Monday, February 28, 2011

Life's meaning has always eluded me and I guess it always will. But I love it just the same.
-E.B. White, letter to Mary Virginia Parris

Wikileaks can't ethically dump anything it feels like, as a publisher there are constraints and limits There is nothing to do today except bow our heads and hope and pray and send our love These three books are essential reading for anyone who really wants to understand the WikiLeaks phenomenon: Rate Inside WikiLeaks; Underground; Inside Julian Assange's war on secrecy: Inside WikiLeaks

Throwing the book at the WikiLeaks story

-Has WikiLeaks information served humanity?

Galaxy: Anna Bligh approval up 35 per cent Exotic Delights- By a Nose
To expand the mindset, Kevin Roberts keeps a look out for anything far out on the edge, thoughts that run a mile from the ordinary and thoughts that look to the brighter side of life and was quite taken by Encyclopedia of the Exquisite – An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights for its many gems

Running a global creative enterprise throws out challenges that travel across strategy, innovation, imagination, operation and execution (on a slow day!).

The most satisfying work is voracious for unconventional blends of insight and ingenuity. To expand the mindset, I keep a look out for anything far out on the edge, thoughts that run a mile from the ordinary, thoughts that can connect disparate strands, and thoughts that look to the brighter side of life.

Literary morsels are good for this, and I was quite taken by Encyclopedia of the Exquisite – An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins. This delectable compendium weaves curiosity, obscurity, luxury and story to uncover small pleasures down through time.

Subjects range extraordinarily; Ach Anka Captain Bligh [The strong feeling in NSW is that any change will do - we want people to think about what kind of change they want Real change but little difference in campaign slogans ; Reports that public service jobs will be at risk if the coalition wins government at the NSW election in March are "rubbish", an opposition spokesman says. "(NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell) has said we will need more public servants, not less, to fix NSW so the report is rubbish," the spokesman said on Sunday. But the man behind the sacking of more than 50,000 public servants during the Greiner and Fahey Liberal state governments, Garry Sturgess, and the head of former prime minister John Howard's department, Max "the Axe" Moore-Wilton, are both advising Mr O'Farrell, Fairfax media claimed on Sunday. NSW opposition denies it would cut jobs ; Opinions flow from his tongue in torrents, aided and abetted by a pair of hands in constant movement. Lunch with ... Mark Textor, strategist ; O'Farrell is now like a bloke on a bicycle at the top of the last hill before the finish line. He does not need to pedal much, just grip the handlebars, refrain from lairish behaviour and ignore cheers or taunts from the kerb. O'Farrell will be made to earn it ; Political strategists Bruce Hawker and Grahame Morris, along with program host (and politics wonk) Janine Perrett, will try to answer some of these questions in Sky's newest offering, So, You Want to Be a Politician? Reality show to revel in political dark arts ]
• · The NSW Liberals kicked off their election campaign while angry protesters screamed their concerns over party plans. THE Coalition's $400 million household energy rebate plan was quickly derided by Labor yesterday as 'Fairness for Families-lite ; Forget the vision, just smell the pork
• · · "We don't renegotiate our commitments, we deliver on them," said Mr Albanese, adding that Mr O'Farrell might have a change of heart. NSW Labor election strategy 'destroyed': Opposition; The time will come very shortly where the leader of the opposition and the Liberal Party will have to make a decision whether they are going to simply continue to oppose every health reform that we deliver for patients or whether they will act in the national interest to back this plan Despite talk of renewal, unions maintain stranglehold on NSW Labor
• · · · No devil dealing with the Greens in NSW election - Barry O'Farrell ; Labor's plan: let's just make it all up
• · · · · In terms of national success honesty and transparency do not necessarily bring reward Corruption and economic success can cohabit; Many on the move are young, smart and searching for a dream that has evaporated. In Southern Europe, A whole generation - the best educated in the history of the Mediterranean - is fearing for their future. Says one young jobless women with a law degree, a masters, and fluency in five languages: I have everything except a death certificate...
• · · · · · When speeding laws say one thing and a large majority of people demonstrate they have a different view, it’s time to recalibrate Let the people decide how much; This year the first of the baby boomers will hit retirement. They’re the wealthiest generation in history, the first mass market, and in many ways the main shapers of the world as we know it. The Media Dragon Generation is coming of age

Monday, February 21, 2011

A NEW movie titled State of Siege conjures scenes of a dismal, war-torn future rather than the leafy backblocks of Roseville. What really drove me to pick up my camera and say something was the moment I realised that under the heel of an uncaring bureaucracy and a dictatorial government, I and my fellow citizens were powerless and without influence. The one-hour documentary was made on a shoestring. The executive producer was Home and Away director Geoff Nottage, who gave his his time. Mr Grosvenor's wife Diane was the chief camera operator. Former NSW MP John Hatton, entrepreneur Dick Smith and NSW Opposition Leader and local MP Barry O'Farrell are interviewed. Mr Grosvenor said he requested an interview with Premier Kristina Keneally but did not receive a response My Castle: One man's stand against developers ; The seat that has almost become the epicentre of NSW politics in recent years, Penrith, will host the Liberal-National coalition's official campaign launch on Sunday. Ku-Penrith-gai ; John Hatton Team ; John Hatton Story and History

War doco filmed in Ku-ring-gai STATE OF SIEGE
DENNIS Grosvenor has been living in a war zone at Roseville for three years.
A powerful, must-see documentary at Roseville Cinema and all good cinemas

Feature length documentary that tracks the history and modern conflict between development and urban conservation. Steeped in a culture of political donations, modern politics has put the basic tenets of democratic rights under threat.
"One may started asking questions and uncovered the arrogance of power..."
Proceeds go to Wires
Features commentary from:
Jack Mundey - John Hatton - Lee Rhiannon - Sylvia Hale –
John Mant – Dick Smith - Barry O’Farrell.
STATE OF SIEGE- Background
Dennis Grosvenor - Tropic of Oz Independent Films
From the Green Bans of the late 1970’s to the present, there has been a constant battle between the forces of conservation and development. With few exceptions, when it comes to the economy and the profit motive, the environment has generally come a poor second. From Ku-ring-gai to Catherine Hill Bay, from the Tweed to Eden, bulldozers have either moved in, or are poised and ready to change the landscape forever, and the quality of life many take for granted. When my neighbourhood was rubber-stamped for demolition.

When my neighbourhood was rubber-stamped for demolition; Tropicofoz: War doco filmed in Ku-ring-gai; Neighbourhoods ; A GROUP of Sydney doctors has taken an unprecedented move by spending thousands of their own money to hire a public relations firm to take on the State Government. The Royal North Shore Hospital's medical staff council, made up of more than 300 clinicians, launches a campaign today opposing the sale of land near the hospital - PR firm Viva Communications [ Joh Hatton Candidate Legislative Council; John Hatton NSW E*ections 2011 AD ]
• · John Waters as John Hatton ; Many are predicting a bloodbath in next month's election for NSW state Labor after numerous scandals and policy debacles
• · · NSW anti-corruption campaigner and former NSW MP John Hatton says independents will be an attractive option for many voters at the March state election. Mr Hatton, who is running as an independent for the upper house after retiring from parliament in 1995, said independents could hold the balance of power in the upper house after the poll Independents an attractive voter option ; Pubs - Caught on camera
• · · · Two seasoned pollsters have written a spirited defence of their practices, warning that limiting political polls would allow politicians and even the media to “push their own distorted view of public opinion.” “Canada’s pollsters should remember that they perform an important public service,” Ipsos Reid’s John Wright and Darrell Bricker argue in an article circulated to reporters. “Our polls speak truth to power.”
Do political polls harm democracy or serve the public interest? ; Labor warns of O'Farrell blank Czech - Labor improves on crime, fails everything else Young voters are swimming against the tide; The New South Wales (NSW) elections are just around the corner and there has already been a number of election related videos coming out They say they believe but act like they dont
• · · · · At the heart of the ALP’s election campaign advertising is a single, profound and powerful message: “You wouldn’t hit a girl would you? Look into my eyes and tell me I’m unelectable; New South Wales 2011 election part 1: ; Nielsen's research director, John Stirton, described it as ''an astonishing ... they would still be headed for a bigger victory than Nick Greiner's in 1988 Essential Research: 59-41 to Coalition in NSW; John Stirton is neat this is just Too messy for Anthony Green
• · · · · · New South Wales has been disgraced by an increasingly corruption-prone, wasteful and incompetent government focussed on retaining power and privilege instead of governing for the public good The larger parties are arrogant and out of touch ; Essential Research: 59-41 to Coalition in NSW ; Push polling ; Each morning began with an early phone hook-up of Greiner, Hooper, and Laurie Power ... Other staff included Stephen Coutts as speechwriter, John Stirton as pollster PRESS Polling

Sunday, February 20, 2011

P aul Haggis considers himself a curious man. Yet for 35 years he did not question the tenets of his religion: Scientology. Why? The incentive to believe is high;

The media don’t shape the culture ; they merely reflect it, giving rise to today’s common readers: Those who have fallen in love with their own mediocre taste... Narcissus Regards a Book

The journalist Janet Malcolm once gently joked in an interview that "the narrator of my nonfiction pieces is not the same person I am—she is a lot more articulate and thinks of much cleverer things to say." True to form, her memoir of life as a widow reveals little and obscures much You give it immortality - That is why you write and for no other reason

Grandfather knows best
If this doesn't make you laugh, you're dead
She votes Democratic but lives Republican.

Man cannot live by masterpieces alone, nor can any playwright, however gifted, hope to produce them every time he sits down at his desk. It is in the nature of things that there must also be well-made pieces of intelligent entertainment to keep our fancies tickled, and there must be enough of them to keep actors from standing on unemployment lines and critics from going mad with boredom. Therefore let us now praise A.R. Gurney, who writes a play or two each year, some of them inspired, others merely solid, but all guaranteed to send you home feeling that you wasted neither time nor money by seeing them. "Black Tie," Mr. Gurney's latest effort, falls into the second class, scoring 100% on the intelligent-entertainment checklist.

Grandfather knows best [ If this doesn't make you laugh, you're dead; Most people have a hard time understanding what the true value of their tax dollars would be if invested and saved for the future, says economist and Independent Institute Research Fellow Emily Skarbek, director of the Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation. "'s latest version is an easy-to-use tool that provides an understanding of how government spending directly impacts you]
• · John Lantigua has this article today in The Palm Beach Post. Seventy years ago, Ohio farmer Roscoe Filburn found himself on the losing end of a U.S. Supreme Court case. He'd harvested 239 bushels more wheat than the federal government allowed and was ordered to destroy the extra crop and pay a fine. Wickard vs. Filburn could be an important touchstone this year as the health care law, called the Affordable Care Act by supporters and Obama¬care by opponents, heads to the high court Congress' power at heart of fight over health law ; Keneally plunges to record low
• · · Adam Gopnik has this "A Critic at Large" essay in the February 14, 2011 issue of The New Yorker. Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn’t really about the quality of the bread or how it’s sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It’s all about the butter. Its risk is real: evil things will register more vividly than the great mass of dull good The Information: How the Internet gets inside us ; Legislative Council Calculator
• · · · Seat-by-Seat Prediction ; NSW Elections
• · · · · A common image of the ‘political class’ running the Australian Labor Party is of a collection of daleks, without names or faces, and about whom it’s possible to believe the worst. But can we be sure that many of the nameless, faceless wouldn’t seem a bit less alike—and a bit more attractive as human beings—if they were allowed to tell us about themselves? Lessons from the Political Class; A decade that changed Australian journalism
• · · · · · History’s Greatest Feuds: Man vs. Machine; Stephen Baldwin vs. Kevin Costner the oldest dog in America ; Artificial intelligence has advanced to the point that computers can very nearly pass for human. What are they telling us about ourselves? To find out, the author enters himself in a famous battle of. wits pitting man against computer ; A history of the Baghdad Express illuminates the resilience of politicized Islam From Berlin to bin Laden

In the words of H.L. Mencken, “There comes a time when every man feels the urge to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and start slitting throats.”

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Jean's undoing, in my view, was nothing as humdrum as booze or tobacco or malnourishment, but a deadly streak of passivity of a kind that sometimes goes with perfectionism, and which I think she loathed in herself.
-Wilfrid Sheed, "Miss Jean Stafford"
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power and leadership.
- Vaclav Havel misquoting Abraham Lincoln
I’m from a very, very small town in the middle of nowhere; it’s actually like one street, and everybody knows everyone. Economic woes can change a person. Take the money from someone's wallet, starve them for a time, and what they once thought important falls quickly to the realm of secondary consideration. In matters of romance, as happened during the Great Depression and other periods of history where need weighed heavily on the world, love is trampled by the desire for gain. Profitability and the perception of security hold dominion. Passion, affection, a pounding pulse, butterflies in the gut—those matter far less in times of prolonged hardship. Perhaps romance, those unspoken, treasured feelings that two souls share by looking into the eyes of the other, can still result from a union built first on shelter from the cruel world and monetary expectations. God Unknown

Collecting individuals’ online habits Top Social Media Brands: Infographic
U .S. Representative Jackie Speier has introduced the Do Not Track Me Online Act of 2011, prohibiting online marketers and analytics companies from collecting individuals’ online habits.

A visual look at global brands and celebrities with the most social media presence and followers. Which companies have utilised social media with success and who has the biggest Twitter following, Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber?

Polar opposites ; [Does anyone still care about dangling modifiers? An emphasis on sales and marketing has led publishers to ignore an important truth: Editors are supposed to edit The lost art of editing; At Ashley Madison's website for "dating," the infidelity economy is alive, well, and profitable Are you an aspiring adulterer? Noel Biderman is there for you. The motto of his budding Internet empire: “Life is short. Have an affair”. Cheating, Incorporated ; Fifty years ago a favorite language dispute showed up in print. A reader asked Ann Landers if it was “I couldn’t care less,” I could care less ]
• · Computers can fly airplanes, but they can’t make plausible small talk. We forget how impressive humans are. Computers are reminding us Mind vs. Machine ; Times are changing in the world of Search Engine Optimization and it looks to liven up this sector. With Search Engines introducing ever more sophisticated algorithms, the art of providing good SEO Services is now crying out for more original and off the wall techniques Search Engine Optimization in 2011
• · · Getting A Grip On Corporate Blogging
; The Haves and Have-Nots of the Blogging Boom Blogs to Riches
• · · · hollywood; THR, Esq. Named Top Legal Blog
• · · · · It's like a perfect battle. New guard vs. old school. The power of youth vs. the experience of the established. Trash vs. class. The faceoff between "Bound to You," Christina Aguilera's "Maybe This Time" moment toward the dramatic climax of Burlesque, and "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me," Cher's torch song belted as if from the depths of a movie career gone all too predictably sour with age, is one of those Oscar matches that elevates a category that in many other years seems as rote and irrelevant to the artistry of movies as Best Visual Effects Oscar ; It’s like Animal Farm. The pigs make all these noble rules, and then systematically subvert them Pitching Cold River; mazon Studios launched a new feature that allows writers to control the level of collaboration on their original scripts. Writers, upon upload or thereafter, will be able to designate their projects as open (anyone can add a revised script to your project), closed (only you can add revised scripts to your project) or revisable by permission (only participants who obtain your permission can add a revised script to your project). This feature has been a top request of Amazon Studios participants. Amazon Studios now slightly less terrible ; Welcome to Amazon Studios

Monday, February 14, 2011

The desire not to destroy the palace but to move into it oneself has always been the occupational curse of revolutionaries.
-Wilfrid Sheed, "Writers' Politics"
Then along comes Valentine's Day...

Icon of a revolution. Four-term president. When Vaclav Havel retired, many expected him to fade away. He had another idea: direct his first film such as Cold River. It will be my last adventure

Curiority - Political Cats, Films and ART What Chekhov Meant By Life - Last Adventures on River Earth
Like for my sister Gitka , for East German teachers of Marxism-Leninism, 1989 wasn’t the year the walls of tyranny came down. It was the year their lives fell apart.

Halfway through Phil Collins's new film, a statue of Karl Marx is winched out of a Berlin square. It recalls Fellini's La Dolce Vita, in which a statue of Jesus is airlifted over the roofs of Rome before the shenanigans begin. Both sequences invite similar questions. What happens when the key symbol of a culture is run out of town? Does life become sweet? Does it leave an icon-shaped hole?The Runcorn-born, Berlin-residing, 2006 Turner prize-shortlisted artist wanted to address these questions in his film, called Marxism Today. But most of all, he wanted to find out what happens to a discredited creed's followers, as they move into an alien new world. "I was in Berlin on the 20th anniversary of the Wall coming down. All the focus was on reunification and the subcultures of dissent that existed in East Germany – be it the Protestant church or punks. The one voice that wasn't heard was that of teachers of Marxism-Leninism in East Germany. Where did they go? There must have been a lot of them: it was a compulsory subject."

We do not need no revolutions [In 1927 Barbara Follett published a much-praised first novel. She was 13. The book was about a young girl who disappears. In 1939, Barbara vanished.. Vanishing Act ; Samuel Johnson derided slang as “fugitive cant” unworthy of preservation, but the low idiom of thieves and beggars has evolved into a highbrow linguistic tradition Slang of ages ]
• · The apparent randomness of scratch lottery ticket numbers is a mathematical lie. A geological statistician in Canada has cracked the code. Cracking the Scratch Lottery Code; The financial crisis revealed a grim truth: Too much prosperity, for too long, tends to devour itself. We crave booms, but they bring on busts. Rethinking the Great Recession
• · · Pictures are naturally more memorable than a well written, evenhanded magazine story about the scope and tragedy of Detroit’s economic woes could ever be. But that’s precisely the problem. These indelible pictures present an un-nuanced and static vision of Detroit. They might serve to “raise awareness” of the Rust Belt’s blight, but raising awareness is only useful if it provokes a next step, a move toward trying to fix a problem. Ruin Porn- The Case Against Economic Disaster Porn; Instead of sheets--dirty tablecloths. The dog walked in the street and was ashamed of its crooked legs
• · · · US and its slums; Steve Jobs is one of the heroes of our age. He’s changed our lives. But Apple is more than a one-man band. I think though that the time is right for him to pass over the reigns formally to Tim Cook who ran the place through Steve’s previous two absences Job
• · · · · The Church of Scientology is being blamed for being more than just bizarre. News sources are reporting that the religious group is also behind human trafficking and exploiting free labor! ; Today's edition of The New York Times contains an editorial that begins, "When it comes to pushing the line between law and politics, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas each had a banner month in January."
Justice Scalia, who is sometimes called “the Justice from the Tea Party,” met behind closed doors on Capitol Hill to talk about the Constitution with a group of representatives led by Representative Michele Bachmann of the House Tea Party Caucus.
Politics and the Court
• · · · · · "Personal Privacy and the Right to Know": This editorial appears today in The New York Times. For 45 years, the Freedom of Information of Act has invigorated American democracy by obliging the executive branch to make public a splendid range of documents. It serves the people’s right to know, while leaving out data whose disclosure could be harmful ; This article appears today in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Few Wisconsin families have been touched by tragedy as much as the Krnaks Bar None: Lawyers' clients kept in dark on past issues

This country is merciless to good small talents. A writer who doesn't take chances and swing for the fences (whether or not he has a prayer of reaching them) is less than a man.
-Wilfrid Sheed, review of Letters of E.B. White

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid 'dens of crime' that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern.
-C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Dennis Atkins of the Courier-Mail reports the internal inquiry into Labor’s 2010 election fiasco being conducted by Bob Carr, Steve Bracks and John Faulkner “could open up selection of election candidates to the public”, American primaries style. This has always struck me as being the last bad solution for much of what ails the party, in view of the terminal membership decline of major political parties generally. NSW E*ection

When I was 22, I knew it all. Now few decades later, I find myself relating to the Judy Collins lyrics I sang at 20 all too well.
I’ve looked at life from both sides now,
From win and lose, and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall.
I really don’t know life at all THE WHO: WON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN ; The litmus test is the collision of stewardship and self-interest.

Perspective: New Age, New Morals, New Leaders
To speak of "moral leadership " in today's world seems a contradiction in terms. Almost every day, headlines tell of the disgrace, downfall, imprisonment or forced resignation of a political, corporate, religious, or community leader somewhere.
The new paradigm for leadership means that leaders today must be chiefly concerned with giving service to their community -- rather than advancing their own ideas, careers or sense of privilege.

The corruption of leadership takes many forms. There are those who seek to use positions of power to accumulate wealth, undermine rivals, or win sexual favors. There are those who use their authority to advance some particular cause at the expense of justice to other ideas. There are those who care more for partisan advantage than the discovery of truth. There are those who seek to dominate out of a base desire to manipulate and control others. And there are those who abuse positions of advantage simply because they have not reflected on the true purpose of leadership.

• Leaders like Vaclav Havel see the culmination dissent in the formation of a “genuine community” Leadership [What combines Risk, Corruption and Incentives – and Leadership; Sometimes I wonder if suicides aren't in fact sad guardians of the meaning of life. The dissident does not operate in the realm of genuine power at all. He is not seeking power. He has no desire for office and does not gather votes. He does not attempt to charm the public, he offers nothing and promises nothing. He can offer, if anything, only his own skin -- and he offers it solely because he has no other way of affirming the truth he stands for. His actions simply articulate his dignity as a citizen, regardless of the cost Vaclav Havel ]
• · Sensuality, along with Mystery and Intimacy, is one of the three magic ingredients in a Lovemark. Sight, scent, hearing, touch and taste are gateways to the emotions and a powerful means of connecting with the consumer. Each sense is profoundly complex, to a point where they defy description and easily slip from your grasp when you try to pin them down. Why is it easier to imagine what a lemon tastes like than to imagine what it smells like? ; Love is the only proper measure of a year in a human life.
• · · Jason Whittaker of Zoamorphosis has posted the first review of Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety. Many thanks for his timely and professional review Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety ; The McGuire brothers are a study in contrasts - one a succesful personality the other about to be a politician Eddie and Frank McGuire: good cop, bad cop
• · · · Here’s a note to all the news directors around the country: Do you want to save some money? Well then bring home your journalists following Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard, because they are not doing anything of any worth except having a round-the-country twitter and booze tour. Election 2010: Day 14 (or waste and mismanagement - the media);By now you’ve probably heard about social media and how it’s making celebrities out of mild mannered public servants and chirpy journalists who think in 140 character bursts. Maybe you’re wondering whether a witty and intelligent person like yourself could also become an internet celebrity. The good news is YOU CAN! Becoming a popular blogger is easy, unremunerative and unthankful, but easy
• · · · · Writing is a creative act between the writer and the reader. Ad hominem comment threads brutalise that relationship. you can’t be a blonde and have a PhD! ; Prostitute, concubine, mistress, wife: the boundaries are blurred in this study Art – History - Mistresses through the ages
• · · · · · THE advice from one of the country's most respected legal practitioners to the Governor-General is simple: "Let the people decide." Former Federal Treasurer and member of the Australian Gulf Council’s advisory team, Peter Costello with AGC chairman Alastair Walton; United Arab Emirates Foreign Trade Minister, Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, and former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, at an Dubai summit in December where Mr Hawke presented Her Excellency with an RM Williams leather briefcase. Arab farm investment push; WE thought 2010 would be a pivotal year, and we were right. It saw profound political shocks in Australia, Britain and the US. And it was the year China seemed to tire of Deng Xiaoping's injunction that the rising giant should bide its time, and began to assert its interests aggressively. Waning West; Californians used to be an optimistic and self-confident breed, their home a harbinger of America’s utopian future. Today, however, the Golden State exudes hopelessness

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men -- the other 999 follow women.
-Groucho Marx

The NSW state elections are on the 26th March. If you believe in the old two party paradigm you have the choice of total incompetence on one side and no policies on the other. A salutory reminder that there are other options, greens independents etc. Multi party governments work quite successfully in other parts of the globe. For instance Swedens multi party government has given rise to the most social and economic success story in Europe.
‘Politicians are the same all over – they promise to build a bridge where there is no river’ Time to get political...

NSW Legislative Assembly speaker Richard Torbay backs the People's Parliament NSW People's Parliament Initiative

A tale is told of a man in Paris during the upheaval in 1948, who saw a friend marching after a crowd toward the barricades. Warning him that these could not be held against the troops, that he had better keep way, he received this reply, " I must follow them. I am their leader."
-A Lawrence Lowell, 1856-1943, President of Harvard University,Conflicts of Principle
Whither the revolution?

New Year, same politics? Stopping that sinking feeling Quick Sand: You can't explain real estate bubbles by zoning controls
The Age reports that Wendell Cox’s Demographia has released a study showing Melbourne to be 321st on a list of 325 most affordable world property markets. Decreasing land taxes is the real villain creating land and housing bubbles …

In other words, we’re almost the world’s most unaffordable market: almost the world’s dearest city. Incredibly, London, with a population of 7.6 million is said to be cheaper than the city of Geelong which is home to a population of only 200,000 souls. Amongst more important things I’ll mention later, it could be argued that homes and sites in Geelong are generally larger than those in London, but that’s not mentioned by Cox. Instead, he shoehorns Melbourne’s astronomical residential property prices to square with the extraordinary claim that they're a result of its zoning regulations. Perhaps this means Melbourne also has the 321st worst residential zoning regulations in the world?

The Ship is Sinking: Leaders and the Tough Decisions [Malcolm Mackerras who unlike Anthony Green tends to get the pendulum right All the signs continue to point to a historic rout for Labor in March ; WHEN Julia Gillard announced on Monday her chief of staff, Amanda Lampe, was leaving her job at the end of March there was plenty of talk in the national capital about her role in the Government and what her departure might mean PARTY GAMES: Wisdom in short supply ; In the eyes of many foreign journalists, India is a nation of Gatsbys and Babbitts engaged in a manic quest for status and wealth Time for a reality check ]
• · Speaking to Lindsay Tanner at this Wheeler Centre event, George Megalogenis considers what has happened to political leadership in Australia. In a brilliant analysis, ( Quarterly Essay "Trivial Pursuit: Leadership and the End of the Reform Era" ) Megalogenis dissects the cycle of polls, focus groups and presidential politics and explores what it has done to the prospect of serious, difficult reform and the style of our leaders. He argues that politics-as-usual has become a self-defeating game and mounts a persuasive case for a different model of leadership. He shows clearly why and how politicians are losing, or have lost, their will to reform due to incessant polling and the 24 hour news cycle. It touches on the Green vote at the last election, and the creeping dichotomy of red states and blue states in Australia. Talk-back radio in the 90's, and how this encouraged newspapers to "shout" more ; They also cover how the shift of the medium of the media affects the pre-existing quality of journalism and coverage on issues. For example, the shift of evening newspapers to the 6 o'clock news. Talk-back radio in the 90's, and how this encouraged newspapers to "shout" more. And of course, the rise of the internet.; It is not a new criticism that today’s poll-driven politics is not delivering policies in Australia’s long term national interest. However, George Megalogenis argues that the hung Parliament resulting from the 2010 Federal Election should be a wake up call to politicians: the current model is not serving the interests of Australia’s major political parties either.
• · · The WikiLeaks cables read like good literature. Both diplomacy and fiction, after all, feature plots, moral ambiguity, and casual deception ; The Czech political funding system is so opaque, it would be amazing if it were not corrupt. Behind the Curtain
• · · · The real story of a biographer in a celebrity culture of public denials, media timidity, and legal threats Unauthorized, But Not Untrue: Opraholics” and “Winfreaks” ; Sadly, mentally ill IBRAHIM Siddiq-Conlon has a message for Australians, whether they want to hear it or not. Full-bred Aussie with a longing for sharia law
• · · · · Leaders in a revolving door... state governments falling... the machinations of the machine men... politics over policy - and the opinion polls holding up score cards like judges at a diving contest so we can all keep track ; Blaming Palin will not help the healing in Tucson
• · · · · · GRAHAM Young is the founding editor of a well-regarded e-journal called On Line Opinion, and is a regular contributor to The Australian. I'd describe him as belonging in the centre of the political spectrum, perhaps tending to mild conservatism. Oversensitivity can only compromise debate ; The removal of our advertising should not be viewed as a violation of free speech; it's simply that we choose not to advertise on blogs that do not align to our organisational values Troppo bullied by corporate thugs; Wanted - new financial backers

Monday, February 07, 2011

As Dr Cope once wrote Parliament is a battleground for ideas. He also believes that the noise in the parliamentary pool of ideas tends to come from the shallow end of the pool ...

When leaders with executive presence speak, people listen - because the talk is filled with conviction instead of equivocation Executive presence - I always listen to what John Hatton has to say

Are your local MPS killing community-wise ideas? Culture vs creativity: Parliament is a Battle of Ideas
There seems to be a distinct disconnection between the knowledge organizations need to be more creative to survive and a culture that knowingly or unknowingly hinders creative activities.

Recent research has identified three key factors that lead to optimal brain performance: moderate stress, good sleep, and positive affect (being happy). Another research and empirical evidence suggests that a no blame approach can be extremely constructive for organizations that want to enhance their learning processes.

Battleground of ideas [Using strategic employee recognition to train employees on company values and objectives, Derek Irvine, Training Outsourcing, 13 January 2011, 3p. Training and educating employees in company values and objectives in a way that makes sense to them - through their daily work - is a mission-critical goal for parliamentaty organizations today ; What makes great leaders great is their ability to translate their own experience and success and, then through coaching and mentoring, bring out the best in others.What Makes a Great Political Leader "Great"?]
• · Most bosses reach a certain level of proficiency and stop there-short of what they could and should be. Organizations usually have a few great managers, some capable ones, a horde of mediocre ones, some poor ones, and some awful ones. The great majority of people we work with are well-intentioned, smart, accomplished individuals. Many progress and fulfil their ambitions. But too many derail and fail to live up to their potential. Why? Because they stop working on themselves. Are you a good boss-or a great one?; This US report examines six trends now occurring in the workplace and describes how managers can successfully engage all four generations to be committed to the success of their organisation Engaging a multi-generational workforce: practical advice for government managers
• · · How can the public sector resolve complex issues? Strategies for steering, administering and coping; Businesses can capitalize on the evolving nature of the office by striking a balance that combines virtual and physical workspace. Hybrid environments provide a mix of enclosed and open work spaces that are available for users to occupy on an as-needed basis. The mobility we now have allows individuals to choose how and where they work best. What will the future workplace look like?
• · · · Brute-force work by Michigan firm decrypts 200,000 Gawker account passwords in under an hourGawker hack analysis reveals weak passwords; The hierarchical structure of the corporate ladder governs how information flows and whose ideas matter, defining career success as a linear climb to the top. The ladder's one-size-fits-all approach assumes employees are more alike than different, and want and need similar things to deliver results. But the workplace isn't what it used to be The corporate lattice: a strategic response to the changing world of work
• · · · · While companies want to enable employees to get the job done, they must do so while carefully monitoring and managing business risks related to the use of information and IT What colour is your information risk today?;
• · · · · · The NSW Nationals have announced their campaign launch will be in Dubbo on February 27. The party hopes to unseat the independent MP Dawn Fardell, who holds it with a margin of less than 1 per cent Keneally goes west to win back heartland ; Background media circus and briefing for the NSW State Election 2011

Sunday, February 06, 2011

"Never pay any attention to what critics say," Jean Sibelius once told a fellow composer. "Remember, a statue has never been set up in honor of a critic!"
Wilfrid Sheed, who was (almost) as good a novelist as he was a critic, died two weeks ago Max Jamison

Daniel Bell, sociologist of big ideas, cultural critic, founding editor of The Public Interest, is dead ;

When it comes to writing sentences, we’re told – by Orwell, by Strunk & White – that brevity is best. But a minimalist style can encourage minimalist thought, and that’s a problem... The art of good writing

The saddest story: Three Questions You Would Ask Me If I Told You My Name Dude, Who Moved My Samovar?
Wall Street Journal devoteS in its entirety to a review of the new off-Broadway production of Three Sisters. I used to have four sister, but now I only have three Eva, Margaretta, and Lidia. Agnesa’s (aka Aga) saddest story is swimming on the Amazon river …

In matters of style, swim with the current;
In matters of principle, stand like a rock
~T. Jefferson
In Ira Gershwin's lyric for "But Not for Me," a heartsick postmistress declares that love has brought her "more clouds of gray/Than any Russian play/Could guarantee." If I had to guess, I'd say that the lady in question had "Three Sisters" in mind. Few plays are more depressing than Anton Chekhov's soft-spoken study of a turn-of-the-century trio of provincial Russian women who long for the bright lights of Moscow but are forced to settle for ordinary small-town lives that bring them little in the way of joy. What makes their story endurable is the lightness of touch with which Chekhov tells it--which is also what makes it so agonizing to see their remaining hopes dissolve at play's end.

Her demeanor and voice are so obviously contemporary as to jolt the eye and ear.... [The sisters' tale is, of course, characteristically Russian in its jarringly close juxtaposition of comedy and heartbreak ; Born in the Soviet Union, buried in Venice, a citizen of America, the poet Joseph Brodsky was a nowhere man – a universalist and a cosmopolitan Buried in Venice – it is where I want to be buried after Vrbov; Your Honor, as you know, I have already pled guilty to the charges against me, but I appreciate this opportunity to provide some background for my actions …]
• · Both novelists and philosophers ask big questions and try to impose order on the muddle of the world. But can a novelist write philosophically? ; Literary fiction is a sanctuary from everything coarse and shallow. Or so many novelists believe. It might explain why they’ve long ignored the Internet
• · · Late in life, Rousseau acknowledged that it was arrogant of him to promote virtues he couldn’t live up to Sorry, Socrates, the examined life isn’t what it’s cracked up to be; Too much prosperity, enjoyed for too long, tends to devour itself
• · · · The media don’t shape the culture; they merely reflect it, giving rise to today’s common readers: Those who have fallen in love with their own mediocre taste; Welcome to the new age of cultural populism: Elites are in retreat; hoi polloi have taken over. Could anything be more American?
• · · · · Paul Theroux is 69, a good age to begin an autobiography. But after 500 words, he stopped with a realization: He can’t be trusted to tell the truth about himself. Across the dark sky of exile, Sirin passed... like a meteor, and disappeared, leaving nothing much else behind him than a vague sense of uneasiness. The more I reflect on my life, the greater the appeal of the autobiographical novel. The immediate family is typically the first subject an American writer contemplates. I never felt that my life was substantial enough to qualify for the anecdotal narrative that enriches autobiography. I had never thought of writing about the sort of big talkative family I grew up in, and very early on I developed the fiction writer’s useful habit of taking liberties. I think I would find it impossible to write an autobiography without invoking the traits I seem to deplore in the ones I’ve described—exaggeration, embroidery, reticence, invention, heroics, mythomania, compulsive revisionism, and all the rest that are so valuable to fiction Therefore, I suppose my Copperfield beckons.; The multilingual, multicultural online journal and community of arts and ideas There's a heaven above you, baby.
• · · · · · In spite of what arriviste critics tell us, good, even great writers are lost in the cracks in every generation, and we must always ask ourselves if we have chosen to be a society too smug to indulge such a humble notion. It is for this reason alarming to see literary agents, editors and critics take refuge in the self-serving lie that what deserves to be published is published. But as the means to publish expand and new technologies evolve, the critical apparatus is unable and unwilling to keep up. Many good works are ignored. The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley said of critics that they reflect the ignorance of the age. I find this amusingly harsh. I owe much to critics for directing me to worthy books. But the odor of truth lingers about Shelley's observation. There are some writers in every genre—I would extend this to the plastic arts—who by nature touch so many raw nerves that even when editors and critics see merit in their work they decline the work because it has nicked them in some vulnerable place. With luck, such writers and artists may find the one advocate whose commitment to creativity surpasses his or her vulnerability to disturbing insights.
It's all very well to say that editor after editor passed up Herman Melville's Moby-Dick because the crazy pursuit of a whale wasn't deemed a suitable literary subject, but I suspect it was the profound insights that Melville sewed into the seams of his work that put off those editors. Their supposed disinterest in a whale was their cover story. Savoring this tone, this profane interiority, is like watching and listening to an attractive young woman walking on a crowded street talking to herself… A good poet knows exactly how her inmost dialogue is conducted, how it sounds, and so she is very like the young woman walking down the street fully engaged in the life of her own mind. We may choose to put her down as crazy, but in our hearts we know she’s into herself, exactly where you have to be to mean what you say and say what you mean. A Restless Experimenter With A Savvy Voice ; Recent history indicates that Central Europe and Latin America have a lot in common ; All Too Quiet on the TRANSITIONS ONLINE Front

Saturday, February 05, 2011

All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why.
- James Thurber

And All nations need characters like John Hatton and Vaclav Havel

Julian Burnside rather than Assange links to this - Given that this is the Michael Kirby Oration, allow me a couple of minutes to talk about Michael Kirby PRINCIPLES, PRAGMATISM AND POLITICS

Lions on the Move The Digger and the dirt
The next casualties of Britain’s phone-hacking controversy could come from the media, politics or the police. But whoever falls next, it probably won’t be good news for the business interests of Australia’s most influential American citizen.
They still call him “the Digger” here in London, more often the “Dirty Digger,” so it just wouldn’t ring true if he were called an American media tycoon. But in that respect, the British are not so very different from Australians.

After all, the ABC’s annual Boyer Lectures are, according to its website, an occasion when the board “invites a prominent Australian… to present six radio lectures expressing their thoughts on major social, cultural, scientific or political issues.” Yet the Boyer Lecturer for 2008 was a United States citizen. “I appreciate that many Australians will debate whether I still have the right to call myself one of you,” Rupert Murdoch (almost) apologised…

Media Dragon Clean as a whistle [Hat tip to Leanne: How a Remote Town in Romania Has Become Cybercrime Central
With only 120000 people, Ramnicu Valcea is known to security experts across the world as Hackerville because the town is full of online hackers that haunt Wired to 42 Western Union Branches ; Hackers who fail]
• · IT IS now clear that the union movement made a bad mistake when it backed the introduction of the compulsory superannuation scheme devised by Labor’s Paul Keating, urged on by the ACTU secretary at the time, Bill Kelty Compulsory super: a policy in search of evidence ; Topping the list of indicators that people think are most important are - job securityThe Pursuit of Happiness
• · · The plan to provoke a profound shake-up to the arts ; As with the iPhone, you can download apps to your heart’s content for Android (200,000 so far), a huge number of which are free. Android, Google’s mobile phone operating system
• · · · A Global Compass - Navigating Public Sector Corruption ; Lowy Bunch: Exploring the triangular strategic dynamic between the United States, China and the Philippines, this paper argues that Manila's efforts to balance between the two great powers are being gradually undermined. Between the clawing eagle and ascendant dragon: the demise of the Philippines' policy of hedging
• · · · · As Australia continues to experience the devastating impact of huge floods, the story of 13-year-old Jordan Rice has become a global inspiration. Caught in the powerful floodwaters, Jordan told rescuers “save my brother first” before he and his mother were swept away and drowned. He is one of many to have perished in the floods.Save My Brother First ; Last Year the Federal Parliament repealed the National Security Information (Civil and Criminal Trials) Act, one of the most oppressive bits of legislation ever passed by the parliament. A small victory for human rights and common sense. All under control? Recent issues in Australia’s legal response to counter-terrorism

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

"Everybody's private motto: It's better to be popular than right."
-Mark Twain, undated memorandum

"He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it--namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain."
-Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Global freedom suffered its fifth consecutive year of decline in 2010, according to Freedom in the World 2011, Freedom House’s annual assessment of political rights and civil liberties around the world. This represents the longest continuous period of decline in the nearly 40-year history of the survey. The year featured drops in the number of Free countries and the number of electoral democracies, as well as an overall deterioration for freedom in the Middle East and North Africa region. A total of 25 countries showed significant declines in 2010, more than double the 11 countries exhibiting noteworthy gains. The number of countries designated as Free fell from 89 to 87, and the number of electoral democracies dropped to 115, far below the 2005 figure of 123. In addition, authoritarian regimes like those in China, Egypt, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela continued to step up repressive measures with little significant resistance from the democratic world. Published annually since 1972, Freedom in the World examines the ability of individuals to exercise their political and civil rights in 194 countries and 14 territories around the world. The latest edition analyzes developments that occurred in 2010 and assigns each country a freedom status—Free, Partly Free, or Not Free—based on a scoring of performance on key democracy indicators Freedom in the World 2011 Survey Release

Media Dragons & The Wealth Revolution Why the Rich Are Getting Richer American Politics and the Second Gilded Age
"The U.S. economy appears to be coming apart at the seams. Unemployment remains at nearly ten percent, the highest level in almost 30 years; foreclosures have forced millions of Americans out of their homes; and real incomes have fallen faster and further than at any time since the Great Depression.

Many of those laid off fear that the jobs they have lost -- the secure, often unionized, industrial jobs that provided wealth, security, and opportunity -- will never return. They are probably right. And yet a curious thing has happened in the midst of all this misery. The wealthiest Americans, among them presumably the very titans of global finance whose misadventures brought about the financial meltdown, got richer. And not just a little bit richer; a lot richer. In 2009, the average income of the top five percent of earners went up, while on average everyone else's income went down. This was not an anomaly but rather a continuation of a 40-year trend of ballooning incomes at the very top and stagnant incomes in the middle and at the bottom. The share of total income going to the top one percent has increased from roughly eight percent in the 1960s to more than 20 percent today...Such a level of economic inequality, not seen in the United States since the eve of the Great Depression, bespeaks a political economy in which the financial rewards are increasingly concentrated among a tiny elite and whose risks are borne by an increasingly exposed and unprotected middle class. Income inequality in the United States is higher than in any other advanced industrial democracy and by conventional measures comparable to that in countries such as Ghana, Nicaragua, and Turkmenistan. It breeds political polarization, mistrust, and resentment between the haves and the have-nots and tends to distort the workings of a democratic political system in which money increasingly confers political voice and power."

Insiders of Political Voice and Power [It is not a picture of a healthy society. Such a level of economic inequality, not seen in the United States since the eve of the Great Depression, bespeaks a political economy in which the financial rewards are increasingly concentrated among a tiny elite and whose risks are borne by an increasingly exposed and unprotected middle class. ; 22% of online Americans used social networking or Twitter for politics in 2010 campaign Twitter and social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace; But there is a caveat to this forecast: Over time, blogs will continue to become indistinguishable from other media channels The 10 Most Powerful Tweets of 2010 ]
• • Follow up to previous postings on WikiLeaks; Sites like Politico, Talking Points Memo and RealClearPolitics are planning to smother the 2012 campaign trail in a way they could never have imagined four years ago. US Political Blogs Ready to Flood Campaign Trail ; Ben has now finished 62 electoral districts, including all 50 Labor seats, 6 independent seats, and 6 Coalition seats. NSW (Australia)- NSW election guide: two-thirds finished - On Tuesday 1 February, NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell is set to become the fourth longest serving leader in the history of the NSW Liberal Party O'Farrell set to become Fourth Longest Serving NSW Liberal Leader ; The 7.30 Report this week ran its views on the Power struggle ; New South Wales Election Website Now Live! ABC NSW Election 2011

"If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."
-Mark Twain, notebook entry, January/February 1894

"It was no wonder that people were so horrible when they started life as children."
-Kingsley Amis, One Fat Englishman