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comment threads, not to mention an accusation of plagiarism against Helen ‘scepticlawyer’ Dale which was hastily withdrawn when it became apparent that she was actually the victim rather than perpetrator of plagiarism.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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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 Hyperidi
otan 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).