Missing Link Daily

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.



Petering Time is listening to Kevin and hearing a dog-whistle.

Despite the endorsements of  Andrew Bartlett and Brian Bahnisch (the latter distinctly lukewarm), bloggers of all persuasions remain skeptical about Earth Hour – including Helen, the Editor and Andrew Leigh. Perhaps the idea of presenting Mother Earth with a bunch of flowers once a year to make up for the other 364 days of blacking her eye might be ready for the old heave-ho.

If you weren’t good enough, or bright enough, to receive an invite to the 2020 gabfest one alternative is to get yourself along to the Search Foundation’s round table, when it turns up in your capital city. Too much effort? Just send Kevvie a bitchy e-mail instead. (cartoon by Gianna)


Ken Lovell assembles the facts, crunches the numbers, filters the evidence, runs the simulations, and arrives at the following analysis of the latest Administration rhetoric on the surge:

Christ theyre a lot of wankers.

What lessons does the recent spate of anti-Emo rioting in Mexico hold for Australia? Is it time for a crackdown on rockabillies, punks and rasta-men? Will you get a mention in Missing Link if you post about it? Who knows?

Geert Wilders’ anti-Muslim film, Fitna, arrived on the web on Friday. Broken Left Leg is unimpressed with Andrew Bolt’s publication of the film, and Bolt’s avowed reasons for publishing. Amir at Austrolabe thinks all the fuss is just a storm in a demi-tasse:

As far as such things go, Wilders film is quite a weak effort…

The thing that strikes me more than its offensiveness is its lack of originality.


Peter Martin’s thorough analysis of our distorted incentive system for property investment (from last Tuesday’s CT) ends with a bold prediction, which needs to go on the record:

I am expecting the Rudd Labor government to move against negative gearing, despite its apparent timidity.

Robert Merkel puts some astute questions to Joshua gains re. his ‘Aussie Mac’ proposal (for government guaranteed housing loans). And he gets answers.

wicked witch of the east

sweet cheeks

Bleak House

busy, honey

Issues analysis

How many dead Iraqis does it take to change the opinions of a RWDB? Tim Lambert finds that it depends on who’s counting.


Pavlov’s Cat applauds the shortlisting of Michelle de Kretser’s The Lost Dog for Barbara Jeffris Award, while maintaining her rage over its omission from the Miles Franklin shortlist.

Alison Croggon goes to Canberra – she read it in the news.

Shaun Cronin reviews Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, the new album from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, a “fu@cking great record” we are informed. It seems age has failed to weary the art school drop-out from Wangaratta or his dark cohorts – the new album seeing the band continuing to develop a harsher edge.

Janice Harayda considers nepotism, empty adjectives and indulgent backstratching that are all too often a part and parcel of American book reviewering as she evaluates Faint Praise: The Plight of Book Reviewing in America.  

Robert Merkel recommends Greatness Thrust Upon Them.

Wayne savours Patty Griffin in Sydney.

Australia’s only opera blog (?) takes on the task of reviewing Pilgrim’s Progress with its cast of thousands.

Snark, strangeness and charm

John Surname is in hiding from the Mormons after posting a YouTube video on Mormon theology((Good one Gummo. Now we’ll all get ourselves into hiding as well, shall we? ~ KP, JF, gilmae, Amanda, Darlene, Jen, Tim, SH, saint)).

Audrey posts an ode to her father which just cries out for a conservative cherry-picking.

This report of a New Zealander sentenced to community service for defaming an Australian native animal has been getting a fair bit of blog-play. We picked it up via Surfdom.

John Quiggin invites readers to discuss “Old Wine in New Bottles?” – A reappraisal of hyphenated-polysyllabicism in academic journalese. Or something like that.

Glen at Event Mechanics alerts readers to the one blog post that you must read before you die.

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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34 Responses to Missing Link Daily

  1. gilmae says:

    Actually, I remember once being quite chuffed that I was in the first four five returns for the phrase “Mormon Masturbation”; I didn’t have to go into hiding though.

  2. John Surname says:

    They haven’t found me yet, but they’re close.

    God help me.

  3. Jason Soon (Bring back Homer Paxton) says:

    Reading through some of the blog debate on Fitna has resolved my decision not to participate in it. I continue to find, to my dismay, idiots on both sides. Everyone’s mind is already made up and each participant is just going through their jive.

  4. saint says:

    I emailed in my links for ML including a couple more for Fitna.

  5. gilmae says:

    Just out of curiosity, how many times has any reader of this thread had their mind changed by any blog? I could still count all of the occasions I have changed mine based on blog commentary on one hand after gangrene claimed a finger or two, and all of those were technology issues.

  6. Jason Soon (Bring back Homer Paxton) says:

    Well I’ve had my mind changed about the wisdom of US foreign policy on Iraq after reading blogs among other things. JC has had his mind changed about the desirability of a carbon tax as an insurance against global warming.

  7. I was a ‘cap and trade’ supporter (although not a public advocate) until reading John Humphreys’ carbon tax proposal – and I’d have never even known about it were it not for blogs.

    Quite a few other things, too, but that’s the biggest recent one I can think of.

    Also like Jason, it’s hard to find any nuance on the Fitna debate. I’ve tried to take a nuanced view over at the Cat, but no-one’s really interested. They just want to get really cranky over it.

  8. Niall says:

    Bloody Earth Hour! I’m amazed at how gullible the general populace really is. Out of forty-off houses in our street, on Saturday night all bar one had it’s lights off. Ours only because my gullible wife thought it a good idea. Did anyone stop to consider that coal-fired power generation relys solely on that coal being fed to furnaces continuously? Did anyone think of that when they turned their lights back on at 2100 hours?

  9. saint says:

    “Nuance” does not belong in the same sentence as “Geert Wilders” or “radical Islam” SL.

  10. saint says:

    BTW, given my contribs missed todays cut for ML, also worth reading The Currency Lad on Fitna who gave it four out of five stars, but noted the “nuancedresponses. But.

  11. gilmae says:

    Nuance does not belong in the same sentence as Geert Wilders or radical Islam SL.

    Or ‘the Cat’ in some threads.

  12. saint says:

    Yeah well, I’m pouting because doc doesn’t like me, and given my recent faux pas, I was hoping for some nuanced all out denial of Plastic Bag mythology it today’s ML.

  13. Pavlov's Cat says:

    how many times has any reader of this thread had their mind changed by any blog?

    Dunno about an actual blog, but there are a number of persuasive commenters around. Fyodor has made me reconsider my views on a number of things. Nabs would have too, except that I usually agree with him to begin with. Except about Biggles.

    I find that where blogs can be really valuable is in forcing you to nut out a clear position on things and decide what you really think and why. And I’ve learned an awful lot from blogs. Sometimes by negative example, admittedly, but that’s useful too.

  14. melaleuca says:

    “how many times has any reader of this thread had their mind changed by any blog?”

    A couple of bloggers have changed my mind on certain issues. I’m not going to say who, however, because they already have heads larger than a small planet :)

  15. James Farrell says:

    Moving right: I’m more sceptical of unfair dismissal legislation, due to Fred Argy and Derrida Derider; more open to an elected head of state in the republic, due to KP; more open to school vouchers due to Andrew Norton; and slightly more open to nuclear energy due to Robert Merkel and John Quiggin. Moving left: whereas I was four years ago prepared at least to play Devil’s Advocate for the Iraq invasion, I now think the war was an appalling mistake; also, I’m more interested in employment subsidies than I used to be, mainly due to Argy and Quiggin.

  16. Gummo Trotsky says:

    Im not going to say who, however, because they already have heads larger than a small planet

    Well that rules me out – small main sequence star is closer to my hat size.

  17. SJ says:

    Just out of curiosity, how many times has any reader of this thread had their mind changed by any blog?

    Jesus H Christ. In what way is the method of delivery relevant? I’m particularly surprised by James Farrell’s response.

    There are two issues involved here.

    Firstly, try rephrasing the question as “how many times has any reader of this thread had their mind changed by reading something”

    If the answer to that is “nobody”, or “maybe some people, but not me”, the respondent is either lying or delusional.

    Secondly, there’s an assumption that bloggers are random nobodies. I’m not a blogger, I am a random nobody. But people like John Quiggin, Nick Gruen, etc, aren’t random nobodies. It is possible for people to change other people’s minds, and whether they do it by publishing papers, writing columns or blogging is completely irrelevant. Well qualified people with good ideas, like John and Nick, will attract an audience, and will change people’s minds.

  18. James Farrell says:

    SJ, your comment would make sense if I’d said that I changed my mind because I encountered the relevant arguments on blogs, and that I wouldn’t have been persuaded if I had read or heard them in some other medium. I didn’t say that, so what’s your point?

  19. SJ says:

    James, you were ostensibly responding to the question “how many times has any reader of this thread had their mind changed by any blog”.

    I was making explicit the fact that you were answering a different question, namely “how many times has any reader of this thread had their mind changed by any blogger“.

  20. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Yep, I didn’t understand SJ’s point either.

  21. SJ says:

    I hope I’ve explained myself adequately above.

    Rest assured, PC, I won’t repeat Harry Clarke’s classic attempt to question your comprehension. :)

  22. gilmae says:

    In what way is the delivery method relevant? Only that blogs are notorious for having dismal signal-to-noise.

  23. Gianna says:

    cheers, glad you liked the toon. thought we needed a bit of Saint Kev’s altar ego…

  24. derrida derider says:

    “Just out of curiosity, how many times has any reader of this thread had their mind changed by any blog?”

    Sometimes – but most noticeably on the Iraq war, and ironically it was changed by a couple of blogs supposedly supporting my then views. I moved from a half-hearted supporter of it in late 2002 to a vociferous opponent because, in the first instance, of the patent mendacity of these bloggers’ arguments when repeating the official line.

    This led to the conclusion that the official line was therefore mendacious, and as dsquared said “good ideas do not need promoting by lying like a rug about them”.

  25. Ken Parish says:

    I altered my views on global warming from mild scepticism to strong convinced concern in considerable part from the writings of bloggers like JQ and Tim Lambert (though also from reviewing the evidence for myself).

    I’m sure the are other instances where my views have been modified or at least become more informed and nuanced as a result of blogosphere reading. It often seems that blogosphere dialogue is just shouting past each other in self-imposed angry darkness, but it may be just that fairly strongly held views only change slowly/incrementally.

    I still like Chantal Mouffe’s characterisation that a major purpose of dialogue is to achieve “agonistic pluralism”: we may still disagree but may hopefully reach a position where we each at least respect that the other holds her views sincerely and has reasoned arguments to support them (though dealing with Jennifer Marohasy is the exception that proves the rule), and that this facilitates constructive compromise.

  26. Gummo Trotsky says:

    Either I’m getting far too old and fixed in my opinions or I change my mind so routinely that it’s not a significant event. Let’s see –

    On climate change, I’ve become very resistant to having my opinions shifted, because too often, after reviewing the arguments presented by denialists and going back to sources, I find a lot of misquotation and omission of that nuance stuff. Ditto Iraq.

    I might have become a bit more “centrist” in my general approach to writing, a little more inclined to kick seven shades of excrement out of bad argument regardless of who’s advancing it.

    And that’s quite enough self-examination for today.

  27. glen says:

    I have certainly found myself being forced to be less impatient with people in comments threads.

    In terms of argument-based content I have never really been convinced to change my mind. Similar to derrida derider I found that there have been moments where what has been expressed in a blog post or series of blog posts allows me to make up my mind or discover something about the ‘why’ because of the blogging context of ‘who’ saying ‘what’ ‘where’. So less about what is articulated as blogging and more about what is expressed through blogging.

  28. Laura says:

    Fellow blogger told me in a pub he’d found out about the mysterious magnetism of Camper shoes from reading my blog and this had led to him giving his partner a pair for Christmas with very good results.

    I challenge any of you to come up with a blog as agent of positive change narrative which is even half as good as that.

  29. James Farrell says:

    I vaguely remember seeing some shoes on youre blog. Could we have a link?

  30. Patrick says:

    I became more centrist partly through the process described by DD in relation to the Iraq war, but more generally than that.

    I would say that blogs, because they effectively in perpetual conflict, have brought me closer to KP’s (Chantal Mouffe’s) ideal of being happy to disagree but respecting the other person’s sincerity. I presume this was ‘antagonistic pluralism’?

    I have become much more a fan of things like giving a central bank type body power over eg GST rates pretty much solely as a result of this blog and one contributor in particular.


    Most books I buy for people are because I’ve seen them blogged – does that come close? Also I saw a blog post about LED lighting (years ago now) and tipped off a friend who is an interior decorator who went on to impress several clients with her cutting-edge ideas :)

  31. Laura says:

    I buy a lot of books that I’ve read about on blogs, too. It comes close. More to the point I just wanted to indicate that bloggy influence takes all forms not only the highminded one of changing peoples’ opinions about global warming and nuclear energy etc.

    James : http://allordinary2.blogspot.com/search?q=camper

  32. James Farrell says:

    The shoes are nice, as are, needless to say, the feet. But I gather that your acquaintance was inspired by an earlier and more favourable post rather than this one.

  33. Laura says:

    Scroll down to the one dated November 22. That link is to all my posts dealing with shoe matters.

  34. James Farrell says:

    Sorry, I should have noticed what kind of link it was. Good thing I didn’t see those earlier posts first, or I’d have a wardrobe full of campers for sure. You really ought to put a warning at the top of the blog (‘Beware: I am the Pied Piper of shoes!’)

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