A digest of the best of the blogosphere published each weekday and compiled by Ken Parish, gilmae, Gummo Trotsky, Amanda Rose, Tim Sterne, Jen McCulloch and Stephen Hill
From Jeff at Rigorous Intuition.
Like a fat kid eyeing off a doughnut, the inevitable is becoming a reality; the National and Liberal Parties of Queensland are slouching towards Bethlehem and merger. Graham Young notes the gerrymandering in the party structure to maintain dominance of the Nationals long after the electorates are sick of them and the Liberal Party ignoring the wishes of the rank and file. Andrew Elder believes that if it happens in Queensland than it might as well happen in the other states where the Nationals are vestigial.
Daniel Davies examines new developments in Sudan: peacekeepers in Darfur may just shift the action elsewhere:
It’s a bit of a cliché, but sometimes, as when a Darfurian rebel group estimated at less than 3,000 fighters decides to take the battle to the enemy by driving 250 miles outside Darfur in a small convoy of technicals to fight a battle for Khartoum “what the fuck” is pretty much the only thing you can say.
Juan Cole reports on his interview with the editor-in-chief of Aljazeera.
Noel Pearson continues to disappoint Kim at LP with his latest op-ed piece on Obama:
Pearson has the answer for Obama – emphasise Black responsibility and end all that liberal rights claimin How boringly predictable.
Peter Timmins looks at FOI highjinks in Tasmania concerning apparent government plans to fund a 65 million dollar water pipeline to Gunns’ new pulpmill. Quoting FOI guru Michael McKinnon:
“Where you get this sort of government secrecy (in relation to FOI requests), you can almost always guarantee that there is a sweetheart deal going on,” McKinnon said bluntly this week.”
Kodjo on the land of the free, home of the surveilled:
9,254 national security letters issued in 2005; 12,583 in 2006 (data for 2007 is not yet available). Such letters request information like your bank account details and telephone usage, but do not rely on a court order and are issued without informing the person spied upon.
Meanwhile, prosecutions for terror related matters brought to court have continued to decline.
Diane Marie Amann posts on public comments by US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, an honourable dissenter on the Court’s continued upholding of the constitutionality of capital punishment:
[T]he imposition of the death penalty represents “the pointless and needless extinction of life with only marginal contributions to any discernible social or public purposes. A penalty with such negligible returns to the State [is] patently excessive and cruel and unusual punishment violative of the Eighth Amendment.”
James Ladyman examines the malign influence of Treasury in promoting the “marketization and instrumentalization of higher education” of the British equivalent of ARC research grants to university researchers.
Robin Hanson looks at research showing that stock market investors tend not to be very good at evaluating their own past stock portfolio performance.22. KP: A bit like my grandfather, an inveterate punter and possibly the only SP bookie in Sydney ever to go broke. Grandad only ever remembered his winning bets, which made him a happy punter though not a wealthy one. [↩]
Nicholas Pickard reviews the dark tale of decadent lust that is Salome, current performed by The Rabble at CarriageWorks
Many audience members were ready to walk out they were so disgusted with this production. In fact one member was ready to put a call through to DOCS.
For this reviewer it is when you see this happening that you know that theatre still has a power to move and to shock. A power that many think is long lost.
Larrikin provides the shortlist for the best of the Booker, included on the short-list are Pat Barker, Peter Carey, J.M. Coetzee, Nadime Gordimer and Salman Rushdie.
At Stop Panicking we have coverage of L’Art du Deplacement a bizarre admixture of gymnastics, extreme sports and performance art. (Don’t try this at home kids)
Geoff Wisner considers the disturbing contradictions of life in Apartheid South Africa that are chronicled in Rian Malan’s, My Traitor’s Heart.
Malan wrote about growing up in an Afrikaner family, rebelling against the prejudice that surrounded him, playing in a rock band, losing his virginity to an African woman, and becoming a crime reporter in Johannesburg. But none of this was simple. Malan wanted to feel solidarity with the Africans, but he was afraid of Africans. He witnessed terrible crimes by the security forces but other atrocities committed by anti-apartheid activists, and even some motivated by witchcraft.
Shaun Cronin the acca-dacca-olyte offers some interesting cover versions of the timeless Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheep
Shaun Cronin speculates on likely NSW team selections for next week’s first State of Origin rugby league extravaganza.
Snark, strangeness and charm
At LP, Kim uses the occasion of Tim Blair moving his blog to Murdoch’s DailyTelegraph site to muse about the differences between real blogs and MSM ones:33. KP: I’ve always been puzzled why Murdoch impose pre-publication moderation on “blog” comments. My recollection is that Australian legislation largely exempts online publishers (like bloggers even MSM ones) from liability for defamation by commenters, as long as they remove it as soon as they see it. Maybe T1 or T2 could enlighten us if either drops by. [↩]
Aside from the fact that theres probably little loyalty to most individual MSM bloggers and blogs per se (particularly where – as with most of the MSM columnists who blog, theres zero interaction with the audience and commenters are perceived as the audience), the whole set up – seemingly arbitrary deletion or non-appearance of comments, strict barriers for defamation and other legal concerns, time lag between comments being posted and appearing – means that its very difficult to lift the threads beyond the bulletin board model and foster genuine interaction and community.
CL offers an obituary of Irena Sendler, saviour of two and a half thousand children from the Warsaw Ghetto. 44. gilmae: Try and ignore that he can’t get over his Al Gore obsessions because the woman is worth that small effort. [↩]
Harry Clarke laments the high price of undergraduate textbooks.
Maria Farrell appeals for hints to engage the attention of early primary children and reminisces unsentimentally about an Irish teaching method called the Teileagoir. It sounds an awful lot like those tedious slide nights your rellies sometimes inflict to show you all about their latest trip to southern Africa or somewhere.