Smoke over Victoria as at Friday – I guess it was much worse by yesterday – image via David Tiley
Touring around the blogs this morning reveals that there are quite a few who have stowed away the keyboard early for the Christmas break. Fortunately there are still lots who continue to pound away and produce great material. Heavy Kevie’s shadow ministerial reshuffle is, of course, the most widely blogged issue.
I also feature some serious even somber posts on “women’s issues” courtesy of a some timely linking by Kerryn ‘Pavlov’s Cat’ Goldsworthy. They’re in the section formerly titled “whimsical stuff”, which I’ve now re-titled “Mad Bad Sad and Glad”, not only because Laura complained but because quite a few of the posts I highlight there can’t really be called ‘whimsical’.
Politics and news stuff
- Rudd’s reshuffle – commentary is provided by Andrew Bartlett, Saint in a Straitjacket, Bryan Palmer and Modia Minotaur.
- Ominously for Rudd, however, Bryan Palmer also points that the sports betting bookies (who have usually been significantly more accurate than opinion polls) still have the Coalition as strong favourites to win the next federal election.
- Tracking Fiji’s Latest Coup – A roundup of the last week – Mark Hayes, an academic specialising in the South pacific, has a very extensive coverage of the latest Fiji coup, including lots of links. An invaluable resource.
- State burns, people wait … – David ‘Barista’ Tiley blogs the Victorian bushfires (photos and comment).
- Questions asked (humbly) – Anonymous Lefty
There’s a lot to be said for the notion that administrative functions of the Bar relating to the treatment of its members, such as how it decides who’s going to be endorsed as an SC and who isn’t, should be open and transparent.
The problem is that whether the current process actually is just or not (and don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying it isn’t), the secrecy makes it look as though it isn’t. …
And there is, of course, another question quietly asked – is it necessary to have “silks” at all? Should the Bar be stepping in and endorsing some senior barristers over others? Or should who’s brilliant or not be simply left to the “market” to decide?
- Miranda Watch – Bloggers love attacking easy targets, and there’s none easier than the Sydney Morning Herald’s egregious ultra-conservative pundit Miranda Devine. Don Arthur demolishes her arguments against Andrew Leigh and Amy King’s research about good-looking politicians, while Tim Dunlop debunks her latest effort on the Iraq War (all insurgencies last 9 years, so we just have to stay the course, and anyone who doubts this is a traitor).
- Sunday Op-Heads – Phil Gomes wanders round the Sunday mainstream media op-ed columns, slagging the usual suspects (Blair, Bolt, Ackerman etc)(see above re easy targets)
- How to Hang Saddam – Darryl Mason
The most popular job in Iraq right now may well be as chief execution of Saddam Hussein. However, the gig isn’t up for grabs because it doesn’t exist. But that hasn’t stopped hundreds of Iraqis from actively lobbying the Maliki government to become Saddam’s executioner.
- Destroy the Planet for Fun – Tim Blair is a “head in the sand” denialist on global warming, but his takedown of left wing pundit George Monbiot is worth reading. Monbiot condemns just about all sports for their contribution to carbon emissions, and advocates that we all take up frisbee throwing instead!!!
- The media gets what the media wants – Guy at Polemica
Now, with the emergence of Rudd, the media have got what it has wanted all along. Bored of Beazley, suddenly there is someone fresh and new on the hustings to bait on a day-to-day basis. Take this pearler of an attack from Mark Riley in Rudd’s first press conference as leader …
Rudd’s “fork in the road” may not be an astonishing addition to the popular political lexicon of this country, but it captures in a nutshell what he was trying to communicate. You can bet your bottom dollar that if Rudd had unwound with 45 minutes of new policy in that press conference, we wouldn’t have read much different the following morning over breakfast or seen anything different on the nightly news. …
- NSW $25m Compo for Tunnel Company – “John the Analyst”
NSW Roads Minister announced a $25 million deal with owners of the Lane Cove Tunnel to delay road works . Contracted road closures associated with the (Sydney) Cross City Tunnel caused a voter backlash against the State Government.
However, it should be noted that the lane closures and other associated road works with the Lane Cove Tunnel haven’t been scrapped – only delayed! They will happen – after the State election in March next year. …
- Death of Pinochet – John Quiggin has a simple (and joyful) take, while Cameron Riley posts on the economic consequences of freedom compared with Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile.
- Emergency Run Local Government – Cameron Riley points out that the penchant of governments to claim an emergency so as to assume extraordinary powers (e.g. Commodore Bianimarama in Fiji even though he created the emergency he now claims to be solving!!) is not confined to national or even state governments. In Washington DC even the local council has got in on the act!!
- David Williamson does it again! – Rafe Champion
David Williamson writes “Excessive stereotyping reduces real debate to childish slanging matches”. What a pity he did not take that on board before he wrote his latest piece of soft cock and bull instead of inserting it as an afterthought in the last para of his essay….
He is concerned about the alleged tribal divide between the neoconservatives of the Quadrant set and the people who they excoriate with labels like soft left, latte left, nanny state activists, merchants of misery, etc. His point is (possibly) that the bad guys have used their dominance (somewhere) to create stereotypes of the left versus “ordinary Australians”, so that the necons have managed to set themselves (ourselves?) up as the friends and defenders of the ordinary people, contra the genuine good guys of the soft left. …
- The misconceived David Hicks crusade – Mirko ‘The Torturer’ Bagaric calculatedly courts controversy for the umpteenth time.
Science, technology and environment stuff
- Zombie alert – Tim Lambert pays out on libertarian blogger John Humhreys for some especially ignorant points on global warming science.
- Finding an answer to Darwin’s Dilemma – BJS at Science Blog
The sudden appearance of large animal fossils more than 500 million years ago a problem that perplexed even Charles Darwin and is commonly known as “Darwin’s Dilemma” may be due to a huge increase of oxygen in the world’s oceans, says Queen’s paleontologist Guy Narbonne, an expert in the early evolution of animals and their ecosystems.
Mad Bad Sad and Glad
Daily Flute’s AWB cartoon (mentioned in dispatches on ABC TV The Insiders wrap of the year in cartooning
(the section formerly known as “whimsical stuff”)
- Some days you make the choice, some days the choice makes you – Kerryn ‘Pavlov’s Cat’ Goldsworthy
There have of late, in my corner of the blogosphere, been a number of brilliantly written and pensive posts (see links below) about the balancing, for women, of life and work, about creativity of both the Artist and the Offspring varieties, about choices made and chances lost, about what we choose and why we choose it and how we react when the gods step in and deliver some cruel, wild blow of chance. …
A. Duck and I share a gynaecological peculiarity — she’s talked about it somewhere on her blog, but I can’t find it — that makes it considerably more difficult to have children and may explain, in my case, why I’m practically the only woman of my age I know who has never accidentally conceived. …
I don’t have kids, being from a generation of women for whom if you wanted to survive in academe it was almost fatal to get pregnant, and almost impossible to establish, develop and sustain the kind of relationship you’d want to be well into before you even thought about having kids. …
By the time I got out of the academy, the maternal moment was well past; I think the day I realised that particular option had closed was the day the man in the furniture van delivered my new sofa, and I looked at its blinding, spotless whiteness and realised my subconscious had spoken. …
- Gathering strength – Ampersand Duck writes movingly of her (most recent) miscarriage, an event quite a lot of women and couples experience but whose impact is often underrated (even by ourselves)
- Don’t tell her to be positive – Stephanie ‘Humanities Researcher’ Trigg
In one of the little brochures that came with the “My Journey” pack put together by the Breast Cancer Network Australia, there is some terrific advice for “Helping a friend or colleague with breast cancer.” Some of this seems very locally specific: I doubt that the restorative powers of Tim Tams are recognised in the US, for example; and I can think of many finer ways of introducing the beneficial anti-oxidant properties of the cocoa bean into the body. Mostly the advice is very sensible, and makes even more sense to me now than it did when I first read it. It is just over a month since my official diagnosis (and about seven weeks since I first noticed the incriminating dimple in a hotel bathroom in St Louis). Under the “Things that won’t help” section, one suggestion rings with me today. “Don’t tell her to ‘Be positive'”.
- Breaking up is hard to do – Kate
I’m so sorry, my darling Career, it’s not you, it’s me. Actually, I think it’s both of us. We’ve been together in some sort of way for about a decade now, but it’s just not working out. You see, all this time you’ve been hiding your feelings from me: that you think I’m not a very good writer, that I don’t cope with deadlines, that I’m a little over-trusting and naive. You might be right. …
- Removing the foot from my mouth one toe at a time – gay blogger Aaron Hewett recounts embarrassing himself at a gay bar while trying to reassure (or so he claims) a straight bloke.
- Dickhead of the day – Sarah tells a familiar story of their home being burgled while they slept.
- Goodbye Ten – Hyperidian Bannerman blogs the V8 Supercars season finale.
- Robbie 2 – Adrian the Cabbie writes about a loving middle-aged couple who decided they couldn’t hack the Robbie Williams concert in Sydney. (Personally I’d question their taste and sanity for even attending in the first place)
- The bra that doesn’t uplift – Artists sucking on the public nipple of grant funding is a favourite topic of right wing columnists when they run out if ideas, but I can’t help agreeing with Andrew Bolt that $7000 for a bra containing a vial of human liposuction fat is a fairly spectacular example of gross waste of taxpayers’ money on wankers who need to get a real job. Caz agrees, as do most of TSSH’s band of caustic commenters.
- Bill O’Reilly versus an 8 year old girl – Peter Black unearths a couple of very amusing YouTube videos featuring Foxnews’ self-caricature.