Missing Link

Courtesy of the great Daily Flute

This is the second edition of Missing Link created by the collaborative method Jason Soon has christened the “hive mind” with a sly nod to hackneyed anti-feminist labelling.  Using a wiki to compile a post like Missing Link certainly seems to make the task much quicker and more painless.  I might even have managed to post this edition yesterday if teaching duties and preparing arts grant applications for Jen’s Missing Link theatre company hadn’t intervened and diverted me.

Anyway, I think you’ll agree it’s a pretty meaty edition that should give you plenty of weekend reading pending Monday’s edition.

Authors of this edition are myself, Cam Riley, Darlene Taylor, Jason Soon, James Farrell and Patrick Garson.

News and Politics Stuff

Matt Stone has sent off questions to the candidates for Toongabbie in the NSW election. So far he hasn’t received a reply which is always an issue for bloggers who want to be politically involved – how much reciprocity is there?

Nebuchadnezzar looks at the issue of Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt:

While Bildt may be a political moderate, he has long been a technical radical. Bildtâs reputation as an electronic pioneer dates back to 4 February 2004 [actually 1994] when he sent an email to Bill Clinton in which he praised the US presidentâs decision to end the trade embargo on Vietnam. While the content was unremarkable, the missive from Bildt to Bill was historic as it was the first ever email sent between heads of government.

Diogenes Lamp makes the case for the separation of School and State, the final frontier of libertarian educational reform while John Ray discusses the non-dilemma of being an atheist conservative.

Amir at Austrolabe, discussing Fred Nile’s recent comments on restricting Muslim immigration, calls on his fellow Muslims to refrain from appeals to victimhood as it can backfire on them.

Modia Minotaur reflects on whether the Greens are politically irrelevant. Meanwhile blogging Green candidate for Newcastle; Michael Osborne lists his itinerary for the next ten sleeps to the NSW election.

Graham Young at Ambit Gambit heartily approves of NSW Liberal leader Peter Debnam’s strategic move to embrace underdog status and begin urging a protest vote against Labor, but only if he doesn’t brief the media that it’s a deliberate strategy and doesn’t even believe it’s just a strategy himself: the Orwellian double-think school of politics. William “Poll Bludger” Bowe, on the other hand, has mixed feelings about the underdog/urging a protest vote strategy, judging by the success (or arguably lack of same) achieved by Carmen Lawrence and Geoff Gallop when they tried it back in the 1990s.

Currency in Santo Santoroland according to Flutey

Graham (who is or was a Liberal party apparatchik in Queensland) also advances the interesting and totally unbiased assessment that the holding of shares by federal Liberal Minister Santo Santoro in a company which benefited to the tune of $6 million from a pharmaceutical benefits scheme grant doesn’t present any real political or ethical problem for Santoro, whereas shareholding by Kevin Rudd’s wife in a company with a government contract is a serious political problem for Rudd!!!! Are the punters actually taking any notice of these increasingly nit-picking accusations from both sides against each other? And. to underline his completely detached, objective assessment of the situation, Graham Young also argues that people who reckon Santoro donated his earnings to a religious lobby group rather than a charity are just nasty nitpickers. It really is a charity, Graham loyally maintains, even if the Tax Office doesn’t agree. But how does the Family Council of Queensland describe itself?

The Family Council of Queensland, Inc. (FCQ) is a non-profit, non-party political, ecumenical association of pro-family community organisations and churches which seeks to promote family values and strengthen marriage and the family unit in society.

Its members include the Australian Family Association, the Salvation Army, the Catholic Church, Endeavour Forum, Drug-ARM, the Festival of Light and the Australian Council for Adoption.

Sounds more like a lobby group than a charity to me too.

Surfdom’s Aussie Bob too has looked into Senator Santoro’s favorite charity, and found it to be ‘an alliance of the Catholics, Fred Nileâs crazies, anti-feminists, adoption reactionaries, drug war hard liners and dung-wallowing monarchists all presided over by a Mormon brother in good standing.’ Bob thinks this stinks.

Other, genuine charities, are currently under serious threat of having their tax-exemption status reviewed for just such political activities. Perhaps this is why Santoroâs âcharity❠never bothered with registration… He has clearly misled the Prime Minister and the parliament of Australia.

In a twin burst of electoral realism, Bryan Palmer at OzPolitics cites one of his commenters on MSM articles by Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott, pointing out that “the Rudd piece mentions John Howard 0 times, and presents a policy. The Abbott piece mentions Rudd 14 times, and presents no policy. Itâs interesting to see who is acting like the government …” But Bryan then goes on to ask the more salient question, given that relentless negative “attack” campaigning actually works despite everyone agreeing it’s disgusting and dishonest:

Yes, but will 7 more months of sledging achieve its objective?

Or, will the meek inherit the earth?

But what about Bryan’s implicit assumption that it’s just the Libs who are sledging Kevie the Meek? Has he forgotten that the Burkie saga was partly triggered by an equally spurious attempt by Kevie to label contacts between the Rodent and Ron Walker as corrupt? And what about the current NSW ALP election ads, especially “In the Liberals” which has to be one of the most viciously negative (and wickedly funny) political ads I’ve seen?

Despite federal Labor’s stratospheric opinion poll ratings, Bryan Palmer also points out that the bookies still have the Coalition as slight favourites (and they’ve tended in recent years to be more accurate than the pollsters). Andrew Norton, on the other hand, assesses that Howard’s Brian Burke blitzkreig on Kevie may have damaged the Libs as much as it has Rudd, judging by the most recent polling.

Christopher Sheil here at Club Troppo also previews Saturday’s NSW election, noting the prevalence of anti-WorkChoices messages in Labor’s ads and the fact that the parties are largely mirror-reversing each other’s primary messages from the federal sphere. Chris poses an interesting question:

Will the likely âdonât risk Kevin Rudd❠and âafter 11 years John Howard has had long enough❠messages tend to be reinforced or exhausted in the most populous state as a consequence of the present electronic carpet bombing, albeit that they are in party-political reverse?

Corecon begs that the broadband issue doesn’t become a federal election issue as nothing will produce a worse policy outcome than politics during an election year. Corecon argues:

With the government under real threat for the first time in a decade, policy announcements during the election are likely to be haphazard and unconstrained by fiscal discipline. We will likely suffer from too many decisions made too quickly for it to be good policy.

Kind of like federal government defence policy which hasn’t come under election pressure at all.

Kim, over at Larvatus Prodeo picks up on some mainstream reporting of Helen ‘skepticlawyer’ Dale and Mark Bahnisch’s retirements. The idea that this somehow means the ‘blogosphere’ has come of age is, hmmm, an interesting one.

The Dead Roo crew have been doing a stellar job of examining bills going through the Senate, and this post, about the AusCheck Bill has some great information. Shame Helen’s still not about to blog on it, really…

Meanwhile There Ain’t No Sanity Clause plans on having coconut ice at the next supper.

Guy at Polemica covers some more campaigning strategies in the NSW election. It’s not exactly edge-of-the-seat stuff, to be sure, but it is interesting to see where and how the Liberal party are trying to have an impact, and it’s the biggest state election in Australia, come on!

In keeping with the NSW election, South Sea Republic has some interesting musings on the Legislative Council. Cam then expands his thoughts on broader democracy – I find these what-ifs quite intriguing.

Tim Lambert supports his allies at RealClimate in accusing New York Times correspondent William Broad of trying to wedge Al Gore. Tim contends that Broad is trying to manufacture a sensible ‘scientific middle ground in the climate debate’, which supposedly views Gore as alarmist and error prone. ‘Trouble is, most of the critics he quotes are not from the middle at all, but are skeptics who reject the scientific consensus.

Jeremy is seared by the unfair condemnation hurled at Haliburton in response to its relocation to Dubai.

From the LP lectern, Robert Merkel delivers a useful little lecture on the ‘Brazilian Proposal’ to allocate targets for greenhouse emissions. (‘Put simply – the more you were responsible for the problem, the more responsible youâll have to be for the solution.’) It seems that something called the Match Working Group is working on hard numbers for this formula, and has released some preliminary findings.

Darryl Mason, guide to Your New Reality, is not very surprised about the anti-homosexual outburst by US military supremo General Peter Pace. He’s only stating the official policy, and it works well if you’d rather have straight ex-cons than gay expert linguists in your forces.

William Burroughs’ Baboon is bemused by Andrew Bolt’s obsession with Tim Flannery. Bolt, it seems, is now portraying Flannery as the Climate Hoax industry’s answer to Fred Singer.

Gianna argues that Howard succumbed to hubris by not yielding to Costello. He also overplayed his hand by foisting WorkChoices on the electorate, who is now

…saying to Howard,”Thanks very much for apparently not screwing up the economy too much while you were in charge. But actually, weâd like to try and keep things how they are, so letâs not tinker with something as unpredictable as crazy-brave IR reform at this stage. Sorry, mate, but so long and thanks for all the fish.”

Tim Dunlop worries that General Patraeus and the Pentagon may incur Dick Cheney’s displeasure by openly discussing their fallback plans, despite the VP’s explicit prohibition on treasonous negative talk.

Life and Other Serious Stuff

Cheap Therapy links to back issues of Scientific American from 1846 – 1869.

Saint in a Straitjacket undertakes a detailed forensic investigation into the academic quailifications of “Dr” Phil Pringle of the Christian City Church Oxford Falls on Sydney’s northern beaches (another one of those Hillsong-style Pentecostal clipjoints).

Legal Eagle muses about loan fraud, identity theft and banks’ aggressive lending practices.

JF Beck casts a critical eye on organic snacks and the claims by the purveyors of these products about their superior nutritional value.

The seasons are changing, and Beelzebublog has a beautiful post about it:

The Ides of March are blowing in on a cool, damp, breeze. Autumn is on the way. March, April May. Despite the constant and aggravating barrage of crap we offer up, the seasons continue to persist. Flux (whatever it is) is a powerful force once underway.

Pavlov’s Cat furnishes an ironclad proof that fat=funny=sexy.

Harry Clarke reviews a grossly misleading anti-global warming BBC Channel 4 doco, with links to other blogosphere commentary on it. Harry also has an impressively detailed post about smoking and its incidence and health effects: a convenient source of basic facts and figures.

This Isn’t Sydney enjoys the drama at the opening of the Coathanger when both Francis De Groot and Jack Lang got to cut the ribbon – one after the other. This was during the “No Blood on the Wattle” episode where NSW and Canberra came within an angel’s breath of civil war. There was a crowd gasp when De Groot, a member of the loyalist New Guard, galloped toward the opening ceremony. There was uncertainty whether the sword he was brandishing was for Lang’s head or not – there was relief when it slashed the ribbon.

The Yartz

One plus One equals Three has a remarkable picture of a new Melbourne house which has a one for one picture of the old house on a glass panel, “it’s not the house per se that’s so unusual â it’s the large photo of the older house that was demolished to make way for the new one that is unusual â it occupies much of the street elevation of the site, with the new dwelling located behind this semi-transparent photo-facade.” It is a hard image to wrap your head around.

Andrew Norton explores the psychology of book ownership and display. Andrew notes that visually prominent books at a house help guide what conversation to avoid. He doesn’t say, upon seeing a display of World War II books, whether he can accidentally mention the war once and still get away with it.

Rule One of the internet: Don’t taunt the knitting blogs – they massacre political sites for pages viewed. Serendipity documents the progress of her cot quilt.

Paul Martin puts in a plug for the Festival of German Films (“We have ways of making you watch movies”), and takes a little dig at local films in the process:

Like Australian films, I often find contemporary German cinema a bit patchy in quality.

“Patchy in quality” compared to what? Are American films all brilliant? Is there no greater fun in life than sitting down to watch Ken Loach make another sad but touching take on the English underclass? There’s still a cultural cringe at work when discussing all Oz art, and I say that even after viewing the atrocity known as Boytown. Mick Molloy….Mick, Mick, Mick, you’re still a spunk, but don’t ever make something that bad again.

Pavlov’s Cat (lucky puss) discusses the potential for “literary hoaxes” in relation to a possible new literary award that promises hullabaloo aplenty. Ms Cat argues:

What the ‘controversial terms’ part suggests to me is that the prize may favour a particular demographic. The young? The female? The gay or lesbian? The *gasps, makes a sign of cross* multicultural?

Mmmm, look out for a tween Muslim with a penchant for wearing his mother’s high-heels to take the prize. Seriously though, if a literary award can attract interest in, errr, those things with words in them, and introduce new talent to us, that can only be a good thing. Ms Cat is absolutely right about the conservative pundits getting it wrong about “feminists” not caring about the impact of radical Islam on women. Lazy buggers can’t even put “feminism and Islam” into Google Scholar obviously.

When I saw the name “Steve Carroll” mentioned on Matilda, the very funny chap who starred in the American version of The Office immediately came to mind. Of course, he spells his surname “Carell” and not “Carroll”. Steve Carroll is actually a writer who’s responsible for something The Advertiser refers to as a “slow-moving chronicle”. That kind of press will have people running to the shops to purchase several copies of Mr. Carroll’s book. For more of Steve Carell, watch Little Miss Sunshine.

Meanwhile, over at Tony Teacher’s place, the great Nabakov (presumably it is he) publishes a film review of the DVD of a 1993 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers starring Nicole Kidman. Nabs reckons it isn’t too bad. Hmmm …

Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad

Don Arthur argues at Evatt Foundation that there more in common between Hayek and John Rawls than many realise. Whether he’s right or not, it’s a great image

John Surname at Random Brainwave professes to love cartoons, but detests just about everything the Australian animation house Yoram Gross aka Flying Bark has ever made, starting with Blinky Bill and working down from there. Does John have too much time on his hands?

IP law specialist Kim Weatherall (citing a Crikey story) reports on an alleged plan by the AFL:

In a move thought to be unprecedented in global sport, photographers from international news agencies like Reuters, AFP, AP and Getty Images have been locked out of AFL games for season 2007. Their work has been replaced by an agency created by the AFL to manage the Leagueâs press photography.

Kim suggests that this bizarre plan might well present an opportunity for enterprising citizen photojournalists, who could take photos at games, sell them to the newspapers and undercut the AFL monopoly agency’s prices. Kim suggests that you might well be breaching a term of your entry ticket but they’ve got to catch you first, and even if they did you’d probably only get kicked out of the ground. It might be worth it to stick it up those gouging bastards.

(via Qld law academic blogger Peter Black) Duncan Riley argues Australia is rapidly becoming cyberspace hicksville (if we’re not already):

If there’s no WiFi there’s no Web 2.0 office, there’s no Web 2.0 culture, there’s no Web 2.0 development on the scale we see in the US. Whilst the Australian Government (and Opposition) remain obsessed with regulating the internet, nothing is being proposed or done to increase the affordability of broadband, cost being the main factor that limits the offering of free wireless in Australian cafes. When you continue to act like a backwater, it usually means if you aren’t already one, you soon will be.

For those that have progressed beyond the aluminium foil bladder, Murray of winetastic gives the Torzi Matthews Frost Dodger Shiraz 2003 a rating of 94/100. He recommends to “decant” the wine as it was “still opening up and becoming even more full flavoured after around 4 hours in the air.” Your dog wants the flagon passed down the line.

The Prophet at Random Brainwave reviews various new quiz shows on the commercial TV channels, which should save you from bothering to watch them (if you were even momentarily tempted – which some are – there was a well regarded blogger a couple of years ago who won big mobs of money on a quiz show).

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic at Charles Darwin University, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law) and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 12 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in he early 1990s.
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19 Responses to Missing Link

  1. Rex says:

    Truly the omnibus edition. Great read.

  2. cam says:

    Family Council of Queensland has an unfortunate three letter acronym. I wonder if they ever tell people to FCQ?

  3. Graham Young says:

    This “hive mind” idea has something to do with descending as a swarm and stinging, or is there an individual I can take issue with about misrepresenting my pieces, and my position vis-a-vis the Liberal Party?

  4. Ken Parish says:

    Twas me Graham. I’ll be happy to correct any genuine misrepresentation you can point out.

  5. Great going people. I promise I’ll be back on deck just as soon as this bloody trial is over…

  6. Graham Young says:

    No, I think I’ll return fire at Ambit Gambit. It’s a bit outrageous that a former Labor member of parliament should cast aspersions on my analysis because I’ve been a member of the Liberal Party! So no wonder your analysis of conflicts of interest is so woeful.

  7. Ken Parish says:

    Graham

    I have no idea whether you still have active links with the Liberal Party. I haven’t had any with the ALP for over a decade. I’m judging by the two posts of yours to which I linked. Both consist of the sort of implausible partisan defence of the indefensible for which bloggers like Tim Blair are justly famous (albeit mercifully without his signature juvenile sarcasm). I don’t think you can reasonably expect to maintain a reputation for detached objective analysis (assuming that my impugning of it is your gripe) if you write successive posts as blatantly partisan as this.

  8. Paul Martin says:

    Thanks for the link, Ken. My understanding of German cinema is limited as it’s based on the paltry number of films that make their way to our shores (including the German film festival). So based on my experience, Germany seems to struggle to get a good film off the ground. Sounds like Australia, huh?

    America, in my opinion has a lower hit rate (percentage-wise) than both Australia and Germany. A big production dog is still a dog. But America makes many more films, so for the discerning cinephile, there’s still much to see from the US.

    Ken Loach is one of a very small number of British film-makers that does interest me. The others are Mike Leigh and Michael Winterbottom. I wouldn’t want to watch two or three Loach films in a row, but I love his gritty social realism. So much British cinema is throw-away formulaic mediocrity these days, so as far as I’m concerned he’s a luminary (even if his films are SO dark).

    I find many Australian films embarrassing (if that’s what you’re referring to with ‘cultural cringe’). Not many film makers have the guts to make something well without compromises that spoil the film. 2006 was an exception, with seriously good stuff, most notably Alkinos Tsilimidos’ Em 4 Jay (hardly anyone saw it on cinematic release, but it has a DVD release in June) and Rolf de Heer’s Ten Canoes. Rowan Woods’ The Boys was also an excellent example of fearless film-making by an Australian. But films like these come along on average only every three or four years.

  9. Darlene says:

    Hi Paul

    Ken is responsible for the “Graham” bits (should we make this clearer?) and I was responsible for linking your piece about the film festival.

    I think there are many good Australian films: The Boys is extraordinary and rather terrifying movie (scariest ending I’ve ever seen), and an interesting take on disaffected Australian masculinity. Idiot Box and the other films of David Caesar like Mullet and Dirty Deeds are terrific.

    I loved Crackerjack, Romper Stomper, Australian Rules, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Better than Sex, Lillian’s Story, Babe, Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge, Look Both Ways, The Well, blah blah blah. I could go on and on so I will: Breaker Morant, Gallipoli, Lantana, Cosi, Bingo, Bridesmaids and Braces, Black Robe (was produced in Australia), Muriel’s Wedding, The Piano (also produced in Australia), Shine, Dead Letter Office, Love Serenade etc etc

    Tons of good stuff.

    Ken Loach has made some interesting films (Kez and Ladybird, Ladybird come to mind). Both those films made me weep, however, as a person from a working-class background, his constant positioning of the poor as victims is a bit dull. I must admit to being a fan of the British formula film, particularly is it includes Hugh Grant.

    By the way, for those who liked Shaun of the Dead, the makers of that film have got something new coming out any day.

  10. Darlene says:

    I find his constant positioning of the working class etc

    Ken used to be a Labor MP. Why wasn’t I told this?

  11. Graham Young says:

    Ken, you complain about people smearing and then proceed to do the same thing yourself. Using your logic and failure to even bother to analyse the arguments I could make the same claim about you that you make against me – you must be partisan.

    I guess I just have to get used to being in the position of being accused of dishonesty when I support the Liberal Party, and only being objective when I criticise it!

  12. Ken Parish says:

    Graham

    I think my comments accurately (if very briefly given the limitations of the ML format) summarise the thrust of your arguments on the Santoro case. As I said, I’d be happy to correct any clear misrepresentations you point out.

    Nor did I accuse you of dishonesty either, just a degree of partisanship, a comment which I think is well justified by the two posts to which I was referring. I may well still have a certain heavily qualified preference for the ALP over the Libs, I wouldn’t even try to deny it. But I’d expect to be slated for partisanship if I mounted the sort of threadbare defence of a Labor pollie’s dodgy behaviour that you exhibited over the Santoro affair.

    That said, I was out of line including strong editorial comment like this in a Missing Link post. The house style for ML attempts to confine editorial comment to very gentle ribbing at most, in an endeavour to appeal to readers of all political stripes as a publication that highlights good blog writing irrespective of its ideological flavour. My comments run foul of that objective. I should have put them in a separate post of my own. I suspect I may still be harbouring some residual anger over your treatment of Tim Lambert over his global warming post in BBP06, which I regarded (and still regard) as extremely unfair and over the top. Accusing someone of serious dishonesty (as you did to Lambert, in my view without justification) is in a sledging league well above a fairly gentle chiding for partisanship.

  13. James Farrell says:

    The house style for ML attempts to confine editorial comment to very gentle ribbing at most, in an endeavour to appeal to readers of all political stripes…

    And also because it’s now a collective effort by authors of all political stripes. We don’t want every post to be greeted with a barrage of demands that the contributor who wrote such-and such be identified. And if Jason, or some other right wing fanatic who happens to be on the team, takes a swipe at my beloved Kim Jong Il, I don’t want my leftist constituents blaming me for it.

    On the other hand, someone has to be accountable for errors and distortions.

    One possible system would be that individual contributors could express opinions but would have to initial the relevant paragraphs. The editor would be answerable for everyting else, and would check, modify or delete at his discretion, anything with the potential to upset someone.

  14. Darlene says:

    “And if Jason, or some other right wing fanatic who happens to be on the team, takes a swipe at my beloved Kim Jong Il, I don

  15. Derek says:

    Thanks for the link and the pick-up on the typo. The date of the first email between presidents was indeed 1994 not 2004 by which time Bill and Blindt had long since passed their presidential use-by date.

    Some great reading in the other links and proof positive of the rude health and diversity of the Australian blogosphere.

    cheers,
    Derek Barry

  16. Tony.T says:

    “the great Nabakov (presumably it is he)”

    Certainly it is he.

  17. Darlene, you won’t be alone for too much longer… I even had a little fiddle with that stiki wiki thingy today at work ;)

  18. John S. says:

    Do I have too much time on my hands? The answer, like most animation fans, is clearly yes.

Comments are closed.