Missing Link Daily

A digest of the best of the blogosphere published each weekday and compiled by Ken Parish, gilmae, Gummo Trotsky, Amanda Rose, Tim Sterne, Jen McCulloch and Stephen Hill



Terry Sedgwick comes up with a strangely disturbing thought – the Bolter for Lord Mayor of Melbourne.  Just think of it, instead of “So, he’s my bro” we could have “Bolt, he’s my dolt” … 

Jim Belshaw catches up with old friends at John Button’s funeral.

Apathetic Sarah has the photos to prove that she’s a potential terrorist.

Andrew Bartlett gets mordant on the subject of telecommunications interception:

The governments Bill seeks to remove the current requirement for law enforcement agencies to have to get a fresh interception warrant every time they want to intercept or monitor more devices likely to be used by an identified person, beyond those outlined in the initial warrants authorising interception of communications by that person… best western minnesota hotel test
I suppose I cant be absolutely sure what the intent of the government was when they put forward previous amendments to the law covering interception powers in 2006, but I am sure the government cant unilaterally assert what the intent of parliament was when it passed them.

Given I was in the parliament which passed the previous changes, I can very safely say that the intention of the parliament was likely to be based on the actual words in the legislation before it, not other things not expressed by those words that might have been in the mind of the government department that drafted them.

Who’s to blame when two adults bash a teenager who’s been bullying their daughter? It’s obviously the school system, says Jack Lacton.

Should hot-air ballooning be banned on Anzac Day((And who’s going to be first with the obvious comment? ~GT))?


How the Brazilian blogosphere is dealing with a possible WordPress ban.

Derek Barry tells you more than you want to know((Because it’s generally depressing ~GT)) about Ogaden. It’s not a drug, it’s a region in Ethiopia.

Is Hal G Colebatch attempting to rewrite Zimbabwe’s history? Mark Bahnisch thinks so.

Brad De Long laments the standards of US journalism in trivialising the latest of the seemingly interminable TV debates between Obama and Hillary.

Spain has a new cabinet, with a lot of women in it. Naturally, the most important question is “Do their bums look big in those?

Hilzoy reports on a story which should be sensational but hasn’t even scored a mention in the Australian media, that the most senior Bush administration officials were directly complicit in athorising specific torture measures against Al Qaeda suspects in custody.


Joshua Gans continues his focus on the efficacy of making available more information on petrol pricing, while Jason Soon examines the ACCC report that led to this Rudd government policy initiative.

Justin Wolfers begins a series at the NY Times Freakonomics blog about his (and Betsey Stevenson’s) research challenging left-liberal orthodoxy on happiness research.  Will it stop Clive Hamilton and Ross Gittins rabbiting on about the pointlessness of materialism or advocating nanny state solutions?  Watch this space.


Graham suggests J K Rowling may have cast a spell on the judge in her suit against the publishers of the Harry Potter Lexicon. ((Reducius Fairusius?~gilmae))

Norman Geras posts on a US Supreme Court decision holding that lethal injections in capital punishment cases don’t amount to “cruel and unusual punishmnet” for constitutional purposes.  Strangely the American legal blogosphere seems so far to have largely ignored the decision.

Although the Rudd government has announced it will dispense with “conclusive ministerial certificates” in federal Freedom of Information legislation, Peter Timmins looks at the outcome of recent FOI proceedings seeking access to Treasury documents concerning the proposed introduction of criminal sanctions for corporate cartel behaviour, discovering that the public service culture of secrecy for its own sake is as pervasive as ever.

Kim Weatherall and Geoffrey Rapp both muse about the virtues of blocking law students from wireless Internet access during lectures to force them to listen rather than surf!

shoes to die for

a friend of ours

Go then!

… came all this way to see you

Issues analysis

(via Colin Campbell) Suffering from the Friday blues at work? You could always have a worse job than you’ve got now …

dr. faustus holds a wake for CAPTCHA ((Possibly prematurely, I believe.~gilmae)) and considers alternatives.

Ronda Jambe is considering the implications of books read and wonders if there is something to food security concerns.

Nicholas Gruen argues that government use its power over some industries to lead the way on national information policy.

Norman Geras embarks on a series of philosophical posts exploring games, sport and Wittgenstein: is there any common factor shared by all games and sports or just loose family resemblances? 

Risking appropriating Phillip Adams’ schtick, the New York Review of Books has a fascinating article by David Bromwich on euphemism and American violence (“collateral damage” being a hackneyed example).

Invading territory long occupied by Nicholas Gruen, American legal academic Cass Sunstein begins a series of posts exploring the use of default options/settings in guiding people to responsible choices, something he labels “libertarian paternalism”


Venus and Adonis – interesting how ideals of female beauty have changed so radically, from rugby league front row forward with manboobs to anorexic, while the male stereotype hasn’t really changed at all. Why? Discuss.

David Tiley retorts to a blatant trolling by a major metropolitan newspaper (and Gideon Haigh cops a well deserved serve in the comment thread).

Lesley Chow reviews Jose Luis Guerin’s visually stunning In the City of Sylvia that was part of the ACMI’s Jewels of Spanish Cinema

Chris Boyd does not think much of Bell Shakespeare Company’s rendering of Venus and Adonis, a production in which the subtlety of Shakespeare’s 12,000 word poem seems to have been dispensed with. Dispensed with? He’s scathing, ‘A knight’s tale reduced to mere porn. Poetry reduced to mere plot. And not a great deal of that‘ and would have appreciated it if the director had had even a passing familiarity with the poem. Maybe Aleeoop and Yunyu in Sydney tonight will make him feel better.

Ben Peek and a range of writers ponder the health of the short-fiction genre. 

Mink Tails does diatribe, ‘That’s right, gang. I’m about to get dirty. I’m talking women, I’m talking artists, and I’m talking glass ceilings. And if you tune out now, well – consider your sorority membership well and truly null and void’.  Read on and on and on …… 

Isn’t it time to abandon our reserve and set up a howl that could be heard from one end of this country to another?’ Scott Walters is moved (‘Were you moved darling? Yes of course I was f’n moved!) to rail – mostly from a safe, but interesting historical distance, against the lethargy of theatre in the US these days.


Shaun Cronin previews the weekend’s NRL round.

Snark, strangeness and charm

Darryl Mason reports that the bogans are revolting! Bron is moved to tears by a bogan compliment.

And here’s a handy excuse for those nocturnal manouevres.

Cristy sends an open letter to an important person.

Tony the Teacher catches John Howard out in an egregious Bush error (but clapped out politicians seemingly get greater latitude than Howard ever gave his opponents for similar gaffes).

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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15 years ago

Strangely the American legal blogosphere seems so far to have largely ignored the decision


15 years ago

“…a story which should be sensational but hasn’t even scored a mention in the Australian media, that the most senior Bush administration officials were directly complicit in athorising specific torture measures against Al Qaeda suspects in custody.”

Also sensational, the man now campaigning to be spousal co-president signed a presidential directive authorising the CIA to send suspects to Egypt, where they were turned over to the Egyptian mukhabarat. And the Egyptians did a smidgen more than waterboarding.

Under the control of Richard Clarke, the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Center (CTC) had established a specal bin Laden unit in 1996, and by 1998 had over one hundred case officers and intelligence analysts.

“With the help of the CTC, forty terrorists from the former Yugoslavia were captured and turned over to Arab governments, usually Egypt. Egyptian security is believed to have tortured, tried, and executed many of them. In this way, al Qaeda cells were quickly smashed in Albania, Bosnia, and elsewhere.”

Losing Bin Laden, by Richard Miniter

To this day, the left is OUTRAGED about this. Just as feminists were OUTRAGED by Bill’s sexual harrassment of a Girl Friday.


15 years ago

Let’s hoist out of Bahnisch’s comments the link to Malcolm Fraser’s rejoinder to Colebatch, if only because it somehow manages to disagree with Colebatch without egregious use of the r-bomb to refer to more recent public figures.

15 years ago

C.L., no-one can sanely go through life constantly feeling outraged about everything in the world that you feel is ethically indefensible (which Clinton’s actions certainly qualify as).

15 years ago

The Yoo Doctrine appears to be that that if the President wants to do something it isn’t illegal.

The CL Doctrine appears to be that if Bill Clinton did something and The Left didn’t criticise monolithically enough, its fine for Bush to do it no matter how immoral or unethical or illegal.
But it still isn’t fine for Clinton to have done it. Bill Clinton. The BillClintoning BillClintons on the Left are just BillClintoning hypocrites. BillClinton them!

15 years ago

I don’t support torture. I simply note that the left is concerned about Bushitler waterboarding – “sensational”! – but not by Clinton sending dozens of untried men to Egyptian dungeons, from they never emerged. It’s like Mark Bahnisch giving a pass to Malcolm Fraser but running a blog that once linked 23 Sydney solicitor John Howard to the start of the Vietnam War.

15 years ago

I dont support torture. I simply note that the left is concerned about Bushitler waterboarding – sensational! – but not by Clinton sending dozens of untried men to Egyptian dungeons, from which they never emerged. Its like Mark Bahnisch giving a pass to Malcolm Fraser but running a blog that once linked 23 year-old Sydney solicitor John Howard to the start of the Vietnam War.

15 years ago

So you’ve said once or twice. And one of these days the Left are going to be using the same pointless, empty, and weaselly excuses to not face up to the crimes of the next left-leaning Western leader. Oh, the Right wasn’t monolithically and loudly OUTRAGED at Bush doing x, so shut up you rightist hypocrites.

Taken to an absurd length, the Left are expected to blush and hang their head in shame when their outrage at the denial of habeus corpus because Lincoln did it as well, and they weren’t OUTRAGED when that happened. Oh wait, that’s not just absurd; it happened a few years ago.

A pox on all partisan whores.

15 years ago

Who’s “EVERYONE”, Ken? Gilmae and NPOV? And what difference does that make anyway? I wasn’t addressing/repudiating anyone on the massive thread of TWO COMMENTS when I arrived. I was simply making a point – which has obviously made you angry – about the moral hypocrisy of the left on the question of human rights for detainees vis-a-vis the United States. I note that you airbrush away the point by consigning it to the history books. Such a wise approach to governance and jurisprudence: forget about it, there’s a Republican to slime, fake outrage to create, etc. Gilmae – also furious Clinton has been criticised – goes one step further: Bubba is as remote and irrelevant as Lincoln!

There’s nothing “weaselly” about my point, Gilmae, because it’s not an ‘excuse’. I don’t support torture and wrote against it several times on my older blog – including against those Deakin twerps who tried to suggest it was OK pursuant to the ‘ticking bomb’ thesis. I think I was about the only right-of-centre blogger to do so – got all the ‘I’m so disappointed in you’ comments from the right etc. The point I make, then, is not made to run interference for any political party. (Unlike you and Ken, who are obviously lefties pretending to be pure spirits hovering above the spectrum. Ken’s been up there for years). Mine was simply an historical point and a cultural one. It’s this: the Western left didn’t give a fat rat’s arse about the US Administration and torture during the Clinton years – when it was really horrifyingly murderous – but now they claim to be OUTRAGED by such things as SENSATIONAL things waterboarding. Like Ken, they’ll have a bob each way for the sake of image but come crunch-time, they’ll always run interference for their fellow – in this case – revolting liberals.

Gummo Trotsky
15 years ago

So, is waterboarding torture, or is it merely a “vigorous interrogation technique”?

Sir Roger Migently
15 years ago

The really worrying thing is that Clinton’s “special rendition” was so little known at the time. I didn’t know, anyway, and I thought I kept up with that kind of thing. [Perhaps I should blame the liberal-run media for hushing it up…] We are bound to point out that we covered this story at Values Australia a week ago (probably as a result of roundabout surfing from the Missing Link springboard). And we admit that most of the mention was from Chris Floyd’s blog Empire Burlesque, which might be worth keeping an eye on for ML in the International section.

Today’s matching story, which I fancy also came through yesterday’s ML, is the Vanity Fair article, “The Green Light”. This is the teaser:

As the first anniversary of 9/11 approached, and a prized Guant

15 years ago

C.L., I’m not sure hypocrisy is exactly the correct term. The reality of the matter is that the business of sending possible terror suspects off to Egypt for various unmentionable treatment didn’t really make to public light until relatively recently, and certainly never received much media attention at the time. There weren’t the Abu-Grahib style photos that really brought the attention of more recent treatment of political prisoners by the U.S. defence forces to light.
Yes, logically, anyone outraged at Bush’s defence of torture should be just as outraged at Clinton’s behaviour. But outrage rarely occurs for purely logical purposes.

“Hypocrisy” would be condoning (or engaging in) torture when it suited, and condemning it when it didn’t. I don’t doubt for a moment that political activists and protestors of all persuasions are guilty of hypocrisy from time to time, but this doesn’t strike me as a particularly compelling example.

15 years ago

“the Left” is a convenient cop-out for a poorly structured argument, in my view.

15 years ago

If it’s a fair reading, CL here is not about the rights and wrongs of a particular administration AS right or wrong per se – because that on face value would appear to be in agreement – but instead is attempting to make the point about how those rights and wrongs are thrown up or otherwise ignored.

It’s a constant thrust of CL’s commentary, and for a coupla bobs I have to agree often with that thrust.

One problem permeating these sorts of threads is that, as background a) there’s general agreement on the point of distaste (say, putting it at mildest) [the right or wrong of it is a deeper thing], b) present-day actions are headbutted up with past-day actions [which is problematical not in regarding severity of those actions but in their top-of-mind impact and playout], c) blogs of today didn’t exist in the time of many of those past-day actions (eg the Clinton years), leading to the problem: the terms of reference for dialogue or debate haven’t been established. It’s a free-for-all according to one’s headspace, which will obviously be weighted on any or all of the variants, many of which go unmentioned but still colour the place commentary is coming from.

Come another thread – and those problems are multiplied, as not only is one or another’s headspace not had time to be better placed in the melee, it’s part and non-contextualised placement has bugger-all chance of being received beyond a brief, then often knee-jerk review, stained by previous attempts.

CL is an incredibly valuable contributor to this blog. Sometimes I wonder why CL’s comments appear here, after the problems this often lone-operator goes through, to make a central or centralising point. Too often that point is disdained. In effect, what CL is doing here (amongst failures which we all have) is highlighting a singular question:

Do bloggers really weigh up and present impartially?

The answer: no. Why? Who can.

There are so many factors involved, externally if you will, and yet these are perceived and cooked from within. And time changes it all – often, daily. That’s what we all bring to the table.

From CL’s point of view, expressed very often singularly and no doubt on behalf of many who’d disagree (silently) with views presented here, for example, it would be made much more frustratingly and urgently and needfully (and therefore subject to flaws, which we all have) when a blog espouses to be centralist. It might be of value to consider how you’d go commenting elsewhere, trying to express yourself.

It’s also a recipe for energy, stimulation, disaster, reflection, and very hopefully some sort of insight.

This centrist thing is up for contention (yet again), not just here but anywhere it poses. [And CL you have to take into account this is a time while people adjust – a better description of the ‘honeymoon’ time]. Take up CL’s thrust: will Rudd (eg; et al) be written up as critically as his predecessor? What will be glossed over, or ignored?

Those questions as brought about by the thrust of CL’s involvement here are very valid, in respect of how Club Troppo presents itself.

Again, that contribution is incredibly valuable on that account, at least – and moreso because of the value of a publication attempting ‘centralism’ for my two bobs.

Can we go a step yet again?

What is centralism?

What would such a thing presume, assume?

That it knows the full (that’s important, yes, no?) extent of all (that’s important, yes, no?) varying views?

That there is a centralist position- given that ‘left’ and ‘right’ is itself up for contention?

In respect of this publication, with regards its attempt to be ‘centralised’ – who in representing it is headlining that cause?

This commenter has said above there is value in attempting ‘centralism’ – does this contradict my other commentary above? Or does it require qualification? If so on the latter, my bobs would be there is no such thing as ‘left’ ‘right’ or thereby ‘central’ – only that occasion can be created for varying viewpoints to be expressed, without fear or favour.

FWIW, this is the only publication I’ve seen which has attempted that very thing.

I guess this, as in many ways we, are a work in progress, here’s best, flaws included, to explore it some more.

15 years ago

CL is an incredibly valuable contributor to this blog.

Agreed Robert, and he is a valuable, if not unique voice in the Aussie blogosphere.

Having now read the Obsidian Wings article – which includes statements like:

“The Bush administration threatens us with the catastrophe of losing our sense that there are things the government cannot do every time they do one of those things. I never, ever want to go along with their redefinition of what is possible, which is why I refuse to stop being outraged when something like this happens. (It’s also why saying: hey, why are you still surprised? is beside the point. I’m not.)”

and also googled up C.L.’s quote on Clinton’s approval of rendition and found some associated reports and commentary (e.g. this Washington Post article in 2002), it does seem that the statement “should be sensational but hasnt even scored a mention in the Australian media” is editorial and betrays a particular bias.

It seems the intent of both the Obsidian article and the editorial comment attached to the ML link to it is not to say torture/rendition is bad, and should be a cause for outrage, but to say the Bush administration is bad (because that is what our political view demands) and here’s another reason why.

(Indeed, if it were possible even to “compare”, and regardless of when the facts became known, on the surface, just from this little googling exercise alone, I’d say Clinton’s administration seems to have been far worse)

Meaning, next time someone wants to claim “sensational” they perhaps should
(a) consult the history books and/or
(b) remember that not everyone who blogs either knows history or is unbiased and/or
(c) leave the editorial comments for the editorial comment boxes.

Gummo Trotsky
15 years ago

Nice job of cherry-picking, saint. Out of an article of twenty plus paragraphs only the three at the end seem to have caught your attention:

The Clinton administration pioneered the use of extraordinary rendition after the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. But it also pressed allied intelligence services to respect lawful boundaries in interrogations.

Well that was naive of them, obviously.

After years of fruitless talks in Egypt, President Bill Clinton cut off funding and cooperation with the directorate of Egypt’s general intelligence service, whose torture of suspects has been a perennial theme in State Department human rights reports.

Oh, they wised up again – or did they? Maybe they were just paying lip service to human rights – tha hickoprits!

“You can be sure,” one Bush administration official said, “that we are not spending a lot of time on that now.”

No hypocrisy there. How refreshing.

As for this:

It seems the intent of both the Obsidian article and the editorial comment attached to the ML link to it is not to say torture/rendition is bad, and should be a cause for outrage, but to say the Bush administration is bad (because that is what our political view demands) and heres another reason why.

It seems to me that the Bush administration’s willingness to countenance torture is a very good reason to call it a bad administration, regardless of whether that’s demanded by your political view or not. I can see, though, that if your political view demands the opposite – demands that you defend the Bush administration at every turn – you might have more trouble than I do in coming to that conclusion.

15 years ago


The quote “The Bush adminstration threatens us….” is from Obisidian.

The other link I provided was to a Washington Post article I found while googling this subject. Out of the several articles I read while googling, I deliberately chose the WP article, the WP being “lefty” and this particular article being fairly matter of fact.

Why do you think I chose that one and what point was I making?

And what have you now demonstrated with your response?

You know, what I also find amusing Gummo is that since I’ve started blogging I’ve been called a leftist (e.g. by Tim Blair), been censored by leftists (e.g by Loewenstein) did a few guest posts at LP in its earliest days, had to extricate my blog from being aggregated on a Labor site, called right-leaning (by say Quiggin and TonyT here), am listed in Wikipedia under Family First and not because I sang their praises, have been listed as both left and right on other people’s blogrolls (at least those who use those categories) and now, if I read you correctly, I have become Bush’s deputy sheriff, no, not just that, I am not capable of any criticism of Bush.

I suspect some people have a hard time finding a prefabricated box for me. They would certainly be even more confused if they saw my email box.

Gummo Trotsky
15 years ago

Why do you think I chose that one and what point was I making?

Chronic ineptitude for the choice – you chose to ignore everything the article had to say about the Bush administration’s conduct and focus instead on the last three paras. As to the point you were making – basically you were trying to reinforce CL’s “argument” that criticism of Bush on this issue is in some way invalid unless you’re also prepared to criticise Clinton. An argument that CL has used before, along with a good deal of hair-splitting on the nature of torture so that he could denounce torture, yet defend Bush at the same time.

And what have you now demonstrated with your response?

Let’s turn that question around. What you’ve demonstrated with your last comment, as you did in your post on that schism video, is an incapacity to recognise valid argument when it’s made by someone to whom you’re ideologically opposed – and there are so many of them.

No, you haven’t become Bush’s “deputy sheriff” – that’s pure self-aggrandising hyperbole on your part. You do seem to have a fair bit of trouble recognising reasonable and valid criticism of your own beliefs, unless the criticism is on your terms (that is, it’s no criticism at all).

Tony T
15 years ago

Point of disorder.

Not sure which way you lean, dress, or hold your knife, Saint.


It was TimT who called Tim who called you a righty. “I think the Saint (Dog Fight at Bankstown) leans to the right.”

On the other hand, TonyT merely slagged off those feral lefties, Flute, Tiley and FX Rampant.

15 years ago

My apologies Tony T. I stand corrected.

And thank you Gummo, for making my point so well. And for displaying the laziness and hubris for which you are known.

Tony T
15 years ago

Get a preview function, ya f***in p***ks.

Gummo Trotsky
15 years ago

Well saint, in the spirit of laziness and hubris for which I’m known, I’ll just say that I’m not prepared to waste time guessing at the points you might be making, or the points you think I’ve made for you, just the ones you actually make, or fail to make, with sloppy argument and poorly chosen sources. And with that said I don’t propose to waste any more time on you.

15 years ago

Yes Gummo, I expected that.

The Clinton administration is OK because it pioneered renditions, and used information obtained by torture, and saw the disappearance and death of men in custody without trial, and stressed the need for respecting lawful boundaries (whose laws, and who are the “allied intelligence services”, who were told to respect them? not to mention, why then, resort to rendition…?) Oh and pulled some money (did it stop renditions by the Clinton administraton?).


Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
15 years ago

The big question is why there isn’t a decent fish and chip shop in Marrickville.

15 years ago

#26 Geoff: because it moved to Glenelg. Hand cut chips too.

The other question is, whose chronic ineptitude of choice rendered my “Schism” post worthy of inclusion on ML? Crack that whip Gummo…this is your show.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
15 years ago

“Geoff: because it moved to Glenelg.”

This seems unlikely, saint.

15 years ago

Didn’t Yobbo recommend squid?

15 years ago

#28 Probably; it was there for years, and as I haven’t swung by that way for a while it could have moved again. :-). But it’s a good question. Where have all the good fish and chips shops gone.

15 years ago

Oh come one, there must be fish and chips in Marrickville. Now you’ve made me want fish and chips. I’ll look tomorrow.

Pavlov's Cat
15 years ago

I havent swung by that way for a while

When next you do, I recommend the hot chocolate at Bracegirdle’s.

Where have all the good fish and chips shops gone.

Semaphore Road.


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