Missing Link Daily

Monday’s Missing Link is over the fold.

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



Ralph Buttigieg, believing Brendan Nelson’s days as Opposition leader are numbered, has little faith that there is a real alternative.

Ken Parish is dissatisfied with gaffe- and gotcha-based political journalism, that constant search by the journalist to find mind changes and ignorance that all too often finds only brain farts. Ken does have critical words for Rudd’s managerial style and sees emerging problems. Niall Cook* feels that Rudd’s difference in style to Labor predecessors is a good thing and could care less about the Press Gallery having to adjust to a new government. Peter Martin feels that Kevin Rudd is smart enough to fix the workings of his office.

Jim Belshaw worries that the Federal government is getting New South Walesed.

Andrew Bartlett will be giving his final speech in the Senate on Wednesday. Tigtog casts an eye over the eight Senators who will hold the balance of power in the new Senate. Andrew Landeryou hails the coming of two bright new Labor talents:

There is some good news on the horizon though for Labor. Two patriots [sic] arrive in the next ten days, who are clearly among the best and brightest of backroom operators of their generation. Senators to be David Feeney and Mark Arbib. Both are very accomplished at getting things done – often by proxy – and in the opinion of many will be the Robert Ray and Graham Richardson of Labor’s next two decades. 11. GT: Just what the country needs – another Graham Richardson. []

Cameron Reilly spreads the word that OpenAustralia, a site dedicated to transparency in government allowing the public to track the activities of their MP, is online and in beta.

Possum argues that it isn’t all Brendan’s fault:

Nelson is certainly performing better personally than the Coalition is performing in terms of their vote share, making me question just how much of the Coalitions poor polling performance is actually Nelsons fault, compared to how much of it is a result of the undisciplined rabble rousing that the rest of the front bench and the back bench pork chops have been carrying on with.


John Quiggin joins the disgraceful leftist silence on Zimbabwe.

Richard Posner and Gary Becker both focus on US energy policy, the prospects of renewed offshore drilling and Obama’s proposed excess oil profits tax.

Stumblg Tumblr discovers that in Afghanistan bannng poppy farming leads to child brides.

Ed Dickson wonders about the extent of organised crime involvement in the events that triggered the US mortgage meltdown, while Hilzoy questions the role of conflicted McCain advisers in his torpedoing of USAF plans for a new fleet of midair refueling tankers.

At openDemocracy, Paul Kingsnorth and Vron Ware review and each other’s books and debate issues of post-colonial unsettlement, neo-liberal globalisation, autonomist processes in Scotland and Wales, and dynamics of racism, communalism and immigration – that are combining to reshape modern Britain.

Joseph Ureneck examines Chinese government links to orchestrated violent riots against Falun Gong in the US.


David Luban posts on and links to his newly published journal article on the Commander-in-Chief power in the US Constitution, an important issues in view of GW Bush’s expansive (and potentially autocratic) reliance on it.


Andrew Leigh discovers the perverse human effects of making things safer.

life before children

the aunties

keep goin’


Issues analysis

They’ll have to carry me out in a box

Changa’s Boots looks through the Overton window at Bolt, Blair and Albrechtsen.

Jason Soon links through to the blog of Marina Mahattir, daughter of the Malaysian ex-Prime Minster, and highlights her thoughts on the politics of HIV prevention in Malaysia.

A University of Sydney report suggesting seventeen new Lane Cove tunnels are required annually to keep traffic congestion stable? Harry Clarke feels it is a little exaggerated, but that snide, empty retorts by transport ministers to reports that are basically well-founded is unhelpful.

Harry is also concerned about the practice of ‘nibbling’ away at public parks and nature reserves to make room for infrastructure or private development. Long term, how far will urban dwellers need to travel to get to a commons?

Seventeen high school girls in Gloucester, Massachusetts made a pact to get pregnant and raise their children together. Mark Richardson is critical both of the girls and those who express support for the girls, particularly feminists who Mark feels are being hypocritical in their desire to destroy society. 22. gilmae: Mark seems to find this hypocrisy a lot, so many times that a lesser person might doubt their understanding of that which they criticise. []

Chris Berg is generally skeptical that there is any need for the Australian government to get involved in kiddies hearing naughty words on the telly.

Andrew Norton has a follow up to an earlier post about one hundred percent foreign owned schools and their students’ access to government financial assistance.

Don Arthur questions, if Adam Smith was right about poverty, that avoiding it is as at last as much about earning respect as it is about having material goods, then income redistribution can’t work by itself so what policies should be supported.

Deborah Hellman begins a six part series exploring the question when is discrimination wrong?


Self-indulgent video – Australia A v Tonga – lots of enterprising tries (though not much defence from the Tongans)

Audrey provides a complete cheat sheet for anyone who needs to pretend they’ve seen Sex and the City.

Nicholas Gruen recommends Dancing with Strangers .

Stephanie Trigg posts a Friday Garter Poem: The Originall and Continuance of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, as it was Spoken before the Kings Majestie on Saint Georges Day Last, anno domn. 1616. By W.Fennor.

The Happy Antipodean offers a heads-up of an unpublished Vladimir Nabokov story Natasha that was published in the June 9 and 16 editions of the New Yorker.

Chris Boyd spreads the latest goss about the Australian Ballet (well, some of it anyway), and reveiws Bangarra Dance Company’s production of Stephen Page’s new work Mathinna.

Dianna Simmonds reviews LOVEBites a Song Cycle at Sydney’s Seymour Centre.

Ming-Zhu reviews the VCA School of Music’s concert version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

Tim Train posts two poems inspired by blog comments.


Alessandro Nicolo looks at the successes of Russia and Turkey in Euro 08 soccer, while Tony Tannous previews Australia’s World Cup qualifier against China.

Snark, strangeness and charm

Ken Lovell prefers karaoke to Nintendo.

Jim Belshaw tells the story of New England identity Hugh Frewen.

Darryl Mason finds another example of brain-dead product design – edible Lego.

Peter Martin talks about the greatest marketing success of all time, bottled water.

John recommends learning how to drive better rather than risking inflationary pressures by dropping fuel excises.

Oanh is feeling a strong sense of loss.

Tim Lambert digs into the background of the author of the latest wacky theory on global warming.

TroppoSphere, in case Missing Link email subscribers haven’t noticed, is now available as a convenient gateway to a world of news and expert opinion and analysis for those with feed reader phobia. It contains feeds to most of the blogs and other sources whose best/selected content we most regularly feature in Missing Link, as well as general news feeds and those from selected online magazines like openDemocracy, Reason, Slate, Spiked, New Matilda, Australian Opinion Online and Online Opinion.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic at Charles Darwin University, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law) and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 12 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in he early 1990s.
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11 Responses to Missing Link Daily

  1. Laura says:

    nothing much to do with ML, but here’s as good a place as any to register my disbelief that the newspapers are still blithely running with this highly dubious story.

  2. Ken Parish says:

    Andrew Leigh and Joshua Gans have been going on about this phenomenon for some time, on their blogs and elsewhere so I assume they must be confident of its statistical significance. That said, it only seems to be positing that around 250-300 mothers Australia-wide delayed their birth until the next day. That doesn’t strike me as completely implausible.

  3. Laura says:

    Ah, but how does one delay the birth of a baby who is determined to come out? Cross the legs? Or shift an already scheduled birth, ie one that was already being manipulated to fit with the hospital’s rosters?

    The idea of large numbers of unhealthily large babies is also intriguing.

    Anyway, tigtog and lauredhel have been on the case for ages with this, and my surprise is really just that their patient and layperson-friendly explanations to Leigh & Gans of the issues with their claims haven’t apparently sunk in with those economists.

  4. Ken Parish says:

    I guess if you were gong to have an induced or caesarean birth it might be possible safely to postpone that action for a few hours from when it would have occurred in more usual circumstances to bring it to 1 July. We’re only talking about around 5% of mothers giving birth on that day. Do we know what proportion of births on average occur by inducement or caesarean?

  5. Liam (Bring Back Punster Paxton) says:

    Alternatively, might parents organise for their child a fraudulent birth certificate-signing if it was born in the late hours of 31 June? That’d solve everybody’s problems: the parents would get their bonus early, the child would get fewer hard-to-write digits in its birthdate, and the academics would get a tidy solution without risk to mother or child.

  6. NPOV says:

    Hey, if our child was born on 31 June, I’d want him to keep that unique distinction, thank you very much.

  7. Ken Parish says:

    According to this document, about 26.5% of mothers have an induced birth and 15% have an elective (as opposed to emergency) caesarean. That would seem to leave plenty of scope for only a minor proportion of these (around 10% of them) to manipulate the time of birth by a few hours.

  8. NPOV says:

    I’d also suggest, surely it should be the hospitals lobbying for more staged bonuses, given they’re the hardest hit by having to deal with that many extra births? The health effects are surely a drop in the ocean compared to those from women choosing to have babies far later in life than in the past.

  9. Liam (Bring Back Punster Paxton) says:

    Ah but just think, NPOV, were your child to wind up working in some kind of finance or accounting-related industry which had huge end-of-financial-year parties, what great celebrations s/he would accrue!
    Beats a measly bonus.

  10. Laura says:

    Yes, exactly – the only birth that can be delayed is a pre-term elective caesarian, and while Andrew Leigh is welcome to argue as much as he likes against the baby bonus on financial grounds the onus is on him to prove, rather than claim, that shifting or postponing a pre-term delivery has bad health outcomes – he says it makes heavier babies and fatter children.

  11. Helen says:

    Don’t tell me this needs to be explained to them all over again.

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