Tuesday, August 31, 2004

When Did We Become so Polarized That We Lost Our Ability to Have a Civilized Discussion About Complex Issues?
Ken Parish continues to examine the price of an opinion and the logic behind election (playboyish smile)
While Don Arthur elaborates How politicians can change your vote without changing you

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: DO I REPEAT MYSELF, Electorate's mood hard to gauge
The rule in politics is repetition, repetition, repetition. Not just any words, but THE words - the ones which have been market tested and convey a subliminal message.
German filmmaker Fritz Kippler, one of Goebbels' most effective propagandists, once said that two steps were necessary to promote a Big Lie so the majority of the people in a nation would believe it. The first was to reduce an issue to a simple black-and-white choice that "even the most feebleminded could understand." The second was to repeat the oversimplification over and over. If these two steps were followed, people would always come to believe the Big Lie.
Malcolm Mackerras, one of the most respectable Nostradamus who comes from the land Down Under thinks that John Winston Howard has a better chance to win a fourth term in Australia than George Walker Bush has to win a second term in the US.
A six week campaign, the longest since Orwell’s 1984... Australia is a bit more like the Spanish case, where you do have one party saying get out and another party staying the course, and the party in power is the one wanting to stay the course ...

Fourth Coming? [John Howard and Mark Latham are accusing each other of lying, and each has something of a case Porn Diary 39 days to Come]
• · · · As the federal election campaign heats up, blogger Antony Loewenstein counter-spins the news ; [As for invoking Harry Evans in the whole raising the GST rate 12.5% or 15% debate, I'm sure the fastidiously anti-political Evans would be JUST thrilled to have his name dragged into SLI's hate campaign; New Matilda]
• · · · · At the fag end of a Government more than 10 years old: There’ll be plenty more time to provide running commentary on the Federal Election. God knows that there’ll be plenty of opportunities for the Boilermaker to tap into the popular mood at rail stations at 6 in the morning; [Factory Outlets of Grove Lowy pact to block cinema: site owner]
• · · · · · Oedipus wrecks Graeme Wedderburn, chief of staff for the NSW Premier, Bob Carr, and Matthew Strassberg... The Hardie inquiry: The spirit of Oedipus Rex, of turning a blind eye to the bleeding obvious, lurks behind every corporate and organisational disaster

The Web, Internet, is in the fifth year of dirty thirties...

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Unfit for Publication
Has anyone ever trashed his reputation as a journalist more thoroughly than Robert Novak? It turns out that his son is the publicist for Regnery , publisher of Unfit For Command, but that was information Novak didn't find relevant enough to mention when he scored an exclusive interview with the ghostly Admiral Schachte --- you know, the guy who nobody remembers being the fourth guy in a three...
Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, the best-selling book ; [What's the Olympic Village like? Is it nerve racking before competing? The latest media trend at the Games are athletes' blogs ; Blogger celebrates Olympic's last-place losers]
• · ABC finds $2m and children's channel flies again
• · · Big Media the Real Elephant in the Garden ; [The media is worried the bell is beginning to toll for them, and they're right ]
• · · · Hey Big Media, Connect the Dots - Nine Impolite Questions for Big Media ; [Modern Studies: A Degree in Bullying and Self-interest? No Thanks ]
• · · · · Checking out the web sights [Googlicious - Post IPO Google Expansion ]
• · · · · · Net's naked truth about public service; [What Would Machiavelli Do? The Big Lie Lives On ; Watch how CNN, et al. try to Spin this one The blogger who triggered yesterday’s resignation of Rep. Ed Schrock (R-Va.) by spreading rumors that he is gay promised there’s more to come ]

Monday, August 30, 2004

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on.
Robert Frost, American poet (1874-1963)

JOHN Howard has signalled the mother of all scare campaigns over Labor's ability to run the economy and keep interest rates low and another John, John Quiggin, analyses the Beatups! In the red corner a brash young upstart takes on the wily older campaigner, the man of steelx versus the rough diamond

Eye on Elections 2004: E(l)ection We Had To Have: Punters Hunger for Hung Parliament
Australia's most successful Olympic team ever will be welcomed home on Wednesday by Prime Minister John Howard and Labor leader Mark Latham.
AN international betting agency expects the federal election to pull in more money than the troika - the Olympics, NRL and AFL grand finals combined.
Centrebet analyst Gerard Daffy predicts punters will pour more than $2 million into the October 9 election outcome - money into the clowns with the masks of mirth. Prime Minister John Howard's Coalition is the early $1.55 favourite, while Mark Latham's Labor is the $2.30 underdog ...
Mr Harry Evans, Clerk of the Parliament, said The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Neil Andrew's actions were most unusual. I don't know where the Speaker gets the power to stop the House of Representatives sitting.
Mr Andrew said he had consulted the Clerk of the House, Ian Harris, who advised that it did not sit...

Running Porkies: No silver or bronze in fight for the Lodge; [The Whole World is Watching: First Spain and now Prime Minister John Howard will become the first of three allied leaders who launched the US-led invasion of Iraq to face voters ; Truth is multi-coloured and we may prefer the rose-tinted shades to black and white ... Values versus bribes: Margo Kingston]
• · From Road To Surfdom to King versus Bull; [ALP's cynics fear a victory: Although no one will admit it, many in the State Government fear a federal Labor win might be worse than a loss
• · · Southerly Buster: Starting Gun ... Why parliament gets 19 guns and the governor-general gets 21 is not immediately obvious
• · · · Orwell and Wizards of Oz practicing Election Speak: Tax or levy: Latham lost on difference
• · · · · Second Amerikan presidential blogger, John Adams: The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger public liberty: Seriously Polling ; These are the Only Issues You Need to Know about E(l)ections and the state of the shocking state of the Princes Highway
• · · · · · · Pendulum Professor: Malcolm Mackerras ; [ At this election, candidates or parties that win more than 4 per cent of the vote will earn $1.94 for each vote; Antony Green's E(l)ection Guide: Comic views on the nation's 150 electorates ]
(ELSEWHERE: How Long Can the Country Stay Scared? ; Abolish the Electoral College ... The best argument the staff at the NYTimes can come up with for dumping the electorial college )

'What's one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?'
'I don't know,' said Alice. 'I lost count.'
'She can't do Addition,' the Red Queen interrupted.
Lewis Carroll, Author (1832 - 1898)

Invisible Hands & Markets: The Magic Mountains and Rivers are flooding bookstores
Everyone in publishing agrees it is getting harder to sell a new novel, even by a distinguished name, in this country; book buyers seem interested only in non-fiction
She hit the same spot aimed at by those adverts beginning 'Ashamed of your English?' by encouraging people to think they could turn this knowledge to their advantage.
Imrich, therefore I am published [ For every occupation, there is a catalog of secrets only its employees are aware of Proofreadering Australian rechtub klat: If you’re reading too fast, your brain can “correct” typos, preventing you from catching them. That’s why it’s sometimes a good idea to read a page upside-down ; Three magic verbs: “weighs,” “mulls,” or “considers” ]
• · Gas can be frozen into liquid form near its source, shipped to market in refrigerated tankers, warmed back into gaseous form on foreign shores and injected into the local pipeline system. Thanks to this technological advance, gas has the potential to be a fungible, global commodity like oil
• · · Guy Kawasaki's - Art of the Start manifesto (PDF version)Mantra" instead of mission for the enterprise.In his own inimitable way,he expands this with some real examples. Nike -"Authentic Athletic Experience", Disney -"Fun, Family and Entertainment", Starbucks - "Rewarding Everyday Moments"
• · · · Germany, the country is united, but Easterners are dissatisfied ; [123]
• · · · · ACH, IS immigration a danger or a ray of hope?
• · · · · · As far as I can tell, the first recorded thinking on the "six degrees of separation" theory started in Budapest around 1929. That's when Frigyes Karinthy wrote a short story entitled "Chains" in which he postulated that one billion people had only five degrees of separation. He was not a mathematician, scientist or engineer but a poet and writer, so where the number five came from remains unclear. There is absolutely nothing amazing about the six degrees of separation theory

Marry and you will regret it. Do not marry, and you will also regret it... Laugh at the stupidities of the world, and you will regret it; weep over them, and you will also regret it. Hang yourself, and you will regret it. Do not hang yourself, and you will also regret it... This, gentlemen, is the quintessence of all the wisdom of life.
-Soren Kierkegaard

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: The desire to appear in a more flattering light
Simone Weil said in her book The Need for Roots (Routledge and Paul, 1952) that truth is a need of the soul. She went on to say: The need for truth is a need more sacred than any other need. Yet it is never mentioned. One feels afraid to read once one has realised the quantity and monstrousness of the material falsehoods paraded in even the books of the most reputable authors. Thereafter one reads as though one were drinking from a contaminated well.
Australia's Raimond Gaita on the need for truth.; [Inescapably, we learn by being moved, and that would be so even in heaven ]
• · Teachers and public-service announcements pound the reading-is-good-for-you message into children from an early age. But by the time many people reach adulthood, they've lost sight of what marketing gurus might call the takeaway value of books.
• · · Off The Wall Poetry The loo, the dunny, the can, restrooms, facilities, conveniences. Call it what you want - the toilet is one of our most interesting cultural spaces; [Dunnies changing the world!!! ; My Partner in Crime, Slavoj Zizek, Reviews Toilets: Russian, English, German, French etc ...]
• · · · How vanity is just a wistful form of ambition; [ The two creepiest words in the English language are Christian rock]
• · · · · A review of the funniest philosopher who ever lived: The Humor of Kierkegaard No one should be allowed to own any property, he says in a digression in Either/Or on how to solve the national debt. An exception should be made only for me. I shall set aside for myself one hundred rix-dollars in a London bank, partly because I cannot manage on less, partly because I am the one who provided the idea.
• · · · · · Modern biographers stick too closely to a Victorian formula but change will surely come A good biography is like a good portrait: it captures the essence of the sitter by being much more than a likeness

Sunday, August 29, 2004

The day is coming when a single media dragon, freshly observed, will set off a revolution .
Paul Cezanne, French painter (1839-1906)

Bush like a rock or a car only dumber. His supposed intellectual failings are the butt of countless jokes, but so far the question is why is a political village missing its idiot?

Eye on E(l)ection 2004 AD: Overboard But Treading: Just as a culture of trust is contagious, so is one of courage
Howard: election to be about trust.
As predicted by the Media Dragon in June the Prime Minister, John Howard, announced an October 9 election date today saying the six-week campaign would be one fought on the issue of trust.

I'd rather vote for something I want and not get it than vote for something I don't want, and get it; [Nation needs new leadership, says Latham; PM: I'll stay as long as party wants me; Howard in losing mode: Brown; Labor win could see boost in women Mps; Labor to subpoena ministers' staff; Michelle Grattan: Howard's vulnerable whatever the timing; Comment: How angry voters forced the PM's hand
• From Little Things Big Things Grow MPs call for full disclosure over Orange Grove; Grove Going, Going, Going Overboard ; [ via 27 August 2004 Stateline (Coming, Coming, in the fullness of the public diservice time) Everything we do is futile, but we must do it anyway despite people like Quentin Dempster or the e(l)ection pebble Tonko Green (smile) ]
• · The Politics Of Bullying Democracy requires dissent, right or wrong
• · · What's love got to do with it? Governments promise economic growth and prosperity in exchange for their overbearing embrace ... Less love and more words
• · · · Slavoj Zizek Reviews Timothy Garton Ash's Free World
• · · · · Bob Dole caught on camera when he thought he wouldn't be saying McCain was right about Bush's tactics
• · · · · · · Nathan Vass Guttman Israeli spy said operating in the Pentagon; [The Pentagon analyst who officials said is under suspicion was one of two department officials who traveled to Paris for a secret meeting with Manucher Ghorbanifar, Iranian arms dealer who had been a central figure in the Iran-contra affair]

World Population: 6,374,830,793 and Counting ... Blog population: 3,548,339 Media dragons and counting. That makes it one blog for every 1,796 persons if I did the math right

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Mea Culpa Mania
The publishing power of the Internet, which provides a technology-enabled platform for media critics, is partly responsible for the recent wave of newspaper confessions about poor coverage, says Geneva Overholser. Each of these criticisms is far more powerful than it used to be, she tells the Christian Science Monitor, and in turn causes newspapers to feel more compelled to be transparent. That is a good thing. Indeed, it is.
We must bring journalism down to a human level, down from the tower it built to separate itself from the public, down to eye level ...

Quick Shots: Sorry-ism, plagiarism, humility, diversity [ courtesy of Journalist Garen and his interpreter had an escape plan ]
• · The WSJ Profiles 14 white guys and a woman: The Bloggers Who'll Be At The RNC Convention; [George P. Landow In linking and following links lie responsibility - political responsibility - since each reader establishes his or her own line of reading: Successful Blogging ]
• · · I had a dream about leeches coming down the walls in my room, and I called security and they wouldn't do anything about it. I equated the leeches with the media Say it in private, but keep it out of the newspapers?
• · · · Kottke The Google Browser ; [From coldriver to icerocket (Search Engine) ]
• · · · · US Who owns what in the meedya industry ; []
• · · · · · A Very Kantian Thought: by KM Each dragon in cyberspace is a placeholder for a human being with a certain unique sphere of interests. This way, no node in the network is ever redundant or obsolete: Everybody contributes, and there is no dead weight

To be nobody-but-jozelf—in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else—means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
- e.e. cummings (1894-1962) american poet (I used Media Dragon’s poetic license)
Every burned book or house enlightens the world; every suppressed or expunged word reverberates through the earth from side to side

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Losing is an art for most Olympians
How athletes who do not win a medal face defeat, could be crucial to their future success.
Even if I were 18 meters in back of the others, I would have been very grateful and very happy, because I have been in the Olympic Games.
Time to meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same.

Sentiment of Olympic Games [Success Requires Failure, Cold or Hot Have e-books turned a page?; Book Watch: Face it guys, there's no escape from COLD RIVER]
The Making of a modern dad ; [The Great Books are still alive and kicking ]
• · · It is not the Olympics but it certainly is a marathon and it makes similar demands on participants’ levels of endurance and stamina. Yes, it’s the first weekend of Melbourne Writers’ Festival Authors gather to meet the people who read their books [Lads: A Memoir of Manhood My book explains what's wrong with lad mags, says Itzkof ]
• · · · Bean Counters are Out Quality, not quantity, will always win out
• · · · · For surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel, dreams were the highlight of his life: If someone were to tell me I had 20 years left, and ask me how I'd like to spend them, I'd reply: Give me two hours a day of activity, and I'll take the other 22 in dreams
• · · · · · Stephen King Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully - in Ten Minutes

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Russians don't want democracy.

Repeating History Classes: Athens? Rome? No -Bucharest is Europe's most crowded capital city
Here's a city with a parking crisis, crippling traffic jams, and unaffordable rents. Office space is at a premium as well. London? Rome? Athens? No. It's Bucharest, whose population is 10 times more tightly packed than that of Paris, the city it once sought to emulate.
The overcrowding is born of the vagaries of communism -when peasants were forcibly resettled to Bucharest at the whim of a dictator -and compounded by the harsh realities of today's capitalist era, when Bucharest, as the main focus of foreign investment and economic growth, is a magnet for any Romanian looking for a better life.

Dracula 2004AD ; [Athletes well beyond their youth are making their mark ]
• · Blokes pour out hearts and bladders Unless they're drunk or of a manic personality, male friends - mates! - tend to quietness when standing at the urinal together
• · · See Also It is a mistake to believe that reading about sex equates to having it
• · · · A few years ago, businesses were obsessed with the pink pound and grey pound, launching charm offensives at gay and older consumers: Now, they've turned their attention to ethnic minorities
• · · · · See Also Truth for Our Time. On why striving to be more than human is human

Thursday, August 26, 2004

First the bully hits you, then he yells to get everybody's attention so you can't hit him back:
It looks like the worst suspicions may be gr(o)vely true...

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Why E(l)ections are a Lousy Way to Run a Country
The main result of the [Canadian] federal election has been to illustrate again the illusion of democracy. Paul Martin’s party obtained 37 per cent of the 60 per cent of registered voters; that is, at most, 22 per cent of the electorate. And he says, I do believe we have a mandate from the people to act on the issues that we set out and we obviously intend to fulfil that mandate.
Perhaps something like the Venetian custom described by economist Mancur Olson should be implemented here: In Venice, after a doge who attempted to make himself autocrat was beheaded for his offense, subsequent doges were followed in official processions by a sword-bearing symbolic executioner as a reminder of the punishment intended for any leader who attempted to assume dictatorial power.

Hung Parliament & Beyond [ Lauding the larrikin - Hawke-style ; If we can't get a new PM, we can at least rediscover our values]
• · Why is voting system so corrupt? It's a rhetorical question. Even Slate doesn't know why. Instead the article explains the problems, and there are many [Unpolitical Animal, Louis Menand, on how political science understands voters]
• · · Jonathan Rauch introduces the Senate candidate of the future ; [Dragged into the digital age Parliamentary representation in the Internet age]
• · · · Divorce - the word that dare not speak its name in Liberal Party literature; [For better or worse, election years lure many members of the ivory tower into the real world]
• · · · · Wife of Peter Ryan Swearing row: Ryan apologises; [Mike Scrafton inside the mind of a whistleblower]
• · · · · · · The new Czech government has passed its first major test Mr Gross and his coalition narrowly survived the confidence vote - scraping though a vote of confidence in parliament; [In Hungary, however, Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy steps down

US sociologists are finally challenging the intellectual stranglehold of economists

Invisible Hands & Markets: Regime-shaking George Soros goes at Washington
One of the first jobs he found when he arrived in London from Budapest in 1947, practically penniless and speaking little English, was as a traveling salesman. The young George Soros would try to sell little knickknacks to tobacconists - unsuccessfully, as he now recalls. Often, he couldn't even find parking. His girlfriend left him because he seemed to have no future. He missed his parents. It rained incessantly.
Hard-pressed to think of a nongovernmental figure in the US today - except maybe Oprah [When we speak of "mental" versus "manual" labor, are we overlooking anything? ]
• · Two economists look at America through very different glasses
• · · Cooking Books Accountants show they are versed in Panther speak
• · · · The Meedya Report: The best value-for-time occupations, which pay good salaries and enable workers to clock off after between 35 and 40 hours, are librarian ($997) ...
• · · · · Cop to Reverend: Close laptop outside library Make up your own joke about working on Sunday
• · · · · · Christopher Orlet Why women will not marry down

Five years ago today: We just launched a cool new tool at Pyra. It's called Blogger. It's an automated weblog publishing tool.
I wish I'd have said something more visionary, like, It's going to be huge, I tell's ya! In five years, Google's* going to own it! And even the president will have a blog.
* You know, Google, the up-and-coming search engine without the portal. Yeah, they're going to be huge, too! Evan Williams on fifth anniversary of Blogger's debut The Blogger is the Media Dragon’s soulful partner of four years ...

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Things I Learned from My Blog
During my pre-blogging days I used to backflip (www.backflip.com) any article that seemed interesting and read them later. Through that process I gathered more noise than signals. Now I first backflip the interesting articles and posts, read them later and then blog the stuff which are really interesting.
Some bloggers record current events. Others collect information for reference ... [ courtesy of Soul Soup ]
• · How one engine changed the world; [ The call of the blog ; Google to pay bloggers]
• · · Bush fuels a boom in readers and advertising for lefty magazines
• · · · Toogle is a Text version of Googles Image of Jozef & Bessie @ Traiskirchen Toogle ; [And there is a name for it, of course, because this is the 21st century and all: the Ego Google]
• · · · · Real Simple Syndication Technorati and David Sifry
• · · · · · Anytime of the day or night Tim Dunlop has many ideas and threads worth chasing. The idea that only those with expertise in a topic should comment upon it, or that it is only 'expert' opinion that has any value in such discussions is about as contrary to the spirit of democratic governance as anything I can think of

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Beauty is in the liver of the beholder, as demonstrated by a quote of Guy Debord inside Panegyric: I have written much less than most writers, but I have drunk much more than most drinkers...
Ach, Howard Mansfield describes the endless bric-a-brac of televised conversation:
The answers do not matter. The questions do not matter. The subject is only a pretext. The flow is all that matters. TV is about itself....it will eat anything it must to survive - no item of trivia is too small, no sorrow too vast, not to be swallowed entire.

The chief of staff of the Army, the General of the Library, issued a significant update to the Army's list of recommended books

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Libraries in Unlikely Places.
Something new to czech out at the mall: library books...
Typically, people go to malls to shop and to socialize. They may meet a friend for a quick lunch and then hunt for a new outfit. But at two malls in the greater Seattle area, they can also pick up a copy of the latest bestseller, do a computer search for a new job, and listen to a Spanish- language CD - all for free.
The freebies aren't some enormous give-away by the malls, but typical library services in a not-so-typical location.
Get your haircut and borrow books in one stop.

It's so much better to talk about literature than to talk about people or gossip
[In the digital world almost everything is documented but little is effectively recorded for future access. This is true for digital books and digital photography. No wonder there is more than nostalgic respect for paper and film. No wonder that paper books, printed on demand, are the most popular kind of ebooks ; You are now an elitist if you believe all should have the opportunity to access the best culture Criticism of manufactured culture is the opposite of elitist ]
• · Art Metals [At the center of every culture is a group of people seated around a fire telling of the heroes whose struggles transformed and remade their world. That’s true whether the fire is the burning embers of a cooking fire in the Amazon basin or the flickering pixels of a cathode ray tube in Sutherland: Story telling: an art aggregation: stories talk to the gut, while information talks to the mind]
• · · Cultural Olympiad Artists and the Olympic Games ; [Olympic medallists in art competitions ; Olympiada]
• · · · A good book cover makes you want to pick it up. End of story The opening hook ; [ Imagine if one company controlled the card catalog of every library in the world]
• · · · · The taking of one’s own life is the most private of acts, but the incidence of suicide varies widely across societies and historical periods. The psychological dislocation that causes one to kill oneself has deep social roots ... the cold winds of egoism freezes their hearts and weakens their spirits. The bond attaching man to life slackens because the bond which attaches him to society is itself slack Sociology of Suicidal End ; And are 'little magazines,' those tip sheets on the literary future, an endangered species--or on the verge of a renaissance?
• · · · · · Why so many business books are awful ; [And sex, sex, sex up front in bookstores and cold rivers near you]

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

3,000 Jobs; 500,000 Seekers
In a story focused on how the company is changing its workforce, that check of Monster provided telling detail and understated irony in an article that could have otherwise been a routine layoff story

Invisible Hands & Markets: Open Spectrum International
Space in Hearts promotes regulatory forms to enable freer public use of the radio spectrum globally. OSInt is a project of Mista v Srdce, a Czech nonprofit formed by Petr Marek:
OSInt hopes to promote international awareness of Open Spectrum as a practical and desirable option, especially in emerging democracies and less-developed countries. Gathering and translating the best of the OS literature, participating in foreign regulators' public consultations, organizing workshops and conferences, developing this website as a resource, and working with transnational policymaking institutions - these are our initial plans.

Free speech ; [ Follow the Money: How John Kerry Busted the Terrorists' Favorite Bank ; World Bank Ignores its own Advice ]
• · AP Handing over keys, not control...Campaign turns nasty...Political billions
• · · Wisdom: Knowledge economy opportunities for Australian firms in the Asia–Pacific ; [ Queensland’s music industry basics: people, businesses and markets ; Commercialising Australian biotechnology ]
• · · · Government Doing the bidding of Frank Lowy’s Westfield Imbroglio reaches right into Carr’s office – to the door of his Chief of Staff, Graeme Wedderburn ; [Polygraph politics ]
• · · · · Pat Kane argues Play-not Work-is the key to a Healthier Society
• · · · · · Warning PDF version: From riches to rags: what are Nauru’s options and how can Australia help? [Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, The Princess and the Pea, The Swan Princess On the persistence of the princess myth]

One of the more significant marks of an authoritarian society is its willingness to distort the truth while simultaneously suppressing dissent.
Henry Giroux on double speak and the politics of dissent
From Trotsky to puppets: Other Velvet Revolutions are possible

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Sex and the Price of Politics
In late 1998, Crisis magazine, which I have the honor to publish, ran a series of articles on "the Catholic vote" which unexpectedly led to my involvement in politics. The articles caught the attention of the nascent Bush presidential campaign and I was asked, and agreed, to be part of the team advising on their outreach to Catholic voters.
Our basic advice, as reflected in our articles, was to target Mass-attending Catholic voters, not the larger group of self-identified Catholics, because Mass attendance is the best indication of a commitment to kind of values taught by the Church and represented by then candidate Governor George W. Bush.
This strategy, meshing perfectly with the theme of "compassionate conservatism," paid off and the candidate's message connected with Catholic voters: Governor Bush received ten percent more of the Catholic vote than Senator Dole had in 1996.

• Deal W. Hudson is publisher of Crisis magazine The campaign of 2004 presents a significantly different environment than 2000 ; [Iraq Major political groups jockeying for power ]
• · Extra Extraordinaire Dox Barista, David Tiley, Serves a Dossier on How Senior public servants help the Government sidestep parliamentary scrutiny, a measure one deemed Kennett-style arrogance [ This unlovely face of the Victorian ALP in government has been spotlighted by the Age ]
• · · Accountability overboard WashMinster Sir Humphrey [Politics has become increasingly the plaything of obsessives. And what obsessives bring to politics...]
• · · · Imre: The Australian hoped to secure a comment from Hawke last night, but none of our reporters were prepared to go near him for fear of ending up with a pain in the gut [link first seen at Backpages]
• · · · · Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete [Human Events Exclusive: A Swift Boat Vets Joined by POWs in Criticism of Kerry]
• · · · · · · Memory and Manipulation The trials of Elizabeth Loftus, defender of the wrongly accused

The Blog Debate between Eric Muller and Michelle Malkin continues with this latest installment from Muller.

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Voter tracking software: the dark side of technology and democracy
The potential benefits and pitfalls of electronic democracy are already on display in the use of voter tracking software by Australia’s major political parties, argue Peter van Onselen and Wayne Errington in this paper from the CPP’s Australian Electronic Governance Conference. The use of such technologies, which contain a host of information about voters and their policy preferences, are a potentially useful conduit between citizens and their elected representatives. Instead, their development has been veiled in secrecy, and their operation puts vast public resources to use for partisan ends, invades the privacy of constituents seeking help from their member of parliament, and tilts electoral politics towards the minority of swinging voters.
Electoral databases; [ Do Not Reflect the Community, Be the Community ; Public antipathy Lack of civic introspection in the American character ]
• · Circulation numbers of political magazines
• · · Government That Works Online Get online, not in line
• · · · Buddy was an unflinching, old-school perfectionist who absolutely believed that government, regardless of its partisan affiliation, required a large dose of skepticism, and that it was an essential duty of journalists to point out its failings and hypocrises: H.G. “Buddy” Davis Jr., the Gainesville Sun’s only Pulitzer Prize winner and a longtime University of Florida journalism professor, died
• · · · · The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow Australian author Thea Astley, who won the Miles Franklin Award a stunning four times, has passed away
• · · · · · You're Athletes, Not Journalists Olympians largely barred from blogging [Polished Olympic Site: Adam Michnik editing Otylia Jedrzejczak's gold-medal performance in the women's 200-meter butterfly]

Monday, August 23, 2004

Snippets from the Aussie Fin Review Magazine: According to highly placed Liberal insider: It is easier to see the Howard battlers voting for Howard and Carr than for Latham and for Carr.
Bob Carr says that he cut himself shaving in the morning listening to Allan Jones. So turn the bloody thing off. Helena Carr says he can not. That is power.

Snippets from the SMH magazine James Reyne Singer, actor, poet:
Politics: The higher that monkey climbs that tree, the more of his fat arse you will see.
Power: Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.

Between politicians and Hollywood, there are a lot of people trying to scare us. Is this the scariest summer ever?

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Lowy's key man faces Orange Grove probe
Alex Mitchell, State Political Editor:
Mark Ryan, the former Keating adviser and now high-powered wheeler and dealer for Frank Lowy's Westfield empire, will front the Orange Grove parliamentary committee on Wednesday.

• The opposition leader of the early 90’s may Barely recognise the Premier of today [Bargains galore amid heartache; ICAC blunder shows the premier has lost it; Carr stands firm on commission]
• · Two rail workers who made corruption complaints to the ICAC have been shut out of their offices and forced to undergo psychological evaluation: Rail workers banned after rort reports; [Veteran Labor politician Pat Rogan has announced that he is stepping down as the president of ClubsNSW and blasted Premier Bob Carr, accusing him of "arrogance": Departing club boss hits Carr over tax]
• · · Able Seaman Laura Whittle, who helped rescue asylumn seekers from a sinking boat in 2001, gave a human angle to the Children Overboard controversy ... The man was wanting to get the child into the inflatable boat and to safety. The asylumn seeker who held a child over the water was simply begging for the child to be rescued! What Matters?: Refugee children are what matters to winner Haydon: When Human Advance does not mean Political Dance!; [When the annals of infamy are compiled, let a double-page spread be reserved for the transients of the SIEV IV, whose selfish refusal to throw their children overboard resulted in the humiliation of the prime minister: Refugee kids missing out on health care]
• · · · Are You Talking To Me? A bit rich: Despite the moral pronouncements of its politicians, Australia has become a selfish global citizen
• · · · · Max got very angry ... Devil takes the hindmost In 2000 Mike Scrafton, the whistleblower who has refloated the "children overboard" issue, helped his boss "roll" Max Moore-Wilton, who headed John Howard's department [Tax system needs surgery ]
• · · · · · · Watering the dry Island Australia can overcome the tyranny of water shortage - but it will need inspired leadership

People want to feel that their presidents know what they're doing, that our artists are capable of masterpieces, that our weapons are invincible. That we're No. 1 in everything...
Dissent Wanted

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Author! Author! This Is Your Den
The authors of the past, as distinct from the run-of-the-press journalists who often write about them, have tended to be remote figures who would rather hide under a rock, typing, than stand on top of it, speaking.
Book Dens, Towns, have bookshops aplenty and second-hand bookshops in profusion. But it is more than these. It is also representative of the reading culture that encourages these places to begin, develop and thrive. Any bookshop worth its paper knows how to satisfy the fundamental requirements of its readers. For example, knowing when to help or to leave one to browse in peace; or not using store demonstrators; not putting handwritten or typewritten "staff pick" notes under books, but letting us decide for ourselves what is worth reading; and certainly not playing radios or music of any description. The other day, in a formerly favourite secondhand bookshop, we asked for the radio to be turned down. "This is the first time in eight years that anyone has complained," said the man at the counter. Would they do the same in a library?

Australian writers lack balls! [Of Critics And Political Opinions ; Ach Can You Teach Pleasure In Books? ]
• · lot of it comes from book-jacket blurbs, which produce a repertoire of sentences that publishers would like to see in book reviews The book world has a language all of its own [Amazon DigitalRiver Reviews Drowning not Waving: James Marcus's Book Boom And Bust]
• · · Judge: Booker Sludge Tibor Fischer slogs his way through 126 novels
• · · · Like immigrants of earlier generations - the Italian stonecutter tuning his radio to opera, the Irish stevedore reciting Yeats in a tavern, the Jewish tailor viewing a Yiddish production of King Lear The Classics Will Set You Free? The agents of our true liberation
• · · · · Cold Beer Anyone? Real River, Real Ale, Real Books, Real Men? Manly Men's Reading Club Wins Reading Prize
• · · · · · See Also We're living in a global village now and there's no "there" anymore

Sunday, August 22, 2004

In My Humble Linking Mode This Editorial Must be Dedicated to My Golden Angels: Alex and Gabriella who are starting to spread their teenagish wings and Tracey If they didn't have a coach like Gaven, Elle, Bruce and Tracey, they wouldn't be swimming
Why reading Cold River is the last refuge from the tyranny of time. Our cleanest instruments have produced an illness worse than the one they treat, infecting us with the contagion of real time .
Ach, at the 440 B.C. Olympic Games, a hot young bohemian author made the scene Ironically, debuting at the Olympics, it turned out, was antiquity's equivalent of appearing on Oprah

Feeding the Soul: Life in the lounge: Telling Where it Hurts
Next month sees the release of The Terminal, Hollywood's take on the true story of a man who lives in an airport. But what is life among the baggage carousels really like?
Burdened with debt and uncertain where his future lay, George decided it was time to walk out on his life.
Looking for somewhere warm and dry to sleep, he pitched up at Heathrow Airport and stayed for the best part of two-and-a-half years, surviving homelessness in its relative safety and comfort.
George is not the only one to have found a place amid the benches, shops and restaurants provided for the world's travellers.
How can our children, born to former Easter Europeans who swam across the Iron Curtain, learn swimming is magic?

What is life among the baggage carousels really like?
• · I guess I own the full set said Ian Thorpe, who now has five golds, three silvers and a bronze from two Olympics [Thorpe Corp: Hall of Heroes]
• · · I'm not one to make rash predictions when it comes to sport but sometimes you have to go out on a limb: Thorpe's the best of all time
• · · · Stuttering Philosophy (PDF version) Besides us, in memory [Grant Hackett - strokes of genius; World record and gold in women's relay: Petria Thomas unbelievable butterfly]
• · · · · Nick Cohen there was a time when some used to burn with anger against oppression and were united in fraternity .... Where have all the children of the left gone? [Joshua Holland, Gadflyer Why Conservatives are Winning the Campus Wars ]

How did a QC from the conservative end of a conservative profession become the public voice of Australia’s voiceless refugees. For Julian Burnside it came down to a sudden realisation for which he has been preparing all his life. When delivering the Sir Ninian Stephen Lecture, The Practice of Law: Justice or Just a Job?, Julian observed:
Taking a stand is not without its cost. But as Arundhati Roy has said: A thing, once seen, cannot be unseesn, and when you have seen a great moral crime, to remain silent is as much a political act as is to speak against it.
Julian shares with Czechoslovak born Tom Stoppard the view that we are all born with an instinct for justice. In Professional Foul, one of his characters tells of the child who in the playground cries “It’s not fair” and thus gives voice to ‘an impulse which precedes utterance’. Our perception of justice may be blunted by exposure to its processes. At the start of a career as a law student, we see law and justice as synonymous; later we fall into cynicism or despair as clients complain that Law and Justice seem unrelated. We might remember the observation of Bismarck, in a different context, saying “He who likes sausages or law should not see them in the making” be it in the NSW Parliamentary Library or the Public Accounts Committee.
Thomas Keneally wrote his latest book, The Tyrant’s Novel, after his visits to the Villawood Detention Centre Once Upon a Time, in 1980 AD certain Central Europeans referred fondly to the piece of soil in Villawood as their Australian Hollywood

Tracking Trends Great & Small: Final shot at the top
Big Brother went to work quickly when a Dubbo-based water efficiency use adviser, Terrance Loughlin, sent out a last goodbye via email to staffers in the NSW Department of Primary Industries last Friday.
With Politicisation of the public service in the subject line, Loughlin expressed his disappointment about the way that the old NSW Agriculture, now part of DPI, and other rural agencies were being "totally gutted by the NSW Labour government.
In eras past this would not have happened because the executives of these rural agencies would have had the gumption to stand up to opportunistic politicians and their snivelling advisers.
The email was quickly removed and Loughlin was politely informed he should remove himself quick smart.
Shortly afterwards another email went out from the big boss, Barry Buffier, DPI's director-general. He said Loughlin's message "cannot be mistaken for anything other than a political stunt on his last day of duty".
Given that Loughlin is the Greens-endorsed candidate for Parkes, Buffier might have a point, although Loughlin reckons it was a "stunt" but not a political one. By Monday morning DPI staff had an edict in their in-boxes. Thanks to Loughlin no one can send a broadcast email unless Buffier, one of his deputies, or an executive director approves it.

Politicisation of the public service
• · The typical Australian is educated, suburban, from a migrant background and working in a service industry. Donald Horne explores how we've changed in the 40 years since he wrote The Lucky Country We should be so lucky
• · · Methuselah Mouse Prize Named after Methuselah, the Biblical figure who was supposedly the longest-lived human ever, surviving 969 years.
• · · · The worst locust plague to hit NSW in 25 years is looming,: threatening to wreak economic and natural devastation
• · · · · Experts warn of Ross River fever sting
• · · · · · Survivor: Men vs. Women, Again? Really? Where Popular and Political Cultures Meet

Like democracy, culture is not an exclusive game played by experts such as artists and their admirers; it is an ongoing conversation within and between communities. It is a meeting place for different arguments and perspectives, an arena in which large and small problems are ventilated. Is cultural conversation becoming a monologue?

Even in a culture of winners take all, a book's power lies in its ability to erase us, to expand or contract without limit, to circle inside itself without beginning or end, to defy our imaginary timetables and lay us bare to a more basic ticking. The pages we read are a nowhen, unfolding far outside the public arena. As long as we remain in them, now reveals itself to be the baldest of inventions.
- Richard Powers

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Four poker faces: Esoteric Gem
The novel written after a smashing debut is supposed to be a writer's combat zone, but for Sydney writer and high school teacher Melina Marchetta it was smoother the second time round.
James Thurber combatly stated: All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why.

Top prize for second book [Artist finds truth in literary hoax ]
• · Her literary hoax was bad, but Norma Khouri's frauds against loved ones reached $1 million: How Norma made a dishonourable killing; [ Hoax author's twisted tale]
• · · wood s lot [One Stop Book Review ]
• · · · Making a Web Search Feel Like a Stroll in the Library Many students use the Internet as their library [ Law library still relies on hard copy in time of Google ; Italy's Senate library is getting tough on forgetful lawmakers demanding they return books ]
• · · · · From Morava River to digital river, forever ... I have been told by the Digital Media that book lovers live in every time zone, not just Sydney or Vrbov or River to Surfdom There is something deeply satisfaying about having readers in every time zone ...The slovo is spreading! My emailbag is full!
• · · · · · Let me count the ways Sydneysiders would line up for the priceless seats in order to eye outstanding Cate Blanchett who plays the leading role in the Sydney Theatre Company’s Hedda Gabler (Henrik Ibsen's play by the same name) Cate gave him some consoling pats on the knee, thereby further endearing herself to the audience ... How much do we love this woman?

PS: Ach, Maria Vandamme, the founder of the Melba Foundation, managed to bypass the government’s arts funding white elephant, the Australia Council, to appeal directly to the federal government. In May 2004 Maria was rewarded with a $5 Million grant, over 5 years, to assist her in the production of 35 Cds for the Melba Recordings which produces high-quality classical Cds of Australian musicians for international distribution.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Over the years, bloggers could have made more money working minimum-wage jobs and become part of the elitist ‘ownership society'. However, we do it for the love of it. Evil vs. Evil: From Bad to Worse

Invisible Hands & Markets: Get Rick Quick in Iraq.
@ least $8.8 billion in Iraqi funds given to Iraqi ministries by the former US-led authority there cannot be accounted for, according to a draft US audit set for release soon.
The exact methodologies of the thefts was inventive and varied, forming a veritable encyclopedia of third-world graft, diverted funding and government fraud. The specific schemes mentioned in the article involved padded payroll; often thousands of salaries would be on the books but only a few hundred workers actually existed.

US audit cites lax 'stewardship'
• · Can Shareholders Fight Terrorism?
A right-wing campaign against companies that do business in terror-sponsoring states ignores the most obvious targets
• · · Applicants wait to obtain their visas in the longest line at the Foreigners' Police I am aware that what people go through here is undignified
• · · · It is amazing in late 1980s Jeff was just another voiceless librarian on the internet forums. Listen to his entrepreneural voice now! Jeff Bezos, the dotcom king: Amazon irrepressibly casts every challenge as an opportunity [Amerikan and Japanese Goodness Grecious How About this! Amazon.com is buying Joyo.com, China's largest online retailer of books, music and videos, for $US72 million
• · · · · A fish-eating bird called the anhinga: Elusive Kozeny may prove too big to catch
• · · · · · Dreams Coming true: Huge net gains for Google staff

The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive.

Tracking Policies & Investigative Stories: Corruption watchdogs have a bad habit of biting the hand that establishes them
The corruption commission has rejected a last-minute public apology from the Premier, Bob Carr, ordering him to appear before the inquiry over a possible contempt.
The former NSW premier Nick Greiner, who set up the Independent Commission Against Corruption in a flurry of corruption-busting fervour 16 years ago, found himself its victim and was eventually forced to resign.
Greiner's National Party deputy, Wal Murray, narrowly avoided being found in contempt of the commission after he likened its proceedings to the Spanish inquisition.
And it was the Premier, Bob Carr - then leader of the Opposition - who tried to sool the commission's head, Ian Temby, on to Murray and cite him for contempt.
Labor's Neville Wran had been forced to stand aside as premier during a royal commission in the early 1980s over allegations he had improperly interfered in a court hearing.

Sunlight is Dangerous to Political Parties [Outspoken nurse fired, inquiry told; Carr's lawyers may be sorry for delay of simple apology; Analysis: Fear of watchdogs who can bite at will]
• · Fear feeds cover-ups: Scrafton; [From axe to cash: Howard loosens purse strings for public service]
• · · Villawood and Beyond: Refugees and asylum seekers: a guide to key resources and recent developments
• · · · Will we go to war over Taiwan?; [Young feel remote from decision-makers; The Great Moravian Empire by the Magyars in 906 Slovakia and the Slovaks (unlike the Czech Slavs to the west of the river Morava, which currently forms part of the border with Austria and the Czech Republic) were an integral part of the Kingdom of Hungary ]
• · · · · Sex trade uncovered in London
• · · · · · Peter Hartcher: What lies beneath; Truth dead in the parliamentary water The hard sell of Grove; Short-sheeted all round [Panthers boss insists he's no fat cat]

Blogging about blogging and Blog Your Own Spiritual Blog

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Playboy Interview: Google Guys
Just five years ago a googol was an obscure, unimaginable concept: the number one followed by 100 zeros. Now respelled and capitalized, Google is an essential part of online life. From American cities to remote Chinese villages, more than 65 million people use the Internet search engine each day. It helps them find everything from the arcane to the essential, and Google has become a verb, as in, I Googled your name on the Internet and, uh, no thanks, I’m not interested in going out Friday night.
Google founders discuss libraries with Playboy [ courtesy of Sergey Brin and Larry Page on Libraries]
• · Who's afraid of context?: On the differences between American and European media
• · · The mantra at TechSoup; Every media's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness On the value of weblogs for non-profit organizations
• · · · Who Cares? The number of humanitarian crises in the world is greater than ever before but most go unreported in Western media
• · · · · Unruly Lot: How do computer hackers "get inside" a computer? [In a bold move Google Performs Another Marketing Miracle Google's Blog*Spot Loses Ads, Gains Media Dragon Navbar]
• · · · · · Eric Alterman How PBS adds insult to injury [What a terrorist attack would mean for the election: Jack Germond, crack political reporter ]

Friday, August 20, 2004

Two Thumbs Up. By some strange coincidence, or some tricky luck, or some googlish pressure, the hole on the Princes Highway which was mentioned yesterday morning by MEdia Dragon was (con)sealed last night by some unknown working party . Better late than never ...

Elections are due soon in the United States, Afghanistan, Iraq and Indonesia. Democracy, the creation of the Greeks, remains the least bad political system. But it has to work properly: it must remain accountable to ordinary people and not suborn power.
- José Saramago

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Exploding the myth of Prague Spring
The 1968 reform movement never denounced communism, so were freedom and democracy ever really on the table?
When people today watch the dramatic footage of Prague streets in August 1968, filled with crowds gathering around the Soviet tanks trying to explain to the puzzled soldiers that there must have been some kind of a terrible misunderstanding, they are often overcome by emotion. That emotion is an understandable response to a classical example of the clash between good and evil, between the peaceful crowds and the heavily armed occupants. This response, however, might be an obstacle to deeper, more rational analysis of the true nature and hypothetical prospects of the "Resurgent Process," as the Prague Spring was called in the contemporary functionaries' newspeak. The fundamental question is: Was the hope of the Prague Spring really a hope for democracy, and was it ever likely to be fulfilled?
They started a dangerous game and they lost. The situation both at home and abroad got out of their control, which was the end of the "Resurgent Process" and the beginning of yet another character test for the country's long-suffering inhabitants. The 1970s was a period of extreme frustration and despair; the consequences are still present today. This time, however, it was not the Germans, as in World War II, or the Soviets, as in 1968, but the Czechs and Slovaks themselves who oppressed their fellow citizens.

Prague Spring Myth 1968 [ Fine Line Between Myth & Reality Sydney Spring Myth 2008 vision of good governance and the role of the state]
• · Carr Blowing up the village to save the villagers Contempt charge hangs over Carr; [Sydney is Just a Village; Carr's angry words spark commission showdown; I'll take a lie test, but only when they work: Premier; I'm not guilty - but my brain is]
• · · Spidla's dreams of Sweden Vladimir Spidla told me he wanted the Czech Republic to be like Sweden
• · · · Roberto Buonamano (UT-Sydney in PDF version): Humanity and Inhumanity: State Power and the Force of Law in the Prescription of Juridical Norms
• · · · · USA We Have How Many Troops in Europe?
• · · · · · · Jose Saramago Reinventing democracy; [EVERY day we spend $2.2bn on killing each other: Superducks and underducks]

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Taking a break from politics, we need a few moments to soak up all the nastiness going on around the world:

In a world where we are forced to conform to society, it is necessary to have personal chaos.
-Thomas Armstong

If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.
-Karl Popper

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Carr's adviser reveals the Westfield link
Bob Carr's closest adviser has contradicted his repeated denial that he was involved in a decision that closed the Liverpool factory outlet being opposed by retail giant Westfield.
The Premier's chief of staff, Graeme Wedderburn, yesterday revealed to a parliamentary committee that Mr Carr told him to "appropriately advise" the minister responsible for deciding the Orange Grove centre's future, Diane Beamer, to stick to the rules.

All rules I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen
• · Down Under and Overboard What PM's man knew about photos [John Quiggin Fingers on the Blogoshere pulse ]
• · · Iranian Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani warned that Iran might launch a preemptive strike against US forces in the region to prevent an attack on its nuclear facilities [The Peace That Never Was, The Terrorism Funnel, A Billion for Bin Laden, Are Terrorists Courageous?]
• · · · Value of rituals in politics
• · · · · See Also Gangs have been a fixture of urban life in the United States for more than 150 years
• · · · · · · See Also Apartheid without Borders: The New Globalism and its Enemies

The count begins. How long does it take to repair a huge hole, the size of Skase variety (Spanish) suitcase, on the major highway? Take care just before you turn to the Rawson Street from the Princes Highway, heading towards the SLC AquaDot Swimming Pool, as for almost three days carr and trruck drivers of all accents have been blaming the local, state and federal authorities for the unexpected Luna, Prater, Disney, Park experience. Ach, day three!

The history of human civilization has basically been the efforts of a small minority to get the majority to do things they wouldn't otherwise do, like pay taxes and fight against strangers. There is nothing intrinsically evil or oppressive in this tendency. In order to perform all of the complicated and diversified tasks involved in building a civilization, the efforts of large groups of people need to be coordinated and directed. It's just that it seems inevitable that the group of people giving the orders soon come to see themselves as inherently superior, deserving of special treatment, and feel an almost genetic drive to accumulate wealth and power to insure the reproductive success of their offspring. Ach, Power corrupts whether you fight for your existence under kommunist Czechoslovakia or some place Down Under or Up Over...

Tracking Policies & Investigative Stories: Corruption and Democracy in Australia
In this detailed study, Barry Hindess from the Democratic Audit Team argues that corruption is a more substantial problem than Australia’s impressive performance on conventional international measures would seem to indicate
Democratic Audit of Australia, Australian National University (PDF file); [Not happy, John - Prime Minister John Howard is also the subject of a stinging attack in a Sunday feature this week, from the man who first engineered his ascent to the Liberal leadership in the mid-1980s — former party president John Valder. JOHN VALDER; About 20 will be happy because it says exactly what they think. Another group will be luke warm. A large group will want to chop my head off ; Margo Will be Based in Canberra]
• · Victory has suddenly many fathers: In the shadow of the corporate veil: James Hardie and asbestos compensation
• · · National land transport plan: The AusLink White Paper: an overview ; [ Energy White Paper: fuel excise grants reform]
• · · · Allan Fels: The problem of poorer countries not having access to knowledge can be remedied... How to bring knowledge to the entire planet
• · · · · George Williams The people need a say in selecting governors and the governor-general Troppical Ken Parish is currently being technocratied to every corner of the world with his latest salvos on so many gutsy political topics that you have to set aside plenty of time to digest them. For example, Ken reports how the mainstream media has now picked up Rob Corr's revelation that Howard said on ABC Four Corners way back in February 2002 that he spoke with Scrafton about the photos as well as the video (thus contradicting Howard's claim of only yesterday that they only spoke about the video). It's taken the journalists less than 24 hours to catch up with the blogosphere. Ach, do czech out why the Hungarian Professor Bunyip, a.k.a. Imre, tends to spin right out of control...
• · · · · · Trendy Ned Kelly of Blogging, John Quiggin, pinches an article from the WashPost Op-Ed piece by Pradeep Chhibber and Ken Kollman, claiming that the failure of third parties to do well in the US is due, not to plurality voting or other institutional factors but to excessive political centralisation. [Original story from WashPost Op-Ed piece by Pradeep Chhibber and Ken Kollman

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Amerika is a country of children. The New Yorkers are a little more grown up, but not much. Once some friend of mine put me on a ferry to Coney Island. This, Tsutsik, I wish you could see. It is a city in which everything is for play—shooting at tin ducklings, visiting a museum where they show a girl with two heads, letting an astrologer plot your horoscope and a medium call up the soul of your grandfather in the beyond. No place lacks vulgarity, but the vulgarity of Coney Island is of a special kind, friendly, with a tolerance that says, ‘I play my game and you play your game.’ As I walked around there and ate a hot dog—this is what they call a sausage—it occurred to me that I was seeing the future of mankind. You can even call it the time of the Messiah. One day all people will realize there is not a single idea that can really be called true—that everything is a game—nationalism, internationalism, religion, atheism, spiritualism, materialism, even suicide.
Isaac Bashevis Singer, Shosha

Whatever you do make sure you czech out antipodean, our virtual tropical bee, Ken Parish who has a knack for tracking Red neck children playing somewhere that Red Interior ...

Tracking Trends Great & Small: E(l)ections Fever Around the World
In this electronic brief Adrienne Blunt provides links to websites of various countries that have national elections in 2004. Elections may be presidential or legislative. Information will be current for six months prior to and six months after the election date.
November 2004: Australia and United States of America [link first seen at www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/index.htm ]
• · At Slate Jack Shafer wonders why some prominent newspapers haven't told their readers who the 'Anonymous' is who recently published the best-selling Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terrorism
• · · See Also Meet five soul searchers who've taken the descent into darkness
• · · · Accents & Dialects: New Amerikan English 2104 AD
• · · · · Robert Schiller: on the electronic money revolution
• · · · · · Olympic trends Buying the Games

The Trademarks of a Real Champion Our Ian, the Magical Story of the Sutherland Shire
Moment of Poetic Truth: Ian Thorpe touches ahead of defending Olympic champion Pieter van den Hoogenband and American Michael Phelps in the 200m freestyleWow, he makes a big wave.
Thorpe will fly out of Athens as Australia's greatest Olympian with five gold - one more than Dawn Fraser, Murray Rose and Betty Cuthbert.
However, it is not only gold medals that make Ian Thorpe an admirable sporting champion. Grace in victory sets the Paddington born, AquaDot based, Ian Thorpe apart

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Point of no return: All in the Dances
I have been feeling rather strange about All in the Dances in recent weeks, and especially since I started working on the galleys last month. I spent a full decade at work on The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken, and by the end of that time, it had become an oppressive, inescapable presence in my life, not unlike the "heavy bear who goes with me" of Delmore Schwartz’s once-familiar poem. I wanted nothing more than to be rid of it. All in the Dances, by contrast, took me just three months to write, and throughout that period I was simultaneously preoccupied with the imminent publication of A Terry Teachout Reader. Before I knew it, one book was written, another in the stores, and within weeks I'd embarked on the lengthy process of seeing the first one into print. As a result, the experience of writing All in the Dances now seems unreal, almost dreamlike to me. Did I really write it this past winter? Could it possibly be ready to ship off to the printer?...
How lucky to be Alive at the Point of Time When All About Last Night is Live Too? ; [More much more at Terry Teachout ]
• · See Also In trying to make art, success can be as damaging as failure
• · · What chances has the Cold River have of getting into their hot hands? A review of books by book reviewers
• · · · See Also Where does book criticism go from here ?
• · · · · Son of Krakov: Tribute to the Rough Polish Poet with two Christian Names, Czeslaw Milosz
• · · · · · See Also If aliens exist, we'll know in 20 years