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


The Budget

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.

Paul Norton reports on a split in the DSP.

Who is David Burchell? Is he as clueless as tigtog thinks?((Those are both rhetorical questions. ~GT))

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.


(China earthquake images from Kinway Motorsports at Flickr).  Bob Chen and John Kennedy have coverage of the Chinese earthquake at Global Voices Online.

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.


tennis anyone?



Issues analysis

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.  

Columbia University blog considers the recent renewal of interest in the work of critic and author Lionel Trilling, linking to this New Republic article from  Cynthia Ozick

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

Vest recalls days, sixty years ago, when Israel was born and he was a small part of the British navy‘s efforts to manage the influx of immigrants from Europe.

Town Hall Station does indeed suck.

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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56 Responses to Missing Link Daily

  1. Gummo Trotsky says:

    Be careful what you say about Big Brother, Ken:

    … as I said in comments on the first BB08 post here, isnt there a certain assumed (and class-inflected) superiority assumed by the BB haters who dont even watch the thing but all have an opinion (and often have an opinion of those of us who do)?

    That noted, I agree with your general opinion of the show (having actually watched five episodes of one season a couple of years ago) even though your side note is a bit ‘class inflected’.

    Tomorrow we find out whether The Age Green Guide will once again give Jim Schembri a weekly Big Brother spot, like they did last year.

  2. Ken Parish says:

    “Be careful what you say” …

    Far from being careful, I’ll throw petrol on the fire. I think the phenomenon of people who should have more taste and intelligence professing to like BB is just a pretentious affectation, like ending a post with “just sayin'”. Then again, all these shows (including Ladettes to Ladies and the assorted Gordon Ramsey shows) have a certain macabre fascination, sort of like not being able to resist looking at a particularly gruesome car smash as you drive past.

    The really vexing thing is that these shows are also a calculated cost-saving gambit by the free-to-air channels. It doesn’t cost all that much to make them because they don’t have to pay the actors. A truly principled lefty would boycott them (although, as Jen pointed out last night, you can make a similar point about the employment effects of blogging on professional journalists).

  3. gilmae says:

    …what does the watching – or not – of dipshit rodeos have to do being a principled lefty?

  4. TimT says:

    Tim Trains Non Sequitur Weekly is a post that I (KP) found particularly rivetting as I fell asleep last night.

    Happy for my blog to act as your soporific!

  5. Gummo Trotsky says:

    Ken (re 2),

    You’ve said nothing yet that I disagree with. What sucked me into watching that week of BB was a promo which disclosed that the house was being divided into masters and servants. It was a very obvious situationist psychology experiment, with quite predictable outcomes.

    In the end I had to give up on it because watching the show made me too angry – at the producers of the show, for the way they manipulated the ‘housemates’ and the selection of coverage to construct their ‘narrative’ and at myself for falling for it, and rationalising it away as I forget quite what.

    gilmae (re 3),

    Dunno. I rarely watch TV of any kind at the moment, because free-to-air is three channels of commercial crap and two channels of non-commercial not quite crap.

  6. saint says:

    Niall’s comment about Tim and chemo was tasteless (not to mention AFAIK untrue)

  7. Ken Parish says:

    I didn’t read down that far. I agree it’s distasteful and inappropriate.

  8. gilmae says:

    I can tell you from personal experience, Saint, that chemo does indeed have detrimental after-effects. Unconvinced, however, that becoming unanchored in the time-space continuum is one of them, nor engaging in standard journalism procedures.

  9. Ken Parish says:

    Possibly Niall even understood, like the rest of us, that posting a newspaper blog item late at night is intended for the audience who will read it the next day, which is of course why T2 used “yesterday”. Niall never loses an opportunity to snark at T2 on any pretext and vice versa. It’s just one of those bloggy bloke things, I suppose.

  10. gilmae says:

    Go on, Ken; you know you want to use the ‘O’ word.

  11. Patrick says:

    Then again, Jen made me watch Ladettes to Ladies last night,

    Hey, me too (although not ‘Jen’, obviously)!! I share your BB (and by extension all the rest of them) sentiments entirely, KP, and think that you should just say principled person of medium or above intelligence. I can’t see what political orientation has to do with it!!

    I do make an exception for the Gordon Ramsey ones because even if they are barely watchable I have a keen interest in running kitchens and restaurants so that tides me over the banality – that, and capping it at once a month absolute maximum, and doing the dishes at the same time.
    ~ ~ ~

    Those who were interested in Slim Picken’s article on schools might be interested in this one from the NYT (via marginalrevolution):

    NEW ORLEANS A broad education overhaul under way here has produced improvement in test scores…
    The number of fourth graders who passed a state promotional exam increased by 12 percentage points over the previous year, and eighth graders improved by four percentage points.

    Since Hurricane Katrina, most of the schools here have been taken over by the state, and are run either by Mr. Vallas or as citizen-controlled charter schools. The local school board and administration long notorious for corruption and political interference have been neutered.
    Classes are smaller, many of the teachers are youthful imports brought in by groups like Teach for America, principals have been reshuffled or removed, school-hours remedial programs have been intensified, and after-school programs to help students increased.

    Mr. Vallas attributed many of the improvements in testing to the new teachers.

  12. John Greenfield says:


    Ladette to Lady is arguably the finest piece of television ever. In fact, I think Gill Hardcore, Rosemary Schriver, and Liz Brewer should replace Tanya Plibersek’s bit of rough as the Bossettes of NSW Education. They’d do wonders on those drunken little mingers and slags who vomit all over my Oxford Street when they’re not spending $100 a week trying to Save Bridgette from eviction on Big Brother.

  13. John Greenfield says:


    I think the world can well do without another century of the “prinipled lefty.” Quelle horreur!

  14. Tim Lambert says:

    Can I recommend some Fafblog for tomorrow’s ML?

  15. John Greenfield says:

    I am always fascinated by those who atribute “underperforming schools” to a failure of government, and then merrily demand MORE government to fix the problem.

  16. Liam (Bring Back Punster Paxton) says:

    JG, it’s gentrifiers like you who’re ruining Sydney. Oxford Street is *supposed* to be awash with vomit, that’s what it’s there for. Where else may mingers, slags, twinks, trannies, dykes and tourists all chunder together in such harmony?
    How would sailors on shore leave find it without the smell leading them forward?

  17. Jason Soon says:

    sorry Greenfield but from what I can see the native residents of Oxford St are doing their bit with the vomiting and outdoor pissing that goes on around those parts.

  18. Laura says:

    Yes I’m sick of being told off for being a snob, having incorrect ideas about class, and not knowing anything about sociology when I say I think Big Brother is rubbish and a waste of telly.

    I am a snob, incorrect about class, ignorant of sociology etc, but that is NOT why I think BB is shite.

  19. Tony T says:

    I was sent from the room last night when Slapper to Slipper came on at 9:30.

  20. James Farrell says:

    Is there room for one more on the snob bandwagon? The first time I ever watched Big Brother I thought: Wasn’t the whole point, of graduating from high school and making my own way in the world, that I could escape from people like this?

  21. Patrick says:

    Club snob it is then

  22. John Greenfield says:

    Big Brother’s purpose is to allow Dawkins Universities to get funding by offering courses in Cultural/Gender Stduies. This thus facilitates “gender equity” in “higher” education, for without such courses the percentage of sheilah – particularly lezzie – academics would be very low indeed.

  23. John Greenfield says:


    My dear, dykes, trannies and such no longer go to Oxford Street. Hullo!?

  24. JC says:


    Big Brothers purpose is to allow Dawkins Universities to get funding by offering courses in Cultural/Gender Stduies. This thus facilitates gender equity in higher education, for without such courses the percentage of sheilah – particularly lezzie – academics would be very low indeed.

    Do you simply dream this at night and figure you have to tell people first thing next day.

    Dude where are you heading with this. You still think gays showed up after the 1850’s or have you change your mind?

  25. Jason Soon says:

    dykes, trannies and such no longer go to Oxford Street

    Hmm, though Greenfield sounds campier than a Barbra Streisand retrospective, he’s apparently blind as a bat when walking around his neighbourhood.

  26. Niall says:

    Tasteless or no, Saint, it’s a fact. Besides, as KP says, I’ll never let a chance go by.

  27. Patrick says:

    Niall Greenfield:

    Poor lad. Chemo can tend to have detrimental after effects, so I’m told.

    This is a fact? In what sense – the banal sense that chemotherapy can tend to have detrimental after-effects of unspecified generality?

    Poor Niall. Middle-aged white males can tend to be perverts, or so I’m told.

  28. Niall says:

    LOL….that’s the best you’ve got, Patrick? Should I label that one ad hominem, or just plain personal insult? Get over it, man! Blair is scum, and you wish to associate yourself by inference?

  29. Jason Soon says:

    Yes Niall, we know that you think ‘Blair is scum’. That’s why you had to deface the decent Jeremy AnonymousLefty Sears’ blog when he wrote to wish Blair well for his operation with the following comment


    Karma surely is a bitch, ain’t it?
    Niall | Homepage | 01.18.08 – 1:54 pm

    Incidentally is the reason why you think ‘Blair is scum’ because he exposed you for the hypocrite you are or is it really because you’re fighting the good fight ideologically? :-)

  30. Greenfield hates Big Brother. Some LPers enjoy watching it. And I thought we were supposed to be the dreaded “luvvies”?

  31. Ken Parish says:

    No more Blair stuff on this thread please. As I said above, Niall’s comment was distasteful in the extreme, and to be blunt I wouldn’t have linked to his post if I’d realised he’d said that. Thus I’m not going to allow the discussion to continue on this thread either. I guess we all have different bounds of taste and propriety, but mine stop well before mean-spirited cancer jibes, and it’s my blog so them’s the rules here. Further comments on this point will be deleted.

  32. tim says:

    It isn’t a fact. I am not undergoing, nor have I ever undergone, chemotherapy.

  33. tim says:

    Further to my previous comment, I wrote this months ago: Everything that might have needed chemotherapy was cut out, so post-operative issues are minimal.

  34. Ken Parish says:

    Tim has exercised right of reply. Again, I think Niall’s comment was disgraceful and I’m not going to dignify it with any further exposure. I’ve deleted another Niall comment which ignored the previous warning, and will keep deleting any further comments on this topic (and not only from Niall).

  35. John Greenfield says:

    JC and the Ayn Rand Blow Up Doll (ARBUP)

    Oh this should be a scream. OK big boys, please do give us your wisdom on the history of homosexuality and the current state of Oxford Street in Sydney gay culture. But ARBUP, I think you would do well to stick to designing a ‘Vomitting Rights Trading Scheme’ or some such and leave the pillow-biting, carpet-munching, and pop culture to the grown-ups. ;)

  36. John Greenfield says:


    I didn’t say I hate BB, Laura did. And yes you are a Luvvie, a Big One at that. But your position on BB changes hourly – like your position on ALL issues – depending on which way the Luvvie winds are blowing. You have become so incoherent, a less kind interlocutor might refer to you as Sybil. Less kind to Shirley, that is.

    I hope this helps.

  37. I await your participation in the great Nelson anti-luvvie “ute drivers want to puke @ 3am from alcopop binging” crusade, then, JG. Just noting your constant references to vomit.


  38. John Greenfield says:


    What on earth do I have to do with Brendan Nelson?

  39. Ask yourself that next time you’re sitting in the gutter at 3am, JG.

  40. John Greenfield says:

    But I do note the bovine Luvvies’ tip of the hat to Ruddian authoritarianism. ;)

  41. Whatevs, dude.

    Bored now.

  42. John Greenfield says:

    OK Sybil. Toodles.

  43. Laura says:

    John, I didn’t say I hate big brother. I said I think it’s crap. If you can’t see the difference there, I’m not going to attempt to explain it to you.

  44. John Greenfield says:

    Dear Miss Prism.

    I thank you for said correction, and do hope you and Miss Hathaway shall join Mrs. Jill Hardcore, Mrs. Rosemary Schriver, and Mrs. Liz Brewer is sorting out our up-chucking mingers and petit/e skanks.

  45. John Greenfield says:

    Of Course BB even keeps a few blokes employed among the sheilahs and lezzies.


  46. John Greenfield says:

    Oh and THIS priceless Luvvieism. Damn, WHERE is Private Eye when it is needed. ;)

    Kens [Parish] comments lack some nuance, to put it mildly.

    And perhaps some “context” of the subtext, subversive narrative reifying…. I’m sure we get the picure, Luvvie.

    Hi Kim. Ive really enjoyed the LP posts on Big Brother. I promise Im not troll-baiting when I say that a lot of what you folks have been saying is consistent with, and maybe extends with some new observations, a really interesting strand of media and cultural studies work on reality TV.



  47. John Greenfield says:

    it just their own concern to display their own distinctive tastes? (CF Bourdieu)

    Just sayin.


  48. John Greenfield says:

    Oh and now the Luvvies’ Luvvie – Princess Luvvie (Call her Bridgette) has chimed in with her pearls.

    I dont think its particularly productive to take potshots at Jason for citing an academic paper and Bourdieu. It might almost be read as anti-intellectualism… is to establish a distinction between themselves and those others. Thats particularly obvious when its done so blatantly as in Kens case.

    Obvious! Particularly so.


    Ken, Luvvie, I would expect more context sprinkled over your nuance. Would you like your Latte with or without a dominative narrative?

    Laugh? I could cry. I’m gonna piss me pants, so will pick up some KFC and a few dozen UDLs on the way back. Press the “pause” button. Pig’s arrrsse.

  49. Alastair says:

    Greenfield I enjoy your daily comic relief. You sure are a Luvvie of talking to yourself!

  50. John Greenfield says:

    How dare you! Them’s fightin’ words! Pistols at dawn. :)

  51. Kim says:

    Im gonna piss me pants, so will pick up some KFC and a few dozen UDLs on the way back. Press the pause button.

    Oh dear, JG. I’m unsure as to what your “dominative (sic) narrative” is. You really are tying yourself in knots, aren’t you? You don’t like luvvies who like Big Brother? But then how can they be luvvies? Not sure how that squares with your pseudo-Bukowski louche on the streets at 3am posture (do you ever trip over Brendan while he’s sitting in the gutter…) or your “I’m the old Labor working man” schtick – I’d have thought to be consistent you should be championing BB.

    But who knows? Best get stuck into another six pack of alcopops, dearie. I’ll enjoy my nice bottle of NZ white which I understand is now the same price.

  52. Kim says:

    Btw, it’s spelled Brigitte, luvvie. And she’s a nice posh private school girl. You know, like your heroine Ja’mie.

    I thought you were taught literacy using Brendan approved phonics methods!

    Anyways, I’ll leave you to your Bourdieu and Coke…

  53. John Greenfield says:

    Pure Luvvie Gold.

    From Princess Brigette’s rottweiler – and boy does she bark some ROT – KKKomrade KKKimmmeeeee. Look at her, look at her, look at her!

    Well, its not just about the privacy, Prof! Its also about the individualisation and the consequential failure to see any basis for reflexivity and solidarity.


  54. ken says:

    Ken, I find it odd that you delete my comment asking Niall why he doesn’t apologise for his lie while
    (a) calling his pathological slurs just a bloggy bloke thing (#9) and
    (b) nevertheless not deleting Niall’s comment on Blair being scum (#28) AND
    (c) allowing him to continue to comment.

    It’s your blog and your call. And yes I read your comment above.
    But it certainly doesn’t reflect well on you.

  55. ken says:

    That last comment was me, saint

  56. Ken Parish says:

    Read comment #34. The fact that you either did not understand it or chose to ignore it does not reflect well on you. The only effective way to stop this sort of nonsense is simply to delete comments that insist on continuing to discuss this issue after being politely asked to desist (without exception). If you want to continue having an argument with Niall please go over to his blog to do so.

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