Missing Link – 4 days and counting down

Warney dressed as his mum for a new TV beer ad. What is it about beefy Aussie sporting blokes that makes them want to dress up in drag in front of the cameras? The boofheads at the AFL and NRL Footie Shows seem to think it’s funny too. Courtesy Will at The Corridor (cricket blog)

We can’t avoid the political coverage, but we can certainly ignore the deluge of pre-election week opinion polling, at least until Friday’s edition when all the pollsters will be publishing their definitive efforts by which they hope posterity will judge them.

This edition instead is dedicated to Warney the proudest bogan of them all. Compiled by Saint in a Straitjacket, Darlene Taylor, Peter Black, James Farrell and Ken Parish, with editing by the latter. Gilmae was diverted by a computer crash but will be back on deck on Friday. Moreover, we’ll also be welcoming Rebecca Leighton on board for the next couple of editions, covering for yours truly while I go into a final exam marking convulsive frenzy.

BTW Just a quick reminder (which we’ll repeat in each ML edition for the next week or two) to post your nominations for Best Blog Posts 2007 (yes, it’s baaack).

1. News and Politics Stuff

Landeryou finally puts his money where his loud mouth is, and makes his election predictions. He’s calling it for the Coalition. By contrast, lapsed Liberal Andrew Elder has torn himself away from the pony club, taken the cucumber sandwich out of his mouth and predicted an improbably huge Labor victory.

In the wake of yesterday’s news that the AAT had ruled in favour of the Coalition’s refusal to hand over documents relating to its future Work Choices plans under FOI, Tim Dunlop mounts a rather persuasive case that the Coalition really does have secret plans to extend its hated IR regime in the increasingly unlikely event that John Howard manages a Lazarus with a quadruple (or is it quintuple?) bypass on Saturday. Meanwhile, and hot off the presses, Peter Martin publishes leaked confidential Federal government tender documents which seem to show rather conclusively that Howard DOES (or at least did until very recently) have plans to “build upon recent workplace relations reforms”.1

Late last week John Quiggin published an excellent guest post from leading econometrician Adrian Pagan which debunked a dodgy study John Howard had been touting, claiming that Labor’s IR plans would “destroy between 200,000 and 400,000 jobs” . The post at JQ’s place was later picked up by the MSM and republished almost holus bolus by Ross Gittins in his SMH column yesterday.

Peter Martin focuses on the Coalition’s repeated claims about Labor’s alleged economics inexperience:

A quick check of the parliamentary website reveals that eight of the incoming Labor ministers have degrees in economics. One of them, Craig Emerson, has a PhD in the subject.

Wonder how that compares with the current Howard Cabinet?

Andrew Norton looks at whether interest rates are going to be a significant factor in the election.

Andrew Bartlett is pleased to see that the media haven’t written off his reelection chances totally, and that one paper in particular bothered to report a poll revealing that voters prefer the Democrats over other parties to hold the balance of power in the Senate. The Democrats also have the best Koala policy.

Discussing the ‘soft corruption’ that overtakes longstanding governments, Ken Lovell chooses as his case study Mark Vaile’s creative interpretation of the caretaker convention. Ken is probably not the only person to have been rendered speechless by this statement from the minister:

Weve been expecting it to have been released before this, Mr Vaile said. To have an unelected individual, who is a statutory office holder, making a decision on the release of a report like this and the timing like that that needs to be looked at.

Mark Bahnisch explores the reasons why the opinion polls don’t explain why the voters’ mood has changed, leaving government ministers and their media barrackers confused and cranky. Speaking of barrackers, Jeremy thinks the PM has finally found the formula for salvation in the new slogan, “If you love WorkChoices then vote for me and we’ll lock it in forever”. Then there’s tigtog, whose fears about the stability of coalition leadership, should they find themselves in opposition, are causing her sleepless nights. But they are all forgetting the boost the PM should get from his plan to deprive drug offenders of welfare payments — notwithstanding Bernice thinks this is a ‘piece of flaccid rotting idiocy’. Pavlov’s Cat is heartily sick of the ‘aribrushed elections’; if she really must think about Julia’s clothes, she prefers Robert Herrick’s take on them.

John Quiggin has some links on the IPCC report and reactions to it, including from the new face of green Australia, Peter Debnam

Getting away from federal politics to something even more uplifting: Eric Martin continues his examination of the Bush Administration’s nasty and increasingly counter-productive proxy war in Somalia.

2. Life and Other Serious Stuff

Australian Atheist is unimpressed with the the National School Chaplaincy Program.

Mark Richardson says that this research just doesn’t fit his experience:

New research shows feminism and romance go hand-in-hand, with egalitarian men and women enjoying better intimate relationships than the new breed of young men and women who dismiss the pioneer movement

Colin Campbell celebrated World Toilet Day yesterday.

Ken Lovell blasts news reporting based on anonymous sources.

dr faustus ventures one of his occasional analytical posts about criminal sentencing policy, this time in the US:

Despite the US crime rate being relatively stable, the rate of imprisonment has continued to rise since the 1980s, and is quickly becoming unmanageable.

Ken Lovell posts a superbly passionate long piece about global warming and the moral and intellectual bankruptcy (as he sees it) of the RWDB denialists. It’s set to be one of my nominations for BBP2007.

Andrew Leigh and Tim Blair both highlight an excellent NY Times article about recent econometric research and debate concerning the deterrent effect of capital punishment, albeit from rather different perspectives.

Andrew also reports briefly on research suggesting that the real cost of cigarettes is “$222 per pack for men and $94 per pack for women in 2006 dollars” if you take into account the “mortality cost”. Fellow economist Harry Clarke, slowly emerging from his pre-election bout of depression, looks at the issue much more closely.

In case you imagined that all the “me-too-ism” was just a rhetorical device, Andrew argues that a quick and rough analysis of the policies of both the Coalition and Labor indicates that the net effects on relative poverty in both cases will be to increase it!!!

Peter Black draws our attention to the indescribably sad situation of recently retired US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, whose husband is rapidly fading with Alzheimer’s. His recollection of his wife has also faded to the extent that he “has found a new romance” with another sufferer at his nursing home. News media report that “his happiness is a relief to his wife”.

“Slim Pickens” looks in some detail at how ordinary people are being priced out of increasingly expensive and exclusive coastal resort towns like Lorne around the Great Ocean Road.

Vest writes about a female rape victim in Saudi Arabia who was initially sentenced to 90 lashes for daring to get into a car with her attackers, but who had her sentence increased to 200 lashes and 6 months imprisonment for daring to appeal against the leniency of the sentences imposed on the rapists.

3. The Yartz

Karen Moncrieff’s dark and sad The Dead Girl has recently been released on DVD in Australia. It is an interesting work that delves into many difficult areas, including the redemptive and destructive sides of male sexuality, female complicity and harmful rectitude, and judgments made against certain kinds of victims of violent crime. There are a couple of characters in the movie who represent the inclination that finds it hard to care about a murder victim whose life trangressed sexual norms. One of the most disturbing scenes in the film comes when the serial killer’s wife serves him dinner. The wife’s name is Ruth, which, in a perverse way, reminds of a certain biblical passage:

Don’t force me to leave you. Don’t make me turn back from following you. Wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.

You can read a review of The Dead Girl on Mused Projectiles.

The idea of listening to a Pianola and reminiscing about old football songs seems like a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. Boynton eloquently discusses the aforementioned musical instrument and the video for a certain classic footy tune in her post, “Up There”:

But I also love the blend of words and images, the unpretentious verite of the crowd, the heritage stanza of champions in slow black-and-white, the rise and fall of the music matching the choreography of marking, that by Billy Picken becomes quite beautiful.

Like many other reviewers, Dean from Happy Antipodean has some criticisms of Elizabeth: The Golden Age. However, he does have some positive things to say about the film’s cinematography:

A lot of shots are oblique and interesting. Further, many shots of individuals in moments of drama are taken behind a screen of some sort, providing a nice counterpoint to the insane reliance people in those days had on religion to define themselves.

The act of voting could be regarded as a form of art. After all, voters have to dance through the line of party hacks handing out how-to-vote cards. Anyway, a blogger about things theatre called Avi Lipski has already cast her vote for a party not led by John Howard. Only a few more sleeps until things change a little bit.

More anthropomorphic fun at Wicking, with Ned the Bear revealing who he thinks is going to win the election.

And for those yearning for a bit of theatre Yartz combined with a good old-fashioned blosgophere-style left versus right stoush, Alison Croggon draws attention to an Observer article by Jay Rayner:

Where are the right-wing voices who will take the establishment on? For decades, British theatre has been dominated by playwrights sympathetic to a liberal consensus. The culture of the left has been represented by strident plays and angry playwrights – but where are the voices of the right, and why can’t the stage accommodate both?

Shane Warne again, this time dressed as his dad (I hope this isn’t old news – we certainly haven’t seen the ads in Darwin yet AFAIK)

4. T.S.S

(troppo sports stadium)

5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad

And now for some slightly more light-hearted election observation from sikamikanico:

Two Kevin07 shirt-clad Labor campaign workers were leafleting outside the local supermarket when they were approached by a third person who apparently knew them both. His greeting of, “How’s it going?” was met with the response, “We were just discussing whether the term Comrade is gender-specific”.

The most interesting thing about reading RWDB blogs, is looking out the window.

Here at Club Troppo we can never resist a good stoush about civility. Liam from the aptly named blog Stoushnet engages in a little self-justification of his habit of engaging in long and acrimonious comment box disputes at various blogs including his own:

If you think like me (and if you dont, of course, youre a useless fucking arse-clown) youll agree that its not a moral failure to despise consensus and want to thrash out particular arguments fully, even if it means feelings get hurt. To restrain conversations to protect the egos of participants is to infantilise them.

Useless arse-clowns who don’t think like Liam include venerable economist John Quiggin, who links an excellent Salon article by Gary Kamiya about uncivil blog discussion and its effects, and philosopher Gary Sauer-Thompson, who argues that “[t]he in-your-face intimacy of uncivil political discourse on television discourages the kind of mutual respect that might sustain perceptions of a legitimate opposition” and therefore reduces the possibility of constructive consensus or compromise.

G S-T also doesn’t think much of UQ legal academic James Allan’s advocacy efforts in opposing an Australian bill of rights (“hysterics, mock outrage and abuse”).

Meanwhile, Lyn Calcutt draws a seemingly unlikely parallel between voting for Australian Idol or Big Brother contestants and voting in federal elections:

We treat the serious and the frivolous as though they’re mutually exclusive, but they’re not. Reducing emissions by xyz percent by the year abc is the stuff of serious policy, but it means nothing if you don’t trust the politicians in question to do it. On that measure the BBs and political junkies are all looking for the same thing, if not on the same TV shows.

If you’re inclined to think that it would be difficult to write more complete tosh about global warming than RWDB twins Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt, have a look at this extract from a letter-boxed One Nation pamphlet (courtesy Arleeshar):

If you believe in Global Warming You Might As Well Believe in a Flat Earth

Why are we now hearing about carbon emissions when we are not emitting carbon at all, but carbon dioxide. For the benefit of the global warmers who flunked science and did sociology instead, carbon is the black stuff that collects inside your exhaust pipe when your engines running too rich, carbon dioxide is an invisible gas. Could it be that carbon just sounds worse?

Arleeshar also has very definite thoughts on the reasons behind declining trade union membership, and it isn’t those thuggish “union bosses” you see on endless Coalition attack ads.

marcellous shows why Ray Hadley is a fitting successor to his former (if unlamented, especially by Hadley) shock jock mentor John Laws when it comes to irresponsibly fomenting rabble rousing vigilante “justice”.

Gilmae muses pointlessly about a gossip columnist’s equation which purports to measure “celebrity pointlessness“. Its reliability can be assessed by the fact that it rates Paris Hilton as the least pointless celebrity measured!!

Peter Black posts about the “so-called crime of wi-fi tapping“.2.

  1. Could this be the metaphorical stake through the Howardian vampire’s heart? ~ KP []
  2. But why only “so-called”? Under Australian ISPs’ “unlimited” broadband plans, at the very least a wi-fi thief is stealing your bandwidth and probably condemning you to be “shaped’ down to dial-up speeds for the rest of the month, if not to pay extra money charges if you don’t even have an “unlimited” account ~ 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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Liam
Liam
14 years ago

[t]he in-your-face intimacy of uncivil political discourse on television discourages the kind of mutual respect that might sustain perceptions of a legitimate opposition and therefore reduces the possibility of constructive consensus or compromise.

Bullshit, what a lot of rubbish. Come and get some, Kamiya. Where’s your EVIDENCE? Do I need to mock you some more?
/Liam throws an IKEA chair across the room, narrowly missing the microphone-holding silky-haired host, and cops a security guard’s forearm across the mouth, then at the prompting of the wildly applauding audience, bursts into tears. I’m ready for my close-up now, Mister DeMille

Niall
14 years ago

That’s ‘Symons PLains’ actually, and on the subject of stoushing…..what’s actually achieved?

Australian Atheist
14 years ago
Darlene
14 years ago

We were just discussing whether the term Comrade is gender-specific.”

Thanks, first chuckle for the day.

The answer is that it depends on the context. That is, for example, if you were in a room with a bunch of Australian sportsmen dressed in frocks the term comrade (like the term “mate”) would be used in a very gender-specific way.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch(@mark-bahnisch)
14 years ago

The key point to politeness versus sledging (India v Australia), it seems to me, is that democracy is a conversation, not a fight. Decisions are made by the majority with respect for the minorities ie they are people too, and they sometimes turn out to be right. Liberal democracy, so framed, is a form of structural non-violence.

Liam
Liam
14 years ago

Yes, wmmbb, but the internet is not a democracy, and has no accessible structural power institutions to be affected by polite discourse. I’ll turn around Niall’s question—what’s achieved by attempting to ‘convince’ people who’re probably just sockpuppets anyway?
I’ll stick with the unlimited-player theatresports of comments thread anarchy, thanks very much.
Arse-clown.