Missing Link: Last Bumper Edition!

By abbietabbie on Flickr

Yes, folks. It’s been a longer wait than we’d intended, but Missing Link is back for 2008. And, just as Peter Cundall always says “That’s your bloomin’ lot” at the end of every episode of his gardening show, so too I’m not going to resist the temptation to say that this is a bumper edition.

Nevertheless, it’s the last of the bumper editions because it’s the last Missing Link in this format. From tomorrow, we’re ambitiously moving to a daily publication schedule (possibly with the odd cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances). Each edition will only have 6 – 12 précised and recommended posts. The idea is that most readers only have fairly limited amounts of time to devote to blog reading, and a daily digest of a manageable number of the best posts is likely to prove more useful for most people than a twice-weekly extravaganza of 60 or so (like today’s). I’m not sure how it will go yet, but it’s worth a try.

I’m also introducing some coverage of international political blogs (mostly US and British). It’s unavoidably a bit sketchy, because we’re only monitoring a tiny proportion of the vast range of o/s blogs, as opposed to our much more comprehensive coverage of the Australian blogosphere. Nevertheless, some may find it useful. I’d be interested in readers’ thoughts.

Turning to the business of the day, the big ongoing story of the week so far is the attempted Reinado coup in our tiny neighbour East Timor and the shooting of its President Jose Ramos-Horta. Numerous posts on this, not least from Ken Parish here at Troppo, a more reflective piece from wmmbb at the Duckpond, and a concise immediate response from Guy Beres.

But there’s much more over the fold.

News and Politics Stuff


Which one is neither Mr Creosote nor Jabba?
Terry Sedgwick’s take on radio shockjock Alan Jones’ unsuccessful appeal against his conviction for broadcasting the name of a juvenile involved in a murder trial

John Quiggin accounts for Nelson’s dithering thus:

Nelsons problem is that denouncing the Stolen Generation is a cause celebre for the hardliners who gave him for the job and for the culture war dinosaurs (Quadrant, the Bennelong Group and so on) who cheered them on for years. In this sector of their parallel universe, the treatment of Aboriginal Australians was a successful exercise in Christian philanthropy until leftist do-gooders took over in the 1960s. They wont let Nelson, who is basically a decent person, do the right thing, at least not without a fight.

Andrew Bartlett notes with dismay the attempt by some Liberals to replace ‘stolen’ with separated’:

This sort of nit-picking and quibbling at the margins over terminology is a transparent effort to try to draw attention away from unpleasant truths and realities. If it was just some schoolyard debating, these sort of nonsensical word games would be merely pathetic. But it is exceptionally offensive when the people doing the quibbling are amongst the most privileged and powerful people in the land, and they are doing so in order to avoid conceding the blatant reality of an enormous and horrendous wrong that was perpetrated by people in positions of authority upon thousands of powerless people which still causes immense hurt and trauma to this day.

Mark dismisses Keith Windscuttle’s proposal for a $50 billion fund’ for something he either denies happened, or thinks was a good thing’ as ‘political opportunism and cheap high school debating tricks’.

Kev Gillett thinks this sorry business is getting costly already.

Pavlov’s Cat defends the talkfest concept, but thinks April is too soon, even for gentiles.

On the basis of John McCain’s remarks on the Iraq War, Ken Lovell concludes:

For gods sake China and India hurry up and make a new world order. The present one scares the hell out of me.

Following Ken’s urge to buy a cat, Andrew Norton asks, do ignorant voters matter ?

Saint was outraged at the comments from the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding sharia law. Amir at Austrolabe takes a more phelgmatic view. And SkepticLawyer has a fascinating post on lessons in jurisprudence at Oxford, which touches on natural vs positive law (a debate in the philosophy of law which also lies behind some of Archbishop’s theorizing in that ill-fated speech), and a bit of ancient practice.

Peter Timmins has a fairly low opinion of Victoria’s new Freedom of Information reforms.


Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings doesn’t think much of venerable economist Paul Krugman’s pro-Clinton urgings. ((Speaking for myself, I agree with Krugman and regard Obama as a show pony without substance. McCain will cream him if he’s the Democrat candidate, God help us ~ KP)) Meanwhile, Jason Soon fondly hopes that Obama might turn out to be a closet Chicago School neoliberal.

Norman Geras doubts Susan Tomes’ claims that the Internet is having a dreadful effect on kids’ reading, especially novels, suggesting instead that it can “interact benignly with reading books”.

Daniel Drezner posts about threats by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to cut off US access to his country’s oil if Exxon tries to enforce any European judgment it wins in relation to the confiscation of its assets by Chavez’s government.

Economics Stuff

John Quiggin isn’t inclined to judge Howard and Costello too harshly for their inflation and interest rate legacy; but can’t help noting that this is precisely how they wanted to be judged — until the last minute.

Harry Clarke shows how you can fly to carbon conferences with integrity.

Robert Merkel thinks the warning from investment banks, that they will start thinking twice about financing coal power generation, could have important implications for Australia at our present juncture.

In an AFR piece, Joshua Gans deduces the motives for Telstra’s mysterious change of heart on ADSL2+, its hitherto unutilised high-speed broadband capability.

Peter Martin finds the RBA’s Quarterly Statement dire: ‘It’s prepared to do a lot of damage anything short of bringing on a recession in order to whack inflation back down now while it still can.’

Andrew Norton wonders whether Labor will succeed in convincing the public that they are ‘better on inflation’, and why the Liberals have won on this survey question so consistently.

But Mark Bahnisch doubts that Malcolm Turnbull will make a strong impression with his contention that:

There is no inflation problem (because the Howard government were good economic managers) but the terrible inflation problem is the fault of the Labor government (because Wayne Swan is inexperienced – unlike the silvertail MP of precisely one term and three months standing presumably).

Life and Other Serious Stuff

Cam Riley theorises on the future of javascript-centric communications formats.

Lauredhel hopes obstrericians will notice the outcomes of an experiment in Queensland, which strengthens the case against our ‘C section escalation crisis’.

Jeremy admires the selfless actions of the Australian mining company that organised the Kokoda Trail blockade

Peter Martin looks into research on how those of us who aren’t in the running for Cleo competitions settle for less attractive partners. Not me of course, my girl is a stunner even if I am a shocker.

Adrian the Cabbie tells how he outsmarts his less-than-desirable customers.

Mark Richardson should perhaps consider applying for then next Love God vacancy.

American jurisprudential scholar Brian Tamanaha has an excellent long post at Balkinization reviewing an academic essay by his blog host Jack Balkin abut the revival of the po-mo oriented Critical Legal Studies movement in reaction to the actions of the Bush government (or so Balkin argues).

Andrew Leigh posts about his just-released (and much covered in the MSM research showing that numeracy and literacy standards among Australian teenagers have if anything declined slightly since the 1960s, despite large increases in real spending. Andrew also publishes a reader response from a teacher:

Teaching is, according to peoples perception, what you do if you dont make it anywhere else. Consequently bright people with class, ability and options look elsewhere for a career.

While we’re on a “what’s wrong with education?” theme, Online Opinion publishes a penetrating analysis from a conservative viewpoint by Glynne Sutcliffe.

Meanwhile, Mercurius at LP has a rather cynical view of Ruddard’s education revolution, expressed in mock Confucian style. ((I wonder if Julia has managed to spare any time for her education portfolio yet, in between all the IR stuff, Someone’s going to have to trot down to Harvey Norman and put in an order for all those laptops for the kiddies, that are miraculously going to effect the “education revolution” – possibly Labor’s glibbest and shallowest policy IMO ~ KP))

The Yartz

Perry Middlemiss favourably reviews blogging author Ben Peek’s latest book Black Sheep, which should make Ben happy because he’s been in a state of deep depression over at his own blog about the fact that no-one is buying it.

Andrew at The Art Life (who has parlayed blogging into a seemingly permanent arts gig on ABC TV) interviews outgoing Adelaide Arts Festival Artistic Director Brett Sheehy about his plans for the Melbourne International Arts Festival which he’s about to take over from 2009, and previous experiences running the Sydney Festival. It’s an incestuous little game this arts festival business. Meanwhile, and coincidentally, Alison Croggon writes about outgoing Melbourne Festival Artistic Director Kristy Edmunds and the wonderful things she’s going to do at her new job at the Victoria College of the Arts.

Darlene Taylor (who may now regret going AWOL from ML arts compilation) confesses to thinking that both Glen Campbell’s and Jimmy Webb’s versions of the latter’s song Galveston are roolly roolly great. Hmmm. ((A good friend of ours similarly argued only the other day that Barry Manilow’s Mandy was a masterpiece of modern pop music ~ KP))

At Sarsaparilla, David posts an elegant review of Christopher Koch’s book The Boys in the Island.


(troppo sports stadium)

Tony traces the template for future Fifty50 cricket.

Guido reckons the AFL’s practice of playing a pre-season match in overseas places like Dubai is a joke and waste of time and money. Hard to argue really.

Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad

Tim Blair is out of hospital, out of the bath tub and parading out and about. Slatts is getting old. Andrew Norton is trying to work out the origin of “barefoot and pregnant“. Mirko reckons Rudd’s talk fest 2020 should go for the least resourceful and worst off Australians but it seems, that’s the idea. And here’s the phone guide.

Apathetic Sarah posts another in her series about female strippers, a seemingly unusual interest for a young woman who has just married. This particular post is sure to make Yobbo very happy (warning – not worksafe).

Dr Faustus muses about the prevalence of roadside memorials commemorating the sudden road deaths of loved ones.

Jeremy ‘Anonymous Lefty’ Sear thinks Nigella Lawson is a bitch for failing to bequeath her fortune to her kids, but worries that his post might be used against him one day when he has a glittering political career!

Last, but by no means least, Peter Faris QC posted about the apology the other day, and managed effortlessly to excel all the other RWDB buffoons who’ve been fulminating about it. I think you’ll agree that Faris’s post belongs in the weirdness section of Missing Link rather than the politics area. ((I can’t help wondering what sort of person would brief Faris to represent them as a barrister? ~ KP)) He reckons Rudd should take his proposed $31 billion worth of tax cuts, add another $20 billion to it and give it all to the Aborigines:

The extra $20 billion will be recovered from the immediate ending of all welfare payments for Aboriginals. They will be obliged to get jobs, work, raise their families, pay for their education and health expenses as other Australians do. If they break the law then they are punished as Australians, not as Aboriginals. They can buy their own houses as other Australians must. …

If they waste the money, then so be it. It is not my problem. They are no longer my responsibility.

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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16 years ago

McCain will cream him if hes the Democrat candidate, God help us

Poor John. Nobody seems to like him; not the Democrats, not the chattering classes at Fox, not even random foreigners viewing him from at least one remove.

Well, nobody except the GOP electorate, obviously.

ps: mercy, please! I’m drowning in Missing Link emails :- )

16 years ago

No email malfunction my end.

James Farrell
James Farrell
16 years ago


I wouldn’t worry too much, Ken. We lucky recipients just get used to hitting the delete button, as with any other spam — the work of but a nanosecond.

16 years ago

Galveston, oh Galveston
I still hear your sea winds blowing
I still see her dark eyes glowing
She was twenty-one
When I left Galveston

Galveston, oh Galveston
I still hear your sea waves crashing
While I watch the cannon flashing
And I clean my gun
And I dream of Galveston

I still see her standing by the water
Standing there, looking out to sea
And is she waiting there for me?
On the beach where we used to run

Galveston, oh Galveston
I am so afraid of dying
Before I dry the tears she’s crying
Before I see your sea birds flying
In the sun, at Galveston

James A
James A
16 years ago

gilmae: Not even parts the GOP electorate likes him – he’s not conservative enough. Which explains why Huckabee (and others) had tv ads proclaiming that they were “real conservatives”, a point that had been confusing me as to how it was a vote-winning strategy.

16 years ago

The electorate, not the candidates, the establishment or the chattering classes. You know, the ones whose opinion actually matters. He’s got an (estimated) 36% of the pledged delegates so far, he’s clearly well in front and almost certainly will be the winner. So he must be doing something right with the Republican electorate.

16 years ago

well, i’m fairly sure my post about inheritance came to a fairly different conclusion than “nigella lawson’s a bitch”, but anyway…

16 years ago

I suppose you have all heard how McCain Insane Disorder has replaced Bush Derangement Syndrome? Huckabee was well described by one American commentator as a pre Roe v Wade Democrat.

16 years ago

I had heard it had replaced Hilary Derangement Syndrome and had quipped – to the voices in my head – that if nothing else, the Republicans had certainly perfected the art of being deranged.

I mean, sure, there’s Bush Derangement Syndrome, but Left Wing Moonbats just aren’t as creatively deranged as RWDBs. So often, their constant cries of “Nazi!” just blend into an undifferentiated morass of barely enunciated syllables; ‘derka dur!’ No, if you want spectacle in your derangement, you really need to look to your Coulters, your Malkins, and to a lesser extent, your GMBs and JRs. God bless ’em.