Sunday, November 29, 2009

It is exactly 27 years since I began working in the Parliamentary Library of NSW on 29th November 1982, but the memories of the Velvet Revolution of 1989 - the seven years difference blends into abyss ...

Schabowski shrugged and the Berlin Wall came tumbling down ... A night never to forget Ritter took his camera along the Death Strip... Daniel Johnson was there, and asked Schabowski a crucial question... Some Ossis would bring back the GDR, if they could: no surprise there... Whom do we credit? CIA? Dissidents? Ronald Reagan? There was no single cause... Some walls remain in the mind... It was Reagan and Gorbachev
... Hour by hour, history was being made... Germans still grope to understand what happened ... The fall of the Wall was years in the making Victor, what are you doing here? It’s midnight and you live in East Berlin
... Berlin today is “poor but sexy... For West Berliners, the world suddenly had no edge... After collapse, jubilation, fear, and uncertainty
... The Wall made for many great escapes... No, it was not about bananas
... At the Bornholmer bridge, a vast tide of people, in tears, stunned... Life will never be the same, say East Germans.. visiting U.S. presidents have left an outsize footprint on Berlin... There have been missed opportunities... The Stasi destroyed the most ordinary trust between people... There was life beyond the gray cement certainties of Stalinism... Not all lands in the East are doing well today... Angela Merkel was excited, but still stayed in the sauna

Saturday, November 28, 2009

First the memories of the Iron Curtain fall and today memories of the good old days in the NSW Parliamentary Library at the soulful reunion ... It’s been exciting times in the land of storytelling. About 40 people were gathered in the Heritage Room of the Bill and Tony for the reunion of former parliamentary library employees--including its most long-tenured employee and its sea-change or mountain professionals, of sorts.

Picture 357

Old Dog, New Trick

Picture 349

Strangers in the House Reunited - best time to refresh the memories of those golden days
Picture 347
The mother of democracies, our Parliament, has been shown to be rather colourful as we spied from the inside what ingredients it took to make a leader and who was actually making the legislative sausages ...
Bits and Pieces of our stories slipping little bits of gossip to strange past
Picture 371

Using all those little secrets they confided in them as ammunition for the real BATTLE OF IDEAS to better the world
• · The Webby’s Ten Most Influential Internet Moments of the Decade.

My first memories of Jeff Bezos go back to his comments circa 1992 on various library forums about his vision for the digital library aka amazon ...

2000 Craigslist expands outside San Francisco
2000 Google AdWords launches
2001 Wikipedia launches
2001 Napster Shut Down
2004 Google IPO
2006 Online video revolution
2006 Facebook opens to non-college students and Twitter takes off
2007 The iPhone debuts
2008 U.S. Presidential Campaign
2009 Iranian election protests A Brief History Of Online Media Dragons ; Velvet Underground's NYC Library Reunion

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Vaclav Havel's dramas, meanwhile, offered a road map to follow the fate of free thought in a repressive world. Young is the one that plunges in the future and never looks back When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object
-- Milan Kundera

As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.
-Donald Rumsfeld - What started poorly has shown no sign of improving

In Poland it took ten years, in Hungary it took ten months, in East Germany it took ten weeks: perhaps in good old Czechoslovakia it will take ten days ; Soros helped finance the Czech Republic's 1989 “Velvet Revolution” that brought Vaclav Havel to power. and the rest is history

Now Swimming at Bondi Then Swimming across the Iron Curtain

Václav Havel: the unlikely leader who became a symbol of liberation Helsinki Treaty Spurred Fall of Berlin Wall, End of Communism
Within a year the 106-kilometer-long Berlin Wall was being dismantled, former jailed dissident Vaclav Havel was president of Czechoslovakia
I had a piece in Crikey on Thursday about the Lisbon treaty, which is all set to come into force, but I wouldn’t want to let the occasion pass without a comment on the actual concession that secured its final ratification.
Czech president Vaclav Klaus only agreed to sign the treaty after he was promised that his country would be allowed to opt out of the treaty’s Charter of Fundamental Rights.

I cherish the words of hope of former Czech President Vaclav Havel, during his days of imprisonment. Those words captivated the imagination of many people ...
Every now and then when the world seems to be falling apart and problems appear to be insurmountable, I recall with gratitude the heroes of the Velvet Revolution who helped to bring down the reign of Communism 20 years ago. I cherish the words of hope of former Czech President Vaclav Havel, during his days of imprisonment.

Those words captivated the imagination of many people as we witnessed the Communist regime finally come to an end: "The more unpropitious the situation in which we demonstrate hope, the deeper that hope is. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.

• But How the moral have fallen[Where did Vaclav Havel's anti-communist dream take us? Vaclav Havel, father of the Velvet Revolution 20 years ago, tells Adrian Bridge why he is still wary of the Russians ; Reservations]
• · Václav Havel, the former president of Czechoslovakia, dissident and one of the key figures of the Velvet Revolution that toppled Communism in the former federation has become an honorary citizen of Bratislava. The Slovak capital granted him honorary citizenship on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the totalitarian regime for his fight for freedom, democracy and assisting in the process of Slovakia's integration into Europe Bratislava grants honorary citizenship to Václav Havel ; For older people, Czechoslovakia inevitably comes in a sentence that includes Hitler, Munich, Chamberlain, Daladier, appeasement, World War II and the falling of dominoes. Well, OK, technically, dominoes comes from just after World War II, but the dominoes threaten to fall in Southeast Asia precisely because of a presumed failure to learn those lessons of Munich. Neville Chamberlain, after all, has given us the final justification for appeasement when he explained to Britain in 1938 how “incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a
far away country between people of whom we know nothing.”
• · · From Prague to Berlin, liberty will always owe youth
Vaclav Havel, the dissident who led Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution, has used the 20th anniversary to warn Russia remains a threat despite the demise of the Soviet Union. The 73-year-old who played a pivotal role in freeing his country from communist rule in 1989, said that the Russian government had mastered the art of manipulating its population while maintaining democratic façade. The era of dictatorships and totalitarian systems has not ended at all
Velvet Revolution Gave Teenager Freedom, Sent Havel to Castle
; There’s one sound I shall never forget about the revolution that bustled the Communists out of power in Czechoslovakia 20 years ago: the jangling of door keys. Every night for a week, crowds gathered in Prague’s Wenceslas Square. At regular intervals, thousands of people in unison waved their keyrings above their heads. The noise echoed throughout the city, signifying to their hated communist masters: Vaclav Havel attacks Russia on anniversary of Velvet Revolution; Go home, here’s your key. It’s time to leave.
• · · · Use the implicit wisdom and shared experiences of those inhabitants of a galaxy far, far away to raise your profile What Star Wars can teach us about career management ; More than half of what happens in the business world often seems to be outside the control of management. Dealing with the unknown
• · · · · Michael Moore is back. The self-styled guerilla documentary maker has declared war on capitalism, branding it “inherently evil” and seeks to discredit everything and everyone within sight who has profited from such a system. Film review: 'Capitalism - A Love Story' directed by Michael Moore ; The exploitative capital accumulation system means that our bosses expropriate the value we workers create and return a small amount to us in the form of wages. Real tax reform: a love letter to Ken Henry; Private equity funds and the pillage of Australia
Private equity funds are the bottom feeders of capital. They buy up what they judge to be under-valued companies, take a chainsaw to jobs and costs to increase the seeming value of the company in the short term and then flog off the entity at a large gain a little later. by John Passant ; "Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." Douglas Adams.
Adrian Low with John Passant

Monday, November 09, 2009

Sadly my brother in law, Eva's Franto passed away today and will not be able to celebrate this year the fall of the wall ...

Exactly 20 years ago from today, on 9 November 1989, the Berlin Wall was torn down.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev crossed a former fortified border on Monday to cheers of "Gorby! Gorby!" as a throng of grateful Germans recalled the night 20 years ago that the Berlin Wall gave way to their desire for freedom and unity. Merkel lauds Gorbachev on Berlin Wall anniversary

The wall's 1989 fall remains a miracle Putin nostalgic for days as spy in East Germany but still not craving for truth
It's 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, which split not only the city, but also the world and the KGB

Russia's Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, says he feels nostalgia for the former East Germany, recalling with fondness his five years as a KGB agent in Dresden. Mr Putin said in an interview with the NTV channel on Sunday that he had good memories of his 1985-90 posting in the city that included learning German, excursions to the mountains and contacts with his East German counterparts.
I still remember this warmth and cordiality. I am very thankful for this. In this respect there is some feeling of nostalgia. feeling of nostalgia.

Putin Putting KGB first [ I saw the fall of the Berlin Wall; The Curtain Of Silence - If there is an element of truth in the saying that blood talks louder than words ... then I swam across the Iron Curtain ; Googling on the Wall ]
• · Remarks by world leaders and dignitaries attending the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall Wall Recalling ; The fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 transformed not only Germany, but changed the world and put an end to fears of a nuclear holocaust between the then Soviet Union and the USA. Berlin was not the only city where celebrations were held for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall
• · · Remembering 20th anniversary of Velvet Revolution Limerick felt exotic compared to rural Wicklow when I was growing up but then I went to Czechoslovakia ; After the Wall
• · · ·There was a universal demand for independent, reliable news and information. Everyone I met despised state-controlled propaganda. They craved truth. There are lessons in this for the promotion of human rights and democracy today. Berlin Wall's Lessons For Today; The 1989 revolution has its unforgettable images, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, and its famous figures - Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel and Mikhail Gorbachev. The man who opened the Iron Curtain
• · · · · Hammer-wielding souvenir-hunters Berlin's love affair with freedom ; The data from Freedom in the World, the annual report on the state of global freedom published by Freedom House, give vivid evidence of the degree of change. Lessons ;
In Praise of Unsung Heroes As a wet-behind-the-ears movie reviewer I discovered an obscure book, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), by then-relatively unknown novelist James Agee. Non-fiction, utterly so, his 428-page magnus opus depicting realism was prefaced by soul-etching photographs of dirt-poor cotton tenant farmers in the Depression era as taken by award-winning Fortune photographer Walker Evans. Some there will be who have no memorial . . . But their righteousness hath not been forgotten

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

‘We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come.
We share a dream and sing with one voice

I am, you are, we are


Somewhere between paining Australian landscapes, writing poetry, improvising in a jazz band, helping charities, and becoming his own publicist, things got a bit out of control. Ruth Richmond makes clear that despite all the tribulations - the uncertainties of youth, the political isolation, and the high propensity to follow self interest of power hungry businessmen and politicians – John Hatton is blessed with an advantage that has seen him through life's vicissitudes inside and outside politics. He is, above all else, a rounded personality with the hinterland that Ruth, rightly identified as essential to the civilised man. That made it a pleasure to work with him and serve under him, whatever the political prospect. The life and of the finest politicians of his generation: To promote his biography JOHN Hatton is touring NSW

The Shaolin monks of central China are not known for their work as property developers. Incredible kung fu feats depicted in dubbed Hollywood movies are their main claim to fame Alarm at the sound of one hand upsizing

Life story of corruption fighter timely for NSW The public and private lives
FORMER NSW MP John Hatton, who in 1994 led the push for the Wood royal commission into police corruption, has called for a similar probe into the links between the state's politicians, public servants and property developers.
Speaking at the launch of his biography yesterday, Mr Hatton - who served as an independent in the NSW parliament for 22 years until his retirement in 1995 - said the state's Independent Commission Against Corruption was "now just a shadow of its former self".

He claimed that allegations of impropriety by those involved in the planning and development process in NSW could not be adequately investigated by ICAC, and a royal commission was the only way corrupt practices within the industry could be exposed and dealt with.
"The scale of developer donations, distorted planning processes, influence-peddling and preferential treatment all attest to a climate conducive to corruption, which cries out for formal investigation," Mr Hatton said. The retired MP bemoaned "the failure of the Independent Commission Against Corruption to do anything about this disgusting situation".
He said the lack of transparency in the state government's handling of planning issues, including property development applications, was "destroying local communities".
Mr Hatton's push for a royal commission was yesterday backed by NSW Greens planning spokeswoman Sylvia Hale. But NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell said any such inquiry should be conducted by ICAC.

[THE stench of corruption in New South Wales planning and development is so strong that Premier Nathan Rees cannot avoid a royal commission, former MP John Hatton says.
Mr Hatton has joined forces with the NSW Greens to call for an inquiry to "clean out the state's property and planning mess once and for all".
"I challenge (the Government) to bring it on." They have got time before the next election to do that. I want them to clear the air ... of what I think is a corrupt process in NSW ... the failure of the Independent Commission Against Corruption to do anything about this disgusting situation, that I, as a retired MP, have to come here and walk the cliff of defamation yet again, and I don't enjoy that. "They have got time before the next election to do that. I want them to clear the air ... of what I think is a corrupt process in NSW ... the failure of the Independent Commission Against Corruption to do anything about this disgusting situation, that I, as a retired MP, have to come here and walk the cliff of defamation yet again, and I don't enjoy that; The Stench in This Parliament]
• · The forthcoming publication of Ruth Richmond's biography about me has caused some introspection on what (with many other people) I achieved in 22 years in State Parliament – and to draw a comparison between that period, which ended a decade ago, and the state of NSW today. Last year, I felt depressed when former NSW Planning Minister Frank Sartor and Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell failed to act on a well-researched report linking development approvals by Shoalhaven Council with developers who gave money to local government candidates. ; Epoch Times
• · · State planning minister Kristina Keneally has made of a habit of dismissing allegations that political donations have influenced certain developments by challenging accusers to ‘put up or shut up’. Well, here’s her chance to clear the air of this ‘stench’ by agreeing to a royal commission into property and planning corruption in NSW. Former Independent MP John Hatton has called for the royal commission, saying the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has failed to act appropriately, calling it a ‘dud’. Fifteen years ago, the former MP successfully moved for such an inquiry into police corruption and it found police corruption endemic. Last week, his authorised biography, . The Stench in This Parliament, which raises the urgent need for such an inquiry, was launched Former Independent MP John Hatton is demanding a Royal Commission to clear the issue of property corruption in New South Wales, as he says the Independent Commission Against Corruption is failing to act appropriately. QUENTIN DEMPSTER, PRESENTER: John Hatton, the former Independent MP who successfully moved for a Royal Commission into police corruption in 1994, re-emerged this week to demand a Royal Commission into property and planning corruption in NSW. Mr Hatton, now 76, was a balance-of-power Independent in 1994. His authorised biography, The Stench in this Parliament, was launched by the Speaker of Parliament, Richard Torbay, this week. The Wood Royal Commission found police corruption was systemic and had been protected for decades through a corrupt internal culture's code of silence. That Royal Commission was brought in over the top of the existing Independent Commission Against Corruption, set up in 1989, 20 years ago. The Royal Commission under Justice James Wood recruited investigators from outside NSW because of concern that any inquiry could be compromised or subverted by leaks to NSW Police. John Hatton says the contemporary ICAC, under Commissioner Jerrold Cripps, QC, has failed to do its duty and a Royal Commission to clear the air of a stench around property corruption is now urgently needed
• · · · The former independent Member for South Coast says he was depressed when several parties failed to act on a report about alleged links between Shoalhaven developers and former mayor Greg Watson. John Hatton says he worked with researchers to compile a 48-page report on alleged links between development approvals and the team of councillor Watson. Cripps did not mention names, but the comments come suspiciously close to former South Coast MP and corruption fighter John Hatton's crack at the ICAC as ''a shadow of its former self'' at the launch of his book, The Stench in this Parliament, earlier this month. Cripps did not mention names; FORMER NSW MP John Hatton, who in 1994 led the push for the Wood royal commission into police corruption, has called for a similar probe into the links between the state's politicians, public servants and property developers
• · · · · "There is a climate of corruption in NSW," says John Hatton... Come to a free public forum on how communities can better equip themselves to operate in their own interest. The main speaker at the forum will be John Hatton, retired NSW Independent MP, and the subject of a recent biography by Ruth Richmond, The Stench in this Parliament. "The influence of developers, liquor and gaming interests, shooters and big business lobbyists is so great that unless communities take charge their lifestyles will continue to be eroded. The interests of residents of North Shore communities counts for nothing and can be sacrificed at the blink of an eye by a State government or a local council too focused on development and not enough on community."The Stench in this Parliament - free community forum Book Launch;
• · · · · · The timing could hardly be better: as allegations of corruption continue to swirl around the NSW Parliament following the murder of Michael McGurk, the veteran former state MP and noted corruption fighter John Hatton has announced the imminent launch of his biography. Its title? The Stench in this Parliament. Penned by Ruth Richmond, the book contains a glowing forward from the Sydney Lord Mayor and state MP for Sydney, Clover Moore, who along with Hatton and Peter McDonald shared the balance of power in Parliament while Nick Greiner was premier. Hatton, who sat in Parliament for 22 years and was hated by politicians from both major parties, is credited with instigating the Wood Royal Commission into corruption in the NSW Police. The book is subtitled ''The story of the Independent nobody who brought down a premier referring to Hatton's lead role in forcing Greiner's resignation from Parliament over the Terry Metherell affair; Coverage ; Newsagency; Records of note National Library

CODA: Hatton queries ICAC role

Former MP John Hatton is launching his book at Manly Library on 22 November 2009.

OUTSPOKEN former MP John Hatton, who has called for a Royal Commission into links between developers, lobbyists, politicians and planners in NSW, will launch a book on his life at Manly Library tonight. The one-time independent politician spent 22 years in State Parliament and was renowned for his strong views, while his relentless quest for proper process exposed endemic corruption in the NSW Police Force. He told The Manly Daily there needed to be a proper investigation into the state’s planning system, a call backed by former mayor and one-time Manly MP Peter Macdonald.

Mr Hatton said the Independent Commission Against Corruption was failing to properly investigate allegations and was only going for the “softest targets”.
“The question on my mind ... is: does ICAC have the will or professional investigative staff to use its extensive powers to get to the truth?” he said.Dr Macdonald, a former independent Manly MP, said he “absolutely supported” calls for a Royal Commission into the State Government. “A Royal Commission is the only way to have full disclosure, people can be forced to give evidence as opposed to an inquiry,” he said. The book, The Stench in this House, by Ruth Richmond was launched at Manly Library.

Manly Launch; Foto

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Malchkeoun and Media Dragon experienced a charming country atmosphere and warm Dr Cope's hospitality at Blue Bullaburra Mountain. The mountain is an idyllic location for that getaway - and I got to read more of the great stuff Kevin Roberts writes about songs and stories of life ...

What is a story? Dr Cope tells great stories

We can all recognize a story when we see one - from "Little Red Riding Hood" to Who Moved my Cheese? While exposition is straightforward explanation, a story or "narrative" is a series of linked events that unfold over time. It has characters with their own motivations. Storytelling is an ancient practice that has been adapted to various fields and each new type of media: from books to film to the Internet. As soon as you hear someone say, "Did you hear the one about...?" or "What happened at work today?" you know you're in for a story. We all inherently tell stories. And our learners respond to them.

Writing typically has been viewed as a soft skill that would be nice to improve, but not worth the time or money to invest in training. Most companies are more likely to invest in training for sales, project management, budgeting, or other skills that are easier to link to the bottom line. You, as learning professionals, are responsible for employee performance at your company or your clients company, so it is imperative that you pay attention to the overall writing quality of its employees. Managers at various levels and would-be managers can ruin their opportunities for advancement if they continually write documents that are unclear, riddled with grammatical mistakes, and offensive to their subordinates or clients.

You need to convey to people at all levels of the organization that writing clearly demonstrates that they can

* clearly understand the problem or situation

* see how it affects the big picture of the organization

* recommend logical, easy-to-follow next steps

* explain who should do what going forward

* empathize with subordinates, supervisors, and peers.

Life in a slow lane: I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now

Slow Food
Kris Kristofferson is one of the greatest all-time poets and songwriters and has lived a life full of hope, dreams, principles and values. “From Here to Forever” was written for his kids and I’d recommended it for parents and grandparents everywhere. “Fill your heart for the morning, tomorrow you still got a long way to grow, and the love that you’re dreaming will guide you and live like a song in your soul.” And finally, “Darling, take all the time that you’re given, be all you know you can be, and if you need a reason for living, do it for love and for me a reason for living, do it for love and for me

Ideas are the currency of the future and can come from anywhere, and Google probably know this more than anyone right now! To help celebrate their 10th birthday, Google invited people to submit their ideas to help make the world a better place for everyone with their special Project 10 to the 100th

150,000 ideas were sent in from people living in 172 countries, speaking 25 different languages. There were eight different categories that ideas: community, energy, environment through to health, education, shelter and opportunity, and not to forget the “everything else” basket. The same people who submitted ideas were then invited to vote on the best ones that should receive the $10 million that Google are going to invest and which should be announced soon.

You can see the full range of ideas. Some of the finalist ideas were:
support efforts to increase young Africans' access to quality education by creating "cyber schools";

[TV will never die, YouTube will never kill it. YouTube (or its future manifestations) will never die either, will never die either ; Under common law In Australia all employers have a duty of care for the health and safety of their staff; not only physical but also mental health and safety Being powerful has more to do with who you are as a person and less about having money ]
•• The world of management is being reshaped by dramatic changes in the way the world of work and society is organised. Surviving the global financial crunch was tough enough. As businesses move back from the brink, though, the underlying challenges of generating innovation and growth must be tackled anew25 forces transforming the world; Before you start down the path to self-improvement, you need to set clear goals. This requires determining what you will be like once you have implemented the changes that you are seeking. Ask yourself some questions: How will 1 be able to measure whether or not I really have changed? How will others around me see the change? How will I feel, sound, and act differently from how I am perceived today? The more specific the goals are that you set, the better your chance to accurately measure the changes Leap of faith
••• Each year brings different challenges for us especially of we read Jamais Cascio. For nearly the past fifteen years, I've been working as a futurist. My job has been to provide people with insights into emerging trends and issues, to allow them to do their jobs better. I've done this work for big companies and government agencies (usually under the Very Professional sounding title of strategic foresight), and for TV writers and game companies. It's quite an enjoyable job, as it allows me to indulge my easily-distracted curiosity about the world.You too can forecast the future! ; Web sites and organizations devoted explicitly to thinking about future possibilities can also be of great Value; A recent Stanford University study found that people who are "regularly bombarded" with multiple streams of electronic information and media have more problems with their memory, and have a harder time paying attention and switching from one task to another Multitasking may be hurting your brain
•••• Nosy Norwegians ; When it comes to organised crime, Australian governments have said much and achieved littleSunlight is the best disinfectant …