Wednesday, December 16, 2015

That was then, this is now

What amazes me,’ said Maureen, ‘is that one reads about such events in the Bible as something that happened a few thousand years ago, but that could not possibly happen in 2020, and to us! We are three people of different backgrounds and cultures who have been brought together, and must struggle to comprehend the meaning of the stranger’s visitation.’
~Author: Richard Falkinger Title: Wolfspeer Publisher: Tidal River Press, 2010

The economy of Greece is in shambles.  Internal rebellions have engulfed Libya, Syria, and Egypt, with outsiders and foreign warriors fanning the flames.  Turkey fears it will become involved, as does Israel. Jordan is crowded with refugees.  Iran is bellicose and
threatening , while Iraq is in turmoil.  AD 2031? Yes.  But it was also the situation in 1177 BC, more than three thousand years ago,when Bronze Age Mediterranean civilizations collapsed one after the other, changing forever the course and the future of the Western world.  It was a pivotal moment in history — a turning point for the ancient world.
That was then, this is now - That is from Eric H. Cline, 1177 B.C. The Year Civilization Collapsed - fascinating insight to history.  One suspects that, like Machiavelli himself, Cline (not to misread it as Clune) enjoys truth not only because it is true but also because it shocks the naive characters like Malissa, Kylie, Gill et al ... ;-)

It is tempting to imagine MEdia Dragons as bloggers exiled to the wrong place and time, whose fate, like a character in Nabokov, has been reduced from old-world brilliance to something less grand in 21st-century Land Down Under ,,,
Now - test the water, swim between flags, avoid sharks...
Then - cross Berlin Walls,  Point Charlie or Point Milan, the Iron Curtains and swim in the deepest end as at the shallow end of the pool contains too many intriguers who love to talk about the swimmers at the deepest end...  It is rumoured that a blood-spattered copy of Cold River is found on the corpse of modern office politics... One must sit back and toast your good fortune. That sneaking suspicion that watercooler politics brings karma is  proving true...

Then a current Iceberg Swimmer Mal did not swim between the flags it taught him a life thriving lessons on that Summer afternoon as he struggled inside a rip at Bondi Beach  A Story of Good Fortune to have a father who swam in deep end of the parliamentary and public pools  ... 
At the Iceberg pool or parliamentary pool on level 2 at Macquarie Street, all swimmers are equal as we all look the same in Speedos. However, some swimmers like Bruce Baird or naked Dr Terry Merherell were not as fast as the MEdia Dragon ;-) whether you are 5 foot, 6 foot or tall tower at 7 foot, water makes us all equal ;-)

Czech out a clip that was filmed recently and is going viral and even earned Charter 77 Lady her Slavic Andrej Varhola's ( Andy Warhol) 15 minutes of fame after Nine News tracked her down for an interview. “She was dancing like no one was watching,” said Ryan Zaknich who shot the video and posted it to Facebook Almost as if she was danving the the parliamentary press Christmas Party ... Sometimes you can spot this phenomenon in Rooms 12.719 to 20 ... Sometimes ;-)

Mark Scott used to work for Terry Metherell but I seriously doubt that he would ever be caught skinny  dipping at the legislative pool ... Google that gives MEdia Dragon #5 ranking now gives Our ABC executive Michelle Guthrie to replace Mark Scott as ABC managing director

INK BOTTLE“‘You see, the way I look at it, there are only two kinds of [blogs] books: bedside and wastebasket. Either I love a writer fervently, or throw him out entirely.’

“‘A bit severe, isn’t it? And a bit dangerous. Don’t forget that the whole of Russian literature is the literature of one century and, after the most lenient eliminations, takes up no more than three to three and a half thousand printed sheets, and scarcely one-half of this is worthy of the bookshelf, to say nothing of the bedside table. With such quantitative scantiness we must resign ourselves to the fact that our Pegasus is piebald, that not everything about a bad writer is bad, and not all about a good one good.”
~ Vladimir Nabokov, The Gift (trans. Michael Scammell “with the collaboration of the author,” courtesy of Patrick Kurp)

If MERS Had An “Ass” … the Tennessee Supremes Would Have Kicked It! Clouded Titles Blog

Latest Cyberthreat: Stealing Your HouseWall Street Journal (h/t LS)

watching birds links
“All the words I need
Stored like seed in a pyramid
To bring back from the dead your living shade
Lie coffined in this thing of wood you made
Of solid pine mortised and glued
Not long before you died.

“Words you’ll never read
Are good for nothing but to spread
Your greater love of craft in word and deed,
A gift to make your friends’ desires succeed
While inwardly with pain you bled

To keep your own pain hid.”

FBI Redacted Passages Showing Judge Mocking Its Stupid Claims Emptywheel

 News from the Profession. Fake Occupants Caused Some Problems in Grant Thornton’s Audit of Assisted Living Concepts (Caleb Newquist, Going Concern). Yeah, fake customers are probably not a good thing to find in an audit.

Young Kurt Vonnegut thought he might work in advertising or open a library with a bar. His wife had other, more ambitious plans... Women Amen

Malcolm Turnbull takes us for a summer afternoon at Kerry Packer's rural home and out into a rip at Bondi Beach Malcolm Turnbull Christmas Story

Malcolm Turnbull talks about the mother who abandoned him when he was just 10

The "architect" of the ICAC, Gary Sturgess, who was cabinet director-general of the Greiner government when the agency was established, wrote this week that she should step aside until the parliamentary oversight committee has delivered its response to Levine's report  Car crash and fake boobs make Margaret Cunneens battle with ICAC great fodder for Sydney shock -jocks

Guns don’t kill people, many guns kill people ...

The political economy of tax laws in the U.S. states Elliot Ash. A data-driven approach using natural language processing.
The New York Times’ oft-cited mission to report the news without fear or favor has repeatedly run afoul of a government that’s using both. For the third time in as many months, a printer in Thailand has refused to publish an item from The International New York Times that mentions the country’s monarchy — a topic The Associated Press calls “highly sensitive” in the wake of a military takeover:
After a military junta took power last year, it declared that defending the monarchy was one of its priorities, but also cracked down on criticism of its rule, saying it was necessary to do so to prevent disorder. The army seized power after a period of sometimes-violent political turbulence that affected Thailand after an earlier military takeover in 2006. Thailand Royalty
This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love. In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.
I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them “feel bad” about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” an “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.” I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience.

In the latest twist to the global cyptocurrency mystery, Mr Wright allegedly made a deal with controversial business figure Mark Ferrier in 2013 to buy gold and software with tens of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin, reports The AustralianAfter the ­alleged deal between the two went sour, Mr Wright ­attempted to sue Mr Ferrier for $84.25m in the Federal Court in Sydney.

Improving the competitiveness of cities is a vital pathway to eliminating extreme poverty and promoting prosperity for a country’s citizens, a new World Bank Group report finds. Launched today, Competitive Cities for Jobs and Growth: What, Who, and How analyzes 750 cities to determine what makes them competitive and how they have grown their economies. It provides a catalogue of urban data that city officials can use to benchmark their performance. Three quarters of the cities studied in the report grew faster than their national economies since the early 2000’s, the report finds, but there is still room for improvement. Millions of jobs can be created if more cities performed at the level of the most competitive ones. 

That sneaking suspicion that petrol stations are gouging us has been proven true ... Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims told the ABC there was “a bit of aggression going on” in the market. Read more here

It's more than a little odd seeing the world hail their libertarian hero, mourn that he was "arrested for inventing Bitcoin* (as is being claimed on Twitter), and find that he ate government money like a horse.
The Register can't and won't pull out a cheque-book for the inevitable exclusive with Wright.
However, we can look at what evidence exists in public, and at least speculate around two questions:

Was Wright raided because he invented Bitcoin? This theory has taken off among conspiracists and Bitcoin fans. The answer is “no”.
Guardian Australia has since tracked down Wright's landlord, who believed the entrepreneur was preparing to leave Australia
sATOshi NakAmoTo Two ATOs

Hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue could be up for grabs as the Tax Office announces reviews of multinationals using offshore hubs in Singapore to minimise their tax ATO to unveil large business hit list clamps down on Singapore hubs

Lindt Cafe manager Tori Johnson and barrister Katrina Dawson have been remembered with moving musical tributes and a montage of the floral and written tributes that stacked up outside the site of last year’s Sydney siege. Hundreds gathered at Martin Place for the quiet commemoration on Tuesday night, among them Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione and several other politicians and emergency services representatives Survivors Louisa Hope, Marcia Mikhael, Jarrod Hoffman (Olek's friend) and Selina Win Pe sat with family members near the spot where, one year ago they were held captive for more than 17 hours by Man Haron Monis. One year after the Sydney siege Martin Place blooms again for victims

Tim Sandefur, whose work will be familiar to many readers, lost his adopted brother in the Islamist terrorist attack in San Bernardino. He wrote this tribute and reflection. An excerpt:
Those of us who also serve by only standing and waiting must respond in just the way that our enemy most despises: by living our lives exactly as we would have done. That means cherishing our freedom; celebrating our secular, free institutions; relishing the pleasures of life as physical beings; respecting the special spark in each individual person — here, in this world, during this life. Our values triumph each time we exercise them. Danny and I watched the attacks of September 11, 2001, together on the TV in our living room. I can say with certainty that—to the extent that so kind a man was capable of understanding such evil — he believed in defying the barbarian by living just as we choose: freely, tolerantly, skeptically, joyfully, laughingly, humanly. After the (most recent) Paris attack, Danny enjoyed watching over and over again this well-known video by Andrew Neil. It expresses very well what he believed, and what our family believes.