Predictably, the blogosphere is full of posts about GW Bush’s “Iraq surge” policy announced yesterday. At least, that’s true of the left and centrist blogosphere. I can’t find even a single post about it amongst Australian RWDB bloggers. Can anyone point me towards one? On the left and centre, the volume of posts on this topic is so great that I’ve had to be fairly selective, which means that quite a few worthy posts aren’t linked.
The arts blogs are also fairly quiet at the moment, most seemingly taking a prolonged Christmas break. Nevertheless, I’ve included the usual Friday Yartz section. I might as well again appeal for help with compiling an arts digest for Missing Link once a week. I don’t really have either the time or knowledge to do it justice, so if there’s anyone out there willing to assist I’d be most grateful. There are lots of Australian visual arts, book and theatre blogs that I seldom get time to peruse.
Anyway, on with the show.
News and politics stuff
Iraq and the “surge”
- Joining the lip service and Bush ignores reality – Tim Dunlop
- ‘Winning’ in Iraq – Ken Lovell
- New Miracle Surge! – Jeremy Sear
- Pro-war bias – John Quiggin analyses the “surge” and reactions to it by reference to recent research by Kahnemann and Renshon on aspects of cognitive bias.
- When did we last hear this sort of stuff and nonsense? – Terry Sedgwick draws an obvious parallel (at least for old farts like him and me) between Bush’s new “surge” + Iraqification policy and Nixon’s 1969 Vietnamization policy.
- Iraq: when will responsibility bite? – DW Griffiths muses about possible domestic electoral impacts of Howard’s continuing professed support for a losing war
- Waiting for the accountability moment – Mark Bahnisch deals with the same topic and argues that the impact may already be reflected in opinion polling.
- We’re there because we’re there – Andrew Elder
Other news-ish topics
- Mr Catmeat requires context – Tim Blair examines the appalling Sheikh Hilaly’s latest appalling utterances. Personally I’d support a tightly drafted federal law to strip this odious little man of his citizenship and deport him. Even Niall Cook agrees!
- What I’m writing – why do referendums fail? – Paul Norton
- Has Schwarzenegger crossed the floor? – Paul Mitchell reflects on some distinctly “girly-man-ish” policy stances recently adopted by the Governator.
- Roll Rastafari Chariot Along – Eric Martin with a detailed 3 part analysis (here and here with part 3 still to come) of the current situation in Somalia and its implications.
- Vote 1 Labor – not yet, Ken Lovell argues, but Rex Ringschott at Labor First (predictably) reckons he’s being a bit harsh on Ruddard. Mind you, I don’t think Howard’s strategists will be losing too much sleep over either Ken’s or Rex’s opinion, because neither is likely to be preferencing the Coalition ahead of Labor any time before hell freezes over.
- Election year staff boost for MPs – Andrew Bartlett highlights the latest resourcing rort favouring incumbent federal pollies in general and the Coalition in particular. You seldom hear about this in the mainstream media, because it doesn’t suit either major party to focus on it and the Parliamentary Press Gallery are largely too lazy to go out and look for stories themselves.
Life and other serious stuff
- Does diversity affect what we think about the welfare state (or its size)? Yes, says Andrew Leigh, but fellow economist Andrew Norton doubts it.
- The Killers – Helen ‘scepticlawyer’ Dale on genocide, Saddam and related matters. Recommended reading.
- None so deaf as those who cannot hear – David ‘Barista’ Tiley with a wonderful piece about deafness and associated issues.
- Childcare, taxes and corporations – “John the Analyst” argues for abolition of current childcare subsidies and tax breaks, and their replacement by a fully public childcare system.
- Most forecasts are crap – Peter Martin presents a compelling case. I especially liked this passage:
My own view is that we need delusional optimism in order to survive childhood. And when we become adults we often join corporations (or public service departments) in which delusional optimism is encouraged.
In most jobs it counts against you to admit that you don’t know, or are not sure, or that you have doubts.
Whoever has the least doubt gets promoted, becomes manager and gets their optimistic proposals accepted, often with disastrous results.
- Pollution and rainfall – Robert Merkel takes a sceptical look at claims that industrial pollution is adversely afffecting Australian rainfall.
From The Art Life
- Pursuing happiness – Darlene Taylor blogs about the forthcoming (opened today in Oz) movie The Pursuit of Happyness after seeing its star Will Smith interviewed on Oprah.
- On tragedy – Alison Croggon links to an interesting discussion on US theatre blogs.
- ‘Paul F****n’ Robinson!’ – David Nichols muses about the seemingly vanishing taboo on use of the “f” word on Australian television after it was used on Neighbours (apparently).
- Stage Noise – not a blog at all, but Diana Simmonds’ new site is a wonderful resource for arts-related stuff, including theatre and visual arts reviews, a “what’s on” section and lots more. David Tiley’s Screen Hub should also be mentioned here. It’s more a news digest for TV and film-related stories from the MSM than a source for reviews and criticism, but it’s also a great resource.
Mad bad sad and glad
- Armagnac blogs the birth of a brand new baby daughter. Congratulations!
- Look! Up in the Sky! Is it Absurd? Is it a Pain? No! It’s Superlativeman! – Tim T draws our attention to a Melbourne ‘performance artist’ aiming to talk entirely in quotes/cliches for the next 2 1/2 years. I’m awestruck with admiration, and wish her the best of British luck.
- Buying bad things – Sarah discussed her ethical shopping practices. Me? I’ve never lost any sleep over using plastic bags or products from third world countries where child labour remains a problem, or even disposable nappies when Bec was a baby. Moreover, I fail to see how “buying Australian” is an ethical choice (despite the self-promoting antics of Dick Smith), unless you think it’s ethical for Australia to keep getting richer and richer while poor countries are denied the opportunity to get richer as well by selling goods to us even where they’re cheaper and better. I’m sure Sarah’s heart’s in the right place, but her brain is another issue.
- Susoz doesn’t think much of motor racing in general or the Paris-Dakar race in particular. Glen Fuller disagrees (or at least I think he does, assuming I’ve managed to translate his impeccably po-mo jargon into English) and posts a masterly and entertaining po-mo riff on motor racing. Glen may well be Australia’s most over-educated rev-head.
- Adam Smith spinning in his grave – Tim Lambert posts on yet another right wing idiot global warming denialist, this time claiming to be an economist and posting at the Adam Smith Institute blog. I bet Nicholas Gruen would be spinning in his grave too, except that he’s still very much alive.