February 21, 2019

Horse 2514 - Despite Massive Corruption And Scandal, This Government Will Likely Be Reelected - Australia: You Are A Pack Of Stupids

There are at least six corruption scandals currently taking place in this government, seven things that are horrifying:

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said Australians should stop shopping at Aldi or Coles if they wanted a sustainable dairy industry.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud - and whose chief of staff is former government relations manager for Woolworths - calls for boycott of Woolworths' competitors.

The Australian Financial Review has reported that Paladin Group’s $420m of contracts to provide security to refugees on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea was extended by the home affairs department in January after a closed tender process.
The "curriculum officer" at Paladin Solutions PNG is named Karen Dutton - A relative to Peter Dutton? The Home Affairs Minister?

Mathias Cormann admitted under questioning at Senate estimates that on three occasions in the last three years he called Helloworld Travel chief executive Andrew Burnes to arrange his trips.
The revelation came when Senator Cormann faced questions about why he hadn't been charged more than $2,700 for flights to Singapore.

Federal Small Business Minister Michaelia Cash insists she has provided a witness statement to police about raids on union offices — despite the Australian Federal Police (AFP) saying she did not.
A member of her staff tipped off the media that police were raiding the Melbourne offices of the Australian Workers' Union back in 2017; which is now part of a civil court case.

Mr Wilson led town-hall style meetings across the country seeking feedback on Labor's plan to scrap franking credits, which form part of SMSF funds income.
Mr Wilson has confirmed he sought a testimony from a high-profile fund manager and a distant relative, Geoff Wilson, who manages his investments.
Geoff Wilson is the founder and manager of Wilson Asset Management, which manages some of Tim Wilson's investments.
Tim Wilson is the chair of the House Economics Committee; who just happnes to have a conflict of interest as he's a shareholder in Wilson Asset Management.

Peter Dutton reportedly has a business interest in childcare centres, which two constitutional law experts have suggested could amount to an “indirect pecuniary interest” in an agreement with the commonwealth and disqualify him from parliament.
According to Dutton’s register of interests he, his spouse and children are beneficiaries of the RHT Family Trust.
This would disqualify him from sitting in parliament under Section 44(v) of the Constitution.
The government has refused to refer him to the High Court.

And 7:
Secretary of the Department of Human Services, Renée Leon, explained to Senate Estimates that because suicide victims are no longer alive, there can not be a proven causal link between their suicides and the Robodebt scandal following overpayment and demand notices from Centrelink. 2030 people have died. 1778 (87%) were under the age of 65.

The kicker:
Labor has suffered a sharp fall in popular support after a week of incendiary political claims over border protection, with the party leading the Coalition by 51 to 49 per cent in its narrowest result in more than six months.
Voters have shifted against Labor in significant numbers amid the escalating row over the refugee medical transfer law passed by Parliament last week, cutting the party’s lead over the Coalition from the previous result of 54 to 46 per cent last December.
- Sydney Morning Herald, 17th Feb 2019

What is wrong with you Australia? Are 49 percent of you just criminally stupid or deliberately belligerent?
Of course we have also passed legislation which moves sick asylum seekers on medical grounds from one tropical gulag, to another tropical gulag with such inadequate medical facilities that no babies have been born on Christmas Island in two decades (including an asylum seeker from Iran who miscarried in 2013).

This is the government you elected Australia and will likely return to power in May.

February 20, 2019

Horse 2513 - My Electricity Problem, The Bigger Electricity Problem, And Why Privatisation Is Stupid

The Problem:
At about 8am yesterday morning, Mrs Rollo was disturbed not by the usual onslaught of feline hostilities which rage from time to time but by a white car and a man with a BA in Clipboardology. He came to the house, shut the power off at the power box, put a tape over the switches which are a criminal offence to remove and drove away.
I had recently arrived at work and had made a cup of coffee (of everyone’s favourite zero star coffee International Roast) and was about to settle in for the morning to do a spot of grunt work when I was told that there was no electricity.

The poles and wires in our part of the world are owned by Endeavour Energy. It was they who sent around their man in the car to switch off the power. However, I wasn’t to know that as in the first instance, I had to ring our retail electricity provider, which was Origin Energy.
Except it wasn’t.

The last bill that we had from Origin Energy was back in November last year. The account was showing $0.00 outstanding and so it was nonsensical to the person who I rang at Origin, why the elecrity was cut off.
I was sent to Endeavour Energy.

Endeavour Energy asked me if I’d run my retail electricity provider. I told them I had. They told me that I needed to track down an order for  cut off, so that it could be reversed.
So back to Origin Energy I went.

Origin Energy told me that they had sent no such order to Endeavour Energy and that I should ring Endeavour Energy to see where the order for cut off had come from.
So back to Endeavour Energy I went.

After speaking to someone at Endeavour Energy and having to reexplain the situation, I was then sent on a series of numbers until I found someone who could tell me where they order had come from. It had not come from Origin Energy as I had thought, and who I had been paying our electricity bills with but from AGL.
So I rang AGL.

AGL were incredibly confused. Not only could AGL not identify me as a customer at this address but they had details of me living at a house that I had moved out of more than five years ago. They sent me back to Endeavour Energy to see which National Meter Identifier (NMI) had been cut off.
So I went back to Endeavour Energy.

Endeavour Energy were able to tell me what the NMI for this property was, sort of. There is also a granny flat out the back, and they couldn’t determine which one it was and as they do no have accounts linked to NMIs because they are not the retail electricity provider, they sent me back to Origin Energy to get the NMI.
Which I did.

I then took that NMI to AGL, wherein I had to set up a new account because apparently (and this is the kicker) our property was an AGL owned account but unattached to any customer. This means that AGL have been supplying electricity to us, without us even knowing about it and because the account was unattached to any customer and nobody paid the bill, this is what triggered the cut off order.

So I had to create a new account with AGL, who then sent an immediate order to resupply electricity and the same man in the white car who had been around at 8am, came around at 2:25pm to turn the power back on.

Between three companies, nobody had a clue as to why we’d been transferred from Origin to AGL without our knowledge, or even how it had happened.

The Bigger Problem:
Electricity supply as far as the customer is concerned, something of a natural monopoly. The customer shouldn’t have to care about comparing a godzillion number of plans and rates, in a giant confuseopoly because in the end, electricity is  exactly fungible. 240 volts at 10 amps should be exactly the same if it comes from Kalgoorlie to Karratha or from Katoomba to Kiama. I give zero hoots about where it comes from. Broadly speaking, I’d like it to come from less fossil fuel burning, but that should be government policy and not incumbent on the poor consumer who is stuck in the middle of a retail price maelstrom to decide.

Because Electricity supply is both a natural monopoly, and a piece of national infrastructure, then history consistently proves that privatisation is rubbish. I’m not trying to make some grand statement about socialism here but if it takes the best part of six and a half hours and three companies to resolve an issue which could have been solved in less than four minutes, then you can stick whatever comments you have to make about free markets into the sun.

Private companies who have multiple administrations, which are basically duplicates of each other, who are all being funded at the lowest possible rates in the name of spinning a profit, are terrible for the consumer. Had it been back in the days of Prospect County Council which was a state-owned corporation owned by the Government of New South Wales, you would have had a guy called Geoff walk down the corridor to another guy called Steve and ask “Why’d you cut the power off at 33 Banana St?” and there would have been an answer immediately.

Privatisation has not brought prices down for consumers and to be perfectly blunt, it more than anything else was probably the root cause of the 2016 South Australian blackout, when almost the entire state losing its electricity supply due to busted interconnecters and physical destruction of wires due to storms.

The then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that state governments had paid "little or no attention to energy security", and prize knave Queensland One Nation senator, Malcolm Roberts, blamed the incident on relying on renwable energy sources.
The truth is that without wires, electrity doesnn't flow and the real culprit for not doing proper maintenace was ElectraNet who are 46% owned by the State Grid Corporation of China, 33% owned by a Malaysian company called YTL, and something called Australian Utilities Pty Ltd.

The fact that the electricity isn't owned by the South Australian state government is stupid and all who sold off need to be put into a room with no electricity so they can think about what they've done.
The same goes for the state governments of New South Wales. Whoever thought that this was a good idea and everyone who voted for it, is criminally stupid.

More recently Mike Baird campaigned to lease 49% of NSW's state-owned electricity distribution network and as soon as he got a better job with the NAB, he jumped ship citing "family reasons" (I think that we know exactly what those "family reasons" were). It is decisions like this that stretch back to the 1980s, which explain why it takes three companies to shut off my electricity for no good reason at all.

More than six hours after the power went off and after I’d been on the phone almost continuously, doing the equivalent of their administration  for them, the power came back on again.

I had a phone call later that afternoon from AGL, asking me if I’d enjoyed the customer experience and if I would recommend them in the future.

February 15, 2019

Horse 2512 - A Company Pays A Living Wage - Oh Der!

One of the things that happens a fair bit on Facebook, is that when people post links to things, they will often tag their friends and family in posts; in what I can only imagine is an attempt to get a huge internet pile-on of likes. As someone who uses Facebook primarily through browsers and almost never on the app, I imagine that my user experience of the platform is significantly different to most people. I imagine that most people get their likes and hearts and then move on; whereas I on the other hand will tend to stew on something for far longer, and want to pick apart the things posted.
Ah yes, Facebook, that bastion of news outlets, that is always at the cutting edge with the greatest and latest news, except when it is not; which is most of the time.

In my Facebook feed this week, a tangential article about the fast food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A, was praised as though it were doing something noteworthy:

The owner of a Chick-fil-A location in Sacramento, California, calls it a "living wage." In Eric Mason's view, that would be $17 or $18 an hour, which is what he vows he'll be paying his workers, starting Monday, June 4. The rate represents a sizable increase for employees now making $12 to $13 an hour. 
"As the owner, I'm looking at it big-picture and long-term," Mason told a local news station. "What that does for the business is provide consistency, someone that has relationships with our guests, and it's going to be building a long-term culture."
The idea, Mason said, is to hire workers -- he prefers "hospitality professionals" -- who will stick around, a worthwhile goal for a brand known for its customer service that's in an industry that had a 73 percent turnover rate in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
- Kate Gibson, CBS News, 1st June 2018

The idea that an employer would pay their employees more, in an effort to reduce turnover is hardly a new one. Reknowned anti-Semite and industrialist Henry Ford famous paid his workers $5 a day in 1914, not because if the alturistic notion that his employees would be able to afford one of his flivvers but rather, Henry started paying a more livable wage because of simple economics. High employeer turnover kills productivity. The obvious solution is that if you pay the workers more, they won’t quit. It is an entirely rational and logical decision; made with cool brute logic.
I have no doubt that Eric Mason probably looked through his accounts and came to that same conclusion. Pay them more and they won’t quit. Incidentally, at 4% inflation (which has been the historial average since the beginning of the Roman Empire), Henry Ford's $5/day or 62.5c/hour, works out to $38.40/hr now.

The truth is that workers who supply their labour, do so for a pretty pragmatic reason - they need to eat and sleep somewhere. Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation", proposed a theory called the "hierarchy of needs"; which is mostly so obvious, you wonder why anyone needed to write a paper on it at all.
It's like the concept of physiological needs is one of the Great Ders of History  and the fact that it needs repeating, makes me want to cry "Oh Der" repeatedly.

But when it comes to how individual businesses should decide what to pay, my economic logic is simple. You — and many employers — have already discovered it, even if you all pretend otherwise: Nobody’s going to work for you because it costs more to live than the peanuts you’re paying.
You cannot — or you refuse to — pay fair-market compensation. That’s why you can’t hire the workers you need, no matter what your rationalization is. As I explained last week, the “talent shortage” is a creation of employers’ own making.
Fair-market compensation is an amount people need for shelter, food, transportation and other basics of life. That’s more than $70 a day where most people live.
- Nick Corcodilos, 12th Feb 2019

Oh Der!

The problem is that throughout history, people need to repeatedly yell "Oh Der" because it's almost as if everyone who becomes an employer and would like to pay their employees absolutely nothing if they could get away with it (that's why we have unpaid internships in the 21st Century), instantly forget that people need to eat and sleep somewhere. Oh Der!

"The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education."
-  Franklin D. Roosevelt, proposed Second Bill of Rights,  State of the Union Address (1944).

Oh Der!

Bear in mind that FDR is speaking from the midst of a war here. One of the things about wars is that it suddenly dawns on the people who have power and control, that the people who are out on the battlefield actually have value. You do not win wars unless the people who do the fighting, believe that there is a thing worth fighting for. FDR also realised that wars do not last forever and unless the country recognised the value of its citizenry, then winning a war was pointless if you then do not win the peace.
FDR's proposal for the Second Bill of Rights never materialised because ultimately, it has been consistently proven that the people who own capital and by extension who own the systems which run democracies, do consider the general public as expendable. America has ultimately decided that people really only have value when they are actually fighting wars, because as soon as veterans get home, they are all too frequently discarded by the nation; as a practical demonstration of the value that they no longer have.

In principle, America thinks so little of the value of its people that not only did it not accept the Second Bill of Rights but it also refuses to be a signatory to the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights as well as other statements and commitments to the value of people, such as the 1967 Protocol to the Refugee Convention. Speaking of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, it contains the following article:

"Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and for his family an existence worthy of human dignity."
- Article 23, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).

Oh Der!

This sentiment echoes on and on throughout the centuries.
Adam Smith, the father of economics, had this to say in his 1776 work "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations":

"No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed and lodged."
- Adam Smith, The Wealth Of Nations (1776).

Oh Der!

Paul had to write to Timothy in the early days of the church:

"Elders who lead effectively are worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and, “The worker is worthy of his wages.”
- 1 Timothy 5:17-18

Oh Der!

And just to prove this sentiment is as old as dirt, we find it repeated again and again in the old testament:

"Do not defraud or rob your neighbor.
Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight."
- Leviticus 19:13

Oh Der!

"Pay them their wages each day before sunset, because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise they may cry to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin."
- Deuteronomy 24:15

Oh Der!

Time and time again, it seems that people need to be told again that you really do need to pay people a proper wage because they need it to be able to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. How hard is that to understand? Seriously?

Okay, the owner of one Chick-fil-A restaurant realised that people need a proper wage in order to have a decent life; but what about everyone else? The multi-billion and possibly trillion dollar company Wal-mart pays its workers so very very little that it estimated that it costs U.S. taxpayers $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing. How 80% of the employees of a company with turnover of more than $125bn can not still manage to pay a living wage is beyond me.

This is not the sort of thing which should be praiseworthy. You shouldn't be praised for doing a thing which everyone should already be doing. It really just makes me want to yell "Oh Der!" again; which as shown has to be yelled again and again and again.

Oh Der!

February 12, 2019

Horse 2511 - Why Should Warringah Send Tony Back To Canberra?

...In which I respond to Tony Abbott's column in the Sydney Morning Herald.

In the past two years, I’ve had meet-the-member public meetings all around Warringah for voters to tell me their concerns. Almost to a person, they’re sick of overdevelopment and the traffic jams that make the best suburbs in the world a misery as soon as you want to go anywhere else.

As someone who has been working in the electorate of Warringah, I have personally met Tony Abbott only twice in not quite sixteen years. Admittedly I am only here during office hours but I would hope that Mr Abbott actually speaks to the people of his electorate more often, than merely when it is time to stand upon the stump to pony up for votes.

I’m running again so the Northern Beaches tunnel finally gets built. Yes, it’s the Liberal state government that’s going to do the work but the money is only there because of the Liberal federal government and its funding partnerships. Even though the tunnel is now finally close starting it still needs a champion to get it across the line.
Local people need the tunnel if we’re to get our lives back from spending hours in traffic gridlock. It’s the only local issue that can improve every local person’s life forever and I’m the only local federal candidate who’s 120 per cent for it.

On that note, as someone who lives in the western suburbs and therefore not a constituent of the electorate of Warringah, my opinion counts for very little. Although as a commuter and having to live with the problem of congestion, the reason why there is such terrible traffic in the Northern Beaches, is that by reason of geography, there are only a few select arterial roads which run across the ridge tops.
The best option to remove cars from the road would be to build a heavy rail tunnel. One eight car train removes 2000 cars an hour from the roads. The problem with that, is that the carrying costs are borne by the NSW State Government, and given that the previous Member of the New South Wales Parliament for Manly and the 44th Premier of New South Wales left parliament citing "personal reasons" only to be parachuted into a cushy job at the National Australia Bank, that can not be allowed to happen. The Premier of NSW simply has to build a toll-road, and give the profits to their banker friends.

I’m also running to keep a good government in Canberra that knows how to keep our country safe and our economy strong. In a seat like Warringah, voting for anyone other than the endorsed Liberal candidate would just bring a Labor government closer. And that would mean that 10,000 local retirees would lose thousands of dollars a year in franking credits as well as a much weaker economy due to all the extra taxes and union control that Labor would bring.

I work in an accountant's office in Mosman and I can tell you that running an SMSF makes zero sense unless you have at least $500,000 in the fund because you need to pay audit fees. If you're single and a Non-homeowner then the value of assets that you are allowed to have before the full age pension¹ is reduced is $465,500.
I would like to point out here that currently, investment income a SMSF receives from its assets is tax exempt to the extent that those assets are supporting retirement phase income streams. This income is called exempt current pension income (ECPI).
I want to know how exactly it is just, that someone who derives income from the work of other people, should be assessed at 0% tax, when I who actually does real work for a living, is assessed at effective tax rate which is more than the ASX200.

Thanks to the people of Warringah, I’ve had the chance to lead the Liberal Party out of opposition and into government; where we stopped the boats, repealed the carbon and mining taxes, unleashed the biggest infrastructure program in our country’s history, and finalised the three big FTAs. Sure, my 2014 budget struggled in the Senate but thanks to consistent good management the budget is now finally coming back into surplus and more tax cuts are in the offing.

I don't know if the Liberal Government actually did stop the boats. They have stopped reporting on boat arrivals; which isn't exactly the same thing.
Repealing the "Carbon Tax" was politically expedient. Well done. I'm sure that the people of 2119 will thank you.
Repealing rent resources levies more than likely damaged the structural integrity of budgets; as did successive waves of tax cuts during the mining boom which we completely squandered.

Before that, I was a frontbencher throughout the time of the Howard government and, for much of it, the Prime Minister’s one man Praetorian Guard. I was largely responsible for stopping the Keating government’s proposed sale for development of defence land around Sydney Harbour and for the Howard government’s preservation of it forever in the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.

Fair enough.

I haven’t just served the people of Warringah in the Parliament but in a host of practical and personal ways too: on patrol on the beach at Queenscliff and on the truck as part of the Davidson Rural Fire Brigade. Then there’s the annual Pollie Pedal charity bike ride that’s so far raised about $7 million, including for local causes such as the Pioneer Clubhouse, the Royal Far West, Bear Cottage, and the Manly Women’s Shelter. Margie and I have always encouraged our girls to take community service seriously but you can’t really preach it unless you live it.

Also, Fair enough.

As is well known, I didn’t support same sex marriage but I gave change a chance with the plebiscite and accept that it’s now the law of the land.

Also, Fair enough.

Climate change is real, mankind makes a contribution and we should take sensible action to deal with it but, with Australia responsible for just 1.3 per cent of global emissions, there’s no point damaging our economy in futile green gestures. And if we’re fair dinkum about drastically cutting emissions, we should at least end the legal prohibition on nuclear that is currently the only feasible form of emissions-free baseload power for Australia.

Hang on a second, if "Climate change is real, mankind makes a contribution and we should take sensible action to deal with it" them why did you openly crow only a few paragraphs before about repealing the carbon tax?
Changing behaviour is often achieved through economic incentive and disincentive. If we accept the premise that " there’s no point damaging our economy in futile green gestures" then if everyone in the world collectively does nothing, then we don't just damaging our economy but potentially the sustained ability of the planet to support life.

The idea that our Parliament should lose people with a proven record of achievement and the insights that only experience brings just because they’ve already been prime minister is absurd, especially if they’re as fit as most people 20 years younger. Likewise, the idea that backbench MPs should refrain from speaking and writing or somehow dilute their ideas lest they be accused of “wrecking” doesn’t bear scrutiny.

I agree with this entirely; however, every single MP is only at the employ of their constituents and while Section 9 of the Bill of Rights Act 1689² does agree with you that "freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament", the ideas that are contained within that same free speech ought to be judges and evaluated. The idea that someone who has previously been prime minister ought to be exempt from that scrutiny is also absurd.

As for the remark that someone is "as fit as most people 20 years younger", I fail to see how that is relevant. If this is a question of physical fitness, then that is not a disqualifier of ability and as for the mental fitness of someone even into their 80s, 90s and beyond, provided someone is sufficiently annoyed and excitable mentally, they are fit for task.

I’d be proud and honoured to serve another term as the Member for Warringah and to devote all the clout that a former prime minister has to the service of my area. And when you think about it, only a dyed-in-the-wool Labor voter would want to deprive the parliamentary Liberal Party of a most effective political warrior.

When it boils down it, in the 40 years that I have been alive, I have been fundamentally betrayed by both of the two political football teams in this country. You've both sold off the family silverware, recently you've both proven that you're cruel and heartless when it comes to the issue of vulnerable people both within and without this country.

To me, so many issues in the political life of the Commonwealth of Australia, are treated as though we are at a Wanderers v Sydney FC game. Hooray. Boo. Hooray. Boo. The difference there is that the songs are wittier at an actual football match, they are more focused in achieving goals, and after 90 minutes the two ends of supporters stop yelling at each other and they go home.

Tony Abbott is the member for Warringah and a former Australian prime minister.

Rollo is a citizen of the Commonwealth Of Australia and who would like to be a paid member of the commentariat, instead of just a hack who has to put up with terrible journalism.


February 11, 2019

Horse 2510 - The Simpsons Should Be Rebooted

I have no idea what prompted Mrs Rollo to ask me when the characters of The Simpsons were born, or even to try to explain the sheer insanity of how time works in that show, but it sent my brain into a series of spirals; gaming out all kinds of conclusions until this conclusion was reached.

There should be a hard reboot.

For the purposes of this hard reboot, I am imagining that the series would begin with a rest date of 2020.

The Simpsons which kind of started in 1987/8 is both the longest-running American sitcom, and the longest-running American scripted primetime television series. The truth is that any TV show which is that long in the tooth, has a tendency to get stale, and it is generally considered that the so called "golden years" of the show were probably between seasons 4 and 10; which was last century. Since then, it appears that even fans of the show think that it is dribbling out towards inevitable irrelevance.

Unlike a soap opera with a rolling cast, or a show like Doctor Who which can recast everyone, The Simpsons appears to be suffering from the fact that there is basically a fixed cast. Every possible story that can be told and arguably should have been told, has already been told by now; to the point where there is even self-parody.
A hard reboot would solve this problem nicely; while retaining continuity.

Before I move on though, here is a review of the in-universe dates of birth of the eponymous nuclear family:

Homer - 12/5/56, age 64
Marge - 1/10/56, age 63

Bart - 1/4/80, age 40
Lisa - 9/5/82, age 38
Maggie - 12/1/89, age 31

What we have here is Homer and Marge, who were both born bang in the middle of the post-war Baby Boom. Bart, Lisa and Maggie who are about the same age as Homer and Marge are/were when the series kind of sets its markers, are all members of Generation Y. All three of them will have grown up in an analogue childhood but due to the coming of the internet, have more or less lived their adult lives in the modern digital world. Probably they will have their own children by now; and they occupy a space which their parents have done in the current series.

This would open up an entirely new range of story lines, and given that Bart, Lisa and Maggie would now have a degree of agency of their own, instead of merely being under the rule of their parents, I think that this would be far more interesting. It also opens the distinct possibility for intergenerational conflict, when you consider real world implications; namely that Bart, Lisa and Maggie will have found navigating the world of work far more difficult.
Probably Homer and Marge are still in the workforce but there is a very real possibility that their children's working careers will have been far more transient. More than likely, Homer will have paid off the mortgage on a single income but their children might not even have ever been paid enough to qualify for a mortgage at all.

There is of course a precedent for this kind of reboot. It has been hinted that the current Dennis the Menace in The Beano, is not the previous one; because his dad is significantly different. This would imply that the current Dennis the Menace is the son of the previous Dennis the Menace.
Star Trek: The Next Generation appears to be explicity set 100 years after the first TV series ended; taking place in 2369 as opposed to 2269 (which itself was 300 years in the future).

There are of course other issues which could be explored. As the comedian Hari Kondabolu quite rightly pointed out in the documentary The Problem with Apu, Apu is something of a very blunt racial stereotype. For comedic effect, Apu was blessed with a set of octuplets; which if they were born on 23rd Nov 1999, would be 19 years old. I would imagine that all eight Nahasapeemapetilon children, would have that quality that practically every second generation person has, in that they are even more of the nationality of their country than other generations. I think that it's true that for people who migrate to Britain, that their children are the most British of all, that the children of immigrants to Australia are the most Australian of all, and that the Nahasapeemapetilon children would be the most exact representation of what 2020 American would be.
I expect that in the 2020 reboot, that the town of Springfield, which seems almost exlusively yellow in 1987/8 would be far more diverse. There would almost certainly be space for an entire slew of cast members who we have never seen before; since the Simpsons itself is a show which has an ensemble cast of probably more than a thousand by now.

We would learn that someone like Kent Brockman in 2020 who would now be aged 80, would be an absolute titan of the world of journalism; of the kind of ilk of say, Mark Shields; that the squeaky voiced teen Jeremy Freedman would be 46 and still squeaky voiced; and that Bart and Lisa's friends will have basically amounted to where their destinies will have taken them. Of course this has the effect that Abe Simpson born 1907, and Charles Montgomery Burns born 1886, are both dead.

But of course, 'should' does not necessarily mean 'will'. The Simpsons' home in the United States is on Fox. As a commercial broadcaster, they aren't exactly inclined to want to fiddle with the show that turned them from "the little network that could" into "the little network that could not be ignored."
The show should almost absolutely and obviously be rebooted but I just don't think that that's likely.

February 05, 2019

Horse 2509 - PAW Patrol! yaba-da-daba yaba-da-daba

I do not have children and so I am not particularly inclined to want to watch ABC 3 of my own volition. Having said that, I think that having a dedicated television station for children on free-to-air is a brilliant idea as I can not imagine that any small child would be particularly interested in the continuing adventures of ScoMo the Scotty Dog and his mate Spud Dutton and they face the evil Blue Shovel in the green room of death.
My only contact with ABC 3, is standing in the queue at the bank, which thanks to the big banks policies of cutting front line staff, makes you wish that you were actually dead; which is no longer a barrier to them charging you fees for advice.

I am quite familiar with the Magic Roundabout which in the 1970s was something of a malarial dream, the Teletubbies which in the 1990s was something of a malarial dream, In The Night Garden which in the 2000s was something of a malarial valium dream, but the show which I have kept on running into lately and have seen more episodes than I care to imagine is the Paw Patrol. which is not so much a malarial dream as a 22 minute advert for merchandise.
The show is produced by TV Ontario, which I remember as producing shows like Eureka!, Today's Special and Zardip's Search for Healthy Wellness when I was a kid.

PAW Patrol!
PAW Patrol!
yaba-da-daba yaba-da-daba
PAW Patrol!
PAW Patrol!
yaba-da-daba yaba-da-daba

I have no idea what the theme song to Paw Patrol actually says and to be honest, I don't think that I particularly care. I have now seen probably about a dozen full episodes of Paw Patrol while standing in the queue at the bank, and not even once has the audio been clear enough for me to hear the dialogue properly. Being from TV Ontario, everyone is probably speaking English but they may as well be speaking French for all I care.

Let me try to explain this show, if that were at all possible.
There is some kind of giant tower thing, in which a boy lives with an undisclosed number of puppies. For some unknown reason, the town lacks any sort of municipal services, save for this one boy and the PAW Patrol, PAW Patrol, yaba-da-daba yaba-da-daba.
There is a lady who I am not sure what kind of position she holds, which invariably will cause some kind of civic disaster while chasing around her pet chicken, and due to her ineptitude, the only person who seems able to do anything about if it is this one boy and the PAW Patrol, PAW Patrol, yaba-da-daba yaba-da-daba.

The puppies themselves appear to be some kind of parody of the Village People, with a fire fighter, a builder, a policeman etc. who then go out and fix whatever disaster happens to be the plot device for the episode, wherein they are rewarded with a treat and presumably the boy if financially recompensed because I can think of no other reason why a boy has a giant hamburder tower thing in a town. This is very much like looking upon Barad-dûr, Fortress of Sauron, because when I gaze upon it, all hope leaves me.

I don't know what lessons if any that PAW Patrol, PAW Patrol, yaba-da-daba yaba-da-daba is supposed to teach me but the only thing that I take away is that it is a cautionary tale against the gig economy. The town appears to be clean but there are only about 10 or so people who live in it and the town's services are handled by the boy who contacts the puppies by some sort of shock collar thing.
It seems obvious to me that the boy has the eventual aim of replacing the puppies with robots, as he has already built a robotic dog, who I can only assume will in time take their jobs as well.
Maybe the lesson that I am supposed to take away is that if you let a kid get away without any parental control (seriously, why is a boy even allowed to have a puppy army?), then they turn into a tyrant.

Also, if you are an adult who can not control a pet chicken, maybe you should consider getting a coop.

February 04, 2019

Horse 2508 - Deliberately Hamstringing The Horses #B12Hr

Anton De Pasquale has had his two quickest times in Bathurst 12 Hour qualifying deleted, having gone below the permissible benchmark time for his MARC II V8 entry.
As part of their eligibility for the Invitational Class at the event, the purpose-built, Australian-made cars are allowed to lap no quicker than 2:05s during any session.
Erebus Supercars driver De Pasquale clocked a 2:04.7910s and 2:04.2585s on consecutive laps in qualifying, before finishing his run with a 2:05.3653s.
- Supercars.com.au, 3rd Feb 2019

I want to take nothing away from the Earl Bamber Motorsport team, who with their three drivers Matt Campbell, Dennis Olsen and Dirk Werner, took their Porsche 911 GT3 R to victory in the Bathurst 12 Hour yesterday. Endurance racing is in my opinion, the pinnacle of team motorsport and anything over 500km is a test of machinery. To even survive 12 hours is a feat unto itself.
But something deeply bothers me about the regulations of the Bathurst 12 Hour. It is mostly a mix of GT3 and GT4 cars, both of which are run to a set of international regulations, and then there is an invitational class which as the above article indicates, are deliberately hamstrung so that they have no chance of winning anything.
That's stupid.

Although in race trim, the fastest race lap was only 2:03.53 by Josh Burdon in the Nissan GT-R GT3 on lap 300, the fastest qualifying time was 2:02.93 by Raffaele Marciello in the Mercedes-AMG GT3. That means that the MARC II Mustang V8 would have qualified a lowly 25th had it been allowed to; that still isn't really fast enough to bother the faster cars, let alone even challenge for a race win. I just think that arbitrarily imposing a limit of 2:05 is really really churlish.
It also speaks to a far far deeper problem that we have in Australian motorsport generally.

Since 2017, when the last VF Commodore rolled off the Elizabeth production line, there have been no cars manufactured in Australia. Well, I say none but I don't actually know because there could have been cars made by garagistas somewhere but the point remains that we do not have a motor industry any more.

Because we no longer have a motor industry any more, the capacity to produce race cars, which itself is only a very minor secondary market in the grand scheme of things, has been severely reduced. It is no longer possible as was the case with a Commodore, Falcon, or Camry, to get a shell before it went through the rest of the production process. Impressive race cars are almost always purpose-built anyway, but this just makes the job that much harder.
It also doesn't help that if we want to run a race and have the rest of the world turn up, we need to run to a set of international regulations. The result of that is that virtually every single race car which competes in a race like the Bathurst 12 Hour, is imported as a complete car, which is fine I suppose, except then you end up with this sort of thing happening.

In 2010, the GT300 category in Japan's Super GT series, found that an increasing number of teams chose to buy European GT3 cars instead of locally produced cars. In response, Super GT introduced the JAF-GT class and even went to the effort of making a "Mother Chassis" available; as well as an unbranded engine which was a Nissan VK45DE V8 in everything but name. As a result, we have ended up with some truly wonderful cars in the class over the years including the bespoke Mooncraft Shiden, a Toyota Corolla AE86 which had a V8 in it (the chassis was 20 years old), and even a Toyota Prius running the 3.6L V8 from the GT-One Le Mans car which was then mated to the Prius Hybrid system. It is gloriously delightful and proves that if you design a set of rules properly, then loveliness can happen.
Super GT openly admits that it runs a racing series and that it deliberately hamstrings cars as a disincentive for teams to win the series by throwing money at it. Super GT runs quite a very strict Balance of Performance regime.
But we refuse to do that in Australia. Nope. We hate it.

The FIA already runs a set of Balance of Performance regulations which fiddles with power and weight, as well as aerodynamics and things like fuel restriction, which like Super GT are designed to stop a manufacturer from running away with it. That's fine but the problem in Australia is that we have no domestic manufacturers anymore; so all work to homologate a car to be competitive in a GT3 race, has to be done independently, which is functionally impossible.
Mosler Automotive which ran the MT900 tried to get a GT3 version of the car homologated by the FIA but were told that because there were no road going production versions, they would not be allowed to. A Mosler was allowed to run in the invitational class in the 2011 Bathurst 12 Hour but it only lasted half an hour. It never returned. Therein lies a problem.

Instead of letting the MARC cars actually race, CAMS uses the bluntest of blunt instruments and has simply decided to penalise the MARC cars if they are even close to being remotely competitive in the series. During the rest of the year, it neither knows how to rate them, not cares to do so, and puts them into the Sports Sedan category. Meanwhile, the Australian GT Championship which is open to to FIA GT3 cars, runs almost exclusively second hand machinery from overseas and because there is no longer any domestic automotive manufacturing, that's really all it can ever hope to be.
If I was Grand Poobah and Lord High Everything Else, then I'd have CAMS and the Bathurst 12 Hour adopt a set of regulations which actually encouraged garagistas to build equivalent machinery to GT3, in the same way that the JAF does in Japan. I would love if a standard Mother Chassis was developed and although we probably wouldn't use the debranded Nissan VK45DE V8, we probably would allow racing crate motors provided that they came from the same manufacturers as the cars. If I had unlimited dollarpounds then I can imagine running the 2.5L SKYACTIV-G Turbo  in-line 4 from the Mazda CX-9 in a Mazda 6. Most of the aerodynamics are standard anyway and if need be, a Mother Chassis underneath would be cool.
I would also have CAMS get off their high horse and actually let MARC unleash their horsies. Provided their Mustang/Focus/Mazda 3 were GT3 or JAF equivalent, then why shouldn't they be allowed to race. I would want to encourage this sort of initiative. I mean have you heard a V8 Mazda 3 go around? It's genuinely lovely.

I want to see how an Australian engineered car would go against the rest of the world. It is bad enough that Detroit decided that they didn't like employing Australians anymore, it adds insult to injury that our own confederation of motorsport is too stupid to let Australians play in their own backyard because they can't work out how to do it; despite the fact that the problem has already been solved overseas.