Could this situation (data/graph compiled by Bryan “Ozpolitics” Palmer) be the reason why Peter Costello is somewhat hysterically claiming that the States are breaching an agreement they never made to abolish particular taxes, and that they are planning to raise the rate of GST when (a) there’s no evidence whatever for this; and (b) they have no power to do it anyway …?
Ozblogistan suffered with the absence of Larvatus Prodeo due to ‘technical difficulties’ over the weekend, but still produced some excellent stuff. Particularly noteworthy was an interesting bloggy conversation between the two Andrews, Norton and Leigh. This bounced off the idea that too much education can be a bad thing, in that it encourages unreasonable expectations in its recipients, and doesn’t necessarily provide financial benefits, either. Andrew Norton gets the ball rolling here, Andrew Leigh responds here, while Andrew Norton has a further excellent contribution here. The comments threads are also well worth a look.
This edition compiled by Helen Dale, Patrick Garson, Jason Soon, James Farrell, Amanda Rose and Ken Parish.
1. News and Politics Stuff
The big news this week was David Hicks ‘taking the plea’ (the American phrase). We call it – perhaps more subtly – ‘following a certain course’, although younger members of the bar (including this one – SL) tend to say ‘proceed by way of a plea’. Harry Clarke – a Hicks opponent – has a short but moving post, which got the recognition it deserved when Jason Soon cross-posted it at Catallaxy. On a related issue – anti-terror laws – Kev Gillett provides us lawyers with a timely reminder of the esteem in which our profession is held, by pointing out that most people are happy with punitive penalties for terrorists and other riff-raff.1 KP: But most people are happy with capital punishment too, and would have been more than happy to lynch Lindy Chamberlain not too many years ago – JS Mill referred to it as the tyranny of the majority – it’s why our Constitution is founded on the rule of law.
In other news, Catallaxy’s US correspondent Brock details how the UN has dealt its (already dodgy) reputation a further blow by showing a severe lack of interest in freedom of speech. The Human Rights Commission needs to go. Now. At the very least all the civlised countries should resign2, 3.
 SL: Shameless editorialising, but then I once had to write off an entire summer for a noted international law moot.
 KP: Actually the resolution was by the new-ish UN Human Rights Council, which is effectively the replacement for the old and utterly discredited Human Rights Commission. However, this resolution isn’t the first evidence that the new Council is little if any improvement. How could it be when the majority of UN member nations have no understanding of or interest in democracy or freedom in any meaningful sense?
Andrew Landeryou thinks that the media has exhibited double standards in its complaints about the treatment of David Hicks. Meanwhile, Modia Minotaur has a substantive analysis of the new Iemma Cabinet. Among her conclusions – there has been a leftward drift in the political complexion of the line-up.
Tim Blair and JF Beck sounding too mellow and reasonable nowadays for your taste? Check out Steve Edwards aka Raving Wingnut’s ‘modest proposals’ for what our politicians should really be doing to make Australia a better place. You may not agree with him but at least you will be stimulated and/or entertained. Among his insights:
- To safeguard property rights against a wholesale majority smash-and-grab (which is always on the cards, even under “constitutional” restrictions), limiting the electoral franchise to some form of property qualification or voluntary subscription fee is clearly called for. Alternatively, taxation could simply be made non-compulsory …
- Hate speech” is itself a hateful Marxist concoction, designed solely for the purposes of creating a totalitarian communist state. Ostensibly in existence to protect “vulnerable minorities” from indirect “incitement”, “hate speech” is really an inconsistent fabrication with no ethical foundations: despite the fact that far-Left “envy speech” (i.e. communism) has indirectly murdered and starved tens of millions more people than its “hateful” counterpart on the “far right” (i.e. the national socialist centre-left), nobody seems to be calling for a ban on “incitement to egalitarianism”. Clearly, then, the entire hate speech industry must be destroyed – with deportation orders issued for all public servants and academics working in the promotion of those seditious Marxist values
On the same issue, pseudonymous blogger Bernice, in a long but readable guest post at LP, wonders why Malclom Turnbull is worrying about Indonesian forest when he could devote his energy to stopping the Gunns pulp mill in Tasmania. By doing so he would be seen to be saving old growth forests and defending democratic processes, and he would score points againts a Labor government, all at the same time. Readers in search of a pithier post might prefer this prayer for BIG solar panels by the also pseudonymous William Burroughs’ Baboon.
Gam approves of the spirit of compromise in Northern Ireland, but rises to defend Yasser Arafat, whose alleged ‘ideology purity’ is blamed, hypocritically in his view, for having obstructed progress toward peace in Palestine.
Pictures of three well known gun fanciers head a nicely crafted polemic by Aussie Bob. Hicks is the one in gaol for terrorism, but his crimes pale beside those of Dick Cheney and Trevor Flugge. The normally searing Jeremy takes everything back now that Hicks has pleaded guilty.
Tim Dunlop gathers a range of expert opinion that says the government is squandering money on military hardware that doesn’t suit our needs.
Dead Roo talks up a potential up-and-comer for Republican presidential candidate, Fred Thompson, best known for his role on Law & Order. Another Reagan? Well, he’ll have to get elected first.
2. Life and Other Serious Stuff
Conservative Mark Richardson is his usual thoughtful self when riffing on an MSM piece by Jill Singer (who has, it seems, been visiting his blog), while Catallaxy’s Kitty has an amusing post tracking down some of the loopier university courses available around the place.
The David Hicks issue also attracts latter-day Benthamite Mirko Bargaric like a moth to a flame. Meanwhile, fellow JF Beck shows that it’s possible to be right wing and green with a thoughtful piece on his participation in the Smart Power scheme. In an earlier post, Beck also has a cynical but not necessarily inaccurate take on intellectual celebrity Antony Lowenstein.
Audrey heads over for a night at Shotz – a rich source of memories (or lack thereof) for many, and a litmus test for how old you’re getting.
I witnessed three relatively minor (in the grand scheme of things) pash-ons happening on the elevated dance stage, complete with requisite bottom squeezing and pelvic thrusts, and one particularly heinous threeway gropefest at the corner of the dancefloor. While a balding 40 year old walking tattoo parlour sleazed on the spot, two girls crying for some solid self-esteem boosts took turns french kissing him and running their hands up and down each other’s bodies for his viewing pleasure. It was Pash-On Most Foul.
One reason the Austrolabe blog is worth reading is because it provides an insight into what the most articulate and thoughtful Australian Muslim intellectuals are thinking. Obviously stung by the recent crash and burn of the hapless Sheikh Hilali, the Sir Les Patterson of the Australian Muslim community, regular Austrolabe blogger Amir starts a discussion on how the Muslim community should fund its imams to avoid getting turkeys into the job in future.
Speaking of matters islamic, Legal Eagle agrees with an American judge who dismissed a Muslim woman’s civil case because she refused to give evidence without wearing her burqa. However, given that it’s effectively impossible to assess a witness’s credibility if the tribunal of fact can’t see her facial expressions, LE suggests that a slightly less drastic step would have been preferable but equally effective.
Gandhi discovers highlights a report that ‘discovers’ Australians are “a fat, satisfied workaholic who enjoys spending and technology, and who wouldn’t trust oil companies as far as they could throw ’em” , and wonders who put the question about oil companies in, and why. Not surprisingly, the report finds people are – shock! – pessimistic about the future.
Over at Webdiary, Dr Phil Larkin from the ANU gives his Democratic Audit Update. As always, it seems vigilance is required. This is a valuable – and interesting – service.
3. The Yartz
How to quickly add value to your art investment – by Chris Berg
AR: Incidentally does anyone know of blogs on classical/jazz type music? I’m trying to cover a spread of interests but I can’t find any.Off the Record starts a series of artists (of the musical persuasion) you should keep an eye on . Many of Sydney’s music bloggers were at the V Festival on the weekend, here’s Oz’s take.For the guitar nerds, Mike Bogle talks us through the trials of “Travis picking” .
TimT has seen The Good German which provides an outlet for his Clooney-envy. The Happy Antipodean brings news of the new literary award made possible by an endowment from late film critic John Hinde, there was also discussion in comments of this over at LP.
My first stop is the florist. Now, you may not know this, but Deborah Kerr’s favourite colour is blue … so I march into the florist shop and ask for a bunch of blue flowers. Apparently, there are no blue flowers in stock. Here’s that wretched ‘impossible’ again. I explain that I need blue flowers because I am going to meet Deborah Kerr tonight and her favourite colour is blue. The florist is immediately impressed, and suggests that we spray a bunch of white carnations with a can of blue dye. Perfect, I proclaim … and five minutes later I am marching out of the shop with a bunch of, now blue, white carnations, wrapped in blue cellophane with a lovely big blue ribbon tied around them. (I’m only fifteen, after all – and as much as I am yet to fully comprehend ‘impossible’ … the concept of “over-kill” is something I fear I will never understand.)
4. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad
Moderation is a vexed issue around Ozblogistan, and Catallaxy editor Jason Soon has been a leading (and genuine) exponent of free speech. Even he, however, has his limits. In this short but moving piece, he discusses his moderation policy with respect to one of Ozblogging’s characters, Graeme Bird.
Tim Blair is suspicious of some photos from The Age which he thinks exaggerates the impact of the recent Earth Hour in Sydney. Meanwile, Daily Flute and Mark at Stoush.net both reckon Earth Hour (where governments and businesses supposedly demonstrated their “commitment” to beating global warming by turning out the lights for an hour) was a complete joke. I agree (KP). In fact. if I’d actually remembered that it was Earth Hour I would have run around and turned on every light in our house just as a matter of perverse principle.
The previous edition of ML overlooked the storm about the demise of blogging, provoked by an unattributed piece in the Australian, and whipped up further by Virginia Trioli on the radio. Kim at LP was suitably scathing, but Pavlov’s Cat has made the definitive rebuttal:
You might just as well argue that the literary novel is a stupid fad because there are so many unfinished and abandoned fiction manuscripts hidden at the backs of wardrobes all over the world. And that’s only if you accept in the first place the idea of a blog as a product or a commodity, whereas it’s actually a process designed for interactivity rather than for passive consumption.