Missing Link

From Beyond the Fringe

This edition of Missing Link has been delayed until today (Friday the 13th) because I got carried away with my post on performance pay for teachers and ensuing discussion, which gobbled up my Thursday blogging time.

Anyway, there’s been no obvious major themes or obsessions in the blogosphere this week, but certainly lots of meaty posts. This edition by James Farrell, Patrick Garson, Amanda Rose, Jason Soon, Helen Dale and Ken Parish.

1. News and Politics Stuff

Ken Lovell argues that the performance pay isssue is a case of management by fad. Kieran the Dead Roo thinks that Julie Bishop should have heeded Sir Humphrey’s caution against setting up an inquiry unless you know what it will recommend.

In the light of a new survey by World Opinion Poll, finding that most Iraqis think the situation will improve if the foreign troops leave, Tim Dunlop asks why the question of Iraqi preferences is generally ignored in American and Australian debates about the future of the war.

Andrew Landeryou accuses the Age of whitewashing Islamic fundamentalists. However, Austrolabe has a different take on one of these fundamentalists, running an interview with Dr Bilal Philips who was recently denied a visa to attend an Islamic conference in Melbourne.

Saint in a Straitjacket argues that peak Muslim organisations need to stop sending mixed messages on Sheik Hilaly, while Tim Dunlop thinks that he’s an unrepresentative joke who should just be ignored and that Alan Jones is much worse anyway.

Eric Martin has a nice essay on the case of Nicola Calipari, the Italian soldier accidentally killed at a checkpoint in Iraq just after he negotiated the release of Giuliana Sgrena. The Italians are trying the American who fired the fatal shot, but Eric thinks ‘our soldiers deserve the benefit of the doubt in such matters.’ He continues:

These inescapable tragedies are yet one more argument against the casual use of military force – almost whimsical in the case of the Iraq invasion. Rather than thrust our soldiers into settings in which they are forced to make the right decision in a split second, with lives on the line, then blaming them for failing to achieve perfection, we would be better off saving them for all but the most exigent circumstances.

Still on matters military, Kev Gillett brings his military expertise to bear in a sober analysis of the kidnapped British marines and sailors. Well worth a read; his grasp of military protocol makes this post interesting (SL). On matters economic, Mark at Oz Conservative asks some interesting questions about the indirect costs of low-skill immigrant labour, and the problems it poses, particularly in a US context. Just to prove that he can apply his psephelogical skills to anything, Andrew Norton discusses recent data suggesting that we are becoming a more depressed nation, while Catallaxy’s Jason Soon outlines the Singaporean response to poor quality political representation and civil servants: pay them more.

Bryan “Ozpolitics” Palmer has uploaded an election calculator for predicting the number of seats a party will win at the 2007 Federal Election for any given national two-party (TPP) preferred vote share.

Peter Martin puts a powerful case for federalism.

2. Life and Other Serious Stuff

At the larva rodeo, Paul Norton dares to question the myth of ‘Latham’s disastrous looging policy’, while Apropos of Brisbane’s escalating water crisis, Brian Bahnisch shares what he’s learned about Max Whisson’s scheme to extract water from wind.

Still on matters environmental, JF Beck lampoons a new SBS reality TV series, Eco House Challenge that one could easily suspect to be a parody but sadly, sounds more like a self-parody. Meanwhile, the Nuclear Australia blog runs a critical analysis of Ken Henry’s comments on nuclear energy in his recently leaked speech.

Sarah courageously beats off her apathy to register protest, though not surprise, at the PM’s defence of Alan Jones. Tim Dunlop sees the finding against Jones as part of a broader free speech issue. The Missing Linker is always happy when a single quote sums up the argument:

Hicks, al-Hilali, and Alan Jones. A trio of jerks, but, I submit, all entitled to the right of free speech.

Tim Lambert extends his dossier on Bob Carter, a James Cook University academic and proud climate sceptic. It seems that, when showing graphs of satellite data, Professor Carter has been playing fast and loose with his tropospheres.

Cast-Iron Helen doesn’t know whether gang rape is on the increase, but is sure that there’s nothing new about parents and grandparents licensing the practice and blaming the victim.

Jeremy is thinking of adopting O’Reilly’s Rules of blogging, with a view to muzzling ‘the loudest, the waffliest, those with the most time on their hands and the most anger in their hearts’. ((Are there really commenters like that? ~ anon.)) The sticking point is Rule 5, which bans anonymous commenters, and would be hard for a recently anonymous blogger to explain.

3. The Yartz

I’m not entirely sure what this one from Chris Berg actually means. Please explain, as Pauline puts it.

Do typing fonts count as art? In any event, dr fautus wishes Helvetica a happy 50th.Avi has more reviews from the Melbourne Comedy Festival and other samplings. How books should be sorted on shelves is a sub-genre of blogging that almost rivals the antics of our cats, the latest entry is from Ben.H at Sarsparilla.

Tommy revisits the unlamented Power Rangers. Looking for the best of West Australian Science Fiction? Oz Horrorscope blog has all the winners of the Tin Duck Awards. Also from the “dark speculative fiction” arena, Ben Peek has some thoughts on the demise of ezine Shadowed Realms.

Gummo didn’t need to see 300 to hate it. Nor did Ken Lovell, but he is in any case more fascinated by the female neo-cons who love the film.

The brouhaha over 300 also continues, at Richard Watts’ place, with Richard giving it the thumbs down. Well, de gustibus non est disputandum but Richard had to go and add a new thought crime to 300’s list, namely ‘homophobia’. He cites as one example the fact that the Spartans dismiss the Athenians as ‘boylovers’. Come off it, Richard. There was rivalry between the two so you would expect Spartans to be dismissive of Athenians and the Spartans are merely being depicted as acting in character. And err, do check out what the Athenians actually did. Since when did homosexuality equate to pederasty? Richard also thinks 300 is homophobic because of its depiction of Xerxes as a drag queen which is at least arguable, but again, when did simpering effeminate drag queens monopolise homosexuality?

David Tiley writes about Orson Welles’ last, almost-completed-but-never-released movie, while Robert Merkel reviews the Comedy Short Film Festival (part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival).

4. T.S.S

(troppo sports stadium)

Will at The Corridor decries a new trend in the Aussie cricket team: “appending âmate❠to the end of every âyes,❠âno❠or âwait❠call from the batsmen. ”

Scott Wickstein muses about the importance of game momentum in one day cricket internationals (and how the bowling team can lose it by protecting its weaker bowlers), and is pessimistic (aren’t we all?) about the immediate prospects of the Wallabies, and even Australian Super 14 teams (( I still give the ACT Brumbies a fighting chance ~ KP)).

5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad

Just to remind us bloggers that getting above ourselves is unwise, Adrian the Cabbie meets a 20 year old in his cab who hasn’t heard of the word ‘blog’. He also wants to be a journo at the Daily Telegraph. Legal Eagle, meanwhile, digs up a YouTube vid designed to embarrass certain alumni of the University of Qld law school. As is now customary, Peter Black continues to add to You Tube?‘s growing list of enemies (this one perhaps without real reason).

“Fringe” manages to combine an anti-Bush, anti-Pope rant with a post about the Lancet study into Iraqi deaths, and throws in an explanation of the historical origins of the Three Wise Monkeys.

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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Kieran Bennett
17 years ago

Kieran the Dead Roo thinks that Julie Bishop should have heeded Sir Humphrey

James Farrell
James Farrell
17 years ago

Thrice sorry, Kieran. It should be fixed soon. I was covering Dead Roo for the first time and hadn’t noticed it was a group blog.

17 years ago

There’s one scene in ‘The 300’ where two of the Spartans playfully insult one another while piling dead corpses of the enemy on top of one another. Neither seems to be hurt or annoyed by the other’s ‘insults’. I think I worked out why a bit later – the military code of the Spartans is basically to ensure victory in battle and stop themselves being run through with various sharp objects. In the context of war, what a modern person might perceive as ab ‘insult’ won’t hold much weight with them!

And as you point out, Spartan and Athenian sexual ethics is very, very different to modern western sexual ethics.

17 years ago

Yair sorry for stuff-ups – we do our best :)

Ken Lovell
17 years ago


Jason Soon
17 years ago

Some context for why Xerxes was portrayed as a drag queen in 300


17 years ago

Yeah, noticed that in some classical history of Sparta I was reading a while ago. Pleasing to know that’s where we got the term from.

I guess you’ve got to have a sense of humour when you know that at the end of a hard day on the battlefield, you’ve got a meal of Pig’s Blood and Vinegar to look forward to!

Mark U
Mark U
17 years ago

The nuclear blog obviously doesn’t understand Ken Henry’s point or its context.

The point he was making was that in the current circumstances of a tight labour market, the argument that government support for a particular industry or project will “creates jobs” should be rejected. In these circumstances a new job in one industry requires someone to move from an old job somewhere else. This is true whether it is nuclear, solar, wind or any other alternative energy source. It is true not just in energy production but across the economy in general.

I did not see any “critical analysis” by the nuclear blog refuting this point.

Bill Posters
Bill Posters
17 years ago

Hicks, al-Hilali, and Alan Jones. A trio of jerks, but, I submit, all entitled to the right of free speech.

All entitled to free speech, but only one has a government-licensed amplifier.


[…] was chuffed to being included for the first time, albeit mis-attributed, in this week’s Missing Link at Club Troppo. This post began as an attempt to bring a personal conclusion on this particular […]

17 years ago

Hiya folks

Thanks for the mention and pick up of the cartoon. I must however point out that my rant also included anti-Rodentism and anti-Blahism in addition to the antis already noted ;)