Thursday, July 31, 2003

Gianna Ggggirl Apathy to Risk Taking: Global Disease exploited by Bullies

Gianna wants you take a small risk when you enter her sanctuary. She wants you to think and feel when you read her blog. She wants you to be provoked sometimes. She want you to disagree with her. She want you to learn something about yourself and the way you feel about our New Town... in 21st Century
· Do Not We Ever Live in a Political World? [Gianna ]
No Hope Dragon Plaguing Deflation, Inflation, Sydneylation

Governor Ian Macfarlane has been reappointed for three years to take on the challenge of rising house prices – the new inflation dragon plaguing first-home buyers in Australia and central banks around the world.
· RBA boss targets home boom [TheAustralian]
Wogish Masterpiece Max Wyherman: My life as a critic

But then, I blush still when I run up against the daily evidence of how little I know and how much remains to be learned. Blush, then feel that old thrill of anticipation at what fresh experience in the creative world might bring: what Robert Hughes famously called the shock of the new.
· Shock of the New [Vancouversun]

Wog Cartoonist

Wog Cartoonist Secret Service guy & prankster

Los Angeles Times cartoonist Michaelo Ramirez says the Secret Service agent who called last week to talk about his Bush cartoon "was very nice, but it was so casual and laid back (that) I really assumed it was a crank call." Ramirez tells Brooke Gladstone: "He said, 'I'd like to meet with you somewhere and talk to you. I'm with the Secret Service.' And I said ... 'How do I know you're with the Secret Service?' And he said 'Well, I've got a black suit and black sunglasses and credentials!'" The agent never got to see the cartoonist, though.
· Cartoonist Draws Attention [WNYC ]
Happy last July's Day to my friends and to all the good women everywhere, especially mine...

Sexiest Wog Hunting for Bambi: Loverboy Down Under

Though Lord knows for certain we are telling the truth to our readers, we didn't expect anything to make the earth quiver beneath our feet today, certainly not an article in the Australian about Australians. We (it is a royal we) have a long proud history as a man on sex finding missions and therefore a totalitarian authority to link to this timely topic... serial monogamy:

In Australia, 5.8 per cent of women hope to have multiple partners and garlic ice creams in the next 30 days, compared with the relatively prudish East Asians (2.6 per cent) and the most active – but hardly adventurous – East Europeans (7.1 per cent)
· Oddly, marriage may be an unexpected aphrodisiac [Australian 7.1%]
· Is the Mainstreaming of Porn the End of Civilization as We Know It? [ Secret Lives of Women in My Double Life: Serious Virus Warning! (Klik at Your Own Peril)]
Velvet Wogs Making Music as a Political Act::or how the Velvet Underground Influenced the Velvet Revolution

Dedicated to the Memory of Mejla Hlavsa
How the music of The Velvet Underground - via its Czech mediators The Plastic People of the Universe - contributed to the coming into existence of the "Velvet Revolution."

· The Plastic People of the Universe [Angram ]
It is All Wogs Fault A FAULT-FINDING MISSION

Today is a good day to list your faults:
Why? Because ... faults need cool, fresh air to breathe. Otherwise, they suffocate, panic, and turn over the big rock, and the next thing you know, you're doing life without parole for the murder of the woman in front of you in line at the Coffee Bean who kept flipping her ponytail in your face.
Your faults can be your friends! Who knows you better than they do? They see you at your weakest moments, but they still love you for who... well, they stick around, at least, waiting for their next moment to shine.
I do like garlic. That's also a fault.

· Another fault is that I like linking to [Naughty Rabbit with Czeeky URL]
Wogs On worrying: the lost art of the well-administered national cuddle

Ghassan Hage explores the culture of 'worrying' amidst the rise of paranoid nationalism of the last 15 years or so. Nowhere has this generalised culture been as intense as in Australia in light of the Tampa and detention centres.
· Tampa [Borderlands e-journal, University of Adelaide]
This blog will present a Wog perspective on matters. And this wog will decide what matters. This meaningful, and no doubt for some true bohemians a touching piece, matters whether you are a wog or a descendent of a true blue convict or a domorodec aborigine or all three... Trust me read it!

WHAT IS WOG THINKING ABOUT? Francesco Paolo "Gino" Santomaggio

Now is the time to dream. To be strong and not to think of bad times, but let Gino speak softly in spirit and keep us all feeling good ...
· From Wog [Wogblog ]

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

History that repeated itself, word for word New Websites For Researchers

NNuremberg Trials Project: A Digital Document Collection" at http://nuremberg.law.harvard.edu. The Library has approximately one million pages of documents relating to the trial of military and political leaders of Nazi Germany before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) and to the twelve trials of other accused war criminals before the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT)."
· Military Tribunals [BeSpacific ]
· Convict Tribunals: First Fleet Full Text [SMH]
Elections An Innovative Web Election Feature

If voters in Massachusetts wanted to separate candidate personalities from the issues in their past gubernatorial election, WBUR.org
(http://www.wbur.org) , Boston's NPR affiliate, provided a way. Its "Vote By Issue (http://www.wbur.org/news/candidateq/) " quiz was innovative in
its use of the web's interactive qualities to provide an excellent journalistic service. To create the interactive, the station asked the state's five candidates for governor to provide the fundamentals of their positions on 10 key topics. Then, they took that information and put each stance with a "faceless"candidate. Users were asked to choose the stance they most agree with. In the end, they got a report card, revealing which candidate's plan they chose for each issue. (That's a great concept you might want to borrow for your next election's coverage.)

· Vote [ Wbur]
"HOMELAND SECURITY," reads the message on the shirt, over a picture of armed Indians. Below the picture: "Fighting terrorism … since 1492."

A Million Things To Say, Nothing to Talk About Introducing... The Nonsense League Table

Who speaks the most gibberish, the worst jargon, the most twisted English and the biggest pile of gobbledegook? For the first time the worst offenders over the past 20 years have their own league table. And guess who's top?
When Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address in 1863, he thought people would "little note nor long remember what we say here". In that, at least, he was quite wrong, for his speech became one of the most famous ever delivered, celebrated for its clarity of expression.

· Overall winner [BBC ]
White Collar Corporate Crime Without Shame

President Bush's man in charge of the Corporate Fraud Task Force, Larry Thompson, went to the White House this week to let the world know that Bush was cracking down on corporate crime.
But forcing corporate criminals and their executives to plead guilty is only half the game. The other half is punishment.
Corporate crime and violence inflicts far more damage on society than all street crime combined.
Corporate criminals should not be given a special pass.
Make them admit guilt.
Impose tough sanctions.
Publicize the cases.

· Street Crime [CommonDream ]
The Flow of Patronage

Ted Sherman of the Newark Star-Ledger explored the spending habits of two obscure New Jersey water and sewer agencies, finding that even with little pressure to keep down operational expenses, records show, both agencies dole out plenty of patronage appointments, jobs for friends and family, and millions in engineering, legal and other professional fees to those with political ties. The two agencies employ several elected officials, and some executives earn more than the state's governor.
· Passaic Valley Sewerage [NJ viaScoop]
Baltimore's Council Perks

Doug Donovan of the Baltimore Sun used public records to illustrate the perks of being elected to the Baltimore City Council. "Public documents and interviews reveal that a majority of council members have hired relatives as paid assistants and the entire council receives gifts, such as free parking and movie passes, not enjoyed by most Baltimoreans." Ten of the 19 members have put a relative on the payroll, and council members get free parking from a garage seeking tax breaks from the city. Everybody does it, so I didn't know there was anything wrong with it.
· No one has ever said anything to me that it was against the ethics law [Sunspot viaScoop]
Words Virgin Raisins

A German scholar contends that the Islamic text has been mistranscribed and promises raisins, not virgins
The Pakistanis, it appears, are passionately devoted to the idea that mass murderers will be rewarded in the afterlife with an eternal sex orgy, for the Newsweek article reports on a German linguist's view that the notion that "martyrs" receive 72 virgins is a mistranslation and they actually get 72 "white raisins."
· White raisins [MSNBC ]
· Are you a prude? [Quiz]
· Hook-up factor [Dating Jobs]
· Vein squeeze increases blindness [BBC ]
Obituaries Hope is Not Dead

Bob Hope is not dead. I refuse to believe it. It’s not possible. There is no such thing as a world without Bob Hope. The Hope family has spirited him away to some undisclosed location to foster some Graceland-type myth centering on Old Ski Nose. ..
· Legends Live on [Story]
· An art of Non-friction: It’s no coincidence that Bob Hope’s name consists of two verbs [NuYorker(sic)]

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Mad Max Day Keating, Mad Max and Bush

I hope the Americans have not led us into a Mad Max world, former PM Paul Keating says in a speech on the new world order.
· Diary: PK [Webdiary ]
Right/Wrong Anne Moore

Why do simpletons like Ann Coulter a.k.a. Scary and Michael Moore sell so well? A longing for clarity in a too-complex world...
· And the looniest of all -- they wind up as bestselling authors [Washington Post]
Cry for help Three years inside leaves boy terrified of a free life

Alamdar Bakhtiari, who has spent three of his 15 years living in detention, says he never wants to come out. He says he feels safer behind the razor wire.
With his angry father, Ali, at his side, Alamdar is edgy and fearful.
His words tumble out, filled with accusations and disbelief. "It is not fair you come and talk to us, and then you go home to your family and a nice house and we stay here. We are not free to leave. You have lovely homes and families, but all we have is nothing, not even our freedom. I am not allowed to enjoy freedom like other boys. It makes me crazy. I hate it here; I hate Australia. I am not a criminal; I have done nothing wrong."

· Alamdar Bakhtiari carved the word freedom on his forearm in an act of desperation [Asylumn]
Every time Parliament tinkers with the negative gearing, it causes head-scratching later as taxpayers try to figure out the new loopholes...

Go North Young Nurse ...

Mad economists in charge of the Asylumn called Sydney Castles & Real
Estimates


Someone on a nurse's wage cannot afford to buy a three-bedroom home in any part of metropolitan Sydney. When it gets to the point when the people who serve the community can't afford to live in the community, it's an issue for everyone.
· Home is My Castle? [SMH ]
· Mental Health of Crime Fighters: Dr Watkins & Dr Carr [SMH ]

Monday, July 28, 2003

So what is a Cage? - by Rebecca Belliveau

So what is a Cage? - by Rebecca Belliveau

It is secure.
It is a barrier.
It is a home.
It is a life.
It is a death.
It is a body.
It is an existence.
It is sleep.
It is someone else's reality invading your own.

If I force my world upon yours, I will blind you.
When you make me live in your truth, you deny my own.
I am an artist because I want to create my reality.
I have always lived in others', and wondered who was right.
I joined a group of people who denied the reality imposed to search for their own.
But there was nothing when they looked inside, so began the need to create - to destroy - to create again.
I keep searching for someone to tell me I am not insane to need my own reality, to be honest with myself.
I so need another to validate my sanity.
When something is wrong, you know it. Deep inside, even if everyone around you tells you it is not, you still know the truth.
To live in someone else's world means to deny yourself this truth simply to survive.
These are the reasons I create.

· Creative Chaos [ (Courtersy of Conversations with Dina)
Blogging Bee the Blog

Now that California's political shenanigans have made the nation's front pages, you might want to keep up with the coming gubernatorial recall campaign by reading Sacramento Bee political columnist Dan Weintraub's (relatively) new blog, California Insider.
Weintraub started the blog in April. Even though he self-identifies as a member of the "dreaded mainstream media," he inspires bridge the gap between David Broder and Mickey Kaus, "hoping that the combination produces the best of both worlds and not the worst."
Weintraub's latest post: Debunking a Drudge "world exclusive" report that former Rep. Jack Kemp is going to run for governor.
Good move by Weintraub to move into the blogosphere. Politics should not be left to the thumbsuckers.
· World Exclusive [TimPorter ]
Writers Literary UnderWorld

I want a door to be opened, opened wide, and I prefer the back one. Let's see if some fresh air breezes in. While style triumphs over substance in mainstream fiction; substance is the driving force behind underground writing.
· Underground writing [LiteraryRevolution ]
· Karol [King Wenclas ]
The end is nigh for taxing times

From Czech lands to Australia, from Germany to the US, governments across the world are cutting taxes in a remarkable revival of economic liberalism. With the glaring exception of Britain, where chancellor Gordon Brown is busily hiking taxes, marginal taxes are tumbling at a speed which would have made the most ardent supporter of 1980s-style Reaganomics proud.
Even the French president, Jacques Chirac, has pledged to trim income taxes further to kick start growth after cutting the overall tax burden by 0.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) last year.
Seemingly utterly oblivious to the new global trend towards lower marginal tax rates, Brown’s one percentage point increase in national insurance contributions took the effective higher rate of individual income tax to 41% in the UK earlier this year.

· Marginal Rates [ ScotlandonSunday]

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Internet Virtual Power

Teenagers and young adults spend more time on the Internet than watching television, indicating a shift in media consumption for a demographic prized by advertisers, said a new study released on Thursday.
· Constructive Time [Forbes]

PS: Watch it, then bin it
DVDs that self-destruct after 48 hours may be available at corner stores and petrol stations by Christmas. Anyone who follows upon this stupid idea should Self-Destruct. Keep it simple and environmentally friendly; invest in the internet...
Lets say the Flag Legislation has passed the Senate Governor, Imagine doing this to the Australian Flag

Loovely folks at Yahoo shot this... Larrikins & Wicked Wizzards of Aussie Land, are you thinking what I am thinking?
· Presidential Yahoo [Musing over News ]

PS: Ambassadors you better brief your President, before his feet touch the soil DownUnder...I certainly prefer not to go to war against Amerikan or Great Britain empire for that matter. I fought against Russian empire and I won...(smile)
Washminster POWER PLAY

Great wealth was to be gained through monopoly, through using the State for private ends; it was axiomatic therefore that businessmen should run the government and run it for personal profit...

Washington Post's cover story (sorry about the annoying registration screen) by that title makes the case that the Republican leadership in the House is just as bad as that of the Democrats of years past:

Nearly 10 years after winning control of the House by vowing a fairer and more open Congress, Republicans have tossed aside many of the institutional reforms they promised, increasingly employing hard-nosed tactics they decried a decade ago, according to numerous lawmakers and scholars.
Among the reforms championed by an earlier generation of House Republicans, and subsequently dropped or weakened: term limits for rank-and-file members as well as committee chairmen; stricter ethics laws; and greater power for individual members and the minority party.
Republicans have instead consolidated power in the hands of a few leaders, most notably Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (Ill.) and Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Tex.). In the process, the authority of committee chairmen and the influence of rank-and-file members have waned.


This isn't surprising, given how hunger for political power can consume some party members. No political party seems to have a monopoly on abuse of power, the desire to acquire unlimited power haunts governments of all colours. As a theoretical matter, each of the 435 Representatives should be equal, as they all represent a single Congressional District. In reality, I saw what happened to Czechoslovak communist theory in practice during the Prague Spring of 1968.
There were more surprises in store for me after the 1995 NSW election as I watched how the reforms implemented during the hung parliament under John Hatton and Kevin Rozzoli leadership began to dissappear into a dust bin of parliamentary history. The bureaucrats cannot be blamed solely for not standing up to bullies like Bob Carr as most parliamentary clerks are family men and families must be fed. Some blame must be directed at the media for failing to expose the abuses of executive powers. It is the role of our unbiased ABC and other media sources to shed more light in places where disinfectant is desperately needed. Some of the best former journalists seem to be working for the government in power and who can blame them for placing fresh bread on the table each day? It is time for the public and private media outlets to face the reality and be prepared to match the salaries of investigative journaliststs to remuneration packages enjoyed by spinmeisters slaving for executive branches. Do family men and women, who seem to be too busy with survival or hectic negotiating another real estate property, care any more whether something is true or false or have we all been conditioned to accept anything? (It is 3 a.m. on Sunday morning so I better wake up and stop dreaming the impossible dreams: I am better now I just had a cold shower.)

· Goal of Reforms in House Gives Way To Tough Tactics Party Once Criticized [WashingtonPost ]
Blogging 'Blogs' shake the political discourse

There's been a wash of articles this month that appear to solidify weblogs as a solid online content platform for politics, business and public information. This continued level of acceptance will hopefully enable more conservative institutions (like courts) to embrace the platform more widely. Recent articles include:
  • 'Blogs' Shake the Political Discourse, by Joanna Weiss; Boston Globe (July 23, 2003).

  • Legal And Appellate Weblogs: What They Are, Why You Should Read Them, And Why You Should Consider Starting Your Own, by Gary O'Connor and Stephanie Tai; Journal of Appellate Practice and Procedure (posted July 22, 2003).

  • A Blog for Everyone, by Mark Ward; BBC News (July 22, 2003).


  • What Are Blogs and Why Is Everyone So Excited About Them? by Jerry Lawson, Brenda Howard, Dennis Kennedy, Ernest Svenson and Tom Mighell; LLRX.com Internet Roundtable Discussion #36 (Posted July 21, 2003).

  • Welcome to the 'new' Web, same as the 'old' Web, by Christine Boese; CNN Headline News (July 15, 2003).

  • Moblogs Seen as a Crystal Ball for a New Era in Online Journalism, by Howard Rheingold for Online Journalism Review (July 9, 2003).

  • · Welcome to the 'new' Web, same as the 'old' Web [Bag and Baggage]
    What I'm saying is that you're doomed to write what you write. And you're doomed to either commercial success or artistic success. You can't say you're going to write well and going to have survival value. No one can guarantee survival value.
    -William Eastlake

    Cold (War) River Online editing

    Jozef Imrich published his book Cold River as an e-book last year, but wasn't satisfied with the results -- admitting that the book could use considerable editing.
    He's taking an interesting approach to getting that done, publishing the book online (at http://coldwarriver.blogspot.com) where he's soliciting outside help to fix things up (join in !) -- as well as in this way allowing readers to track the progress and changes of this work-in-progress

    · Work-in-Progress [Saloon: Mr Michael Orthofer, Managing Editor, at the Complete Review ]

    Saturday, July 26, 2003

    Future Seen Through a Crystal Ball

    How Bob Carr won 2011 Elections

    A new generation of scholars, born too late to be seduced by Carr's spinmeister charm, took a closer look at his life and legacy, and discovered that the crown prince of NSW Right was a political masterpiece that defies easy characterization...
    In archaeology you uncover the unknown. In diplomacy (church) you cover the known.
    -- Thomas Pickering (Reference to church added by this blogger)

    Level of sin, borders on the unbelievable Church sued for 'hell prediction'

    A New Mexico family is suing its local Catholic church over a funeral Mass at which the priest allegedly said their relative was going straight to hell.
    · Priest Getting In Hot Water [BBC]
    Middle East Crossing The Line?

    The politicization of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) is nothing new.
    Former Pentagon employee Peter Probst may have used his position and access to non-public information to help lobby and shape U.S. policy in the Middle East.
    · Nothing New [TomPaine]

    Tax

    Subsidising what? Tax abatements often fail to generate jobs

    Andy Gammill of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette studied tax breaks offered to potential employers by Allen County, Ind., and found that "more than half have fallen short of the employment promises they made while pleading their cases before local government boards." Despite the record, no government body has rescinded any of the tax abatements granted to businesses. The paper reviewed nearly 200 sets of records filed by the recipient firms.
    · Sets of200 [Fortwayne]
    The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything
    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Public Service Justice For Sale

    Da's Deals Let People Buy Way Out Of Trouble
    As Prosecutor, Vince Biskupic Made Secret Deals In Which People Paid Substantial Sums To Avoid Prosecution.

    · Despite a state ethics law prohibiting state officials from using their positions to provide substantial benefits to organizations with which they're associated [Madison]
    Justice Prosecutor under arrest

    The arrest of a prosecutor as an accomplice has put a bizarre new twist on a sensational murder case in Nuremberg.
    According to Bavarian Justice Minister Manfred Weiss, the prosecutor, identified only as Stefan M., is the first prosecutor ever to be arrested in the state of Bavaria.

    · Gsell, 31, dubbed the beautiful widow [FAZ ]
    Internet Are Online Search Tools Lulling Journalists Into Laziness?

    E-mail interviews and Web searches can be helpful when used with discretion, but some experts fret that reporters are letting their guard down, making themselves vulnerable to online hoaxes.
    · Stories [OJR]
    · Dressing Manuscripts [Chronicle ]
    · For Young German Writers, All Is Ich [The New York Times 07/24/03 via artsjournal.com] (You may have to register for free to access the review::Username: ajreader ::Password: access)
    · A bit new-ageish for some: As-yet-unexplained benefits to human health [San Francisco Chronicle 07/24/03]
    There are an awful lot of better ways to get rid of one's angst and one's anger than writing, so I think the aim is to write for pleasure even if you're writing about concentration camps and the black death; and the pleasure one imagines is the reader's pleasure.
    -Harry Mathews

    Novel Looks at the Publishing Biz

    Three new works of fiction examine the troubled industry's nexus of art and commerce. Alas, only two spin tales worth reading
    Has book publishing fallen into a state of material and moral rot? Consider a few symptoms: Publishers' seasonal catalogs loaded with already-ripe-for-the-pulper schlock. Fat advances that are thinly disguised payoffs to prominent pols. "Authors" (athletes, porn stars, celebrity girlfriends) barely capable of penning a shopping list. Media conglomerates dependent on big-name writers, whose books get piled in giant stacks meant to stampede superstore customers.

    · The list goes on... [Businessweek ]
    · 'The True Patriot Act Account [CommonDreams]
    Writers The Key to a Successful Freelance Career

    The key to a successful freelance career is routine. Give yourself a strict schedule, just like any job. People may complain about the inconvenience of the workforce – getting out of bed at an early hour, dealing with the boss and the co-workers – but that keeps us honest and productive. Without such czex and balances, some of us fall to pieces.
    · A Diary [TheMorningNews ]

    Friday, July 25, 2003

    Presidential Contenders What did they pick as their campaign song...

    Being a matter of personal taste, I decided to use these criteria for ranking the candidates:

    1. Does the song suck?
    2. Do you really think they own the album the song is on?
    3. Will it be extremely annoying after being played a million times?
    4. Is there more to the song than the title?
    5. Is it a creative choice?
    6. Did I expect a better taste in music from this candidate?

    · Exit Stage Left [Djhlights.blogspot ]
    Lost Cause I am 44 and married with children

    Creative genius and crime express themselves early in men but both are turned off almost like a tap if a man gets married and has children, a study says.
    The data remarkably concur with the brutal observation made by Albert Einstein, who wrote in 1944: A person who has not made his great contribution to science before the age of 30 will never do so.

    · Literary Lottery [News: Paris]
    Leadership Welcome to the jungle

    It's a jungle out there in the workplace.
    While bosses preach about teamwork and a supportive culture, their actions promote the opposite by pitting colleagues against each other and encouraging office politics.
    The result is a "facade of effectiveness" that prevents workers, and companies, from performing at their best.
    They found that nearly nine out of 10 Australian organisations were not performing as well as they could be, because of the culture of blame, indecision and conformity. The research was undertaken by an organisational development company, Human Synergistics, which will release it today to
    700 chief executives and human resources officers at a seminar in Sydney.

    · 9 out of 10 [SMH]
    · Modernization can be irrational and adopted by any type of political system [The Business of Genocide: The SS, Slave Labor, and the Concentration Camps.]
    Anglofacism -v- the public broadcasters

    Isn't it interesting that Blair and Howard are trying to give Murdoch more power at the same time as they're trying to destroy their public broadcasters, and that the Murdoch press in both countries is gleefully beating up on the same targets?

    The BBC and the ABC are bodies largely independent of government by legislation, with legislated responsibilities, standards and review mechanisms. They are directly accountable to the people. Not to big business, not to big government, you understand, to the PEOPLE. They are bodies charged with acting in the public interest, not for private profit, to strive to make big business and big government accountable to the people. Their democratic role is to keep the powerful honest through fear that if they aren't they'll be caught out. Private media, by contrast, is virtually unaccountable to anyone except its owners.

    · Our ABC [Webdiary ]
    · Extraordinary Editorial: Criticism of newspaper for failing to cover the project as aggressively as it should have [Boston ]
    Our living and dead history An Excursion through Bohemian History in English

    Chech it Out:
    The first recorded use of the word 'freedom' in English comes in the penultimate chapter of Alfred the Great's translation of Boethius' De consolatione philosophiae (c.888), in a discussion of free will: 'flu segist fiæt God sylle ællcum freodom swa god to donne swa yfel' - 'You say that God gives to everyone the freedom to do both good and evil.' 'Boethius' goes on to ask why God allows men to be wicked and make evil choices. Ah, that old chestnut, 'Philosophy' thinks.
    · 888 [ ]

    Current Cuba Cubans try to 'drive' over Florida Straits

    Cuban migrants using a 1950s-era flatbed truck turned into a raft attempt cross the Florida Straits on July 16, 2003. GREGORY WALD/COAST GUARD STATION KEY WEST
    Over the past four decades, Cubans desperate to reach the United States have crossed the perilous Florida Straits in just about anything that floats: Surfboards. Inner tubes. Homemade rafts. But it's hard to top the latest entrant in the maritime scramble:

    · A 1951 Chevy flatbed truck [Miami ]

    Thursday, July 24, 2003

    PoliticalwORLD

    Political World History's full house of lies is the stock of politicians

    Where others collect autographs, I compile quotations. Shuffling through them, it's clear that people in politics not only admit to lying but seem enormously amused by the practice. Thus, during the Spycatcher trial, in the NSW Supreme Court, Robert Armstrong, head of the British Civil Service, said of a letter in evidence that: It contained a misleading impression, not a lie. I was being economical with the truth. He spoke on behalf of Sir Humphries everywhere, most of all those enjoying close proximity to the uppermost ministerial echelons.
    · Autographs [The Australian]
    Getting rid of Saddam Hussein put one Idi Amin imitator out of business (at least for the time being), but there are too many still eager to follow in that slob's footsteps -- don't forget that.

    Idi Amin dead dead ? Central Asian Mini-Stalinists

    We don't wish death upon anyone, but it's hard to get too worked up about the apparently imminent demise of one of the sorriest dictators of recent times. Yes, the very big (reportedly tipping the scales at some 220 kg these days) and very bad Idi Amin Dada is on his way out.
    · Dictators [Saloon ]
    Hollywood Keeping Immigrant Stories At Arm's Length

    When this nation of immigrants began flocking to the movies, they went to see stories about themselves. From 1905, when nickelodeons first appeared, to the end of the 1920s, when Hollywood began to create a star system, innumerable romances, comedies and melodramas featured immigrants and working-class laborers as their central characters... [But] in recent years, Hollywood has shied away from exploring the immigrant experience, in part because it's become such a political hot potato, in part because well-heeled studio executives find it hard to identify with the subject.
    · Immigrants [Los Angeles Times 07/22/03]
    The world is full of willing people, some willing to work, the rest willing to let them.
    -- Robert Frost

    Slovak Castles A castle for the price of a soul

    To climb up to · Lubovna Castle, take the half-hour-long red trail, leading from the Stara Lubovna town centre.
    I WANT to build a castle up on that hill, and live there until my very last breath, the old lord, named Lubovensky, told his sons, when he saw the hill rising above the town now known as Stara Lubovna.

    · She agreed under the condition that he sold his soul to her [Slovak Spectator]
    Where there were castles, there were slaves. My very own Vrbov was at different times slave to lords in the watchtowers of Kezmarok, Levoca and Poprad.
    Theodore Zeldin’s research published in the last decade of the 20th century sums up the story of Slavs:
    ‘Before twelve million Africans were kidnapped to be slaves in the New World, the main victims were the Slavs, who gave their name to slavery. Hunted by Romans, Christians, Muslims, Vikings and Tartars, they were exported all over the world. Slav came to mean foreigner; most religions taught that it was acceptable to enslave foreigners; British children who were exported as slaves - the girls fattened up to fetch a higher price - ended up as Slavs.

    Slave Music Fujara

    A traditional Slovak wind instrument enters the twenty-first century...
    Inspired by the number of web sites offering information about the Australian aboriginal wind instrument - the didgeridoo, he created www.fujara.sk, a web site devoted to the fujara, in English.
    Why in English? If a Slovak wants to, he or she can easily find out about the fujara, there are many possibilities.

    If your parents never had children, chances are you won't, either.
    -- Dick Cavett

    History African Sports

    On the plantation, a strong black man was mated with a strong black woman.
    · Taboos [OpinionJournal ]
    Writers Language, in the words of Ahab, Taxes me

    A stone hurled into the hull of a boat and with each stone the boat sinks further in the water...
    · Needles through the heart. [Washington Post]
    Trends Size Matters

    A woman in command, and on her own time: What could be sexier than that?
    · Watches [National Post]
    Lady Luck :World's luckiest man wins the lotter

    His Skoda (Skoda means Damage) car crashed through the barrier and over the edge but Mr Salek managed to jump out at the last minute and landed in a tree to see his car explode 300ft below him.
    · A Croatian [Ananova ]

    Wednesday, July 23, 2003

    Blogging & Flaming The blogging world seems to be constantly reminded that Tim Blair tends to write as a bully

    Did you ever play a game called hot potato when you were a child? The rules are simple. Children sit in a circle and pass along a potato while music is playing. Whoever is left holding the potato when the music stops is "out" and has to leave the game. The winner is the one who never got stuck with the potato. Many bloggers are playing a higher-stakes version of hot potato. The potato in this case is the recent exchange between Tim B and Tim D

    It is hard to tell why Blair felt the urge to make a reference to Tim Dunlop's son in his post... This is certainly not going to earn Blair any winning points from reasonable bloggers.

    · Attack [Tim Blair]
    · Attack in Reply [Tim Dunlop]
    Antipodean Stars Star survey reaches 70 Sextillion

    SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- Ever wanted to wish upon a star? Well, you have 70,000 million million million to choose from.
    That's the total number of stars in the known universe, according to a study by Australian astronomers.
    It's also about 10 times as many stars as grains of sand on all the world's beaches and deserts.

    · And that's only the Sexy stars we can actually see [CNN ]


    Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
    -Buddha

    British Queen of Amerikan Blogging & Logic Let the Blaming Game Begin

    Andrew Sullivan says the BBC has blood on its hands! Let me see if I can follow this, um, logic.
    · Is this Sexed up Logic? [Andrew SulliVan]
    It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.
    - Voltaire, philosopher

    Dizzy with spinmeisters

    G'Day. Today your say and your recommended reading on the dangers of spin and how to counter it.
    · Jean-Jacques Rousseau was right to warn us that democracy is the hardest form of government to maintain [Webdiary ]

    Prague Ashes

    If you want to set something afire, you must burn yourself

    Prague Winter On Wenceslas Square

    In 1969 Jan Palach set himself alight in Wenceslas Square in Prague and ignited a protest movement against the Communist Government of Czechoslovakia. This year in the Czech Republic there has been a spate of copy cat suicides by self-immolation. Encounter this week recalls the death of Jan Palach and considers the ethical tradition in Czech political philosophy.
    · Carry out your childhood dream, no matter how unlikely it may seem [Encounter: Our ABC]
    200 Nations Oldfield's trouble and strife, caught on tape

    The One Nation MP David Oldfield ordered parliamentary staff to make more than 200 copies of his wife's appearance on the TV chat show Beauty and the Beast and used his parliamentary allowance to pay for the blank video tapes...
    · Nothing new Under the Sun, Beauty and the Beast [SMH]
    · Political Marko Polos: According to Ramsey
    For those who relish irony, and absurdity . . .

    Upside-down reality 10 Things We Can Do to Perpetuate Homelessness

    To many people, the world today is upside down. Look at the problem of homelessness, for example. We are the richest and most powerful nation in the world, and yet there are still thousands and thousands of people who sleep on our streets each night.
    · Maybe the utterly absurd conclusion is this: We really want homelessness to exist in the United States.
    [ CommonDreams]
    Marietta, as she was familiarly called, reminds young people of the third millennium that true happiness calls for courage and a spirit of sacrifice, the rejection of any compromise with evil, and readiness to pay in person, including with death, for one's faithfulness to God and his commandments.

    Holy See Pope recruits online guardians

    It appears that the Pope is in need of something more than celestial assistance to protect his website. The Vatican has hired security experts to thwart hackers and fend off viruses aimed at infecting its website: Vatican.va
    Vatican.va is subjected to around 10,000 viruses a month and at least 30 hack attacks every day. Perhaps they want to make the site even more holy!

    Not only virtual, but also real life of Pope John Paul II has been obscured by sheer numbers — creating more saints than any other pope (473), preaching to the biggest crowd in history (5 million in the Philippines in 1995) and travelling more than any other pontiff (at least 126 countries).

    In September Slovaks, and particularly my cousin Andrej, will be third time lucky by entertaining Pope under the High Tatra Mountains.
    I understand that Pope is partial to my Mamka's pyrosky. (Those potato pyrozky are the best in the world and hundreds of strangers agree with this statement. To survive as a cook at the local school for twenty odd years was not a small achievement especially in a kitchen without a running water. Maybe the sweat and blisters made so many boys to fall in love with Mamka's cooking. Mamka's cooking is what I miss the most in exile.)
    · The loss of Europe's Christian memory and heritage [Jesus Journal]
    Memoirs The art of the memoir . . .

    In an interview for the Black Warrior Review, Thomas Bligh talks to Connie Sumterville, the author of a best–selling memoir, Turning 24 (2000), about why she has returned to the form after the failure of her novel, Family Friction.
    · 20s [Webdelsol ]
    Search Engines Google beefs up news searches

    Google on Monday unveiled refinements to technology for searching daily news, its latest effort to become the Web's go-to hub for headlines.
    · Advanced [NEWS ]

    Tuesday, July 22, 2003

    Feeling Misquoted? Weblogs, Transcripts Let the Reader Decide

    Journalism is an imperfect art. Take away the reporter's personal bias, political ideology, geographical orientation, upbringing, mood, and hangover -- and you still have potential problems. Like the recording of an interview. Record it on tape? Take notes only? Get it via e-mail? Despite all these efforts, journalists still get quotes wrong, editors sometimes chop them up into mincemeat, and interviewees get angry.
    · imperfect art [OJR ]

    Solid ABC reports are savage snarls. They're rude and gross. They ridicule the high and mighty. They dare to undress Wrongs & Wrans of this world. They slap down the pompous. They sting. They get the blood boiling. And they make their point -- with the clarity and nuance of a right uppercut. Amen!


    Are you from the ABC? ABC review rubbishes claims of war bias

    The ABC's complaints review arm has rejected Federal Government allegations of widespread bias in its coverage of the Iraq war, finding no evidence of systemic anti-Americanism.
    · Bias [ SMH]
    Law The Devil Made Me Do It

    Mayo v. Satan and His Staff is an intriguing classic. Plaintiff filed a civil rights action alleging that Satan and his employees “on numerous occasions caused plaintiff misery and unwarranted threats, against the will of plaintiff” and “placed deliberate obstacles in his path and caused plaintiff's downfall.” Plaintiff asserted these transgressions violated his constitutional rights. He sought the court’s permission to proceed in forma pauperis.
    · Strange Judicial Opinions [Lawhaha]

    Solawyer If

    If a builder builds and a baker bakes, it could follow that a solicitor solicits. Strike that from the record, because legal eagles won't have a bar of it.
    · Lawyer [SMH ]
    Corporate Democracy Shareholder

    Any democracy is only as robust as its electoral process. Elections at U.S. corporations lack several attributes of any good democratic system.

    But a corporation is not a political entity. It is an economic entity. An economic entity has different goals from a political entity. In today's Washington Post, Steven Pearlstein senses something is not quite right with this incessant focus on corporate democracy:

    In the case of allowing shareholders to nominate directors, for example, much of the rationale seems to be based on the romantic notion that corporations should be laboratories of democracy, with open annual elections for all directors, and majority and minority factions. In practice, I suspect running a corporation requires more stability and internal harmony than the democratic model allows.

    · Harmony [CorpLawblog ]
    Leadership Time for a Leadership Tune-up

    I was wrong. Yes, skills and behavioral training are important, very important, at all levels, but now I believer it's the managers - the top editors - who need the most training because they must lead the way, must create a culture of change and must model that culture through their own words and actions.
    · Tim @ His Best!!! [TimPorter ]
    Politics Slanted Truth

    Political Double Standards: While I've been trying to stay out of the whole left vs. right argument that has turned politics into a whining match, I thought this article was worth noting. I will say this: The difference between the tales Clinton told and the stories the Bush Administration seem to be telling now is that the Clinton's tales led to scandal, where the Bush's stories led to war.
    · Right/Wrong
    [ Slate]
    Just caught my nose: garbage in Garbage out?

    Evil men will take more and add less to the barn of the common goods.
    -Francisco de Vitoria (c. 1480–1546)

    North Rhine-Westphalia says municipal incinerators offered huge opportunity for corruption
    · Rhine [FAZ ]

    Monday, July 21, 2003

    Aquadot Thorpe rockets to another world first

    Ian Thorpe stood atop the victory podium in Barcelona today as the first swimmer in history to win the same event at three consecutive world titles.
    · Thorpe celebrates after winning his third consecutive [SMH ]
    Six Degrees of Procrastination

    Two months ago, I could have gotten 30 people to show up to a party if I was lucky. Now, I'm happily connected to 250,000 dear comrades and trusted co-conspirators—that's more than the entire population of Belize. I owe my newly hypertrophied social circle to Friendster, the site that's become everyone's favorite time-waster over the last few months.
    · Kissy-kissy vibe [Slate ]
    An Award for "Best Lead in a News Story Reporting Microsoft's Decision to Award Restricted Stock Instead of Stock Options" goes to Michael T. Bruno of ISS's Friday Report, who began his July 11 story on Microsoft's announcement:

    Microsoft Corp. has done what Max Zorin could not.

    In 1985, the fictional Zorin tried to set off an earthquake under Silicon Valley by triggering a fault line with tons of explosives -- at least that's the way it played on-screen in the James Bond movie "A View to a Kill." This week in the real world, all it took was Microsoft releasing a press statement.


    Speaking of technology...

    Rosenholz Stasi

    Technology is coming to the rescue of workers trying to piece thousands of torn files from the former East German secret police agency, the Stasi.
    For eight years, staff in Zierndorf, a former West German centre in Bavaria, have had the unenviable job of trying to reconstruct 16,000 brown paper sacks of torn files.
    The files, from the Stasi's Magdeburg office, were ripped up during the dying days of the communist regime under orders from Stasi chief Erich Mielke.

    · A Writer continued to deny this until one incriminating torn Stasi file was pieced together [NZHerald ]

    Managers Time for a Leadership Tune-up

    I was wrong. Yes, skills and behavioral training are important, very important, at all levels, but now I believer it's the managers - the top editors - who need the most training because they must lead the way, must create a culture of change and must model that culture through their own words and actions.
    · Tim @ His Best!!! [TimPorter ]

    Media Manufacturing the "Daily Drumbeat"

    The public gets two kinds of news. There is the unpredictable erupting event, from the great (Berlin Wall falls) to the small (a child goes missing). Then there's the more common type of news, the everyday assembly-line product of press conferences and public events. Some call this "manufactured news," since public figures at the center of the news can orchestrate their spin. But there's a subcategory of "manufactured news," in which the media create a story based on a political agenda. Welcome to the so-called Bush speech "controversy."
    · Agenda [Washington Dispatch]
    Lets Spread the Word Making Accessible Minds

    Mark, who has spinal muscular atrophy, is writing a blog. Excerpt:
    I didn't start writing this blog as a way to scream Hey, look! I'm a cripple and I blog! I just wanted something that would get me to write more. And because of my disability, stuff happens in daily life. It can be something funny or silly or just frustrating, but it's usually interesting enough for me to want to write about it. And that's probably where the novelty comes in. Many of the Anonymous You have probably never met someone with a disability, at least not a visible disability. By reading my stuff, you get a little peek into a life that's at once very similar and very different from your own life. You may read this site and feel amusement, puzzlement, voyeuristic fascination, or even pity. I have no idea.
    · Lets point Mark to top of the world [19thFloor: courtesy of Reverse Cowgirl]

    Sunday, July 20, 2003

    Horror of human inhumanity I was pregnant - and then my lover sold me and my baby

    Human traffickers, no longer satisfied with their income from enslaved prostitutes, are impregnating them and selling their babies.
    · Traffickers [Guardian ]
    · Sex & Taxes [Age ]
    Cold War Monument to Berlin Wall victim unveiled

    A monument to the last person killed trying to escape communist East Berlin was unveiled in Berlin on Saturday on what would have been the victim's 35th birthday.

    The monument, a 2.6-metre high steel column, was placed at the site of the Britz canal where East German border guards shot and killed Chris Gueffroy, then 20 years old, when he and a friend sought to escape to West Berlin.

    Berlin city Minister of Culture Thomas Flierl said that as a "politician of the PDS I feel a special political and human responsibility for the memory of the victims of The Wall". The PDS - Party of Democratic Socialism - is the successor party to the Communist Party.

    · The incident took place February 5, 1989 - nine months before the fall of the Berlin Wall [Cold War Wall ]
    · Another incident took place July 7, 1980 - nine years before the fall of the Berlin Wall [Cold War River ]


    The horror of human impotence Pure Presence of Being

    First the writer withdraws from the world into a timeless and otherworldly realm: fascination. The fascinated person loses all sense of time, self, space, and is just a perceptive consciousness. Blanchot has compared fascination with death and with the impossible mission of Orpheus.
    · A story? No. No stories, never again. [Skidmore ]
    · Because of all that, my dearest Iraq, I despise you. But please, my love and hate, understand my anger. [Blog viaIshtar]

    What good is being cancer-free if you're blind? Strange but True

    Believe us, they are all real. A freshly-updated collection of unusual tales reported around the world ...
    · Unusual Tales [SMH ]
    · Cost of online romance [IOL ]

    Cherry picking Is nothing new under the sun?

    Some critics are asking (properly attributing that phrase to the writer of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, of course). Author Joan Didion pointed out that when she arrived at college 'it was immediately impressed on me that all the novels necessary had already been written.' Does that suggest we're living in unimaginative times in which lazy artists simply mimic the past or, worse, slip into plagiarism? A quick scan of popular culture could suggest that.
    · Wicked Witch of the West [Christian Science Monitor 07/18/03 ]
    · They should know better [National Post 07/15/03]
    It's got to the stage where some publishers offer you 'reading money' to read the book, and then put in the letter some phrase to the effect that 'of course the money isn't Intended to influence your judgment'.
    · The generous giants [Telegraph (UK)]
    I know I should be sick of linking just how bad political intelligence is, but there's something intriguing about its badness. As long as these links are inspiring bravery among the oppressed, and fear in the hearts of the authorities, these superstories are doing something right.

    The glue that holds the Intelligence Community together is melting under the hot lights of awakened bloggers.

    Stories like this are not intended to intimidate me, since I've already told my story. But it's pretty clear it is intended to intimidate others who might come forward. You need only look at the stories of intelligence analysts who say they have been pressured. They may have kids in college, they may be vulnerable to these types of smears.

    White House Smear A War on Wilson? a thuggish act

    So he will neither confirm nor deny that his wife--who is the mother of three-year-old twins--works for the CIA. But let's assume she does. That would seem to mean that the Bush administration has screwed one of its own top-secret operatives in order to punish Wilson or to send a message to others who might challenge it.
    · This is the stuff of Kim Philby and Aldrich Ames [TheNation(US)]
    · 16 words and counting ...Bully pulpit fiction: Hellbent on misleading [TheNation(US)]
    · I was a fool to believe that those in command wouldn't dare risk the public's indignation at such an indecent scheme [ Augusta]
    · current generations "have forgotten Watergate....I think the pendulum has swung again [NJ(US)]

    Black Hole Game of Cosmic Snooker, of Celestial Billiards

    In life, you finish up having, at best, a few thousand truly meaningful hours. So, for pity’s sake, don’t waste them. But waste them is what most people do. They fail to realise that it is beyond miraculous that they exist in the first place. The chances of us being here together today are in the billions upon billions upon billions to one.
    · 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' [Phil Adams
    Brown Hole We fail morality if we let Some Selfish Buggers Rewrite History: Sad History Hellbent on misleading...

    Is something fundamentally different about modern times and sexual expression? Doubtless many things about modernity are different from antiquity, but our sexual make up and sexual drive are not among those differences. Whatever adaptations changing times may necessitate, changing moral standards of sexual behaviour is not among them.
    · Logic behind the brown mask [OnlineOpinion via Age&SMH]
    · This blogger thought sex on the beach was only a mixed drink! [ NYTimes (If you encounter a registration screen, try this: Username: ajreader Password: access)]

    Tis Amerikan Erection Offshore Company Captures Online Military Vote

    Since 2001 Accenture and Election.com have been strategic partners "to jointly deliver comprehensive election solutions to governments worldwide. Last month Accenture bought the public-sector election assets of Election.com, which suffered its own scandal this year when it was discovered that Osan Ltd, a firm of Saudi and other foreign investors, bought controlling interest in it.
    · A sense of civic duty isn't high on Accenture's list of priorities [CommonDreams ]
    The Wages of Spin is Death: Kelly didn't stand a chance against the frenzy of No 10

    There are secondary players in this sordid game. The BBC's and Gilligan's performance on the question of the source has been shifty. No doubt they had to be careful. Confidentiality is a sacred and essential rule. But when Kelly first appeared, they said the real source was in a different department, implying an intelligence official rather than a defence consultant.
    · Doctoring dossier [Guardian ]
    · Doctoring death [Independent ]

    Saturday, July 19, 2003

    Much Ado About Survival North & South; East & West; West & North

    Relations between the US and North Korea are spiralling out of control, and war is a possibility...
    · Sadly, Only the Paranoid will survive [ SMH]

    Making Policies from Taxing to Blogging Joke's on you, says the Westminster blogger

    Labour MP Tom Watson's ironic appeal to the nation's youth is becoming an unlikely hit in the internet community.
    Westminster held a world-first in July 2003 AD, when around 120 bloggers descend on parliament for a discussion on how politicians can best use the "blogosphere" to further policy and public interaction.

    · Maaa Dear Watson [BBC ]
    · Parliamentary blogosphere [Guardian ]
    · Editorial pages are predictable, repetitive, and usually cranky [TimPorter]
    · Jourggers [TiM]
    The intelligence community Self-Deception

    The intelligence community provides faulty information to policy makers who then use it to justify disastrous decisions? When have I heard this story before? Or was it in the 1980s, when, emphasizing the "evil empire," American intelligence entirely missed both the internal collapse of the Soviet economy and the historic significance of the nonviolent democracy movements?
    · nonviolent democracy movements? [Tompaine. ]
    Dead Man Reading FBI is Here

    Two FBI agents became interested in journalist and bookstore employee Marc Schultz after he was seen in an Atlanta coffeeshop reading a print-out of a story titled "Weapons of Mass Stupidity." (It's a piece on Fox News and Rupert Murdoch.) Schultz, who was grilled by the agents, writes: "My co-worker, Craig, says that we should probably be thankful the FBI takes these things seriously; I say it seems like a dark day when an American citizen regards reading as a threat, and downright pitch-black when the federal government agrees.
    · Agents [ Atlanta]
    · Dangerous CIA [Sunday Nine]

    Dead Man Sexing it Up Weapons adviser named as possible source for BBC story disappears

    Isn't it amazing how many people who have dodgy secrets about their government often go missing or are mysteriously found dead? There are those who would dismiss conspiracy theorists as nutters, but that's a convenient badge isn't it? The latest suspicious death concerns the man who was thought to be the 'mole' who informed the BBC that the dossier on Iraq was sexed up to promote the idea of going to war. If this body does turn out to be his, I wonder what story will be concocted...
    · Never mind that Only Paranoid People Survive [BBC ]
    · The Kelly is Dead [Independent (Saturday afternoon)]
    History will forgive us

    When you start appealing to historians , you know they're in deep trouble! Maybe it's because someone told Tony “you better sound real good , or you’re history!” and the idea kinda stuck.
    And Congress loved it. The prime minister received 19 standing ovations during his 32-minute speech. Amen...

    · Does " history" pay taxes? [Guardian ]
    Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
    --Walt Whitman

    Bohemian Gypsies Rednecks: Exiled poets share Pauline Hansonite experiences

    Hundreds of exiled poets and writers are gathering in New Zealand for a conference exploring the link between exile and creativity.
    · Part of what makes exiles unique is that creativity arises from this shared set of multitudes [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/3074859.stm ]
    Looks like the Prague Post picked up, in an editorial, the MfD story about politician's perks Media Dragon linked yesterday...
    It is an old story seen throughout the world, affecting governments and business in virtually every country. Regardless of the economic systems adopted by countries across the globe, the problem of political leaders and businesses trading favors for favors in shady backroom deals goes on and on, seemingly without end. When I worked for the NSW Parliament many a political & journalistic character (sic) reminded me of the greedy bullies I naively assumed were only operating on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain. By Bob ... How wrong I happened to be!

    Friday, July 18, 2003

    Blogging Joke's on you, says the Westminster blogger

    Labour MP Tom Watson's ironic appeal to the nation's youth is becoming an unlikely hit in the internet community.
    Westminster held a world-first in July2003 AD, when around 120 bloggers descend on parliament for a discussion on how politicians can best use the "blogosphere" to further policy and public interaction.

    · Maaa Dear Watson [BBC ]
    · Parliamentary blogosphere [Guardian ]
    · Editorial pages are predictable, repetitive, and usually cranky [TimPorter]
    · Jourggers [TM]
    Much Do Absolutely About South & North North, South Korea Soldiers Exchange Fire

    The Pentagon is aware of the incident but has no comment...
    · How to win friends and invent fire [Yahoo:::Much Do Absolutely About South & North]
    Media Czinese Wall between editorial and advertising

    Czech media watchers, take note. Just about the only drama to speak of at Karlovy Vary had zilch to do with films. There has been hell to pay in the Mlada fronta Dnes newsroom over an intervention on the part of the paper's publisher with regards to an article calling attention to all the free perks (such as luxury hotel suites) that the festival's sponsors lavish on politicians. The paper decided to hold the article until Monday, after the festival was over, and it was played down big time when it was finally published.
    · Media sponsorship [Scottymac.blogspot]
    COMMENT AND ANALYSIS Clawing back leisure time

    The productivity gains of the 1990s owed a lot to increased effort by workers, which couldn’t be sustained indefinitely.
    · Loses [APO ]
    · Quiggin of Blogging [MentalSpace ]
    · Rep Bernie Sanders vs. Chairman Alan Greenspan [Financial Services Committee]
    Americans for Tax Reform

    According to a new report by the conservative watchdog group Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), Iowa has the 15th lowest cost of government among the 50 states, while Illinois has the 12th highest.
    · Cost of Government [The report is available at (http://www.atr.org/pdffiles/2003cogd.]
    Involving researchers in investigations Phony Politicians

    St. Paul Pioneer Press special investigation finds state politicians (including the governor) were paid fees by a phone company which cheated customers.
    · Cheating [TwinCities ]
    Government Information Challenges Emerge As Government Documents Increasingly Go Digital

    Library Journal: As government documents librarians incorporate more digital materials, they are finding that the very shape of their libraries is transformed...
    Like other documents librarians, Carolyn Kohler (government publications librarian at the University of Iowa) has found herself unexpectedly at the forefront of technological change and momentous political issues: the public's right to know vs. legitimate security concerns; public accountability for government actions vs. government secrecy; permanent public access vs. instantaneous (but maybe temporary) electronic access.

    · Documents and Resources on EU E-Government [ Europa]
    · National eGovernment sites [ Europa]
    Tourism MP: in winter, it stands for missing person

    Courtesy of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) ...
    · ®esearch trips about parliamentary ethics. [Sydney&San FranciscoHerald]

    Some Solid Advice Let the sun shine

    In Queensland you can go fishing or just laze on the beach...
    There's nothing more satisfying than waving goodbye to the winter blues to chase the sun while your colleagues battle the nine to five in cold discomfort.
    · Ways to enjoy a Queensland break without spending a fortune [SMH ]
    Uniting Church Divided A Full-Blown Split over Brown Holes

    "I'm not devastated, God is greater than this. If it's going to be an exodus my hope is it will be a mass exodus. I don't want people going in dribs and drabs. I want it to be very obvious.
    · Much Ado About High Church [SMH ]

    Thursday, July 17, 2003

    It is not the kings and generals that make history but the masses of the people, the workers, the peasants, the doctors, the clergy.
    -Memorable sayings from Nelson Mandela
    Australian Treasurer Do no harm

    There are non-monetary things that add to the wealth of a society. Civic engagement and the values which it promotes like trust and tolerance are some of those things. You can call them social capital if that is conceptually easier. It might help with the idea of building them up, running them down, adding to our wealth, or detracting from it. But a society which has these things should be careful not to let them run down. Once they are gone it takes a lot of effort to get them back again.
    · Trust [Sydney Institute(viaMargo)]
    Workplaces Legal Eagles

    While some go into it out of greed, many could not simply - cope with the paltry amount paid by many Principals as remuneration. Some Principals are so tight—fisted and could not care less as to how their juniors manage their way to and from office and have three square meals a day. The question of maintaining a family therefrom does not arise! This is not only deleterious to these young practitioners but also the profession as well. According to Professor M. I. Jegede, former Dean of Law.

    "It is herculean for a new corner to the practice of the profession to go it alone irrespective of his brilliance and determination. Some have done it and have been able to weather the storm and they have been able to remain in the main stream of legal practice stricto—sensu.

    · Stricto/Sensu [ Vanguard]
    Heros Tribute to a living legend

    An international Who's Who of stardom will descend on Johannesburg from Friday to celebrate the 85th birthday of Nelson Mandela.
    · During the times of tensions, it is not the talented people who excel, it is the extremists who shout slogans [ SMH]
    Political Donations ALP body to keep Jews onside

    Labor should listen to all sides. Political influence requires the currency of ideas, not cash. Labor cannot be bought.
    · Donations [ Australian]
    Turning its czeech on history A chain of lovers: Erotic exiles

    A courtesan was a woman who fell from respectability and then rose to great heights in an alternative realm. She was an exile.
    · Love is one thing and sex is...well, sex [ Guardian&Ananova]
    Police When police should say “no!” to gratuities

    Many writers on police corruption see the acceptance of even the smallest gift or benefit as being the beginning of the end of an honest officer’s career. Others suggest that the acceptance of gratuities does little harm, and that there may in fact be positive benefits in the practice, not just for the officer involved, but for society as a whole.
    · Police corruption [Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University (PDF file)]
    Politics Global corruption barometer

    A deep and widespread crisis in political legitimacy emerges from the first-ever Global Corruption Barometer.
    · Political legitimacy [Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance, Griffith University(WordDocument]

    Wednesday, July 16, 2003

    Value for Money No Fees for Online Vehicle Registration

    Dave Fletcher reports that as of yesterday, utah.gov has additional dropped fees for renewing your vehicle online. This is a big step. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out ways to get rid of the fees. No one likes paying more for online renewal---most people think it ought to be cheaper. But government funding methods don't always mesh with real world expectations. Dave doesn't report how they finally managed to pull this off, but given that it happened on July 1, the start of the fiscal year, I'd guess it has something to do with a change in how its funded.
    · EGovernment [Radio ]
    Media The games newspapers shouldn't play

    A "SENIOR administration official" paid a visit to The Chronicle not long ago. I'd tell you the name, but that would be wrong. The paper agreed in advance not to identify this top White House representative. A deal is a deal, so I'm duty-bound to clam up.

    What's not so certain is whether the deal was good for readers.

    There are valid reasons to let someone talk on background. Sometimes sources need protection: People lose their jobs for talking to newspapers. They get harassed, assaulted, even shot. That wasn't likely in this case.

    · Senior administration officials don't drop by newspapers to rat out their boss [ LosAngeles]

    Tuesday, July 15, 2003

    Deflation 2004 AD Bush administration admits to record deficits

    Jeez, it looks as though the GOP is losing the press. Their spin on the upcoming budget deficits isn't getting much respect.
    Republicans say the more important measure of red ink is how it compares to the size of the U.S. economy, because that illustrates the government's ability to afford carrying the debt.
    And the AP reporter's response?
    Even gauged that way, a shortfall 4 percent as big as the economy — as this year's and next's will probably be — begins to approach the dimension of the deficits of the 1980s and early 1990s that both parties agreed were untenable.

    · True, true. And yeah, I'm as shocked [viaTaxingThoughts ]
    You can't ignore a history and family connection like this...

    The mammoth ruin at Spis

    Spis Castle lords over the village of Spisské Podhradie, 29 kilometres northeast of Spisská Nová Ves. From the village, follow the yellow trail for almost half an hour up to the castle(www.spisskyhrad.sk)
    The Large ruins of Spis Castle, which sit on a bare limestone cliff 643 metres above sea level in eastern Slovakia, are visible from a distance.
    Spread out over more than four hectares, the castle is one of the largest ruins in Europe. At the time of its greatest fame, there were five courtyards and 135 rooms. In the past, the rising castle represented state power, while Spis Theological Centre represented the power of the church. The castle and the centre were the focus of political and social life in the Spis region.

    · The Castle & Andrej Imrich [SlovakSpectator]
    The New Literary Lottery

    Good news for aspiring writers: Advances for first-time authors have blown sky-high. The catch? If the book doesn’t sell, the fallout can kill your career.
    · Literary Dances [NYMetro ]

    :: blog.forwriters.org :: is a free blogging service for writers and authors, and it is offered by ewritersplace.com, a site devoted to
    · Try it [ForWriters ]
    My name today is Anger

    I want you to be angry with corporate thieves, angry enough to risk some time, money or freedom to make their lives miserable. Motivation can come from many places: love of the forest, revenge for your friends death, injury or ruined lives; or from hate. Often you hate something because it threatens something you love – Love and hate.
    · Love and hate. [Indymedia ]

    We will never achieve what we can't imagine, so what are we hoping for?
    · Hope & Fear [CurrentPsychology: via Gianna & Margo]
    Our worst fears have unfortunately been confirmed...

    Germany Call for more Sex

    Germany's family affairs minister, Renate Schmidt, has announced a program aimed at publicizing German companies that adopt flexible employment policies aimed at encouraging Germans ...
    · To have more children [FAZ ]
    Leaving Head Start Behind

    The Head Start program, begun 38 years ago, takes a comprehensive approach to helping the nation's poorest children and families. The program has provided high-quality early education, health care, nutrition and social services to more than 20 million children, as well as support to their families. President Bush's proposal for Head Start would allow the federal government to abandon its promise to truly give children a head start.
    · Vulnerable children enter school ready to learn [TomPaine ]