A digest of the best of the blogosphere published each weekday and compiled by Ken Parish, James Farrell, Gilmae, Darlene Taylor and Saint.
Jim Fryar takes a libertarian look at (repugnant) police raids in Melbourne on the homes of terminally ill people contemplating euthanasia.
Tim Dunlop looks at the Rudd government’s mooted cutting of benefits to carers and concludes it isn’t as bad as it looked at first blush. Whether carers will agree is another question.
Andrew Bartlett examines Labor’s short-lived plan for Friday sittings of Parliament.
Peter Martin reports again on the ongoing application of Treasury boot to Coalition groin.
John Quiggin proposes scrapping the surface navy (he most likely has ambitions to become a submarine commander).
Jack Balkin looks at the broader aspects of President Bush’s vetoing of a bill that would have effectively outlawed enhanced interrogation techniques aka torture, while Marty Lederman looks at the issue from both a legal and moral viewpoint..
Hilzoy discusses the forced resignation of an Obama campaign worker who called Hillary Clinton a monster in an unguarded moment, while Henry Farrell muses that it shows just how bad most blogging academics would be at real world politics!
Hilzoy also mounts a persuasive case that Bill Clinton’s claim that Hillary (privately) tried to convince him to intervene in Rwanda to stop the genocide has about as much credibility as his “I did not have sexual relations with that woman Miss Lewinsky” statement. On the same apparent Clinton strategy theme, Slate highlights another instance of Clinton staking credit for something she didn’t do, namely bring peace to Northern Ireland. Even if like me (KP) you find Obama’s rhetoric simultaneously overblown and underwhelming, it’s hard to disagree with this assessment:
Trimble, the leader of the main Protestant political party at the time, says that while he did meet Hillary a few times in Belfast, “there was nothing that she did, apart from accompanying Bill” that he can remember: “Being a cheerleader for something is different from being a major player.”
Jason Soon examines current developments in Malaysian provincial elections through the lens of historic and ongoing tensions between ethnic Malays and Chinese, while Andrew Leigh posts a detailed piece on the Malaysian situation by his political scientist father Michael.
Andrew Bartlett hopes that Rudd’s recent visit is the dawn of a more constructive role for Australia in improving PNG’s prospects. 11. KP: I can’t quite follow how he manages to blame John Howard for these things though. They have more to do with endemic corruption, tribalism and gross ignorance caused by abysmal education standards, none of which are obviously Howard’s fault [↩]
Turcopolier focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian “peace” process, and explains something I (KP) hadn’t realised:
It was Rice who insisted that this militant Islamic group be allowed to participate in the January 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, over strong protests from both Israelis and moderate Palestinians. Rice argued that the Islamic militancy represented by Hamas had to be given a political voice. But when Hamas won and predictably continued to reject Israel’s right to exist, the United States had no coherent follow-up strategy. A new article in Vanity Fair says that Washington secretly egged on the rival Fatah movement to stage a coup in Gaza, but Hamas moved first with a countercoup that expelled Fatah security forces.
Pommygranate also looks at the current escalating (again) violence in the Middle East and what he sees as the usual anti-Israel responses from the UN and EU.
Brad DeLong argues that we’re living through the end of the age of Friedman, and reviews a book which argues that the Industrial Revolution wasn’t all that remarkable or out of the ordinary except for the textile industry!
John Quiggin argues that ratings agencies like Moodies have a lot to answer for in the wake of current international financial market turmoil.
The failings of ANU Masters students do not include underconfidece, as Andrew Leigh discovered in a class experiment.
Ultra-leftist Joshua Gans advocates a plastic bag levy on the basis of promising results in communist Ireland. 33. KP: I wonder whether Joshua has read the Productivity Commission’s report on whether attempting to reduce plastic bag use is even a sensible policy objective, which is surely the question you need to answer before examining whether a tax would be effective in achieving it [↩]
Harry Clarke protests that the RBA’s tight monetary stance is short sighted, and will stunt the investment boom. He blames the Government’s labour market policies.
Andrew Norton argues that there are good explanations for the rarity of for-profit education, that do not — contra Quiggin — imply inferior quality or efficiency. Meanwhile Andrew Leigh asks: Do kids do better with bigger classes but well-paid teachers?
Single sex gyms like Fernwood (“no Toms, no Harrys and definitely no Dicks”) have had no difficulty getting administrative exemptions from anti-discrimination laws in Australia. David Bernstein examines the American experience, which has been rather different.
Sandy Levinson wonders why pundits are obsessing about the more irrational aspects of the Presidential primaries process, but never give a moment’s thought to numerous at least equally arcane and archaic aspects of the US Constitution.
Peter Timmins looks at a rare FOI case where the AAT has actually ruled that the public interest in disclosure of documents outweighs government’s (oops! the public) interest in keeping them secret.
Eugene Volokh looks at the legal ethics position of a lawyer who can only save a person falsely accused and convicted of murder by breaking a client confidence, and at the broader human ethical position as he sees it.
Amir Amal blogs Tariq Ramadan’s keynote at the Brisbane Islamic studies conference.
Is public shaming an effective strategy for disciplining kids? asks Doug B at Lawprawfsblawg.
We previously covered John Quiggin’s argument on the evident strand of anti-science orientation among conservatives, and Jake Young’s reponse to it (religious conservatives are iredeemable but maybe the Burkean skeptics aren’t so bad). Dale at Faith in Honest Doubt has his own thoughts:
I think people accept and embrace “Burkean gradualism” when they don’t care about the outcome, which often is the same as saying they have incentives or motivations not to care about the outcome — a VP at Exxon can rather readily convince himself that climate change is a matter best left to unconscious mechanisms that, incidentally, won’t have any foreseeable tangible impact before he’s retired and gone fishing.
On the same theme, Mark H zeroes in on the Heartland Institute’s Global Warming Conference.
Russell Arben Fox takes a long political philosophical look at the implications of Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia.
Will Wilkinson looks at a recent happiness study which seems at least partly to contradict earlier happiness research relied on by neo-socialist Jeremiahs like Clive Hamilton:
[I]t is not true that there is some critical level of GDP per capita above which income has no further effect on life satisfaction. Instead, each doubling of income adds about the same amount to life satisfaction, across poor and rich countries alike.
Robin Hanson looks at why people exhibit kneejerk reactions of either excessive deference or defiance towards power.
In an oblique comment on Obamamania, Jeff at Rigorous Intuition looks at HP Lovecraft, jellyfish and the madness of crowds.
Perry Middlemiss interviews lapsed Troppo blogger Wendy James and (rather more briefly – he was obviously far too busy and important to waste much time talking to a blogger) Shane Maloney as part of the ozlit bloggers series Australian Crime Fiction Snapshot.
French Women Don’t Get Fat – The Secret of Eating for Pleasure sounds like the sort of book that a self-indulgent, ageing hedonist like me (KP) should probably read.
Alison Croggon reviews Love Story, billed as a whimsical, off-beat romantic comedy, on at the Fairfax Studio of the Victorian Arts Centre. Meanwhile, Chris Boyd also looks at Love Story and disses the new Nick Cave album in an entertaining if disjointed rant.
Tony T looks at Harbhajan’s Singh’s parting shot after a weird and unpleasant summer of cricket. 44. KP: It’s beginning to seem that the administrators of world cricket have developed the same sort of self-destructive mindset that currently sees world rugby sliding into irrelevance by refusing to embrace rule changes needed to moderate stupefyingly boring 10 man tactics [↩]
Displaying uncharacteristic slackness, Niall Cook has only blogged one of the weekend’s three V8 Supercar races at Sydney’s Eastern Creek. Lift your game son.
Snark, strangeness and charm
Dale is underwhelmed by the possibility of in-home nuclear reactors to cut power bills and greenhouse gases.
Blazing new trails in blog topics, Tim Blair looks at broom brooms programmed to play various anthems (though strangely not John Farnham’s You’re the Voice) and karaoke-driven homicide.
The only cruise I (KP) ever took was on an old Russian rustbucket where every meal including breakfast was served with lashings of canned beetroot. However this cruise sounds even worse.
Legal Eagle muses about her first pregnancy and Cate Blanchett’s current one …
The sharpeyed Stumbling Tumblr uncovers yet another surprising (perhaps even disturbing) fact:
The question that women casually shopping for perfume ask more than any other is this: What scent drives men wild? After years of intense research, we know the definitive answer. It is bacon.
Adrian the Cabbie posts a piece about a typical aggressive d***head passenger that reminds me (KP) why I was relieved to give up taxi-driving when I finished my legal qualifications and moved to Darwin. It’s an occupation that has its attractions but they’re massively outweighed by the downside.
Dale looks at Facebook etc and reaches a damning conclusion:
Looking at these social networking sites, I don’t see any banality of friendship worth mentioning, just the banality of target marketing and teenage angst. And an ugly, blaring superfluity of banner ads signaling how successful they are.