Missing Link

Terry Sedgwick had a camera secretly filming the recent meeting between Rupert and Kevie

There hasn’t really been a dominant theme in the blogosphere over the last few days, except possibly individual mourning and remembrance (what with Anzac Day in the air).   Asleigh honours the death of old Bill, his parents’ neighbour.  Bill was apparently a remarkable man who didn’t allow serious phsyical handicaps to prevent him from leading an extraordinarily active life and running a very successful manufacturing business.  It’s well worth reading and not a sad piece at all really: a tale of a life well lived.  David Tiley writes about his cousin who died of cancer a couple of years ago, and her mother who has just visited Australia:

 My aunt is not an introspective person. She came out of a brutal childhood better than the others. She said of my mother: âEver since she was a child, Ruth has been sitting in the corner eating worms.â

And Elsewhere writes movingly about the death of a brother and the nature of grief.

On a cheerier note, and although admittedly this week has quite some distance to travel, my post of the week so far is this delightful piece on performance pay for dentists by Slim at the Dog’s Bollocks.

This edition of Missing Link edited and compiled by Helen Dale, Jason Soon, James Farrell, Amada Rose, Patrick Garson and Ken Parish.

NB The cartoon over the fold might be regarded by some as not worksafe, although only if the boss has no sense of humour and doesn’t understand the difference between satire and porn.

1. News and Politics Stuff

Peter Black noted another subtle shift in news reporting: for the first time – in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings – MSM outlets purchased sponsored keyword google ads that ensured they weren’t bumped down the list. Ads aside, there’s never any shortage of loopy amateur psychology in the MSM, and Muslim blog Austrolabe discusses a particularly noxious example: the fact that killer Cho Seung-Hui had an allegedly Islamic name scrawled on his arm, and signed the narcissistic little package he sent to NBC as ‘A Ishmael’. Also in the wake of this psychological theorizing, Legal Eagle reflects on mental health issues, and the difficult balancing act between privacy and protection confronting us now.

To make up for light posting, Peter Black also did a chunky tech news roundup, with some detail on the story that Steve Jobs and Apple are trying to chivvy the music companies into ditching DRM, and have succeeded with EMI.

Drawing on a combination of his economics and climate change expertise, Harry Clarke has a very interesting piece on Exxon-Mobil, until recently a major funder of various climate change skeptics. He explores the company’s economic rationale for doing what it did, and discusses its future prospects.1 Still on matters statistical – although of a different type- Andrew Norton and LP’s Suz discuss a recent survey revealing – among other things – that a quarter of Australians wouldn’t want gay neighbours.2

Turning now to some seriously thought-provoing econoblogging, Chris Berg – for once Troppo isn’t pillaging his site for artwork – considers the rationale for antitrust laws (we call them competition laws in Australia), using a favourite whipping boy, Microsoft, as a case study. His conclusion is a surprising one. Rafe Champion, meanwhile, considers alternatives to government support for the arts and the inevitable rent-seeking it encourages.

Diogenes Lamp has further reflections prompted by the recent shooting massacre from a ‘pro gun’ side, discussing a University of Texas incident in 1966 where the undergrads were armed. He also takes aim at a ludicrous boycott of Israeli goods called by a British journalists’ union.

Apparently the Israeli goods boycott was provoked by the kidnapping of a British journalist by â wait for it – Palestinians. What the connection is between the kidnapping and Israel is still not understood, at least by rational people.

Meanwhile, Steve Edwards rails against the double standards of Holocaust denial laws in the EU.

At the Larva Rodeo, a guest post from Bernice opens with a long quote from an editorial in the latest issue of The Lancet, accusing the Australian government of impeding progress in Aboriginal programs and undermining scientific research in the interests of conservative political objectives. Bernice agrees, and maintains that Tony Abbott’s denials are ‘also yet another act of sophistry from a government who seems to keep a copy of Goebbelsâ handbook of misinformation and propaganda under its collective bed.’

Tim Lambert too got his hands on the April Lancet, and reports on controversy over who will have access to the data used for the journal’s famous estimates on deaths in Iraq.

And before we leave the topic of Iraq, Eric Martin has a review of developments there at Surfdom. He urges us not to be fooled that the Prime Minister’s break with Moqtada al Sadr represents a decision to take the Americans’ advice and make peace with the Sunnis.

Sadr gets to reconfirm his anti-occupation, nationalist bona fides (while distancing himself from the unpopular government), while Maliki can use the âweakness❠of his government as an excuse for failing to achieve progress on efforts to forge political solutions to the current conflict.

Having gotten his nominations for the Thinking Blogger award out of the way (and very astute some of them are), Andrew Bartlett shares a letter from a constituent describing his experiences at the sharp end of WorkChoices. The letter speaks for itself, but Andrew permits himself a brief conclusion:

To me this touches on one of the more important, but less tangible issues of the major law changes made by the Coalition government once they got control of the Senate â not just the specifics of what is and isnât legal, but the impact it has on culture and attitudes in the workplace.

Tim Dunlop uses the example of Andrew’s correspondent to point out the bankruptcy of the theory that self-interest obliges employers to treat their workers decently:

âWorkChoices❠commodifies workers and thatâs a dumb thing to do in practical and moral terms. It is simply disgraceful that our government wants to abandon ordinary people in this way.

For his part, David Bath of the Dead Roo thinks that politicians setting the direction of industrial relations in Australia have missed the most basic lesson in The Wealth of Nations.

Darlene Taylor  observes that the avuncular Joe Hockey looked distinctly nervous and sweaty while trying to sell the “we’ll all be rooned” line on WorkChoices if Labor gets in.  Piers Akerman OTO just looked red-faced.3

Ken Lovell takes a look at some of the group think currently at play in US military policy.

Andrew Elder and “Roger Migently” both focus on dodgy behaviour by neocon World Bank Governor Paul Wolfowitz, which may yet see him get his just desserts.  “Roger” also gives a passing sidewipe to US Attorney-General Alberto “The Torturer” Gonzales.

Machine Gun Keyboard reports on some interesting debate around abortion procedures in the UK, where doctors are increasingly opting out of training on ethical grounds. But is it an ethical objection, she asks, or simply that doctors find the procedure boring and menial?

Darryl Mason talks about developments in medicine that could have a huge range of ‘smart’ pills – improving everything from memory to cognition – widely available. 1) Do you reckon they’ll end up on the PBS? 2) Can someone please slip them into Bill Heffernan’s coffee?

Solidarity has a nice summary of Greg Combet’s nascent political career. I will be most interested to see what happens with this.

Ashleigh points out an Oz article by Terry McCrann that I overlooked when it was first published.  It details how the Howard/Costello government has ripped off much more from thwe Future Fund than Heavy Kevy’s broadband plan intends doing4

And Geoff Robinson dissects a typically silly op-ed piece by Janet Albrechtsen on bills of rights .5

2. Life and Other Serious Stuff

Andrew Leigh posts about his own just-published research seemingly showing that the Howard  post-Port Arthur gun laws have worked (contrary to other research published last year). 6 

Wednesday – in case you needed reminding – is Anzac Day, and Pommygranate provides an insightful outsider’s perspective on what is the leading candidate for Australia’s national day.

Jeremy Sear and ‘The Editor’ of the mysteriously titled GrodsCorp have joined forces to defend Wikipedia against sensationalist criticsms in the free newspaper MX. But this is evidently not the only excitement non-Melbournians have been missing out on: Helen on the Balcony is appalled not just by Adaam Selwood, but by anyone who makes excues for him and indeed by the whole culture of Aussie Rules, an

elite and insular world, which gives disproportionate rewards to meatheaded young men with a narrow range of physical skills and, often, an attitude to women or other ethnic groups which hasnât changed since third grade.

Gummo Trotsky directs his torch at a passage from Edmund Burke that is frequently quoted by self professed conservatives, and discerns only a rather unpleasant hymn to prejudice.

For readers who like classification games (and that’s everybody): taking a cue from Jerome Kagan, Pavlov’s Cat wants us each to ponder whether we’re foxes or butterfiles.

Legal Eagle posts about a rather disturbing American lawsuit showing just how far cyber-giants like Yahoo! will go in pandering to authoritarian regimes like that of China, with complete disrgeard to the privacy rights (and life and safety) of its customers.

Peter Martin points out how the Australian Conservation Foundation has conned the media (well, the ABC anyway) on the supposed utility of heavily subsidising domestic rainwater tanks in our major capital cities.  The ACF misrepresented its own research!

3. The Yartz

Cartoonist Jon Kudelka celebrates the 69th in his series 101 Uses for a John Howard by proving in the most graphic way that he is anything but a Howard hater

Crime Down Under reviews the new Gabrielle Lord — found via Matilda who makes the Missing Link Yartz correspondant’s life easier by posting about arts doings On Other Blogs.

Jess brings down the curtain on Ausculture, but unveils Defamer Australia. The snark is dead, long live the snark.

The Morning After (Chris Boyd, also a Big Media scribbler and literary editor for The Big Issue) reviews Il Barbierie di Siviglia in Melbourne. It’s an entertaining read and underscores a point made by Kerryn at Sarsparilla: blogs are the ideal form for theatre reviewing: Theatre reviews are by their nature ephemeral and need to appear straight away; theatre productions are ânewsâ, in that they quickly get old, in the way that books are not. And thereâs certainly no publication in this country that would run a theatre review of even a quarter this length and complexity â probably at all, much less in time for potential punters or recent audiences to read it.

Oceans Never Listen reckons Wilco reached near perfection in Sydney on Saturday night. Helen brings us the final day of Bluesfest.

The art life reports on the fate of the Brett Whiteley Studio in Sydney.

Mostly Knitting admits to a problem: I’m addicted to textile-related gadgets.

4. T.S.S

(troppo sports stadium)

Scott Wickstein has a gloat over Australia’s 215 run caning of New Zealand in the World Cup, but also saves some reflections for Brian Lara’s retirement. He will be missed: Australians loved to watch him bat too, even when it was our bowlers he was tonking all over the park. Also on the subject of outsider’s perspectives, Ian at the Corridor takes a detached look at Australian cricket fans – and players. His observation that Matty Hayden looked like ‘he’d just swallowed a wasp’ after getting out (having scored a 100, mind you) is priceless.

Rank and Vile talks about the need for a rectangular sports stadium in Melbourne. I can confidently say I have no opinion about this whatsoever.

Niall “Bannerman” Cook reviews the weekend’s V8 broom-brooms round held at some place in New Zealand that I can neither spell nor pronounce.

5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad

David “Barista” Tiley (and various other bloggers) posts about some fascinating predictions for the future published in the Ladies Home Journal in 1902.

Ashleigh hates Lotus Notes, which some dickhead at his office has imposed on the whole place. 7

Saint in a Straitjacket discovers a delightfully useless product:

A caffeinated bar of soap has been invented for people who are short of time.

Every time a person lathers their body with the soap it produces two coffee cupsâ worth of caffeine. The effects are said to be absorbed within five minutes and last for up to four hours.

  1. Tip – strong buy.~SL []
  2. Both posts are well worth a look.~SL []
  3. But Piers has lost some weight and no longer looks like a bloated canetoad who has hopped onto the set ~ KP []
  4. not that I’m any more impressed by Kevie’s plan than by Howard/Bishop’s apparently imminent jumping into bed with the evil Telstra monopolist on broadband ~ KP []
  5. I’m something of a moderate bill of rights sceptic, but even I thought Albrechtsen’s article was a lame piece of work ~ KP []
  6. It may be a case of lies, damned lies and statistics, but I find Andrew’s work persuasive ~ KP []
  7. So do I.  Fortunately CDU abandoned Lotus Notes a couple of years ago and moved to Microsoft Outlook which is vastly superior.  You’d have to be a dedicated Gates-hater to stick with a crap product like Lotus Notes ~ KP []

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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