Friday’s Missing Link


No caption needed really …

There hasn’t really been a particular obsession in the blogosphere over the last couple of days.   A few more Rudd posts, of course, but it looks like bloggers might have joined the pollies in heading off for summer holidays.   I certainly hope not, having just started this Missing Link feature to highlight the best of blog writing and hopefully make it accessible to a wider audience.  

Speaking of which, Jacques Chester has kindly implemented an email subscription feature for Missing Link.    Just like Crikey,  readers can subscribe to Missing Link  and a copy of it will lob into your email inbox mid-afternoon  every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  You can find the subscription facility at the bottom of this and every edition of Missing Link  (and at right in the sidebar).

Why subscribe?   Why urge others to do so?   Only blogophiles bother to check a wide range of blogs every day, and only a tiny percentage of Internet  users utilise RSS feed readers (or even know what they are).    Moreover, even people who use feed readers seldom subscribe to a large range of blogs.   I check over 200 every couple of days.   Even the best of blogs contain a fair proportion of posts of marginal interest to most readers.   Nevertheless, the best of blog posts are as good as or better than anything you’ll find in the mainstream media.    But most  readers  don’t have the time or patience to wade through the dross to find the gold, a factor that continues to limit the size of the  potential  blog audience.   There’s no substitute for human editing  when it comes to  maintaining quality, interest and accessibility.    I’m hoping  Missing Link  will  attract subscribers who wouldn’t ordinarily bother with reading blogs very often, and thereby expose the best of blog writing to a whole new audience.  Feel free to give Missing Link a plug on your own blog in the common interest of building a larger audience for all of us.

News stuff

I’m amused by the cynics behind this site. The idea? To get hardcore religious fundamentalists, convinced that they’re going to disappear and be sent to heaven when the Rapture inevitable occurs, to pay money NOW in order to be able to send a message to their heathen loved ones once they go.

Lefty also reckons people pissed off about some Muslim students urinating on a Bible should just get over it.

insertnamehere has a more entertaining rant on this story at Spin Starts Here.

Amid all the various interpretations of the release of the new report on what to do in Iraq by the Iraq Study Group, we are told today that Australia was asked by former Defence Secretary Rumsfeld to ‘consider “embedding” Australian army troops with Iraqi army units as the US-led coalition moves to recast its future military presence in Iraq.’

Australia refused the request and for once I agree with the Government.   However, it does lay bare what is actually happening in Iraq so far as Australian troops are concerned.  


Another one where any caption is superfluous …

On many issues, such as higher education, the Centre for Independent Studies seems to care deeply about facts and data. But on certain topics, it seems only too happy to throw evidence out the window in favour of rhetoric. One of these is foreign aid. …

  • Want to export wheat your own way? Just try – economist Peter Martin analyses the politics and economics of Australia’s single desk wheat marketing system.   His initial version of this post suggested that Australian wheat farmers  opposed to this ridiculous scheme (i.e. the efficient and profitable ones)  might consider  illegally exporting wheat and daring   authorities to prosecute them.   However Peter seems now  to have decided that discretion is the better part of valour and deleted that paragraph.
  • Hizbollah’s way of fighting a war –  Rob from Better Part of Valour

Israel’s Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre has released a 300-page report, partly sourced from declassified IDF intelligence material, on the tactics employed by Hizbollah in fighting its war(s) against Israel. The focus is on the deliberate use of the civilian infrastructure and populations to provide shields against Israeli retaliation. …

Jenny Macklin may not survive as the ALP Shadow Education Minister, but if recent statements from the Dreaming Team are any guide, her 1970s worldview will continue to drive Labor higher education policy. Both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard appear to be Whitlamite nostalgists. …

Andrew also debunks some on the left who seem to have  “recontruct1 the conservative Robert Menzies as some kind of left-leaning social democrat”, pointing out that today’s Howard government spends vastly more per capita in real terms  on education, health and social security than did the Menzies government.   Indeed Howard spends more on these things than did the Whtilam government!!

Rumours of a Christmas holiday Cabinet reshuffle continue. Today’s Australian suggested that Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone’s colleagues are sharpening the knives against her. Earlier speculation hinted that the time was up for Environment Minister Ian Campbell. Arts Minister Rod Kemp and Roads Minister Jim Lloyd are among others rumoured to be in the departure lounge. …

Join the discussion in Bryan’s comment box.

  • Full house? (part three) – The Poll Bludger continues to dissect the snail’s pace vote count for the Victorian Upper House.   Apparently the odds of the DLP winning a seat have shortened.   I didn’t even know the DLP still existed!   Bob Santamaria will be squirming in his grave with excitement.


Science, technology and environment stuff

In yet another round of the controversy over discounting in the Stern Report, Megan McArdle refers to Stern’s use of “a zero or very-near-zero discount rate”. Similarly Bjorn Lomborg refers to the discount rate as “extremely low” and Arnold Kling complains says that it’s a below-market rate.

So what is the discount rate we are talking about?

It was almost lost in the fun and games of last week, but, quietly, the road to selling uranium to China was opened a little further. The parliamentary committee on treaties recommended the ratification of treaties allowing the export of uranium to China. …

Refusing to sell Australian uranium to them will make precisely zero difference to what China does with respect to nuclear weapons. It may, however, possibly result in them constructing more coal-fired power stations to fuel China’s booming demands for energy.


The Yartz


Finding GoMA

The brand new and just opened Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane is a lovely place. It’s huge, with a sequence of stunning, high ceiling spaces, polished wood floors, natural wood features, lots of light, flat roof and paved outside areas. It’s relaxing like a Better Homes and Gardens beach house, the kind of place where Peter Beattie can invite a few Labor mates over for a barbeque on a hot Saturday arvo next to the river. The art isn’t bad either. …

Check out this bollocks from Labor MP Lindsay Tanner. A sample:

I have never read Peter Carey, but I’ve read plenty of Peter Corris. Does this make me a bad person? Are my intellectual credentials fraudulent? I am the proud owner of all 79 Agatha Christie books. My Christie habit started when I was about 12 and I’ve never quite grown out of it. Should I be ashamed of myself? I find J.R.R. Tolkien way too complex and contrived, but I love the simplicity and moral force of the C.S. Lewis classics. Should I seek counselling?

Counselling? Well, maybe for the Lewis”¦

Tanner goes on to detail at some length his preference for detective novels and thrillers over “boring fiction”, because when “you read at every available spare moment, as I tend to, you can’t afford snobbery”. …

  • Australian literature in the universities – Laura responds at Sarsaparilla to a recent article in the Oz lamenting the demise of Australian literature courses at Australian universities.
  • Alison Croggon reviews Translations, a play  by Brian Friel, playing at The Malthouse in melbounre until 10 December (so you’ll have to be quick).


Whimsical stuff

  • NY Times Random Wankers – Sarah from The Voice of Today’s Apathetic Youth on spoiled rich women with silly little dogs, and other spoiled rich women with bad backs caused by very large shopping bags.
  • Paul from Two Peas No Pod photoblogs Vientiane in Laos (where he’s apparently working at the moment).   Worth a look.
  • Beautiful politicians – Andrew Leigh posts on (his) research finding that good-looking politicians are more likely to get elected (but not by much, so it’s probably still better to preselect someone rat cunning but ugly like John Howard if you want to win).
  • Tony the Teacher argues that: “One of the stupid aspects of modern cricket, apart from batsmen touching each other’s gloves, is the need to cram back-to-back Tests into the schedule.”
  • Long trip – Adrian the Cabbie

A middle aged fella yesterday morning ear-bashed me all the way to Penrith about money. How people spend way beyond their means on the never-never thanks to easy credit and poor discipline. He worked as a debt management agent whose task was to restructure bad debt. And surprisingly credit agencies are willing to come to arrangements on the basis that something is better than nothing. …

Ten bible verses that rarely get a run on Sunday. … I don’t know about you but I think an able-bodied daughter who is capable of milling wheat, carrying water and doing general hut-work is more valuable than 100 detached foreskins. …

As a teen, I took great delight in reading the letters idiots would send in to the “Dolly Doctor” section of Dolly magazine. You know the stuff – “I’ve got public pubic lice, what should I do?” or “I’m three months pregnant, what should I do?” or “I have weeping sores all over my hoo-ha, what should I do? …

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About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 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 the early 1990s.
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17 years ago

Great idea, Ken. Introduces us to blogs and posts that we’ve not seen before. It’s easy to get trapped into the same old round.

17 years ago

I like it and have subscribed.

17 years ago

Ken – hope this doesn’t regularly take up too much time and become a bore for you!

Steven Noble
17 years ago

In addition to the email newsletter, is there an RSS feed specifically for Missing Link? I know I’m in the minority on this, but these days RSS is the only way I consumer online news.