Missing Link, Friday 20 July

Not such a fat issue this time – on this anniversary of the 1944 bomb plot – which is just as well – you’d all be read out otherwise.

Still, there’s been lots of goodness on the intertubes, and I’ll pop a few recommendations up front before hopping into Missing Link proper.

wow.gifFirst up is another (personal) candidate for post of the year. This time it’s from Saint, who discusses a strain of militant atheism that – even though I’ve been an atheist and skeptic for as long as I can remember – sometimes makes me uncomfortable. Go check it out. On a completely different tack is this lovely piece of scienceblogging from Dr Faustus. Almost as good is Steve Munn’s piece on the impact of Felis catus in Australia. Also worth a look is this short piece from Austrolabe, which shows that some of the nuttier aspects of Christian fundamentalism – in this case, creationism – are beginning to get their claws into Islam.

There’s also been yet another ‘top Australian blogs’ ranking, one that – for the first time – has an algorithm that manages to (a) rank political bloggers as highly as business bloggers and (b) discount Alexa. It ain’t perfect, but it’s worth a look.

Before going much further, I should point out that Club Troppo is new to the world of online advertising, and just now is need of generosity from our readers and supporters. Jacques Chester explains why.

Today’s Missing Link brought to you by Amanda Rose, James Farrell, Legal Eagle and Helen ‘skepticlawyer’ Dale (doing the edits and other dogsbody stuff…). Today’s graphic is courtesy Sam Ward at A Yobbo’s View, where he candidly provides visual confirmation of World of Warcrack’s impact on his earnings in recent times.

1. News and Politics Stuff

As L’Affaire Haneef unfolds, the debate continues. John Quiggin asks can it really be true, as appears to be the case, that the Immigration Minsiter now has the power to detain any non-resident indefinitely? Ken Lovell thinks Stephen Keim is Australia’s answer to Major Mori. And David Bath examines the link between the pictures the MSM choose, and the stories they tell. ((I thought this was an inspired observation.~LE)) RG sings a paean to Julian Burnside QC and his comments on the Haneef case. Slim really admires Haneef’s barrister, while Legal Eagle uses him to kick off a thoughtful discussion of the (usually negative) public perception of lawyers.

A Roll of the Dice thinks that we’ve got a bunch of killers, thieves and lawyers in charge (to steal a line from Tom Waits).

Several posts touch on the Government’s declining fortunes. Aussie Bob has scripted the dialogue on the bridge of Star Ship Coalition in its last days. Robert Merkel reviews Andrew Charlton’s Oznomics, the new book that denies the Coalition credit for Australia’s economic boom; and Jeremy Sear and Gummo Trotsky are both awestruck by the humility of Tony Abbott in the face of his team’s flagging popularity. Darryl Mason sees evidence that he provided inspiration for the headline: “Howard doomed, one way or the other”.

On the international front, Eric Martin welcomes the news that Sunni factions in Iraq are forming a united political wing, which will both strengthen their hand in negotiating a post-occupation settlement, and lead to more Sunni representation in the parliament.

Tim Blair riffs amusingly on the record minimum temperatures across Queensland. ((got down to 1 degree in Rocky last week – scary stuff.~SL))

2. Life and Other Serious Stuff

Tim Dunlop piles scorn on Twin Towers conspiracy theories. Another Tim is bemused by the arguments mounted by two leading Australian greenhouse sceptics in defense of Swindle.

Gianna nominates punning as her area of interest and expertise. (So does she thrill to the aroma of pun gent Homer?)

Apathetic Sarah views the death of Constable Brett Irwin through the lens of the guns debate.

Lauredhel asks: ‘Why is female, used as a synonym for woman, so irritating?’, tigtog wants to know ‘how on earth can a commuter transport company in the 21st century not make adequate provision for emergency evacuation of passengers in wheelchairs?’

Audrey thinks that the quashing of the sentence of Matthew Newton (Bert’s son) shows that violence against women is OK, as long as you’re a celebrity, that is.

The Blonde Canadian’s blood boils over comments that teachers dress in an unprofessional manner. ((Personally, I don’t wear high heels to work. That’s because I can’t walk in them!~LE))

Stephen Warne is ever so slightly pissed off that he’s just bought a new barrister’s wig… only to discover various jurisdictions are phasing them out.

Are charitable donations a tax dodge? Andrew Norton grapples with this question after having a commenter pop it over at his place.

Paid maternity leave – according to research uncovered by Mark at OzConservative – doesn’t raise birth rates, so if you’re supporting it for that reason, you shouldn’t.

3. The Yartz

Don Quixote has a review of the Guggenheim exhibition at the Art Gallery of Victoria.

Staring at a mound of transcript and media materials (more a mess of materials given the current state of our rehearsal room), its hard to give shape to the desire to ‘do something’. What exactly should be done?

~ Devising theatre at Compromise is our business

I am short, I drink a lot of coffee, I’ll never play Prince Hamlet and maybe I am measuring out my life in blogs

~ A blog round up at Theatre Notes. All linked posts worthwhile.

The critics can get it wrong.

~ La Vie En Rose and biopics at diassociated.com

Might I suggest that you make use of a word processor next time? Chiseled clay tablets are unwieldy, and, I might add, hurt like hell when dropped on ones foot. Also, a living language would be nice.

~ it is by Tim Sterne which is all you need to know.

Just as raw and explosive today as it ever was upon its release 20 years ago, SCUM has been universally hailed as a groundbreaking album and the place where grindcore was unleashed upon the masses.

~ Napalm Death fans should head to Ausgrind.

Harlem-born poet, Sekou Sundiata, died this morning

~ a tribute at The Morning After.

The funny thing about the Aurealis Awards, is that the years of missed work, idiotic nominations, golden shower statues and an endless line of judges who have either had conflicts of interest or whose background appears to be I-Can-Read-And-Thus-Have-Every-Right-to-Judge-a-Literature-Award, have left the Aurealis Awards as nothing more than a tiny local award that services a tiny, tiny pool of men and women, and which has not outside credibility–and very little internal credibility–that translates into sales or respect within the global literature movement that we all find ourselves in.

~ Ben Peek on awards for speculative fiction.

~ Richard Watts on the latest episode in the Harry Potter franchise. Not too shabby, apparently.

4. T.S.S

(troppo sports stadium)

Chris Sheil provides another excellent rugby wrap here at Troppo.

Shaun provides Round 19 footy tips at Sidelined, and some good commentary.

5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad

In news from the US, Jones Town tells us that Wal-Mart is going to be stocking faith-based toys. In his redoubtable fashion, Fairlane offers some suggestions that toy makers may not have thought of.

James Waterton suggests Muslims without a sense of humour ‘kiss his free-speakin’ arse‘.

LawFont has a timely warning about things one shouldn’t advertise on one’s Facebook page… at least while you’re a student at Oxford University. ((Which I soon will be.~SL))

A lovely piece on industrial archaeology from Diogenes’ Lamp.

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29 Responses to Missing Link, Friday 20 July

  1. SJ says:

    Helen, where you say “Theres also been yet another top Australian blogs ranking…”, why does the link go to some crap you’ve written at Catallaxy rather than the thing you’re purporting to link to?

  2. Because I felt like it ;)

  3. SJ says:

    Ah. TPA S52 doesn’t apply to self-aggrandizing assholes who aren’t corporations. I forgot.

  4. You can do a better job, can you? Or are we dealing with someone who believes everything they read in newspapers?

    I know you had a go at Kim over at LP over me, and to be quite frank I think your attitude reflects on you far more than it does on me. I’m not in the habit of dishing out insults, either in the MSM or around Ozblogistan. You might want to think of that before you fling another insult in my direction.

  5. SJ says:

    I know you had a go at Kim over at LP over me…

    There’s no version of reality in which that statement is true. Cough up the evidence if you think there is any.

    I realise that you deal in threats rather than insults, but whatever.

  6. Damien Eldridge says:

    Frankly, I think it is incredibly rude for someone to criticise any of the missing link team. They provide Ozblogistan with a valuable service at considerable cost to themselves in terms of time and effort. Furthermore, they are not paid for providing this service. If people don’t like the service, perhaps they should provide their own version of missing link.

  7. Start here
    Sorry about this Damien, but SJ is one of several people around the place who feel I should be silenced based on what various newspapers of very dubious quality alleged about me 12 years ago. Jason used to get very angry about it at Catallaxy, and in recent times I’ve just become snarky (as my comments above indicate). Most of the really nasty ones seem to be lefties, and Manne-lovers to boot. When SJ started to do the same thing at LP, Kim asked him to desist, and he did. I could kill this thread, but I’d rather the ‘self-aggrandizing assholes’ comment be left for posterity, as it reflects rather poorly on its writer.

  8. SJ says:

    Poor Helen. I’m picking on you for something you did twelve years ago rather than the thing you actually did about an hour ago, and your smart-ass reply to my complaint. Am I still picking on Kim, too?

  9. Come on SJ, let’s hear it – all the problems you have with me. I’m sure Troppodillians would be delighted to hear it all ;)

  10. SJ says:

    They’ve already heard it all. Most of it just now.

  11. Jacques Chester says:

    Please stop the catfighting or I will, in the words of Professor Farnsworth, resort to viiiolence!

    Cheers, your friendly local oppressor.

  12. Pingback: Balneus Biased court drawings and re-enactments: how far is too far? «

  13. Enemy Combatant says:

    Helen, find your nomination of Saint’s eponymously righteous post commenting on the “strain of militant atheism” most interesting. Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins and a host of other celebrity atheists drew narry a weapon but a quill, with which to state their cases. No one died; no children were violated either mentally, physically or both during the preparation of their arguments.
    Emphatic, most certainly; militant, only in the sense that the pen is mightier than the sword.

    Perhaps a bit of of background on precisely who Saint’s devil’s advocate was, could prove enlightening. For a Christian believer, self sanctification reeks of Lucifer’s chief character flaw, so evident before his alleged eviction from god’s penthouse to the spiritual boondocks.

  14. James Farrell says:

    Dawkins and the alleged phenomenon of militant atheism were trawled over at Troppo pretty recently,

  15. My view of Dawkins is a largely positive one, contra both Saint and Nick. However, I do think it’s worth bearing in mind that the most murderous ideology in human history (communism) was avowedly atheistic.

    Unlike many, I refuse to hang Nazism on atheists; Hitler was a political opportunist who used religion of various sorts (everything from paganism to Catholicism to Islam) to suit his own ends.

    Militancy is dangerous, to my mind, as it can be combined with a most unpleasant, even ‘missionary’ fervor, and certainly was in the case of communism’s persecution of the religious (from Ukrainian Uniates to Falun Dafa). This is something Dawkins glosses over, to the detriment of his other arguments about ‘imaginary friends’.

  16. harry clarke says:

    Hear, hear to Damien’s sentiments. Forget SJ’s rubbish Skepticlawyer. You are doing a great job and we all owe you.

    SJ, You are the biggest pain in the arse on the Australian blogosphere. No value at all. Disappear please.

  17. Jacques Chester says:

    Harry, I suspect your sentiment is shared by many, but in my experience the best way to deal with trolls and shitflingers is to ignore them. This thread seems to have gotten back ontopic, let’s all keep it that way.

  18. Thanks Harry, much appreciated. Jacques is right, I probably shouldn’t have snarked – although I have to admit he bit beautifully.

  19. Philly says:

    [removed by Jacques]

  20. I am developing quite a collection, aren’t I. Oh well, it’s like vomit. Better out than in.

  21. Jacques Chester says:

    Please note that I am happy to edit, delete or otherwise perform administrative viiiolence on any comments I think violates our ethos here at Club Troppo. As you can see I have already edited one comment and I will do the same to any other nasty ones coming to light.

  22. saint says:

    Enemy, I actually like Dawkins when he writes on science.

    His latest book “The God Delusion” has been trashed by reviewers ranging from aging Marxists to philosphers. And really says nothing new, certainly nothing to convince anyone to become an atheist which, after all, was the stated aim of that particular book. He should stick to science.

    The terms ‘militant’ and ‘evangelistic’ and ‘fundamentalist’ were used in Zwartz’s article to this particular group of atheists. He explained it on his blog: use a a dictionary.


    1. Fighting or warring.
    2. Having a combative character; aggressive, especially in the service of a cause: a militant political activist.


    1. Zealous preaching and dissemination of the gospel, as through missionary work.
    2. Militant zeal for a cause.

    evangelistic adj.
    evangelistically adv.


    In any case thanks for reading my blog. (And thanks for the endorsement SL, much as I think it undeserved)

  23. James Farrell says:

    “He should stick to science.”

    Out of curiosity, Saint, have you read any atheistic treatise whose author you deemed qualified for the task of critiquing religion?

  24. saint says:

    Ooooo yes indeed.

  25. Bertrand Russell, at a guess Saint?

  26. Zarquon says:

    I do think its worth bearing in mind that the most murderous ideology in human history (communism) was avowedly atheistic.

    Why? Atheism is not an ideology so this is nothing more than guilt by association.
    Dawkins is not a communist, neither is Hitchens and someone espousing athiesm tells you nothing about whether they are communist.

  27. TimT says:

    Why? Atheism is not an ideology so this is nothing more than guilt by association.

    You’d probably get the opposite impression by reading an atheist’s newsletter. When the subject of religion crops up in the newspapers, members of these societies are in the habit of writing dreadfully formulaic letters in pointing out all the nasty things religion has done, and how atheism is really the only rational choice. All very dull. It’s almost enough to drive me to belief!

  28. Patrick says:

    someone espousing athiesm tells you nothing about whether they are communist.

    No, but reverse the terms…

    btw, I too love skepticlawyer and her work on missing link. I’ll miss her contribution.

  29. amphibious says:

    Impressive. New to this Etherworld, still trying to catch up. The a/holes are obvious (by their works shall ye know them..) but it’s the ernest but ignorant who worry me. They’re trying (jokes aside about “..very..”) but how many times (and who) have to go back to the well?

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