Missing Link Daily

A digest of the best of the blogosphere published each weekday and compiled by Ken Parish, James Farrell, Gilmae, Darlene Taylor and Saint.



Gam and Currency Lad both posted fitting tributes on the finding of the wreck of HMAS Sydney after 67 years.  CL, however, along with fellow Right Wing Death Beast Andrew Bolt, couldn’t resist taking a shot at PM Rudd for daring to announce the find.  Bolt opined that “an announcement this minor is a job for the Defence Minister“.  Does anyone recall him ever voicing so much as a single word of criticism of John Howard’s usurpation of the Governor-General’s traditional role of farewelling the troops in order to wrap himself in patriotic robes?  Inexplicably, neither Bolt nor CL mentioned the fact that Liberal leader Brendan Nelson leapt into the headlines equally quickly to demand a public memorial service.  Others mostly eschewed tawdry political games and quietly whispered “Rest in Peace”.

Grodscorp Brigit’s reaction to Rudd’s expressions of ‘sadness’ is the only reasonable one:

A historic day, sure, but a sad day? Wouldnt it only be sad if there was a possibility that the Sydney hadnt sunk and that its crew members werent dead? Where might they have been hiding these past 66 years Gilligans Island?


‘China, who the hell do you think you’re kidding?’ asks Jeremy.

Barack Obama blogs at Huffington Post to explain his 20 year attendance at a church with an anti-American Black Power preacher.  He attracts 5,000 comments.  Heloise reviews this and other developments in the US presidential campaign and the American blogosphere.  Jeff Weintraub analyses the manoeuvrings and legality of moves to seat Democrat delegates from Florida and Michigan (Hillary’s last desperate hope).

Juan Cole discusses the situation in Pakistan on the day Parliament reconvenes with anti-Musharraf forces holding a 2/3 majority and talking about reinstating the Supreme Court judges he sacked some months ago.  ((It’s hard to know what to make of a blogger who simultaneously headlines his post after a missile attack in an Al Qaeda stronghold in northern Pakistan alleged to have killed 20 people.  He seems to be suggesting that this is an appalling act by the US, but doesn’t explain why apart from the obvious tragedy of any violent death. Cole is keeping the focus on a region the MSM seems to have tacitly agreed to gloss over at present, but his extreme anti-Bush political bias makes his reporting deeply suspect ~ KP))


The demand for private education is rising steeply with incomes, and — given that infrastructure takes time to install — driving up fees. Peter Martin explains this ‘paradox’, but doesn’t explain why it’s a paradox.

Harry Clarke has a very useful compliation of facts, figures and opinions for anyone who wants to get up to speed on the Murray-Darling water buyback plan.

John Quiggin predicts that the failure of Bear Stearns is the last nail in the coffin for Standard and Poors, but takes comfort that the bank’s top executives won’t be punished too harshly.

Joshua Gans joins Troppo’s Nicholas Gruen in slagging Ross Gittins’ silly column on electricity privatisation. ((Who could ever trust a columnist who promotes air-headed happiness research? ~ KP))


Dr Faustus takes an inside look at the security of private information held by hospitals and health departments.  Whether any corrective action will happen is another question.  It’s a bit like the entrenched scandalous situation at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital, where I (KP) understand nursing staff were asked to report bullying by the very senior staff who were most guilty of it!  Not surprisingly, no reports were made.

Legal Eagle ponders the human rights of monkeys.

Eric E. Johnson heretically wonders whether the high intelligence of law students mightn’t be better employed elsewhere.




From LaraJade

Issues analysis

Lauredhel links to a blogger who has unearthed a particularly sexist Batman episode, even by the standards of 1959 superhero comics. (To obtain full value from this post, you may need to look up ‘slashifically’.)

Criminologist Dr Faustus has more than a couple of problems with a proposal by British police to take DNA samples of children whose “profiles” indicate they’re at risk of becoming criminals.  But surely no-one could object if they’ve got nothing to hide, could they?  Faustus also reassures us that we have nothing to worry about from the fact that Wikileaks (revived in the wake of a dismissed injunction) has just posted the plans for building an atom bomb !!!

In a move that’s bound to anger Mark Richardson, Andrew Leigh questions the wisdom of continuing to pay the Dependent Spouse Rebate.

Norman Geras has almost as low an opinion of fellow philosopher John Gray as I (KP) do.


Andrew “Art Life” Frost finally gets around to reviewing the Archibald Prize:

The dismissive description of Bartons painting as decorative is more of a puzzler. For most people in the art world the decorative is regarded as a less serious visual vocabulary than the canonical gestures of, for example, abstraction or, the big trend in Archibald finalists this year, the school of impasto paint application. This is to profoundly misunderstand what being decorative actually means. To engage with it is as much a considered and active choice for an artist as any other approach to making paintings. All of Bartons choices are conscious and aware of the social agency of those gestures. You dont have to like em, but you do have to respect them.

 Alison Croggon reviews Nightshift , a series of edgy short works by Phil Motherwell with music by Joe “Shutupa Your Face” Dolce.

Richard Watts continues his reviews of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, whose program seems remarkably similar to the Sydney equivalent reviewed by Marcellous only last week. Still, how many gay movies can there be?

Snark, strangeness and charm

Lee Malatesta discusses philosopher kings who may or may not be getting a lot more sex, come the revolution.

Academic contempt doesn’t come much stronger than this piece by Daniel Davies about poor Satoshi Kanazawa.

Clem Bastow gives New Idea a well deserved serve for paying Wayne Carey big bucks to “apologise” for glassing his girlfriend and assaulting cops on two continents:

In case you thought Wayne Carey couldn’t get any shitter, and if you figured New Idea wouldn’t stoop any lower than, you know, opening the third-in-line for the throne up for a grenade to the head, think again!

Last but not least is Tim Blair’s unmasking of failed Crikey/Webdiary lefty journalist Wayne Sanderson as frequent Catallaxy commenter “MichaelF”.  The subsequent Catallaxy comment thread on the whole affair is worth reading for its sustained snarkery.

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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Joshua Gans
16 years ago

‘Who could ever trust a columnist who promotes air-headed happiness research?’

Who would ever trust an economics colmunist who didn’t promote a long overdue investigation into the fundamental purpose of economic activity, and the implications for policy? Thank goodness we have one who won’t put off by uninformed criticism and shallow jibes.

Joshua Gans
16 years ago

I’ll have a look at Wilkinson’s posts, Ken.

Gummo Trotsky
16 years ago

Thanks for the Satoshi Kanazawa item Ken. It led me to Kanazawa’s own blog. This post, where Kanazawa provides anatomical evidence that all women are basically sluts, is a cracker.

Joshua Gans
16 years ago

I’m happy to look at Wilkinson’s references on the academic research. In the meantime, I contend that Gittins is not a nannny statist, does not want mandate his own preferences, and doesn’t advocate ‘coercion’. He’s one of very economic journalists, if not the only one, who thinks about and investigates broader issues of human well-being, and we are lucky to have someone like that.


[…] Ken Parish claims the bloggers right to express his opinion that: Its hard to know what to make of a blogger who simultaneously

16 years ago

Didn’t know you’d Missing Linked the Sanderson expose, Ken – thanks. All very strange. He’s a pretty experienced journalist, older guy, used to work for the ABC. Even assuming he’s uniquely obsessed with both me and Tim Blair, it’s still hard to see why he did it.

16 years ago

A pedantic historical point. The ship illustrated is HMAS Australia (I), an Indefatigable class battle cruiser (~18,000 tons, 8 x 12″ guns), and the image was taken before her 1915 refit. HMAS Sydney (II) was a modified Leander class light cruiser (~7500 tons, 8 x 6″ guns), constructed in the mid 1930s.

Cheers: MB

Jack Robertson
16 years ago

Ah, it’s always all about you, ain’t it, ‘skeptic’lawyer, @#9.

*chortles fondly*

Helen, on that Sanderson thread you give the vague impression that you are some kind of relative authority on the internal machinations of Webdiary, especially the motivations and business acumen of those of us, I presume including me, who were Margo’s ‘acolytes’ (I think that was the term you used; personally, I prefer Blairelzebub’s ‘functionaries’…a more ideologically robotronic feel!):

Maybe they didnt know, Steve. The bit that I had to do with the Webdiary crew suggested a lot of them were babes in the woods business-wise. Harry Heidelberg had his head screwed on, but most of the others didnt.

For clarity’s sake, Helen, would you mind expanding on this? What was ‘the bit [you] had to do with Webdiary’, exactly, and when, and how did it suggest to you that a lot of [us] were ‘babes in the woods business-wise’? Perhaps you could detail exactly what your association with Webdiary was? How many articles you wrote for us, for example, and when (I can only Google up a couple of comments). Or how many of us you actually met, say, or how privy you were to the circumstances, especially financial, surrounding MK’s departure from Fairfax and the establishment of the new site, and so on? Or on what basis you make the judgement about ‘Harry Heidelberg’s’ business acumen in comparison to, say, David Roffey’s (self-made man and UK-European telco privatisation expert)?

Not trolling for a stoush, HD. My own Webdiary involvement was on and off over the five years, so it’s likely that I simply missed your input. I also largely ended my involvement before the shift so I’m not entirely privy to the business – or l’affaire Sanderson – aspects of the new site myself.

All the same, I’ve a gnawing ol’ hunch that the impression you create on that Catallaxy thread, whether deliberately or unintentionally doesn’t matter, might be a little bit naughty misleading, what-ho? A minor thing, of course. I query it only because you cite your ‘involvement’ as the basis – qualified, I do note – for some fairly patronising and distinctly unqualified blanket judgements about Webdiary and those of us associated with it. Pray tell us more, fine scriv!

Thanks in advance, HD. Hope Oxford’s loads’a fun.


[…] I stumbled upon a frankly non-plussing Catallaxy thread via Troppo’s

16 years ago

Jack, I think you all got shafted, to be quite honest. That’s all I was saying, and Margo worst of all.

I didn’t have anything to do with it after it left the SMH (too much abuse, and quite a bit of weirdness), but I was around a fair bit in the early days and – shock horror – still have a signed copy of Not Happy John lurking around the place. There’s a piece I wrote on Shane Warne that I quite like – it should still be on the SMH site. A few others, too, but that’s the one I remember.

I could see what was happening – it was obvious it was going to go down the gurgler. At the time I thought that process would be slow, rather than rapid, but once Sanderson turned up, the decline came about far more rapidly. And one of the things I remember from that lunch with him in West End was his remarks about Webdiariasts’ lack of business acumen. He had no reason to lie, which is why I find this latest episode, well, weird.

16 years ago

Whoops, tipped over the italics jar.

[untipped in defiance of the 2nd law of thermodynamics –Jacques]

Jack Robertson
16 years ago

“Jack, I think you all got shafted, to be quite honest. Thats all I was saying, and Margo worst of all.”

No it wasn’t, Helen. You wrote this:

“The bit that I had to do with the Webdiary crew suggested a lot of them were babes in the woods business-wise. Harry Heidelberg had his head screwed on, but most of the others didnt.”

Fine, you’ve clarified the basis on which you rest statements like those. The ‘bit you had to do with the Webdiary crew’ was, essentially, meeting Hamish, getting MK to sign a book, having a few articles published, and doing lunch with a smarmy guy who you now say was ripping us off and is an ID fraud. Doubt it’d hold much weight in court, M’Lud. *grins*

Me being a sceptical type, HD – *grins again, definitely laying it on thick this time * – I think I’ll simply presume until corrected that you’ve never actualy, erm, met Harry Heidelberg or David Roffey. Or any of the rest of ‘the Webdiary crew’, either. Much less have a clue about our individual or collective financial smarts. Webdiary’s still going, by the way. And it’s solvent. More than you can say for a lot of free marketeers these days, huh.

As for your own pieces, they’ve presumably gone into the Fairfax memory hole with fair swathes of the rest of our archives. It’s a pity, but we all lost a bit. Pretty sure I remember the Warne piece, and remember it as being pretty good, too. Might still be in Pandora.

Shafted, HD? Well, it depends a bit on what any of us were there for in the first place, I suppose. The only time I ever really feel pissed off wrt my own Webdiary ‘involvement’ is when bloggers whose current concerns for and kind words about Margo we sure could have used a few years ago start rolling out authoritative statements about her and us with very little basis for doing so. Usually when there’s nothing else more blog-worthy about, I’ve noticed. I suppose none of it really matters, does it. Presumably you have some understanding of the fustrations of being misrepresented by others.

Any fule riter kno that only self is allowed to misrepresent self.

BTW…while I’m touched by all the belated tenderness towards MK nicing it up (if a tad…mmm, smarmily, let us say),I do see that your Cat thread is now up to…what…400 juvey poo-bum comments? And you feel sorry for Margo and Webdiary?!

Methinks ALS is right to be anxious, ‘sceptic’: your jackboot lib brood really could use some more chick time, huh.

*Grins, but in a tender avuncular way…*

Ta for the reply, Helen. I hope things are going well O/S. It sounds fun and interesting. I’m envious. Good luck if you decide to do a DPhil, too. Hope any other writing is ticking along too, if you’ve the time, at all.

Oh – and do read Orwell for some tips on precision in language, there’s the ticket. Precision, ‘sceptic’! Get those crisp laser-guided verbs to work…

*Runs away, fair powered by grins*

16 years ago

Jack, that’s one comment. Here’s the rest of them:

49. skepticlawyer | March 17th, 2008 at 4:27 pm

The Webdiary site still exists – its here. The stuff about Sandersons involvement is here and here. Theres all sorts of shit-fighting in between times, too – I cant be bothered linking to it.

He certainly played Margo and her acolytes for a sucker – that much is clear. She didnt have much business acumen and so was exposed to that kind of thing, I guess.

50. rog | March 17th, 2008 at 4:31 pm

Margo had a bit of a breakdown, was depleted emotionally, financially etc and spent time chilling around byron etc

She is back but is now career wise on the outer and not too fussed about politics at all.

When she was calm she was a good writer, its when the hype got to her she lost her way.

53. JC. | March 17th, 2008 at 4:36 pm

It seems the Margoyle lost 40g in three months of operations.

Not a bad result.

At least she didnt go down as quick as Bear Stearns.

I hope Metro paid her back the salary as the poor gal seems to have gone bust. I couldnt take money like that.

54. skepticlawyer | March 17th, 2008 at 4:37 pm

Agreed, rog – no fan of Margos politics but its clear who the prick was in this particular situation. I had a slight involvement with Webdiary when it was still at the SMH. I wrote a couple of pieces for them and got abused by all the trots, which is interesting as I was only at the start of my libertarian thinking at that point, and was basically very centrist.

57. Jason Soon | March 17th, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Margo is a little mad but her hearts in the right place. Hope shes OK.

58. JC. | March 17th, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Yea, I agree Jase. Shes a good kid, but stark raving mad. Thats ok .

I saw her on a program with Sinkers last year and she was really off the planet but in a good way.

I hope shes ok too.

Metro, give the kid her money back as its the right thing to do and turn off the fridge.

60. AndrewB | March 17th, 2008 at 4:51 pm

If you look back over the posts on the Blair site at the time it gives a pretty funny commentary of what Webdiary was doing at that juncture.
One could still laugh just thinking about it.
To give you a fine example look: http://webdiary.com.au/cms/?q=node/816/print&PHPSESSID=c8119f12520a8a3bbc2adf57e470bc3f%5Dhere%5B/url%5D

“Margos move to Webdiary was in itself already something to take note of, and her separation and independence of Fairfax is something which I imagine will still be discussed in journalism courses in 50 years time, if we still run them in Australia.

Let’s fast forward to that time, 50 years from now.

A child asks: Dad, what is a newspaper? Dad obligingly answers, and says: Well, you remember the trees that were chopped up for paper long ago as you learnt at school? When that still happened, many of the beautiful Australian trees were chopped up to make real cheap paper, and every day all the news that now comes in on your school palm top and on mummys laptop, was printed on fat bundles of that cheap paper. Thats what newspapers were until the government stopped doing that and gave people big fines for wasting paper.

The child then asks: When did that paper wasting stop? And Dad goes: Well, there was this woman journalist, and she started the first newspaper without using paper in Australia. And soon every person who had a computer got the summary of the articles on their PC every morning in their newsreader program, while the sales of printed newspapers kept going down and down until all the big fat companies around the world went broke. Remember the little photo you can click on to read all the news on your school palmtop? Thats the picture of the woman who started all this. She was called Margo Kingston.”

61. timb | March 17th, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Kingston paid Wayne $12,499.66 for a few months worth of Daily Briefing links. At the same time, he was flogging that identical material some of it pinched from the NYT to subscribers for $77 per year.

The payments to Wayne mostly came from Kingstons savings.

64. skepticlawyer | March 17th, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Wonder if he still works for that Multi-Culti mob, rog. If he does, thats whats paying the bills and – albeit a long way down the line – my partners taxes are helping to pay his bloody salary so he can sit on the Cat and abuse people or rip off naifs like Margo.

65. JC. | March 17th, 2008 at 4:58 pm


Give her back the money. Shes broke by the sounds of things. Do the decent thing and give her back the cash.
That was like stealing candy from a baby. Shes a good kid even if she crazy and she needs the money.

69. C.L. | March 17th, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Strewth, Michael was a capitalist shark to boot? Despite being a Catholic Nazi, I have a site where visitors can be assured that apart from html and css lifted from all over the place (and the occasional famous WSJ hedcut), the content is original and free. FREE, man.

75. Steve Edwards | March 17th, 2008 at 5:24 pm

Shes a good kid even if she crazy and she needs the money.

Thats always been my take on Margo – disorganised, and completely batty (she once went on Lateline with David Oldfield, a REAL weirdo, and actually made him come across fairly sane!), but a decent soul nevertheless.

She didnt deserve any of that.

78. timb | March 17th, 2008 at 5:29 pm

#66 exposing him is pretty ordinary, eh?

Well, here we had a fellow who would routinely lie about and abuse certain journalists as morally corrupt. But he had to do so anonymously because he had form as a copyright scofflaw AND a lawsuit-threatening enemy of free speech, not to mention his Daily Briefing double-dipping.

(By the way, Im not too fussed these days by abuse or even lies, but threatened legal action moves the perp into a different category. Working through them one by one )

79. skepticlawyer | March 17th, 2008 at 5:32 pm

Just followed Tims Webdiary links. Its even worse than I thought, it really was daylight robbery. I hope Margo managed to keep a roof over her head after being done over like that.

Jack, you can believe what you like, but apart from your outtake, the above represents the guts of the comments everyone made about the Webdiary crowd. Allowing for the usual Cat snark (yes, we know we’re legends of snark), I don’t think any of it amounted to making claims that we couldn’t substantiate.

Tim Blair probably knows the most, because he spent so much time taking the piss out of Webdiary. That’s Tim. That’s what he does. But even here, he was sympathetic. I’ll stand by my assessment, Jack – lots of people at Webdiary lacked business acumen; my meeting with Sanderson provided concrete evidence of it.

16 years ago

Dear SL,

There were several periods of managerial effect with regards Webdiary, to which one are you applying your ‘knowledge’?

If that means little or nothing to you, please may you consider to let it be. Please also take a moment to understand that someone who takes the piss out of something is not necessarily well placed to “know the most” about it. (In this particular regard also, please note TB didn’t make an assumption on it).

By all means, frolic and play, explore and express, and enjoy in whatever way you wish – including as to share with your online or otherwise compatriots – of course, yet you may also want to consider the ‘doing to others’ as has been, by your own lengthy account, wrongfully done to you.

That said, the Webdiary story is one which can get people going. For all its obvious flaws, that would indicate a positive reason for its being.

Jack Robertson
16 years ago

Jesus, HD, I’m sure everyone can link just fine.

Let’s not argue the subjective matter of what constitutes a sound basis for assessments. Everyone’s entitled to think what they like and why. But those exchanges, if you actually examine them, are one long exercise in people who know zero about Webdiary, have never met any of us, making tyre-kicking statements out of thin air: ‘My take on Margo…” ‘She’s a good kid but stark raving mad…’ ‘little crazy but her heart’s in the right place’ ‘She’s mad but that’s OK…’…and…all based on what, exactly? It’s gossip, HD. The kind of bored chit-chat you get on celebrity websites.

By all means stand by your assessment. Me, I’m a bit surprised to hear a Judge’s associate describe the word over lunch of someone you’re now sticking in the frame for bullshittery (or whatever) as ‘concrete evidence’. Likewise your odd conclusion that Blairelzebub’s an authority on the basis of his sustained contempt.

Those criteria would make Bob Manne the go-to dude on your credibility and that bloke I once had lunch who thought you were a self-delusional wanker ‘concrete evidence’ to that end.

I prefer to be a little more…mmmm….sceptical, personally.