Missing Link

Another one from Daily Flute

Monday’s Missing Link is an eclectic mix of political and broader posts, as well as a couple of rugby league posts from Shaun Cronin. No dominant theme, but a wealth of good reading.

Editors again are myself, James Farrell, Patrick Garson, Darlene Taylor, Cam Riley and Jason Soon.

News and Politics Stuff

Peter Martin has an excellent roundup of the medicare card morphing into a modern version of the Australia Card. From the article:

When it [the Senate Committee] asked a representative of one of the companies bidding to build the scheme to tell it how many new cards it could add to the scheme in a day the representative replied: âYou can ask, but we canât answerâ. He had signed a deed of confidentiality with the government that prevented him from providing those details to the Senate.

All in all it was good work by a Senate Committee acting as Senators first and being a legislative check on the executive.

This morning Peter Martin also reports on Kevin Rudd’s announcements of Labor’s new position on funding private schools. Apparently not only is he junking Loopy Latham’s silvertail private school hitlist, but also completely removing any funding distinction between state and private schools. Errr, does Kevie have any understanding at all of equality of opportunity? Is there actually any point in electing a “Labor” government whose pollies are so radically indistinguishable from the Tories? (oops, blatant editorial comment again – couldn’t help myself – KP)

Across the Tasman, Kiwi republican Lewis Holden discusses the responses to New Zealand’s constitutional inquiry.

Mirko Bagaric continues his long march through judicial institutions debunking what he thinks are tired old verities. His latest target is judicial impartiality. Sayeth the Bentham of the 21st century:

The notion of judicial impartiality and objectivity is a con. Judges donât just interpret the law. They make it â or at least that is what they will do if the legislature gives them an inch â to suit there underlying political and moral sentiments. As noted by Allan Dershowitz earlier this year: âAlmost all justices vote almost all of the time in accordance with their own personal, political and religious views. That is the reality. ⦠On many occasions, the impact of [a judgeâs] biography is overt and conscious. Other times it is subtle and unconscious. But it is always there

Bagaric’s dressing down of Chief Justice Gleeson, for daring to obstruct the will of the people, also caught the vigilant eye of Gummo Trotsky, who thinks (as Katz put it, in a comment) that ‘Bagaricâs gloating partisanship for executive tyranny is deplorable’. Doubting his own expertise in constitutional law, Gummo is trying to outsource the details of critique to someone called Ken. Who could that be?

Over at the Australian Libertarian Society blog, many of the regulars lament the fact that the anti-war, anti-spending and hard core constitutionalist Ron Paul is running for higher office in the US rather than Australia. Given what’s on offer here, many independent thinkers, left or right, wouldn’t begrudge them that regret.

It has been a productive week for Modia Minotaur. In time for the recent Harbour Bridge celebrations, she provides some fascinating background on the bridge’s link with that noted master of the oratorical arts, Jack Lang. Elsewhere, she considers some miscellaneous issues in connection with the NSW election. Was Peter Debnam’s undignified grab for ‘protest votes’ rational? Can the Greens take any more ground from Labor? Do independents really make parliament more democratic?

Andrew Bartlett points out some of the obstacles that confront disabled people in finding employment, including a high effective marginal tax rate, and an increasing reliance on the Job Network agencies, who don’t want to know about them.

Tim Lambert laments the accelerating barrage of anti-science commentary in the national broadsheet.

Ken L at Surfdom rejoices that over in the mother country there are a few perceptive souls who appreciate our leaders for the men of steel that they are, even if their own constituents don’t appreciate them. Melanie Phillips of Spectator is a case in point, and Ken basks in the reflected glow of her praise for Howard, Downer and Costello.

Fascination with the Santoro Affair is undiminished. The youthful but apathetic Gan leaves the analysis to Freddie Mercury:

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone and another one gone
Another one bites the dust, eh
Hey, I’m gonna get you too
Another one bites the dust

Taking a broader view, Kim notes that in fact almost all of the PM’s troubles are coming from Queensland. She propounds the novel thesis that the desiccated one is merely repaying a debt to the cosmos.

Also on the federal politics dirt train, Pavlov’s Cat is nonplussed that Tony Abbott chooses to persist in analysing the Bert Rudd case when he has all the evidence he could ever need that ‘Joe Public despises this kind of thing’.

Bryan ‘Ozpolitics’ Palmer has some useful hints on how to read and interpret opinion polls, while William “Pollbludger” Bowe focuses on the NSW upper house (Legislative Council) election.


Anatomical Teaching Model of a Pregnant Woman – Stephan Zick, 1639-1715 (why the toy coffin?) – from bioephemera via Saint in a Straitjacket (some of the other models are much more gross)

Life and Other Serious Stuff

Gary Sauer-Thompson pictures a heated-up Australia.

One plus one equals three admires airport aesthetics and the Korean passion for all things robot;

Koreans (and their neighbours the Japanese) have a profound fascination with robots. We’ve seen the Sony dogs and more, and Korea has even been developing a “Robot Ethics Charter to cover standards for users and manufacturers” and they’re even drawing up an “ethical code to prevent humans abusing robots, and vice versa”.

David Jacobson rounds up the points made at an AVCAL (a venture capital association) discussion in Queensland on private equity.

Continuing his excursion through the hypocrisy of environmentalist luvvies, JF Beck’s latest target is the craze for bottled water in Europe which apparently is more environmentally unfriendly than meets the eye and brings down a few knotches the Green-cred of the Euros that every RWDB loves to hate. I must say I’ve never understood the craze myself, though it seems to have spread on from gym-going yuppies to Joe and Jane Public.

Amir at Austrolabe discusses a new Adelaide Bank housing finance product which may have the potential to meet the Muslim prohibition on interest with further development: In the process he also calls on Muslim religious figures to figure out new ways of helping Muslims adapt modern instruments to religious prohibitions:

Itâs unlikely that Adelaide Bank created this product with Muslim customers in mind but shared equity schemes of this type may have the potential to offer Muslims a permissible mode of finance that satisfies the risk management and other requirements of the banks. Regardless of the efficacy or appropriateness of this particular scheme, it is encouraging that banks are willing to look beyond the more traditional lending products and may be open to innovation.

As an aside, it would be nice if the religious figures in this country who have spent the last few decades declaring things to be haram, might reallocate some of the time they dedicate to discovering prohibitions to working out how some of these things might be improved within the context of Australian law

Photo by Olaf Breuning via Australian Centre for Photography via The Art Life

Still on matters religious, Steve Edwards, not satisfied with his current list of philosophical enemies, continues on an earlier theme that the seemingly benign looking religion of Bahai’sm is a communistic religious front devoted to a New World Order.

Having noticed a lacuna in her education, Tigtog has been getting up to speed on evolutionary psychology. Her guru is a men’s rights activist called Richard, and in this weeks lesson explains the science of why ‘following a strong man is liberating’. Emma Peel understood that, at least intutively.

From her balcony, Helen reveals why she refuses to buy tickets in a raffle for Haileybury College, not just because it’s an expensive private school, but because of its role in undermining the public school system.

Andrew Leigh reports on research (quoted by legendary US economist Gary Becker) that the children of “intact” (i.e.two parent) families generally do better than those from broken relationships. Andrew points to research showing that marriage doesn’t make any difference. As far as I can see they’re talking at cross purposes: an intact family need not involve a marriage.

Andrew also understandably expresses disquiet about former Singapore PM/dictator Lee Kuan Yew receiving an honorary doctorate from ANU. Certainly Singapore remains a “tiger” economy, but then Mussolini made made the trains run on time. Does an autoctatic ruler merit internaitonal plaudits merely because he restrained himself from invading other countries (not that Lee could have doe so even if he had wanted to).

Here at Troppo, Don Arthur revists the Lakoff hypothesis (part of which suggests that voters relate to political leaders rather like parents: either mother or father). Australians, Don suggests, seem rather to prefer a priggish big brother who exudes authority at home but grovels to varying degrees to absent parents overseas, even when those parents behave like teenage boys proving who has the biggest penis.

Steve Edney expands on a previous post showing that rainfall levels in south-eatsern Australia haven’t in fact fallen over the last century, despite media and politicans’ claims to the contrary. But Steve seems to ignore the role of higher evaporation levels flowing from higher temperatures. Nevertheless, his figures and maps do suggest that current water shortages owe as much to politicians’ failure to build new dams to keep pace with growing population as with global warming.

Saint in a Straitjacket blogs on a recent Papal Exhortation (the encyclical you have when you’re not having an encyclical) which retates and amplifies the traditional conservatism of the Catholic Church on a range of issues including priestly celibacy and the doomed status of divorcees.

Niall “Bannerman” Cook focuses on research about why blokes tend to fall asleep after sex. The study Niall links also notes: “A recent survey of 10,000 English men revealed that 48 percent actually fall asleep during sex.” Should we be surprised?

Cam Riley examines the huge disparity between Australia-US airfares and those from the US to Europe, suggesting that protecting Qantas’s monopoly doesn’t look like a very good idea (except to Qantas shareholders).

Legal Eagle exposes a Gadens (national law firm) “joke” contribution to Lawyers Weekly bulletin about the firm’s participation in a forthcoming law careers fair for high school students:

Who from your firm will be attending?

A representative selection of some of our finest and most earnest young solicitors may attend, subject to their daily billing targets. If the stall is unattended, itâs because weâre all doing something more important. …

What items/information will you have for graduates to take away?

We will be giving away a manila folder containing a sample time sheet, a list of after-hours dinner delivery services in the CBD, a guide to achieving optimum personal billing statistics during your summer clerkship and a bus ticket.

Isn’t humour supposed to involve exaggeration?

The Yartz

Melbourne Runway has a fascinating project of documenting street fashion; while Vigil has a series of powerful art/photography on the politics of indefinite detention; and on a light note, Fumbling Toward Geekdom links to some bizarre tiny street art.

Richard Watts reviews Infamous, the opening night film for the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad

Upshake has a gay old time reading a trash and treasure novel.

Grab Your Fork writes upon the culinary pleasures of Petersham’s Portugese Festival.

Growing Delight enjoys the peace and tranquility gardens of Wollongong’s Nan Tien Buddhist Temple.

Cafe Grendel goes cupping at Perth’s Fiori Coffee.

It’s NRL season again, and Shaun Cronin previews the season at Sidelined. Shaun also gave his predictions for Round 1. With the benefit of hindsight, you wouldn’t be signing up to follow Shaun’s advice in a tipping competition. Especially sad about Parra getting flogged by the Kiwis. Where’s Brian Smith again? Oh that’s right, helping the Knights beat the Bulldogs despite losing Johns to a head high tackle from Sonny Bill in the fourth minute of play. And Jason Taylor? Hmm. If I was a Parra fan I’d be demanding a mass culling of the club administration.

Saint in a Straitjacket reproduces a truly dreadful extended pun sure to warm the cockles of Homer Paxton’s heart.

John Surname condemns the new hagiographic movie about the thuggish Maroubra surf gang the “Bra Boys”, and wonders whether it’s a great idea for Singo’s new beer brand “Bondi Blonde” to be sponsoring it. Then again, it isn’t an obvious downmarket move from using megaslut Paris Hilton to launch the brand.

Legal Eagle argues that a messy desk doesn’t equate with a messy mind. As a perennial messy desk person myself, I can only self-interestedly agree (KP).

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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14 Responses to Missing Link

  1. Amanda says:

    Thanks guys.

    Hmmmm. A notable lack of posts about the Tahs from the regular yawnion crowd.


  2. Ken Parish says:

    Yes it’s much too embarrassing. Not to mention the Queensland Reds, who are too depressing even to think about. I might pretend not to be a rugby supporter until after the World Cup, or maybe cultivate a Kiwi accent.

  3. Thanks for the roundup again.

    I thought this might be the place to ask:

    I’ve always wondered if Musso actually did make the trains run on time.

    What was happening before?
    How did he do it?
    Were there less trains?
    Less stops?
    Was there a fare increase or decrease?
    Are there any lessons we can learn?

  4. You’d think people would use the internet properly before asking questions to which EVERYONE knows the answer.

    From Snopes:

    ….The Italian railway system had fallen into a rather sad state during World War I, and it did improve a good deal during the 1920s, but Mussolini was disingenuous in taking credit for the changes: much of the repair work had been performed before Mussolini and the fascists came to power in 1922. More importantly (to the claim at hand), those who actually lived in Italy during the Mussolini era have borne testimony that the Italian railway’s legendary adherence to timetables was far more myth than reality…..

  5. Darlene says:

    Sorry, can’t claim any credit for doing any work on this edition, so please take my name off.


  6. Ken Lovell says:

    How did he do it?
    Were there less trains?

    He redefined the meaning of ‘on time’, a tactic later known by the railway cognoscenti as ‘The Scully Obfuscation’.

  7. vee says:

    Best Missing Link in a while imo, the others have been missing something.

    That said sadly I had all ready read all the posts I was interested in earlier today.

    Keep it up guys.

  8. John S. says:

    Paris Hilton launched it, eh? Not surprised. Thanks for the link!

  9. Shaun says:

    At least I got the Bunnies last night. But, if anyone is going to bag my tipping I suggest it would be good form to have their own tips on the public record. ;-)

    As for the Eels, well there are 25 rounds still to go. The season is a long way from over for all sides.

  10. Andrew Leigh says:

    Ken, thanks for the two generous mentions.

    Minor comment. You say:

    As far as I can see they

  11. Ken Parish says:


    Yes he is (mostly talking about legal marriage, that is), but I still think you’re talking at cross purposes. Becker largely ignores the existence of de facto “intact” families. However he does observe in passing:

    Even if having two parents in a household is beneficial to children, it is far from clear whether marriage per se benefits children compared to having parents who live together without being married.

    The Bjorklund, Ginther and Sundstrom paper you link demonstrates that, although there are clear advantages (on average) conferred by being the child of an “intact” (i.e. two parent) family, it doesn’t matter whether those parents are legally married or not. Thus Becker’s post doesn’t contradict the studies you linked, although he then goes on to discuss at length whether there should be tax or other subsidies for legal marriage (concluding that there shouldn’t).

  12. Not to mention the Queensland Reds, who are too depressing even to think about.

    When are they going to be promoted to the Under-19 comp, do you think?

  13. Shaun says:

    Btw, I’ll brook no more bagging of my footy tipping unless baggers post their tips. You can use the sidelined Friday NRL preview comments to do so. It is only fair.

  14. Ken Parish says:

    It’s no fun if you can’t sanctimonioulsy rely on hindsight. But I might deign to post my non-existent wisdom in Sidelined comment boxes when I get time. Still, I reckon I would have done better than your Round 1 performance, which was just plain shithouse Shaun, face it.

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