Jon Kudelka envisages Howard as Fred Flintstone and Bill Heffernan as Dino. Only trouble is that both look much too cute and loveable. Is Jon running out of inspiration?
- 1. News and Politics Stuff
- 2. Life and Other Serious Stuff
- 3. The Yartz
- 4. T.S.S
- 5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad
Better late than never, I always say. Today’s Missing Link is an even broader mixed bag than usual, with no dominant theme evident among bloggers. It’s post-budget ennui season, when election fever hasn’t yet set in, the footy season hasn’t reached anywhere near its sharp end, and uni students are beginning to think idly that it might be a good idea to start studying soon what with final exams and all.
This edition by James Farrell, Jason Soon, Helen Dale, Amanda Rose and Ken Parish.
1. News and Politics Stuff
In this perfect post, Suz at LP delivers judgement on John Howard’s defence of the Telegraph over the ‘How Could She?’ story. Scroll down for Paul Norton’s comment.
In general, leftish bloggers haven’t been easy on the government this week. They have been especially exercised by its education announcements. Julie Bishop’s latest proposal, to supply tutoring vouchers for children with reading difficulties, prompted Robert Merkel to ask:
what has the federal government done to establish that paying for after-school private tutors is the most effective way of improving student outcomes?
There follows a very discussion in the comments thread. The Editor at GrodsCorp detects a certain inconsistency between the PM’s insistence, apropos of the bullying policy, that money can’t solve every problem, and his plan to spend $90 million on chaplains.
Imagine the measurable effect that $90 million worth of welfare officers in schools would have on bullying and student wellbeing. Then compare it to the useless symbolism and wedge politics of forcing schools to better communicate their bullying policies to parents.
Gianna has trouble seeing how the government’s new education focus can be simultaneously stolen from the opposition and proof of fresh and original thinking. ‘It’s a weird ‘masterclass’ that indulges cheating and doing homework the night before it’s due…’
Tim Dunlop admires Rudd’s willingnesss to consult widely, but thinks it’s time Rudd stopped reacting to threats from industry lobby groups:
he really needs to just draw a line and say this is it, if you dont like it, dont vote for us, and then point out the obvious: that business is just one voice in the mix and that his job as alternative PM is construct policy for everyone, not just them.
Gianna doesn’t think Rudd would get any credit for flexibility from the Kellys and Albrechtsens anyway. Where Howard is flexible and listens top the people, Rudd merely flip, flap and flops.
On the subject of the mainstream political pundits, Aussie Bob enjoys a satisfying blast at the whole gaggle, for persisting, against all the evidence, in their thesis that Labor’s supremacy in the opinion polls will soon collapse.
There is no bounce. There are no more rabbits, no more hats. The coming ad campaigns will probably alienate more voters than they win over. The more the government tries to bribe its way back into power, the more the people will switch off. Howard is the pest in the pub, earbashing anyone he can. But people are sick of politics. They just want a chance to vote and get rid of the little bastard so they can shut him up for good.
John Quiggin is less trusting of opinion polls, but nontheless believes the current result vindicates his view that voters prefer the party that takes initiatives to the party that ‘cleverly’ steals them. Bryan at OzPolitics once again provides a betting market update, which tells a very different story from the polls. He also has a timely rant about the whole concept of ‘budget bounce’. So does Andrew Norton. Go read both. Meanwhile, Xander and Nico wonder what Rudd and Gillard have actually done to achieve all these wonderful poll results.
Peter Martin reveals more about the Howard government’s $10 billion water “plan”, which seems to have been a dodgy back-of-the-envelope exercise to a greater extent than even the most cynical observer could have imagined. Apparently this is an example of Howard/Costello’s wonderful record of prudent economic management.
John Humphreys argues that if we can make free trade agreements with other countries, why not also have free immigration agreements?
There was an interesting miscellany of posts of international matters. David Bath argues that Russia is a greater danger to world stability than Iraq ever was, and urges the Australian government to support sanctions to reign Putin in. He sees this as ‘a chance for Australia to make a big noise in foreign policy that is principled, and wins friends both in Beijing and Washington.’ Meanwhile, Wmmbb recommends Jeffrey Sachs’ Reith Lectures, which made him aware among other things of the impact of global warming on China’s water supply; and Patrick picks up on a story that NATO might put troops at the service of oil companies to protect their drilling operations in dangerous countries.
Tim Dunlop suggests keeping a close eye on Pakistan, where General Musharraf may not be able to continue his balancing act much longer; and points out a story about the US State Department shooting itself in the foot in Iraq. Meanwhile, Mirko Bargaric thinks that military intervention in Zimbabwe via the UN Security Council is warranted. Over at Austrolabe, Amir is highly critical of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s remarks on the recent standoff in Turkey between secularist and Islamist groups
Meanwhile, new bloggy discovery fleeced has a superb graphical representation (requires flash) of Zimbabwe’s plummeting life expectancy and wealth, and spiralling inflation.
Alexander doesn’t seem to have been getting much sleep …
Speaking of graphs, Andrew Leigh has some very interesting ones comparing the opinion polling positions of Howard and Rudd at present with those of Howard and Keating in the runup to the 1996 election. The comparison may explain the bags under Dolly Downer’s eyes. Andrew also makes the perhaps unsurprising discovery that media bias is reduced by increasing diversity of ownership: – it’s market forces in action. It’s a proposition that appears, however, not to have occurred either to the Howard government or its Hawke/Keating predecessors who presided over the most spectacular phase of Murdoch’s acquisition of dominance in the Australian newspaper scene.
David Tiley highlights a courageous (in the Sir Humphrey Appleby sense) American admiral who may just have managed to derail the Bush administration’s (alleged) insane plan to provoke war with Iran.
2. Life and Other Serious Stuff
John Quiggin sums up Andrew Bolt.
Andrew Bartlett is optimistic about the contribution of blogging to democracy.
tigtog at LP endorses a campaign in Britain to enforce a range of breastfeeding rights.
Bernice reflects on the death in Iraq of Andrew Bacevich Jr, son of anti-war campaigner Andrew Bacevich.
This extraordinary post from Lauredhel about her experience with ‘chronic fatigue syndrome, or something that looks very much like it’, appeared more than a week ago at Hoyden about Town, but is not to be missed. Similarly, this piece from Legal Eagle about the recent million dollar school bullying payout is well worth a read.
Harry Clarke is very insightful on ‘restoration ecology’ (as opposed to ecology ecology). There’s a significant difference between the two.
Dr Faustus has some commonsense observations on climate change, and draws attention to a useful New Scientist resource.
3. The Yartz
Filmsight 20/20 defends enthusiast film reviewers from the, uh, rather high standards of scholarship demanded of them from a Guardian blog. Tying in nicely with the wharfie theme to the week, Ben Peek looks at On the Waterfront. Film Alert on some recent film offerings including the Aussie film Noise which is apparently very good and Bastard Boys. No word on whether either has ever read Bazin.
Dan at Televised Revolution on his ambivalent relationship with The Chaser boys. The same blog reports that Channel Seven has seriously edited an episode of Ugly Betty. Seriously? Forget arguments about stereotypes on Bastard Boys — Channel Seven are the real TV villains of the week.
Rambling Thoughts blog on “typical Australian humour” and has a YouTube video about cane toads which typifies it. There was a bit of talk in the blogosphere when the Nita Kibble award was proposed, in that it’s only for women. But the wionner announcement has been and gone without much fanfare. Matilda has the news though.
Vanessa with a late entry in the Eurovision series, with appropriate props to the marvellous Terry Wogan.
Jason Soon – Australia’s leading comic-book intellectual – has a great piece on how at least one reviewer completely misses the point of Spiderman III.
Robert Merkel joins the biggish group of bloggers reviewing Bastard Boys.
And Daily Flute blogs a mercifully short piece about the (execrable as usual) Eurovision Song Contest.
(troppo sports stadium)
Scott uses the Hewat/O’Connor/Tuqiri speakerphone fiasco to kick off an assessment of Australia’s rugby stocks (not great, alas).
5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad
John Ray justly skewers the latest armchair speculative psychiatric diagnosis of George Bush reported in Newsweek of all places. Why aren’t such obvious pseudo-scientific exercises treated the same way as astrology and numerology? Adrian the Cabbie has an, ahem, interesting fare in his cab. This time, he got paid (he doesn’t always).
Vest is angry at the way some Canadians treat kangaroos. And no wonder.
And for those who care about such things, Saint in a Stratijacket rewrites the Nicene Creed for Mormons!!