A digest of the best of the blogosphere published each weekday and compiled by Ken Parish, James Farrell, Gilmae, Gummo Trotsky, Amanda Rose, Tim Sterne, Stephen Hill and Saint.
Lewis Holden relays suggestions of incrementally enacting a Clayton’s Republic, in this case altering the nomination of the Governor General.
Happier with the style than the substance, Kevin Lovell appraises the first four months of the Rudd regime.
Obviously suffering withdrawal systems in the post-election phase, Andrew Bartlett has found there is election fever to breathe up in Spain, Iran and, of course, Bhuttan.
Andrew also covers a human rights conference on China (where there would certainly have been a lot to talk about) and local elections in Taiwan. He certainly gets around.
Hilzoy focuses on American fundie preacher Pat Buchanan who apparently thinks that Obama is an ungrateful nigra.
Meanwhile, Savo Heleta catalogues the foreign
policyexcursions lies of Hillary Clinton.
Juan Cole posts an email from Vanity Fair’s Craig Unger detailing the evidence that Dick Cheney and his henchmen bypassed the CIA and orchestrated the gathering and presentation of fake evidence showing that Saddam had a WMD program. Roger Migently also takes a close look at Cheney, while Alex Tabarrok suggests a reason why Americans don’t read more of this stuff in the MSM (and therefore why presumably McCain’s “we’re winning in Iraq” line somehow doesn’t go down like a lead balloon):
The answer is media incentives. It wasnt just the experts who were wrong, the majority of the American people got Iraq … wrong. The war was popular in the beginning … So what does the American public want to hear now? The public wants to hear why they werent idiots. And who better to explain to the public why they werent idiots than experts who also got it wrong?
Andrew Leigh invites comments on his latest AFR piece, setting out four principles that ought to shape any new system for school funding.
There was something in that speech for everybody: Joshua Gans will forgive Barack Obama his protectionism on the strength of a few sharp insights into racial discrmination and labour market segmentation.
Peter Timmins is unimpressed by the nature of a submission on FOI by Griffith University academic Patrick Weller made to Kevin Rudd in anticipation of the 2020 Summit. Weller seems to think it would be much better if it was “freedom from information“, a proposition which one suspects Kevie may view with favour given his Goss government supremo background.
Adam Kolber argues that the next civil rights battle will be over the mind:
It’s true that most of this technology is still gestational. But the early experiments are compelling: Some researchers say that fMRI brain scans can detect surprisingly specific mental acts like whether you’re entertaining racist thoughts, doing arithmetic, reading, or recognizing something. Entrepreneurs are already pushing dubious forms of the tech into the marketplace: You can now hire a firm, No Lie MRI, to conduct a “truth verification” scan if you’re trying to prove you’re on the level. Give it 10 years, ethicists say, and brain tools will be used regularly sometimes responsibly, often shoddily.
Bad Apple Audrey and apathetic Sarah discuss the representation of women in popular culture. If you read men’s magazines “for the articles”, you’ll probably find Sarah’s post more stimulating. Avoid reading it at work, unless you enjoy being at the centre of a flurry of raised eyebrows.
Harry Clarke makes the case for raising the minimum driving age to 21.
Ed Champion looks at Jim Henson’s pre-Kermit work, including some rather avant-garde and political teleplays commissioned and screened (sans ads) by NBC. Champion also contrasts Henson’s initial vision for Sesame Street – which Champion characterises as “children running around an inner city, looking to learning as a way out” – with American public television’s current preference for anodyne programming of the Ken Burns variety.
Dan O’Hara kindly provides an English translation of a 1976 interview with British author J.G. Ballard, originally printed in a German science fiction magazine. It provides an interesting perspective on Ballard’s thoughts upon his early works, and how his work differs from other, Eastern European, science fiction writers such as the recently deceased Polish writer Stenislav Lem. I particularly liked this gem of a description of Ballard explaining his 70s novels (Crash, Atrocity Exhibition, High Rise), all works which confront the strange encounters between modern man and the surreality of landscape.
My last four books are all about what I call the marriage of sex and technology. And by sex, I mean the biological instinct. The marriage between ourselves and technology, so to speak. Yes. I look at the landscapes around me, the landscapes of colossal motorways and huge concrete high-rises, the absolutely new social structures, and I try to understand, to analyse, whats really going on in this country. Freud made this classic distinction between the apparent content of dreams and the latent, respectively the real content. And one must view the landscapes of today as dreams. One knows their apparent meaning, but what is their real meaning? Whats really going on in the world we live in? This world of vast airports, etc., etc. And Ive tried to get to the bottom of this in these last four books. But perhaps Ive now done enough in this area, therefore my thoughts are now going in some other direction, although I dont know exactly where.
Meanwhile, congratulations to Dominican born Junot Diaz for being awarded the 2007 National Book Critics Circle award for the best work of fiction for his first full length novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Anyone who has read his previous collection of stories Drown would be aware of his talent, and will be relieved that after almost ten years Diaz has finally offered his readers some new material to sink their teeth into. In other news, Edwidge Danticat was awarded the best work of autobiography for Brother, I’m Dying (pipping the late Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya and the ever prolific Joyce Carol Oates). All the other winners can be found here .
Its a far cry from the cringe. Dimboola is back where it began at La Mama for a run that Graeme Blundell says hasn’t stopped since the play opened there in 1969.
Mike Salter doesn’t think much of Pim Verbeek’s selections for the upcoming soccer World Cup qualifier against China.
Snark, strangeness and charm
Critical, critical science being performed on the International Space Station. Critical.
Lauredhel responds to an invitation to make five random confessions, and stretches it to seven.
Oblivious to the envy he might cause his readers, Gummo Trotsky tells the story of how Andrew Bolt dubbed him ‘Mr Troll’.
“Print journalism is famously dying; everyone knows it. Reports of its imminent demise are everywhere, and serious reservations exist as to whether the potentates of ink can stay financially afloat by converting to an all-pixel format. If they cannot, it will be bad news for the pundit industry, or pundustry. (This is a word I just coined. As I write this, “pundustry” returned no Google hits. By next month it will generate hundreds. The pundustry will see to it.)”
- I do occasionally wonder where the libertarians stand on consensual cannibalism. I mean, when they aren’t wondering why there’s no girls around.~gilmae