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.
Gary Sauer-Thompson is skeptical about whether co-operative federalism will improve the management of the Murray-Darling Basin. What is it with South Australians and their obsession with agricultural run-off? The way they carry on, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was getting into their household water supplies.
Helen reports on a recent anti-abortion letter-boxing campaign that backfired.
Robert Merkel joins the approving chorus on Garnaut’s greenhouse proposals.
Andrew Elder considers the disease of which Liberal Party kerfuffles are symptoms.
Jeremy alerts readers to another reason to be wary of the Tax Office and spells out a hard economic reality Victorians need to come to grips with:
Look, Victoria, it’s very simple. If you want those precious, precious budget surpluses, we can’t afford to also give you boom gates at level crossings.
The video at right on the Big Brother State is via Adriana Lukas at Samizdata
Hilzoy posts about McCain’s tax policies (not reassuring) and Obama’s foreign policy and intelligence policy positions, and links to audio and transcripts of some of Rev Wright’s inflammatory sermons.
Hilzoy also examines outbreaks of fighting between Sadr militia and Iraqi army and US forces in both Baghdad and Basra, and suggests it’s very bad news indeed.
Ilya Somin looks at post(?)-Putin Russia:
Although Putin’s authoritarian policies have rolled back much of the liberalization that occurred in the 1990s, Russia is still a much freer society than it was under communism. Indeed, as Young shows, it has become a fairly typical Third World pseudo-democracy with partly fraudulent elections, a corrupt government dominated by cronyism, and significant, but far from totalitarian, repression of political dissent. As in many other Third World countries, the government tries to divert the people’s attentions away from its own shortcomings by spouting nationalist rhetoric and blaming all problems on Western interference.
Joshua Gans has been selected to play 2020, but doesn’t know whether it’s as batsman, bowler, or wicketkeeper. Joshua also tells us what are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and why Australia needs them.
Peter Martin reports that the Opposition has initiated an inquiry into the tax system, to be chaired by Henry Ergas. Ken Lovell thinks the Shadow Treasurer’s specific proposal on what to do with carbon credit revenue — abolish stamp duty –is true to form.
Following up on his demonstration that Howard was a social democrat, Andrew Norton explains why he nonetheless expects ‘small government liberals’ to stick with the Liberal Party.
Eric Posner explains a very recent US Supreme Court decision (Medellin) which appears to bring the US position on the domestic effect of international treaties more into line with the longstanding Australian approach i.e. in most cases treaties won’t create legal rights in domestic law unless and until Parliament/Congress actually legislates them.
While, to the disgust of many, debate on climate change here at Troppo has gone backwards about half a decade, David Jeffery and Robert Merkel take a look at the Garnaut report. Meanwhile, Jennifer Marohasy’s co-blogger Paul, urges readers to do their bit to settle the scientific questions once and for all – by signing a petition:
We, the scientists and researchers in climate and related fields, economists, policymakers, and business leaders, assembled at Times Square, New York City, participating in the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change, Resolving that scientific questions should be evaluated solely by the scientific method…
If you don’t fit the eligibility criteria for that petition, you can declare your support for the proper use of the scientific method on a related petition for “Citizens of the World”.
Tired and shagged out from trying to maintain a nuanced approach to discussing complex social issues? Kim’s post on the “Miss Bimbo” web-site might be the perfect place to find a relaxing, low-nuance comments thread.
Paul Busch at FasterLouder reviews Wilco’s recent Sydney concert. He finds the alt-country innovators in impressive live form, with the reprisal of songs from Wilco’s first two albums (A.M., Being There) offering a delightful counterpoint to the elaborate compositions that would be included on Wilco’s later albums (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, A Ghost is Born) ((And having attended this concert myself, I can echo a similar approval ~ SH))
Moving even further into avant-garde territory, Guy Beres reviews The Mars Volta’s new album The Bedlam in Goliath, which I am informed continues the band’s extravagant mix of musical styles and instruments. Attempting to put this style of music into a genre description is rather difficult; Beres describes the Volta as “hard-rock sci-fi flamenco.” Having listened to previous albums from these former members of At the Drive-In, I can safely say that The Mars Volta’s mix of funk/metal/jazz/Latin rhythm is not for the fainted hearted.
The Happy Antipodean provides some interesting commentary upon one of Truman Capote’s earlier works of non-fiction – a New Yorker article on Capote’s visit to Russia which incorporated the descriptive detail that would become synonymous with Capote’s best known work of non-fiction, In Cold Blood.
Paul Martin previews a showcase of Russian films at his Melbourne Film Blog, offering audiences the opportunity to encounter some of the major Russian films of the last century. And if you haven’t encountered Eisenstein and Tarkovsky on the big-screen you don’t know what you are missing.
Penguin is promoting six of its classics by having six contemporary authors rework said classics for digital publication. Posted so far: Charles Cumming rejigs John Buchan’s The 39 Steps in The 21 Steps and Toby Litt messes around with M.R. James’s The Haunted Doll’s House in Slice.
Geoff Manaugh ponders the architecture of self-measurement:
Could you somehow test yourself against the built environment, regularly, over the course of a lifetime, and do so deliberately, with purpose, the way people once wrote philosophy or read poems or traveled the world?
Blake Phillips is a trombonist from Perth, who was invited onstage to jam with Harry Connick Jr on Sunday.
Here’s an interview with Dimboola director Robert Schuter who wanders down memory lane his final year at Melbourne’s Swinbourne Film and Television School in 1983 to the present.
“All I’ve wanted for seven long years is for someone to write one measly play in defense of George Bush“: Jeremy McCarter was disappointed by Caryl Churchill’s Drunk enough to say I love you.
Snark, strangeness and charm
Niall Cook pedants a single sentence from news reports of an incident involving a QANTAS jet.
dr. faustus finds beauty in the Golden Orb
Eight-Legged Death Monster From Hell Spider. ((As long as they stay outside. If they want to come inside the house, they should evolve like everyone else.~gilmae))
It’s Cast-iron Helen’s turn to reveal five startling facts about herself. What ever might be said about the other revelations, some pooling of facts on who’s got scars where is obviously long overdue.