Sunday, January 28, 2007

The holiday season just flew like never before. I have been doing lots of reading and even more catching up with friends and family. Lea (Liya) invaded Sydney for the first time and it is not often that my French family gets to celebrate their 18 birthdays in Australia. It was a pleasure to show Lea Sydney and the Blue Mountains last week ... A week is too short for exploring the colourful shadows of the Emerald City. We both agree that we hope to have Imrich genes as her grandmother, my auntie Zofka, is 91 this year and still coping with cooking and shopping and running around in her house in Champagne region.

Blogging tends to be neglected this days as the script for the film is taking most of my time. It is great to find thought provoking analysis of blogging. Antony who came to the launch of the Jones Town book by Chris Master has the bloggosphere talking ... By the way, readers can also catch up with Antony's rich material on the greatest blogging gift to Australia Crickey

Czech out Antony on Blogging

Friday, January 26, 2007

It is Australia Day, a Canadian mate, Krista, is now a citizen and politics is what matters most in 2007 ... Rudd looks to Carr spin man for media skill
Walt Secord … will take over the Opposition's media strategy.
BOB CARR'S former chief spin doctor Walt Secord has been hired by the Federal Opposition leader, Kevin Rudd, to try to replicate the Carr Government's tightly controlled and highly effective media strategy.

Mr Secord, who will join Mr Rudd's staff as communications director next month, worked for a decade as Mr Carr's communications director. Mr Carr was known for developing close relations with key members of the media and ensuring generous coverage by giving exclusive stories to selected media outlets. Mr Secord, previously a journalist in Toronto and Sydney, worked with him from 1995 through to his retirement in 2005.

Mr Secord, 43, was known for digging up dirt on Opposition MPs and overseeing ministers' public statements. During question time he would hand out media releases from a trolley that was known by the press as the Trolley of Truth. As communications director for Mr Rudd, Mr Secord will be expected to craft policies and messages aimed at winning back key seats in NSW. In The Latham Diaries the former Opposition leader Mark Latham, who was no friend of Mr Carr, recorded that "backbenchers [in NSW] … are not allowed to scratch their backsides unless Walt gives them the green light".
McKew impressed to the max

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ad hoc reading and odds and ends worth czeching out in terms of trends and patterns
Creative legal eagle Lawyer Lunch
As US Judge Tannenwald wrote in an oft-cited opinion, Diaz v. Commissioner:53 “the distillation of truth from falsehood . . . is the daily grist of judicial life.” Diaz
is also another good example for teaching about the importance of evidence in a case. legislative grace. their tenure in office is a matter of “electorate grace.”

- Privacy, as Victorian Privacy Commissioner Paul Chadwick recently observed, is a freedom most noticed in its absence. Sadly, we only seem to appreciate what we had once it's gone.
Ethics is an informal mode of control. “It’s the glue that stops excessive individualism.”

This hypocrisy is aptly articulated in the fable of two neighbors in rural
England, one a lawyer, one a farmer. The farmer, circumspect of
the lawyer’s wily nature, says to the lawyer, “sir, regrettably
your ox hopped over the fence separating our properties and was
gored by one of my bulls, and I wish to know whether I need to
make reparations”. The lawyer responded that of course the
farmer would have to make reparations and that he owed him
one ox. To that, the farmer replied, “very good, because actually
it was my ox that hopped the fence and your bull that did the
goring. So I suppose you owe me one ox.” The lawyer then
retorted that that was a different case with different facts and
therefore different principles applied. Disagreeing that there
could be a difference, the farmer rightfully exclaimed, “it does not
depend upon whose ox is gored!”
Long odds: a history of gambling
Human vice is the most certain thing after death and taxes, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin.

The Winning Odds: pounds 8 on a fruit machine: 600/1; pounds 50,000 scratch-card jackpot: 2.57 million/1; top prize on the Lottery: 14.5 million/1.

Akio Kashiwagi, a Tokyo-based gambler who had once won more than $6m at Atlantic City's Trump Plaza, loses close to $10m in six days at a baccarat table. The following year he is stabbed to death in his home at the foot of Mount Fuji. Long odds: a history of gambling

Monday, January 15, 2007

Mack and Kerner's thesis was that out of globalisation and computerisation, dodgy business practices and tax havens, there was evolving a resilient and almost uncatchable type, the "able criminal." He was like the poison-proof super-rat, said to be thriving off the fast-food culture of our streets: specialising in difficult-to-detect frauds, ripping off other criminals who wouldn't for obvious reasons go to the police, and implicating the police themselves, who had to protect their grasses and sleepers. Based in the likes of Jersey or Monaco or (these days) Dubai, he dealt in millions. Send No More Roses

Political parties topped the list as institutions most likely to be affected by corruption followed by parliaments and legislatures, the business sector and then the police according to the findings of Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer 2006 released in Germany today. Political parties top the corruption list

In the 19th century, the then expanding USA went through the same process. Robber barons seized economic opportunities in the Wild East and in the Wild West and really everywhere else. Morgan, Rockefeller, Pullman, Vanderbilt – the most ennobled families of latter day America originated with these rascals. But there is one important difference between the USA at that time and Central and Eastern Europe today. A civic culture with civic values and an aspiration to, ultimately, create a civic society permeated the popular as well as the high-brow culture of America. Criminality was regarded as a shameful stepping stone on the way to an orderly society of learned, civilized, law-abiding citizens. This cannot be said about Russia, for instance. The Criminality of Transition

It is almost Lori time in Shik calendar and also time for light reading for all Indian mates: Millionaires from India, China drive London property prices

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year ... and happy reading as stories is all we really own ... There were so many stories created at Iceberg last night with Mal, Lisa, Mark, Krys, Carla, Robin, Dave, Marie, Pauline. Not even the presence of the spoilt brat, Paris Hilton, could spoit the Silvester NY party at the hot Berg at Bondi ...

Blasts from the past: Under the Westminster doctrine of separation of powers, the executive government is responsible for the police while the administration of Parliament is the responsibility of the presiding officers and legislators. We should keep things that way ...

STATE MPs are apprehensive about the prospect of NSW Police special constables taking charge of security at Parliament and patrolling its corridors. At least one - Lee Rhiannon of the Greens - has vowed to ban the constables entering her office. She is appealing to other parliamentarians to join the boycott. It comes after previous conflicts with police when officers entered Parliament armed with warrants to search MPs' rooms as part of ICAC investigations. Two years ago indignant MPs instigated a review of historic parliamentary rights to prevent a recurrence of unannounced police raids on Macquarie Street.

For the past 150 years, Parliament's security has been controlled by the Speaker, the upper house President and the two clerks. But this Westminster tradition has been challenged by an ASIO review of security arrangements that recommended the introduction of special constables. Alex Mitchell: MPs want police to stay out of Parliament

The words we learn mostly come in under the radar, get filed, and then pop out obligingly when we need them. Sometimes, however, we're very conscious of a new arrival and, especially so, the first time we use it... "Well, it's always been a bit strange and it's never entirely natural is it? I don't know what the word is but natural doesn't fit," Clarke chuckles down the line from his home in southern England. "Still it was no place for a shrinking violet." A man of his words: Biggest stone hits The Glass House

When you consider that an entire plate of broccoli contains the same number of calories as a small spoonful of peanut butter, you might think twice the next time you decide what to eat
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Iceberg Secret

Time consuming adventures Movie Making
Not everybody wants to work with them, but independents may soon hold the balance of power in the NSW Parliament. Jonathan Pearlman examines their impact. On a Tuesday morning, in a small boardroom in Parliament House, the state's foremost anti- Baywatch activist is declaring, yet again, his undying opposition to letting cameras and bikinis run loose on his local beaches. "The reason I'm in Parliament is because of Baywatch," the Mayor of Pittwater and MP for the electorate of the same name, Alex McTaggart, says to a delegation of filmmakers, as his seven bemused independent parliamentary colleagues look on. "I've got nine pristine beaches. They're not workshops."

"A friend of mine who makes props for the film industry has not had work in the film industry for over a year," he said in a private member's statement. "He has a clever and unique talent but once the film industry deteriorates beyond a certain point, people like him will not be able to easily get back into it. I urge the Government to implement the recommendations of the NSW Film Makers Group." The political power of one

Another colourful writer and blogger
ABCTales and its tribe