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



Apathetic Sarah imagines John Macarthur as a supporter of Camden’s charming Kate McCulloch

2020 conference is the get together that just keeps giving. Andrew Norton finds so much that amuses. In particular the bit about work/life balance which – in light of Rudd’s fightin’ words about the public service last week – is also occupying Kev Gillett.

Possum and Mark Bahnisch both conclude that today’s Newspoll shows that Nelson’s petrol taxes populism didn’t work. Both suggest that MSM pundits stuffed it again and that “a majority of voters dont think that either party can do anything to lower fuel prices, or are uncommitted on the question.” 

Jeremy Sear is particularly peeved by the federal Coalition’s delaying tactics on gay law reform, and thinks that having to give swags to the homeless is a telling comment on Australian social policy (but a good idea just the same).

Peter Martin launches a last-ditch defence of ACCC boss Graeme Samuel whose contract is up for renewal.

Alison Croggon takes issue with Guy Rundle’s position on the Henson affair.


Harry Clarke takes a deep breath, crosses his fingers and backs Obama for President.

Michael J Totten provides detailed on-the-spot insights (and photo essay) on troubled Serbia.(Highly recommended)

Dan Miller enthusiastically launches a new front in Republican smearing of Obama with a claim that he’s an adherent of Black Liberation Theology.  It’s going to be a truly repulsive few months in US politics.((BTW Does anyone know of any non-aligned US political bloggers who produce decent material that isn’t blatantly partisan spin for their favoured candidate? ~ KP)) 

At openDemocracy, Li Datong sees signs of hope for freedom in Chinese media coverage of the earthquake and its aftermath, while Faten Aggad and Elizabeth Sidiropoulos track the reasons for recent outbreaks of violence against immigrant workers and refugees in South Africa.


The Stumblng Tumblr has a salutary tale of what happens when a lawyer assumes that Singapore has any respect whatever for liberal democracy or rule of law.((Actually Singapore even more so than China provides a depressingly convincing refutation of the theory that liberal democracy is essential to advanced capitalism.  Rather, advanced capitalism seems entirely compatible with authoritarian and even somewhat corrupt rule as long as the government ensures that the interests of the thrusting middle class are kept tightly aligned with those of the regime. ~ KP))


Joshua Gans considers the reasons and possible deployment of unit pricing in supermarkets.

don’t look – nude youngster on the dunes

Shirley Temple clean version

Mike makes spoons Alaska

healthy toes

Issues analysis

Chris Berg refutes a pro-2AM lockout editorial in The Age.

Rick Hills provides persuasive arguments in favour of anti-intellectualism.

Norman Geras calls bullshit on self-promoting philosopher Alain de Botton and his latest publicity gimmick: the need for secular religion.

Mercurius catalogues interchangeable political abuse.

Robert Merkel takes issue with economist Warwick McKibben’s line on emissions trading schemes, while Kodjo at Catallaxy links admiringly to an opinion piece that quotes the usual denialist suspects and concludes unsurprisingly that the best thing to do is nothing much while hoping someone invents carbon-eating trees!  At least Harry Clarke is a beacon of sane evidence-based analysis on global warming in the sea of Tory wilful ignorance:

The science on climate change is overwhelmingly accepted. Why are the right so vehemently opposed to this science? One reason seems to be simple anti-intellectualism and to desire to appear to be against ‘mainstream thinking’. Another reason is the implication that global action needs to be taken to deal with global warming this hardly advances the cause of laissez faire.

But this latter reason is illogical. Belief in laissez faire needs to be based on the facts not on blind religious faith and public good/externality reasons for intervening in market economies have been accepted for over 200 years. The climate change issue is an extension of these arguments.

Moreover, accepting these arguments and moving to adopt carbon taxes or transferable carbon quotas does not make you anti-market accounting for climate change costs can be understood as attempting to get markets to work more effectively.


John Beinart’s Crustaceous Toddlerpede. What will happen if Henson’s allowed to get away with it? (Via The Art Life)

Nicholas Pickard reviews Debbie Tucker Green’s Stoning Mary currently showing at the Stables Theatre 

Tucker Green has taken everyday media stories reported from one of the most ignored corners of the world and forcefully asks the question, what if this was happening to people like you. It could be contrived, but Stoning Mary is one of the most confronting nights to be had in the theatre this year.

Words Without Borders offers its readers Susan Bernofski’s afterwood for the New Directions re-issue of Robert Walser’s The Assistant, while Professor Peter Utz offers some commentary on this work of a neglected Swiss writer.

Gerry Mack ponders a technological question: “why spend all the energy to hack into a Wii guitar to play a song thats relatively easy to play on a real guitar?” (Included is a Wii guitar rendition of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, which someone with a couple of weeks of guitar experience should be able to rattle out with few errors)

Perry Middlemiss suggests that within Peter McConnell’s A History of a Great War: A Novel “there is a very good novel lurking within these pages, struggling to get out”

Stanley Fish considers the nine million dollar affirmative action plan for conservative academics currently being considered by the administration of the University of Colorado.

Decomposing Trees is impressed with what he has heard from the Bowerbirds, and similarly impressed with the performance of The Audreys at the ANU bar.

Lars of Spurious after reading William Golding’s The Spire: –

But I must have more Golding – immediately. I need to read everything if only to have done with it. I need to know of what this book is part – what movement. Madness – but not a private madness. Not the malaise of one character. A kind of existence-madness, being gone mad, the boiling earth … and this as the law of writing to which the book corresponds. A madness that has come from some strange law of writing, where language takes a weird detour into itself, becomes thick, clots up the veins of sense. 

Feeling a bit snaky today? …

Mark “Oz Conservative” Richardson’s reading of a biography of Rebecca West delivers a convincing if unintentional proof of post-modern crit lit theory on meaning(s).

Harry Brighouse launches gleefully into reviewing one of the first of 101 movies to avoid watching before you die (but which he didn’t … avoid that is).

Coryluscontorta positively reviews a book whose title should make it easy to promote: Bonk – The Curious Coupling Of Sex And Science.


Tony the Teacher mounts a defence of paying Aussie cricketers biggish pots of money to play hit and giggle cricket in India.

Matt at Green and Gold Rugby looks at the 30 man Wallabies train-on squad announced yesterday

Snark, strangeness and charm

Cam Riley links to some images of Sydney’s Tank Stream, once the lifeblood of the colony, now an enclosed trickle.

Adrian explains why cabbies should be exempt from seat belt laws.

Geoff Robinson discusses the idea’s contained in Skocpol’s Social Revolutions in the Modern World, particularly those related to the Iranian revolution.

Audaciously embracing pot and black kettle tactics, Kim at LP accuses Fairfax of “bottom feeder search optimisation strategy” for publishing stories on Corey Worthington and that crap “reality” TV show starting with a B.

TroppoSphere, in case Missing Link email subscribers haven’t noticed, is now available as a convenient gateway to a world of news and expert opinion and analysis for those with feed reader phobia. It contains feeds to most of the blogs and other sources whose best/selected content we most regularly feature in Missing Link, as well as general news feeds and those from selected online magazines like openDemocracy, Reason, Slate, Spiked, New Matilda, Australian Opinion Online and Online Opinion.

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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14 years ago

BTW Does anyone know of any non-aligned US political bloggers who produce decent material that isnt blatantly partisan spin for their favoured candidate?

I hear Bigfoot is doing some good stuff.

14 years ago

And don’t simply return the carbon to the atmosphere when the leaves fall off.

14 years ago

Fifty bucks says that in three years, Harry Clarke will be like Margo Kingston and asking himself “What was I thinking?” Without the additional self-recrimination – of course – stemming from actually having voted for Obama.

14 years ago

No matter which name you put in front of the ‘ vs McCain’, it’s the kind of question that I wish I could answer with ‘mu’.

14 years ago

The US election is actually quite amusing. Lots of conservatives are ready to vote for Obama because they hate McCain and lots of Hillary supporters who hate what is happening will vote for McCain. Maybe the candidates ought to swap parties.

derrida derider
derrida derider
14 years ago

“Im dubious about Obamas lets pull out of Iraq ASAP stance as well, but hes left himself quite a bit of wriggle room on it and I expect him to back away from it”

Umm, why? The Iraq war is rightly very unpopular, so any wriggling won’t be for political reasons. If anything we can expect the political pressure to be for even faster withdrawal – hedging on this has certainly not helped Hillary.

Strategically it’s really hard to see what the GIs are achieving there other than souring relations with allies and with Iraq’s neighbours, and pushing the Iraqi body count higher. Given the terrible budgetary problem he’s inherited and the prospect of defeat in Afghanistan he’ll surely have much better uses for the blood and treasure. The key is to cut a deal with the Iranians – something they have repeatedly offered.

14 years ago

But the US and the west are really left with two choices, Ken.

Do a deal as you suggest in which case the region will take it as invitation to develop their own nukes. I couldn’t imagine the Gulf States or Egypt acquiescing to a nuked up Iran. The Gulf could be offered the US nuke umbrella but who would find that credible as the US would be seen to have cut and run from Iraq.


The US does attack Iran’s nuke installations.

There is a third but unlikely choice which is that the world lives with a nuked Iran but even the Europeans aren’t showing much appetite for that strategy these days seeing Iranian missiles could reach the centre of Europe.

14 years ago

“which is that the world lives with a nuked Iran”

Well we’ve managed to live with a nuked North Korea, Pakistan, India, South Africa, Israel, China and Russia, all of whom at one time or another have behaved in equally bellicose and unstable fashion. Often to eachother.

“seeing Iranian missiles could reach the centre of Europe”

Why? Where else are Iranian energy revenues gonna be put to work? The US? The EU is one big money laundry, show town, shopping arcade, brothel, boardwalk and holiday home. Who’d want to nuke the place where your kids go to school, your wife goes shopping and where you get laid on business trips.

Besides, what’s left of the RN Trident sub fleet and the Force de Frappe is still perfectly capable of wiping out all of Ira’s major population centres in response. This is not exactly a ultra for your eyes only secret y’know.

Besides, do you really think the two main purchasers (China and India) of Iran’s only significant export (hydrocarbons) are gonna let it run amuck or be seriously amucked around with by the Yanks.

To paraphrase Dustin Hoffman in ‘Wag The Dog”, this is nothing. Try 30,000 nuclear warheads designed to wipe out whole continents, with the go codes controlled by paranoid and senile old men with a fifties mindset.

14 years ago


I’m not advocating an attack on Iran. Just looking at the options.

Well weve managed to live with a nuked North Korea, Pakistan, India, South Africa, Israel, China and Russia, all of whom at one time or another have behaved in equally bellicose and unstable fashion.

Yea, but I’m sure that you could play poker with these guys and would they probably stick to the rules. Uncle A and the Mullahs are just as likely as to argue they’ve won with a pair of two’s to your full house aces high. Some of these guys think there’s a young dude living at the bottom of a well, so you may not be playing with a full deck.

How about proliferating dirty bombs to terror groups? How the hell do you trace that stuff? That would be US’s obvious concerns. And why shouldn’t Israel take Uncle A at his word? Jews may realize it’s a good strategy to do so take if they say they want to obliterate you.

Besides, do you really think the two main purchasers (China and India) of Irans only significant export (hydrocarbons) are gonna let it run amuck or be seriously amucked around with by the Yanks.

Dunno, but it would be riveting viewing on CNN and financial stocks would hate it.

I think the real issue here is how threatened the US or Israel feels to pull the pin.

14 years ago

“Some of these guys think theres a young dude living at the bottom of a well, so you may not be playing with a full deck.”

And Bush tells people he believes some omnipotent superhero, born out of a virgin impregnated by a ghost, will usher the saved into heaven as seven trumpet blasts signal the Apocalypse. Your point here being what exactly?

“How about proliferating dirty bombs to terror groups?”

Ask the US’s main ally in Central Asia, Pakistan. They’re the ones with the biggest track record of corrupt officials and scientists flogging off nuke tech and weapons systems to unsavoury folks ranging from North Korea to the Taliban.

14 years ago

And Bush tells people he believes some omnipotent superhero, born out of a virgin impregnated by a ghost, will usher the saved into heaven as seven trumpet blasts signal the Apocalypse. Your point here being what exactly?</blockquote

Ok Bush is a christian and so has been every psst prez. What’s your point? You’re offering moral equivalence with Iran’s thugs?

Yea, Pakistan is bad enough. You wanna keep adding to that problem? A problerm that could force other middle eastern states to try and go nuke?