Howard’s End? Matthew Talbot Hostel for Homeless Politicians, as imagined by Aussie Bob at Road to Surfdom
There hasn’t really been any clearly dominant issue in the political blogosphere over the last couple of days. I suppose it reflects the onset of the Christmas silly season, with the pollies and most TV programs and political journalists off on holidays, and the Third Test on the tellie (with Monty ‘Python’ Panesar bamboozling the Aussies as Shane Warne does the Poms).
It’s an opportune time to explain the criteria I use in deciding what posts to highlight for Missing Link. First, I abstract posts irrespective of whether I agree with what the writer is saying. Primarily I’m looking for some significant element of original comment or analysis. That means I rarely if ever select posts that consist only of a couple of hyperlinks and a quote from one or two articles in the mainstream media. That is the “traditional” sort of blogging pioneered by people like Instapundit and, in Australia, Tim Blair. It’s clearly popular with lots of readers, because those bloggers attract really large and loyal audiences. Frankly, however, that sort of blogging doesn’t interest me very much. I’m not interested in Tim’s glib one-liners (except on the very odd occasion when they’re actually funny and incisive), and I can read the mainstream media for myself. Thus, because Missing Link is my personal selection of the blogosphere writing I find interesting, it has an unashamed bias towards what some have called “essay blogging”, that is posts that actually have something original to say and which take the time to explain and develop an argument at least to some extent.
News and politics stuff
Palm Island – the killing of Mulrunji
- Following Queensland DPP Leanne Clare’s announcement yesterday that no charges will be laid against the Queensland police officer found by the Coroner to be responsible for the death of Palm Island man ‘Mulrunji’ in police custody, Ken Parish (modestly highlighting myself) examines the circumstances of the killing and the record of DPP Leanne Clare, while Andrew Bartlett points to the incongruity produced by the fact that some Pslm island rioters recently had their sentences increased in order to deter riotous behaviour. Deterrence, it seems, at least in Queensland, is a concept that doesn’t apply to violent policemen.
Rudd – reading the first tea-leaves
- Mark Bahnisch fears Heavy Kevy is adopting a small target strategy. Don Arthur disagrees. Both analyses are subtle and well considered and streets ahead of anything you’ll read in the mainstream media.
- Two of the venerable pioneers of the Australian political blogosphere go head to head on Australia’s recent economic history, each spinning an opposing story from the same set of facts. We blog you decide! (where have I heard that before?)
Other political issues
- No more troops – Tim Dunlop analyses the latest twists and turns in US debate about what to do in Iraq. His closing quote is perhaps the starkest testimony I’ve yet seen to the horror and seeming hopelessness of the current situation:
… In a recent interview with The Washington Post’s Anthony Shadid, a woman named Fatima put it this way: “One-third of us are dying, one-third of us are fleeing, and one-third of us will be widows.” At the Baghdad morgue, they distinguish Shia from Sunnis because the former are beheaded and the latter are killed with power drills.
- What the world needs now – Eric Martin with further detailed analysis of some American neocon efforts to rewrite history in the wake of the death of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
- Howard opens window looks outside – Aussie Bob with a very funny rewriting of a typically credulous Age article about a John Howard pronouncement on climate change, capturing the uncritical sycophancy that passes for journalism in much of the Canberra Press Gallery at present.
- Vic election washup – Rex Ringschott summarises the results and makes a few pithy observations.
- The Iranian Holocaust Conference attracts the usual cranks – Antony Lowenstein.
- DLP + ALP: History Reborn – Gary Sauer-Thompson
… Are the Greens worse than the DLP or Family First? Obviously yes, for the socially conservative wing of the [Labor] party, which is deeply opposed to the decriminalisation of abortion and gay civil unions. The Greens are the enemy. The DLP is a friend. Is this how the rank-and-file Labor members see things? …
- DLP breathes life into Democrats – Graham Young gives a timely reminder on why the conventional wisdom that the Democrats are dead ducks at the next federal election is misconceived:
… In the latest polls the Australian Democrats have been polling around 5% in a number of states, which is better than the DLP did in Victoria. Added to that, the quota in a senate election where there are six positions available, is lower than for a Victorian region where there are only 5 positions.
So, if the ADs can convince all the major parties they’re an easier group to work with than the Greens and that preference strategies ought to reflect this, they may do better than all the pundits predict. …
- The pleasure of centrality – “Human Behaviour” – the thoughts of an American centrist who clearly hasn’t been in Australia very long:
… I wish more US politicians wrote articles for mass public consumption in the major newspapers. I believe Abbott to be a sincere, contemplative, and patriotic Australian – despite being a monarchist (that, I just don’t get). I do not agree with
manymost of his positions, but I respect them, because I believe they are honestly formed with thoughtful consideration and courage. …
- Unsentimental about Qantas – Peter Martin
… The new Qantas will find it hard to play the patriotism card. The government might start acting in the interests of travelers instead.
- Catch the Fire Ministries v Islamic Council of Victoria Inc: Free speech wins – just – Helen ‘scepticlawyer’ Dale blogs yesterday’s decision in favour of two Christian fundie preachers who slagged Islam and were charged under Victoria’s Orwellian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001. It’s a technical win not a vindication of constitutional free speech principles.
- What is the likely effect of the citizenship test on public opinion? – Andrew Norton argues ingeniously that Howard’s citizenship test might (counter-intuitively) actually serve to increase support for the current very large migration program. He may even be right. If popular xenophobic fears are dulled by essentially meaningless measures like this, the Howard government will be free to continue importing huge numbers of skilled workers under its 457 Visa scheme, thereby simultaneously keeping a lid on local skilled wages and avoiding any need for employers or government to invest in enhanced skills training of Australian workers. It’s a win-win strategy, except for Australian workers.
- PAPER TIGER: Australian Foreign Investment Laws Are A National Joke – in the wake of the announcement of a revised (and likely successful) private equity bid for Qantas, Andrew Landeryou writes on the broader issue of Australia’s foreign investment regulatory regime.
Life and other serious stuff
- A trilogy of posts by DogPossum about history, dance, coolness and the blues:
- just a couple of thoughts about cold, hot and va-va-voom
- a long story about blues, women, feminism and dance
- hot and cool
- Going private – Susoz muses about the issues surrounding public versus private schools as her son goes into primary school (a bit early I would have thought, but apparently many kids start at private schools in Year 3).
- Inspiring teachers – Andrew Leigh writes about a new ANU award (which he apparently suggested) where great high school teachers are honoured based on nominations of teachers who inspired them from the ANU graduating class each year. What a great idea. Teaching is an extraordinarily important profession but bizarrely has always tended to enjoy fairly low status in Australia. Why, I wonder?
- Protecting us from ourselves – Steve Edney weighs up the arguments for and against having the right to order one’s own pathology tests (rather than needing a referral from a GP).
[No time for an arts section today – I’ll include it in Monday’s edition.]
Mad Bad Sad and Glad
- How To Tell Whether It’s Christmas: a Quiz (multiple choice) – Pavlov’s Cat
You know it’s Christmas when
a) the pianist in David Jones is playing carols instead of the Moonlight Sonata or I Could Have Danced All Night.
b) you’re momentarily blinded at the wheel by the sun reflecting off the tinsel in the neighbours’ rose bushes. ….
- Inhofe’s conspiracy theory – Tim Lambert blogs about some loopy US Republican politician who reckons global warming is a UN conspiracy:
Why did the UN cook up the idea of global warming? To “shut down the machine called America.” In fact, we learned, global warming is a plot to destroy the US economy and to initiate one-world government–a goal not only of the UN but of the American political left more broadly. …
- Where? Where crass commercialism? I can’t see it… – Guy from Polemica
You’d have to think it says something about the “true” meaning of Christmas when it appears more likely that you’ll receive a Christmas card from your local plumber than anyone you actually know. [I don’t get any either, but I strongly suspect that it’s because I don’t send them.]
- Unexpected turn in history wars – David Tiley
Australian researchers are delighted by the discovery of a fossilised hamburger twenty metres south of the “Mungo Man” gravesite in south-western New South Wales.
“Righteous Glow Productions”, a documentary company jointly owned by Dr Keith Windschuttle and Janet Albrechtson, today announced a presale with Channel Ten to document what presenter Christopher Pearson has called “an approaching firestorm of lies” from anthropologists in Australian universities.
Scientists appointed during the Whitlam years are claiming the prehistoric lump of fast food proves that Aborigines had a sophisticated society around the once fertile lagoons some forty thousand years ago. …
- In search of good online video – legal academic Peter Black shares knowledge about some useful facilities that assist in locating videos that may interest you from YouTube etc. I alwats wondered how people managed to find videos in those sorts of repositories.
- Merry Corpse-mas – Caz
Skel seemed utterly ungrateful for the thoughtful Leunig calendar I gave him at the TSSH office Christmas party. I’m starting to wish I pulled Desci’s name out of the Secret Santa hat instead, because I’ve just found the perfect gift for her. A subscription to “Girls and Corpses” magazine …