Missing Link – 7 May

487107025_b518e3370d.jpgIndustrial relations got Ozblogistan going this week, with some great stuff from across the political spectrum. That apart, there was some interest in the French election, along with a couple of bits of pre-budget speculation. Saint’s effort on that score was particularly noteworthy. I do suspect Thursday’s Missing Link will be afflicted with budgetitis, so light budgeting in this edition is neither here nor there.

Since we’re heading for a week of high political drama, it may be worth reading an excellent piece by Harry Clarke before engaging in debate. Harry discusses the fallacy of believing that exposing the motives behind an expressed opinion shows that the opinion itself is false.

Graphics in this edition courtesy John Kudelka and The Corridor of Uncertainty. The latter purports to be the Rules of Cricket in French. Very amusing, even for those with only a smattering of Franglais.

This edition of Missing Link compiled by Amanda Rose, James Farrell, Jason Soon, Patrick Garson and Helen Dale (standing in as editor for the flat-out-like-a-lizard-drinking Ken Parish).

1. News and Politics Stuff

The Great Industrial Relations Policy Backflip has been the hot topic on the leftish blogs. Reminding readers that WorkChoices was an act of duplicity in the first place, Tim Dunlop invites them to outline (on Mr Howard’s behalf, with respect to WorkChoices) under what circumstances a rock solid guarantee is not a guarantee. He elsewhere wonders whether the Government is planning more radical changes after the election, perhaps in the direction signalled by the Real Estate Institute, which wants its members to be exempted from minimum wage rules. Trevor Cormack digs a little deeper to find, well, nothing really. Andrew Norton looks at the substance of the changes, and casts a perceptive eye over the history of penalty rates.

In a sure sign that we’re heading deeper into election mode, Bryan at OzPolitics douses speculation about an early (read August) election, and also spends some time getting his head around WorkChoices. The latter piece in particular is a careful psephelogical analysis of the relative strengths and weaknesses on both sides of the debate.

In the view of Senator Bartlett, the Government’s new-found enthusiasm for reinforcing the safety net is ‘akin to someone breaking both your arms, and then insisting theyre doing you a favour when they offer to help heal one of them.’

John Quiggin favours Labour’s proposal to extend workers’ rights to take unpaid parental leave. Given that the share of profits is historically high, it’s fair to ask business to contribute its share in achieving a goal that has widespread support.

Larry Bonewend supplies a useful point-by-point comparison of the main parties’ IR rules (thanks to Sarah for that link).

Reviewing the Government’s empty submission to the Fair Pay Commision Ken Lovell notes the paradox in a government that delegates all important economic decisions to independent agencies, but at the same demands credit for its astute mamangement of the economy. More generally, Ken hopes that the Howard team’s strategy of seeking saturation media presence for The Leader will backfire.

On other political matters, Anna Winter has a close look at the ‘parachuting’ issue and concludes:

Yes, its wrong to take advantage of safe seats to repay favours and entrench factional power. But it would also be wrong to throw away the opportunity to fill our Parliament with candidates who have a great deal to offer the nation, but who perhaps dont have the qualities needed to attract a swinging voter. Some of us arent swinging voters, and some of us want more than that.

Mark Bahnisch argues that thirty years of policies and programs for practical reconcialiation have bypassed the issue of aboriginal ‘culture death’. The ensuing discussion shows how hard it is to agree on the nature of the problem, let alone solve it.

John Humphreys tries to get libertarians involved constructively in the AGW debate with a thoughtful post on the respective costs and benefits of carbon taxes versus carbon trading as policy instruments. Also on matters environmental, Steve Munn looks at Ord River Stage Two, especially in light of water shortages in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Jason Soon provides two backgrounders on Sarkozy, the French-President-Elect. Although touted as a freemarketeer, he’s historically not been above anti-competitive pork and ‘industry policy’.

Tim Blair exposes a verbal tic in the ALP campaign.

John Ray has some politically incorrect thoughts on Paul Keating’s famous Redfern speech.

James Waterton is exasperated with the Fred Thompson phenomenon among Republican voters in the US:

WHY THE HELL IS THE STUPID REPUBLICAN BASE GETTING ALL EXCITED ABOUT THIS FRED THOMPSON CHARACTER??? Are the Repubs so desperately sentimental about the halcyon Reagan days that they’ll transform any old nobody into a star contender for GOP candidacy – as long as that nobody tenuously shadows some elements of the Gipper’s bio? Does anyone actually know what Thompson stands for?

Modia Minotaur worries about the precedent that would be set if the nortorious young activist of the Rottweiler Right Alex Hawke wins Liberal preselection.

Politics is a notoriously discourteous sphere, full of ignorant, arrogant blow-hards who will say anything at any time, with no regard to who they’ll hurt and insult. But they sometimes say and do amazing things. This, of course, reminds Cam of the political blogosphere, and he wonders why more parties aren’t involved – indeed, recruiting – from this (cess?)pool of talent…

Paul reminds us of World Press Freedom Day, and makes a grim assessment.

2. Life and Other Serious Stuff

JF Beck pulls apart some misleading BBC reporting on Perth water issues. John Humphreys discusses a very worthy human capital project he is proposing to set up in Cambodia as a new approach to meeting the higher education needs of people in developing economies.

Sarah gives an amusing account of her attempt to register at www.donotcall.gov.au. Peter Martin has a fascinating suggestion on the Do Not Call front as well – it’s so good I’m just waiting for someone to turn it into money (SL).

Shaun Cronin was dissatisfied with a book called Unintended Consequences: United States at War by Hagan and Bickerton.

Helen is grappling with George Lakoff’s concept of framing as a framework for her ongoing analysis of poltical rhetoric.

Tim Lambert responds to John Berlau’s response to Tim’s critique of Berlau’s thesis that environmentalists are motivated by racism.

Gary Sauer-Thompson and Ken Lovell both take a look at work this week, or rather, the fact we’re doing too much of it to be happy and healthy. On that point – at least when it comes to servicing our massive household debt – Pommygranate brings his financial expertise to bear on the global housing boom, and makes a persuasive argument that – in the UK at least – it has all the characteristics of an overheated bubble.

While we’re on bricks and mortar, Don Arthur has a terrific piece on plastic building blocks – Lego. In an American school, a bunch of kids created their own functioning market using – you guessed it – Lego. Unsurprisingly, the teachers decided to intervene. As they say, read the whole thing. Don’s piece has already got Slim over at the Dog’s Bollocks talking.

3. The Yartz

Sophie’s World was last century’s The Da Vinci Code in terms of ubiquity among public transport users. Here at Troppo Nick revisits it before the release of the movie (actually the second movie based on it, the first was “not widely released outside of Norway.” Thank you, Wikipedia.)

Supernaut reviews a new performance by Melbourne dance company Chunky Move.

Dogpossum on the life of the swing DJ on the road.

Matilda’s own regular arts blog round-up.

The art life has an essay on a George Stubbs painting, soon to be a Radio National piece too.

From the “So You Don’t Have to” Files: Tommy live blogs the Logies. The blogosphere has spoken with the Fuglies.
If you have no more than seven minutes to spare for cinema this week, you might consider Grods Corp’s pathbreaking short film Fool’s Code, scandalously omitted from last year’s Tropfest, but now out on Youtube.

David Tiley, meanwhile, has a percepetive post on The Lives of Others. At first it seems as though he’s criticising the film for historical inaccuracy, but he’s not. The story is fictional. Instead, he returns to Anna Funder’s super book Stasiland and concludes that the scenario in the film is not so much fictional as impossible. It simply could not have happened.70fredflintstone.gif

4. T.S.S

(troppo sports stadium)

Scott Wickstein has a reflective post on the ongoing Zimbabwe debacle, and the morality of playing in a country that not only practices racial selection, but is going down the drain at an increasingly rapid rate.

There is a possibility that the cricket team might not even be safe there. This brings in the ICC, that wonderful organisation that gave us such delights as the 2007 World Cup. It is responsible for recommending whether or not a tour goes ahead on security grounds. If they say it is safe to go there, and the Australian team ignore it, then Australia face a $2 million dollar fine.

As promised, AFL-Mum moonlighting as a Soccer-Mum Five reports back on her son’s adventures in the round-ball code, including her attempts to inculcate ‘backbone’:

There are pleasing signs that hes finding hidden reserves of resilience and interest in the beautiful game. He actually does enjoy running after the ball and hes one of the faster kids on the ground. When he was confronted yesterday by a pack of three kids who wanted his ball, he did not baulk, but stood firm and tried to flick the ball out of their way. At another point he got the ball and started kicking it.

5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad

Ms Fits finds the best “Witness Wanted” poster ever. Jabberwocky ponders the pervasive ‘Bratz’ phenomenon (with samples) and is glad that she doesn’t have a daughter.

Legal Eagle adds to Mirko Bargaric’s excellent piece on lawyerly depression with some reflections of her own. Anyone attracted to what seems to be a rather ‘glamorous’ occupation should read both, and take note!

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16 years ago

Not sure if this has gone out to subscribers. A copy came to me, but then I posted it. Pls let me know if I’ve been successful, as once again I couldn’t file it under ‘Missing Link’.

16 years ago

Your link to Andrew Bartlett’s page appears to broken…

16 years ago

Whoops. I’ll go in and edit.

James Farrell
James Farrell
16 years ago

I don’t know what happened with Bartlett, Helen, but thanks if you fixed it.

Brendan Halfweeg
Brendan Halfweeg
16 years ago

John Humphreys tries to get libertarians involved constructively in the AGW debate

John is simply arguing that the least worst idea of the interventionists is a tax. Irrelevent to the AGW debate, I can’t be arsed with the whole “climate denial” crap anymore, it is still up to those who want to intervene to show that a carbon tax or a carbon trading scheme WILL REDUCE GLOBAL WARMING in some meaningful way. If it does not pass this simple test it will simply be another tax or another form of rent seeking for a power hungry state. It is not enough to simply argue that something must be done, but that what is proposed to be done will do what it says.

16 years ago

I think Jason may have had a certain Mr Bird in mind, Brendan. On balance, I agree with your sentiments, though. Intervention should have to pass some sort of half-way meaningful test.