finland
    2. Denmark
    3. Norway
    4. Iceland
    5, Netherlands
    6. Switzerland
    7. Sweden
    8. New Zealand
    9. Canada
    10. Austria

And the bottom 10, with 1 being least happy:

    1. South Sudan
    2. Central African Republic
    3. Afghanistan
    4. Tanzania
    5. Rwanda
    6. Yemen
    7. Malawi
    8. Syria
    9. Botswana
    10. Haiti

Of, note: there are a surprising number unhappier than Syria; Kiwis (8) are happier than Australians (11); Thailand languishes at 52, Japan at 58 and Singapore at 34.

There is a special chapter devoted to the unhappy youth of the USA.

3. The problem of screen time and happiness

This article gives a quick summary of the chapter in the World Happiness Report devoted to the impact of screen time on American youth from about 2011. If you look at screen time for Year 12 students, you get about 7 hours per day, not including television:

Recently I heard it should be no more than two.

Here’s a clue about what a problem the modern phone has become:

I’ve only skimmed the WHR report, and there appears to be a lot that is interesting in their findings. Now I’ll share another resource that I’ve heard once, and fully intend to revisit. It’s a conversation between Richard Fidler and David Gillespie How the iPhone rewrote the teenage brain.

    Lawyer and social researcher David Gillespie has been delving into the complex business of the teenage brain.

    He says the usual teenage compulsions like smoking, drinking and drug taking are in steep decline, as teenagers are now more likely to seek a pleasure hit from their screens.

    But the games and social media apps they use are deliberately engineered to be addictive.

    Unlike drugs and cigarettes, their devices are supported by schools and parents, with few restrictions on their use.

Gillespie I believe has eight kids and takes his parenting responsibilities extremely seriously. He investigated what was going on, including brain research, and has published his findings in Teen Brain.

This is roughly what it amounts to.

Up until the immediate post WW2 period, life was for many a vale of tears we were destined to traverse to reach our reward in heaven. However, after WW2 kids growing up increasingly experienced pleasure, which triggered reward systems in their brains and bodies. However, in between pleasure experiences we had times when our systems reset, and we were thrown back on our own resources, which was important for our resilience. Also pleasure used to require effort in a social context. Now it comes more easily, and through a social media context. There is constant rewards of “likes” etc, without a chance to reset.

He says the effect of this is to make kids into addictive personalities, with little personal resilience. Moreover, the constant titillation of rewards leads to anxiety and depression.

He emphasises the plasticity of personality and brain circuitry, so what happens is not necessarily a life sentence. However, there will be some residues. Our past can never be completely left behind.

4. UK becomes first parliament to declare climate emergency

The motion was put by Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party on Wednesday who called for “real action” after parliament became the first in the world to vote to declare a climate emergency.

    In an address to parliament, Mr Corbyn said, “We have no time to waste. We are living in a climate crisis that will spiral dangerously out of control unless we take rapid and dramatic action now.

    “This is no longer about a distant future we’re talking about nothing less than the irreversible destruction of the environment within our lifetimes of members of this house. Young people know this. They have the most to lose.”

What Corbyn promises to do, I don’t know, but there has been increasing concern that the Conservatives in government are becoming slack.

The vote is strictly procedural, having no effect on policy as such, but:

    represents a nod to an increasing vocal activist movement particularly among young people, who have staged school strikes and civil disobedience campaigns to demand action.

    The vote was taken following 11 days of protests organised by climate activists Extinction Rebellion that brought several London sites to a standstill.

See also Activists keep up climate protests in London.

5. Government Accused Of Hiding Full Extent Of Climate Change

Here in Oz, the Climate Council’s report Climate Cuts, Cover-Ups and Censorship, 60 pages which the electorate might well consider rather than belly-aching over offshore offsets, which will only happen in a limited way, and then only to save Australian jobs rather than to export them to places that don’t worry so much about emissions.

The government record on climate change is simply outrageous. Here are the key points:

  • The Government’s tenure has been characterised by slashing climate science funding, cutting effective climate change programs, rejecting advice from expert domestic and international bodies, misleading claims from Federal Ministers, a lack of any effective climate programs, and consistently covering up poor performance.
  • Deep funding cuts and job losses at the CSIRO have weakened Australia’s climate science capability. As a result, Australia is unprepared to cope with the impacts of climate change.
  • The government’s lack of climate change action is the defining leadership failure of the past decade. We have not tackled climate change, the consequences are with us, and we must work very quickly to prevent catastrophic consequences.
  • Australia’s next government must adopt credible climate policy and a transparent and accurate approach to reporting and tracking Australia’s climate performance to ensure the public can appropriately evaluate its performance.

It would be nice if someone noticed that Labor does have a climate change policy, which is indeed better than a “dogs breakfast”.

6. The Deputy Prime Minister Of Australia Reckons Young Voters Are A “Problem”

Leader of the Nationals Michael McCormack:

    took aim at the youth of Australia – who are enrolled to vote in this election at a record percentage of 88.8%, with 1.69 million voters aged between 18 and 24 – asserting that they are a giant problem for the National Party, and that they’ve “never known how good they’ve got it.”
      One of the biggest problems we’ve got in this election is the fact that we’ve got a lot of young people voting for the first time – and this sounds dreadful – who have probably never known how good they’ve got it.

But they do know how good it’s going to be (Not!) if we don’t take action on climate change.

7. Biden Is Way Out In Front. Second Place Is Anyone’s Guess

    CNN’s poll found Biden at 39 percent — up 11 points from 28 percent in their previous poll in March — and well ahead of Bernie Sanders, who was at 15 percent. Quinnipiac University had Biden at a similar 38 percent, but with Elizabeth Warren nominally in second place at 12 percent of the vote, compared with 11 percent for Sanders and 10 percent for Pete Buttigieg.

It’s a worry, I think, not only because he really is old, but more that he is largely a place holder while they can agree on someone with a vision for the future.

His past record is mainly supporting Barack Obama. If you go back further people who know more than I do are saying there is much that is cringe-worthy, including opposing anti-segregation policies.

76 thoughts on “Weekly salon 4/5”

  1. How goods the US economy going eh ?
    Lowest unemployment since mankind kicked the moon. Wages rising. Both rich and poor better off. Less war.

    Give it ya best old creepy Joe, ya gotta take the hits from all the loopy far left socialist contenders yet.

  2. I remember some time ago reading that Ryan and Hervey Bay were the two most happy electorates in Qld. Ryan is educated middle class leafy suburb with an extensive buffer zone between it and less affluent/educated areas. Hervey bay at the time was much lower down the pecking order.
    Concluded that the thing they had in common was homogeneity. Homogeneity means that you don’t have to put up with neighbours that are much better or worse off than you are. Then again, Ryan has the endless bushland of the D’Aguiliar range running along its Northern boundary while Hervey Bay has the sea as its Eastern boundary. Both features probably help.

  3. Jumpy: Look at where the US rates on the happiness index and the countries that rank high. My take after my visits to the US is that it is a second world country with lots of beggars, basic wage much lower than Aus, lousy welfare etc with world best medical if you can afford it. Really failed the homogeneity test.
    Then look at the countries at the top of the list. High levels of welfare etc. Wouldn’t bet on Trump winning although the distorted electoral system will help.

  4. My take is that generations better off take better for granted.

    I’m more interested in lessening misery than increasing happiness.

  5. Jumpy:

    I’m more interested in lessening misery than increasing happiness.

    And misery is a rich person paying their share of taxes?

  6. Interesting, Jumpy.

    Would you include some of the following as potential causes of misery?

    Communicable diseases
    Dental pain
    Homelessness
    Hunger
    Loneliness
    Being unemployed
    Spousal violence
    Neglect of children
    Autism

    If plenty of folk are happy, will they make efforts to reduce misery amongst others?

    Or is some of their happiness perhaps due to being unaware of misery….. not seeing or hearing of the miserable each day….

    (Can some folk increase their own happiness by being sure they are assisting those in misery? Crikey, even making efforts to reduce the numbers of those living in misery, in the longer term….)

  7. (Can some folk increase their own happiness by being sure they are assisting those in misery? Crikey, even making efforts to reduce the numbers of those living in misery, in the longer term….)

    Sounds like socialism to me … or Christianity.
    We’ll have none of that nonsense around here!

  8. My own philosophy is that we are on the planet to help other people, be they poor or rich or in between. Of course, many don’t want help, or help that I can offer, but that’s fine.

    The other day Professor Fiona Wood AM Plastic and Reconstruction Surgeon and 2005 Australian of the Year said in a speech originally given in March that kindness is what motivated her. That’s compassion in action.

    It resonates with what Jacinda Adern says makes her tick.

    In order to undertake this mission, we also need to be kind and compassionate towards ourselves. If you ask people what their self-talk is you might get a surprise. Many people are rather harsh on themselves.

    Our own lives are an ongoing project to make the best of our potential.

    BTW I heard Anh of Anh’s Brush with Fame being interviewed. He said that when he painted (if that’s what you call it) he didn’t have a clue about what he was doing. No plan, no design, just an aim to capture the essence of the personality. His only self-talk was “Gee, you stuffed that bit up!”

    I’ve got no idea what,s going on there.

  9. We are not primarily put on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through.

    Peter DeVries (American Author)

  10. The Jesus portrayed in the Gospels said some wonderful things, and true. It doesn’t matter if doing kind and generous things to others makes the doer feel happier. It’s the doing that’s the key.

    You’re right Brian, sometimes we can’t do what’s needed.

    I liked that Churchill quote Geoff Miell offered recently, “Sometimes it’s not enough to do your best. You have to do what’s necessary.”

  11. Another way to reduce misery is to provide a meaningful, relatively well payed job by spending almost all weekend tendering, invoicing, organising equipment, redoing the SWMS that changes with every new panic, etc, etc.
    ( the Taipan can deal with F***ing Telstra and the insurances on Tuesday for free )

    And perhaps working onsite tomorrow by myself to offset some of the cost of paying them to not work. ( there have been quite enough of those lately )

    Happy, happy happy 🙂

  12. There has been and always will be a surplus of demand.
    There has always been and will be a shortage of supply.

    Given those two undeniable facts instantly proves why supply side economics reduces poverty and misery.

    Please don’t try and argue if you don’t adhere to the definitions, I’m not interested.

  13. How’s this,

    For practical reasons, the CPI measures price changes of items in the metropolitan areas of Australia’s eight capital cities (where around twothirds of Australian households live). It does not measure price changes in regional, rural or remote areas.

    That’s just lovely now.

  14. 5.27pm Jumpy
    Do you reduce the misery of others by shouldering a burden of pain and hard work on a Sunday? Good work, Jumpy.

    There must be something you and your family gain from all this. Isn’t there?

  15. 9.29pm Mr Jumpy

    That’s the kind of bullsh*t that can make voters out here in RARA = Rural And Regional Australia, really, really annoyed.

    Thanks.

  16. Jumpy:

    There has been and always will be a surplus of demand.
    There has always been and will be a shortage of supply.
    Given those two undeniable facts instantly proves why supply side economics reduces poverty and misery.

    That may all be true in the universe where you live but in the universe where I live there are people who would buy more or better things if they have more money.
    There are also individuals and businesses that have the potential capacity to produce more goods and services if they could find someone who had the desire and money to buy those goods and services.
    There are also people who accumulate/invest money because they don’t want to waste their time spending money on things they don’t particularly want (and find adds irritating rather an inspiration to spend.)
    I would suggest people who have high incomes are more likely to belong to the last group. This is the flaw in supply side economics. Supply side assumes that money diverted to the affluent will all be spent instead of being accumulated.
    It is worth remembering that the Rudd government protected Australia from most of the effects of the GFC by making one-off payments to the people most likely to spend the money.

  17. From the Cambridge Dictionary (and many more):

    GLUT (noun) a supply of something that is much greater than can be sold or is needed or wanted:
    The fall in demand for coffee could cause a glut on/in the market.
    The current glut of graduates means that many of them will not be able to find jobs.

    synonym: oversupply

    I wonder why we have a word for something that doesn’t exist? It’s a strange language, English.

  18. Because in some imaginary world it might exist. The unbounded imagination of human storytellers is strange too.

    See: science fiction, phantasy, utopias aplenty.

    ££££
    In breaking news, the new UK Minister for Overseas Development has said he would like to be PM. (Rory someone.)

    Mrs May will soon be despatching him on a very long Overseas Factfinding Mission.

    ♤♡◇♧☆☆☆

  19. John

    That may all be true in the universe where you live but in the universe where I live there are people who would buy more or better things if they have more money.

    So these have a money supply problem. They may need to work on that rather than others doing it for them.

    There are also individuals and businesses that have the potential capacity to produce more goods and services if they could find someone who had the desire and money to buy those goods and services.

    You realise tax cuts leaves more money in their pockets and reduces the cost of the things they buy.

    There are also people who accumulate/invest money because they don’t want to waste their time spending money on things they don’t particularly want (and find adds irritating rather an inspiration to spend.)
    I would suggest people who have high incomes are more likely to belong to the last group

    .
    These folks are not like Scrooge McDuck that dive and swim in their money bin. No, they’re folk like Brian that increase the money supply in the supply side for a modest return.
    Feel free to spend every cent of the evil Fossil Fuel blood money you have or give it to those in demand to help the economy.

    This is the flaw in supply side economics. Supply side assumes that money diverted to the affluent will all be spent instead of being accumulated.

    Already explained that.

    It is worth remembering that the Rudd government protected Australia from most of the effects of the GFC by making one-off payments to the people most likely to spend the money.

    No, that’s a MYTH.
    All he did was give the pokie industry and Chinese tv manufacturers a boom to appease the generation that f***ked things up and handed it to the next 2 or 3 generation. I can’t see that debt spending ever being payed off. Certainly not by ALP.

  20. Mr A
    Gluts are very localised or involve a superseded product.
    If it’s localised it’s because of supply chain restrictions, if it superseded, good, a better cheaper product is in supply.

    “”Economics is the study of the use of scarce resources which have alternative uses.””
    From Thomas Sowell’s book Basic Economics, I highly recommend the audio version.

  21. Gluts are very localised or involve a superseded product.

    It seems Jumpy meant to say

    There has been and always will be a surplus of demand.
    There has always been and will be a shortage of supply.
    Except in very localised situations or where products are superseded

  22. According to Wikipedia when the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government parked its collective bum on the Treasury benches, Australia’s national debt was 257.37 billion dollars.
    Oh how we welcomed our saviours from the looming financial armageddon that they promised awaited us, and how right we were. In the following 5 years our government of fiscal responsibility managed to pay down the debt to only 531.937 billion dollars.
    Hallelujah!

  23. As an interesting sideline, when Rudd flushed all that money down the crapper he lifted Australia’s national debt from 58.273 to 101.136 billion dollars.
    If my calculator works that’s $42.863 billion which is dwarfed by the $274.567 billion the better financial managers added to our debt (or our children’s debt, if you insist) between 2013 and 2018. Once again the Coalition demonstrates its superiority over the pinko ALP.

  24. Could someone please explain to the obsessed racist loon zoot the difference between gross debt and net debt.

    Straight under what it linked to was this,

    Australian government debt does not take into account government funds held in reserve within statutory authorities such as the Australian Government Future Fund, which at 30 September 2016 was valued at $122.8 billion,

    Struth, it’s like try to avoid a conversation with a KKK Endeavour Foundation client !

  25. Everyone, just say it wouldn’t be moral for me to walk past an admitted racist posting mendacious, misleading nonsense without posting the truth in the hope that truth will overcome deception among wise good people.

    Some a willing to engage with such perniciousness, I simply try to expose it.

  26. Jumpy 1.54pm

    You have data to back up your claim about Chinese TV sets and Pokies?

    No-one I know spent their handout that way, but then I move in very unusual circles.

  27. Yes Ambi, nobody in my admittedly limited circle splurged on Chinese TV sets and Pokies. One of them might have bought a Korean phone. I can’t be sure, but if they did it was definitely from an Australian retailer.

  28. Mr A,
    Interesting, so what did they spend it on ?

    Amazing that the giving everyone less than the average weekly paycheque once saved Australia from the GFC.

    Anything in that linky above get through?

  29. Jumpy, I read that report. Australia is Australia, and what worked for NZ may not have worked here.

    The $900 was to keep consumer spending up and demand flowing. The $1000 tax offset ScoMo has just announced is for the same reason. His boffin’s have likely told him his lovely economy is likely to tank in the short term. (Partly, it’s because we’ve been in election mode since last August, when capitalists fold their arms and wait.)

    Pink batts and school halls were a good idea. Deaths in the pink batts were below the industry average, but it’s simply not acceptable to have deaths in people ceilings if the government is paying.

    School halls kept employment going even in regional areas. Ever since then when I’ve gone to vote it has been in a school hall. Before that my wife had to clean out her preschool, because there was no general purpose out-of-the-weather space in schools. They have all sorts of school-community purposes.

    Out of 24,000 projects in NSW there were 100 plus that were problematic, a good score, but enough for the Oz to put a different one on the front page of the OZ every day. That’s from memory. The Murdoch media has actually changed how people in Australia think of and remember these programs.

    The $42.863 billion zoot mentioned also included a new Goodna interchange in Brisbane’s western suburbs, and a new highway to Ipswich and beyond, at the time I believe was the most clogged highway in Australia, due to the Howard/Costello neglect of infrastructure. It included a 4-way highway clear through to Toowoomba, much used by the people who voted to oppose it, and indeed a new highway further west when the old one broke up from the big wet in 2010-11 and the heavy trucks servicing the coal seam gas development.

    Rudd, Gillard and Swan (not so much Lindsay Tanner) and Ken Henry and whoever was in Finance and the Reserve Bank did good, but from Hockey and Abbott on it has been ordinary to say the least.

  30. Brian,
    I worked as an employee through the “ Building the Education Revolution “ and every State school hall was a rushed clusterf**k of a thing. The private schools were more methodical and let the heat die down resulting in far better result and more bang for the taxpayer dollar for their students.

    One Principal at a small rural state school ( obviously a farm girl in her youth ) said to my “ I don’t know why we got 2 extra classrooms for 14 students, we just need 2 more f*****g water tanks “
    I know that’s just anecdotal but I was there in the thick of it.

    The Reserve dropping rates and the price of red, black and yellow rock skyrocketing were the main saviours of Australia’s economy, particularly from a net debt surplus position Howard left it in.

    Swan just made debt, nothing more.

  31. Sounds like the Judean People’s Front, or was it the People’s Front of Judea?
    What’s Swan ever done for us? He just made debt, nothing more.
    He gave us six months work.
    Well yeah there was that, but apart from that what else did he do?
    We’d have been on the dole otherwise.

  32. I can’t understand why Trump is willing to destroy the rule of law in an effort to ensure nobody reads the report which totally exonerates him.
    If I had a report that proved all of my enemies completely wrong I’d be publishing it online. But then, I’ve never lost a billion dollars either. Obviously, four dimensional chess just isn’t my game.

  33. Barr isn’t legally able to in unredact information within the Mueller report that reveals High Court testimony from folk not indicted or guilty of a crime nor material related to an ongoing investigation.
    Trump can’t either.

    As for the Presidential powers thing, it’s no different to what Obama did with Fast and Furious and Holder or Clinton with Whitewater.

    Here’s the report, read it and say what’s missing.

  34. Thank you (no, really), but I prefer to get legal opinion from a more reliable source than a rural building contractor (just as I don’t depend for advice on repairing my car from my cardiologist).
    My comment was actually referring to the refusal of the Executive Branch of the US Government to abide by the Constitution on the flimsy pretense that the redacted report exonerates Donnie Two Scoops. And I don’t need to read the report.

  35. Saw that, and Ben explains that too.

    And hearing the whole thing would help a little but actually listening would help lots more.

  36. And hearing the whole thing would help a little but actually listening would help lots more.

    Uh, no it wouldn’t. But thanks for disclosing the source of your spin. It’s always revealing to find out which cheerleader you’re barracking for.

  37. Well this is depressing. Its starting point is the reaction to the Mueller Report, and its conclusion seems to be that we are doomed to ever increasing polarisation in the public arena.

  38. How goods the US economy going eh ?

    Yes Jumpy it’s doing much better than I (for one) would have predicted, but Trump and his fluffers tend to ignore the fact that he inherited a strong economy.
    Takeaway quote:

    The point is not that Obama deserves credit for every aspect of the economy forever. The point, instead, is that Trump’s comparisons between the economy during his presidency and the economy during Obama’s generally focus an awful lot on Obama’s first few years in office, when the country was rebounding from the economic crisis that began before Obama took office.

  39. Well this is depressing.

    The US leftists cognitive bias is somewhat depressing, agreed.
    But not your monkeys or circus.

    [ if symptoms persist ring Lifeline 13 11 14 ]

  40. Ummm, Einstein, I was referring to the results of the authors research which apply just as well to the polarisation I observe occurring in Australia. But thank you for providing a prime example of the rigid thinking described in the article.

  41. Since you zoot are into collectivist labeling I’ll self identify as a moderate Libertarian ( not that you’ve shown you can conceive of such an individual), what do you self identify as ?

    Here’s your chance to nail your collectivist flag to the mast.

  42. Since you zoot are into collectivist labeling

    Am I? I hadn’t noticed – largely because I have no idea what you are talking about. What is “collectivist labeling”?

  43. I think that endlessly abusive political attacks have a long history.

    “You will either die of the pox, or be hung from a gibbet!!”
    “Ah, that depends on whether I embrace your mistress, or your principles!”
    (This exchange in the Mother of Parliaments.)

    K. Marx had a vicious tongue and acid pen. His acolyte Ulyanov (Lenin) took abuse of rival socialists to a low gutter. And unfortunately, all the Parties of the Comintern for decades copied Lenin and employed over-the-top abuse, “fascist hyenas” , “Social Fascists”, etc. Satirised by David Low and George Orwell, but leaving a smelly stain on radical politics for many generations.

    In our day, invective deployed by Christopher Hitchens with erudition and aplomb; and by Paul Keating with panache.

    By the way, Paul K said afterwards that the Whitlam Govt should have put John Kerr under house arrest on 11th November 1975. And persisted in Government, presumably.

    This same Paul K has the nerve to call the heads of ASIO, ASIS and the Signals Directorate “nutters” who’ve “gone berko” over China.

    Time to retire into obscurity, P.J.K.?

  44. Ambi, what you say is fascinating.

    However, on the small point of PJK I think he still has something to say. He’s worried about the Chinaphobe’s. Last week Clive Hamilton and Hugh White went head to head about Australia’s China policy. It’s complex, and both were probably partly right and partly wrong. Their criticesms of each other seemed to have some validity.

    China is already the largest economy in the world, and White says will want to rewrite the trade rules. The US will not be able to ‘contain’ them.

    Hamilton says the ‘great power’ analysis breaks down when you consider China’s internal weaknesses. And so it goes.

    I understand the PJK interview was 20 minutes long, but the MSM was only interested in 2 minutes.

  45. So in Israel Falou’s opinion hell awaits “ drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters”.

    Only one of those is illegal.
    Perhaps the ARU is concerned about the hurty feelings of thieves being oppressed by Izzy.

  46. Up thread I discounted the possibility of Ben Shapiro being a worthy source. This rather long piece explains why in minute detail. But according to the Conversation article I linked to, Jumpy will be completely unconvinced by the author’s argument – for which the author is prepared (with a direct quote from Shapiro).

    You may feel as if Shapiro is a Vaporizer of Poor Logic, the Aristotle of our time. You may feel as if he has brutally torn apart every person who has crossed him in public, through his tried and tested technique of speaking extremely quickly until they give up. You may feel that he is brilliant and thoughtful and sincere.

    But before you treat these feelings as real, remember that annoying little fact about facts: They don’t really care how you feel.

  47. Some time ago I signed up to go to the rugby league fest going on in Brisbane, where every match is played in Brisbane. We saw three matches in a row, including the St George Dragons being slain by the NZ Warriors. We were top tier in a corner, where actually you can get quite a good view.

    St George have the biggest fan base outside Sydney of any Sydney team, and their is no shortage of support for the Warriors in Brisbane.

    A very multi-cult experience, but it took much of the day and most of the night.

    I’m working on an election post, but not sure where I am.

    Possibly finished by about around lunch time.

  48. Brian, ANZ Stadium ( or whatever it calls itself given the private sponsor of the day ) is a magnificent venue.
    Topped only by the Stadium once called Etihad in my honest opinion ( obviously because I don’t give anything other).

  49. Mr A

    “thieves”, Jumpy?
    Is that what the fuss was about?

    Apparently not, of all the Christian sins Israel let us know about only the homosexuals had a hissyfit.

  50. Jumpy, I haven’t seen other stadiums, but ANZ is incredibly functional for crowd members. Wherever you are you seem to be a few metres away from where you can buy beer, coffee and eats, plus the toilets, with open area decks where you can sit around tables in the balmy nights during the breaks. Public transport (train) is convenient, and masses of special buses are laid on. Noise is loud, but I take my noise dampening headphones I use for work, and tune into the ABC commentary.

    It’s all good!

  51. Brian, if you ever get a chance to be in Melbourne at Origin time and it’s at what’s now Marvel Stadium, do yourself a favour.
    Obviously it’s Melbourne in winter and when we went raining and 6C but they shut the lid and it’s Suncorp like.

    Take your headphones because it seemed like half the crowd were very vocal Polynesian and Maori folk obviously sick and tired of AFL saturation.

    I don’t use headphones at the footy but I’ve got a set of Tactix Bluetooths that I listen to audiobooks,podcast and YouTube stuff at work. A bit hot around the old ear holes but better than 5 different radio stations and construction noise all day.

  52. Brian

    If you’re ever in Melbourne and there’s Test cricket or a big AFL game on, do yourself a favour and go to the MCG.

    The facilities now are remarkable. I mean for the general public.

    As a lad I was lucky enough to be taken to the old MCG in 1956 for the Olympic Games opening ceremony. Ron Clarke doing the last lap with the crude torch… The stadium now is unrecognisable (in a good way).

    And if it’s AFL crowds that have paid for the improvements, well, that’s just fine.

  53. Here’s my entry for the Name Of The Week Competition
    and I quote directly from Nine news online (formerly Fairfax):

    Julian Brave NoiseCat, director of Green New Deal strategy at Data for Progress, a left-leaning think tank……

  54. And if it’s AFL crowds that have paid for the improvements, well, that’s just fine.

    Trouble is they don’t. For the most part it’s taxpayer dollars irrespective of if they’ve ever been there.

    Chalk that up to pork barreling.

  55. Jumpy: Keep the masses happy with bread and circuses at public expense. Grumpies like yourself can be safely ignored or thrown to the lions for added entertainment. That’s how they did it in Rome.

  56. It’s a shocker eh Jumpy?

    Taxpayers stump up for Docklands stadium – some never go there; and roads – many don’t drive; and hospitals – might never have to go; and schools – might be childless.

    The whole business is shonky and unfair.

  57. Weekend shocker for me. Saturday football x 3 – enjoyable, but away from the computer. Yesterday I had a problem with WordPress, the software that runs CP. Two hours on the phone to the Philippines, fail, Telstra technician to come this afternoon.

    This morning the lass from Townsville who programs the technicians fixed the problem in about three seconds.

    Still I have a doctor’s appointment this morning, some stuff to do this pm, and a birthday (not mine) celebration tonight.

    Mark was around last night, for the first time in a while because he’s been ill.

    So blogging time has never been so problematic for me, except when I was away out of town, which doesn’t happen much.

    Mark has been talking to his Labor contacts, who say things are looking better. LNP could lose about 5 in Qld, including Dickson (Dutton), Petrie (next door), Flynn (based on Bundaberg, and Leichhardt (far north) plus a couple in Brisbane. Herbert (Townsville) is to hard to call, currently held by Labor on 37 votes.

    He reckons a couple could go to Labor in NSW, including Gilmore, where ScoMo parachuted in Warren Mundine and upset the locals. He reckons it’s his country, but the locals think otherwise. Although past pres on the ALP he’s always been seen as a bit of a dill, so we’ll see. Barnaby Joyce is in trouble, as is Abbott in Warringah, but not to Labor. Rob Oakeshott is a real chance in Cowper.

    As against that Phelps may not hold Wentworth.

    Labor looks set to pick up a few in Victoria (Indi might return to the tories) and WA, which would seal the deal.

    Mark has been pessimistic to date, as have I. We are awaiting some bombshell scare in the last week from the tories, but it will have to be good, because ScoMO has credibility issues.

  58. In a story by Jacqueline Maley in Nine’s “The Age”, we hear from the Member for Warringah:

    Abbott appealed to voters “who might be inclined to want to protest against things that may or may not have happened inside the Liberal Party”.

    Now look here, Mr Abbott.
    You, of all people, should know what happened….. what’s all this vagueness “may or may not have happened”
    ???

    We’ve all been told, repeatedly, that things DID happen.

    Are you an utter dill?

    Cheerio

  59. The supporters of another Independent for Indi are giving it their best shot.

    But Cathy McGowan really was special.
    Thanks Cathy.

  60. A nice example of Unions shiting in the ALP nest.
    https://reneweconomy.com.au/its-not-easy-to-build-a-solar-farm-in-australia-any-more-59308/

    In Queensland, a rule from left field, or more specifically from the Electrical Trades Union, means that no one is too sure when the next solar farm might begin construction. The new rules introduced this week by the Queensland Labor government, at the urging of the ETU, mean that only licensed electricians can do much of the installation work, and it has stunned the industry.

    Developers and the clean energy industry describe the new rules as a joke and a farce. Even the Master Electricians say it is impractical and should be dumped.

    It is generally agreed that the new rules will bring new investment to a halt, cause delays (because it will be so hard to find that many electricians willing to do manual labour), and increase costs. Some installers that specialise in large scale rooftop installations fear that business will dry up altother.

    So dire is the situation that the Clean Energy Council is predicting the state will not meet its 50 per cent renewable energy target, and some in the industry fear that their may be a contagion to other states.

    My Wife’s best friends Husband installs solar. He’s a mechanic and auto leky by Trade but now not “ qualified “ according to Premier Palacechook.

    Stand by for more of the same under Shorten.

  61. Thanks for the RenewEnergy link, Jumpy. There are two separate stories there. Not sure the unions have anything to do with one, definitely not with the other. AEMO doesn’t run to union tunes.

  62. Not intending this as a “look over there! nothing to see here” gambit, but this from the New York Times about a very recent scandal in Austria [Europe] makes for sobering reading:

    BERLIN — Austria’s chancellor called on Saturday for snap elections after the country’s far-right vice chancellor resigned over a secretly filmed video from 2017 that renewed questions about whether Russia had a direct line into a government at the heart of Europe.

    The video showed Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party promising government contracts to a woman claiming to be the niece of a Russian oligarch.

    “After yesterday’s video, enough is enough,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told a room packed with reporters on Saturday night in the capital Vienna. He said he had asked Austria’s president to hold a new election “as soon as possible.”

    The video was the worst in a series of missteps that ultimately brought down Austria’s governing coalition. It raised anew concerns about whether the Freedom Party had been working to undermine liberal democracy and media freedoms in the country while it helped Mr. Kurz govern as the junior party in his coalition.

    This story may recall to mind the Al Jazeera video of ON clowns soliciting cash from the NRA. Foreign donations for a “dinky-di nationalist Party”.

    No kangaroos in Austria! the postcard in Vienna reads.

  63. Poor TM. she was against Brexit but somehow ended up trying to implement it AND grown old before our eyes. You wonder what she might have achieved under different circumstances.

  64. I purchased a Versys 300-x today ( Kawasaki finance)
    Ride it away midweek after the mods are done.

    My commenting on weekends may decline considerably.
    I’m sure it won’t bother most.

  65. Bleedin’ ‘ell, Mr Jumpy, you could do some serious damage to some cane toads with that blinkin’ kit. I mean serious.

    When we were lads, our old man told us, if you want to kill bleedin’ cane toads, you use a big stick to bludgeon them, like a real man. None of this machinery malarkey.

    Mind you, in those days they were all in Hawaii and we never got past the next village, so chances of any of us seein’ a cane toad were pretty close to infinitesimal. Kids these days.

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