While most Crikey employees had a well-earned seasonal break over the last two weeks, our prolific team of bloggers continued to rabbit away on the Crikey blogs. Here are some of the great posts you may have missed:

Blogging is far more important than journalism.  Journalists have a tendency to assume that bloggers want to be journalists, despite the fact that few bloggers make such a claim. The assumption is that journalism is serious stuff (‘first draft of history’, ‘critical for democracy’, ‘speaking truth to power’ you know the spiel) and blogging is not. Of course, this assumption always measures the best of journalism (not those breathless pieces on where to get the best coffee in Melbourne or the best salt and pepper squid in Sydney) against the worst of blogging (‘my cat was off his food today’). If only those poor bloggers could be trained to be journalists than perhaps they too might blow open a major scandal. Or perhaps there is more to it than that. — Trevor Cook, Corporate Engagement

The bad news about news — and why I disagree. The decline of mass media does not necessarily mean the decline of news. Indeed, it would be strange if this were so. Gathering and passing on news is a basic human activity. It preexisted literacy, printing and broadcasting. It will outlive them, I believe. But what we think of as “news” has changed in the past and will change in the future. — Margaret Simons, The Content Makers

Literature that rocked my world in 2008. The above are books I will always remember. The above are books I would recommend widely. The above books I learnt from, and am grateful for their existence. They made me feel both alive and understood, they taught me, they spoke to me. I love them. — Angela Meyer, LiteraryMinded

Lessons from Haneef inquiry report. It seems likely the Clarke report will lead to improvements in the anti-terrorism laws, but the big message for me from the whole saga is the importance of maintaining a clear perspective. Better laws are of little value if they are administered and implemented in a flawed way, and above all else, it is seriously flawed implementation that the Clarke Inquiry found. — Andrew Bartlett

Tough demographic choices for the Greens. One thing that has become pretty clear is that the seats where the Greens are making electoral inroads aren’t the seats that government majorities of either persuasion are built on. While Howard built his majority with what was (usually erroneously) called his “Battlers” and the ALP has built their majority with the Family Tax Benefit set — the Greens are picking up votes from the absolute opposite end of that demographic spectrum. — Possum, Pollytics

Another entry for the Airbus A330 X-files! A short while ago the Australian Transport Safety Bureau released this brief but important statement concerning a Qantas A330-300 that experienced an unexplained autopilot disconnection in the early stages of operating QF 71, the Perth to Singapore service on 27 December… On 7 October a similar Qantas A330-300 operating QF 72 from Perth to Singapore was not so fortunate when it experienced an autopilot disconnection without warning on the final stage of its flight in the opposite direction. A series of bewildering malfunctions ensued, including a brief uncontrolled climb, and two short uncontrolled dives, the first of which was so violent it injured 74 passengers or crew, 14 of them seriously, and led to an emergency landing at Learmonth. — Ben Sandilands, Plane Talking

Ten questions for Paul Kelly. My friend Martin Hardie and I caught up with Paul Kelly at the wonderful Claypots in St Kilda when I was in Melbourne recently. I’ve known Paul since the early 1980s when I used to carry his black boxes around the pubs and clubs of Melbourne and elsewhere for him (i.e. I was his roadie!)… So, at the end of a tasty and relaxing meal at Claypots I got to ask a (somewhat reluctant) Paul Kelly some questions. Here they are. — Bob Gosford, The Northern Myth

Santa kills venomous red-eared slider turtle. Why do we fear these immigrant reptiles so? Perhaps it is because an adult Red-Eared slider turtle is RAPACIOUS and able to devour 157 times its own weight in endangered marsupials and pre-school children EVERY 12 SECONDS. They have no natural predators in this country because all the people who normally eat turtles are cowering under their Senator Conroy Internet Filter themed Doona Covers with matching sheets and pillowcases, terrified that their torrent downloads might be helping paedophiles get away with smuggling reptiles into the country to sell in their pet shops and puppy mills. Closing the pet shops and the zoos and the internet is the only solution. — First Dog, First Blog on the Moon

Peter Fray

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