Wednesday’s Missing Link

           

Bill Leak cartoon from the Oz

As you may have noticed, Missing Link has been, well, missing for a week longer than planned.   I have no excuse other than holiday season torpor.

However, as Mark Bahnisch pointed out in a comment this morning, time, tide and the blogosphere wait for no-one, and there have been at least as many great posts as usual over the last 3 weeks of the Christmas break.   Nevertheless, I’m mostly going to ignore items posted earlier than the last week or so; partly because many of them are now as stale as last week’s bread, partly because Missing Link would just be too large, and partly because  I can’t be bothered.

One evident feature of blogging over the last week or so has been the amount of meta-blogging and inter-blog snarking, the latter probably flowing from post-festive season indigestion.   Anyway, there’s so much of it that I’ve inserted a separate section in today’s ML.

I should also mention that I intend being a bit  more selective in decisions for inclusion in Missing Link this year.   In the last few editions before Christmas, I mostly linked every blog  I could find that had commentary on a  given issue.   However, not only does that make the compilation task excessively time-consuming, it also arguably reduces  Missing Link’s value as a convenient digest of excellent blog posts.    I’ll now only be linking posts on a topic if I think they add something substantive to the discussion.   If they merely duplicate thoughts expressed better  on other blogs, or in the mainstream media, I generally won’t include them.  

Partly for that reason, I’m not linking any of the multitude of posts on Saddam’s hanging.   Not only is it old news now, but I couldn’t find a post that had anything terribly  original or interesting  to say.    Left-leaning bloggers lamented the evident but entirely predictable  double standards of John Howard  in applauding the execution, while RWDBs dismissed the lefties as terrorist-loving pussies while  arguing that Saddam was an evil tyrant who deserved to  die.   Yawn.    

Incidentally,  Best Blog Posts 2006 seems to be going great guns over at Online Opinion, several posts generating spirited comment threads, not to mention an accusation of plagiarism against Helen ‘scepticlawyer’ Dale which was hastily withdrawn when it became apparent that she was actually the victim rather than perpetrator of plagiarism.   Go over and check out the BBP2006 posts for yourself.   We’ll publish a complete listing at the end of January when they’ve all appeared at OLO.   Incidentally, it still isn’t too late to nominate great blog posts for inclusion in BBP2006.   There are still a few vacant slots in OLO’s January publishing schedule at the ordained rate of two BBP posts per day.   So feel free to make your bid for  blogging immortality (who wrote this crap? …).

 

News and politics stuff

 Iraq the model?

  • Bush is still not America – Tim Dunlop points out a fact that should be obvious to Alexander Downer, but apparently isn’t (or is it simply that the Democrats won’t be in power in the US until at least early 2009, and  Howard/Downer’s political  horizon currently doesn’t extend much beyond this year’s federal election?).
  • Lost on the planning fields of Harvard – Ken L reflects on the folly of   the apparent Bush plan for  a short-term boost to  US troop numbers in Iraq.
  • Darryl Mason focuses in detail on the Haditha massacre, the Iraq war’s equally horrific analogue of My Lai in Vietnam.
  • Stabilising Baghdad – Gary Sauer-Thompson ponders the wisdom of bolstering US troop numbers in Iraq for the purpose of fighting both Shiite and Sunni militias around Baghdad (which seems to be the strategy GWB is about to announce)

WorkChoices – a big election issue?

  • Andrew Norton thinks it’s overrated (see here, here and here).   Mark Bahnisch disagrees, but identifies some repositioning  in Labor’s rhetoric (if not substantive policy) on the issue (see here and here).   Personally I can’t see any other obvious explanation than voter concern about WorkChoices  for Labor’s consistently strong polling results (even under Beazley) over the last year or so.   Nevertheless, it isn’t like 1996; voters aren’t waiting for Howard with baseball bats, and winning this year’s election  remains a huge challenge for Ruddard.  

Other issues

  • The Prime Minister’s upcoming reshuffle – Senator Andrew Bartlett laments a likely further reduction in the number of Senators filling ministerial portfolios.
  • Hausseggerism rampant – Helen Smart rails against John Howard’s recent back to the ’50s musings  promoting stay-at-home motherhood.   Anna Winter earlier covered the same topic.
  • Adelaide Mosque – Tim Dunlop on Alexander Downer’s somewhat conflicted response to Saudi Arabian proposals to fund a new (Wahabbist?) mosque in the City of Churches/Serial Killers.
  • Dead, Yet not Dead – Ken L on the latest twists in the David Hicks saga.
  • Knockin’ on heaven’s door – Phil (not Gomes) looks at the situation in Zimbabwe, which seems to have fallen off the media radar what with events in Somalia, Sudan and so on.   If only GW Bush had actually been sincere about intervening in third world countries to overthrow dictators and foster democratic freedoms.
  • Idle speculation about the federal election – Poll Bludger William Bowe examines the new federal law requiring small political parties to prove repeatedly that they have at least  500 members.   There are important competing democratic values involved here, but I’ve yet to see a coherent discussion about them either in the MSM or blogosphere.
  • Fraser outfoxes Treasury – Peter Martin tells the story behind Malcolm Fraser’s successful 1976 gambit to rein in the all-powerful Treasury by splitting it in two.   Unlike other MSM articles on the same issue (flowing from release of arcival material under the 30 year rule),  Martin analyses the situation and  doesn’t  uncritically adopt the spin of either Fraser or  former Treasury head honcho John Stone.  
  • An oil-free society – Robert Merkel examines the former Swedish government’s  policies to reduce that country’s dependence on greenhouse gas-producing oil, but rather undermines the argument by observing that  its centre-left coalition government lost office soon after adopting them!  
  • The rise of political familism – Andrew Norton argues that both Labor and the Coalition are getting carried away with expensive “pro-family” policies to the serious detriment of single people and “empty nesters”.
  • Disgrace: treason and racism orgy – Andrew Landeryou asks some pertinent questions about Bankstown City Council’s plans to facilitate a conference by Islamic organisation  Hizb ut-Tahrir.   The conference theme involves promoting the Islamic “caliphate” (religious empire).   It’s a bit of a worry given that most such plans I’ve seen show northern Australia including Darwin as part of the “caliphate”.   Is this taking multicultural tolerance a bridge too far?   But there may be a silver lining.   Jen reckons she’s getting so fat that she’d be quite happy to wear a burkha.

 

Metablogging and inter-blog snark

Metablogging

  • Pessimistic about our nihilism – Glen Fuller blogs in depth about blogging, in a challenging critique of an equally challenging piece about  blogging by European academic Geert Lovink.   Both are well worth reading if you have the patience to tolerate wading through  rivers of  pretentious, obscurantist post-modernist jargon.
  • Posting with Passion: Blogs and the Politics of Gender – Melissa Gregg (a few formatting problems but worth reading).
  • To photoblog or not to photoblog – Mark Bahnisch develops some aspects of both Melissa Gregg’s and Glen Fuller’s posts.   Bloggers love nothing better than a good old-fashioned navel gaze.

Snark

  • Jeremy Sear (the blogger formerly known as Anonymous Lefty) reckons Andrew Landeryou  and sundry henchmen are  out to get him.
  • Kerryn ‘Pavlov’s Cat’ Goldsworthy doesn’t think much of Yobbo’s taste in porn.   Neither do  I if it comes to that.
  • Tim Lambert slags Tim Blair for accusing an Asian-American tourist of fabricating a claim of racist behaviour at New Year’s Eve fireworks.   The fact that neither Tim has the faintest idea  where the truth lies, and that  the whole thing is  mind-blowingly trivial anyway, is arguably the most attractive aspect of this story.  
  • Tim Blair reveals that recent blogosphere arrival Hyperidiotan Bannerman is actually  professedly retired blogger Niall Cook in disguise.   It explains a lot.  
  • Andrew Norton complains that Troppo’s Don Arthur stole his “mummy/daddy party” hypothesis (well, to be more accurate it’s George Lakoff’s hypothesis, but Andrew reckons he  appropriated it first!).
  • Over at Spin Starts Here, imaginatively named blogger ‘insertnamehere’ argues that Marieke ‘Ms Fits’ Hardy has a serious conflict of interest by accepting a role as television critic for  The Age newspaper’s Green Guide while still being an active TV scriptwriter.  It’s a fairly thin argument, but I couldn’t resist The Hack’s delightfully malevolent comment box observations  about Ms Fits, who must surely be Australia’s least talented blogger/scriptwriter:

INH, if blogging has taught me anything (and I like to think that it has), it’s that it is exceedingly poor form to pick on other bloggers – no matter how vapid, stupid, hopelessly conflicted or benefitted by nepotism. We don’t need your nastiness and negativity here, man. …

Marieke certainly has her fingers in quite a number of pies for a woman who wrote and produced the least successful Australian TV series since Above the Law. It’s all most curious and certainly has nothing to do with her famous author grandfather or TV producer parents.

 

Mad bad sad and glad

   

President meets King
  • Elvis meets Nixon – Darryl Mason examines one of the more bizarre if little-known events in US political history.
  • Concerned busybodies want coca-cola ban – Sam   ‘Yobbo’ Ward has a point.
  • Vale – ‘St John Nottlesby’ blogs a light-hearted but moving obituary to his grandfather.
  • Superheroes ride again – John ‘Dreadnought’ Heard writes entertainingly about two 80s  cartoon superheroes whose fantasy existence had completely escaped my attention.
  • The jerk – taxi drivers (to the ranks of whom I once belonged) often have to put up with complete arseholes as passengers (and sometimes vice versa, to be fair).   Adrian the Cabbie tells the story of  one of them.  
  • In defence of the plastic bag – Heath Gibson makes a persuasive case against Ian Kiernan’s campaign to ban plastic shopping bags.
  • American smile – ‘Human Behaviour’ describes a typical(?) American dentists’s surgery.   It doesn’t quite make me yearn for root canal therapy but …
  • Comicstriphero‘ lists some Christmas holiday pet hates.   I’ve sometimes  wondered why Canberrans put up with the ‘Summernats’ and the execrable bogans who attend them.   Probably because most of them are in Narooma on holidays anyway, I suspect.
  • Meat pies, football, kangaroos  and … – Cam blogs about GMH’s apparent success in exporting the latest Commodore SS to the US rebadged as a Pontiac.   And you thought Australian secondary industry was moribund?
  • Wolf Creek: Misogynist fantasy for serial killer wannabes – Benoit Balz reviews this oz movie now out on DVD (although it only very recently had a cinema release in Darwin given its close similarities to aspects of the Bradley Murdoch case).

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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Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

Happy new year, Ken, and nice to see Missing Link back. The sharper focus is a good idea too, I think.

Just an aside on your commentary on IR:

Personally I can’t see any other obvious explanation than voter concern about WorkChoices for Labor’s consistently strong polling results (even under Beazley) over the last year or so. Nevertheless, it isn’t like 1996; voters aren’t waiting for Howard with baseball bats, and winning this year’s election remains a huge challenge for Ruddard.

That’s pithily put, and spot on, I think.

One more aside. Mel Gregg’s piece which you linked to isn’t strictly speaking a blog post, but rather an electronic posting of her chapter from the edited book Uses of Blogs. That doesn’t diminish it at all of course!

It’s a nice little story of blog driven collaboration as well as BBP06. The link I’ve posted is to Alex’ blog – he’s one of the editors. He and fellow Brisblogger and QUT academic Jo Jacobs sourced most of the contributors from the blogosphere as well.

Speaking of which, look out for a forthcoming QUT hosted conference (which Ken will be happy to hear is convened by a blogging academic from the Law Faculty) this year in Brisbane. I won’t say more because it’s still at the early planning stages.

Great to see comicstriphero get a well deserved link – she’s one of my favourites among the very many excellent Canberra based bloggers.

Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

I should have made it clear that the QUT conference is on blogging! Hopefully that’s implied.

Yobbo
Yobbo
14 years ago

How does Tim know that’s actually Niall’s new blog?

I have to admit it does look like pure Niall though. The self-superiority coupled with outright stupidity is a dead giveaway.

I bet he thinks he’s the smartest man in the world for snatching the “waddayano.org” URL too. He’s probably told everyone he meets (except for any slanty-eyed cunts).

skepticlawyer
14 years ago

Was I the victim of said plagiarism? Goodness, I haven’t even got to the piece that was linked. I wonder if the copyist pinched my translations as well? You see, there’s a mistake in one of ’em – only noticed it the other day.

I do wish people would think before going off half-cocked. It saves on eating shoe-leather.

That is all.

skepticlawyer
14 years ago

Thanks Ken. I’ll go and check it out.

I must admit I don’t much care, to be fair. I know what I wrote, I’m vain enough to think I’m a pretty good writer, and I’m well known enough (at least in Australia, NZ and the UK) for people to be able to spot what’s mine and draw their own conclusions.

Darlene
14 years ago

There’s a connection between Mel Gregg’s article and “Snark”.

The differences between the way the “boys” (as opposed to the grown men) blog and women blog makes me proud to be a gal.

Just had a look at Landeryou’s blog with its endless accusations against Jeremy Sear and the inference that a man who works in childcare is a pederast. Excuse me while I have a shower.

comicstriphero
14 years ago

I’ve sometimes wondered why Canberrans put up with the ‘Summernats’ and the execrable bogans who attend them. Probably because most of them are in Narooma on holidays anyway, I suspect.

You’ve hit the collectively-bargained, public-service Christmas shut-down week, nail on the head there Ken.

This time of year, Y-plated cars outnumber NSW plated cars on the South Coast by about 5-1.

Also, I’d say about 35% of South Coast real-estate is owned by 50-something Canberra public servants. At about 3pm each Friday, (until about Anzac Day, when the weather changes), each public service department experiences a massive evacuation of middle management, keen to get on the coast-road before nightfall (failing eyesight, you see).

tim
tim
14 years ago

Gaze upon the Great Niall, Yobbo!

Caz
Caz
14 years ago

That and the fact the website is registered to Niall’s wife Melanie kinda gives it away.

Francis X Holden
14 years ago

I haven’t been able to access any of Sauer-Thompson’s sites in about a month or so. Ken – so you are getting them up?

Francis X Holden
14 years ago

ken – it’s weird:

Forbidden
You don’t have permission to access / on this server.

Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

——————————————————————————–

Apache/1.3.34 Server at http://www.sauer-thompson.com Port 80

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
14 years ago

i have the same problem, FXH

Francis X Holden
14 years ago

jacques – hello – you there? Is Gary blocking IPs? or something. Must be accidental who would group me and Jason Soon together as undesirables? On second thoughts…..

Darlene
14 years ago

That must have been a long six months, Ken.

I did give up blogging for a bit, so I don’t think you missed anything.

Darlene
14 years ago

PS – Jason is an economist, so…undesirable.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
14 years ago

must be our musical taste, FXH

Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

Jason’s an “eclectic intellectual” I believe. You should have business cards made up.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21045070-31501,00.html

Fyodor
14 years ago

LOL. You can tell he’s eclectic because he won’t wear a suit, the hippy.

Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

Does Frank Devine wear a suit?

I await breathlessly reports from Jason on what topics Frank muses on in any electic intellectual salons that may be established.

Fyodor
14 years ago

That’s a little catty, Mark – you’re just jealous Jase got the title before you did.

Personally, I’m going for the title of “emetic intellectual”.

Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

I’m still proud of being dubbed by a Santamaria socialist “pseudo-leftie pseudo-intellectual from the leafy western suburbs” even a decade on, Fyodor.

Fyodor
14 years ago

You should get that on a t-shirt. Or, given your perverse sartorial taste, some abomination like a purple hoodie.

skepticlawyer
14 years ago

Frank wears a suit, Mark. We were rather tickled when we learned that catallaxy is one of Frank’s daily reads, so don’t be catty ;)

Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

Just call it cattyblogging, SL :)

Fyodor, I’m intermittently back in suit wearing mode at the moment, but I’ll certainly contemplate getting the appropriate purple hoodie for winter relaxation.

Fyodor
14 years ago

Heh. There’s a good tagline for Catallaxy:

“Waking Frank Devine”

Francis X Holden
14 years ago

jason – i think that Gary S-T would, in general, approve of both our musical tastes.

Other than that I can’t see what we have in common. F’rinstance I dress well, I’m not an economist, I don’t keep comics (or reds) under the bed, I’m a “role model” for both old and young, and I’m hip.

Francis X Holden
14 years ago

all this banter is fine but the real issue is that many people (more than Soon and me?) cannot seem to access GS-T’s (many) blogs and websites. I can’t even find an email address to let him know. Can someone dump Gary’s address here please.