First up, some housekeeping. The Missing Link crew have added a new committee member, and we’d like y’all to welcome Legal Eagle to the fold. For those of you who’ve been following this illustrious publication, you’d know that Legal Eagle is a young mum, legal academic and (former) litigation solicitor. Her blog, the Legal Soapbox, has ensconced itself as one of our favourites, and for this reason we thought she’d make a great addition to the team.
Next up, much amusement was had in blogland when Crikey decided to apply their bias-o-meter to Ozblogistan. Unusually for the blogosphere, the collective reaction to Crikey’s efforts was remarkably polite, even from Jeremy Sear, who was somewhat bemused to find himself parked out to the left of the Marxists at Leftwrites. Thoughtful bloggy reaction to Crikey’s analysis was also to be found at Catallaxy, Larvatus Prodeo, Pavlov’s Cat and Andrew Norton. Also interesting was Kieran’s take at the Dead Roo, where he decided to substitute an analytical graphic of his own (which, along with Crikey’s, I’ve included in today’s Missing Link).
Today’s edition of Missing Link brought to you by James Farrell, Jason Soon, Amanda Rose and Legal Eagle, with Helen ‘skepticlawyer’ Dale doing the editing thang. Ken Parish is currently neck deep in examination scripts, but will be back soonish.
Before hopping into Missing Link proper, I’d like to draw our readers’ attention to a superb piece by David Coles here at Troppo. Whatever you think of John Howard’s response to the dysfunctionality across indigenous Australia, David’s piece (and the ensuing comments thread) comes highly recommended. David:
left government 2 years ago as Executive Director Local Government and Regional Development with the Northern Territory government and over his time in public service managed the Indigenous Housing program and led the DCM Aboriginal Development Branch as well as being a senior Ministerial Officer to the CLP Minister for Health and Community Services at one stage. David was also appointed in May 2006 by current NT Chief Minister Clare Martin as co-ordinator of government responses for the Wadeye community in the wake of the major riots there, which in considerable part (along with Dr Nanette Rogers revelations on ABC Lateline) stimulated the current national focus on matters indigenous in the Northern Territory.
1. News and Politics Stuff
More bloggers have submitted answers to Joshua Gans’ question in Round 3 of the 1Q challenge. Tim Dunlop argues that catching up is better than nothing as long as it’s not grudging and symbolic. Thus, the Government’s aboriginal intervention qualifies, but its climate policy doesn’t. tigtog agrees, with the qualification that unless the catch-up policy is very good, its tardiness will count heavily against the government when the election is held. And Andrew Bartlett says:
Im all for catch up politics when it means catching up with good ideas that should have been implemented ages ago. I hate catch up politics when it means catching up with bad ideas that have turned out to be politically popular.
Elsewhere Andrew vents his frustration that anyone who criticises aspects of the initiative is accused of willing the government to fail. Even Noel Pearson, who himself recently argued that sound ideas have failed because of poor implementation, has been up to this trick.
Given that the other responses have all touched on the NT emergency package, John Quiggin’s post assessing Howard’s motives in the context of his record, is a de facto 1Q response. Also related to the NT emergency package, Andrew Landeryou knocks down a patronising rant by Guy Rundle against Noel Pearson.
Robert Merkel can’t see why the Victorian Government needs to build a desalination plant if it’s going to pipe water from the Murray-Goulburn system anyway.
Tim Dunlop wants to know about the methodology underlying Mustapha Kara-Ali’s claim that up to 3000 Muslim Sydney youth are on the brink of being radicalised.
If the threat is that clear-cut, shouldnt we be making some arrests? If not, I repeat: what exactly does it mean? How do the reports authors know these people are in sleeper cells? Isnt the nature of a sleeper cell that it is a secret? And if you are in a sleeper cell, arent you already well past the brink of becoming radicalised?
Amir at Austrolabe also gets stuck into this issue and tries to quantify the risk of radicalisation of Muslim youth in Australia. He also has a nuanced take on the recent Tim Blair vs Media Watch brouhaha.
Still on matters Muslim, Saint in a Straightjacket draws attention to a piece by Muslim psychiatrist Tanveer Ahmed on the troubled relationship between Islamic theology and sexuality. Mark at Oz Conservative has a related post – and a salutary tale – on what happens when people with culturally incompatible values are forced to cooperate.
Tim Dunlop points out that if the Sunday Telegraph report — revealing a secret plan to announce our withdrawal from Iraq just before the election — is true, the implication is that Australian soldiers’ lives are being risked for political advantage. Gianna has similar reaction. Meanwhile, Tim Blair takes issue with the recent coverage of the Glasgow terrorist attack.
Pommygranate digs up an amusing factoid on the (fortunately) hopeless terrorists in the UK. Jason Soon argues – very perceptively – that proponents of big government are using both climate change and terrorism to coerce people into accepting erosion of both personal choice and civil liberties. Tim Lambert takes exception1 to his treatment by Jason.
Harry Clarke has a great piece on dealing with negative externalities using things like congestion charges. He highlights London Mayor Ken Livingston’s system as an exemplar. John Quiggin uses the occasion of Blair’s departure to ask what’s left of Thatcherism.
The Nuclear Australia blog subjects a recent anti-nuclear piece by Ian Lowe to some back of the envelope number crunching.
Public Opinion has a post on that old perennial, the worth of political bloggers in the eyes of the MSM.
2. Life and Other Serious Stuff
Mark Bahnisch interprets the census data on declining religious belief as evidence that the ‘traditional values’ camp in the culture wars is fighting a rear-guard action.
Pavlov’s Cat has discovered the Political Compass, and is comforted to find herself at the same bearings as Beethoven and Mozart.
Tim Lambert shoots Glenn Reynolds full of holes in response to an attack on Al Gore; while Gianna makes short work of the latest theory on why ‘the left has no sense of humour’, this one from Stephen Matchett.
Over at Random Brainwave, Tom Violence, a smoker, makes some interestingly libertarian arguments on the government’s attitude to his personal choices.
3. The Yartz
What books do you reckon are unjustly out of print?
The frenzied Gen X blog meme for the week? The Transformers movie. And if you’re baffled by the reference let’s just say Transformers are Autobots who wage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons. They’re Transformers, more than meets the eye. They’re Transformers, robots in disguise. @ Spark Online, 20/20 Filmsight, Ben Peek, Among the Dust, White Boy Dance Floor.
Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells and Australian Colonial Gothic Fiction in one post. Blogging rulz. Kirsty runs the gamut of art and culture concerns in this post, linked by the question of SMS language and the phenom of texting.
PAUL Martin on a Kieslowski classic.
Horror comics in Australia and a review of “the most controversial Australian horror comic ever published.”
An MP3 from the Folk Australia blog. Legendary Australian folk-country troubadour Gary Shearston and …. Whiter Shade of Pale.
(troppo sports stadium)
Chris Fryer thinks that Collingwood made the right decision not to punish Alan Didak. RG wonders if the real issue is that footy players still prefer to hang out at dodgy strip clubs, despite policies promoting respect of women.
Chris Sheil has one of his super rugby posts. Go read, especially if you’re a Kiwi.
5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad
Darryl at Your New Reality has posted an awesome picture of a Zorse. He also has a far more disturbing post about an American who has developed a paddle (purportedly inspired by God) with which to beat one’s child. To show the child that you love it. Yeah, right.
A Roll of the Dice tells us that “calculation” has been removed from the Physics syllabus in the UK – it’s important for students to discuss “concepts”. How can you discuss a concept if you don’t know how it works to begin with? In other teaching news, The Blonde Canadian has translations of school report cards for mystified parents.
Jane from Diversion Cubed wonders how doctors who swear the Hippocratic Oath can then (allegedly) become involved in terrorist plots to harm people.
- Justifiably in my view.~KP