Missing Link Bumper Edition (Delayed)

By skepticlawyer

First up, an apology from the Missing Link crew for failing to produce a Monday edition. To make up for it, we’ve prepared a bumper issue for today, in the hope that y’all forgive us. Next up, the reason this edition is on Catallaxy rather than Troppo is that my attempts to post it over there have all ended in failure (I have a nasty feeling I’ve crashed the whole site, too). Rather than undermine Jacques’ ongoing efforts at fixing Troppo’s busted bits, I’ll store Missing Link here until I know Troppo is stable.
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Kicking off things this week is the Australian Libertarian Society’s poll on the best solo libertarian blogger in Australia. To ensure that group blogs couldn’t corner the vote, Jason Soon and yours truly have been excluded. Instead, the focus is on individual achievement. At first I thought the thing could be gamed, but apparently not. There’s more from Larvatus Prodeo and Catallaxy; the whole caper is very entertaining. Go vote!

I’m also going to do the community announcement thing here. That source of bloggy legal goodness, AUSTLII, is in need of funds. For those who can’t afford several thousand bucks a year for Lexis Nexis or WestLaw, Austlii provides legal lifeblood (I’ve used it for more lawblogging posts than I care to count). If you’re a lawyer (or if you’ve ever used Austlii), swing by their website and drop $20 into the hat. That’s all they need – from every lawyer in Australia – to keep going. To give you an idea of the extent to which blogging lawyers depend on Austlii to bring the law to a wider audience, check out Warwick Rothnie’s post on Lockwood’s (of the locks fame) recent patents victory. Legal Eagle has all the links you need. Still on Blawgs (law blogs), Kim Weatherall introduces a new writer over at LawFont.
Graphic in this edition – a piece of timeless wisdom in Scots – comes courtesy of the Adelaide Green Porridge Cafe.

Today’s Missing Link compiled by Amanda Rose, James Farrell, Jason Soon, Patrick Garson and Ken Parish, with Helen ‘skepticlawyer’ Dale as editor and general roustabout.

1. News and Politics Stuff

In a ‘blogging experiment’, Tim Dunlop has invited other bloggers to answer this question: If you change the government, do you really change the country? Tim’s own answer is that Australians defied Keating’s warning in 1996 not because they wanted change, but because they wanted to slow down the pace of change. He thinks the paradox may be replayed in 2007. Andrew Bartlett’s response stresses the hideous consequences of changes to the composition of the Senate. That’s mean. He also reminds us that government’s often follow rather than lead, and that change can take unexpected directions (Nixon in China, privatisation under Hawke.) Guido also adds his voice to the round-robin question-answering fest with a thoughtful post:

I call Australia the ‘Scared Weird Little Country’. It pains me deeply that this country has such a potential to be truly great, but it is scared so easily. By asylum seekers, by perceived ‘terrorist threats’ by interest rates….. whatever.

John Quiggin thinks this election will be a good test of whether betting odds predict election outcomes better than opinion polls (his column from last week, for those who don’t subscribe to the AFR).

Tim Dunlop askes, ‘…if the fairness test really is more demanding than anything Labor is offering, why isn’t business freaking out?‘ Musing on Joe’s Pizza Test, Tim comments:

The truly comical thing about this newfound concern with fairness in the WorkChoices legislation is that for the past three years, ever since the legislation was first mooted in its current form and then introduced last year, the government has assured us that there was no problem, that people would not be exploited in precisely the way their new “fairness test” now concedes they can be.

On the subject of Coalition tactics in general, Tim sees the obsession with Rudd’s character as a sign that the government is losing its judgment, but agrees with the right wing bloggers re. Amnesty International’s hyperbole.

Returning to industrial relations specifically, Andrew Bartlett welcomes the example set by Therese Rein in acknowledging her mistake, while John Quiggin highlights the waste of the Workplace advertising by listing some opportunity costs. Still on industrial relations, Jason Soon shows that employers also have heartbreaking human interest stories. ((And they take the greater risk.~SL)) Andrew Norton applies his statistical skills to the same issue.

There have been several posts on indigenous matters. Senator Bartlett has been attending gatherings commemorating the tenth Anniversary of the Stolen Generations report. He gives credit to church organisations, whose missions were involved in removing children from their parents, for their current work in providing comfort and community to the victims. But he has little praise for the government’s role in underplaying the report’s findings:

It is a terrible thing that a view has been allowed, and perhaps even encouraged, to take hold that suggests the whole thing is some exaggerated or made up. Imagine the difference it would make if the Prime Minister would publicly dismiss those media elites who seek to deny the historical and present day reality of the Stolen Generations.

Meanwhile, Robert Merkel exposes the rhetorical aims of Mal Brough’s announcement that Aborigines in remote communities will be forced to learn English. In addition to casting blame on the victims, it is ‘carefully calculated to goad people into disagreeing with him’. Robert shows how and how not to respond to this sort of thing.

Finally, for anyone who is interested in saying sorry, Pavlov’s Cat shows how it’s done.

Andrew Landeryou has an interesting contrarian take on the recent forced resignation of unionist Dean Mighell:

ETU boss Dean Mighell has resigned from the ALP following the release of a recording where he explained to his members some of his exploits at playing one employer off against the other in what is called “pattern bargaining.”

Pattern bargaining is unlawful under the WorkChoices legislation. Generally, it’s a process of a union identifying a weak or vulnerable employer, obtaining a sweet deal from some panicked exec or owner and then using that as a precedent for other deals with other employers.

Someone will have to explain to me why – in a deregulated labour market – such a thing should be unlawful.

You want a market to work better? Deregulate it. Get Canberra out of the way … When the union influenced ALP is in charge, they’ll favour regulation that protects unions, no matter how hopeless. When the employer organisation influenced Libs are in charge, they’ll favour regulation that ensures hopeless employers are given protection by Canberra. We have government by competing vested interest.

Daily Flute similarly reckons all the hoo ha about Mighell is more than a little bit precious.

Whatever it might recommend, Brian Bahnisch predicts that the government’s response to the report of the task force on emissions trading

…will be accompanied by a massive propaganda campaign to convince Australians that it’s non-action on climate change is really the evidence of leadership.

Brian also has gloomy news about weather patterns in Australia. Peter Martin also pre-emptively damns Howard’s imminent carbon trading announcement. David Tiley has an excellent post on the ABC’s screening of The Great Global Warming Swindle.

Turning to international politics, Eric Martin links to ths NYT‘s story on the case of Muhammad al-Darsi, illustrating how terrorism is becoming Iraq’s leading export industy. And Kim at LP is suspicious of Westerners who lionise Ayaan Hirsi Ali and co-opt her pronouncements into neo-con geopolitical rhetoric. She thinks that women’s rights can be advanced in Muslim countries without declaring war on Islam itself. Jason Soon posts a provocative piece suggesting that we should all find alternative energy sources and just let the Middle East stew in its own juice.

Chris Berg analyses the ABC’s foray into the world of Second Life. ((Well worth a look for the gamers out there.~SL))

2. Life and Other Serious Stuff

Tim Lambert celebrates Rachel Carson’s 100th birthday, and also comments on Swindle. Meanwhile Diogenes Lamp gives us the global-warming sceptic’s take on the ABC decision to screen The Great Global Warming Swindle.

Sarah has a thoroughly enjoyable critique of Adele Horin’s views on pornography. Warning: this link is work safe, but don’t ‘go here to read the rest’ if the boss or children are in the room.

The ALS blog reveals the astounding fact that almost half of UK voters are effectively dependent on the State.

Mirko Bargaric offers up some thoughts on how to bring greater rationality into criminal sentencing.

Dreadnought has some reflections on attempts to ‘cure’ homosexuality.

Legal Eagle doesn’t agree with suggestions for judicial appointments designed to foster “diversity” (of ethnicity? gender? sexuality? religion?) as opposed to appointment on merit. She also ponders legal education and how you come out of law school knowing little or nothing about the practice of law. ((It’s a phenomenon I also experienced, but I’m not sure what can be done about it in any more than a tokenistic sense, without greatly lengthening the duration of a law degree. GDLP programs are now supposed to inculcate the practical stuff, although their success in doing so is somewhat dubious IMO.~KP))

Graham Young muses about hurricanes, El Ninos and drought in his quest to maintain a plausible basis for global warming scepticism in the face of overwhelming contrary scientific evidence.

Saint in a Straitjacket holds forth on the similarities between Marxism and the Islamism of Sayyid Qutb.

Niall “Bannerman” Cook posts a depressing but important piece about the failures of Freedom of Information laws in Australia, and the increasing propensity of our courts to issue suppression orders on seemingly flimsy grounds. An ALRC report on Australia’s FOI laws a few years ago reported that the Sydney telephone book entry read “Freedom from Information” in a distinctly freudian slip. ((Incidentally, NT readers are apparently not allowed to know the name of a “prominent Territorian” currently facing child sexual abuse and child porn charges, even though he is regularly named in the media in relation to interstate charges of a fairly similar nature.~KP))

Andrew Norton discusses a recent ruling that allows a gay bar to exclude straight patrons. The traditional libertarian position allows any private property owner to discriminate on any grounds he or she chooses. Andrew has a slightly different take – and a damn thoughtful one at that. Go read.

Pommygranate looks at the Big Brother Housemate who wasn’t informed of her father’s death. How nuts are we all getting?

3. The Yartz

Oz reviews Tim Rogers at the basement. Shaun at LP with a tribute to Aussie guitar hero Jeff Lang.

Alison Croggon reviews The Pillowman (Melbourne Theatre Company) at Sarsaparilla.

A review of jazz legends Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea in concert. Supernaut on what can be learnt from the Frankfurt Ballet.
Film Fanatic has been to the Bass in Grass music festival in Darwin.

Craft Corner: Memes for the knitters and the quilters.

The 30th Anniversary of the release of Star Wars prompted nerding out at Larvartus Prodeo and the Killfile.

Around the blogs with Matilda.

TiVo has been standard for American TV watchers for a decade but in their usual dynamic way, Australian stations have blocked its path here. Seven is finally opening the door, via TV Tonight blog, but Bleeding Edge is skeptical we’ll get the full benefits.

Here at CT, someone is looking forward to the new Harry Potter. The Rut has a cartoon take.

A sample of multimedia blog offerings: 80s nostalgia with Televised Revolution (ALF!) and whiteboydancefloor. Gen Y heaven. MP3 of the week from Those Walls, Your Ears from the genre of Brazilian baile funk. Baile funk:

is music out of the shanty towns in Rio. It’s literally street party music with thousands cramming laneways in Rio dancing to Miami-infused, percussion beats, looped and blasted from speakers stacked 15ft high, every weekend.

Robert Merkel posts a succinct (and positive) review of the new Australian movie Noise.

4. T.S.S

(troppo sports stadium)

Over at Sidelined, Phil focuses on doping in cycling.

Why isn’t Alan “Grumpy” Border more actively involved in cricket coaching, asks Scott Wickstein.

Meanwhile, Shaun Cronin ponders the problems of the NSW rugby league team after State of Origin I. The coach is the biggest problem, he argues, and I (KP) was almost tempted to concede Shaun’s football wisdom until I noticed that he advocates Phil Gould for coach!!!

Harry Clarke gets stuck into the sporting sport of rent-seeking, showing how sporting bodies leech taxpayer funds in much the same way as many of the more spurious arty bodies.

5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad

Legal Eagle is understandably appalled by some of the advice of a baby-training guru named Claire Verity.

Vest’s niece Christine explains why girls take so long in public toilets. ((I’m not sure I wanted to know, but if you did then here’s your chance.~KP)) He also tells a rather worrying story (if you’re a parent of a small child) about his 4 year old son’s history as a serial escape artist from kindy.

“Roger Migently” bids shamelessly for the frustrated Googling teenage boy market with a post titled Naked, Spread-Eagle Paris Hilton, Britney, Lindsay. It’s actually well worth reading even by a more mature audience, not only for the quirky choice of images but especially if you want to know what the Scunthorpe Problem is.

Dr Faustus equally shamelessly plugs the Apple Mac as the best choice for the average consumer thinking about buying a new computer. ((Fortuitously, Jen is thinking about a new laptop as her existing one rapidly wears out. Faustus’s post certainly persuaded me to give Apple a serious look – trouble is, Jen would also have to invest in the Apple version of Adobe Premier which isn’t cheap.~KP))

Andrew Leigh branches out and (courtesy of his horticulturalist spouse) reveals the truth about about tree root systems. Now don’t all click on the link at once. Andrew also reveals that a tax on fatty, unhealthy foods wouldn’t do much to make us thin.

Mark at OzConservative picks apart the notion of an ‘Australian monoculture’ pior to WWII. Maybe not.
Cabbies and lawyers? Lawyers and cabbies? Go check out Adrian the Cabbie’s take on the whole thing.

11 Comments

  1. Posted June 1, 2007 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Sorry about sticking this here, but I can’t get Troppo to work (and Jacques is trying to repair it in any case), and the edition was finished. At least people get to read it!

  2. harry clarke
    Posted June 1, 2007 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Your efforts are really appreciated S.L. as are all those who work on Missing Link. It helps get new readers to blogs and helps you to determine good posts when short of time.

    Would it be possible to cross post Missing Link regularly on both Troppo and Catallaxy? Could you put it to those participating in compiling ML?

    I regularly read both blogs but Catallaxy has a slightly different readership from Troppo.

    Again sincere thanks to all of you for your efforts.

  3. Posted June 1, 2007 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    harry – couldnt agree more. your efforts are enormously appreciated.

    btw – what is the difference between the troppo and the catallaxy readers? does graeme bird also comment at troppo?

  4. Posted June 1, 2007 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Not sure. Catallaxy and LP both have very long threads, while Troppo’s tend to peter out at around 20 or so. Not sure why.

    With any sort of luck Ken will see Harry’s suggestion and have some ideas. Missing Link is his baby, so any cross-posting needs to be okayed by him. I’m only putting Missing Link on the Cat while Troppo isn’t working. I haven’t even been able to send out our usual subscription email, so can only hope that people realise it’s over here for today.

    Thanks to both of you for your support – it is nice to know that people like what we do!

  5. Posted June 1, 2007 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Not sure. Catallaxy and LP both have very long threads, while Troppo’s tend to peter out at around 20 or so. Not sure why.

    Diversity of opinion and mau-mauing of dissent respectively, I should think SL.

  6. Jason Soon
    Posted June 1, 2007 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    “does graeme bird also comment at troppo?”

    Graeme Bird would like to comment at lots of places. But this is one of the few places where he actually can, subject to my seeing his comments in moderation first.

    I think there is some overlap between catallaxy and als audence except catallaxy has more lefties too.

  7. Posted June 1, 2007 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Troppo seems to be partly working, although still very slow, and no comments as yet. Subscription email still isn’t a goer either.

  8. Posted June 1, 2007 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    I certainly appreciate all the effort too. I don’t think I would have been exposed to as many blogs without Missing Link.

  9. Posted June 2, 2007 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    Ta, LE. Comments starting to work at Troppo, although there’s no plugin or pings. And poor Jacques is trying to move to bloody Perth!

  10. Justin Jefferson
    Posted June 2, 2007 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Hey skepticlawyer, perhaps you can answer this: do you know if there is a single website that will supply a comprehensive library of Australian law – a one-stop shop, with statutes, case law, and preferably, a digest. Or is such a comprehensive service only to be found in many different publications?

  11. Posted June 2, 2007 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    There is such a website, but you have to pay a pretty penny for it – LexisNexis online. Austlii is pretty good, but there’s no digest. Lexis provides Halsbury’s Laws of Australia, on top of a comprehensive database of law, legislation, legal journal articles and a precedent map (they use symbols to indicate how a given case has been applied in Australia over time).

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