Friends Of Australia Friday Loin Chops & Penguin

It’s once again an Australia Time Friday! It’s FRIDAY!!!!

(Though really I’m posting this California time Friday morning due to circumstances)

We again had Thomas Farms Loin Chops (mini-T-Bone) in the cast iron skillet in the oven at 400 F for about 20? minutes. More a watch and pull than timer.

Sides were a Knorr brand “Broccoli Alfredo Noodles” from the “prep” box. These commercially packaged sides keep for years. I don’t see the reason to pay $6 for Freeze Dried Camping Stuff when this commercial product costs $1 at Walmart. You do need to add milk and (optional) butter, but canned milk and a neutral oil work fine too. (Try olive oil ;-) And an “American Salad” bag-O-salad with Ranch dressing. Basically shredded lettuce, purple cabbage, carrot, and a little wafer of radish every so often.

Wine? I’m working off my stock of Little Penguin Shiraz Cabernet blend. It is just a wonderfully fully flavored rich fruit wine.

I did do a test of “blend your own” Shiraz / Cabernet, using the “Two Buck Chuck” wine from Trader Joe’s. The result was a better wine than either one separately, but a bit ‘thin’ when compared to the Australian Little Penguin. Don’t get me wrong, not bad a all, and likely preferable to someone who has not been seduced by the kick-ass spicy grip of straight Australian Shiraz. More like a Merlot with added flavors.

So here’s the notes I took “at the time” of the blending. Do note that the order matters a little bit. Unlike my UC Davis Viticulture & Enology class training, I did not spit out the wine after each tasting. This means that the later test will have a slightly dulled palate and a numb nose assessing them.

I tested in the order: 100% straight of each wine to establish the starting points, 10%/90% (both blends), 20%/80% (both), 50%/50% (only one blend), then 70%/30% and finally the two 60%/40% blends.

Why that order? Well, after the first 6 drinks, I knew two things. First off, the answer was somewhere near the middle. So try the exact middle. Second, the 1/2 & 1/2 blend only required one drink to asses. Save that palate! After the 50/50 blend, the nose was basically not able to detect subtle changes anymore, so nose comments suspect. “Someday” I can go back and start with those blends ;-)

I’m going to type my notes below, but may also insert some added commentary in retrospect. The order will be 100%, then 90%, 80, 70, 60, 1/2 & 1/2.

Also note that this is for these 2 wines only. Each Cabernet and each Shiraz will want a different balancing blend. In particular, this Shiraz is just not as “strong” a flavor as the Australian Shiraz I’ve had. It takes more $2 Chuck to “punch up” a Cabernet, or it may take more Cabernet to tone down an Australian, depending on the other major point: This reflects what I like, you may have a different end point you like more.

100% Cab: Mellow. Rich nose. Ruby highlights. Nice. Drinkable. A little lacking in depth, zip.

100% Shiraz: Spicier. Interesting nose. Faint bluish highlights or somewhat purple. Dry, a bit aggressive. Earthy overtones. Thin body & flavor (other than spicy bits) also lacking depth.

90% Cab: Much improved from “lacking” to nice with more depth.

90% Shiraz: Slight improvement, aggressiveness lessened. Flavor a bit more complete.

80% Cab: Some smoothness gone, but flavor better. Bit-O-Spice under Cab.

80% Shiraz: Spicy still, less dry & aggressive. Flavor with more depth to it.

70% Cab: Oh Yes! Very nice. Smooth with spice. Richness with zip. Dark Ruby with bits of purple.

70% Shiraz: A bit thin on depth still, but nice spice with good flavor

60% Cab: Wowser! Nice nose. Flavor rich but not lush. Depth with spice. I like this!

60% Shiraz: Improvement over straight Shiraz. Spicy, but not as smooth as I’d like. Very nice, but a bit too much Shiraz I think.

50% both: Nice nose. Deeper richer flavor. Deeper ruby color. (Improvement, but not ideal)

As a post script: The Little Penguin just has more total flavor to work with “out the gate”. In my opinion, you can tell that, while bottled in Napa, the Charles Shaw grapes were likely grown in the Central Valley. They have that small loss of strong flavor characteristic of grapes grown where it is hotter and they mature faster and more fully. Less tannin and less acid, more sugars, a bit less flavor compounds. This makes for wines that mature fast, do not age for long years well, and are really good for “open now and drink”, not intended for “put in the cellar for a decade”. In other words, well suited to the way most people actually drink $2 Chuck.

This, then, means it is a very drinkable and enjoyable wine, but not something that will impress your favorite Wine Snob Cousin after you cellar it for a decade. It also means that the blends will be similarly “a little less there there” than an intense fully flavored Australian Shiraz.

My initial experience with an Australian pure Shiraz was “What the hell just ran over my tongue?” It is strong, bold, with intense flavors and “spice”. Spice is hard to explain, but the best word for it. The wine just kid of sets off sparkles in your mouth. Like pepper without the burn. It takes a few bottles but eventually you start asking why other wine is so bland and doesn’t have that “kick”…

The Charles Shaw Shiraz, in comparison, is softer and more “thin” (less intense). Shiraz grape is known for high variation in flavor and strength with location, soils, sun, water, etc. So expected to vary. The Charles Shaw Shiraz is VERY drinkable for folks who are not already addicted to Australian Shiraz, but a slight disappointment if that Australian experience was what you expected. In other words, it is more like a Cabernet as it sits. It will be interesting to try some blends using a strong Australian too ;-)

THE biggest ‘takeaway’ for me from this experiment was just that “blended wine” is not the pejorative that many folks think. Yes, it is used to take a poor wine and ‘blend it up’ to salable. BUT it is also used to make some of the best French Wines Of Repute in the world. What I learned was “I can do that too!”

No, my 60% Cab 40% Shiraz blend is NOT up to the Little Penguin level. But it is close. I was able to take two “Nice, drinkable, like it” wines and turn them into “Oh My I want more of that!” in the glass. What’s more, that was after I’d started to get a bit of diminished sense of taste after a fair amount of wine. It was “punching through” that dulling. I look forward to starting with that blend in a future confirmation run.

Notes On Technique:

I used “graduated shot glasses” to measure. These are for measuring in cooking. Graduated with tsp, Tbl, Ounces and ml. One of 1 oz size used to measure small %mix (under 40%) and one of 4 oz / 120 ml used when the mix ratio was 40%-50%-60%. I used tsp for the first blends, so one “drink” was 10 tsp. That’s a little over 1.5 ounces or about 50 ml. This is a far cry from the 6 oz “standard drink of wine”. So when I had “6 drinks” it was about the same as one regular glass of 9 oz.

My tsp scale was bit hard to use for blends with more middling ranges (small glass too small to hold them well, big glass harder to read) so I swapped to 100 ml “drinks” using just the bigger glass and the ml scale that ranged up to 120 ml. This roughly doubled my “drink size” for the 60/40 and 50-50 blends. Still, 4 ounces is less than 6. The point being that I wasn’t sozzled at the testing of the 60/40, but just noticing that even 9 ounces of wine starts to dull the nose and palate.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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37 Responses to Friends Of Australia Friday Loin Chops & Penguin

  1. u.k.(us) says:

    The sailboats are sailing by:
    It’s a whole thing, cool videos at the link.

  2. President Elect H.R. says:

    Loin chops and penguin?

    We’re having ham and turkey 😜

  3. billinoz says:

    E M Seems like you are having a lot of good productive fun with these wine experiments ! :-)
    For decades Shiraz & Cab Sav. were my preferred red for the reasons you mention. Yes Spice in the shiraz But that reflected the simple fact that 90% of the wines for sale here were Shiraz & Cab Sav . Now some wine makers over the past 10-15 years have diversified and I enjoy trying them out. Recently I really enjoyed a bottle of Browns Brothers Malbec. I’ll be getting more of it.

  4. billinoz says:

    BTW, It’s sort of Summer here… So I’m spending a lot of time in the gardens. Things are growing nicely despite the past few days of strong Southerlies. Across the road are paddocks with gum trees so I wind up getting a lot of dry Eucalypt bark strips & leaves cluttering up my gardens. Not only it it messy but as there has been little rain, it’s a fire hazard if left. So cleaning up is a chore. 5 barrowloads so far mostly deposited back down the road in a pile and stomped down.

    Elsewhere in Oz there are big floods courtesy of La Nina. And Summer is cooler than normal. Something else for the Warmista brigade to worry about ! :-)

  5. billinoz says:

    Here is something that may have not got your attention E M.
    It’s a cold Winter in China ( courtesy of a cooling sun ) and some major provinces have having Brown Outs and major electricity disruptions. About 100 million people are very cold !
    Why ? Not enough good coal for their electricity power plants!
    Why ? Because the CCP idiot government has banned Australian coal from being landed.There are currently 70 coal ships waiting to off load Australian coal at Chinese ports but banned by the great wise leader of the CCP – Yi Jin Ping !
    Wise old stupid idiot !
    Maybe enough people will freeze that they get sick & tired of the CCP !
    Source :

    BTW : This is exactly what we can all expect if the global warmistas shut down the coal industry. But the ABC article does not dare point that out to anyone.
    I am overcome by Schadenfraud !

  6. YMMV says:

    “This is exactly what we can all expect if the global warmistas shut down the coal industry.”

    Almost. China is actively building up nuclear, so for them it is just a short term problem.

    I looked for vaccines in Australia. Australia’s own UQ/CSL had be cancelled (false positives for HIV). But Pfizer and AstraZeneca are promised for free to all Australian citizens, permanent residents, and most visa-holders. “kick off in 2021”

    Meanwhile, 28 cases. Which is very good, control wise. And it’s about “getting ahead of rather than responding to” likely growth in the outbreak. Also very good. And they are doing sequencing to figure out where the cases came from. Very good. Possible because there are few cases. Nevertheless, there is a price to pay.

    I still maintain that all of this could be avoided, everywhere, if there were cheap rapid easy tests available. Test everybody as they get on the plane, test as they get off the plane, test to get into an event with crowds instead of cancelling it. You have to deal with false positives, but that is easier than dealing with missed positives.

  7. billinoz says:

    @YMMV, lots of cold folk in the meantime there in China..And the cost of power has gone up ’cause the cost of the poorer grade non Aussie coal they are using is higher !
    I love the CCP’s capacity to shoot itself in the foot, head and mouth ! :-)
    A reliable quick on the spot test would be great. But at the moment the quickest & most reliable early warning is via dogs…And there is a definite shortage of trained dogs…

    BTW The genomic sequencing says these (now) 41 ( and growing) infected folk are infected with a ‘North American’ strain of Covid.
    But how ? Via someone in police supervised hotel quarantine stuffing up ? Or because overseas flight crew went partying instead of staying in isolation ? No answer yet. But the latter will not matter soon. They will all have to stay in designated medi-hotels under supervision by police from Monday..

  8. YMMV says:

    “lots of cold folk in the meantime there in China”

    I didn’t know about the Haui River policy: Half of China gets free coal, and then burns it without pollution controls. Very bad for their health. Going without heating is also bad.

    Cute quote from that article:
    The first reaction of Australia’s trade minister to China’s ban on Australian coal was “But it will increase China’s CO2 emissions!” if China burns Indonesian, Mongolian, or Russian coal instead of the high-quality stuff that Australia produces.

    China is already at war, we just don’t realize it yet. Their very effective influence activates the American suicide response. Let’s kill ourselves by fuel starvation because global warming! etc.
    (Monty Python had it right in Life of Brian)

  9. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    A salient point worth repeating:

    Commodities are FUNGIBLE.

    In any market near equilibrium, one buyer banning one seller will just raise demand for other sellers and cut supply to other buyers, who will replace that lost supply from the “banned” seller.

    It dislocates the relationships and the shipping, having a very short term decrease in purchases from the “banned” seller as the market reshuffles, but it does not reduce sales in the longer term.

    If I am banned from buying my milk at Lucky’s Market, I just go down the street and buy it at Safeway. When Safeway runs out, the person who didn’t get any just stops by Lucky’s on their way home to see if they have any, and gets it there.

    Lucky thing for Australia is that most of their exports are fungible commodities, so at most China can be a short term irritant by banning Australian goods. Your sellers just need to look up who the customers were for the places where China is seeking alternative supply and send a salesman over…

    BTW, sporadic blackouts and brownouts are once again a feature of The Peoples Republic of Kalifornia under Governor Nuisance (rather like Gov. Grey “out” Davis whom we recalled… and there have been recall petitions for Nuisance too, but his minions reject loads of signatures for stupid reasons, like if your signature touches the box at all, so none yet made it to the ballot.)

    As I have 4 choices for heat (gas heater, electric portable, camping propane, fireplace) and could run my generator to power the portable electric; I’m not too worried about loss of heat. However, do note that Government has sporadic “spare the air” day bans on using the fireplace, wants to eliminate gasoline, and wants to eliminate gas too. So in the very long run that might “be an issue”…

    It sure looks like the goal of Government is to kill off it’s citizens…

    Well, from one People’s Republic to another, my sympathy to the people of China as we both deal with Idiot Socialist Governments…

  10. YMMV says:

    I’m guessing here, but I think China does not want war with the US, although it does want to remove the US threat to China. China really wants the US to be a meek vassal state to buy its products.

    But war by other means is not ruled out. Say China does a huge hack of US computer systems and makes sure it is blamed on Russia. If the US attacks Russia? “Not my problem.”

    New virus weakens the western world? “Oh well, too bad”

  11. billinoz says:

    @EM, Yes in the long term this balancing process does happen. And is already happening with Beef. Argentina is now supplying most of the beef that Australia used to sell to China.However problems do crop up. The Chinese are testing the Argentine chilled/frozen beef import for Covid And finding plenty… No link currently on this. But I’ll post it when I find it.

    I suppose that those ships loaded with Aussie coal could go elsewhere : South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam etc. But it will take time for that to happen. Meanwhile the unreliability & unpredictability of CCO China as a customer, is revealed to all globally. And that does have an impact on folks attitudes as shown here :

    I expect that China will find itself very lonely in the longer term. Seen as a belligerent rogue state.

  12. V.P. Elect Smith says:


    Did you mean CCP China?

    Yes, I’m pretty sure a big chunk of the world is one of 2 buckets (the remainder clueless):

    1) Hell No I will not buy anything that I know is made in China.

    2) I have no money left for anything but food and rent and neither from China.

    I’m also pretty sure the “Ban stuff from Australia” is more the result of a major cash shortage due to 1 & 2 above. How better to rapidly cut off a shortage of foreign exchange cash than halt your MAJOR supplier?

    Then pretty up as a political act of necessity.

    BTW, spouse & I are in bucket #1. But enhanced with “Or made by Chinese owned companies”, so no Smithfield ham products either.

  13. Graeme No.3 says:

    There is a report in The Australian about troubles with electricity in China as a result of the sudden banning of the use of Australian coal. Apparently it is taking some time to boost production of local coal which is also a lower grade, hence problems due to lower temperatures in boilers and impurities coating pipes. Also the price of local coal has shot up (about 40%) so the double ‘whammy’ has lead to rolling blackouts.
    Getting cold in winter won’t boost Xi’s popularity and along with food supply problems he may be in trouble. I wish him a miserable Xmas.

  14. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    @Graeme No.3:

    The precursor to prior falls of Empires in China has been a quiet sun, cold weather, and loss of crops.

    What do we have now? Quiet sun, cold weather, flooding, loss of crops. AND a whole lot of people all over the world NOT buying their crap any more. So money flow will be cut down a lot.

    It’s going to be a long cold dark wet winter in China. I hope history repeats.

  15. billinoz says:

    Sydney is starting to slide into Covid lockdown due to an unexplained outbreak in the Northern Beaches part of Sydney. ( A big lovely beach seaside area with lots of surf. So very popular as a tourist area. Around 60 cases so far. Ummmm ?

    And so now all other states have banned residents from that part of Sydney from entering their state ( Ditto for ACT & NT ) . Residents of other parts of Sydney need to quarantine for 14 days.

    There is still no ‘patient zero’. That is odd. But it is a USA strain of Covid according to the genomic sequencing. Until today the NSW regulations for foreign flight crew potentially carrying this virus, were that they self isolate in a hotel of their choice for 14 days or until they flight back out. That may have been the hole in the quarantine system which allowed the virus to escape in Sydney. Flight crew people have been discovered out of their hotels & been arrested for doing that.

    If this was let loose by a foreign flight crew person they would no longer be in Australia but have flown home.

    Sooooo.. New rules for flight crew as of today : All flight crew are now compelled to stay in 2 designated police supervised medi-hotels close to Sydney airport for 14 days or until they fly out of Australia. I gather that this was being opposed by the airlines which are all foreign no Australian airlines are flying overseas at this time . But they have been over ruled. And told to do what they are told if they wish to fly into Australia.
    Another overdue needed tweak to make quarantine system covid proof.

  16. President Elect H.R. says:

    @billinoz – How is a ‘case’ defined in Australia? What test(s) are being used? How many people in Australia have died from, not with, but from Covid?

    The answers to those questions are all over the place here in the States. I was curious as to Australia’s approach to defining those measures.

  17. billinoz says:

    @HR, A Covid ‘case’ is defined by testing positive to the PCR Covid test.

    Your second question is one I’ve been thinking about the last day.

    We’ve had the virus under pretty strict control here in Oz with national & state border quarantine measures, plus lockdowns in places where these were not enough. There have as a result been 908 deaths from Covid since the pandemic began. There is a complete list of all these deaths and when and where there happened here :
    Melbourne is the classic example of where the quarantine measures failed back in May and allowed a major Covid outbreak to happen. Over 800 of the 908 deaths happened in the city of Melbourne in the state of Victoria during this second wave.

    Victoria has a total population of 6 million people.

    In all the other states & territories with 19 million people, there have been just 100 deaths from Covid this year.

    HR, those figures tell the story of what works and what does not work with Covid.

  18. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    Unless your flight crews are in bunny suits and nobody in the hotel does anything like deliver food, you do not have the virus stopped. Just hobbled and delayed.

    How do they GET to the hotel? Medical van with HEPA filters?

    Yes you can have an extremely GOOD reduction, but you can’t get to zero without that kind of extreme measure.

    (Does the maid wear a bunny suit when cleaning the room and doing laundry?…)

  19. billinoz says:

    Well EM, Personally I do not know those details.

    However there was a recent instance in Sydney where a bloke who’s job was driving flight crew to their hotels in dedicated mini bus, got infected. He was wearing gloves and face mask not a full PPE suit. So that evidence supports your suggestion . about the need for full PPE suits.

    Here in South Australia there is the example of the “Parrafield Cluster” back in November. A security person in a hotel got infected and then unknowingly spread it to other staff and his family. Review of the CCTV showed NO contact at any time with any person in quarantine or their luggage etc. The scanty evidence suggests that the virus travelled via the air & a ventilation system from a room where an infected couple were staying, into the adjoining corridor where that staffer was present.

    So yes it is highly infectious via multiple routes. And so the quarantine system here is being constantly improved as we learn stuff.

  20. billinoz says:

    And to end, A feel good story !
    From The Guardian ? Yeahhh I know weird..But maybe it’s Christmas for them as well ?

  21. V.P. Elect Smith says:


    It was more rhetorical question than expecting an answer. Just to illustrate the problem of an aerosol / droplet spread infection. Since some folks can be asymptomatic carriers for a while, there’s a big problem with silent transmission, perhaps by a couple of hops, without detection. So you get a “Surprise!” cluster off somewhere. So you end up playing “Whack A Mole”.. as you are experiencing.

    We had that here in California at the very start. Fauci was in the “NO NO NO! DO NOT WEAR MASKS! (leave them for medical workers)” mode while also fighting Trump on the idea of travel bans / quarantine nations. We had a shot at “Doing An Australia” with blocking spread for about 2 weeks. During which time a Literal Boatload of sick folks docked here, and 2 weeks more of THOUSANDS of folks from China got off airplanes and “went home for 2 weeks” kinda, sorta, maybe. Infecting cab drivers and grocery clerks and who knows who else along the way.

    Net result was a few, then a few dozen, cases popping up in random spots scattered all over the State. The dreaded “Community Spread”.

    As there was no test to speak of yet, and little clue about the asymptomatic carriers, it was about a week later Fauci “threw in the towel” and said we would spend “15 Days to slow the spread” BUT stick with everyone eventually being exposed and Herd Immunity. (So folks want to blame Trump for the various Governors following the advice and direction of Fauci… all while Trump was fighting them to get borders closed, flights stopped, and infections prevented… and advocating for early treatment).

    Realize California is almost 40 Million population where Australia is what, 25? L.A. and San Francisco Bay Area contain by far most of them. Once it’s doing “community spread” in those two places, there’s no effective way you can stop it. Too many people live in apartments with shared air handling, elevators, cafeterias, ride buses and subways / trains, shop in the same stores and buy food “just in time” so must shop. (Many do not cook at all…) People regularly commute a 50 mile radius to high rise offices and “share the air”…

    Then we have about a 1000 miles of border to neighbor States and a good 12 to 14 lanes of freeway (combined) outbound to those other States (similar size inbound) with lots of traffic in those lanes. Figure the cars and trucks / hour on that…

    Can’t really shut it down, either. Way too much “stuff” shipped each way. The nation would just die. (Los Angeles, San Diego, and Port of Long Beach are major shipping points with huge truck and rail traffic inland from there for “all things from the Pacific and Indian oceans plus Western South America”. Oakland up here is big, but small compared to them. Las Vegas Nevada is in some ways a bedroom community and recreation center for Los Angeles basin. (I’ve known people who drove to LA for work from Las Vegas…). Similarly Reno/Sparks Nevada to Sacramento / San Francisco.

    Oregon has no Sales Tax while California is punitive ( 9-11%), so from about Redding north (upper 1/4) lots of folks make a run over the border to Medford Oregon for shopping. Almost no shopping centers local as a result. Sales tax avoided pays for the gas. ( I used to make a “liquor run” to a buddy in Medford as our booze was cheaper than theirs that had to come from the State Liquor Store, then load up for the return trip with “orders” from friends for goods from there…) Close that border, the top 1/4 of California is suddenly out of service…

    (On the other side of Oregon, Vancouver Washington is a big bedroom community as they have no income tax, but they shop in Portland Oregon over the river as it has no sales tax).

    Trying to close borders between States here is way more complicated than in Australia.

  22. President Elect H.R. says:

    @billinoz and V.P. Elect Smith re population comparisons:

    Over on the Ivermectin & Vitamin D thread, I had looked up some Australia and U.S. population numbers and posted them in a reply to Bill.

    Ignoring the rest of the comment, the numbers were (rounded by a hundred thousand or so):

    12.5 million L.A. metro area

    20 million New York metro area

    23 million total population for Australia.

    And the land area of those two U.S. cities is probably equal to a rounding error for the total area of Australia.

  23. Graeme No.3 says:

    President Elect H.R.
    I assume you meant the total populated area of Australia. Australia is very close (7,692,024 km2 ) to the contiguous 48 States total in area (7,653,006 km2).

  24. President Elect H.R. says:

    @Grame No.3 – I just searched on “Population of Australia”, “Population of Los Angeles”, and “Population of New York” (city, not New York State) to get a comparison of the total population of Australia to just two U.S. cities.

    I didn’t look up the land area of Australia. The L.A. area sprawls a good bit, but New York is not all that large in area. It had to build up, not out. So given the land areas you gave for Australia and the U.S., those two metro areas don’t take up much space in the Continental U.S. and wouldn’t take occupy much land in Australia.

    E.M. had brought up population differences in his comment above, but didn’t have a specific number attached to the two areas he mentioned. By chance, I had just looked those two cities up, so I threw in their numbers.

  25. billinoz says:

    @E M, Yes I noticed that California sales tax when we were travelling here in the USA…It was a concern as when we ordered meals or food etc, the amount we paid was not what was advertised.

    By the way, here we have a national Goods & Services Tax ( GST ) which is levied on all goods and services except fresh foods and is also built into the advertised price. So what the price we see is the price we pay. Revenue from the GST is paid to all states & territories roughly in proportion to the sales for each state etc. This process helps avoid distortions of local economies that you mentioned.

    All states have now closed their borders to folks from hotspot Sydney. That means in the case of Queensland, putting police on all the border entry points with NSW. ( Road, rail, sea & Air ) It’s a big operation. Residents of areas of NSW close to the Qld border are allowed entry into Qld via permits with Id being required..

    Similar arrangements have been set up by South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, ACT, NT & WA.

    It’s a huge job for each state police force. But frankly any state government, conservative or progressive, which did not do it would find itself universally on the nose very very quickly. And on these health & safety issues the Australian States are ‘sovereign’….( Now where have I heard that before ? :-) . )

    By the way, no one has responded to the stats I provided earlier. A total of 900 deaths across Australia from Covid in 2020. And over 800 of them happened in ONE state – Victoria from June to November when that state’s quarantine system failed and allowed a ‘second wave’ of Covid.
    This illustrates exactly what works & what does not work.

    PS : I suspect that the real difficulty for States in the USA doing what we have done in Australia, is that your states police forces are different. I note that in the USA each county has it’s own independent police force headed by an elected police chief. The State police forces are more for state wide “Highway Patrol” type issues and relatively much smaller. That I think makes coordination far harder. By contrast here in Oz each state has it’s own police force. There are no local police forces in towns or cities run independently . So the state police forces here have the reosurces and authority to deploy as needed to meet the Covid pandemnic.

  26. billinoz says:

    PPS : HR & EM, you are keen to highlight population differences between Australia & the USA as the reason why there is such a huge difference in the Covid pandemic in each country. I disagree. I think it’s a result of the effectiveness of the various responses at both state & Federal levels in each country.

    This pandemic started in CCP China last December 2019. China’s population is 1.3 billion. I’m sure we all remember how draconian & dictatorial the CCP response was to the pandemic in Wuhan etc…We all were horrified. But it also ‘worked’. Reports of Covid now in China are few & far between. And that is in a big area country with 1.3 billion people.

  27. Compu Gator says:

    BillinOz commented on 21 December 2020 at 10:57 pm GMT:
    I’m sure we all remember how draconian & dictatorial the CCP response was to the pandemic in Wuhan etc. We all were horrified. But it also ‘worked’. Reports of Covid now in China are few &amp far between. And that is in a big area country with 1.3 billion people.

    Riiighhht!  Because a country that had seriously “lost face among the Western-culture countries among which it’s keen on international acceptance, after a year of experience with the pandemic that it created, would never, ever, consider censoring news from within its own borders that it considered, ummm, detrimental to its international image?

  28. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    China domestic spread was largely by local contact. Some by flights or trains. Not a lot of independent non-tracked private vehicles.

    USA initial “inoculation” was border to border by land, sea, and air with most folks traveling on via non-trackable and often non-identifiable private transport.

    But frankly, they are irrelevant to a USA / Australia comparison. We both have similar economies (private property, commerce, capitalism, etc.) and freedom of movement and assembly (until recently)

    What differentiates the two is mostly that Australia has no land border so very easy to stop arrivals. Shut the airports.

    Then the population density. What H.R. was talking about where our L.A. + NYC have the population of Australia in an area that is so small it is a “rounding error” of the area of Australia.

    Once a virus is in the street population of the L.A. Basin or NY City, there is no way you can hope to contain it. Just not enough police in the whole STATE (all cities) to do the job. Plus at that population density, the contacts explode exponentially.

    Say you live in a NY High Rise apartment building and work in a sky scraper. You “share air” with a few hundred to thousand in your apartment. Ride elevators with a half dozen, minimum, and touch the buttons. The main door. Share a close association with a few thousand more in the subway to get anywhere. Then another front door, and elevator (probably closer to a dozen this time, with buttons and air shared) to get to your office. Now, for about 8 hours, you are sharing 90% recycled air with 40,000 of your most distant close friends. (More if you go to lunch somewhere).

    Now, my question: How do you “contact trace” that? Hmmm?

    L.A. is worse in some ways. “Greater Los Angeles”, not just the smaller city in the middle of it, has about

    Greater Los Angeles, also called the Southland, with a 2019 population of 18,710,563, is the second-largest urban region in the United States, encompassing five counties in southern California extending from Ventura County in the west to San Bernardino County and Riverside County on the east, with Los Angeles County in the center and Orange County to the southeast. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Los Angeles–Anaheim–Riverside combined statistical area covers 33,954 square miles (87,940 km2), making it the largest metropolitan region in the United States by land area. However, more than half of this area lies in the sparsely populated eastern areas of Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

    19 Million people all running all over back and forth daily in the 15,000 square miles that’s heavily populated. (Our “out back” of San Bernardion and Riverside is the desert and sparsely populated). That’s about 122 miles on a side. A 40 mile commute is not that unusual. So how do you contact trace that “mingle” that happens 2 x a day, to-ing and fro-ing?

    How do you find the folks who interacted with the 4 identified cases in ONE supermarket chain checkers? Eh?

    Once in the community, it’s gone to town. Literally.

    Now season with the thousands (tens of thousands?) daily who go from Las Vegas to L.A. or Phoenix and back… and vastly more who traverse LAX for the “rest of the nation”.

    Oh, and you have to do this in the first few weeks before the innoculum has covered the nation and while fighting the Democrats to get ANY closures done at all, and without any known good tests and with lots of test failures and with Governors stuffing very sick carriers into Nursing Homes with the very best target population.

    “Good luck with that”.

    MUCH easier to isolate the various areas of Australia. Not that much traffic between them, mostly able to stand alone, and much less population density even in the cities. (Melbourne, when I was there, was like a smaller less dense San Francisco).

  29. billinoz says:

    E M I take your point.
    Now something to consider : Here in Oz prices of big city high rise apartments have plummeted and available rentals have soared. Contrarywise sales and values of outer urban & small town homes have soared and available rentals are close to nil.

    We know all about the issues you raise here in Oz. And our response is indicated by those real estate prices and rental values.

    The old inner city dense high rise ‘cool; thing is DEAD here. Back to the country is IN.

    Far less chance of catching Covid..

    I wonder if the same response is happening in the USA ?

    Cheers !

  30. V.P. Elect Smith says:


    Yes. San Francisco urban high rise apartments and NYC downtown apartments dropping in price. Surrounding suburbs rising. Suburban folks to some extent moving to country. (Don’t know what real rural land / housing is doing).

    BTW, our police structure includes a lot of “interdepartment cooperation” and a Sheriff can still “make a posse” as needed. So in a real AwShit, the Sheriff can have 1000 “Deputies” with a quick round of swearing in known folks.

    Our system is basically set up to prevent the Police State. BTW, there IS a State Police in California distinct from the Highway Patrol. They police things like the State Capitol buildings and such. Also a set of Park Rangers (both Federal and State types) for various parks and unincorporated wild lands. Originally we had NO Federal Police at all, by design. (Why the FBI is “investigate” not “police”…)

    Cities usually have their own City Police (but the Sheriff can still police there if they wish as they are the top of the police food chain).

    Typical layout is: City policed by City Cops. Rural areas and County Jail / Properties by Sheriff. Highways outside of City by State Highway Patrol (but any cop can give you a ticket if they want). State Capitol and other State Buildings by State Police. State and Federal Parks by their respective Park Rangers. FBI to “investigate” (and apparently cover up…) Federal Crimes.

    Hard to coordinate all that to create Police State. That’s the #1 goal.

  31. billinoz says:

    Thanks EM for that outline of the police forces in the USA. I remember well a longish conversation with friend in Virginia years ago where I was living. We / They counted 15 police forces in the area. I was completely mind boggled…

    And No we have nothing like that level of complexity. We keep it simple which enhances the capacity to coordinate. Each state has a statewide police force. ( Ditto the two territories. ) They enforce State/Territory law. And there is the AFP – Australian Federal Police which enforces only Commonwealth law.
    As I said before, I think this has been an advantage is dealing with the Covid pandemic. It has also made control and reform of the police forces by our elected governments, a tad easier.

  32. billinoz says:

    But yes police states do exist and are a threat to the life and liberty of ordinary people.
    Currently the Philippines is one such state as illustrated by this example
    But approximately 28,000 Filipinos have died in the past 4 years due to police death squads.
    Curiously the Philippine National Police ( PNP ) was created by the USA colonial administration after the conquest/occupation in 1899. It seems a real pity that a decentralised province based police system was not established instead.

  33. rhoda klapp says:

    In Texas we had all the police organisations listed by EM, but he missed state and federal marshalls and the Secret Service chasing counterfieters. We also had Chuck Norris and the rest of the Texas Rangers. Here in Oxfordshire, there is only Thames Valley Police although there are national specialists they can call in. TVP have about 4,000 officers to police 2.1 million people.

  34. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    @Rhoda Klapp:

    Not really “missed” so much as “got to cut off at the basics as there’s thousands of more specialized and regional police agencies”.

    Here’s the list for State and Local that is in fact a summary list of State names, then each State link gives you most of theirs:

    Just the California link:

    Oh, has “See also: Law enforcement in Los Angeles County” so that will have some more… likely transit agency police and maybe port police and… looks like I did forget about the State University vs University of California two police departments:

    University of California Police Department
    California State University Police Department

    We used have UC and State colleges but the colleges felt slighted and over the years bumped up their “status” to “Universities”. Now California has 2 university systems (of different academic rank) but each has a police department for campuses. I remembered UC Campus police, but forgot that State U had one also.

    Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (10,695 sworn Deputy Sheriffs)
    Los Angeles County Probation Department

    Oh, and the Probation operation in L.A. COUNTY is a separate Police Force full time on just the probation load.

    But individual CITIES can divide down by specialty:

    Los Angeles
    Los Angeles Police Department
    Los Angeles Park Ranger Division
    Los Angeles Airport Police Department
    Los Angeles Port Police Department
    Los Angeles School Police Department

    So not just State and County parks, but you can have City Park Rangers, and then the Airports get their own Department… and there’s those Port police I mentioned…

    Back to California:

    California Department of Justice
    California Bureau of Investigation – Special Agents
    California Bureau of Firearms – Special Agents
    California Bureau of Forensic Services – Special Agents
    California Bureau of Gambling Control – Special Agents
    California Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse – Special Agents
    California Highway Patrol
    California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
    California Office of Correctional Safety – State Fugitive Apprehension Teams & Special Service Unit
    California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control – Special Agents
    California Department of Fish and Wildlife – Game Wardens
    California State Parks Peace Officer
    California Department of Toxic Substances Control – Criminal Investigators
    California Department of Motor Vehicles Investigations Division – Investigator
    California Department of Insurance – Investigations Division
    California Franchise Tax Board – Investigations Bureau
    California Lottery Security and Law Enforcement Division
    California Department of Consumer Affairs – Division of Investigation
    California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection – Law Enforcement
    California Department of Health Care Services – Investigations Branch
    California Department of Public Health, Food and Drug Branch
    California Health and Human Services Agency
    California Department of State Hospitals – Hospital Police Officers
    Office of Law Enforcement Support
    Office of Special Investigations
    California Department of Developmental Services – Developmental Center Police Officers

    I think you can see now why I chose to cut it off at “just the basics”…

    For Federal you get another zoo:

    Often called “Office Of” (Foo), but with sworn police officers. Like Office of Protective Services (IIRC the folks who do Federal Leased buildings) and the Pentagon Police (need a police force that can run into various otherwise forbidden areas…) and more.

    Per “Coordination”:

    Not as hard as you would think. Folks worked out most of it long long ago. One agency can just call up a Sister Agency and ask for the loan of some bodies (placed under requester agency command structure), or they can ask “Can you cover area FOO while we focus on BAR?” (Seen often at crash sites where the Sheriff will have some folks on the perimeter cruising the further out areas / perimeter while Highway Patrol is controlling traffic access some ways off on the major roads, while a Federal Agency may have folks on site if it involves Federal issues.

    Usually it’s as easy as “This is our operation due to FOO”, followed by “OK, you have lead but keep us informed” (or “get the hell out, this is mine” ;-) Commonly seen in police TV shows and movies. Often when a local Police force is planning to raid some guy and the FBI or DEA guy steps in and says (pick one) “He’s our undercover, stop your raid”, or “We’ve been watching them and working this case for a year, it’s our operation”.

    These folks coordinate constantly and have for decades. It isn’t hard to do.

    In fact, I’d point out that just the division into agencies is a form of coordination. The Federal Pentagon Police know exactly what they are to do and where they cover. Nobody needs to tell them “go to the Pentagon today”. When something exceeds their ability, they can call either the Military Police (for military related issues like a military staff issue) or the nearby county Sheriff / City police if they need some added crowd control and ask for “inter-agency aid”. While on site, the different uniforms tell everyone just who-is-who and that the City Police guy ought not be wandering into secure-secret areas of the Pentagon…

    So no, I don’t see “coordination” lacking at all. Nor do I see any way it would have “helped” stop the spread of an invisible airborne disease. We can and sometimes do shut down roads and airports in minutes. IIRC, after 9/11 we had all air traffic on the ground inside a couple of hours and airports being policed / screened. California Highway Patrol shuts down the major northern freeways every year for “chain control” when it snows too much (every car gets looked at for 4 x 4 drive or chains on tires). It isn’t a question of “can you shut it down?”, but rather one of “does it damage the whole State so much it is lethal if longer than a day or two?”

    Coast Guard is our harbor and shore police agency (in times of peace, in times of war they become Navy attached active duty). So one call each (or a conference call) to Highway Patrol, Coast Guard / Port Police, and Airport Police and the place is shut. As each is very familiar with the peculiarities of their “turf”, and largely already on site, they are very effective at their actions. I’d expect things to be closed inside an hour.

    It’s the consequences of that act that make it untenable for longer than a day or two. Plus the fact that it would not stop the disease that makes it silly. (Early on, not nearly enough PPE floating around to stop the virus floating around. You would just end up with sick police taking it around town…)

  35. billinoz says:

    Good luck EM !
    You sure have baffled me here with that extraordinary level of complexity in USA policing.
    Have you considered that perhaps you are over policed maybe ? Here in South Australia we have 5,000 police for a state with 1.7 million people. I tried to get a figure on how many police there are in total in California but it proved to hard.

  36. V.P. Elect Smith says:


    I doubt we have that much different a total police / population. We just divide it into local domains of authority and responsibility.

    What it all comes down to is “Economies Of Scale” vs “Dis-Economies of Scale”.

    What is the most economical and effective size of a police department?

    Well, other than purchasing, there are not many economies of scale, and groups can band together to get better buying power (i.e. all the County Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police know each other and share buying information / bids)

    Minimum scale is “One beat cop walking a beat”. Next up, one squad car. My home town had 3 squad cars and a Chief Of Police(!). About 1 cop / thousand. Worked very very well and you could not get away with much.

    At the big end, like New York City, you have a Police Commissioner (at Big Bucks) with a fairly expensive staff to support him. Then a gaggle of Chiefs, all over the place. BIG daily briefing (staff meetings) for an hour or so prior to starting your beat (instead of “Hey, Ed, watch out for Tommy J., he’s been getting drunk at the park”…)

    So when I look at it, my impression is that the “Minimum Economic Scale” (official Econ Jargon) is roughly Mayberry RFD. Sheriff & Deputy (so you can cover 24 hours) and a squad car. Maximum Economic Scale (yes, it’s a thing, bigger is NOT always better) looks to top out about the point the Chief doesn’t know all his staff by name. (I.e. NYC is way over sized). Somewhere in the “almost a 1000” range (or about a city of 1 Million) starts to be more bureaucratic and less effective while costing more. You get $Million purchases for the SWAT team, and “Special Units” and more all sucking up money.

    So when you say “One police force for everywhere in the State”, I cringe at the dis-economies of scale probable, and the significant increase in difficulty of coordination and communication. (How many ranks up must an issue rise before The Chief can addresses it? How distorted does it get? How many issues can one Chief handle? Then you start getting layers of Uber-Chief…)

    So we cut the crap out of the coms chain. Anything gets big enough that knowing it in detail and keeping focused and efficient gets hard, you split out a new domain. Everyone knows “What We Do” based on their domain, and are focused on it, learning it in detail. Everyone knows what the adjacent domains are, and if you need them, who to call. Instead of a top down tree graph, it’s a flat n-dimensional web of communications. Much faster and more efficient. Everybody knows where to report every day, and when they check in, what hot spot needs something extra.

    Oh, and many of them have shared radio spectrum. So you can get a call that says “City Cop FOO, switch to Channel 12 and report to Co. Sheriff BAR at event Special-OMG, he’s the Lead on that and we’re assisting.”

    Like when Trump “Deputized” the Portland PD into the U.S.Marshals for a while…

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