Saturday, April 25, 2009

What makes you a Central European writer? That is a subject for another day, and one that's not likely to be resolved anytime soon. One consideration, though, must surely be the ability to convey a sense of place when writing about Slavic Bohemia. I left home in search of happiness, sorrows were lurking on my liquid path and they came along. In exile is the experience of someone living inside strict laws, bound by them, marked by them, yet oddly sustained by them. Nothing seems stripped away, nothing made nice for the sake of restoring the semblance of hope. Here is sin, but also belief, doubt, compassion and vengeance:

This book is one thing
My fist is another
You take this
And you'll get the other
Beautiful song, scary lines
Nawal El Saadawi: How Does the World Change?
“They told us that the year 1989 is a crucial year in world history. Europe saw the fall of a wall. In China, a tank stopped for a man. In the United States, Bush senior became president. The end of the Cold War heralded a new era. States disappeared, new areas of conflict arose. What impact have these crucial changes had on us?
When I read these words I feel I do not…

A third of the world's biggest and most vital rivers have suffered significant changes over the last half century. Natural habitats – trees, water, wildlife – give us a sense of deep pleasure. At the same time, we feel anxiety about the possibility of nature’s loss World's Major Rivers Are Drying Up

Cure for an obsession: get another one Bound to Burn: Those super powers who own God, absolute truths, nuclear weapons, money, and media
Truth is one, but error proliferates. Man tracks it down and cuts it up into little pieces hoping to turn it into grains of truth. But the ultimate atom will always essentially be an error, a miscalculation. (René Daumal, The Lie of the Truth)

We can talk up wind and solar power all we want. But billions of people in China and India will never trade 3¢/kwh coal for 15¢ wind or 30¢ solar. Time to get real … Like medieval priests, today’s carbon brokers will sell you an indulgence that forgives your carbon sins.

Humanity will keep spewing carbon into the atmosphere, but good policy can help sink it back into the earth.; [Knowing East Germany would soon fade into memory, West German photo journalist Karlheinz Jardner set out for points east in 1990 East Germany, Up Close and Personal; Suicides AHEAD … Think Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were a politicized financial disaster? Just wait until pension funds implode… When Did Your County's Jobs Disappear? An interactive map of vanishing employment across the country Slate: An interactive map of vanishing employment across the country ]
• · We want political leaders to be like us, but at the same time not like us .. SO, THE PRIME MINISTER snapped at a flight attendant for serving him a meal that he had not ordered. Irregular guys; Nearly ninety years ago, prime minister Billy Hughes returned triumphant from an overseas trip and announced a public private partnership to construct a nation-building communications network Kevin Rudd's partner
• · Research Service, Parliament of New South Wales - my old stomping ground Homelessness in NSW ; An upcoming audit finds strengths and deficits in Australian federalism The trouble with federalism
• · · Asia looks and feels very different now compared to the days of the Cold War. The sense that Asia now works differently can be traced to a single source - the re-emergence of China Rising China: power and reassurance ; Our love affair with China is cooling but far from over: I reached a point a few years ago where I stopped reading anything on China that included this quote from Napoleon: China is a sleeping dragon. Let him sleep. If he wakes, he will shake the world. China is a sleeping dragon. Let him sleep ; Michael McHugh has shifted the terms of the rights debate A different approach to a charter of rights; Workers of the world, unite!” Karl Marx said that workers had “first of all to settle things with their own bourgeoisie.” Now may be the moment, argues Leo Panitch Thoroughly Modern Marx
• · · · Carr urges action against rights charter; Now, I'm very fond of Bob Carr, one of the few true intellects in Australian politics. If you want to discuss books or US politics, Bob's your uncle. NEW South Wales? New? There's nothing very new about South Wales. It's become Elderly South Wales, even Old. Oh, what a state I'm in
• · · · · Premier Nathan Rees told the service Neville Wran and Bob Carr would never have become premiers and Bob Hawke would not have been Prime Minister if not for Short Short remembered as Labor's saviour; Roger Wilkins to the Rescue: Bumbling Bob Debus was useless as the NSW Attorney General in the Bob Carr NSW Govt and now in Kevin Rudd's Labor-Union Govt is doing what he does best Looking clueless trumps egg on face
• · · · · · I reckon Geoffrey Robertson is a bit of a Trickster, so are Andrew Denton and Tina Fey, as are most great story-tellers, as was Bill Hicks. Tricksters ; Art entertains, inspires, and goads. But it also deepens our grasp of the human condition by taking us into the minds of others Art in Darwin's terms