A few hails and farewells to kick off today’s issue of Missing Link.
Condolences to the family of Charles Murton, erudite proprietor of Diogenes’ Lamp. Charles died after a lengthy battle with cancer, and will be remembered for his astute engagement with all comers across the political spectrum.
Congratulations, too, to Andrew Norton. Today marks the first anniversary of his departure from the Catallaxy Collective and a decision – in contrast with many bloggers – to go solo, rather than aggregate with other writers. It’s certainly not something I could do. Andrew’s account of some of the, ahem, more interesting media inquiries he gets is amusing.
Matters electoral are coming to dominate Ozblogistan, and – for this issue – I’ve given up trying to strip out the electoral posts and put them in a clear category of their own. So many people are alluding to matters political that dumping pieces either inside or outside the ‘politics’ corral is becoming increasingly difficult.
I will, however, draw your attention to some interesting pieces before diving into Missing Link proper, because there have been a number of good posts on the leadership speculation floating around John Howard. I wouldn’t normally highlight material so obviously tied to a particular electoral cycle, but Andrew Elder (here and here), Bannerman, Saint (here and here) and Ken at Club Troppo have all written excellent and thought-provoking pieces. Simon Jackman chips in with the inevitable cricket gag, while Bryan at OzPolitics tosses a few statistical effects into the mix. John Humphreys, meanwhile, has a disinterested look at Peter Costello’s options.
As a bit of light relief from all the heavy psephology, graphics for this edition come via Wicking (an appropriately themed Northern Territory funny) and Stephen Warne, who sends a lovely image from his travels.
Today’s Missing Link brought to you by James Farrell, Amanda Rose, Cam Riley and Helen ‘skepticlawyer’ Dale, with the latter deputizing for Peter Black and Legal Eagle with selections from the RWDBs and some of the lefties.
1. News and Politics Stuff
Experts often have contempt for mass wisdom and the Australian opinion media is no exception. Gary Sauer-Thompson comments:
There’s a perverse sort of joy to be had watching the media pundits go belly up this year. The great unwashed Australian public has flatly refused to cooperate with all sorts of accepted widsoms, including the ones about the influence of opinion columnists. Damn shame, that.
While Practicality affirms his belief in mass wisdom in relation to the judicial system.
The team at Austrolabe ask (and answer) the burning question: Is Osama Bin Laden an environmentalist?
The Killfile reckons by “any reasonable metric” the security at the recent APEC convention was a failure. Peter Martin has a photo display of what the media saw at the APEC meeting. Father Bob pens an excellent piece about “The Chaser”, where he sees value in confronting authority and how historically Christianity got its start from the same process:
In fact, if we had the wits we could all foretell the future, by paying closer attention to the present! Enter The Chaser. Thats what I believe the boys do. Its a public service. We need someone to do this unpopular (at least among bureaucrats) job. All institutions need the Chaser treatment. A Current Affair goes after individuals. Be that as it may. The Chaser goes after institutions.
Bernice supplies an eye-witness account of the protest march on Saturday (that threatend to bring down civilization as we know it), and Kieran at The Dead Roo has a handy roundup of blog reactions. Jeremy has a succinct summary of the ironclad case for the iron fist. As Phil at LP sees it, the brutalisation of Greg McLeay, North Shore Accountant, epitomises what we’ve come to.
Jason Soon documents the recent descent of British Conservatives into Hooray Henry Toryism of the worst sort.
John Quiggin interprets the politics behind the Sydney Declaration, concluding that ‘the idea that APEC would produce an alternative to Kyoto, or a post-Kyoto agreeement outside the UNFCCC is dead.’ The world is waiting for Bush to go away, so they can get down to business.
Hard on the heels of APEC came the contrasting leadership stories from Brisbane and Canberra. Mark Bahnisch reflects on the charms of his mate Peter Beattie, and his perfectly timed departure:
All the negatives that Beattie carries after nearly a decade in office that may have stuck to federal Labor are gone in a flash. Though theyre famously not close friends, Kevin Rudd has a lot to thank Peter Beattie for today.
As for the PM, ‘his own permanent campaigning style has almost certainly done him in.’ It all comes back to hubris, as Mark sees it. John Quiggin thinks that a series of smooth Labor transitions is bad news for the Liberal Party. At Surfdom, Gianna implores the electorate to resist feeling sorry for John Howard. After listing the reasons why not, she concludes:
So go ahead, get Shorty. Be cruel.
Andrew Bartlett crunches the Senate numbers again in the light of the latest Morgan poll. For the benefit of readers lacking the stamina for the whole analysis, his
best guess on these polling figures (which may in themselves be a fair way from what actually happens on election day of course), is 3 Coalition, 2 Labor and a toss-up between, Labor, Green or Democrat for the final seat.
Andrew also notes that the government is already amending the NT crackdown laws — having discovered that the liquor regulations impose excessively arduous requirements on retaliers.
In the countdown to the release of the Petraeus Report, Ken Lovell dampens expectations that it will be a report in any hitherto agreed sense of the word.
2. Life and Other Serious Stuff
tigtog has a linkfest of her own, with links to many a stimulating item.
David Bath asks why, if smallpox has been eradicated, why has the FDA approved a vaccine for it?
The food pr0nographer gets into chicken, salad and bread (possible NSFW URL).
The fallout over Catherine Deveny’s ‘women changing their names’ article is ongoing, with more interesting bloggy reactions, this time from tigtog, Legal Eagle and Tim Blair. All three posts are worth reading, if only for a snapshot of the diversity of views on just this one issue. More feminist goodies from Audrey at the Bad Apples, too: ‘it ain’t dead yet!’
Heath Gibson at Catallaxy documents the latest attempts to control the internet. Not likely to go well…
Denis Wilson enjoys the beauty of the “wonderful purple-flowered Pea plant Hardenbergia violacea”.
3. The Yartz
Title for a post on Britney Spears by Hyperidian Bannerman: Like the Elastic in Cheap Undies.
Fancy has a poem on Spring Flowers.
Apropos of Norma Khoury’s latest excuses, Darlene at LP probes the phenomenon of the misery memoir.
Semantically Driven hosts the September Carnival of Australia.
Pavlov’s Cat reprints a year-old review of Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. Put aside your doubts, PC: if a good novel doesn’t date, then neither does a good review of the same novel; don’t hesitate next time.
“Among the thrilling goings-on this week was a limo ride with Kamahl, during which it appears champagne was served to UNDERAGE CONTESTANTS.”: Scott, To Be Certain on Aus Idol.
More Aus Idol from comicstriphero. A certain contestant is really getting her down…
“What struck me, while watching the second film, however, was just what a cheap narrative trick suicide is.”: Ben Peek on the Bourne Ultimatum and other fiction.
Glen on the Robotech franchise joining Transformers on the big screen.
“The conference theme is Jane Austen – specifically, Austen as a comic writer – and even more specifically, what happens to Austens comedy when her work is translated into other languages and read in cultures quite distant from the one she wrote her novels in.”: Laura at LP
4. Troppo Sports Stadium
John Quiggin notes an anomaly in the election betting market and wonders whether ‘astute’ punters exploited it.
Chris at Troppo – as usual – provides a great Rugby wrap-up. Much better than the SMH.
5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad
Jobe asks, “Can nail clippers have sex?”
A geographic jot; Kevin Rennie is from Broome, WA.
Nina has a mouth ring.
Stuart Loe is interested in the case of Whirlpool forums being sued by 2Clix under the tort of injurious falsehood rather than defamation.
Adrian the Cabbie has a salutary tale of fame and self-promotion.
Armagnac finds fatherhood is doing odd things to his demeanour.