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
A t-shirt every blogger should have, courtesy Will Wilkinson who argues (compellingly) that procrastination is not laziness it’s “misdirected industriousness“
Harry Clarke was largely unimpressed by the Budget and equally so by the Coalition response. Niall Cook was just unimpressed with Wayne Swan. And finally Nicholas Gruen wants to rate the Budget out of ten.
“Finally”? Not likely! You thought you could avoid budget analysis that easily? Possum Comitatus dissects the politics of the budget here and here, Mark Bahnisch contributes observations and a useful links roundup, and economist Stephen Kirchner posts a pithy response to a silly observation by Access Economics’ Chris Richardson:
The budget has no relevance for inflation and interest rate outcomes, but even if it did, why would we prefer restraint in demand to come from higher taxes than higher interest rates? On political economy grounds, we should prefer higher interest rates. The interest rate cycle will eventually turn, whereas the expansion of government probably wont. The real agenda of those who oppose tax cuts is to support the secular expansion of the state.
And we can all agree with Possum that, while chair sniffing by a political leader is bad enough, inappropriate behaviour with a quokka is completely beyond the pale.11. KP: Actually, judging by the nervous stance of the armadillo in our new banner, Troy Bussell may not be confining his attentions to quokkas [↩]
Geoff Robinson notes that the re-emergence of Conservative Democrats in the American South, aided by a possible electoral blacklash against the Republicans.
Eugene Volokh speculates on what sort of deal Hillary might be negotiating with Obama as the price of pulling out of the Presidential race, while Robin Hanson imagines the policy speech of an honest American politician.
Egypt’s current state resembles a surrealist painting. It is difficult to decipher its components, challenging to comprehend its meaning. At the centre of the painting there are dark, abrasive lines; most onlookers would see them depicting anger, frustration and occasionally menace. At the peripherals, there are softer lines, perhaps symbols of potential and promise.
The sharp lines are the result of three major social phenomena that shape Egypt’s current experience: inequality, demographics, and culture.
NB The new Missing Link logo is courtesy the great Nabakov.
Legal Eagle also looks at a bizarre US case involving a woman who cried “rape” and got convicted of manslaughter while her killer hubbie got off!
(via Eugene Volokh) A US Appeals Court decision (with embedded images no less) that explores whether abusive (mock) epitaphs can be “fighting words” which could justify restriction of constitutionally-guaranteed free speech.
Marx got many things wrong. But some he got right. Such hope as there is today for achieving a world in which there is less systemic injustice, more freedom, less poverty, greater equality, rests in significant part on the kind of populations that developed capitalist economies increasingly put in place (this despite every countervailing tendency encouraging selfishness, greed, and so forth): populations educated, increasingly aware, competent – and not well-shaped for tolerating being dictated to.
Dr Ngo on “those who opposed the war in Vietnam” (an Obama gaffe?).
From Ben Peek. I’m all in favour of artistic license, so I’m leaving it here for another day
Alison Croggon reviews the Hayloft Project’s adaptation of Igor Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale
The Soldier’s Tale doesn’t give us a satisfyingly dramatic arc of action, as in, say, a play by Chekhov; rather, the story begins, continues in an episodic fashion, and then it finishes. It follows the naive logic of oral narrative (or dream), which has very little to do with psychological continuity or or any sense of realism; folk tales, for example, tend to begin the middle, rehearse a number of recognisable tropes (for example, the magical ban) and then may end abruptly.
In this case, the episodic structure highlights the production’s hallucinatory air: it is almost as if, when the soldier is killed and claimed by the devil at the end, the whole story has been a nightmare dreamt on the brink of his death, as if the Soldier was actually killed in the first moments of the show. This sense of dislocation is intensified by Winters’ remarkable performance of a shell-shocked soldier; he never, for instance, changes out of his bloodstained, ragged uniform, as if the trauma has only just happened to him.
Jana Perkovic is another critic impressed with Neal Harvey’s adaptation of the 19th century novella Venus in Furs currently showing at Theatreworks.
Bardassa reviews Red Stitch’s Melbourne production of The Pain and the Itch.
Nicholas Pickard reviews The Rabble’s Sydney production of Salome.
Matilda reviews Alberto Manguel’s The City of Words
Laura continues her reading log. This week’s highlights include William Faulkner (can’t go wrong there), Djuma Barnes and some other modernist short novels.
Snark, strangeness and charm
Another cab driver’s life, on Adrian’s blog.
Ashleigh adds ‘Getting a tax file number’ to the list of Activities With Inconsistent Minimum Ages.
Norman Geras is unimpressed by the Guardian‘s blog Comment is Free giving commenting space to Hamas: “If that is the shape of liberalism, show me the shape of a public disgrace.”
Two Blue Fish discovers an ignorant theatregoer in a surprising place.