Monday, March 31, 2003

I think we agree, the past is over.
- George W. Bush

New Media Walt

Guru on all tech writing is Walt Mossberg, whose column is must-reading.
· Gurus []
The poor object to being governed badly, while the rich object to being governed at all.
--G. K. Chesterton

A deadly respiratory infection, provisionally called severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), is spreading quickly around the world. Reports have come in from Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, Romania, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam, prompting the World Health Organization to issue a global alert for the first time in more than a decade. Australia has just issued warning to all travellers to reconsider visiting certain parts of South East Asia.
Emotions Wet dreams

If you want to get shocked and awed by mail, ask New York Press readers who they hate.
Joyce Carol Oates invented this Jewish mother's wet dream in a Princeton laboratory, and now we have to live in a world where eager-to-please frauds like Foer receive unearned comparisons to geniuses like Burgess and Joyce. Continuing a disturbing recent literary trend, his overhyped, cutesy first novel, Everything Is Illuminated, features a fictional protagonist whose name is Jonathan Safran Foer. Incidentally, most of us get along just fine with a mere two names, dick.
· Eager to Please [NYPress]
(Disclaimer: We used to compile a similar list under communism; Politicians like Husak won every time)
Crime & Punishment Nova Geneva

If you want to understand what is happening in Baghdad, you'd do well to turn off the constant prattle of TV talking heads and read Dunlop 's observations on RoadtoSurfdom.
· Un-embed Yourself [RoadtoSurfdom]
Real Life Dirty money

Criminals disguising illicit earnings stay ahead of police efforts to crack down. Chinese restaurants that stand empty day and night. Jewelry shops with no customers. Nightclubs without dancers. Travel agencies that don't organize travel.
· Proceeds [PraguePost]
The only people who say money is a disadvantage are the rich. Anthony Horowitz believes his pampered upbringing put him at a disadvantage for his writing career. Yes, because there's nothing as inspiring as working 50 hour weeks to keep the electricity on.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Most Unwinning Books

Sometimes in a bookshop you will pick up a book and shake your head, asking, What are the publishers like Allen & Unwin thinking? John Ironmonger must be turning in his grave....However, there are some exceptions as David Marr and Marian Wilkinson's Dark Victory is an excellent day-by-day account of the MV Tampa and SIEV-X affairs and their effects on the December 2001 Federal election.

Dark Victory shines a spotlight on politicians such as Alexander Downer who: is not a man endowed by nature to perform diplomatic miracles ... . The latest product of a political dynasty and one of the last Anglo-Australians left in politics, he has a taste for pin stripes and an edge to his voice that does not sit easily with ... brutal diplomatic objectives ... . Downer is one of those fussy men who insist on their dignity; someone who gives the disturbing impression of having learnt the hard way how to bully. Not a rogue, but weak. In tight corners he grows shrill.
Literary Market in US: Whatever your background or experience, rest assured there's an aspect of evil that's right for you. If you don't find your niche immediately, don't despair. This handy guide is designed to help you discover and nurture the darkness within for a lifetime of heedless villainy. No matter how well adjusted you may appear to friends and family, you are the only one who can truly know your evil potential
· This is just so dumb. [JanMag]
Literature Throttle on Cruise, Turn Up the Story

There is a natural symbiosis between long-distance truckers and the audio book business. Just about anyone who has taken a road trip knows the boredom of the long empty stretches. For truckers who have the interstate system memorized, a story well told can make miles go by faster. Truck drivers have a critical underground that passes judgment mercilessly on recorded books. They swap tapes and book advice at freight terminals and at truck stops, where taped books are often available to rent. Reviews of audio books are a feature of trucking magazines and Web sites. Drivers tend to disdain abridged versions.
· Driven To Read [The New York Times; If access trouble try this=Username: ajreader; Password: access]
The dissident does not operate in the realm of genuine power at all. He is not seeking power. He has no desire for office and does not gather votes. He does not attempt to charm the public, he offers nothing and promises nothing. He can offer, if anything, only his own skin -- and he offers it solely because he has no other way of affirming the truth he stands for. His actions simply articulate his dignity as a citizen, regardless of the cost.
-Vaclav Havel.


The leftist roots of Britain's ruling 'New Labour' party are a key both to its political success and, in face of massive anti-war protest, its potential collapse.
· Taking a claymore to intellectual amnesia. [OpenDemocracy]
To say that governments are evil is on a par with saying that humans are evil. To claim that it is a necessary evil is on a par with saying that cars are a necessary evil. What we are really talking about are subjective preferences which may or may not be satisfied, not some theological notion of right and wrong. The inescapable evils of coercive behavior are not unique to government. Our government is where we choose to channel and regulate them, because the alternative (private, unregulated coercion) gives much worse results, as the history of privately owned states (monarchies, dictatorships, despotisms) and private "law" such as slavery, mafias, warlords, etc. show rather clearly. We have constructed a government that is jointly owned by all, because private ownership gives too much incentive for profit through coercion of others.
--Mike Huben

Interview Olga Sommerova: Accelerated course in the school of life

This filmmaker has shot over 80 documentaries, depicting people from across the social spectrum with remarkable sensitivity. She spoke with us about fateful encounters and the knowledge she has gleaned.
For many years you have been an observer of people's fates and problems. What do you think has changed in our society since 1989?
My friends and I have often said that we're glad that we lived through Communism. Our experiences under the totalitarian regime was very good for us, because a person's character becomes stronger under oppression than under affluence and freedom. Due to the fact that people could not travel they experienced existence more deeply, they read a lot, they were interested in art, they cultivated friendship and nature, they simply did things that I see as basic for life. After the revolution we all thought, Oh, this will be beautifula bit forgetful, that people have been the same for centuries. We felt that freedom and democracy are good for strong personalities and mature individuals. I think that there are too few people who mature enough for freedom. We experienced much bitterness and disappointment from ignorance and illusions, because society wasn't ready for big thieves, cheaters, and careerists who were capable of anything.
· Character becomes stronger under oppression [PagueTribune]

Saturday, March 29, 2003

Evil People Do Not Get It: Most BLOGGERS Will Not Be Bullied or Bribed Into Doing Something That is Morally Offensive...

Life Comedy's three canticles

Dante imagined vivid tortures – his butchered bodies and rivers of fire – because he believed in a soul; our world tortures because it doesn’t believe:
First his calves and then his thighs began
to knit so that in but a moment
no sign of a division could be seen.

· Devilish Leaders [Slate]
Attempts to liberate the Middle East, to bring it democracy, are a series of failures going back to Napoleon, who marched into Cairo declaring, I have come to restore your rights!

Double Speak Carpet bombing: Jargon of war

I'm rooting for that one, because it's a very useful word. Still, it's a very democratic process. We all get to decide, not just the experts.
· Restoring Freedom [Boston]

As Dr. Johnson might have said, To be tired of Blogging is to be tired of life.

New Media Virtual Gods, Goannas & Giannas

Czechout the ABC's 7.30 Report the night before the Fools Day, to be really exact, 31 March 2003, in order to stare at bloggers Down Under oscaring James Morrow,
Gareth Parker,
Gianna, and
John Quiggan.

· Kerry O'Brien: the thinking girls' crumpet [RoadToSlavdom]
A people who extend civil liberties only to preferred groups start down the path either to a dictatorship of the right or the left.
-- Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas - (1954)

Crime & Punishment Guide to the Geneva Conventions

Now that the United States and Iraq are accusing each other of violating the Geneva Conventions in the handling of prisoners of war, journalists should familiarize themselves with the international humanitarian standards. The full texts are available online in many places, but they are long and complicated, particularly for journalists on deadline. So be sure to check out a fantastic new guide the Society of Professional Journalists launched online this week.
A Journalist's Guide to the Geneva Conventions includes a history of the Geneva Conventions
and the full texts of the Conventions.
But the part journalists will likely find most useful is the easy-to-use alphabetical reference guide. You can use this to find out what the Geneva Conventions say about everything from access to grave sites to wounded prisoners of war.
The best part is that the entries are conveniently linked to the part of the convention that addresses the topic, so you can easily look up even more detailed information if you need it.
You can find the guide, written by former war correspondent Maria Trombly, for free online at
· Maria Trombly [Hitlers & Husaks of 21st century]
A significant part of the news audience craves a diversity of perspectives, and they're willing to make their own judgments about credibility. Salam Pax led the way until something happened.

Iraqi Blogger Goes Silent

The weblogger known as Salam Pax has a lot of readers worried for him. "For months, the mysterious Blogger of Baghdad, whose pseudonym translates as 'peace' in Arabic and Latin - and who is suspected by some of being a secret agent or a hacker - had chronicled the minutiae of life in a city on the edge of war... On Friday, Pax - a gay man in a repressive society, an atheist in a Muslim land, a lover of democracy but a hater of war - filed a worried dispatch as he awaited the first shock-and-awe assault on the city he cherishes." A short time later, the blog, one of the most widely-read on the web, went dark. So far, no one seems to know if Pax is dead or alive, free or imprisoned, or if he ever really existed at all.
· Pax [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Friday, March 28, 2003

Internet Spam, spam, spam and spam? Not for much longer

UK government is planning a clampdown on e-mail spam, demanding that companies obtain consumers' permission before sending them marketing material via the internet.
· Marketing [Guardian]
Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.
--Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

New Media Blogs Gain Ground During War Coverage

More and more people are supplementing their war news diet with blogs from around the world. noted today, Blogs and other nontraditional news sites could be gaining ground among digital information seekers because they offer views that are uniquely compelling, personal and sometimes completely overlooked by traditional outlets. One of the most popular is the Dear Raed blog from Baghdad. At this point, the consensus appears to be that it is genuine -- although some critics and skeptics maintain that it may be a hoax or propaganda ploy. In the UK, The Guardian has enough confidence in Dear Raed to run a text-only version of this blog on its own site. And this recent Reason magazine editorial provides ample food for thought about Raed. (Best line: Unless the author is a world-class novelist, which makes it unlikely that he's a spook, it's hard to imagine he could pull off such a glorious feat of fiction.)

Usually, weblogs attract only a small audience. However, Dear Raed
turned out to be a little too popular for the free service that hosted its online images. Wired News reports that earlier this week Taylor Suchan, operator of the web image hosting service, effectively (but temporarily) sabotaged Dear Raed by redirecting the blog's image links to parody images on a porn site. Suchan was frustrated because service to the rest of his customers suffered greatly due to high bandwidth demand for Dear Raed. Suchan said he asked Blogger (which hosted everything but the images for Dear Raed for help -- but when none was forthcoming his next step was the redirects. This apparently worked: Blogger responded by upgrading Pax's account, so he can now upload images directly to Blogger's servers.

Reuters also notes today that Soldier blogs such as L.T. Smash are becoming very popular, too. Which all goes to show, I think, that a significant part of the news audience craves a diversity of perspectives, and they're willing to make their own judgments about credibility.
· Soldier Blogs [Reuters]

Thursday, March 27, 2003

New Economy From uncertain to falsevik economy

Kelso had discovered what the Bolsheviks had been arguing for years: that capitalism only made sense for the capitalists. What appears to be justice in the distribution of incomes is in fact gross injustice,'' Kelso wrote in The Capitalist Manifesto, the 1958 bestseller he co-authored with Adler. But unlike the socialists he abhorred, Kelso saw a remedy embedded within capitalism itself.
Fifty years later, Kelso's ideas have become commonplace. His economic theories provide the intellectual foundations of stock options, employee ownership plans, and 401(k) accounts. Today, over 43 million employees-some 30 percent of the American work force-own stock in the companies they work for. What Kelso never prophesied, though, is that when everyone becomes a capitalist, capitalism itself may stop working.

· Capitalism stops working [Boston]
I think there’s something in me of that same weakness that is so apparent in John McEnroe. I just can’t sit while people are blogging nonsense.
-James Watson

Internet Top 100 Web Sites

Still worrying about which Web sites you'd be visiting if you were stranded on that desert island?
· Island [PCMag]
As Scoop Nisker always said, if you don't like the news, go out make some of your own. So I hope you're blogging. Truly.

War & Peace Taking sides

The secrets and lies of the new world order make a better way to do journalism necessary and possible.
· Order [OpenDemocracy]
Lord knows there's got to be a better way.
- Edwin Starr, from the song War

War & Peace Iraq

French supplied nuclear fuel, Germany sold Iraq the means of producing chemical and bacteriological weapons and, after a visit by Donald Rumsfeld (now Secretary of Defence), America sold Hussein sophisticated Harpoon missiles. It is also alleged that America sent live viruses, including anthrax, to Iraqi military units.
Former CIA director Gordon Oehler explains how between 1987 and 1989 German companies sold Iraq all the material it needed for another nuclear plant capable of producing nuclear weapons. The program claims that the German government authorised the sale. Kenneth Timmerman, author of The Death Lobby, says that it was also German technology which enabled the creation of the toxic chemical gases Hussein dropped on the Kurdish village of Halabja in 1988, killing 5,000 people. Mirage fighter jets from France were used for the mission. Former Defence Minister Jean Pierre Chevenement says Halabja only took on importance in the 1990s. At the time no one said anything yet the Americans knew all about it.
· Halabja [SBS]

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Prostitution Making Out To Mozart? Really?

Showing a little skin to try to sell recordings is one thing, but a new series of classical (and we use the term advisedly) recordings is right over the top. Shacking Up To Chopin, Making Out To Mozart and Bedroom Bliss With Beethoven are the three albums in the Love Notes series. Each claims to be the perfect addition to intimate moments" and boasts a selection of teasing, tantalising and suggestive melodies with rapturous crescendos". They also promise to provoke uninhibited passion, loss of control and sleepless nights of the best kind.
· Skin [Scotman]
Those who rely too heavily on dictionary definitions are doomed. Words are alive, and often connote far more than they are defined to mean. That's why we have so many different words, to eek out each connotation, and to differentiate. Calling military service slavery (unless done in a metaphorical tone) just gets people thinking you're odd. It's like vegetarians saying meat is murder. May wake people up, but turns them off just as fast.
-Vernon Imrich


Just as independent musicians have changed the face of music, independent authors will revolutionize the collective voice of America and the world.
Although most of the public is not aware of it, it is not a quiet revolution, and will affect tens of millions of people over the next generation. After about three centuries where the books that were published in the US were selected by a rather small number of people, the publishing industry has been thrown wide open.
Until now, a handful of major publishers, perhaps two dozen, dominated the general trade market, with perhaps another hundred or so smaller houses. That was it. If you didn't find a home with one of these, your book would probably never see the light of day.
No more.
Now, for a minimal investment, any author can get his or her epiphany in print. Whether that is good or bad remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: the revolution is here.

· Headbutting impossible to ignore [PRPress]
War & Peace War is a failure

War is a failure -- of imagination, diplomacy and vision. In the 21st century, with all the tools, experience and knowledge at our disposal, it is unacceptable. Our troubled world risks plunging into a new era of violence, terror, repression and despair at the very moment of the greatest opportunity in history to craft a global community based on understanding, justice, cooperation and non-violent resolution of conflict.
With imagination, cooperation, unity and adherence to the best in ourselves, our nation and our friends around the world, we can begin this millennium with a new commitment to the power of non-violence, cooperation and global community. The alternative is truly too horrible to contemplate.

· Horrible Contemplations [Seattle]
When the axe came into the forest the trees said: at least the handle is one of us.

Press not spotlighting government secrecy 'cloak'

While government seeks to cloak its dealings in ever more secrecy, the traditional American press has virtually looked the other way, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Jack Nelson told the First Amendment Center's National FOI Day conference on March 14.
· Looking the other way [FirstAmendment]
Populus vult decipi, decipiatur. The people want to be deceived, let them be deceived.
-- Cardinal Carlo Caraffa to Pope Paul IV (16th century)

War & Peace Coalition of the willing

Apart from their palpable disappointment that there hasn't been the promised "shock and awe" assault on Baghdad (a disappointment that may be over as I write), the US TV networks just about have Saddam down for the count.
Of course, it would be completely shocking if it went any other way, but it is still a bit early to tell.

· Shock []

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

As of late I've felt suffocated by today's News. Tired of drowning in coverage of death, war, terrorism, I decided to look at happiness.

At the end of a long and probably very boring meal (at a formal dinner), (British Prime Minister) Macmillan turned to Madame de Gaulle and asked politely what she was looking forward to in her retirement. Quick as a flash the elderly lady replied: A penis. Macmillan had been trained all his life never to appear shocked, but even he was a bit taken aback. After drawling out a series of polite platitudes, - Well, I can see your point of view, don't have much time for that sort of thing nowadays - it gradually dawned on him to his intense relief that what the old girl had actually said was happiness.
- Paul Foot, in the essay A New Definition: The Quality of Life, British Medical Journal, VOLUME 321, DECEMBER 2000

Happiness makes up in height what it lacks in length.


The evidence is clear: our wellbeing depends on cooperation and the public good, not personal enrichment
When God died, GDP took over and economists became the new high priests. That has been the story of the last century, with prophets from Hayek to Keynes. The "dismal science" - economics - rules our lives and politics. So when one of the wizards of economics breaks ranks spectacularly and rips away the curtain of his own profession's mystique, it is time to take notice.

· HA [GuardianUK]
· Piness [GuardianUK]
It fills me with great joy, but I am also filled with a lot of sadness tonight because I'm accepting an award at such a strange time. My experiences of making this film made me very aware of the sadness and dehumanization of people in times of war and the repercussions of war. Whether you believe in God or Allah, may he watch over you and let's pray for a peaceful and swift resolution." (loud applause) "I have a friend from Queens who's a soldier in Kuwait right now, Tommy Szarabinski, and I hope you and your boys make it back real soon and God bless you guys, I love you. (more applause and standing ovation)
--Adrian Brody

Arts Oscars: Political

Begrudgingly I must admit to having more respect for those who chose to express their pro-war views with their lapel-wear than I have for those who are against this war but chose to make no statement at all.
After Moore, host Steve Martin came back and got a laugh with his line, As you might expect, things are going great backstage. The Teamsters just loaded Michael Moore into the trunk of his limo.
Contrast Moore with Adrian Brody who got cheers and a standing ovation for his heartfelt plea that the war end soon.

· Teamsters [CommonDream]
So now the administration knows that it can make unsubstantiated claims, without paying a price when those claims prove false, and that saber rattling gains it votes and silences opposition. Maybe it will honorably refuse to act on this dangerous knowledge. But I can't help worrying that in domestic politics, as in foreign policy, this war will turn out to have been the shape of things to come.
--Paul Krugman (21 March 2003)

I make no bones about it. We would do well, before it is too late, to heed Sir Thomas More’s advice to Will Roper, his protege-turned-vigilante, in the play A Man for All Seasons.
And when the last law was cut down and the devil turned around on you,
where would you hide, the laws all being flat?
Do you really think that you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?

Bloggers of all political persuasions have the right to speak and act freely in opposition to the laws of this world all being flat, without being treated as terrorists by our own government. This is, after all, still our world. And if we truly love our sole homelands, we must take them back.
· Double-speak [TomPaine]
Institutions and infrastructures shape our lives while remaining largely out of sight. We inductively learn that the world works in a certain way, but we don't understand how much complicated effort goes into producing and reproducing the institutions and infrastructures that enable the world to work that way. The result might be called first-world myopia. People in the first world live in a dream.
We think that we determine our own fates, that we are free and autonomous individuals, when in fact we live in bubbles whose preconditions would scare us if we knew just how numerous they are. If there's a rock in the road, we just assume that it's someone's job to pick it up. The supermarket will have food in it. Airplanes fly. You can get parts for your car... First-world myopia means that you can forget, or never even know, about the elaborate institutional systems that make it possible to live in a bubble... First-world myopia, by contrast, can be downright dangerous. Think of all those experts who flew to Russia in 1989 to advise the Russians about how to create a market democracy. Those people were dangerous fools. They had no idea what life was like in a society without functioning institutions. They really believed all this drivel about the free market meaning an absence of government.
--Phil Agre, Red Rock Eater News Service 12/22/00

Crime & Punishment Beware of Gurus: Gone with the ill Wind

But what troubled me even more was the recognition that the system wasn't as fair and balanced as I had led myself to believe. While it's true that there's more than one side to every argument, more often than not only one has the financial resources to get its story heard. Not everyone has access to a top-shelf expert at $600 an hour. The winner is too often the side wealthy enough to purchase the highest-caliber experts. The pretense that I was just a necessary cog in the adversarial process became increasingly hard to believe.
· A top-shelf expert at $600 an hour [LegalAffairs]

It is a true slight that a man who occupies himself dissecting ten thousand mites gets the same pleasure of libertarians.
--William J. Westmiller

War & Peace Bush to Ask Congress for $80 Billion for War

President Bush plans to tell congressional leaders on Monday that the war in Iraq will cost about $80 billion, administration officials said, three days after both chambers of Congress passed budget plans and authorized tax cuts without three days after both chambers of Congress passed budget plans and authorized tax cuts without a war-cost estimate from the administration.
The amount includes about $60 billion for combat and the first months of reconstruction, with the rest going to foreign aid, homeland security and humanitarian relief.
· Making Sense [LATimes]

Monday, March 24, 2003

Cold Revenge Revenge: What is it good for?

Studies of tribal warfare seek to answer why humans don't stop at an eye for an eye...
Some call it sweet, a few develop a thirst for it. Virtually everybody has plotted ways to get it.
Now scientists, too, are seeking revenge. Digging through anthropological and archaeological data on tribal warfare, researchers are analyzing the role that payback plays in human relations.

· An eye for an eye [KMSB]

Politicians are like diapers. They should both be changed frequently and for the same reason.

· The Irony of Electoral Revenge [SMH]
War & Peace Reporters' Log: At war in Iraq

The BBC's unrivalled team of correspondents is bringing you news from the Gulf and reaction from around the world. On this page BBC News Online logs their impressions and personal experiences as they watch events unfold.
· Bloggers [BBC]

War as entertainment TV Warfare

Bloodthirsty Pundits Enter All-Spin Zone
The armchair warriors on Fox were at first palpably gleeful that the war for which they had so ardently campaigned on air had finally begun.
· Ratings-hungry TV execs [TomPaine]
Lives of the Dictators

In a new series of riveting interviews, exiled despots show no remorse—only self-absorption and delusion.
· Husaks [News]

Human Nature Why add conspiracy to injured reality

The reason people believe in conspiracy theories is that humans have an innate tendency to try to link major events with major causes.
· Links [Economist]
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.

War & Peace Culture of Despair & You're next

Our very own 1914, to be followed by our very own 1898
· 48-hour advance notice [Prospect]

Sunday, March 23, 2003

War at last? Cold war

War at last? The headlines from summer 1914 have not reappeared, not even in the United States. The “old“ Europe feels far superior to the United States without being able to forget about its own minimal political and military power. The bitter reaction to President Bush's relentlessness feeds on two sources. The anti-war Europeans' reproach that the United States is breaking away from the rule of sole international law with its war against Saddam Hussein cannot be cast aside that easily. But it also includes an admission of the Europeans' own defeat.
War is now a reality, and liberals must immediately begin campaigning for a more ambitious, comprehensive and compassionate reconstruction of Iraq than the one the Bush administration is likely to embrace.

· Preemptive war [FAZ]
Don’t allow yourself the luxury of falling into depression and cynicism and despair.

Embedded Media in BaghDAD Don't Feel Powerless

At the tragic time when human conscience is close to a poweless whisper some pastors & bloggers are among the first to voice the sad fact that Mr Bush is a small man ordering a scared and insecure country into war.
Conscience is not on the military's radar screen, and it's not on our TV screen. But media messages do not define the limits and possibilities of conscience. We do.
The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this terrorist threat, he complained, but we will do everything to defeat it.
The risk of new and imminent 11 September-type terrorist attacks loomed large. We choose to meet that threat now, where it arises, before it can appear suddenly in our skies and cities. And he warned: Should enemies strike our country, they would be attempting to shift our attention with panic and weaken our morale with fear. He went on, somewhat lamely retaining the conditional: In this, they would fail.
The small man could not settle on a constant pronunciation of even his chief adversary (Iraq or Eye-rahq, or Eye-rakk). Was this the sole superpower's Commander? In Chief?

A telling account of the first Gulf War, Jarhead, by Anthony Swofford, has just been published. It gives us the experiences of a young marine 13 years ago, and he is horribly honest about what drew him into the army. I wanted to be a killer, to kill my country's enemies, he says. He gives you a sense of his fellow soldiers' desire for the actual physical experience of killing, and he vividly describes how, when he and his colleagues were cheated – as they saw it – of that experience, some of them carried out acts of desecration on corpses as if in a spirit of revenge.
Reading this book makes you angry; angry with the young men who lived out their aggression in such vicious ways. But also, more than that, angry with the politicians who used that aggression to serve their even more destructive ends. As Swofford says furiously at the end of his book, I belonged to a fucked situation.
· The Illness of Victors [CommonDreams]
The German people have no idea of the extent to which they have to be galled in order to be led.
-- Adolf Hitler - Mein Kampf - (1925)

Elections Inflated Sense of Victory

Well, Paola, when Voltaire was on his death bed and they urged him to renounce Satan, his response was, Now is no time to be making enemies.
· The Magician [ABC]
Things that make you go Heh...
‘Heh’ is a gentle elbow-nudge, an aside with a wink, a kinder, gentler, non-sarcastic sort of irony.
· Heh throws a boomerang [Blather]

Migration I have THE WORST luck ever!

I move my family north and the attraction of Queensland soars. Mexicans are on the move in historic numbers, triggering a reshuffle of population and power bases across state borders.
The big winner is Queensland, which has had a net gain of 33,000 interstate migrants in the year to September 2002.

· Exodus [Australian]

Saturday, March 22, 2003

I Want BuzzMachine

I Want Media interviewed Jeff Jarvis, former Old Media guy turned New Media guy, about the intersection and blogging and journalism and newspapers (it's a three-way intersection).
Anything that serves the reader with more information is good for us. Period. We must be the place to start to find out what's happening in your world, and Weblogs are an inexpensive, efficient and very useful means of doing that.
A recent Reuters story on blogs quotes a blogger who says that Weblogs restore power to individuals with something to say. Isn't that the antithesis of traditional media?
It's not the antithesis. It's the future. My own rallying cry is that the Internet is the first medium owned by the audience and, yes, that means that this medium gives them a voice. The wise media entity -- newspaper, magazine, radio or TV station -- will use it to listen to that audience, to find out what they care about and what matters to them and what they have to say. This creates a new and powerful relationship with the audience.

These are two important points for the future of newspapers: More information is better and connection to audience is paramount. The inverse, of course, is that reduced news holes, smaller reporting staffs and editorial aloofness are bad.
Stated so simply, these precepts seem obvious, but mainstream newspapers have always been slow to recognize new readership. This time, since the audience has the technology to make itself heard, maybe newspapers will pay attention.
Jeff Jarvis BuzzMachine
I Want Media Jeff Jarvis: 'Bloggers Are Becoming Influencers'
Tim Porter
Will the current conflict be described by future generations as war or rather as slaughter?

So We're All Clear on the Rules

In order to be "embedded" within a U.S. military unit in the Persian Gulf, reporters must agree to ground rules set forth by the Department of Defense. In case you haven't seen these and are wondering exactly what they are, the full text is available on DOD's DefenseLink site. There is no specific mention of online or Internet in the rules. However, they do cover many topics, including specifically which types of information are and are not releaseable. Also, back on February 14, Editor & Publisher published a good, although brief, analysis of the DOD rules. Both documents are well worth a look.
It is unclear when unreleaseable will become releaseable at a later date -- or whether it's permanently censored. The rules don't seem to say. ... But perhaps online-news venues might down the road look at the possibility of obtaining material that's currently censored, and using it to fill in the holes in the current Swiss-cheese war reporting. This is something that online media might be able to accomplish far more effectively than print or broadcast.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Old Story, New Tools

While the Gulf War 2003 may seem in many ways like a replay of the Gulf War 1991, the intervening advent of the Internet and the subsequent creation of micro-publishing tools - i.e., blogs - is resulting in a resurgence of a more intimate, more personal form of war reporting. [ See Harold Evans' essay on the history of conflict correspondence ]

Some newspapers, such as the New York Times, are publishing photographs and short bios of their reporters on the web. Reporters from others, such as the Christian Science Monitor, are writing daily journals. And some online journalists, such as Jeff Jarvis, head of and BuzzMachine blogger, are compiling weblogs of war news.

The digitization of audio and video enables broadcast journalists to go a step further. CNN correspondent Kevin Sites, operating on his own in Iraq, files a daily audio blog.

Newspapers are slow to adopt new technology and new reporting techniques without the impetus of competitive pressure. I am heartened to journalists pushing themselves to find new way to cover one of life's oldest and saddest stories. [ Read my earlier post: Covering War in a Free Society ]

Here are some examples:

 New York Times: Bios about and reporting from its correspondents.

 Christian Science Monitor: Daily journal from Kuwait by reporter Ben Arnoldy.

 Minneapolis Star Tribune: Audio, video, photo coverage; bios of reporters.

 Raleigh News & Observer: A daily journal by reporter Jay Price

 Seattle Times: A news blog by editor Tom Brown.

 Kevin Sites: Audio blog from Iraq by CNN correspondent.

 Poynter Institute: A journal by Boston Herald reporter Jules Crittenden

 Poynter Institute, Coverage Diary: Stories about media coverage or issues.

 Jeff Jarvis: War in Iraq weblog (runs on 10 sites).

Tim Porter
Salon's Man in Iraq: Tigris River

The Christian Science Monitor's and Sydney Morning Herald websites are not the only news organization with an online journalist covering the impending war. Salon has Phillip Robertson on the ground in northern Iraq, traveling on his own (not embedded with a military unit, as is the Monitor's Ben Arnoldy). Robertson's first Salon article Salon has
been filed, about the drastic measures he had to take to get into the country on his own, including maneuvering an inflatable raft across the Tigris River. He also reported on the Afghanistan conflict from within that country for Salon. Senior VP of business operations Patrick Hurley notes that Salon also had a correspondent covering Pakistan during the
Afghanistan conflict, and in the past had correspondents covering the Kosovo conflict on the ground.
· Webdiary [SydneyMorningHerald]

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Alternative Editorials Hurray for Animated Editorial Cartoons

New York Times Arts Online columnist Matthew Mirapaul writes today about one of my favorite topics, animated editorial cartoons on the Web.
Not only is it enormously entertaining and funny, but filled with...

· Powerful political statements [NYTimes]
Alternative Arts Literary lites

A new wave of wannabes is packing Prague's open-mic nights.
· Darkness [PraguePost]
The Escape from Invisibility
The only other option for ambitious Slovaks, she adds, was emigration, mostly to the US. With the exception of the Irish, few other Europeans experienced such an exodus as Slovaks.
· With the exception of the Irish [SlovakSpectator]
Poetry turns old ballads into hot items

If you want ballads & poetry that moves you , surprises, or even changes you a little, then good luck. These days it’s the blurbs that soar off the page. The poetry stays put.
· Blurbs [WebDelSol]
In her outstanding book The March of Folly the American historian, Barbara Tuchman, looks at the reasons why nations and governments often act in a manner contrary to their self-interest.
She writes that throughout human endeavour government remains the paramount area of folly because it is there that men seek power over others - only to lose it over themselves.
-- Mark Latham (Hansard 18 March 2003)

Today, I Weep for my Country...
--US Senator Robert Byrd
· Arrogance of Power [CommonDreams]

Why I had to leave the cabinet

This will be a war without support at home or agreement abroad
· Men v Swines & Groves [GuardianUK]
More than half a century of experience shows that the U.N. is a theater of hypocrisy, a sink of corruption, a street market of sordid bargains and a seminary of cynicism. It is a place where mass-murdering heads of state can stand tall and sell their votes to the highest bidder and where crimes against humanity are rewarded.
- Paul Johnson in Five Vital Lessons From Iraq

Last Supper with Saddam

The removal of Saddam Husseins, and his regime, is a human necessity. Its existence does more than merely degrade the humanity of the Iraqi people. It represents the degradation of humankind in its very humanity.
However, having said that no one can even imagine how much poison will our breakfast contain tomorrow. On Television, the good guys almost always catch the criminal by the last commercial. But in real life, criminals disappear and reappear with puzzling unpredictability.
The evil arms dealing world of imports and exports has created Saddam and from now on we will have to have him for breakfast in one form or another. Dead or even deader within future generations of Iraq.
· When Democracy Failed: The Warnings of History [CommonDreams]

As a child I asked my father how I would ever be able to discern the truth from the media. He answered that Truth is a collage of facts. Each fact as true or as untrue as the other - depending on what you want to believe. But if you REALLY want to know the truth then place all the different pieces before you and the truth will present itself. If you don't like what you see then you can be sure its the truth.
- Webdiary, SMH

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

New Media Anti-War News, Activism Heat Up Online

As U.S. media slavishly back their president on Iraq, the public is going online for more balanced views, according to Andy Goldberg of The Independent. NetRatings reports that traffic from U.S. Internet users to all news sites was up markedly in February. The only debate in the U.S. media is on the Web, according to Jon Dennis, Guardian Unlimited deputy news editor: Weblogs are doing all the work that the U.S. media did in the past. That's an interesting development.
The anti-war movement continues to mobilize via protest marches, candlelight vigils, and online campaigns coordinated via sites like More than 6,000 vigils in 134 countries have registered through the Internet for a Global Vigil for Peace headed by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

· Win Without War [Web]
Don't be afraid to go out on a limb. . . That's where the fruit is.
-Anthony deMello, SJ (Jesuit Priest 1944 -1987)

Graham Young What John Brogden and the Libs should be saying to NSW voters.

It's true that Bob Carr has a lot of experience. But after his 17 years as ALP leader our class sizes are still the worst in the country, crime is rising and the queues for hospital beds stretch over the horizon. He still has a lot to learn, and what he has learned so far has been at our expense.
· Speech of Note [OnLineOpinion]
Everyone loves his own country, customs, language, wife, children, not because they are the best in the world, but because they are his established property, and he loves in them himself, and the labor he has bestowed on them. The working of revolutions, therefore, misleads me no more; it is as necessary to our race as its waves to the stream, that it may not be a stagnant marsh. Ever renewed in its forms, the genius of humanity blossoms.
-- Johann Gottfried Von Herder - Philosophy of History (1774)

Consumers: Unbearable Selfishness of Queueing Capitalists & Communists: Common Infliction of Frustrated Queuers

Frustrated queuers are less likely to storm off if there is a large line of people behind them because they enjoy watching the less fortunate wait, a study has found.
A unique social system doling out justice, such as attitudes to queue jumpers, and comparisons (with the upwardly mobile thinking: I bet you all wish you were here where I am.

· There was a real reason behind multiple lines in shops under Communism [SMH]
· Revenue offices identify twelve fraudulent schemes [BlackEnterprise]

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

An infallible method of conciliating a tiger is to allow oneself to be devoured.
- Konrad Adenauer

Look hard at the complexities in, for example, elections. Then, when you tell a story, people will not only listen. They will be able to build on something which has a stability approaching that of truth.

Arts Theatre - Political Action Reasserts

After a period in which political theatre seemed to have disappeared for awhile, politcal theatre is back in America. Indeed, responding to a number of political exigencies — among them the elevation of George W. Bush to the presidency by the Supreme Court, the Sept. 11 attacks, the looming war in Iraq and more generally the perceptible shift to the right in national perspective — American stages have been reasserting the theater's traditionally liberal bias with an almost vengeful fervor.
· Bohemians [The New York Times]

Good intentions can be evil,
Both hands can be full of grease.
You know that sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace.
(as a suicidal man of political power)

-- Bob Dylan

The laissez-faire argument relies on the same tacit appeal to perfection as does communism.
--George Soros

Brainstorms brew in cities

Two enduring characterizations of Los Angeles - that it's unintellectual and star-struck are only partically true. There's no shortage of intellectual events featuring A-list names. But the attendees appear every bit as star-struck for the intellectual heavy-hitters as other crowds do for the movie stars. The only thing wrong with intellectual life in L.A. is that people keep asking if there's intellectual life in L.A. The last remnant of provinciality is asking that question.
· Star-Struck In LA [Los Angeles Times]
I'll tell you what I'd do if it were up to me: I would establish a strictly controlled distribution network through which I would make most drugs, excluding the most dangerous ones like crack, legally available. Initially I would keep the prices low enough to destroy the drug trade. Once that objective was attained I would keep raising the prices, very much like the excise duty on cigarettes, but I would make an exception for registered addicts in order to discourage crime. I would use a portion of the income for prevention and treatment. And I would foster social opprobrium of drug use.
--George Soros

Crime & Punishment Vow to seize assets of the Mr Bigs

Every good goanna type character knows that protection is essential to running an efficient and successful organized crime operation.
From the local councillor to the Premier, organized crime requires political protection. If they get the right people in office, criminals can flourish.
Under anti-organised crime laws which the Opposition Leader, John Brogden, said would be the toughest in the country, individual criminals also could be prosecuted for the actions of gang associates.
Another Coalition policy announced yesterday is based on the RICO (Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organisation) statute used in the US to fight organised crime. Professor G Robert Blakely, played a pivotal role in developing US legislation on organised crime (The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisation Act).

· AssetsAustralia [SMH]
· AssetsUK [AssetsRecovery]
· AssetsIreland [OCTF]
· Assets UK [NRAILA]
· RicoUS [RicoPaper]
The great end for which men entered into society was to preserve their property. That right is preserved sacred and incommunicable in all instances where it has not been taken away or abridged by some public law for the good of the whole.
-- Charles Pratt - (Lord Chancellor of England - 1765)
Washington State E-Gov Business Initiative is a portal, still under development, that promises to provide comprehensive access to local government information (cities and counties) and e-services to assist businesses operating in the state. In future, the site will also provide online forms for payment transactions and permitting.
· eServices [BeginWA]
A Moment of 'Foot in Mouth' Truth for the World: Two Bushes

There are two Hayeks. One, the modest and imaginative social theorist... The other Hayek is Hayek the libertarian; Hayek the paranoid and splenetic reactionary; the Hayek who fulminates against his pet hates -- 'the counter culture', 'permissive education', 'dropouts', 'parasites' and so on -- like any dyspeptic ten-a-penny rednecked blimp. This Hayek is unconnected with the former, and should be ignored.
--Alan Haworth, in Anti-Libertarianism: Markets, Philosophy and Myth

Monday, March 17, 2003


Perle is also a managing partner in a venture-capital company called Trireme Partners L.P., which was registered in November, 2001, in Delaware. Trireme’s main business, according to a two-page letter that one of its representatives sent to Khashoggi last November, is to invest in companies dealing in technology, goods, and services that are of value to homeland security and defense. The letter argued that the fear of terrorism would increase the demand for such products in Europe and in countries like Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

· Fatherland; Homeland [Nyorker]
Free-er trade pay-off?

Major hurdles block the free flow of Australian goods and services into the US. Protective quotas and tariffs, as well as corporate and union power, are holding back Australian agricultural, shipping and steel exports. These barriers form a brick wall that Australian negotiators will find very difficult to dismantle when they sit down with their American counterparts to forge an agreement.
· Pay-off [JanaWendt]
We've got the emPHAsis on the wrong sylLAble when it comes to crime in this country. The FBI says burglary and robbery cost U.S. taxpayers $3.8 billion annually. Securities fraud alone costs four times that. And securities fraud is nothing to the cost of oil spills, price-fixing, and dangerous or defective products. Fraud by health-care corporations alone costs us between $100 billion and $400 billion a year. No three-strikes-and-you're-out for these guys. Remember the S&L scandal? $500 billion.
--Molly Ivans 3/8/2000

Corporate Life Independence: Jobs for the Boys: union or corporate

Anytime you have two or more directors sitting on two or more of the same boards, you have a potential for conflict. Why does a board need to bring on directors who have those interlocks? Why can't they work a little harder to find genuinely independent directors?
· Directors [Charlotte]
Men become civilized, (even educated) not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt.
--H. L. Mencken

Elections Winning a state election doesn't get any ignorant than this

Judged by Premier Bob Carr's launch speech, schools in NSW are the most successful in Australia and standards have never been so strong. In Carr's words, literacy standards for 15-year-olds are equal to the best in the world and last year the literacy rates for years 3 and 5 were the best since testing began. The Premier's education policy may please the teacher unions, but parents are voting with their feet.
· Union v Children [SMH]

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Modern political argument is much like a magic show. Even though you know that it's all tricks performed by misdirection and props, if you don't know exactly how it is done, you may have to look very hard to figure it out. One big difference is that modern magician's associations have a rule that the magician must NOT present his performance as real or due to supernatural powers, but as illusion. In politics, they are not that honest.
--Mike Huben

War & Peace Bush's Inflated Sense of Supremacy

Writing in the Financial Times, OSI Chairman George Soros argues that the Bush administration's disdain for international cooperation and legitimacy in the ongoing Iraq standoff is misguided strategically and economically.
Let us hope that if there is war, it will be swift and claim few lives. Removing Mr. Hussein is a good thing, yet the way Mr. Bush is going about it must be condemned. America must play a more constructive role if humanity is to make any progress.

· Midguided by Tricks [FinancialTimes]
The capricious ambition of kings and ministers has not, during the present and the preceding century, been more fatal to the repose of Europe, than the impertinent jealousy of merchants and manufacturers. The violence and injustice of the rulers of mankind is an ancient evil, for which, I am afraid, the nature of human affairs can scarce admit of a remedy. But the mean rapacity, the monopolizing spirit of (drug dealers) merchants and manufacturers, who neither are, nor ought to be, the rulers of mankind, though it cannot perhaps be corrected, may very easily be prevented from disturbing the tranquillity of any body but themselves.
--Adam Smith, The Wealth Of Nations, pg. 382 (Emphasis on drug barons added by Jozef imrich)

Assassination The Assassin's Footsteps: Serbia Loses More Than a Leader
Writing in the New York Times, OSI Senior Policy Advisor Laura Silber says the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic is not only a blow to his country's reform hopes, but should also be a wake-up call to U.S. foreign policy strategists.
· Zoran [Soros]
Seven habits that help produce the anything-but-efficient markets that rule the world.
1. Think short term.
2. Be greedy.
3. Believe in the greater fool
4. Run with the herd.
5. Overgeneralize
6. Be trendy
7. Play with other people's money

Paul Krugman in Fortune Magazine.

Suicide invokes memory of Palach: Action Torch 2003

Humpolec student's final letter rails against global problems.
· Zdenek Adamec: Last & First Letters of Alphabet [PraguePost]

1960s History of Bush Hysteria: For good or Ill, it made us what we are today

The 1960s: cults, drugs, rock, sex, protest, Hermann Hesse, Vietnam, revolution, flower power, and kitsch. For good or ill, it made us what we are. Camille Paglia tells the story:
Though only 5'2 tall, Manson had hypnotic powers as a cult leader. He became patriarch of the Family, a commune on a ranch near Los Angeles where heavy use of a cornucopia of drugs was promoted and ritualistic group sex practiced.
· Partially Pregnant Son of Man [Paglia]
Protect me from political followers of two faced leaders be it Czech, Ozie, Amerikan, communist, fascist or whatever!

Mitteleuropa Red tide

Helping elect Vaclav Klaus to the presidency moves the Communist Party a step closer to the mainstream. It was like I had a really bad hangover, and I hadn't had any liquor
I did it reluctantly. But you have to understand that for us, Vaclav Klaus was the lesser evil of the two candidates.
· Lesser evil? [PraguePost]

Saturday, March 15, 2003

The more laws, the less justice. The more blogs the less chances of injustice going unnoticed!
-- Marcus Cicero - De Officiis (44 B.C.) (Misquoted byJozef Imrich)

Freedom is always in danger, and the majority of mankind will always acquiesce in its loss, unless a minority is willing to challenge the privileges of its few and the apathy of the masses.
-- R. H. Crossman, Editor, New Statesman (1952)

NewMedia Listen In on a Weblog of Real Jozef

AudioBLOGGER is a new service that lets webloggers post an audio clip to their blog from any phone. The story about it on MPR showcased a boy and his father who are posting audio dispatches to their blog as they travel across the country from California to Florida on their bicycles. You can see, or rather listen to, an example of an audioblog at Real Joe.
· Audio News [SiliconValley
Blogs Get Some Respect

It's taken a while, of course, but even weblogs in the US seem to be getting elevated in stature at news organizations now. I say that after noticing that on the home page of, the technology-oriented website of the San Jose Mercury News, three weblogs are highlighted in a section right below Top Story and above Breaking News.
· Weblogging is getting pretty darn close to becoming mainstream [Bayarea]
Life Feeling frisky? Don't blame the box

Does watching Sex and the City mean you are more likely to have sex in the city?
The habit of yearning probably turned me into a writer. People who live rich lives full of opportunity tend not to become writers, while we fantasists do, which, oddly, makes us seem worldly when in reality we are anxious geeks, pining after someone confident, glamorous, and truly worldly.
· City [SMH]
· Worldly [Timeonline]
Literature An Even Higher Price: What US Food Companies Pay to Get Into Grocery Stores

Critics of Borders's policy of category management or of chain bookstores' general policy of charging for placement in stores might want to take a look at what US food companies go through to get premier shelf space for their products in grocery stores. With Borders CEO Greg Josefowicz coming from the grocery industry, it's worthwhile to take a look at where some of his ideas may have originated.
So there you have it, UK publishers are just pussies who wouldn't last long in the real retail jungle.

· Retail Jungle [PW]
Lies, damned lies and publishers' advances

The author Magnus Mills has done a brave and unusual thing. He has told the truth about how much money he was paid as an advance for his first book, The Restraint of Beasts. It was apparently £10,000, which is rather less than the figure widely reported at the time – a million in one newspaper, £1.1m in another.
· Message MisHeard: Advance for a Dance [Independent]
I am the only high-ranking U.S. official to ever meet with Kim Jong-il, and we are the same height and both wear high heels.
· Madeleine Albright, Czech·American, on her favorite North Korean dictator

New Media Arnoldy's Web Dispatches

Online news' current celebrity, Christian Science Monitor online producer/reporter Ben Arnoldy, is heading to his air base assignment today. You'll recall that he's the first Web journalist with a major news organization to be "embedded" with a military unit in the Mideast. Arnoldy's first week of reporting has come from Kuwait City, but now he'll live in and report from a military environment, 75 miles from the Iraqi border.
· Czech his daily dispatches page [CSMonitor]
A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.
-- President Gerald Ford - (1976)

Elections Election scene is as fragile as an Easter egg: Enter Bob Carr's Evil Twin

Please look at the centre of the mirror, a computerised voice instructed him.
Please move forward a little ... Please move back a little.
But no matter how obediently the Premier followed the computer's instructions it was unable to identify him.
Finally, after a journalist asked the tall man with the deep voice if he was in fact Bob Carr's evil twin, a press secretary stepped in and wound up the event.
· His were the eyes of a tired, soiled leader with a tired, soiled vision [SMH]

John Howard may unwittingly have revealed the real reason for the looming attack on Iraq when he said the so-called rogue states might give weapons to terrorists; whereas, of course, the US and Britain would rather sell them.
C. Boswell
Gold Coast, Qld
Letters (The Australian 13 March 2003)

War & Peace In Baghdad anything can happen

Oriana Fallaci loathes war. But when peace stands for surrender, fear, loss of dignity and freedom, phony appeasement, and blackmail, it’s no longer peace. Is it global suicide?
In Baghdad anything can happen. But after that? Nearly two-thirds of the Iraqis are Shiites who have always dreamed of establishing an Islamic Republic of Iraq, and the Soviets too were once cheered in Kabul. They too imposed their peace. They even succeeded in convincing women to take off their burqa, remember? After a while, though, they had to leave.
· And the Taliban came [WSJ]

Friday, March 14, 2003

The grim fact is that we prepare for war like precocious giants and for peace like retarded pygmies.
-- Lester B. Pearson

I do, on occasion, stare into the existential abyss, ponder the nuances and shudders, and produce what some might refer to as ironic thoughts.

I cannot give credit to human race other than to praise them for hiring the mentally handicapped into high positions of power throughout the history. The demented philosophy seems that we have to destroy the country in order to save it. Shades of Vietnam are appearing not just in the international arena but also around various workstations near you.

The links between obesity and laziness was pointed out to me many years ago by my Czechoslovak teacher Marta Chamillova who used to say: Show me a fat teacher and Iwill show you a lazy class. Today we admire the creativity of cameramen who seem to manage to fit on the TV screen the faces of the heads of public service and private sector industries.

Being fat makes you more stupid

Being overweight is not only bad for men's hearts - it also makes them less intelligent, according to scientists.

· Politically Incorrect [TelegraphUK]
b>New Media Hot Off Your News Clicking Service

The system appeals particularly to folks who write Web logs, because it gives them a way to attract readers. All they have to do is get their Web site listed in the RSS directories that most news-reader programs display to their users. Examples are, and
· RSS [Washingtonpost]
I'd never give my enemies the satisfaction of acknowledging them in print. But I'll tell you a hex that works: When the person you loathe leaves the room, lick their chair. Something awful will happen.

New Media Blogging Goes Mainstream

The online diaries known as Weblogs, or "blogs," seemed like a lot of inconsequential chatter when they surfaced a few years ago.
Just like the Internet was 10 years ago, blogging is popular with an underground culture that is doing it for the love and passion,' said Tony Perkins, who edited the recently folded Red Herring technology magazine and last month launched a business blog called Always On Network.
· Underground culture [CNN]
Libraries represent the sum of all human knowledge, and they represent equal access to that knowledge. Libraries represent freedom of expression, celebration of diversity, a playing field that is level, preservation of heritage, and commitment to the future.
--Sentiments expressed by characters of Dr Russell Cope caliber (Former NSW Parliamentary Librarian.)

Literature A Great Novel

A great novel has a consciousness that is new to us. We have to become imbued with this new consciousness before we can enjoy the work. I've been bored in part by Moby-Dick, The Red and the Black, Anna Karenina, The Scarlet Letter, Remembrance of Things Past, Ulysses, The Magic Mountain. Hell, even The Sun Also Rises. Of course, I was a Freshman then.
· Mailer [TelegraphUK]
Crime & Punishment Grand jury indicts former N.C. agriculture aides

Two former aides of Agriculture Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps are charged with extortion, mail and wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy related to fund raising during and after her 2000 campaign.
· Money Laundering [Hickoryrecord]
[The crowd] will finally succeed in remembering only the simplest concepts repeated a thousand times.
-- Adolf Hitler - Mein Kampf - I (1925), 6

Politics Saddam Hussein Isn’t the Scariest Dictator

Compilation of different ratings has become a favorite occupation of journalists, politicians and public figures. This work is rather easy by the way, as criteria for making up of ratings determining “people of the year”, “the event of the year”, “the most beautiful woman of the year”, etc. are often vague. However, ratings are all the same considered prestigious and even honorary in case if they are compiled by influential editions or organizations.
It would be certainly strange if the most odious political figures were not honored with a rating. As Washington Profile reports, the Parade magazine published a list of the worst (and what if they are the best?) dictators of the planet. Sure, the rating is wonderfully well-timed:

1. Kim Jong-il (North Korea)
2. King Fahd and Prince Abdullah (Saudi Arabia)
3. Saddam Hussein (thanks to Bush, we shouldn’t mention of what country he is the leader)
4. Charles Taylor (Liberia)
5. Than Shwe (former Burma, now Myanmar)
6. Teodoro Obiang Nguema (Equatorial Guinea)
7. Saparmurat Niyazov (Turkmenistan)
8. Muammar Gaddafi (Libya)
9. Fidel Castro (Cuba)
10. Alexander Lukashenko (Belarus)
· Alexander Lukashenko [Pravda]

Thursday, March 13, 2003

New Media Raging Dragon

As I write this, Dr Pepper’s Raging Cow blog marketing project is number one with a bullet on Blogdex, so chances are you’ve already read about it somewhere.

If not, excellent background can be found here, where Filchyboy/Chronotope masterfully deconstructs the entire campaign, including an interview with Todd Copilevitz, the marketer who created the campaign.
It seems to me that it’s not really the use of the blog format for marketing that’s upsetting everyone. The real sin of the Raging Cow blog is that they’re buying link influence (even though the price – t-shirts and other merchandise – is relatively small).
The collective personality of the blogosphere lends itself to bottom-up marketing - when bloggers start a conversation about a product because they like it, and that conversation leads to more publicity and higher sales for a product. Top-down marketing, when corporations orchestrate a conversation in the blogosphere about their product, is no real conversation at all. Hence, for many bloggers, that's evil. Bottom-up = good.

· Top-down = bad [Corante]
Media Things that make you go ‘EH?’: Flogging a Dead Corpse

The embarrassing acquiescence by the White House press corps to the Bush administration's conversion of the First Amendment into a prep school code of conduct continues to draw fire.

Matt Taibi of the New York Press says President Bush's scripted press conference last week was a mini-Alamo for American journalism. While I don't necessarily agree that all of American journalism should, as Taibi urges, be herded into a cargo plane, flown to an altitude of 30,000 feet, and pushed out, kicking and screaming, over the North Atlantic, (except Tim Blair) hyperbole in this case serves to make the point.
Tom Wicker, whose journalistic chops are immensely deeper than Taibi's, also rakes the ranks of reporters by accusing them, in an Editor & Publisher column, of presenting Bush's reasons for war to the public as if they were gospel, and then goes on to articulate which questions the press should be asking. Among them:

Why was the United States willing to pay such enormous sums to Turkey to win permission to use military bases? Wasn't the Turkish government, in effect, blackmailing Uncle Sam? If so, who's more to be condemned -- the seller or the buyer?
Even the Canadians are getting in a shot. Antonia Zerbisas opines in the Toronto Star that the Valium-drip presidential news conference was covered by a well-choreographed ballet of sleepwalkers and reprises earlier comments from Tom Shales, who said Bush set the tone for the event by being ever so slightly medicated.
As I said yesterday when I commented on the 13 questions: It's time for the press to wake up, drop the lapdog act and become the watchdog it is supposed to be. The public deserves it and the First Amendment demands it.
· Parliamentary Press Galleries: Amerika Catches the Vass/Maher Virus [TimPorter]
Secrets of the stones

Far from being wandering hunter-gatherers, some Aborigines lived in villages, traded and farmed. Graham Phillips reports on remarkable archaeological findings that have unearthed a society more sophisticated than anyone imagined.
· Their whole society was based around eels [SMH]

The Secret Egos have arrived!

Doctoring egos. You'll never, never know if you never, never apologise to those with the larger than print egos.
And on the following day, the Herald's article appeared under the headline, A treasurer to be treasured according to Michael Ego, sorry, Egan, and opened with the statement: The NSW Treasurer, Michael Egan, has declared himself the best treasurer in the past 40 years.
Angered by this aspect of the article, Mr Egan complained that this "declaration" was a pure fabrication by the Herald, and that, as a consequence, the headline was totally inaccurate and unwarranted. He sought an apology and a retraction.

· Retraction: The best treasurer in the past 40 years No Longer. [SMH]

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Publishers who turn writing into a horror story of its own

It was every author's dream - sending a book to a publisher and getting an enthusiastic response.
But what happened next was, until yesterday, beyond almost any author's worst nightmare. The managing director of the publishing firm liked the idea behind the book so much that she took it over and sold it at the Bologna book fair as her own.

· Bologna [GuardianUK]
Are you good or evil?

Take this test and find out. NOTE TO EVERBODY: Recently, this quiz has been getting a lot of hits. Please be conservative with posting images of your results on your sites/ journals/ whatever, or I might have to kill this. T'ank yew.
· Jozef or Peter [Slugbutter]
Is Envy better than poverty?

Despite contrary reports, the heir to a once-famed surname Imrich probably isn't among the world's richest not the most powerful.
· Guide to blowing a fortune [Forbes]
Literature Rising Tide of Dissent

Across the country, people who had never read Noam Chomsky or Gore Vidal, who had never before sought out dissident opinion or hard political analysis, are looking at new sources of information
· Dissent [Boston]
Any community with only one dominant power is a dangerous one and provokes reactions. That's why I favour a multipolar world, in which Europe has its place. Anyway, the world will not be unipolar. Over the next 50 years, China will become a global power and the world won't be the same. So it's time to start organising. Transatlantic solidarity will remain the basis of the world order, in which Europe has its role to play.
-French President Jacques Chirac in Time last month

It's when one nation becomes infinitely more powerful in relation to its potential competitor that the danger of war arises. I think it will be a safer world and a better world if we have a strong, healthy US, Europe, Soviet Union, China, Japan, each balancing each other, not playing one against the other, an even balance.
-US president Richard Nixon in Time on January 3, 1972

War & Peace War Without UN Backing Will Be a Supreme International Crime

Any member of a government backing an aggressive war will be open to prosecution
· Sarajevo [GuardianUK]
No man has any right to rule who is not better than the people over whom he rules.
-- Cyrus - (Founder, Persian Empire)

Elections NSW Premier Bob Carr and Ms Grusovin had not spoken to each other

The silence on the Sydney crisis - in waste water, solid waste, public transport, roads, bush fires through short sighted overdevelopment, you name it - is deafening. Instead the deals are done, the public land sold off, the developers - and Labor - made rich. Sydney residents live the mess and regional NSW suffers the pain of unemployment and the desertion of services for lack of a decentralisation plan.
· Powerless [SMH]

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Literature Writing

The presence of light will always be interrupted by the absence of darkness. Hope will always be punctuated by moments of disappointment. So the writer who tries to pull together these moments of absence with other moments of presence, will find in the writing, in the structuring of the memoir this principle: while we cannot control what will happen to us, we can control what we think we were owed by the world and others.
· Memoirs [ABER]
· Department of Plain Language [WashingtonPost]

Good Read

Harriet Klausner reads 20 books a week. Howard Berg can read a 240-page book in 20 mintues. For Condi Rice War and Peace was beautiful — in Russian.
· Cold River was aweful in English [BookMagazine]
Slaves & Masters Numb

Here is the untold story of workers' response to the telecommunications meltdown. Unions, ex-employees, and retirees are mobilizing for jobs and reform. At some point, you become numb to the stories of greedy execs who scammed billions of dollars from their shareholders and workers. The $95 million Bel Aire mansions. The $15,000 umbrella stands. The tax-deductible private jets. Even more maddening, many executives walked away from their fraud-infested firms with multi-million dollar exit perks. There were no such golden parachutes for the over half a million laid-off telecom workers. They lost out three times.
· Golden Umberllas [Dollars&Sense]
Politics Billionaire former spy 'lavished gifts' on Charles and Di

Published in Sydney Morning Herald - Indexed on Mar 10, 2003
Prince Charles was facing fresh embarrassment yesterday over his links with a billionaire oil tycoon, who allegedly spent more than 70 years spying on the West for Soviet Russia. American-born Armand Hammer, who had been identified as a Soviet agent by British and American intelligence agencies, is said to have poured more than US$40 million ($65 million) into many of the Prince's favourite causes during the 1970s and 80s. Britain's Daily Mail yesterday claimed priceless gifts were lavished on Charles and Diana as Hammer cynically set out to exploit an heir to the throne he regarded as gullible and naive.
· Hammers and Arms [SMH]