- 1. News and Politics Stuff
- 2. Life and Other Serious Stuff
- 3. The Yartz
- 4. T.S.S
- 5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad
This edition of Missing Link is a couple of days late, owing mostly to Ken Parish’s broken Dell PC (don’t buy one, their warranty service is truly appalling). It was compiled by James Farrell, Amanda Rose, Gilmae and Ken Parish (in a belated post-wedding, flu-infested comeback).
We remain a bit short-staffed here at Missing Link, and things are likely to get worse before they improve. Amanda is going AWOL soon until after New Year, so a short-term volunteer to take over the arts segment would be most welcome. Any other volunteers will also be welcome, what with several regular contributors being academics under pressure of end of year marking duties. In fact we’ll probably need to suspend publication for a week or so in the near future for that reason. I urge readers to consider volunteering to assist. Missing Link was devised as a service to the blogosphere as a whole, providing as it does a regular human-edited guide to the best blog writing, thereby offering a convenient entry point for new blog readers most of whom would not otherwise have the patience to peruse hundreds of blogs looking for good quality material. If we as bloggers can’t manage the collaborative endeavour to make ourselves accessible to an ever-widening readership, then we probably don’t deserve to be any more than a transient publishing phenomenon.
We could also do with some help in locating suitable images to drop into Missing Link. I’m publishing this one naked because I just don’t have time to look around any more for relevant images.
1. News and Politics Stuff
Robert Merkel learned something new from the Four Corners program about Brendan Nelson’s fighter jet purchases (and in the comments thread the boys are in their element as always.) Harry Clarke looked at the same topic.
Mark Bahnisch is bored by the latest narrowing/bounce/surge in yesterday’s Newspoll, while Slim Pickens sees the latest AC Nielsen poll (which fails to detect any narrowing of the gap) as another nail in the coffin of the Howard government, and perhaps even signalling “the beginning of [a] Menziean era of conservative social democratic dominance.” But should we be overjoyed about that prospect?
Slim is also one of numerous bloggers zeroing in on Tony Abbott’s National Sorry Day yesterday. Michael Costello’s take on it in today’s Oz was one of the more interesting. Noting the inevitability of saturation anti-union “Joe McDonald is coming to get you” ads from the Coalition over the next fortnight, he points out the real problem Abbott’s thuggery poses for Coalition tactics:
But equally you don’t need to be a Labor advertising genius to build the same kind of ad around Tony Abbott’s top 10 political thuggishness hits. Picking on poor old Banton, swearing at Labor’s nice Roxon, throw in the charming “shit happens” quote – no spontaneous line given that Abbott repeated it in different news cycles on successive days. Fumbling the Mersey Valley gambit with his heavy-booted approach. There’s an embarrassment of choices for add-on elements. The punchline? “He won’t be back. This thug’s already there, and he’s John Howard’s right-hand man!”
Brian Bahnisch is at first heartened then disappointed by Labor’s ability to stick to its guns on Kyoto in the face of a predictable fear bombardment from the PM. Meanwhile, John Quiggin points out the holes in Prins and Rayner’s crtique of the Protocol. He gives special attention to their novel contention that the problem was too many countries. Given that this notion has the potential to become the new meme amongst greenhouse debunkers, it’s worth sorting out precisely what’s wrong with it. But in any case the tide is turning in this country; John wonders if he’s the source of Malcolm Turnbull’s distilled frenzy.
Andrew Bartlett discusses public forums versus media appearances as ways to win votes.
Ken Lovell asks whether the Department of Workplace Relations knew it was breaking the law (the same law it administers) when it denied its employees permission to attend the anti-Workchoices rally.
Apathetic Gam’s translation of the Costello-Swan-Worm encounter should under no circumstances be missed.
Apropos of Peter Curtis’s promise to represent his gay constituents, Jeremy outlines some radical ideas on how the word represent should be understood.
Andrew Elder predicts that Rudd’s presenting of a Christian face for the ALP will suck enough oxygen away from Family First that the party won’t survive Steve Fielding’s term.
Garham Young fears for what kind of Opposition the Liberals will be given the – as he perceives – ham-fistedness they are showing in campaigning. At the risk of dragging the MSM into what is a blogging roundup, an opinion piece in the Daily Telegraph ponders the same idea with the implication it will mean an inferior government as well, ala NSW.
Peter Martin points out a fact I’d missed in the election coverage: Labor’s Coalition-copying tax policy not only survived Treasury analysis, but costed out at $150 million less than the ALP had estimated. However, this may not make them fiscal conservatives; it just means they’re spending like drunken sailors at almost exactly the same rate as the Coalition (hardly surprising given the mutual “me-too-ism”):
Independent tallies put the Coalition and Labor neck and neck, each promising around $44 billion since the campaign began, with perhaps another $10 billion each before that.
Those totals would bring the total offered per voter up to $3,000, making this by far the most expensive election campaign in Australian history.
Peter also highlights another piece of news I’d missed in the MSM: Australia has fallen from 10th to 19th place on the Global Competitiveness Index published by the World economic Forum (not really a socialist body).
Further to Missing Link’s recent focus on election predictions, “Roger Migently” zeroes on a bizarrely titled MSN web-poll that predicts Labor winning 21 seats and enjoying a majority of 86:62 with 2 Independents. Self-selected web-polls are notoriously unreliable and eminently rortable, but Willam “Poll Bludger” Bowe seems to place some credence in it, and he certainly knows a lot more about these things than this Missing Linker.
Shaun Cronin is right behind Clover Moore’s Small Bars Bill.
Ken Lovell analyses the Rubik’s cube comprising Iraq, Iran, Kurdistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has little faith that ‘Condi Rice, the Metternich of the 21st century’ can solve it, and despairs of Australia’s role in the process:
Its no exaggeration to say that the world is edging ever closer to the greatest and most tragic conflict since 1945; one in which there might be open hostilities between first-world powers using conventional military resources. And our government, as an uncritical supporter of the maniac in the White House and his boss, the president, is in the forefront of the action.
2. Life and Other Serious Stuff
tigtog endorses an article by some people named Rivers and Barnett that busts all her unfavourite gender-difference myths.
If you have a strong opinion about whether John Quiggin should regrow his beard, go and vote.
Comparing two obituaries of John Ihan, Mercurius at LP concludes that
If we can put aside for one moment the general distaste for such hearse-chasing, we can wincingly admire the chutzpah of those who would stand upon the newly deceased as a rhetorical soap-box. But when theyve finished worrying the body, I hope they give him a peaceful send-off.
Vest summarises some speculation that maybe just possibly the human species could plausibly bifurcate into two sub-species, perhaps that it has already started – we’re all Morlocks west of Ashfield.
In a timely post (given the topic of last night’s ABC TV Difference of Opinion talkfest), Andrew Leigh reviews a publication by Jennifer Buckingham which throws doubt on the wisdon of publicly funded early years child care for middle and upper middle class families, pointing out that research is equivocal about its benefits (in contrast to needier families, where the evidence is much stronger). Nevertheless, as Andrew observes, a propgram that delivers yet more middle class welfare in that way “might enjoy greater popular support than one targeted only to needy children“. Whether that means people are happy to pay higher taxes for services they could afford to fund themselves, or that they think there’s a magic pudding (possibly called China) which allows them to have tax cuts and middle class welfare as well, is less clear. Andrew seems to have a view on this judging by his column in yesterday AFR:
Perhaps what we need is a new campaign advertisement, paid for by Australians for Helping the Poor and Lowering Taxes. The commercial could start with a simple visual depiction of how middle class welfare works. A taxpayer hands over five $20 notes. The government representative calmly burns one of them, and hands back the remaining four.
3. The Yartz
Darlene reviews the now concluded Summer Heights High.
Judging a book by its cover (among other things) at Sarsaparilla.
Matilda’s Weekend Round-Up.
Decomposing Trees’ Top Australian bands and artists 2007.
Idol Top 5 at Scott, To Be Certain.
The warehouse rave scene.
Channel Nine doesn’t miss its one last chance to bugger up The Sopranos.
Pensioners re-enact iconic 20th Century moments. No Che to wind up the righties, though.
(troppo sports stadium)
Apparently sport is so boring in this wasteland period between winter and summer that even cricket tragic Uncle J Rod is reduced to sitting at one day matches at the MCG fantasizing about othwer old lady spectators who may have the hots for him. We probably should put TSS on hold until some real sport actually starts happening again.
5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad
Prophet notes Endemol Southern Star’s wildly sucessful attempts to make Big Brother even worse than it was before. I for one am glad – the womenfolk in my house have finally agreed to stop watching it.
David “Barista” Tiley writes about a researcher who tried to find out whether children laughing when tickled was an innate response, by tickling his own kids with a dead straight face (and a sober facemask to be doubly sure) and directing his wife to do likewise.