Missing Link

Nothing grabbed Ozblogistan’s collective attention over the weekend, although as usual there was plenty of good stuff. Once again we at the Troppo Cabal ™ are delighted to bring you another Missing Link!

This edition by all the usual suspects except Ken Parish, who had time only to strip out the rubbish code from the draft and undertake basic editing (not including finding suitable images – any volunteers for image-spotting??). Thus the “centrist” blogs have been sorely neglected the last few days, and it isn’t likely to improve for the rest of the week. My blogging timetable is looking very restricted. I wonder if Helen D might have time to relieve on editing duties?

1. News and Politics Stuff

After watching Insiders this morning, Tim Dunlop finally concedes that the ABC is biased after all. But perhaps it’s just that the Coalition spin machine is running well. Government debating tactics have been a big theme on the leftish blogs over the weekend.

Ken Lovell, for example, asks why does the government keeps launching attacks on Rudd that are certain to cause several times as much damage to their own troops? His answer: they subscribe to the Zhukov doctrine. And when it comes to positive spin, Ken thinks there’s no limit to the success the government can claim for WorkChoices, since unemployment has been falling all around the world.

Sarah summons up enough indignation for a short rail against the PM’s latest dog whistle, on the AIDS-carrying immigrant menace. Andrew Bartlett, who prefers the term cheap shot, has googled an astonishing quantity of international press coverage, showing that our leader’s careless populism can create as much confusion abroad as it does at home. As Andrew notes, he is also honing his populist rhetoric about environmental policy. In particular,

…the word âzealot❠appears to be one of the Coalitionâs latest, focus group tested, labels which is being used in an effort to discredit people pushing for real action on climate change.

Andrew thinks that some of government’s own obsessions are pretty good candidates for the zealot designation. 

Brian Bahnisch has more on the climate manouvering, explaining how the PM is ‘hedging his bets and giving himself wriggle room, while posing as the one with safe hands on the tiller.’ He makes a summary (very handy for non-subcribers) of Lenore’s Taylor’s assessment in the AFR of Howard’s various gestures along these lines.

And in the light of the Attorney General’s proposal to censor movies advocating terrorism, Robert Merkel gets to work on a list, starting with Star Wars.

Diogenes Lamp explains why it’s worth reading PJ O’Rourke’s latest work, which isn’t his usual satirical stuff (though there are a few funny one liners here and there) but a mostly serious book about one of the books most commonly cited by classical liberals, Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations.

Wmmbb reports on the reluctant consensus on the American left that maladministration, no matter how spectacular, is not grounds for impeaching a president.

Terje Petersen at Thoughts on Freedom manages to make a potentially dry as dust topic – the Bank Notes Act of 1910 – reasonably interestesting.

Amir at Austrolabe discusses the potential for halal certification for financial products. This raises an interesting question especially for libertarians. If the market can be trusted to certify halal (and kosher) products which are pretty important issues for the devout, why not other things? Why not use certification as a less restrictive and anti-competitive alternative to many regulations as a means of addressing information asymmetries?

Over at Public Opinion, Gary riffs off a Sally Young article about how politicans control the media in Australia:

Young, who is associated with the Southern Review, argues that relying on interview transcripts for news reporting is problematic, as John Howard repeats one line, with only minor variations, over and over, regardless of the question being asked and even when no question had been asked at all. It is what media advisers call staying on message.This is how politicians have limited and controlled media access, and it has had a major impact on how Australian politics is reported.

Thompson (and Young) are right in highlighting the problem, but I think Gary misses one of its main causes. It’s easy to castigate journalists (and totally justified, most of the time) for shallow, press release-driven stories, but as a former journo the fact is even if you want to write about the real story, you often aren’t given time. The demands of editors are only rarely, in my experience, for quality – they are for content, and there is a clear, no questions asked policy regarding it, which is why people like Jayson Blair were able to do what they did. (PG)

Andrew Norton, meanwhile, puts some ministerial pronouncements about who ‘owns’ higher education – the Commonwealth or the States – under the microscope, and Catallaxy’s Heath Gibson does something similar on Ruddock’s latest censorship attempts (some of the comments are rather funny, too).

Ken Lovell takes a look at the oft-times depressing American political blog scene; where posters – on both sides – tend to be far more forthy-mouthed than over here. Still on frothing at the mouth, Legal Eagle provides the definitive analysis of the whole Alan Jones/ACMA brouhaha.1

2. 2. Life and Other Serious Stuff

John Quiggin returns from convalescence (the barbectomy knocked him about severely) with a post asking why there’s never been much vitriolic controversy over what – nature or nurture – determines a person’s height.

In his latest thrilling case, Sherlock Lambert investigates five items puported by a certain John Berlau to be evidence that environmentalists are racist.

Tigtog warns fellow parents against assuming their daughters understand what rape is. You may think your communication has been state-of-the-art, but telling her about condoms won’t prepare her for all of the situations ahead. And still on parenting matters, Mirko Bargaric has a dispassionate take on the smacking debate (no, not some new drug fad among teens, but the smacking of children).

Adrian the Cabbie – a sometime Catholic – recounts a recent faux-pas with a priest, and as a bonus provides a moving vignette on how Australia has changed since the sectarian days of yore.

On the off-chance he might run for office in NSW before the Parrot retires, Jeremy Sear shows the amateurs how a real sycophant talks to Alan Jones:

And the sooner they let you get back to the important work of making insulting and provocative generalisations about minority groups the better. There’ve hardly been any race riots in NSW since Cronulla; you’ve got work to do.

On the subject of humour so close to the bone it makes you cringe, Harry Clarke mines the internet for Islamic wife-bashing guides and concludes – perhaps suprisingly for some – with a clever quip from Feministing.2

3. The Yartz

Many eulogised Kurt Vonnegut who died last week. A selection: Jozef Imrich; Talking Squid; Life of Riley; Whale Sushi; Barista; Larvatus Prodeo; Weez; Your New Reality.

Gary confesses to nicking a The Band boxset and explains how bit torrent works, if there are still people who don’t know. Nicholas has visited a wine bar in downtown Sydney and reviews a couple of jazz trios …. and chucks in some literary porn for good measure.

Greg Ferris has a mission: “[it] has been my quest to find out the name of the style of glasses Peter Fonda wore to the 1999 Golden Globes.”Barista reports on a rather horrifying UK TV idea coming to Australia: ” In Fat Kids Can’t Hunt 10 fat youngsters will live with Aboriginal tribesmen in Australia for a month.” At least read the first paragraph about The Australian‘s bizarre pictorial choice. Hello, Media Watch?

Andrew Bolt blogged about Russian maestro Vladimir Ashkenazy coming to the SSO … and that was about it, which was disappointing. So it was pleasing to find 17yo Mayumi in Sydney greeting the news with the appropriate enthusiasm:

Another thing..ok..this is big news:
THE SSO IS GOING TO HAVE VLADIMIR ASHKENAZY AS THEIR CONDUCTOR FROM JANUARY 2009. *mad giggles* this is sooooo awesome..not that I have anything against Gianluigi Gelmetti..but seriously..Vladdy is like an internationally recognised super conductor..hahahahahhahaha..I have so many CDs of him conducting..mwahahahahahhaha…I’m so excited…little sydney is getting vladdy :D:D:D:D:D

Indeed.

4. T.S.S

(troppo sports stadium)

Scott Wickstein recounts his experiences with the fun police – getting booted out of the ground, no less, because his girlfriend tossed something in the air during the Mexican Wave, while also providing some excellent thoughts on Australia’s new-look bowling attack.

Tony the Teacher, meanwhile, contributes a wonderful neologism to the cricket tragic’s vocabularydisminnowing! Five – on the Greatest Game – discovers that her AFL tipping has gone up the spout (was it to do with that Essendon jumper I wonder?) and – also at Sidelined – Phil has a great post on Stuart O’Grady’s win in the Paris-Roubaix.

5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad

KG at A Western Heart blows a gasket over a proposed code of conduct for bloggers, while Mark at Oz Conservative is his usual thoughtful self on the politics of identity politics. Rafe Champion has an interesting post on Robert Manne’s studied elision of his long-standing economic illiteracy (some of the quotations are priceless), and Jason Soon tells the sort of funny story only he can get away with.

On the subject of bad, Rob at Better Part of Valour digs up the hagiographic movie the Nazis made about Reinhard Heydrich’s assassination (complete with Wagner score) and Peter Black learns that the lawsuit against the ‘Don’t Date Him Girl’ website has been dropped.

Darryl Mason finds a square star.

  1. Highly recommended~SL []
  2. Not for the faint-hearted~SL []

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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skepticlawyer
14 years ago

No worries Ken, I’ll edit and post for Thursday. If there’s anything about posting from the wiki I need to know in advance, just drop me an email. If not I’ll just cut, paste & debug.

TimT
14 years ago

Jason Soon tells the sort of funny story only he can get away with.

Jason Soon is the only blogger of Chinese ancestry? ;p

[/Political Correct Mode]

Bannerman
14 years ago

Biased or not, Insiders on a Sunday morn is an absolute must. Especially if Bolt is on. A public embarrassment every time, that lad.

gilmae
14 years ago

Meta: Would the Cabal consider publishing the list of feeds you use to compile Missing Link as OPML?