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Sep 2010

Please forgive an old Engineer for expressing views on economics

I am an engineer by training and experience but I have studied economics so that I could effectively discuss financial issues with my non-engineer colleagues at AWA.

Today I read report in a newspaper about a Treasury Paper advising the incoming government about the economic problems arising from their election policy promises.

I was concerned that the bureaucrats were using their position as government employees to try and change the government's policies.

I looked for evidence that their advice was probably defective. I found a quote that seems to me to prove that.

The quote was "Whatever approach is taken to limit emissions, it is in Australia's interest to rely overwhelmingly on market-based mechanisms"

My reaction to that advice was "Don't they understand that the Global Financial Crisis was the result of market-based mechanisms"

I do understand that some of the bureaucrats are employed to give advice to the government but I think that it is important that that advice is well founded and not based solely on Milton Friedman's suspect theories.

Posted: 27/9/10 1:50 PM

Another Grey Nomad Experience

Today we had morning tea with some old friends from the motorhome fraternity at Glen Riddle Recreation Reserve which is out local free camping area which we advised them to use for their Barraba overnights.

It was so nice to catch up with them again and I feel like a Grey Nomad again.

Posted: 23/9/10 1:52 PM

An Amazing Experience

Yesterday I was reading some old issues of the Australian Geographic in the doctor's waiting room in Tamworth.

I was amazed at how many articles were about place I'd been and things I'd seen as a grey nomad.

One was about the Woakwine Cutting which we had visited in South Australia in our first year on the road.

There was a piece about Frank Manthe's Bilby enclosure in Currawinya National Park to which we had made a contribution to help build the 20km fence needed to provide a real but safe environment for the natural breeding of the Bilbys which Frank's colleague, Peter McRae, had been breeding in captivity in Charleville.

In another piece there was a photo of Dunn's Swamp which we had visited when we were camping in Rylstone.

There was a photo of Peter McRae in another piece about Bilbys.

Another wonderful experience happened yesterday. My GP was worried about the need to confirm that I could stop taking my anti clotting medication for ten day before another surgical operation. I had emailed Professor David Muller who had fitted my stent in 2007 and asked him for advice. He replied by email confirming that it would be OK. I emailed my thanks to him and remarked on his great reputation in Barraba because he had treated my friend Ken Hiscock in 1997 with several stents. He sent me another email with best wishes to Ken and me which made me feel really good.

Posted: 23/9/10 5:47 AM
Revised: 23/9/10 1:52 PM

Hooray, Good News at last

This mornings ABC news reported that a company had been charged and fined $135,000 due to a breach of the Occupational Health and Safety laws which gave rise to the death of a youngster who was employed to install insulation in a house under the governments subsidy scheme.

Peter Garret, the Federal Government Minister responsible for the scheme, had been accused by many contrarians of being responsible for the deaths of workers employed under the scheme.

My view at the time was that he had required all contractors in the scheme to obey all the Occupational Health and Safety laws and therefore the responsibility lay directly with the employers, not the Minister.

Thankfully my view has been supported by a court and I hope that most people will realise that the criticism of Peter Garret was merely political ad hominem argument.

Posted: 18/9/10 7:32 AM

Another reflection on the 21st Century

Today I read on Slashdot that a British teenager has been banned for life from entering the USA by the FBI on the advice of the Department of Homeland Security because he emailed Barack Obama and used vulgar words in the email.

The concept that a vulgar word in an email, or perhaps in a conversation, with a head of state is a significant security threat seems to me to show that DHS does not have a rational basis for its decisions. If the resources of the DHS are so badly utilised, forgive me for thinking that they are a threat to security.

There was a piece in the SanFrancisco Chronicle website SF GATE which reported that a lawyer said that "the San Bruno explosion and fire would fit within the wildfire definition." I find that a totally irrational conclusion which would perhaps enable the company responsible for the fire to avoid responsibility for the damage caused.

Posted: 15/9/10 7:11 AM
Revised: 15/9/10 7:27 AM

Another peak for Barraba's Culture

Last night we went to a concert at the Playhouse performed by a wonderful folk group "Wheelers & Dealers". We had been to their concert last year and were very happy to have another of their concerts in town.

The music was really entertaining and the audience was most enthusiastic. I was amazed at the number of pieces which resonated with me.

One was about the Murrumbidgee River. I lived by the river at Hay when I was a primary school boy.

Another was about Dublin which Jean and I visited when our daughter Rachel was studying at Trinity College. We had a marvellous time there and all references to Dublin give us a boost.

The most significant one was a song about a Wagoner's son who left his sweetheart. I told Christine Wheeler that this reminded me that I had left my sweetheart when I was at university but that I had returned to her and had since been married to her for nearly 50 years. Christine was so impressed by this story that she repeated it to the audience during a break between songs.

After the show we begged them to come to Barraba again so that we could have another great evening's entertainment.

Posted: 4/9/10 7:11 AM

A Genealogical Celebration

Yesterday Jean realised that it was the 81st anniversary of her parents wedding.

She chose to get some photographs of her father and her mother out and put them on display in the Living Room.

I can remember on this years Mother's Day, calculating how long is was since I had last spoken to my mother - 67 years and 9 months ago.

Posted: 1/9/10 8:56 AM
Revised: 1/9/10 2:56 PM


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