Tuesday, November 30, 2004

One and only Professor who was elected as the first academic onto the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board Roger Simnett

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Feeling trapped in a kind of unreality
It was only a casual encounter with Australia's second-richest man in the foyer of the NSW government offices in Sydney's CBD.
But bumping into Westfield boss Frank Lowy and chatting for only one minute was enough to see Katherine Keating, daughter of former Labor prime minister Paul Keating, reluctantly hauled into the political limelight to answer questions before a NSW parliamentary committee yesterday.
Young Keating has political baptism ; [Orange Grove Turning Red]
• · Liberals dominate campuses. Coming soon: Moon Implicated in Tides, Studies Find
• · · Of course, now that the shoe is on the other foot, and it is House Majority Leader Tom "The Exterminator" DeLay who is about to be indicted, all of a sudden the Republicans don't think that's such a good idea After we revisit the dark side
• · · · There are so many major problems in this country now; so much that literally depends upon concise and accurate information, that this simple phrase –Who can we trust, may be the difference between life and death
• · · · · A article on that subject written by Stefan Karlsson (John Quiggin of Austria) was published on the Australian Misesian web site Brookes News. He adds at another forum that while there are many similarities between the situation in Australia and the United States, with a housing bubble (The bubble is even greater in Australia) and huge current account deficit, one striking difference is that the Australian dollar has been very strong. There are probably two reasons for this. One is that Australia unlike the U.S. has a balanced budget and thus enjoys more confidence in the world markets and second that Australia as mentioned in the article greatly benefits from the rising commodity prices. That Bubble Has It
• · · · · · For reasons best known to itself, the Government has decided the public is not to be trusted in discussing the issues involved with such an ambitious plan Democracy is one British import that did not survive the crossing to Australia

The Australian Centre for Tax System Integrity, a joint undertaking of the Australian Taxation Office and Australian National University, has revamped its web site. New Australian Centre for Tax System Integrity Web Site

The massive corporate wave of crime, fraud and abuse rolls on, is undeterred by regular exposes in the business media itself. My favorite corporate crime journal (aka the Wall Street Journal) is a daily newspaper that never runs out of material. a daily newspaper that never runs out of material

Invisible Hands & Markets: New Perspective Toward Auditing Firms
The outside accounting firm is one of the four key gatekeepers. The sentries to the marketplace are: the auditors who sign off on companies' financial data; the lawyers who advise companies on disclosure standards and other securities laws requirements; the research analysts who warn investors away from unsound companies; and the board of directors responsible for oversight of company management.
Sentries of Risk Management ; [The clarity of former tax lawyers like Robert H. Jackson, Harry Blackmun, and Sumner Redstone shows that -- far from being a bunch of crazies speaking in tongues -- tax law represents just the opposite. Much of tax practice consists of trying to find logical definitions of ordinary English words (such as "sale" and "ownership"); and tax tries to root those definitions in the concerns of actual transactions Tax thinking boils a transaction down not to labels but to who gets what why, and it forces you to examine where and how it says that ]
• · Crime may not pay, but blowing the whistle on companies that swindle the government sure can. Jim Alderson got $20 million in one settlement and split $100 million with another whistleblower in a related case, both involving Medicare fraud by the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain and a company it acquired Blowing the whistle can bring big bucks; [Move On, Evil Conspiracy Theorists -- Nothing to See Here! ]
• · · Americans have always hated taxes. And for good reason. There’s a fine line between legitimate taxation and the abuse of power Giving Thanks
• · · · When liberals in the media or in politics start being alarmed about the national debt, it means just one thing: They want higher taxes. The thought of reducing spending would never cross their minds A taxing experience
• · · · · Are You Paying Yourself Enough?
• · · · · · Only the little people pay taxes: How much will the government's crackdown on tax shelters affect ordinary companies? More than you think ; [Money Does Change Every Message ]

Barista suggests that the rules are simple. Seven parliamentary librarians will enter, only one will leave It's the sex appeal, stupid (smile)

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Nothing Like A Good Book
It is not a bookstore, not a library, and definitely not a profit-driven enterprise. It is Book Thing, the Baltimore-based book exchange where rich meets poor, elitism dances with populism, and everyone goes away with either a good book or a good feeling.
Book store about much more than a good read [Mini Oprahs TIME WARNER BOOK GROUP’S BLOG APPROACH ]
• · AJ Blogger Drew McManus, an alumnus of Interlochen Arts Centre, has a number of questions about this week's big cuts Lean & Mean, Or Just Watered Down?
• · · The city, which has always maintained that the program operates completely above board, has now agreed to meet with Hodes and, presumably, to satisfy his demands for a more transparent process Putting The Public Back In Public Art: Chicago ; [Straight Out of Brisbane ]
• · · · Hollywood ending? Toronto Film Industry Withering Fast ; [Human costs ]
• · · · · In the past our politicians offered us dreams of a better world. Now they promise to protect us from nightmares The Power of Nightmares: Baby It's Cold Outside

Read, every day, something no one else is reading (such as Cold River - smile). Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity.
-Christopher Morley, American Novelist, Journalist, Poet (1890-1957)

What better spirit of Christmas than to continue giving year-round? That's part of the idea of the richest 31-year-old in history, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, as he gives away $10 billion dollars Christmas Gifts Year-Round

Monday, November 29, 2004

Czechoslovak diggers created the People’s Charter of 1977 which 12 years later rolled in the Velvet Revolution. Australians celebrate the People's Charter of 1838 and this Friday will be the 150th anniversary of the storming of the Eureka Stockade (1854) Dawn of a democracy
In this context, another kind of founders of democracy are emerging in Australia. The Redfern-Waterloo Authority Bill 2004 gives one minister immense power: Dangerous law, more dangerous precedent. Just as Mugabe used the Land Aquisition Act to stifle political opposition, the Carr Government relies on the Liberals' pro-development habits and the popular kneejerk to "clean up Redfern" forever, to push through legislation that no democratic government should be seen dead with. Secret business puts a community at risk

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Political Waterloo Divided: Svejk’s worst fears are realized
In the false belief that we are better off ignoring that which we think we cannot control, just like Dr. Faust, we are ceding our futures to someone else.

It's not enough that certain politicians, sociologists and citizens reminisce once per year about 1989, restricting their actions to debate, as is again the case. There must be a more definitive solution. There must be a confrontation in which one side will win, and the other will finally and definitively lose.
For change to come, it's not enough for us to go into the streets, jingle our keys and go home, as was the case in 1989. We must not stand on the banks of the river we must dive into the river and swim or sink!

There must be a real change; [Central Europe and Kundera’s vision ]
• · Good News About Poverty Recession of global poverty
• · · I commence my very strange story, one that never fails to amuse, bewilder and ultimately dishearten anyone who has ever wondered why combat that was supposed to end on May 1, 2003, you know, Mission Accomplished, still rages with no end in sight The day I almost led the Iraqi army; [Timothy Garton Ash Europe must give immediate and total support to Ukraine's velvet revolutionaries ; These are painful times for the rulers of Central America Mireya Moscoso was stripped of her political immunity by the nation's electoral tribunal ...]
• · · · When news broke about the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, many people questioned: Who could do such a thing? According to Princeton psychologists who reviewed decades worth of studies, the answer is: Anyone [No passion in the world, H.G. Wells declared, is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft. Speaking of drafts, the most pationate bullies inside the Czechoslovak army (1977-1979) were those guys who rarely expressed an independent thought. They usually kicked the new recruits when they were lying down or they liked to intone in comradely fashion ach, it feels good to stab the freshman in the back! Crowd mentality rules the day of the bully: the scary reality of life is that real flowers wilt and need care compared with plastic ones. There are many managers and politicians who are morally despicable, most of them are scared of thinking differently from the plastic or popular crowds. If you did not bully someone as a second year soldier you were the odd man out! They were the people who were scared of being different as there was no room for variety... This describes the popular management mentality of 21st century does not it? (team is mighter than the individual smile)]
• · · · · Since the 1980s, a far-flung trafficking network has equipped Iran, Libya and North Korea with a range of centrifuge equipment (as well as nuclear material in some cases), design data, blueprints, and know-how needed to produce enriched uranium,which can fuel nuclear weapons.7 (PDF) In the modified words of Cyndi Lauper, Radiation Money changes everything
• · · · · · Lowy denies influencing Carr over Orange Grove

Here's my newest million-dollar idea... Building with Imrich Books while Chick Lit Goes To Cold War

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Mercurial Sydney Hot today, hotter tomorrow
A Mercury News article reports on a research teams new theory of how Cold River type books are made:
'They found that top sellers tend to reach their sales peak in one of two ways. As predicted, many get there because of so-called exogenous shocks: a major media announcement, a celebrity endorsement, a dignitary's death. In these cases, the instant rise in sales is followed by a fairly quick decline.
Other books inch their way to the top over many months, helped by cascades of tiny ``endogenous shocks'' such as a friend's recommendation. A prime example is ``Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,'' which made the bestseller list two years after publication without a major ad campaign. How? It caught on in book-discussion clubs and spurred women to form their own Ya-Ya Sisterhood groups.

Ya-Ya What makes a hot bestseller a hotter bestseller? [Channel Crossing Nicole Kidman's latest Hollywood blockbuster (all 180 seconds of it) ]
• · A Pub with Cold Rivers of Beer
• · · To say that the Internet is about "information" is a bit like saying that "cooking" is about oven temperatures; it's technically accurate but fundamentally untrue. The Relationship Revolution
• · · · There's nothing in this world more subjective than rating neighborhoods What makes great neighborhoods?

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Kiev is a magestic city; it certainly made a long lasting impressions on this blogger when he was seventeen. I can still taste the vodka layered caramel icecream and the glorious views from the boat on the Dnipro River (smile).
Behind the scenes - A very informative piece in the Guardian from Ian Traynor looking at Ukrainian Pora youth movement and Milosevic of Serbia repeating history in Kiev
This very morning I spied this spooky headline: Are we sure that shouldn't be 'rigged elections and topple regimes unsavoury to Bu$hCo'? Thanksgiving in Kiev

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Vaclav Havel to replace Kofi Annan at the UN
UN: When Even the Good News is Bad... One of the next big chapters in the United Nations oil-for-food scandal will involve the family of the secretary-general, Kofi Annan whose son turns out to have been receiving payments as recently As early this year from a key contractor in the oil-for-food program ... Is there any reason whatsoever to suffer the continued presence of Kofi Annan at the United Nations?
(In addition, czech out David and his useful links to Kiev’s events as well as November entries of Scott)
Somehow today it seems all too easy to take moral characters like Havel for granted ... Enough is enough of Kofi and the perception he and his family force on us!
Is there any way to get Havel to come out of retirement to succeed Kofi Annan as head of the UN, please? I mean, if ever there were a guy with the guts and moral clarity to insist that the UN live up to its ideals, it's Havel
Kofi out, Havel in. It's an idea whose time has come [28 November 2004 - Poll invalid, says Ukraine parliament Havel Sends Message to Ukrainian People ]
• · Talking about feelings has never been the fashion in this country. We would rather medicate them or drown them in alcohol. We are not taught how to care for the emotional needs of others Unbearable Sadness of Others' Pain
• · · 20th Anniversary of Bhopal Trespass Against Us
• · · · Where governments enjoy large majorities in a unicameral parliament, or effective majorities in both houses of a bicameral parliament, the role of the courts in protecting minority rights becomes more important Justice Michael Kirby
• · · · · Sydney's train system is at a standstill, the buses crawl at horse-and-buggy pace through the CBD, and the transport duo, Costa and Scully, are implacably opposed to light rail Carr's Bismarck strategy goes off the rails ; [Sydney’s patron saint of the train traveller, Rebecca Turner, has reached another international fame. This time Singaporean Straits Times features Rebecca on the front page.]
Alex Mitchell of Sun Herald fame reports on the irony filled address by Mr Bob Carr to the annual dinner of the Australian German Association. The speech was devoted to the achievements of Otto Bismarck. Mitchell reflects on what the Everyman's Encyclopaedia says about the Otto: All his life Bismarck was to show himself a supreme opportunist, ready to use any movement, liberal or anti-liberal, when suited his immediate objective, and to discard it just as quickly when it had served it purpose... Sound familiar as in 2004 the NSW government is building its own navy of U-boats rather than Musolinis (sic) trains that would run on time.
• · · · · · The waterfront set loses its privacy ; [(PDF) The High Court and indefinite detention: towards a national bill of rights]

It takes 23 seconds for blood to circulate through the human body Wide is the world and cold. Cold like the River Coincidence? I think not...

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Warning: Blogs Can Be Infectious
Last week the veteran American news anchorman Dan Rather stepped down from his post at CBS. Though the demotion was sweetened by his resuming a reporting role, few doubted the sequence of events. During the election campaign, CBS had reported allegations about President Bush’s military service that turned out to be based on fraudulent documents, easily identified as such. Rather had defended the veracity of the report with an indignation touched by hubris.
What is...Pajamahadeen? [ Pajamahadeen and her/his Sox]
• · This is pretty cool That Business-Model Thing
• · · Journalists on Ukraine's state-owned channel - which had previously given unswerving support to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych - have joined the opposition, saying they have had enough of Telling the government's lies
• · · · Under (spin) doctors’ orders Spin-doctoring is bad for our democracy, but journalists’ passivity is worse
• · · · · The 'blog' revolution sweeps across China Red Revolution

Democracy (the play) covers the years during which Willy Brandt was Chancellor of (West) Germany, and specifically the role East German spy Günter Guillaume played in his administration (and, eventually, its undoing) The West Wing meets the Eastern Bloc

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Throwing finishing lines offshore
Barista’s point is merely this: how are we supposed to get good at the particular highly skilled craft of feature film making? To compete in a ruthless marketplace where we inevitably start behind the financial 8-ball?

Producers in Australia are funded to develop slates; if they had to read these aloud to a focus groups at the local mall, some may need medical care to fix their egos.
I think it is becoming more and more obvious that these directors were also trained at a very particular time. Film Australia, 10BA tax money, protection for Australian commercials, an optimistic ABC. All gone. [Analogy could be drawn to swimming results in Australia; after the Montreal failure the seeds were sowed for the successful creation of the Australian Institute of Sport ...]

Reel Reality in Oz [I’ve been involved with the Australian Writers’ Guild, been a project manager in the Australian Film Commission, worked close to the action in Film Victoria, done a bit of fiction writing, and some script editing, written a heap of assessments… So I have some experience of film development. One and Only David Tiley aka Barista ]
• · Look Who Isn't Talking A filmmaker is murdered, and Hollywood loudmouths say nothing
• · · Belvoir St Theatre, Sydney until December 23 (Spooky, ehhh) The Spook: ASIO is watching you
• · · · Jennifer Larmore Loving every minute
• · · · · Marketing Ana as an extremely sexy and engrossing read about suicide Climb Aboard Tolstoy’s Train
• · · · · · Sydneysiders refer to the bridge as the coathanger (Did the German Great Grandfather Dorman coined the label first?) Sir Ralph Freeman the father of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Saturday, November 27, 2004

For the first time ever in the known history of Portcullis House there came before us, unsuspecting Westminster villagers, something of a mirage: the figure of the Rt Hon Baroness Thatcher looking heavenly in a sharp-cut royal (Tory) blue suit.
The Barons have spoken; we just don’t know what they said

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Timothy Garton Ash
Ever since I learned how to read sentences in English I have been reading one and all stories by Timothy. As an outsider to Central and Eastern Europe Timothy reported stories which many of us assumed were impossible to put down on paper. He dared to imagine Europe I did not even dare to dream about such as the prediction back in early 1980s that the Iron Curtain woulod come down in our lifetimes. To boot his vision is captured for prosperity in different newspapers around the world. Timothy turned communist concrete into dust... Ash is just an amazing fireproof Giant!
This is a crisis of the West that's quite different from all the crises we had during the Cold War, because then we were always brought together again by the common enemy, the Soviet threat, and now we're not. We see "the enemy" in different ways. I think the Iraq crisis brought to the surface something that was latent, and not just since 9/11, but from what I call "the first 9/11," Nov. 11, 1989 [9/11/89 in European notation], not the fall of the Twin Towers but the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the common enemy disappears and Europe ceases to be the center of world politics. If you're sitting in Washington, you say to yourself, Well, what do I need Europe for? It's irrelevant.
And I think somebody like Dick Cheney does say that to himself. I think that's the deepest root of the crisis. Of course, it was exacerbated by a) 9/11 and b) the Bush administration reacting as it did.

A British historian of the present ponders America, Europe and the future of the West [Deutscher’s Trotsky was thought by two generations – his own and its successor Victory in Defeat ]
• · The pajamahadeen are firing their virtual bullets into the cyber-air in celebration of CBS anchor Dan Rather's death The pajamahadeens are digging their own graves
• · · Brilliant title behind this sad case of a woman basher Legal Precedent Doesn't Let Facts Stand in the Way
• · · · There is some association between the idea that I have a right to be let alone by the government and not having a large dog circle my car Smells like privacy invasion
• · · · · Evolutionary roots of altruism and moral outrage

One day on the set of Marathon Man, Dustin Hoffman showed up looking like shit. Totally exhausted and practically delirious. Asked what the problem was, Hoffman said that at this point in the movie, his character will have been awake for 24 hours, so he wanted to make sure that he had been too. Laurence Olivier shook his head and said, Oh, Dusty, why don’t you just try acting?
So, when all else fails, just try writing...

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Kokoda Track
If you only read one book on Kokoda Track make sure it is James Cume’s Haverleigh.
Kokoda is a period of fascination for Australian journalists and historians and it is intriguing to see different storytellers with the same story.

Book Reviews [Haverleigh: The most moving story on earth]
• · · If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. Vincent Van Gogh On your marks: Hack your way out of writer’s block
• · · · The urge to infidelity ... it's in her genes
• · · · · Cries out a literate despair War, Love and Theft ...

There'll be two dates on your tombstone
And all your friends will read 'em
But all that's gonna matter is that little dash between 'em...
-Kevin Welch

Blogging is growing at a phenomenal rate with a new blog being registered every 7.7 seconds. Sit down and be counted: Want to change the world?
Robert J. Ambrogi, a lawyer and a journalist based in Rockport launches, a new Media Law Blog A blog about freedom of the press

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Academic blogging:
Maybe Academics Are Not So Crazy After All

Many surfers love diving into the waves created by John Quiggin not only because of his ability to foam economic insights, but also because he knows how to measure what does not get done in politics. In addition, he has created a community of commentariat envied by blogmasters in any virtual juristiction.
There's been a fair bit of discussion among academic bloggers about whether blogs count for the purposes of vitas and publication lists) and if so how. The maximalist position (so far not put forward seriously by anyone as far as I know) is that each blog post is a separate publication. The minimal claim is that blogs are a form of community service, like talking to school groups and similar. A good place to start, with plenty of links to earlier contributions, is this post by Eszter Hargittai at Crooked Timber.
Quoting Blogs [ It is a truth almost universally acknowledged Bloggers are Different ]
• · Why webmasters and bloggers should build doors with apple trees (Mac) Broken Windows; [New Technorati This favelet for IE, Mozilla, Firefox, Safari, etc. Making a difference in web browsing experience: Get a quick view of what people are saying about any particular article, web page, company, keywords, or blog post]
• · · Mere mention of poetry could disperse a crowd quicker than a fire hose
• · · · A cheaper way to find that book Ach, it has gotten to the point where people think if it's not in Google, it doesn't exist
• · · · · Is there a rule that a meal, in literature, is never just a meal? Does meal always symbolise communion? Why do we know that? Because writing a meal scene is so difficult, and so inherently uninteresting, that there really needs to be some compelling reason to include one in the story... The river of beer is an incredibly hospitable place There’s a dearth of beer-drinking journalists these days ; [Am I losing my mind? ]
• · · · · · Until this morning only Crikey Subscribers had access to the Exclusive: is this the biggest ever ABC fraud? Now Steve has provided a link for the benefit of the Google searchers Exclusive Link (Crikey is relevent wherever you happen to surf - subscribe to Crikey and be part of the Antipodean success story)

Friday, November 26, 2004

In the fallout over Charles' controversial memo on ambition and opportunity, onlookers have debated just how meritocratic society really is. Unfortunately, in crowds it is stupidity and not mother wit that is accumulated. For a group to be smart, it should be autonomous, decentralized and diverse and the same applies for royalty and politicians. Politicians are responsible for the leaders they choose. Their choices reflect their moral values ... In terms of moral values, this is where the rubber meets the road. The rules you apply to yourself are the true test of your moral values. Hypocrisy at the highest levels of government is toxic to the moral fiber that holds our communities together ...
In this context, Slovakia publishes the names of former secret police officers, causing mild shock in a country that has made little effort to bar communists from public posts Slavic Pandora

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Why Mark Latham must be in it for the long haul
Our hit-list on schools reminded me of what Joe Chamberlain said to me about state aid for Catholic schools in 1963: For every vote we lose from the Catholics who want state aid, we will gain votes from the Protestants who oppose state aid.
• Czech-grown Westfield Mallers and the Maller from the Bribery (sic) Island The Labor Party should remember Whitlam and think long term, writes Graham Freudenberg ; [Recommended Reading Your Shout and the New Matilda ]
• · Sydney at the post election railway crossing All stations to frustration; [Everybody knows the federal election was decided on federal issues ; NSW Premier Bob Carr has rejected claims by Federal ALP leader Mark Latham that state issues contributed to Labor`s Federal election lossThere`s no Labor Party polling that says state issues intruded even to the slightest extent in NSW or in other states... economic management, and particularly interest rates, were the dominating issues]
• · · A new report [nicknamed Work til you Drop] say that Australia`s ageing population will cost taxpayers $2.2 trillion and will cut economic growth in half over the next 20 years Huge cost of going grey: My saltish hair is getting less and less of that peppery look
• · · · Looking back, we may also one day see 2004 as the year when a new iron curtain descended across Europe, dividing the continent not through the center of Germany but along the eastern Polish border. The New Iron Curtain ; [Speech by Premier Ladislav Adamec at the extraordinary session of the Czechoslovak Communist Party Central Committee, 24 November 1989 This remarkable previously secret transcript shows the party elites choosing against violent repression of the mass protests in Wenceslas Square]
• · · · · Political and Economic Armageddon predicted
• · · · · · A billboard recently put up in Orlando bearing a smiling photograph of President Bush with the words Our Leader is raising eyebrows among progressives who feel the poster is akin to that of propaganda used by tyrannical regimes. Our Misleader ; [The election is over. The fight is not Elections are only one part of democracy ]

Thursday, November 25, 2004

More places for one and all webmasters and bloggers - Google Help : Cheat Sheet
BTW, Site Search Pro is a comprehensive search script. It provides complete, customizable, effective, and fully-functional site searching for any type of Web site

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Cyberia: Blogging the Story Alive
I didn’t need an article in New York magazine [“The New Old News,” April 29] to tell me that newspapers are hot again. My college tenured several professors who instilled in students a sharp guilt about reading newspapers. That is, about not reading enough of them. We were challenged, constantly, to read any number of broadsheets, or at least to seem to. Our contests were something out of a men’s locker room: Six was average, three was embarrassing, ten had to be seen to be believed. Ultimately, this cultivated not wisdom and worldliness but paranoia and deceit. What I really learned was how to fake it.
Siberia: How To Seem Like You Read Several Newspapers ; [eBook Primer Since Picasso, no one has invented more than Deron Douglas]
• · Keeping Up With Search Engines; [Journalists sites]
• · · A Florida woman who said her 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich bore the image of the Virgin Mary will be getting a lot more bread after the item sold for $35,814.79 on eBay A lot of bread ; [ Life Begins at Eighty ... On the Internet]
• · · · Business Reference Services - Indexes, Bibliographies, and Guides ;
• · · · · To participate in culture is to share," he says, "and now, all of a sudden, our laws are telling us that we may not be cultural Copyrights and Copywrongs
• · · · · · Newspapers Should Really Worry

Have faith, publish with passion and know that ideas matter. Reading has always been a minority taste. Yet books often have an impact disproportionate to the actual number of copies sold. In 1953, for example, Alfred A. Knopf published Czeslaw Milosz's THE CAPTIVE MIND, selling fewer than 3,000 copies. Nearly 30 years later, Milosz was awarded the Nobel Prize. Barely a decade later, communism collapsed and the Cold War was over. History is full of surprises. Books are the foundation of civilization. In these matters, I remain something of a Leninist: Better fewer, but better.
-Steve Wasserman (LA Times) [They did it their way: hmmms and aahs between best record covers]

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: So Much Cold River, So Close to My Second Home
So much plot so far from home . . .
A new movie based on the Raymond Carver story "So Much Water, So Close to Home" is to star American actress Laura Linney and be called Jindabyne. As an Agence France Press story explains, the story is set in Australia and it tells the story of a group of men who discover the body of an Aborigine girl in the water while fishing. But instead of notifying authorities of the murder immediately, they decide to proceed with their fishing trip, igniting a tremendous scandal in their town. Of course, the Carver story was set in California, had nothing to do with Aborigines, and never took the men to a town.

• Linney to star in film of Raymond Carver Australia tale: report Jindabyne [Investors Czech out the Public Ruling on the ATO website: PR 2004/111 Film Investment - Jindabyne ]
• · As my Uncle Joseph liked to say - for people like us, the malere, the poor, the future was not a given. It was something to be clawed from the edge of despair with sweat and blood Uncle of Edwidge Danticat dies in custody of Homeland Security after seeking asylum; [I was born in the house which used to be old mortuary going back to the black death era Like Moyers, I have never as a grown-up visited a cemetery without realizing how brief the time we are here, or how much we crowd into it ]
• · · They don't have enough space, or they might just not feature particular titles Land o' Books New Mexico Books & More ; [ Lit Idol begins search for author ]
• · · · Let us pretend we are Sophie Masson (link coutesy of troppoarmadillo); [Search Of Stories Where is the best storytelling today? Not in books, alas]
• · · · · Mother is the most beautiful word in the English language, followed by passion, smile, love and eternity (Father didn't make the list at all.)
• · · · · · Damien Parer Most of those who identify as filmmakers are emotionally truncated, personally immature and have no burning spirituality to take a chance Feature films produced in Australia today are mediocre and lacking in passion

We are direct beneficiaries of the economics lesson the pilgrims learned in 1623 Real Thanksgiving Lesson

Invisible Hands & Markets: But Enough About You: Bad Tidings
Income tax is the single biggest expense in all households, followed by food, transport and housing costs, a new 20-year report shows.
Only a third of households spent money on life insurance or superannuation, while ... almost half of all households spend money most weeks on gambling.
A third of households spend money on tobacco (and) 60 per cent spend money regularly on alcohol.
About 15 per cent of households regularly spend more money each week than they earn while a third are able to save money most weeks.
Mothers are the breadwinners for Australian families more than ever before, but most people still think children should be a woman's top priority.

Income tax: Australian families' biggest expense; [Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Sunday that "accountability will be carried out" against whoever slipped a provision into an omnibus spending bill that would have allowed two committee chairmen to view the tax returns of any American ]
• · Using tax dodges that range from perfectly legal to dubious, wealthy boat owners are enlisting the aid of the federal government to keep their luxury yachts on the water Three-part series on tax breaks for luxury yachts
• · · Illinois Judicial Campaign Money Sources of donations in high court race can’t be traced
• · · · Church. Monarchy, State. By the end of the century, the corporation had become the world's dominant institution; [Taking the Trouble to Research Your Market]
• · · · · Simon Castles So many souls drowning in the cult of the individual
• · · · · · WHETHER you want to set up a business, pay that overdue parking fine or even book tickets to Mamma Mia, you now only need to remember one website: www.gov.sg ; [Sydney Magazine SMH December issue touches on what could be done better in Sydney: In this context, czech out Reengineering citizen service delivery in Brisbane Public Sector Technology & Management Magazine ]

Can we believe what the bestseller lists tell us about what Americans are reading? Cooking the Book Lists

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: With tongues firmly planted in cheeks ...
‘Tis better to give than to receive, but what to give? Books, of course. They're reasonably priced, last well beyond the holiday season and are good for the brain (as well as the soul).
Obvious: The Homer Book: The Simpsons Library of Wisdom, by Matt Groening. The patriarch of the Simpson clan shares the benefit of his experiences, prompting the question, What's it like inside that world of yours, Homer?
Not So Obvious: As Joseph Dantica liked to say, for people like us, the malere, the poor, the future was not a given. It was something to be clawed from the edge of despair with sweat and blood. Czech out why the analogy holds water with my story entitled Cold War River ...
The majesty of the words: The Book Babes are book critics Margo Hammond and Ellen Heltzel; [Sophie Masson Most Borrowed Book into film...]
• · Szirine Jared Pepper: Calling Australian Sun His Home
• · · Czech born Stoppard Stopped At the Hollywood Door
• · · · Politics, Patrick and Power Mixed Up: White house may still be saved
• · · · · Charlotte Abbott, Book News Editor of Publishers Weekly; Bob Minzesheimer, Book Reviewer and Publishing Reporter of USA Today; Sam Tanenhaus, Editor of the New York Times Book Review; and Steve Wasserman, Editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review Around Round Table
• · · · · · Writers get less respect in this country than people who eat live bugs on television for money In The Stranger Neal Pollack notes It Can't Happen Here
• · · · · Beware the brolliepaths of thrusters and swingers; [Spotted by Divine Boynton fotograf of Woman with Broken Umbrella; Iron Vodka Crossing Barista cocktiles the best way to attract readers]

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

(Real) political science blogs

Eye on Politics & Law Lords:
Margo maintains her view that an independent public inquiry is needed. The honour of six people is under a cloud. The integrity of our democracy is under question in the seat of New England. Fat chance, Kingston. You're dreaming. Noone cares about that crap anymore. Least of all the media.
Your right to know? Silly you - trust the AFP [ Untangling the Windsor knot]
• · The Americans are Sowing Dragons' Teeth in Iraq
• · · Invisible Dissent
• · · · Could the peaceful triumph of Czechs and Slovaks over communism fifteen years ago offer A model of democratic revolution to religious fundamentalists today?
• · · · · Why Central Europe’s young are dancing, dressing, and drinking as their parents did before 1989
• · · · · · Raper: Carr has a rail Mr Fixit ... and his name isn't Costa ; [A philosopher produces ideas, a poet poems, a clergyman sermons, a professor compendia and so on. A criminal produces crimes The Sopranos, Capitalism And Organized Crime

Few happy days are entirely unspotted by melancholy. I just had an exceptionally fine one, and my mailbox overflowed with congratulations by the time it was done, but I couldn’t help thinking of departed friends with whom I would have rejoiced to share my good news, and how they would have rejoiced to hear it. As I remembered them, I thought of the stark confession Dr. Johnson made in the preface to his Dictionary: “I have protracted my work till most of those whom I wished to please have sunk into the grave, and success and miscarriage are empty sounds: I therefore dismiss it with frigid tranquillity, having little to fear or hope from censure or from praise.”

Tim Dunlop and his liberal views: Blogosphere on the road to being amusingly vexatious

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Here's To The Losers
Study the front page of a major paper some time; huge portions of the content are all about keeping score. Who's a billionaire now? Whose movie flopped? Who's being sued? Who lost everything?
In politics, one man's win creates many losers. And America knows what to do with those pathetic figures as they lie there prostrate and broken. Kick 'em hard.
Here's Slate's Fred Kaplan on the departing secretary of State:
And so the other shoe has dropped on the sad career of Colin Powell. Here is a man who enjoyed the most appealing life story in American politics... a proud black man who could have made a serious run for president under either party's banner -- chewed up and spit out on the shard-strewn sidewalk of Losers' Boulevard.

• I once was blind -- and still can't see. My blind spots blot out half of Australia: Born Losers
• · I love blogs and bloggers:
Says WP's polling director

• · · · If journalists manage to capture the diversity of this topic, They may help the public understand that moral values involve a way of life -- not just a label

If acting is a creative art—if it is—then it is perfectly reasonable to demand for it conditions similar to those of the painter or the writer: the right, that is, to make a mess, to splash around, to make drafts and sketches, to have a wasterpaper bin at your side. In any creative activity, art is madness, craft is sanity. The balance between them makes the work.
-Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: I'm the Honorable Mr. So-and-So: How I envy him
I want to influence people so they’ll do what I think it’s important they should do. I can’t get ’em to do that unless I let ’em bore me first, you understand. Then just as they’re delighting in having got me punch-drunk with talk I come back at ’em and make ’em do what I’ve got lined up for ’em.’
‘I wish I could do that,’ Dixon said enviously. ‘When I’m punch-drunk with talk, which is what I am most of the time, that’s when they come at me and make me do what they want me to do.’ Apprehension and drink combined to break through another bulkhead in his mind and he went on eagerly: ‘I’m the boredom detector. I’m a finely tuned instrument. If only I could get hold of a millionaire I’d be worth a bag of money to him. He could send me on ahead into dinners and cocktail parties and night clubs, just for five minutes, and then by looking at me he’d be able to read off the boredom coefficient of any gathering. Like a canary down a coal mine; same idea.’

• Modern Kicks: Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim
• · Sandra Cisneros tells us, Write about what makes you different. Your readers want to see the world through your eyes Farewell my General (Johnny Warren) by Les Murray
• · · Cult of Mac Dragons and Southerly Busters know a lot about spilling coffee and picking-up venue of choice Dating at the Apple Store
• · · · Barista Getting Arrested in Iran
• · · · · Having your heart repeatdly broken, evidently, can be rewarding. Congratulations to our very own Breakup Babe. She just got a book deal with Random House based on her blog. The book will be called Breaking Up, Blogging On. Well done! Silver Lining
• · · · · · NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Disclaimer: The following editorial is not politically correct

Eye on Politics & Velvetish Revolutionaries: After the Fall: People's voices are crucial ...
It is possible that what we are witnessing is a mere change of paradigm, caused by new technologies, and we have nothing to worry about. But perhaps the problem is deeper: global corporations, media cartels, and powerful bureaucracies are transforming political parties into organizations whose main task is no longer public service, but the protection of specific clienteles and interests. Politics is becoming a battleground for lobbyists; media trivialize serious problems; democracy often looks like a virtual game for consumers, rather than a serious business for serious citizens.
Vaclav Havel; Sametova a Nezna revolucia
• · Prague Posts Memories
• · · Velvet surprise: Commercial-driven media and populace
• · · · Charter 77: Heroes, villains and observers of the Velvet Revolution respond
• · · · · Many Czechs want to move ahead but are not ready to ask the big questions Wanting it Both Ways
• · · · · · Prague’s Most Private Eye

The 2004 Best Blogs Readers' Choice Award winners owe their fame, if not their fortune, to all those whose opinions, nominations and votes helped us to recognize this year's most-talked-about political blogs. Washminster Dragons

The Blog, The Press, The Media: ...and Live to Blog Another Day
Everybody in the blogosphere seems to have something to say about Google and corporate blogging ...
Corporate Choices [How Many Bloggers Are There and How Can You Track Them? Waiting for Snow in Sydney: One Less Backpages]
• · Google have come up with a cracking first-rate search engine looking up scholarly literature including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Released on the weekend for beta testing, it looks promising and you may like to try it out as well. http://scholar.google.com/
• · · Blog fast, die young and some rules according to Chris: Backpages of Last Words ; John Quiggin on Departures and Arrival of Bloggers
• · · · Storytelling captured by Margo Kingston: The fact that we still live in a democracy, albeit an imperfect one, does leave a glimmer of hope. The destruction of the ABC would do much to extinguish it; Storytelling is more important than ever, more potent than ever Because the narrative can take the public behind the policy into the hearts and minds of the people creating it
• · · · · Media Blogger Association
• · · · · · Three Easy Steps to See Who's Linking to You For the ultimate narcissist within you

Monday, November 22, 2004

Ach, we Slavic, Anglosaxan, whatever class peasants, weren't born yesterday, we didn't come down with the first snow ... Charles informs us that he prefers that serfs remain serfs.

My thoughts are probably similar to the Janosik's prayer on being chased up a tree by a huge grizzly bear in High Tatra Mountains:-
Lord you did deliver Daniel from the Lion's Den,
And Lord you did deliver Jonah from the belly of the whale
And then three Hebrew children from the fiery furnace, the Good Book do declare.
So Lord, if you can't help me, for goodness sake don't help that bear

I am part of the Lost Generation of ‘68 and ‘89. Like the Slavic serf Janosik I know what being a disobedient servant means.
This year is the 15th anniversary of the Czech people's overthrow of 41 years of communist rule ... If democracy is emptied of values and reduced to a competition of political parties that have `guaranteed' solutions to everything, it can be quite undemocratic!
15 years ago, exactly, (smile) my first daughter of the Velvet Revolution was conceived in Sydney Long Live Havel
Slovakia will become the first post-communist country to make documentation of repressive state organs in the Communist and Nazi era accessible to all ...Long Live the Memory of the Nation

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: In Falluja, Young Marines Saw the Savagery of an Urban War
Some great war reporting... ...by Dexter Filkins of the New York Times, who provides us with an emotional inside glimpse of Marines in action in Fallujah
Eight days after the Americans entered the city on foot, a pair of marines wound their way up the darkened innards of a minaret, shot through with holes by an American tank.
As the marines inched upward, a burst of gunfire rang down, fired by an insurgent hiding in the top of the tower. The bullets hit the first marine in the face, his blood spattering the marine behind him. The marine in the rear tumbled backward down the stairwell, while Lance Cpl. William Miller, age 22, lay in silence halfway up, mortally wounded... Nothing in the combat I saw even remotely resembled the scenes regularly flashed across movie screens; even so, they often seemed no more real.

Focus on the bravery and sacrifice of the Marines
• · · Mike France and Stephanie Anderson Forest What Cheney did at Halliburton

Ach, my computer was mysteriously fixed by the Apple Mac doctors!
A girl by the name of Rebecca has had more emails --angrycommuter@hotmail.com - in the last three weeks than I have had in 3 years. How she managed to keep up with her daily secretary’s job as well as a night position as a supermarket packer will remain a mystery...
We may not enjoy the luxury of a functional rail system in Sydney at the moment but thank God for people like Rebecca Turner who remind us that we still live in one of the greatest democracies in the world.

Today Momentum Gathered for a Grassroots Protest
Hold onto your bootstraps folks! If you liked Erin Brockovich, you’ll be thoroughly intrigued with the adventures of this Sydneysider, , and her knack for civil disobedience.
· Free trains on Monday: Carr, grandson and son of a traindriver, caves in [ via British Rail News Global News ]
· Commuters got a fare-free day

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Margo Kingston elaborates on the speech by Arundhati Roy and her speech to Australia You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train

Sophie Masson admires Les Murray

Tim Dunlop caving away:
John Willmot penned his poetry riddled with the pox
Nabakov wrote on index cards,
at a lectem, in his socks
St. John of the Cross did his best stuff
imprisoned in a box
And JohnnyThunders was half alive
when he wrote Chinese Rocks

Chris Sheil blogs about Peter Conrad who says
The happiness America dispenses must be purchase. So long as you have money, you can get fast food, carbonated drinks, Prozac, cocaine, Viagra, innumerable channels of trash beamed into your brain from a satellite, and a pin emblazoned with the Stars and Stripes to wear above your heart

Monday, November 15, 2004

A liberal commentariat values its opinions above all others, says Paul Sheehan the author of Barbarians at the Gate. So many talking, so little sense

Monday, November 08, 2004

While my Apple is being built again, I am digesting lots of trees and paperbacks. Blogosphere is also very actively creating stories and analysis...

Ken Parish gathers posts from various bloggers such as Chris Sheil and Don Arthur who are trying to make sense of the Amerikan elections Land of the Free

Closer home Car chases take a brutal toll: 21 young lives snuffed out Dangerous Pursuits

John Grisham would have struggled to come up with the saga of Jeff Shaw's missing blood sample as Boilermaker Bill McKell explains

Neil Mitchell stole from kids with cancer. His crime shows how easy it is to commit fraud in Australia Art of the Con

Friday, November 05, 2004

Apple A Day - Becomes A Week

Even though my technological environment is still suffering I could not help but try the internet café to serve a link to a speech by Indian novelist Arundhati Roy who condemned the war in Iraq as cowardly as she accepted the Sydney Peace Prize and what a speech on injustice this is bloggers Roy accepts Sydney Peace Prize

Also note the latest news from the Sussex Street Comrades No More

Is Nathan Vass writing for the BRW? According to the latest issue he seems to have a feature entitled HOUSE OF CARDS. Nathan is confirming predictions by Media Dragon back in 2003 in relation to the dangers of the property bubble ... (smile)