Missing Link

Courtesy Daily Flute

The NSW election was the big ‘news’ over the weekend, although – in this humble scribe’s opinion (SL) – it was slightly less interesting than navel fluff collecting. The blogosphere reacted similarly, although the folks at Larvatus Prodeo did their best to provide some genuinely interesting coverage.   Even better, William “Poll Bludger” Bowe and Bryan “Ozpolitics” Palmer both blogged blow-by-blow election night coverage, and both Bryan and Poll Bludger (who continuesd to analyse close undecided seats and the ongoing Legislative Council count) also have excellent post-election analysis.

This edition by Cam Riley, James Farrell, Jason Soon, Helen Dale and Ken Parish.  Not too sure what happened to Patrick Garson or Amanda Rose, a busy weekend no doubt.  

1. News and Politics Stuff

The NSW Election is the big civic event of the week: Sydney Daily Photo records the inside of the ballot booth. Modia Minataur has a post-mortem post, picking up on the same themes she covered in her pre-mortem post – the trend in the Green vote, the importance of local issues – and finds most of her predictions confirmed. The most interesting part is the detailed analysis of seats with strong independent candidates. wm(‘Duckpond’)mbb eschews details, preferring to note some stark statistics:

24% of people cast their first preferences for Independent and other parties result in 6 seats won by independents. The National Party with 10% of the vote obtains 13 seats. The first preference voters for Independents and small parties is less than 3% behind the primary vote obtained by the Liberals who 21 seats.

Peter Black is thoughtful on journalistic ‘standards’ for bloggers – do they matter? Are bloggers journalists? And what sort of standards are we dealing with anyway? Meanwhile, Harry Clarke reveals one of blogging’s great strangths, with an exceptionally insightful analysis of the competing economic costs consequent on adopting different drug policies. There is some maths, but it’s very simple and in any case beautifully explained.

Also in the realm of things economic, Jason Soon has an excellent backgrounder on competition policy, an area in which he provides specialist economic advice as part of his dayjob. Still on policy-wonkery, Andrew Norton digs up some interesting factoids on the (artificially created) shortage of medical practitioners in Australia. He generously provides his recent CIS paper on the issue for download. Perhaps to avoid any suggestion that he only does high falutin stuff, Jason Soon also draws Catallaxy readers’ attention to Mussolini’s heritage as a socialist and supporter of Italy’s artistic avant-guarde, in a post entitled ‘Fascism and the left redux’.

Over at Oz Conservative, Mark Richardson continues his exploration (and unpacking) of the concepts of ‘elites’ and ‘elitism’, this time by steering his analysis away from sport and onto an engaging discussion of ‘meaningless distinctions’. An intellectually lazy Age journalist is taken to the cleaners in the process. Meanwhile Justin Jefferson at the Australian Libertarian Society blog has a meaty philosophical post about the problems with race-based laws and its implications for Aboriginal health policy. Steve Edwards accuses Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein of inconsistency on the issue of Muslim immigration.

On a (marginally) lighter note, the whole ‘kill-Knut-the-baby-Polar-bear’ story really grew legs in the MSM. Catallaxy’s Kitty goes behind the scenes and asks some interesting questions about animal rights. Meanwhile, Kev Gillett tracks down some truly egregious journalism, but concedes that, ahem, ‘it is the Sunday Mail’. On the subject of journalistic accuracy, I took a break from my blogging hiatus to clear up a few plastic turkeys that had managed to insert themselves into the MSM. I’m actually off to Oxford! (SL).

After my [Skepticlawyer] farewell post went up, a raft of speculation flew around the MSM (some of it is summarised in this useful post over at LP) that the âhuge commitmentâ was a columnistâs gig at the Australian. Crikeyâs effort is quoted at LP. It turned out that The Ageâs Lawrence Money had hopped in before Crikey, however, and made some snippy comments about bloggers to boot. No-one spoke to me before hitting the ground running with speculation.

Simon Jackman comments: “Wow, when Malcolm Farrâs articles are getting headlines and accompanying photos like this in the Murdoch tabloids, you know something is up.”

The government’s ‘confected outrage’ over Ruddband amuses Ken L from Surfdom:

I doubt that either Howard or any of his senior ministers knows the first thing about the internet or the World Wide Web or broadband or any of that stuff. Sure they make the obligatory references to it in speeches but itâs like listening to 12 year olds talk about sex.

Ken detects a broader failure to keep up with changes in technology and work that affects the government’s attitudes to industrial relations, school standards, and even purchases of miltary hardware.

Venerable economist Fred Argy has an excellent commonsense economic analysis of the Rudd high speed broadband proposal here at Troppo (for any ML email subscribers who don’t otherwise regularly check Club Troppo).

Andrew Bartlett efficiently dismantles an opinion piece by James Allan which first equates multiculturalism with moral relativism, then withdraws the accusation, then promptly goes on to attack the relativist bogey anyway.

…despite the fact that Professor Allen himself says no one ever says that multiculturalism involves an absolutist notion of tolerance, none the less âour schools treat some of this dogma as near gospel, to be force-fed to our children.❠Those teachers must be very clever, teaching (let alone âforce-feedingâ) something to children without ever actually expressing it.

Turning to international matters, Tim Dunlop notes the passage of the House resolution in favour of withdrawal from Iraq, and wonders whether the peoples’ Representatives can count on support from America’s best friends.

OF course, when Mr Howard and Mr Downer speak about being mates with the Americans, they donât mean the Congress or the nation itself, they just mean the Bush Administration.

And also on the theme of US Administrations who bury their heads in the sand, Eric Martin at Surfdom speculates whether climate change will provoke political catastrophes (with Darfur being a possible foretaste) as well as natural ones, and whether, if so, the Exxon-Republican spin machine will finally be switched off.

2. Life and Other Serious Stuff

Wacky law suits always amuse, and Peter Black has an excellent collection of goodies on a case that’s gone all the way to the US Supreme Court – over a banner inscribed ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus’. On another sort of addiction, it looks like Larvatus Prodeo’s Mark Bahnisch is about to say something like ‘Hi, my name is Mark, and I’m a blogger’. (It’s a good post, as you’d expect, of course).

It’s not as though LP would go into cryogenic suspension without him. Bahnisch P¨re has an elegant piece on some curious consequences of globalisation: expensive tortillas in Mexico, and declining bee numbers in Germany. And there’s a thoughtful guest post by Mick Bremner, arguing that Howard’s trip to the war zone intended to reinforce the perception of a ‘leader full of resolve who is serious about victory in Iraq and Afghanistan’. It’s cross-posted at Mick’s own blog, which is called quantumbiodiscs and worth keeping an eye on. However, fine blogger though he is, the world would be a better place if he and about eight million other bloggers would ease off a little on the word ‘schtik’ (however they might spell it).

On a lighter note (no pun intended), Tim Blair spots a blooper in an ad featured on the Earth House site, which is urging Sydneysiders to ‘turn off the lights’ for one hour on 31 March. John Ray of A Western Heart also does his bit of polemics for the ‘global warming skeptics’ cause, reviewing a paper by two Chinese scientists that alleges there are equally strong trends towards global cooling countervailing AGW.

Two posts deal with the theory and practice respectively, of divorce. Apathetic Sarah, herself a shameless cohabiter, comments on a weekend story about research suggesting that couples who cohabit before marriage are more likely to divorce. As she points out, while the investigators themselves acknowledge selection bias as the likely explanation, this is downplayed in the newspaper version. Gummo Trotsky describes his feelings on shredding boxes of papers ‘that the entire official record of my life with [the former Mrs Trotsky]’. It’s not clear whether we are meant to take it at face value when he claims ‘it didn’t bother me one bit’:

Statements from our long closed joint bank account? Into the shredder – zip. Mortgage statements from the time we were paying off the matrimonial home – zip. Old pay-slips from my time in the public service – zip. All those adverse performance reports – zip. Timesheets and invoices from my IT contracting days – zip. Useless, bureaucratic detritus, the lot of it.

Andrew Leigh focuses (not at great length, but links to a longer speech by author Andrew Rotherham) on arguments for and against performance-based pay for teachers, and also debunks some misconceptions about voluntary voting and its likely effects in Australia.

Bryan “Ozpolitics” Palmer has run a rating of Australian political blogs using the  Alex Traffic Rankings (which some suggest are dodgy/unreliable).

Cam Riley focuses on geothermal energy, a frequently touted clean alternative to coal and nuclear, discussing its promise and problems.

Peter Martin muses about some depressing research suggesting many if not most people will beggar their neighbours when given the chance, even it costs them to do so!!  I’d like to think this isn’t true (KP).  Am I just a naive optimist?  Peter Martin also focuses on demands by industry for the early introduction of tradeable carbon emissions permits. The Howard government really IS moribund and well past time to be put out of its misery (more blatant editorialising by KP).

3. The Yartz

Richard Watts reviews Day Two of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

Sain in a Straitjacket writes at some length about Jeffrey Archer’s new book The Gospel of Judas.

Darlene Taylor publicises a series of workshops etc for aspiring female comedians titled Jeez Louise being run as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.  Darlene has some doubts about the funniness of some of the female comedians she’s seen lately.  My (KP) partner Jen went to Raw Comedy in Darwin on Saturday (I couldn’t get a ticket) and noted that all but 3 of the 18 contestants were blokes.  Darlene reckons blokes are more prepared to make dicks of themselves on stage where women tend to more uncormfortable.  I reckon it’s more that lots of blokes are convinced they’re roolly roolly funny, sadly often without any justification at all.  It’s even true of established comedians.  Have James O’Loughlin or Peter Berner ever been funny, for instance?

4. T.S.S

(troppo sports stadium)

Nothing says homesickness to an Australian Diasporan as the start of footy season. Damien Doyle cannot live without it.

I’ve also decided that I need a footy – I meant to buy one before I left Sydney but I ran out of luggage space. So I am hatching a scheme and hope to have one soon. There’s a parade ground in town and a soccer field near one of the schools, and I reckon I can drag a few local blokes along to have a kick in the cool of the afternoon.

The diaspora is large enough and been around long enough there are plenty of outposts of dedicated footy fever such as the Tokyo Goannas, the New York Magpies and as Damien discovered, the Jakarta Bintangs.

Guido writes about Sydney FC loss in the AFC Champions League soccer, and discusses the restrictive crowd conduct rules at Telstra Dome, which include no musical instruments, whistles or flags/banners with handles exceeding 1.6 metres.

Niall “Hyperidian Bannerman” Cook blogs about the weekend V8 Supercars round at Barbagallo Raceway, Western Australia.

A random selection from a page of unintentionally funny action hero cartoons (most are funny only if you’re a 14 year old boy, but still …

5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad

The food pornographer samples the culinary delights of Feast Perth.

Michael Blamey records his daily photo of St Kilda.  As a parent, Joshua Gans is happy to see the end of daylight saving:

by the time the end of summer rolls around, your child is going to bed later than you want and it is also hard to get them up for school in the morning. So the end of daylight saving time is a blessing.

Pea Soup attends a Melbourne Wedding on the beach.

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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Amanda
14 years ago

I did my duty. All I can think of was technical failure although I distinctly remember saving it. Bugger. Wouldn’t want you to think I was shirking on only my second week.

Amanda
14 years ago

I can’t see anything from me either, but honestly I did. I would rather be thought incompetant than a shirker. ;-)

A bumper edition Thursday then.

skepticlawyer
14 years ago

I couldn’t find anything of Amanda’s either when I went in this morning, and was going to email the cabal about it… but then we had some ‘technical difficulties’ in court this morning, so that plan went down river.

Gummo Trotsky
14 years ago

Take it at face value, Ken, it didn’t bother me – quite the reverse. In particular, shredding the public record of the relationship was quite enjoyable. I’ve still got the stuff that matters – the private record and the memories.

skepticlawyer
14 years ago

I seem to remember Patrick saying he had some paid work in the week leading up to the NSW state election, and that he’d be back straight after. I’m sure it’s in the cabal emails.

QuietStorm
QuietStorm
14 years ago

Sommat that must have just missed the ML collation…

Barry O’Farrell has officially thrown his hat into the ring.

Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

Is a cabal similar to a hivemind? :)

James Farrell
James Farrell
14 years ago

It was a great post, Gummo: I had to discipline myself not to quote a bigger slab. I wondered whether the stiff upper lip had a subtext of pain.

Bannerman
14 years ago

Who’s this Niall Cook person?

Gummo Trotsky
14 years ago

Subtext of old wounds (on both sides) healed perhaps, James.

Leinad
Leinad
14 years ago

The Sydney FC game was a draw, not a loss.

gilmae
14 years ago

You can’t fool me, Jacques, particularly since the cabal has already forced through the addition of alt.^H^H^H I mean Sportz to the Big Four

Invig
14 years ago

Don’t know if missing link takes requests, but I just put up the culmination of my life’s work (cunningly hidden behind a dream about zombies)

Can i get a mention!?! *begs* :(