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
It’s Wayne Swan’s first but it’s Andrew Bartlett’s eleventh. Robert Merkel is cynical about budget rituals. Zoe live blogged it the day before. Mark Bahnisch live blogged it on the night((After ten minutes of taking a genereous nip every time Wayne Swan mentioned ‘working families’ I was completely wiped out and had to go to bed ~GT)). Joshua Gans was bored because dagnabbit, the Budget had everything everyone knew it would; no damn surprises. Peter Martin begs to differ and wonders where was the relief on pressure on interest rates? Andrew Norton points to his op ed in the Australian while Catallaxy is hosting an open forum for debate and reactions.
Peter Timmins sees no sign of any commitment to FOI reform in the budget papers (surprise! surprise! – KP). Graham Young points out that Labor’s first budget is identical to a Howard government one except that Costello had more spending cuts in his first budget (which might have something to do with there being a potential deficit then versus a $20 billion surplus now – KP). John Quiggin, meanwhile, is also disappointed with the nature and extent of spending cuts but is at least pleased that he didn’t have to watch Costello deliver the budget again, and more dubiously thinks Swan has more substance. Finally (and quite enough on the budget), Tim Blair declares “Inflation” the rhetorical winner by a short half head from “working families”, and Niall Cook declares Tim Blair winner by a nose over the clock.
Harry Clarke opposes the merger of Westpac and St George:
The main effects will be however to reduce the very limited competition Australians have with respect to choice of banking service. The ‘big four’ banks offer lousy, expensive service and yet yield bloated profits to their shareholders on the basis of their preexisting market power. Service will be marginally worse not better should this takeover proceed because there will be still less competition.
Andrew Landeryou wonders what else Julian Sheezel has to hide.
Petering time looks askance at the cannibal feast that is the Liberal Party with little sympathy for either the eaters or the eaten.
Jeremy wants Steve Fielding to think of the children.
John Heard is pleased to inform his readers that his article “Gays don’t want marriage” has appeared in The Hun, where it attracted a lot of comment.
Geoff Robinson detects the return of the ‘swells’ in Victorian politics.
Disaffected Liberal Graham Young looks at the plans for a merger between Queensland Libs and Nats, helpfully pointing out that the Libs have a $1 million debt that will need to be extinquished somehow for the merger to proceed.
wmmbb looks at the Bush Legacy.
Bron asks whether Libertarians could split the Republican vote.
Beju makes an unsurprising revelation about the resignation of the 2008 Republican convention chief, Doug Goodyear.
M Frederick Voorhees finds that they do things differently in Texas.
Nicholas Gruen’s post on Aussie Mac here at Troppo merits highlighting in Missing Link as well.
Gary Sauer-Thomson muses on deliberative democracy.
Slim Pickens looks at underperforming schools and failures of government.
Robin Hanson analyses how you can tell whether you’re dreaming or not (really).
Harry Clarke takes a close look at the dangers of cannabis.
Legal Eagle muses on motherhood and pregnancy.
John Quiggin and Tim Lambert co-author a detailed defence of Rachel Carson against the RWDB DDT mythologisers.
From Ben Peek. Ben also posts a teaser extract from his forthcoming book Across the Seven Continents of the Underworld.
Tim Train’s Non Sequitur Weekly is a post that I (KP) found particularly rivetting as I fell asleep last night.
Marcellous visits Melbourne for a couple of nights at the opera.
The Art Life offers an interview with John A. Douglas who is exhibiting his Screen Test series at various artist-run galleries.
Nicholas Pickard reminisces about the old days watching rugby as a kid while offering an interesting price comparison between the cost of attending an international test-match and visiting a local theatre production. Nicholas also opines about the production changes at the Darlinghurst Theatre Company.
Paul Martin offers a reminder of the Antonioni retrospective playing in Melbourne from May 22, which gives me an excuse to link to this brilliant piece by David Tiley following the deaths of Michelangelo Antonioni and Ingmar Bergmar, focusing upon the enduring cinematic legacy of these two groundbreaking auteurs.
Scott Esposito is reading Thomas Mann’s Dr. Faustus and finding it a rather difficult slog. ((This was the one Mann novel I wasn’t able to finish – mind you I offer the caveat that at the time I was a much less cultivated first year undergrad. Still out of all Mann’s work this is probably his most difficult text. ~ SH))
Snark, strangeness and charm
Sooner or later this year, we were going to end up linking to a post about Big Brother. This one from Kim will do as well as any.((Stuffed if I know why. There’s trivial crap that’s an insult to the intelligence, and then there’s trivial crap that’s an insult to the intelligence of even a brain dead bogan. Then again, Jen made me watch “Ladettes to Ladies” last night, which would certainly give BB a run for its money, combining all its most execrable features with extremely silly British class-based snobbery.~ KP))
Meanwhile, Tim Sterne is back from self-imposed exile, and doesn’t think much of Channel Ten or Rove McManus:
Network spokesman James Maneri says that if the experiment is successful other shows could be replaced by so-called “minimal sensory stimulation programming”.
“We’re certainly trialling different things. For example, this week’s episode of Rove was canned in favour of a continuously looped twenty second video of a polar bear excreting a garden gnome. The ratings were actually higher than Rove‘s recent figures, while the quality yield remained much the same with far less cost to the network. Our research indicates that many viewers felt that footage of a large mammal expelling a garden ornament from its anal sphincter made for a refreshing change from Rove’s tiresome schtick.”
Darryl Mason passes on a handy tip for the next time you find yourself dealing with a