15 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. The structural change for the Australian economy that should boost labour productivity, and therefore wage growth, lies in eliminating long commuting times to work. The fatigue of sitting in traffic jams/overcrowded trains/or waiting for buses that arrive at your stop already full must be lowering labour productivity at both the margin and in totality. The changes to TPP and the stagnation apparent in MPP seem to be structural not cyclical. Incentives to live closer to places of work do not seem to be working. Perhaps a larger scale attempt to make working from home more viable, may be one of the answers to this weakness in labour productivity growth.

  2. Does anyone out there teach old-fashioned cooperative game theory out there? In Shapley value terms what is the “power” of the various groups in the Senate in the sense of their ability to determine vote winning coalitions? I do it myself but I know the arithmetic is tedious. If I still taught I would probably assign it to students as an exercise.

    The current mix seems to be:

    LNP perhaps 34 or 35 seats.
    Labor+Labor/Greens 36 seats.

    Others are up to 6 seats of which:

    3 are One Nation + Cory.
    2 are centrists in the Xenophon mold.
    1 the wildcard J. Lambie.

    Obviously the minor groupings have huge power given the closeness of numbers of the two major groupings.

    The Shapley value stuff I agree is not that informative in the sense that the minor groups have strong major party allegiances. This is probably why the Senate has functioned more smoothly than would be expected in the past.

    But the crazy small parties have a hell of a lot of power in the diminished cross benches.

  3. I appologize, I have learned my lesson. No longer will I speak of enlightening SACrifices made by the light of a campfire. I will now speak of tickeling and saffron. Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice. It is also a really really tasty and colorful good addition to rice. Tickeling and saffron are the true boddisattava methods to bring accountabilty to the irresponsible and show our contempt for the current politcal (and leagueal) system. Love or Luv I does not matter how you spell it. Real progressives want to heap it one to the plates of those who defend the stateus quo (or woe?).
    If it were up to me, in the future I will show my love for those who have behaved in a treachorous manner by tickeling them. And I will allow them to feast. And I will feed them saffron, lots and lots of saffron. It is only by stuffing them with saffron, (and maybe a bit of salt) that I can transform leaders of the western part of the world in to the type of leaders that they need to become.
    Now since I aappologized so nicely and sincerely I think that my comments to Svante about the rate of Arctic Ice melt over the last three years should be put back in place. That is highly relevent because that is a process that will lead to the end of the state of Israel way way faster than any fake Iranian plan to bring the state of Isreal to an end.

  4. Isn’t the proper name for a Sandpit a bunker? That is the name for on of those traps on a golf course near the greens, right? Well the information that I am about to relay might be off course. But in the end the information might end up near the flag.
    The story begins on the night of the 8th of January 1945 in Harlem the Neterlands. An infamous Nazi collaborator by the name of Inpector Ploeg is on his way home when he is ambushed and killed by a couple in a park near his home.
    The Germans extract vengance and execute around 20 civilians in retaliation for this assassination. Among the victims are the members of the Steenwijk family whose house happened to be nearest to where the body of Ploeg was found after he was shot.
    But one member of the Steenwijk family survived, a nine year old boy named Anton. Anton survived because a German soldier did not do what he was supposed to do. For years I had thought that this soldier had actually disobeyed orders. But I know realize that was not quite right. The Gestapo agent that had questioned the family immediately after the assassination actually said take them away, or maybe it was get them out of here. In any case with out asking for clarification the soldiers leading the parents placed them with the hostages. The soldier leading Anton put Anton in his truck and then took him to a nearby police station.
    That was crucially important because Anton was placed in a cell with Johanna Schaft before she was executed. Johanna was one of the most famous communist underground resistence fighters in the country. When she heard Anton’s story she questioned him further about the events that had occured in front of his house. Anton recalled that she said, even though there would be “repercussions” that bastard had to die because his knowledge could lead to the deaths of many good people.
    On the surface such a comment reveals nothing of importance. But when the timing and circumstances of the remark are considered the remark reveals a rare shadow imp. If you look straight at this imp it disappears. It can only be seen out of the corner of your eye.
    By the middle of January 1945 part of the Netherlands had already been liberated. For the rest the exact end was uncertian but the timming could only be a matter of days, weeks at most. Under such circumstances any knowledge that Ploeg had would not be very useful in a war that was about to come to an end. It would be extremely useful in the war that was about to start.
    What Ploeg obviously knew was who were crucial assets of the communist resistance inside both the Nazi and the National beauracracy. He had to know this because it was his job as a double agent to lead any investigations that the Nazis were conducting away from the communists assets and towards non communists assets.
    Sadly the communists leadership was in a bind. Despite the enourmous risks that Ploeg took for the party it was clear by the fall of 1944 that it would not be the Red Army that would be liberating the Netherlands and presenting Ploeg with the Red Banner that he had earned by being a target for multiple sides in the war. No he would be a lose end. He would certianly be facing execution or a long prison stay after the war……….unless he traded the only thing he had that would be of any value to those who wanted his head on a platter. It was a painful but obvious choice. Ploeg would have to die at the hands of his own mates to be able to protect the holy grail, figuratively speaking of course, that was in his possession.
    His life was the wax used to seal the sacred knowledge of that time in to a water tight compartment until this knowledge could be used again in a future generation. But Ploeg did not willing make this sacrice.
    In fact he had been lead to believe that a plan had been worked out to clandestinely get him and his family to the city of Kiel where they would have been picked up by a Soviet Submarine off the coast and be brought to the USSR.
    Would a man like Ploeg have volunteered for such an ending had he been presented with the consequences of an alternative ending? Are there any men anywhere who would volunteer to trash their reputation for all of eternity to serve the cause that they have dedicated their life too? Was Judas the one man in all of history who has willing made such a choice? Did Judas really exist?
    Has the death of Ploeg profoundly influenced recent events? Perhaps more so than all but a few can imagine.

  5. Just the facts Curt, and less non apologies please.

    Fact free comment by Curt:
    “my comments to Svante about the rate of Arctic Ice melt over the last three years should be put back in place”

    No. They shouldn’t be.

    Factual comment :
    “Lead author and CPOM Director Professor Andy Shepherd explained: “In parts of Antarctica the ice sheet has thinned by extraordinary amounts, and so we set out to show how much was due to changes in climate and how much was due to weather.”

    “To do this, the team compared the measured surface height change to the simulated changes in snowfall, and where the discrepancy was greater they attributed its origin to glacier imbalance.

    “They found that fluctuations in snowfall tend to drive small changes in height over large areas for a few years at a time, but the most pronounced changes in ice thickness are signals of glacier imbalance that have persisted for decades.

    “Professor Shepherd added: “Knowing how much snow has fallen has really helped us to detect the underlying change in glacier ice within the satellite record. We can see clearly now that a wave of thinning has spread rapidly across some of Antarctica’s most vulnerable glaciers, and their losses are driving up sea levels around the planet.

    “Altogether, ice losses from East and West Antarctica have contributed 4.6 mm to global sea level rise since 1992.”


    It is easy when you don’t try so hard Curt.

  6. I think that my comments to Svante about the rate of Arctic Ice melt over the last three years should be put back in place. That is highly relevent because that is a process that will lead to the end of the state of Israel way way faster than any fake Iranian plan to bring the state of Isreal to an end.

    Curt, I doubt you have seen my comments on other climate related blogs… yet here we are stuck in the amber of the moment (Vonnegut).

    Google returns for Svante are “About 44,900,000 results (0.48 seconds)”.
    Google returns for “Svante” are “About 7,200,000 results (0.51 seconds)”

    The frequency in use of the name “Svante” has risen ~300% in the last twenty years, and I for one don’t wonder Why that is.

    Twenty years and more ago Vonnegut said humans were always going to miss the (greenhouse) bus. So true.


    BUT it’s worse than that!


    Responding to Abrupt Climate Change with Guy R. McPherson
    “The recent and near-future rises in temperature are occurring and will occur at least three orders of magnitude faster than the worst of all prior Mass Extinctions. Habitat for human animals is disappearing throughout the world, and abrupt climate change has barely begun … Lies my culture told me: Human Superiority; Infinite Growth; More is Better; Monetise Food, Water, Air; Think Positive (as) Hope Is Unimpeachably Good; Endemic Racism; Endemic Misogyny; Endemic Monetary Disparity – We have these myths that have been promulgated in this culture to the extent that almost everybody believes them now…”

    So it goes.

  7. A psychiatrist once advised me, after a brief intervention with someone exibiting psychosis in the unit, NOT to ENGAGE with them.

    The patient constantly replied to others briefly and compactly, concisely and crisply yet tersely, sometimes with a laconic, pithy manner. Then a rant exhibiting morbid and psychopathic tendencies. Then back to laconic with amusing asides.

    The psychiatitist was rather curt and said “If this does turn into mania, which it sounds like it already has, don’t engage with patients, as mania is a freight train and will mow you down no matter how reasonable and sane you are.”

    I agreed with my learned colleague. And acted wisely from then on.

    With no further engagement from medical staff and most others in the unit, the patient spiralled into mania, as their own freight train of thoughts continued to mow down their own psyche

    After we filled in the paperwork, the chlorpromazine hydrochloride worked a treat. Intramuscular injection 8 hourly first day Рaqueous solution, chlorpromazine hydrochloride, 25 mg; ascorbic acid, 2 mg; sodium bisulfite, 1 mg; sodium chloride, 6 mg; sodium sulfite, 1 mg.

    Oral after 7 days.

    Pharmaceuticals are necessary sometimes.

  8. KT2
    A rule I have found useful is this: I ask myself whether I am getting anything out of reading somebody’s comments. When I feel I have enough evidence to confirm that I’m not, I stop reading that person’s comments.
    I make no particular effort to restrain myself from responding to comments I have read, but once I’ve stopped reading a particular person’s comments, the problem no longer arises. I find this system works well for me.

  9. OK I should win a 2nd Nobel Peace Prize for what I am about to suggest. No of course I have not won a Nobel Peace Prize yet. But I should have. For what I can not remember anymore. But I am sure that there was something that I already should have won it for.
    So the problem that I was considering is how does a country like Sudan or Algeria transition to a new government when there is a dispute about the legitimacy of the different sides involved in a power struggle. I supose that one could say that this might also apply to Venezuela. But I think that in the power one side that headed by President Maduro is completely legitimate and the other side head by the self appointed interem President is completely illegitimate. But I digress.
    So my solution for chosing an interim goverment would be to try to get highly qualified people in to the ruling council, or central committee, if one prefers to call it that, that are not closely connected to either the current government or the opposition. Now many of the people will come from positions that are part of the government. But these posiitons will not be what is usually refered to in the English speaking world as cabinet level positions. They are positions in which must have demonstrated a significant amount of skill to obtain but not neccissarily require that one be close pals with a dictator to get.
    Therefore I would propose that the interim Government begin with a council or committee that would have unlimited power to hire and fire people in the government for the purpose of building trust among the entire population of a country, or close to the entire population. This committee would be limited to a 2 year term in office. After the two years is over the country in question should vote on a new Constitution. Also the members of the original committee will be replaced by new members following the same pattern to serve only until rulers can be chosen based upon the rules laid out in the constitution if the proposed constitution passes the referendum. If the constitution does not pass these new council members will have a 2 year term to bring a new constitution up for a vote.
    This is how I would chose the members of the ad hoc national council, or central committee.
    One university president. If it is a small country it would simple be the largest university in the country.
    If it is a large country then the president will be chosen by a lottery.
    One chief executive of a large hospital. Again if it is a small country it will simply be the largest in the country. If it is a large country then again by lottery.
    One engineering proffessor. The Proffessor should be either a structural, mechanical, or an electrical engineer to be chosen by lottery.
    The head of a large TV station or radio station. It can be public or private. To be chosen by lottery.
    The leader of the homicide dectives division of a large police department.
    A member of the nation’s military in the rank of Colonel to be chosen by lottery
    A labor Union leader.
    Some nation’s may not have labor unions because they were outlawed by right wing governments or because they were deemed as unneccessary by left wing governments.
    If that is the case then as an alternative I would suggest the head of the nation’s largest national park.
    A second alternative would be the head of a large airport or seaport.
    One could also add the two alternaives to make a larger council or committee.
    This council or committee would have dictatorial powers while in office. But I think that it would be unfair to call them absolutist leaders. First of all their individual power is checked by the other members of the council. Second of all their terms in office are limited and they lose their immunity when that term expires. It would also be unfair to call this interim period undemocrtic as the conditions for democracy have to be first of all established if there is to be a democracy establshed by the new constitution.
    The prerequisits for voting in the initial Constitutional Referendum need to be quite minimal. Probally along the lines of all citizens over the age of 18 who have not been ruled mentally retarded or insane,
    and can pass a reading a writing test. ( Yes I am of course aware that such tests were used in Jim Crow days to keep blacks from registering to vote. But the authorities did that by cheating on grading the responses.)
    I myself would not vote for any constitution that makes the prerequisits to vote in future elections very broad. Most countries have examintions that students have to pass to be able to attent a college or university. As a minimum I would propose that such a test must be passed to the level of being allowed to attend higher education. It would not be unreasonable to set the bar even higher. Also I would not support any consitution that allowed secret ballots. If we are going to have voting all people have to stand behind their votes not just those in a parliment.
    It is sad that we live in a world in which way to many people who identify themselves as progressives really have no idea of what a true progressive agenda is.
    Hmmmm I wonder what the typical reader of Marxmail, if there is one, would think of my comment, especially the last paragraph.

  10. Now since I do not speak Arabic perjaps there is a regualr normal Chinese reader who does speak Arabic well enough to do an official translation that can then be used to send these reccommendations to some troubled parts of the world.

  11. I wonder if the ADANI mine goes ahead, maybe Adani will eventually sell it to China?

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