Missing Link

Courtesy of Daily Flute

This exciting and fun-packed edition compiled and edited by Ken Parish, James Farrell, Helen Dale, Jason Soon, Cam Riley and our new arts recruit (taking over from Darlene Taylor) Amanda “Flop-Eared Mule” Rose.  Welcome to the “Troppo Cabal”, Amanda.   Thanks for your contributions Darlene, and thanks also to others who volunteered to assist with the arts category.  You may yet be called upon: Missing Link has had a fairly rapid contributor burnout rate so far.

1. News and Politics Stuff

Tim Dunlop is “as scared of getting blown up on a bus or a plane as the next person”, but is nonetheless confused by the latest exhortation, this time from Janet Albrechtsen, to  preserve our freedoms by curtailing them.

On a related theme, Gam detects a resemblance between the confessions of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the ones obtained for the Moscow Trials. Apathetic to the last, he rehearses some excuses for the benefit of our grandchildren.

Sacha Blumen tries to work out the meaning of a Green’s election poster slogan “Community needs not Developer greed” and goes digging through Green policy to find it:

we have some explanation of the slogan on the poster, while âDeveloper greed❠doesnât really appear in the Greens policy, âcommunity need❠kind-of does, in that there appears to be an implied âcommunity need❠for heritage buildings to be retained and that the ârights of the community❠are upheld, and that ecological sustainable development guide the development process (which sounds good). However, itâs still not clear what the Greens actually mean by their slogan.

Over at Catallaxy, Jason Soon has an excellent piece on the growing popularity of libertarian/classical liberal solutions in the US. He’s actually riffing on an excellent article by Virginia Postrel, who worries that too much focus on ideological purity may have the effect of chasing people away who are broadly sympathetic to libertarian ideas, particularly those concerned with growing curtailment of personal freedoms in the context of the War on Terror.

The most important challenge to markets today is not the ideology of socialism but the ideology of stasis, the notion that the good society is one of stability, predictability, and control.

Peter Martin argues for the removal of government subsidies to Australia’s car industry, suggesting that Australians (other than government and corporate fleets) overwhelmingly don’t buy them anyway.

Andrew Landeryou has been blogging up a storm on the strange saga of the Federal Liberal candidate Ken Aldred and his eccentric views, to put it mildly. His latest entry on this is here.

Meanwhile Andrew Norton dissects – in his usual calm and forensic manner – what he calls ‘the utilitarian conservative case against gay marriage’. John Heard is not a forensic dissector, and (I suspect) would not wish to be considered one. He is, however, always thoughtful, and his considered response to Andrew’s post is here.

ChrisV at the Australian Libertarian Society blog discusses a recent Cato Institute piece that compares the Bush presidency unfavourably with the Clinton presidency. His verdict?

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Bush presidency has been an unmitigated disaster for libertarianism in America. Whatever oneâs views on Iraq, it certainly didnât represent a philosophy of decreasing the level of state power. About the only positive thing on the Bush Jr. record, from a libertarian point of view, is the tax cuts. Unfortunately the cuts were fuelled by enormous budget deficits and a looming fiscal crisis thanks to Social Security.

Westralian radio announcer Rodney Olsen argues that politicians are good people but understands the electorate’s cynicism after the mud-slinging that has been going on. Olsen also finds the negative campaigning distateful.

In this connection, Susoz finds the Foreign Minister to be the leading offender.  She  finds his mudcake very rich.  But Ken L at Surfdom is deeply touched by Alexander’s generosity in caring for the refugees displaced by their war.

$6 million. At a rough guess, thatâs about what it costs to maintain our pointless military presence in Iraq for one day. Still, itâs the thought that counts, eh.

Tim Dunlop took time off from his pursuit of reactionary pundits to compile a convenient summary of the Santoro scandals, as well as a survey of reactions by Liberals and ex-Liberals caught in the muck searchlight, and found that they range all the way from denial (‘I did nothing wrong’) to denial (‘It was the smalles of oversights’). Anonymous Jeremy thinks the buck stops at the top, and doesn’t hold back:

We know Santo’s a crook. The question now is – did Howard think he could get away with not having to sack a corrupt minister, or is he merely gullible and incompetent?

David “Barista” Tiley extracts some Senate transcripts of Santoro’s moronically agressive cross-examination of ABC and SBS representatives, reminding many that his political oblivion is a richly deserved blessing.  Bryan “Ozpolitics” Palmer compares and contrasts the Scrafton/Children Overboard affair (and the seeming lack of political damage Howard’s lies caused at that time) with the Santoro affair:

Cue forward to Santo Santoro. No wonder Howard is furious. He was able to weather the Scrafton affair because of the plausible doubts, a public support for the underlying policy issue, and he was aided no doubt by Lathamâs unelectability. In contrast, all of the allegations against Santoro relate to personal gain. … There is little room for doubt. This is a case of personal gain, with little public sympathy for any underlying policy objective (if indeed there is any to be found). It is the kind of deceitfulness that is fatal for governments. And, it is set against the backdrop of a highly electable Opposition Leader in Kevin Rudd.

Still on the subject of political corruption, Gary Sauer-Thompson deplores the Tasmanian Government’s decision to bypass the assessment process and approve Gunns Ltd’s proposal to erect a pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. This looks like a story with legs.

Kim is annoyed to see Labor’s education policy being judged exclusively on whether it can reverse the bad publicity that Latham incurred with his funding proposals last election. She asks: ‘[A]renât we seeing something far short of both political courage and rationality when the current Howard policy has to be accepted, lest some claim of âenvy❠be raised?’

William “Poll Bludger” Bowe publishes his final election form guide for Saturday’s NSW election.  Don’t you worry about all those MSM pundits like Antony Green, Poll Bludger is now the definitive guru on Australian elections.  Not that I’m biased or anything *(KP).  Poll Bludger also exposes a bizarre situation in NSW whereby it is illegal to access how-to-vote cards for any electorate except the one you’re registered in, and even then only on polling day itself.  Talk about Big Brother.  What a shame Debnam was so useless, the NSW Labor government truly deserves electoral oblivion (oops! more editorialising – KP).

Bryan Palmer notes that the bookies now have the Coalition behind in the federal election stakes, at an average probability of 46.9% to win.

Meanwhile, Peter Martin reckons Kevie and Labor are being scammed by Murdoch and Packer into paying megabucks of public money for a high speed broadband network.


2. Life and Other Serious Stuff

What would a deliberative poll show on Greenhouse? , asks Graham Young semi-rhetorically? Well, if it was conducted scientifically and fairly in accordance with the well-developed methodology of deliberative polling, it would no doubt result in participant conclusions favouring serious steps to reduce human contributions to greenhouse gases, because all respectable scientific evidence shows global warming to be a significant problem (if not necessarily a “crisis”).   Then again, experts have expressed some fairly cogent doubts about the utility of deliberative polling (as Graham notes), so more likely anything such a poll showed would simply be discounted by anyone who disagreed with its conclusions.  People who can persuade themselves that a compelling report like that of the UN IPCC is just the hysterical ranting of biased lefty alarmists could happily ignore just about anything (disclaimer – more blatant editorialisng that I couldn’t resist – KP)

Tim Lambert has an entertaining guest post from Matt Daws, a maths chappy at Oxford, about a conference there on climate change. Since the event was organised by Sense about Science, ‘one of a number of strange UK organisations that, in some sense, grew out of…Living marxism’, Matt expected a scepticfest, but he was pleasantly surprised. Nonetheless, some unease is justified by the relevant diary item on the organisation’s website: ‘As concern grows about extreme weather and climate change, scientists worry that we could lose sight of the science. On Saturday 17th March 2007 we held a public symposium with the experts whose forecasts shape policy…’ No prizes for guessing what the Andrew Bolts of this world would do with that.

Milk and Cookies faces her fear of yeast:

However recently, I decided to tackle this fear of baking with yeast. If I could overcome my trepidation towards pastry-making Iâm sure that this wonât be any different. Now I have come to think of yeast as the stray dog that likes to bully the neighbourhood kids. It can smell your fear, although if you approach it with a certain amount of bravado and confidence it will just leave you to be. So off I go towards that bull terrier called yeast; my gait confident, my head held high, ready to tackle this beast.

and succeeds handsomely in baking a wonderful looking vintage cheddar bread.

Most people with at least some superficial knowledge of Islam tend to associate ‘Sufism’ with ‘good Islam’ (think the poet Rumi) and ‘Wahhabism’ with ‘bad Islam’ (think stoning in Saudi Arabia). Guest blogger Sinbad at Austrolabe reminds us that reality is more complex in this first post of a series on some of the political jockeying that goes on between Muslim lobbies in the US and how it leads to such perceptions, though he does so by putting ‘Wahhabism’ in context rather than by putting down Sufism.

No longer Ned Kelly …

John Quiggin’s Ironbark Moment has arrived. Check the photos and wonder whether you would have recognised him in the street. $6037 was the final tally.

Pavlov’s Cat clears up the meaning of ‘lesprit de l’escalier‘ (used by Nabakov, who presumably knew what it meant). For some of us, the phrase sums up our whole lives.

Legal Eagle discusses food allergies from the viewpoint of someone who suffers a life-threatening one (well worth reading).

3. The Yartz

Darlene Taylor invites readers to “register to participate in the Emerging Writers’ Festival Independent Press Fair , which is coming up in May. ” Darlene also adopts a healthy sceptical attitude to the significance of blogging:

One suspects that the usefulness of zines, like blogs, is limited.

The Australian Horror Writers Association is taking submissions for their mentor program. Pen and paper is compulsory, chainsaw is optional.

Richard Watts writes about Day 1 of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

Living Blog Treasure David Tiley finds the media policy angle in the Santoro affair. The transcripts of Senate Estimates hearing on the ABC are absurd reading. Even Andrew Bolt on The Insiders was disgusted by Santo’s performance and if you lose in his support in your culture war on the ABC, you’re in trouble.

Hidden art in the ‘burbs: Residing in the People’s Republic of Marrickville as I do, I always read with interest the blog Marrickvillia; this week Meredith stumbled on the results of community projects past, Tethered Cow Ahead continues the Bad Art Tour of Sydney and a touch of Harry Seidler in Arncliffe.

Sydney photoblogger Daniel Boud continues his stateside adventures  after covering the SXSW extravaganza in Texas. Not your average Flickr set.

For those whose music tastes tend pop, Scott welcomes Natasha Beddingfield’s “deliriously bonkers” new single. Off The Record mines the 90s/00s indy rock canon for five albums that changed his life. Jellyfish tells us about her first ever music festival, at Port Fairy. Some of it is even about the music. Sunbury Arts was also there. Ever to the point After Grog Blog Tony says: Rock & roll music is shit when you don’t drink.

In visual arts, Happy Antipodean discusses the appropriate description of Howard Arkley and Missy introduces us to Melbourne painter Clarice Beckett. My first exposure to her but I like. the art life muses on multiple screen video art and does a gallery tour.

If the “Great” Troppo Baudrillard Stoush of ’07 whetted your appetite for more hijinx in the world of simulated alterity, the Ballardian has republished an essay on Jean and film. I have an honours degree in film studies which exempts me from ever having to read anything like it ever again, but someone might enjoy. At the experiential end of the spectrum, The Rest is Just Commentary  on student theatre mishaps and acting classes:

On Tuesday in class we spent three hours walking around the space embodying colours. I’m not fucking joking. “How does it feel to be indigo?” she said. I don’t know, bitch, how does it feel to be a wanky hippie new-age Feldenkrais practitioner with no sense of humour? I don’t WANT to be indigo, or orange, or turquoise, or a chameleon, or a school of fish, OR EVEN A FUCKING ACTOR FOR THAT MATTER – please, please, can’t we all just sit down and have a nice conversation on the importance of Stanislavski?

This is from one of the dreaded MSM blogs but it’s an interesting topic: the state of current Australian theatre (the problems of which seen to parallel the “problems of current Australian film”?)

Everyone has a TV critic they want to nuke from orbit (me, I have dozens), at Sarsparilla Kirsty has vented on her pet hates. Our Cate is teaming up with Harrison Ford in the new Indiana Jones film, Greg Ferris is afraid for her.

David “Barista” Tiley has a magnificent photo essay about a newly discovered  WWI underground bunker complex in France called the “Vampire Dugout”.

Prophet from Random Brainwave highlights the hypocrisy of codger American comedienne Carol Burnett, whose lawyers are threatening to sue the makers of the cartoon series Family Guy for parodying her, despite a lifetime of parodying others (however unfunnily).

4. Sportz

Helen complained that there’s no sports category in Missing Link.  But that’s only because there usually aren’t enough sports blog posts to form a category.  The last few days has seen several good ones, hence this category.

Since there isn’t a separate sports category, I’ve decided to park some excellent Cricket World Cup posts in here – at least until further notice. First up is Tony the Teacher at AfterGrogBlog with a series of short and funny posts, none of which should be left out. Don’t miss the official Cricket Australia ‘Steve’ dolly! Michael Jennings has some more sober analysis, including good coverage of Bob Woolmer’s death and Freddie Flintoff’s new (old) take on drinking games.

Also worth a visit is AFL tragic Five’s take on Rugby League. She may not ‘get’ the code itself, but she ‘gets’ the Bionic Bunnies.

At Sidelined, Shaun Cronin covers the defection to rugby union of centre/winger Timana Tahu (from Shaun’s beloved Parramatta Eels).  And I see the Murdoch press is now reporting that Eels winger Eric Grothe Jnr will soon also defect to RU ranks.  See what happens if you giggle when Amanda calls it “Yawnion”, Shaun.  Rugby is the game they play in heaven, and the Lord is angry with you.  The two Nathans Hindmarsh and Cayless would make good rugby forwards too, I reckon.

Andrew Landeryou has a very different view of former Senator Santo Santoro’s assailing of the ABC than David Tiley (see above under Politics etc)

5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad

Saint in a Straitjacket reports on an abortive and misconceived “political correctness”-driven rewriting of The Three Little Pigs as The Three Little Puppies in an attempt to avoid offending Muslims!! On a related theme, Mark at Oz Conservative is his usual thought-provoking self when asking what we mean when we say ‘excellence’ or ‘elite’. Shamelessly editorializing here, I may not agree with Mark very often, but he usually makes me think (SL).

Roger Migently  from Values Australia is apparently being not-so-gently rogered by lawyers from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (as it’s now called after deletion of Aborigines and multiculturalism from its masthead), who assert that his styling of his blog as “The Department of Citizenship” on some pages might be misleading and deceptive!!  Without wishing to give legal advice, it sounds like complete frog shit to me.  Maybe it’s time for the blogosphere to start biting back over this sort of nonsense.  How do prominent bloggers like Tim Blair or Tim Dunlop feel about this sort of bullying behaviour?  If they highlighted and condemned it in an election year, I suspect Howard would rapidly tell DIC (as its acronym now reads) to withdraw. (more editorialising, I know I know – KP)

Graham Young makes a persuasive case for doubting that either fast food or orange juice (what??) are the primary culprits in our modern obesity epidemic.

Finally, Tim Blair highlights the behaviour of verbose blogger Darryl Mason, who was apparently (and thankfully)  terminated with extreme prejudice from Tim Dunlop’s blogging cabal after posting this little pearler:

How many Australians silently whispered the words âCâmon snipers…❠when they first saw footage of prime minister John Howard fleeing, at speed, out the back of a smoking Hercules on a wide-open airstrip in Iraqi insurgent territory on Sunday night?

Err, quite possibly you’re the only one Darryl, at least outside institutions housing psychopaths.

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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14 years ago

Tah? Who? Shaun is on my side re Yawnion, he just has to blog it at Sidelined out of some misguided sense of faux-balance. “Rugby league retirement programme.” Love it. Rename the ARU MBF: the Mungo Benevolence Fund. Hah!


[…] Only because they were kind enough to mention me. […]

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
14 years ago

“Err, quite possibly you

14 years ago

Nice job with the internal links Ken. You’ll have to tell me how you did it. BTW will be properly back on deck by this Sunday.

14 years ago

The latest is that Grothe is not heading to Yawnion. Questions are being asked about the money layed out for Tahu when current Wallabies are facing pay cuts.

If the Lord is angry with anyone then it would be the ARU administration.

14 years ago

For the sports segment: Guido at Rank and Vile has A League/football posts (for instance http://rankandvile.dailyflute.com/?p=384#comments ) and there are other Al League ones around although maybe a bit quiet in the off season.

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
14 years ago

My private thoughts are my own Ken. But the phrase “poetic justice” was created for a reason. As a pure matter of assessment of how many Australians would have had such a thought cross their mind, I reckon you are way off the mark. Always remember, going to war is not part of what I class as normal political debate. It is not a matter of polite disagreement. It is a life and death issue.

Kieran Bennett
14 years ago

Do you mean you thought that too, Chris?

You didn’t think that?

Put me down for “c’mon snipers” as well.

Kid holding a screw driver hugs Howard, I’m the one shouting “go for the jugular!” at the TV screen.


[…] for a quick link from the Australian blogosphere, the Missing Link has really improved since it became a group […]

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14 years ago

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