Friday, November 29, 2002

Life Stuff Paul McCartney Gets Back to the Beatles

Paul McCartney, interviewed on NPR, talking about loss and singing the song he wrote after John's death in public for the first time. Here Today a song he wrote for John Lennon after his murder in 1980 the same year my two friends drowned in Morava River. Like 22 years ago I survived this week a fall, wearing helmet saved my life if not my shattered hands. I hope an ugly sob, like T Yattes, is reading this too. But, thanks to the rest of the crew for get well soon card.

Because we're two guys, you don't always say intimate things. In fact, you hardly ever do. You work together... I had this idea it would be nice to say stuff that I really wanted to say to him but somehow put it in a song, so I did and - it was if you were here today, how would it be?...
Asked if it's difficult to sing these songs on tour, McCartney replies: It's sometimes a little bit hard emotionally. You catch yourself and you hear what the lyric means and you suddenly identify with it and choke a bit. I know it's very emotional for the audience, but I like that.
I'm no longer ashamed of being emotional. When I was 18, that was like the biggest crime a guy could commit. 'You cried?' Well, now it's like, 'Yeah and why not?' It's pretty sad stuff... losing a friend like John or losing (McCartney's first wife) Linda after all those years or George. So I'm comfortable (showing my emotions).
· Life and Death [NPR]

Dilbert Reward the Weasel

Scott Adams promised 600,000 fans via e-mail that if his new DILBERT AND THE WAY OF THE WEASEL makes it to the top five of the NYT bestseller list, he'll reward Dilbert with romantic success. That's right: I'm willing to sacrifice my artistic integrity, and sell Dilbert's body, to get the job done. It's called 'marketing,' and no one said it would be pretty.

Literature Kinsley

The thing that interests me most about this contretemps is how so many people have been so quick to rush in and proclaim, often with much passion and glowing with righteousness, the villainy of Kinsley without bothering to actually think about the situation on which they are passing judgment. It's not so much that many of these gnash-toothed wailers fail to consider any position other than their own before making decisive statements, it's more that they don't even stop to think about what their own position actually is. They lambast Kinsley's presumed laziness for not reading every book under consideration apparently without realizing they've done the same thing themselves, and often.
· 402 books [Parenthetical]

Online resources of the year 2002

Here you will find links to government, industry, and academic resources on selected topics spanning the breadth of web coverage. New subjects are posted weekly, and new resources are added to existing topics.
· Shelf for year 2002 []
· Virtual Chase for 2002 []
· Web Watch for 2002 []

For reasons too complex to burden you with, Thanksgiving has come three days early to my house, hence my two broken arms and late or no updates to links of ironies.

But despite the surgery (a new metal plate and two new screws in my right arm,) I'm most thankful for my supremely understanding and beautiful wife of 18 years (still going!), and two two-legged creatures who occasionally tax my patience and bank account. Honorable mentions: working in a field I love: researching for Victory Over Want, sharing stories across different timezones, getting emails with the words ‘many thanks for such and such story.’Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Thanks for reading, no matter how badly written, Cold River ....

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

FREEDOM TO CREATE: Is freedom of expression in the arts at more risk now than in the past? A conference organized by the National Arts Journalism Program debated the issue last week in New York. Copyright is stronger than ever, which experts say will plunge us into the Dark Ages. Copyright is weaker than ever, which experts say will plunge us into the Dark Ages. The confusing thing is that both statements happen to be true.
· [New York Times 11/26/02]

Economics Economics ultimately is about values

It's been said: Money can't buy happiness. For a long time, that maxim has dueled in my mind with an idea found on a refrigerator magnet that used to be in my grandmother's kitchen (God rest her soul).

· Magnet [Seattle]

Monday, November 25, 2002

Society Why Are You Not Like Me? it's a pity we're still strangers

The vast majority of migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds do not feel they belong to Australia, despite being very satisfied with their quality of life here.
· Exiles [Sydney Morning Herald 24/11/02]

The Skeptical Conservative

Keep government small, said skeptic Michael Oakeshott. No one can know enough to govern adequately, so let us limit the potential of our masters to do damage ...
I think the need to know the news every day is a nervous disorder.
· Small is ... [AEI]

Politics Out of the sand pit and on to the hustings

Bear pit, shmear pit. If the past couple of weeks are anything to go by, the NSW Parliament should be renamed the snake pit. Or should that be the sand pit? The Opposition Leader, John Brogden, to the Premier: Sit down, you stupid girl.
· Pitty [Sydney Morning Herald]

History Sex Crimes & Punishment

If William Naphy's book proves anything, it is that people were prepared to spy on each other and report anything that struck them as odd. This gave busybodies, voyeurs and the downright nasty ample opportunity to grass up their neighbours for no other reason than that they felt like it. The resultant court reports show harassed elders trying to untangle situations where spite, greed and unrequited love conspired to produce a charge of sexual impropriety against someone whose only crime was to smile too brightly at an interesting stranger.
· Voyeurs [Guardian]

Media Comparative Advantage
There have always been columnists who, for better or worse, commanded the greatest attention of their day.

I think that if I’d known what it would be like, I’d never have agreed to do this column,” admits Paul Krugman, a man both loved and reviled..
· Ruggy Columnists [Washington]

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Life David Sedaris Talks Pretty, But Never, Never, on Sunday

In a swanky hotel tea room in the centre of Dublin, David Sedaris is smoking Kools cigarettes and asking lots of questions about the Irish weather. So in the summer here is it cold? Like, do you need a coat? No? So can you go the beach to swim? Is it humid? No? Oh, that sounds great. So you don't need air conditioning? Wow. That's the greatest thing about living in France. It's not too hot at night. I've got a fan and I've turned it on twice.
· Shite happens [Czichlit]

Saturday, November 23, 2002

A million times we've needed you, A million times we've cried. If our love could have saved you, You never would have died.

The Parliament should be open, but not open to manipulation.

Some politicians may well have a cherubic grin and a Churchillian girth, yet they seem to refuse to follow one of the great Prime Minister's maxims. In war: resolution. In defeat: defiance. In victory: magnanimity.

Crime & Punishment Italy Looks Hard at Justice System After Conviction of Seven-Time Former Premier Giulio Andreotti

He started as a librarian at the Vatican, helped draft Italy's constitution and served seven times as premier. Now judges say Giulio Andreotti is also a murderer.

The 83-year-old Andreotti who more than anyone represents the growth of Italy through good and bad from the end of Fascism to the early 1990s was found guilty Sunday and sentenced to 24 years imprisonment for ordering the Mafia to kill a muckraking journalist in 1979. The court overturned a 1999 acquittal on the same charges.

Central to this debate is Premier Silvio Berlusconi, a billionaire businessman who has long been dogged by accusations that he used illegal methods to amass his fortune. Berlusconi contends that Italian prosecutors are biased against conservatives such as himself and Andreotti, and that the justice system must be changed.
· Seven-Times [ABC News (US)]

Former PM plotted murder and now he's the victim

Mafia members have been singing, and the political maestro Giulio Andreotti doesn't like the score.

Is Giulio Andreotti a monster or a martyr? That is the question Italians are mulling after the seven-time prime minister was sentenced in Perugia to 24 years' jail for conspiring with the Mafia in the murder of a journalist.

His conviction over the death of Mino Pecorelli 23 years ago suggests he is a monster. But the almost unanimous reaction from prominent Italians, including the President, the Prime Minister and the head of the Italian Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, is that he is a martyr.
· Monster or Martyr [Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)]

Italian court sentences Andreotti

He has been called Beelzebub, but he takes communion from popes. He is known as Mr. Italy around the world, but he also has been accused of being a member of the Mafia. Giulio Andreotti is no ordinary politician.
· [Blobe and Mail (Canada)]
· Andreotti debate engrosses Italy [The Age (Australia)]
· The man who knew too much [The Guardian (UK)]
· Little Caesar' at core of Italy's political paradox [New Zealand Herald]
· Q&A: Italy's Mafia murder shock [BBC (UK)]
· Ex-Italy PM Andreotti convicted over murder [CNN - The World]

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
-Benjamin Franklin

Literature Rare collector . . .
Bibliomania and the collecting of rare books is not a comfortable addiction. Friends and family have felt obliged to shun me lest I drag them down with my sordid behaviour; my burblings of cracked hinges, crushed spines and discoloured front–end papers. I am abandoned to the company of quiet men in cardigans.
· Bibliomania [Spectator]

Marathon food fight at the Library

It was most amusing to see veteran stager/adman extraordinaire Jack Connors prating about the ''relaunch'' of Boston when we won the Democratic national convention bid last week. Because one thing is for sure - in our new avatar, we're not going to be renamed the City of Brotherly Love.
· Globe Columnist [Daily Globe]

Politics It's deja vu all over again...

According to Senator Lenin, a.k.a. Daschle, when radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh attacks those of us in public life" his listeners are energized to go out and hurt somebody. This is supposed to explain threats that Daschle says he is getting.

That is quite an accusation to make, without a speck of evidence. In more than a decade of listening to Rush Limbaugh, I have never heard him condone violence, much less incite it. Moreover, he has never rewarded people who commit violence with free air time to broadcast their views -- as liberal media journalists do routinely when riots break out to protest meetings of the World Trade Organization or other activities that the rioters don't like.
· The Act of Pressing Emotional Buttons [Town Hall]

The freedom to humiliate ourselves publicly

Webdiarist Robin Ford gives us four ways for the disempowered to hang in there:
vote for people who meet the eye-ball test,
take your body, fragile though it might be, to protest meetings,
write to politicians, with a pen, and
keep up with Webdiary and similar sites of honesty and hope.
To that I would like to add a fifth: Don't be scared to publicly humiliate yourself on matters of principle, however goofy and precious you may feel.

· Jack Robertson [Webdiary]

Friday, November 22, 2002

Politics Identity crisis
NATO seeks to redefine itself at Prague summit
When trans-Atlantic leaders gather in Prague for the NATO summit meeting Nov. 21-22, the alliance will be facing a daunting question: Who am I?
· Zlata Praha [Prague Post 20 to 21 November 2002]
Sound NATO Coverage at · Post of Praha [Prague Post 20 to 21 November 2002

The viper in our bosom

Roger Scruton sees the West’s real enemies: fanatics united in artificial borders by brutal tyrants. Alas, his remedy is less realistic.
· The West and the Rest [Telegraph]

Why a First Amendment?

Group rights, it seems, are only for an approved few, and free speech rights are a luxury that will be withdrawn from those who offended the few. This Telegraph story is about a writer who said that rural folk should be viewed as a minority just like ethnic and sexual minorities. He was arrested and held in jail under hate speech laws.
· As Natalie Solent says,
Remember the line peddled by Blunkett that these powers are to be used against thugs and Nazis - you can trust us to act with discretion, old chap - the innocent have nothing to fear
Indeed. This is exactly why we can never afford to compromise on basic civil liberties on the grounds that "we have nothing to fear." We have plenty to fear.

Media The Fox News Presidential Adviser

Politicos who morph into journalists do themselves and their new profession no favor if they fail to shed their partisan habits. Roger Ailes, the vinegary chairman of Fox News, shows no sign of understanding that. Mr. Ailes's action seems especially hypocritical for someone who has spent years trumpeting the fairness of Fox and the partisanship of just about everybody else in the news business.
· Ailes [New York Times]

Deadline Hollywood
· The Untold Story [LA Weekly]
· Reason [Reason]

Editor Is Dismissed Over Truth of Article

This new incident comes two decades after a Washington Post reporter, Janet Cooke, had to return a Pulitzer Prize for making up an article about an 8-year-old heroin addict.

Columnist says his political job is no conflict of interest

It's not that unusual to see Bob Sanders' name in the Merced Sun-Star. He is, after all, a columnist for the newspaper. But readers could be forgiven for any confusion in recent weeks when Sanders' name also popped up in news stories. It seems the columnist had another job: He's the campaign manager for Rusty Areias' state Senate run.

Before landing his gig with Areias, Sanders was a consultant to a group of Merced hotel and motel owners who had a beef before the City Council -- on which Sanders' brother serves.
· Send buzz, dirt, tips and comments to [Media Bytes]

Internet Tinkering With the Virtual Community
I'm as grumpy as anyone when it comes to change -- I wish every website still looked like from 1996. -- Jim Romenesko
· [OJR]

Tracking Web
Weblogs Compendium a directory of Weblog directories.
· Compedium [Weblogs]

This blog tracks news in, around, and about the weblog world
· Roots [Blog]
· Fifth Estate [Metafilter]

Internet Michael Moore and Jozef Imrich Caught At Own Game ...
I wrote Cold River but now I am in Hot Water.
· Alfa [Wired]
· Beta [ Sauer (sic)]


Forget sex and thought lies. What sells these days is humiliation. Some reality, eh? Voters have shown an insatiable appetite for the queasy thrill that comes from watching an ordinary person suffer searing public embarrassment in exchange for 15 minutes of fame.
· Andy Warhola: Shame Is the Ratings Leader [The New York Times 11/20/02]

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Politics Carr got the wrong girl!
In the end, the cause belongs to all of us. We'd better realise it before it is too late.
No haters like Labor haters, are there?
· Imitating Communists [Web Diary]

Literature Taming the Beast — The Fears and Joys of Being a Writer
There’s a voice inside our heads that’s always heralding doom and disaster even before we get started on something.
· Writing Alone, Writing Together [Absolute Write]

A library of literary frauds

Tom Carew, alias Philip Sessarego, wrote an account of his service with the SAS in Afghanistan shortly after September 11, 2001. Jihad! sold 50,000 copies before the BBC correspondent George Eykyn accused him of being a charlatan on Newsnight. The author denied the charge and stormed off, shoving a cameraman out of his way. He threatened legal action but, one year on, the BBC has not heard from him.

Alan Sokal succeeded in publishing an essay on Post-Modernism entitled Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity in the respected journal, Social Text. It was, he later revealed, a completely meaningless hoax designed to expose the trend for fatuous babble within academia.
· Jack Malvern [Times On Line]

Thought on Crossed Lines - Toaster

Itchy backs appeared a common problem as Mirvac threw a 30th anniversary lunch for itself and it many property and political pals at Sydney's Pier One Sebel House Hotel yesterday.

An increasingly good mate of the property development industry, NSW Premier Bob Carr, obligingly agreed to speak at the function and waxed lyrical about Mirvac's track record of design excellence. So good were its designs, Carr said, that the group was sure to pick up a swag of awards for its nearby Walsh Bay whaves development.

Carr then looked back at what he described as the hysterical
protest over the East Circular Quay (so-called Toaster) development, in which protesters had virtually immolated themselves like Saigon monks.

Returning the back sratch, Mirvac chair Adrian Lane then took the microphone, with a copy of Carr's recently published biography, Thoughtlines in hand, and tales of Carr's
childhood followed.

For those who's who hadn't dropped off, Mirva's cult hero boss Bob Hamilton the provided a story worth hearing.
Struggling to find a name for their new company 30 years ago,
Mirvac's founders decided to stick with the name of the shelf company they had established. Only later did the pair find out that it was also the name of a racehorse which had performed well in country meetings for a while before suddenly dropping dead.
-Rear Window Australian Financial Review 21 November 2002 p 46
Literature Truth is another country
There is literature of fact and literature of fiction, and some amazingly talented writers can sneak across the boundaries without us ever knowing.
Writers roam the borderlands of fact and imagination at will, many a critic seeming not to care. Yet we must distinguish cold truth from hot fiction, Cold River
For much of my life, I have worked on frontiers. Night, fog, armed guards, tension. Walk just a few paces down the snow-covered Friedrichstrasse in Berlin, through a musty East German checkpoint, and
you move from a world called west to a world called east. Nothing changes and everything changes.

· Ashes to Ashes [Guardian]

Politics of ACCC Calm Down Drama Queen
Most of you will no doubt remember this moment - it was too good not to make it onto the TV news. In my view it pretty much epitomises most of what passes for wit on the conservative side of politics. It shows the smug self-assurance which goes with knowing that you hold most of the power and that any anger you provoke on the part of the butt of the joke will only make them look foolish - regardless of whether the anger is justified.

· Irony of Ironies [Tug Boat ]

Internet Find-a-blog

Where's Melvil Dewey when we need him? The 19th-century creator of the Dewey decimal system has helped generations navigate libraries. If only he could do the same for one of the 21st century's burgeoning media: Web logs, the diary-like Web sites also known as blogs. Various ways to search/browse for weblogs. Available on site only by subscription, but a copy is stashed on Waxy Dragon.
· Dewey [Waxy]

Death by Spam -

The e-mail you know and love is about to vanish. Czech out new and better approach to ending spam in your inbox.
· MAPS [Slate]


The weight is always on Labor to do things. That's why people are keen to know what we stand for. I believe the answer is straightforward. Labor is anti-establishment. We want to break down the concentration of power in society. We want to disperse economic, social and political influence as widely as possible. This is the new dividing line in public life. It is not a question of Left versus Right, but a struggle between insiders and outsiders.
· Mark His Words But Not Actions [Webdiary]

Acting Bob Carr

Several parliamentary staffers have remarked that Bob Carr is an
acting genius ... Now Bob Carr is taking acting career to new extremes

· Acting Genius [Webdiary]

We all love gossip...
Who’d rather learn the facts of Bob Carr’s acting and filming policy than discover the real reasons why he is the best parliamentary joker?
· Facts & Acts [Newstateman]

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Politics Rumsfeld pans bureaucracy
Donald Rumseld tells us about the bureaucratic explosion in Washington of the last twenty to thirty years:
I suppose the two things that leap to mind -- one is the interaction between the Congress and the department has changed dramatically since the 1970s. Back then the -- as I recall, the authorization bill was about 50 or 60 pages. Today it's 900 pages. The degree that the committees of the Congress -- the staffs have blown up by many, many multiples on the congressional committees, with the result being that there are just an enormous number of requirements and inhibitions and restrictions and prohibitions that are imposed on the department. We're up, I think, in the 900 level of reports that we send up there. I don't even know who reads them, but we're killing trees all over the globe. And it's -- they get put into the law and then people just keep doing it. If we just could knock off half of the reports and cut the rest of them in half and use a single color -- (laughter) -- like black and white -- (laughter) -- and then put them on the computer and give them the electrons and let them make the paper, we could save so much time and so much effort.
· Laughter [DefenseLink]

Trading Fiction's Comfort for a Chance to Look Life in the Eye
Amy Bloom writes about the difference between writing fiction and nonfiction. Writers lie. As a fiction writer, this doesn't bother me. It comforts me. When I write fiction, I only have to be true to myself and my imagination, to the characters I create and the events that I, and they, cause. In fiction, I'm God, without quarreling apostles, without competing deities, without any foot-dragging villagers.
· Blooming [New York Times]

Those With Political Bent Avid to Make Point in Print

The business of politics and the business of publishing are once again locked in a tight embrace.
· Tight Embrace [New York Times]

To: Premier Carr

From: Margo Kingston


I refer to the press conference you gave at midday today in Parliament House and the interview with you broadcast on 2GB at 12.30 pm.

At the press conference you falsely accused me of having written in The Sydney Morning Herald that the victims of the Bali bombing were to blame for their own deaths.

You said: "To blame the Bali dead for the bombing is a disgrace and you are a parody of a journalist."

You also said: "What happened in Bali was the murder of innocent Australians, not people who were guilty because they were celebrating in a third world country as you argued in the Sydney Morning Herald. Not that at all."

Despite my denials, you broadcast a variation of this damaging slur against me to a much wider audience on 2GB. You said I had written a column "attempting to argue that it was Australian tourists who provoked the Bali bombing, words to that effect". You later said in the same broadcast that you had read my piece, which said "it was something in the way Western tourists behaved in Bali that invited the bombing".

Your allegations are false and baseless.

For your information I enclose everything I have written about the Bali bombing. I invite you to find one instance where I have blamed the Bali dead for the bombing, or said that Australian tourists in Bali provoked the bombing.

In the event that you are unable to do so, I expect a public retraction and apology. Given the vicious nature of your attack upon me, I do not think it is unreasonable to ask your office to respond within 24 hours.


Margo Kingston
· Will no one rid me of this turbulent Margo [Werb Diary]

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Literature Book Club with a Twist

With slight reluctance, the Detroit Free Press joins other media outlets in beginning a book club. The starting impulse was a meditation on What makes us Americans? What values do we share? What values should we share? Are our values under attack, from both within and without? That said, We don't want to be deathly boring or earnest, and we're not sure we like the word values in that paragraph above; it smacks of political speeches. We like novels. We like well-written nonfiction. We want stories that are so absorbing and page-turning that it isn't until we're brushing our teeth that night that we realize we've just read a book about values. Good reads that will make for good conversation, in other words.

The first pick is Leif Enger's PEACE LIKE A RIVER. We loved the book, but it hit us hard, so we think it might be right for discussion. For instance, how much do Americans value individuality over what society wants us to do? When is it OK to break the law? How much are the wide open spaces of our continent essential to our national character -- or is that just a romantic myth? We wondered all these things when we read Enger's book. Next book is, through my wishful thinking, Cold River
· Rivers [Free Press Book Club]

10 Good Markets for Exercise Enthusiasts
Okay, okay, so this one is not for couch potatoes, but if
you are into fitness, and you can write, too, there are more
than a few ways to add some muscle to your portfolio and your
bank account.

· Watson []

Susan Sarandon has a message for Australian actors, musicians and artists who are cowed into suppressing their opposition to war or the treatment of refugees by the fear of being labelled un-Australian - it's your job.
· Sarandon rallies the artists of Australia [ Sydney Morning Herald]
Arts Unesco is the United Nations' cultural wing
On the eve of the 30th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention Koichiro Matsuura, Director General of Unesco, tells of his reform of Unesco and how the US has been returned to membership after nearly 20 years
· ARTS [The Art Newspaper 11/15/02]

Literature TOUCH ME, FEEL ME...
There is a visceral thrill to collecting books. Sure they're difficult to store. But most true book-heads will not be content with contact by catalogue alone. They must sniff the dust of ages, they must browse, they must handle the goods. Dealers have responded to this urge by peregrinating around the country offering their wares at book fairs.
· Books [The Spectator 11/09/02]


When it comes to the arts, Trina Givens wants in. As the proud parent of Trihona, 13, a dancer; Triasia, 15, a singer; and Harold, 11, a dancer and singer, she would like to start enjoying more live arts experiences, both on her own and with her family. But as a single mother earning $33,000 a year, Givens is discouraged. She finds the local arts scene difficult, expensive and intimidating.
· lip service [Star Tribune]

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Scourge of the Booboisie

All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man; its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him. If it be aristocratic in organization, then it seeks to protect the man who is superior only in law against the man who is superior in fact; if it be democratic, then it seeks to protect the man who is inferior in every way against both. One of its primary functions is to regiment men by force, to make them as much alike as possible and as dependent upon one another as possible, to search out and combat originality among them. All it can see in an original idea is potential change, and hence an invasion of its prerogatives. The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are....

The average man, whatever his errors otherwise, at least sees clearly that government is something lying outside him and outside the generality of his fellow-men – that it is a separate, independent and often hostile power, only partly under his control, and capable of doing him great harm. In his romantic moments, he may think of it as a benevolent father or even as a sort of jinn or god, but he never thinks of it as part of himself. In time of trouble he looks to it to perform miracles for his benefit; at other times he sees it as an enemy with which he must do constant battle. Is it a fact of no little significance that robbing the government is everywhere regarded as a crime of less magnitude than robbing an individual?...

What lies behind all this, I believe, is a deep sense of the fundamental antagonism between the government and the people it governs. It is apprehended, not as a committee of citizens chosen to carry on the communal business of the whole population, but as a separate and autonomous corporation, mainly devoted to exploiting the population for the benefit of its own members. Robbing it is thus an act almost devoid of infamy.... When a private citizen is robbed a worthy man is deprived of the fruits of his industry and thrift; when the government is robbed the worst that happens is that certain rogues and loafers have less money to play with than they had before. The notion that they have earned that money is never entertained; to most sensible men it would seem ludicrous. They are simply rascals who, by accidents of law, have a somewhat dubious right to a share in the earnings of their fellow men. When that share is diminished by private enterprise the business is, on the whole, far more laudable than not.
-H. L. Mencken

Brisbane sucks too much blood!
The England cricket team, having been utterly smashed in the first test match at Brisbane last week, is now being broken into even smaller pieces by the Australian second eleven, prior to heaven knows what humiliations in the rest of the test matches. England are also now being hammered by Australia in the rugby at Twickenham. But, the Old Country – sorry, make that ‘Ancient Enemy’ - is still the one dishing out the punishment where it really matters. Take a look at this:

* The Mont Pelerin Society is a secretive, elite group;
* It has less than 500 members worldwide;
* It was founded in 1947 as a cult which worships the free market.
* It designed the policies of financial deregulation, privatization, Competition and free trade. These policies have wrecked Australia and other countries around the world.
* Mont Pelerin is directed from the highest levels of British Intelligence.

Although whoever wrote all this tries hard to dress up the Mont Pelerin Society (whom we have listed on our links page for ages) as an ultra-secret conspiracy, he actually ends up describing how it has operated really quite well.

My favourite chapter heading is the one I use for the title of this posting, number 21. But I actually took a look in chapter 8, which is entitled "The end of nation states: Lord Harris SPILLS THE BEANS". In this, we learn about the modest Lord H, long time boss of the Institute of Economic Affairs and one of the world's leading experts in he ancient art of telling things t in a way that no one believes a single single word you're saying.
Economics The Price of Adam's Apple

Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, is so distraught that his theories have been wretchedly misunderstood that he is driven to return to Earth and set the record straight.
· Novel Approach [New York Times]

People Knickergate

Knickergate has gone all the way to the top, with Premier Bob Carr tangled in the sale of dubious memorabilia bearing Kylie Minogue's name. Booboisie has offered to refund money to a disgruntled supporter who bought Minogue merchandising auctioned at a pre-election fundraiser for the NSW Labor Party. Meanwhile, Ian Thorpe has broken his silence on the persistent question about his sexuality. Obviously fame and fortune have their hazards, one of which is becoming the subject of Unfounded rumours.

Public Bloggers or Intellectuals or Even Else Irony

Stormy fox taken out ...

· Public Intellectuals [Stalinasses]
Politics Prague of Pentagon

The unprecedented surrender of responsibility to a foreign government.
The Czech President, Vaclav Havel, has signed into law a bill handing responsibility for his country's security to the Pentagon during the two-day NATO summit next week, amid mounting fears of terrorist attack and street violence.
· Rattled Czechs hand security over to the Pentagon [News]
Mystery Whistleblower: Exposure

Australian Federal Police and NSW Police are investigating the
mysterious death of an Australian Protective Service (APS)
whistleblower, Gary Lee-Rogers, who claimed four months before he died that a police officer had pushed a pistol into his mouth.

Is this another unexposed web of lies, corruption and collusion?
· Transparency [Alt News]
· A gun placed in my mouth [Sydney Morning Herald]
· Queanbeyan [Canberra Times]
· Last Speech? [Seminar]

Saturday, November 16, 2002

Literature The Ghost of Miss Truman

Margaret Truman is a talented author, if she’s the one who actually wrote her fine detective novels. It’s a bigger if than most readers know ...

A bizarre phenomenon first observed in the 1940s became a crime-fiction epidemic by the 1990s. Famous entertainers, athletes, and presidential relatives began sitting down at the typewriter to bang out mystery novels. Or so they would have us believe. In truth, nearly every one of those celebrities made a deal through an agent or book packager, collected a nice advance for the use of the name, and left to a professional ghostwriter all the actual writing.
· Ghostwriting is a time-honored practice, but [Weekly Standard]

Elections 1 beer, 1 vote

For the Czech Republic, the significance of the recent Senate and local elections lay in a single contest. That contest was significant for two reasons. First, it was the only Senate race that produced a first-round victory: Vladimir Zelezny, director of the country's huge private TV giant Nova, ran as an independent candidate to defeat incumbent Senator Milan Spacek. Second, Zelezny's quick victory serves as proof that in the Czech Republic, serious challenges to democracy and to democratic institutions remain. This is best seen from facts concerning the race itself.

In the Czech Republic, as in all other post-communist countries, the greatest threat to democracy will always be an uneven playing field, whether it be due to poverty, corruption or a weak justice system. Wherever there is such imbalance, a powerful and greasy TV director will always beat out a good man, because for the average Czech voter caught in the middle, a beer and sausage will buy their vote. The fact that they, their children and grandchildren will be paying off the consequences means nothing to them.
· Vladimir Green [Prague Post]

Kollector of Throwaway Stuff Weekend of Colouful Exposures
Sydney Morning Herald reports how Sex can help economy. When the economy is down, sexual activity is lower as people get depressed and have less sex. If people have more sex, they will be happier and more motivated to work and, consequently, the economy will improve.

Meanwhile the new boss of two biggest radio stations has been using nude photographs of herself as an introduction to local advertisers. Alan Jones has issued a press statement denying certain rumours made outside in relation to these happy snaps.

Telstra is very unhappy about its association with the Brisbane’s Red Light District. Fortitude Valley Exchange.

Anyone who criticizes large corporations is likely to come under attack from Public Relations groups, known as PR watchdogs. As for hypocrisy, PR watchdogs keep the details of their own finances hidden to conceal the fact that their funding comes from the very industries that share a vested interest in attacking activists.

Diesel website which is modeled on a zine meets Indymedia style shows how one of the downsides of commercial free speech is its ability to destroy the significance of any and all words, phrases, images and symbols, by equating each and every one of them with sales. When the last word crawls gasping and bloody and clinging to life, a marketing team will sedate it, dissect it into tiny bits, and sell the last word organs at a discount table at a brightly lit department store.

Politics The monarchy as entertainment: Is it more than a joke?
Okay, we now know the butler didn’t do it. A bigger question remains: beyond providing the tabloids with tittle-tattle, what’s the point of Britain’s monarchy?... The long, slow collapse of the British monarchy is a global story. The shrivelling of its main parliamentary chamber is a local tragedy.
· House of Windsor. [OpenCemocracy.Net]

Protesters have deserted Sydney's Olympic Park, site of the World Trade Organisation ministerial meeting, after 28 people were arrested today during tense running battles with police. Running battles at WTO protest

Media Learn Some Election Lessons

Let's consider the first lesson. Television anchors and correspondents joked election night about being careful this time around. "We are going to call races off real votes," said Jeff Greenfield of CNN with a grin. He meant there would be no projecting of winners based on the results in a few bellwether precincts.
· Grin [Entertainment]

Media Journalist finds something worse than being sued for libel
It's probably a short list, but having someone sniffing out your sources would probably be up there. Christopher Byron knows. The pugnacious, prolific financial writer is not only being sued for a story he wrote in Red Herring, but more recently he discovered someone managed to talk AT&T into revealing all of his phone calls for the month he worked on that story.
· Red Herring [SF Gate]

Oldest Profession BE ANGRY. BE VERY ANGRY.
Thimerosol is a solution of alcohol and ethyl mercury previously used as a preservative in some medicines, including some infant vaccines. It is possible, though not established, that its use in vaccines, combined with the increasing number of vaccinations infants receive, was the reason, or a reason, for the surge in autism cases during the 1990s. Apparently a simple calculation would have suggested that the mercury load in the combination of recommended vaccines was above the established safe level, but no one did the calculation, including Eli Lilly, which makes thimerosol. Dick Armey figured it out right away: sneak a provision into the Homeland Security bill at the last minute to protect Lilly from lawsuits. This is the kind of overplaying an admittedly strong hand that will, I hope, eventually bring the Republicans down.

What does preventing parents of autistic kids from suing drug companies that put poison in vaccines have to do with Homeland Security?
· Special-interest riders on unrelated bills [PLA Blogger]

Lifstyle the stages of squalor

The filthy, disorganized apartment shared by three members of the Amherst College Marxist Society is a microcosm of why the social and economic utopia described in the writings of Karl Marx will never come to fruition.
· Cosm [Onion]

Friday, November 15, 2002

People A salute to Kurt Vonnegut at 80

God bless you, Mr. Vonnegut. Even if you don not believe in Him. And happy birthday. You're going to be 80 on Tuesday. So it goes.
Hard to believe. Hell of a career.
Some of us thank you for those short sentences, (see also Media Dragon’s mission and vision) those short paragraphs, those short ideas that showed American fiction could be smart, critical, wild, fantastic and intellectual without being Henry James.
· Eden Express [Philly]

Vonnegut is one of those people who has a resume so chocked full of impressive ups and downs that it leaves one wondering how he manages to fit it all into one life.

Politics Pocket politics
Ever wondered why politicians did not get hot under the collar over the cash for comment scandal? You know, the one where Alan Jones and John Laws got caught red-handed selling their opinions to the highest bidder.
· Voices of Revolt [WEB DIARY by Margo Kingston November 14 2002]

Susan Richards, the editor-at-large is a fearless woman. Democracy, after all, is like woman's work it is never done ... OpenDemocracy. We're on the streets because billions of poor are voiceless. The market's invisible hand won't bring economic justice to the world, but maybe protest will. Triple As, stripped for action ... the three women address the issues in Sydney. Anna, Amy and Anne-Lise escape conviction.

Media Dateline' reporter: Remain critical of media
What was absent (from election coverage) was there was no commentator on the specifics on the programs each party had. It was purely a discussion of tactics between the president and the Democrats. With the media and political system, it's all marketing. The media is dependent on those systems for that revenue, and that is a disturbing trend.
· Civic change lies in the citizens of America. [NorthWestern]

Literature Home-grown shows facing scriptwriters' block
Australian TV producers have been warned that if pay for writers doesn't go up, the quality of writing will decline. Compared with their counterparts in Britain and the United States, where good writing was rewarded, Australians had to write three times as much to earn an equivalent salary. Most Australian writers earn about $15,000 for an hour of television drama, and nothing from a repeated episode. By contrast, British writers received at least $56,000 for an hour of drama, with the same amount paid each time the episode was shown again. American writers typically earned a base salary of more than $178,000 a week.
· Triple Slavery [The Age (Melbourne) 11/14/02]

History gets a life

Once, when academic history was very young — in the 1850s — biography and history co-existed in harmony. But the fundamental difference between the two led to rivalries. Pronouncements by men such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Thomas Carlyle, that the history of the world is but the biography of great men, presented historians with a bête noire; one they have been hunting down ever since. Until this year, to the best of my knowledge, there was not a history department in the world which offered a degree in biography.
· Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer. [Times on Line ]

Bohemian Stoppard

For me, the highlight of last night in Brisbane were the after-dinner introductions to the new party and the new beer site.
Politics has become so debased that it will be necessary to reach beyond the Westminster village for the FCP's founding leader. Sir Tom Stoppard, our greatest playwright, who spoke so brilliantly at The Daily Telegraph's Free Country conference in May, would be the ideal candidate.
· Mixed Bohemians in Two-party pub [Telegraph, London]

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Elections Twain Votes
It's official: Mark Twain received more than 500 votes in La Crosse County as a write-in candidate for Ron Kind's 3rd District congressional seat in the Nov. 5 election.

Not bad for a dead guy.
· Vote Early and Often and for the dead [LacrosseTribune]

It was a bad election (sic).

Of that, we can all agree. But what made it bad? On that, there is not universal agreement. For those who were most closely following the race for governor, the intensely negative tone of the campaign - and the amount of money spent by allegedly independent political groups on nasty TV ads - was the main issue. Voters who are tired of having to choose between Republicans and Democrats are disappointed at what they see are the lack of real choices in the elections and the lack of independent and third-party candidates in debates. Some debates were limited to the two major parties, and some were not. What solutions there are to these concerns depends on who you ask.
· Home Remedies [LacrosseTribune]

Some things never change...

Comrades! We must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all
- Nikita Khrushchev

The main plank in the National Socialist program is to abolish the liberalistic concept of the individual
- Adolf Hitler

At a time when our entire country is banding together and facing down individualism, the Patriots set a wonderful example, showing us all what is possible when we work together, believe in each other, and sacrifice for the greater good
- Ted Kennedy, 2002

There is the great, silent, continuous struggle: the struggle between the State and the Individual
- Benito Mussolini

We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society
- Hillary Clinton, 1993

All our lives we fought against exalting the individual, against the elevation of the single person
- Vladimir Lenin

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

As spiders make webs and beavers build dams, so we tell stories.

People Gerstner on Writing His Book

It is always fun when can-do ceo’s gripe about how hard writing is, so you'll enjoy Lou Gerstner's lament to USA Today that he found it to be an extraordinarily difficult process. With Jack Welch and Al Dunlap in mind, the article says: For CEOs these days, publishing a book seems to be the equivalent of pasting a target on their backs.
· I am not going to write this book! [USA Today]

Kingdom of the wicked

Roger Lewis calls Anthony Burgess, and this is just a sample, impotent, a complete fucking fool, pathetic, a pedophile, and a lazy sod.
· Gozo: idol and idolator [Guardian Island]

The role of principles in politics

Confessions of a Citizen Senator. Orrin Hatch. One of the inevitable things that happens when you hold public office, according to Sen. Orrin Hatch, is that at some point, an old friend will pull you aside in angry bewilderment and demand to know when you lost your principles.
· Square Peg [Basic Books]

Media Hold the Front Page

Behind the headlines, funnies, links to newspapers and story ideas.
· Telling Front Page Stories [Front Page]

Life Stein, Arendt, Kafka

We are huge fans and admirers of Ben Stein for many reasons. The more I learn about him, and the more I read his stuff, the more I like him. I sincerely wish I had been able to avail myself of his current advice regarding how to ruin your life when it could have done me some good. Don't learn any useful skills, Just watch reruns of The Simpsons.

The present is the position in which the individual uses the materials of the past to shape his own future. This is exactly what Arendt means to convey in the Preface to Between Past and Future when she uses the Kafka parable to talk about man as standing in a discontinuity, with an antagonist from behind (the past) pushing him forward and an antagonist in front (the future) blocking his way.
· Future of Our Past [Oxblog]

The Lexus and the Olive Tree

Friedman column today begins:
The transition from autocracy to real democracy in Iran [has] dragged out much longer than in Europe for many reasons, but the most important is because the hard-line mullahs control Iran's oil wealth. What that means is that they have a pool of money that they can use to monopolize all the instruments of coercion — the army, police and intelligence services. And their pool of money is not dependent on their opening Iran's economy or political system or being truly responsive to their people's aspirations.
What does this mean for the United States?

If we really want to hasten the transition from autocracy to something more democratic in places like Iraq or Iran, the most important thing we can do is gradually, but steadily, bring down the price of oil — through conservation and alternative energies...Ousting Saddam is necessary for promoting the spread of democracy in the Middle East, but it won't be sufficient, it won't stick, without the Mideast states kicking their oil dependency and without us kicking ours.

A model column. It begins by reporting little-known facts, proceeds to analysis, and concludes with strong policy recommendations.
· Oil & Olive & 710 [Amazon]

MIXED METAPHOR: Cited in Webster's Dictionary of English Usage 640 (1989):

This field of research is so virginal that no human eye has ever set foot in it.

Culture Brisbane Creative City (BCC)

Brisbane is the third biggest city in Australia and is home to more than 1.3 million souls who do consider themselves the luckiest people in the world. How many Mayors in the world take a trouble to share their vision wherever they go? Brisbane Mayor is in a habit to stimulate dialogue whenever and wherever he moves. This little nugget arrived in my email today.

Living in Brisbane 2010 plan - the goal of Brisbane being a Creative City was identified as one of eight key themes that are vital to maintaining Brisbane’s reputation as Australia’s most liveable city.

I believe that we have come a long way towards achieving this goal. Certainly in the field of literature local writers such as Venero Armano and Nick Earls have received widespread acclaim and provide fantastic role models for young Brisbane writers. I ... hope that a future Booker Prize winner may be waiting to emerge somewhere in our city and I can assure you that the Brisbane City Council will do everything it can to make this possible.

Jim Soorley
· Soorley Living Vision [Extract from the letter By Soorley]

From Edinburgh to Santa Monica cities that have survived and thrived through the era of globalisation have discovered a competitive edge: creativity. Under the banner of Creative City, the Brisbane Institute will celebrate, promote and conceptualise city creativity and Brisbane's role in enhancing Queensland's culture, society and economy. The papers of the Creative City seminar began the dialogue that will continue over the 2000s.
· Creative City [Brisbane Institute]

History says that creativity like democracy happens most powerfully when people gather in real life. We are all walking in each other's footsteps, standing on each other's shoulders, learning from each other's brilliance, and suffering from each other's griefs. It is sobering and comforting to reflect on how inevitably we are a part of a single human family. As Dr. Tom Dooley said, it takes ordinary people to do extraordinary things!
· Vision [Creative Class]


A Giller Prize judge walks into a big bookstore in Toronto the day after Canada's biggest literary award is given and finds the clerks know nothing about it. I tried to think of clever things to say about a Canadian bookstore that doesn't know books, about a bookstore that doesn't pay attention to what's happening in the literary world, about a bookstore that doesn't support the writers who create its profits. The further down the street I got, the more I found myself sounding like Marx. Karl, not Groucho.
· Prize of Ignorance [Toronto Star 11/12/02]

Politics Buffalo Elections

The Buffalo News surveys state legislative races in Western New York, which saw all 22 incumbents win big, and asks, "Is voting becoming meaningless?" Even after reapportionment of districts, a Buffalo News analysis of election results in Western New York for the House, State Senate and Assembly shows that races were less competitive this year than in 2000.
· Russian Rullete (sic) [Buffalo News 07/11/02]

Internet Like a blog? Find more!

As If I'm Not Blogging Enough Waypath is making me to visit more weblogs.
Waypath is a new search tool for weblogs that finds blogs related to one you choose. Enter the full URL of a blog and it gives you a menu of other blogs.

· Log On [Straight Path]

According to one site found on Waypath, the newspapers are agog at rape allegations inside the Royal Household.


The British state daily rapes million of people of billions of pounds to pay for 'services' that fail to deliver whilst blighting the economy and distorting civil society... yet the idiot media concentrates of the trivial antics of House of Windsor, who are little more than a bunch of national tourist attractions who at least generate more money than they cost the hapless taxpayer. Now that is the true scandal, not who might or might not have buggered whom in some drafty palace.
Regina v Burrell

Monday, November 11, 2002

Arts Brisbane to Host Conference on the Bard

The World Congress on Shakespeare will land straight upon Brisbane River in 2006. Professor Richard Fotheringham and Lloyd Davis made the successful bid that will attract around 1000 delegates from across the Midsummer night Dream and world. Czeck out Shakespeare questions and why some of us who consider today's society too violent would doubtless cringe at the idea of spending an entertaining afternoon at a hanging or a beheading.
· At least, I hope they would! [New York Times]

A new festival of emerging and independent art and culture 20 to 24 November, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. Straight Out of Brisbane is 5 days of free panels, interactive talk-fests, workshops, artists talks, exhibitions, showings and gigs. Featuring the creme de la creme of local independent arts talent, they're throwing as many of Brisbane's underground anti-heroes as they can find into a small room together. Watch them bite into the meaty flanks of the local arts scene!

Politics Keeping government honest is up to all of us

n. 1. a person who searches for & publicizes corruption by public officials, business executives, or other important persons 2. a person that supports sites like Open Democracy with as little as they like.

· Greg Barns [On Line Opinion]

John Lukacs: Don't forget Roosevelt

The Roosevelt/Churchill policy on Russia seemed a mistake, but won in the end, as Stalin’s Cold War led to the end of communism...

· Conrad Black [Telegraph, London]


The arts are portrayed as an economic and cultural good for neighborhoods. But a new New York study that looked at the potential of arts and culture to stimulate economic growth concludes that artists moving into a neighborhood can drive up rents and force out long-term residential and commercial tenants. The paradox is that arts groups drive up the rents and then cannot afford to remain in the neighborhoods whose rejuvenation they spurred in the first place. You have this Darwinian progression: artists move into a neighborhood, prices tend to go up, and the artists have to move out.
· Clouding cultural development [The New York Times 11/11/02]


Should art and politics be tangled together? Anyone who believes that the loftiness of art is above politics, war and religious differences doesn't understand that artists live in the real world and don't hide behind their creativity. On the contrary, their high profile often makes them subject to increased scrutiny.
· Artists must not wait for politicans. [Rocky Mountain News 11/10/02]

Media Why on-line journalism matters

Searches for truth in troubled spots.
· Peter McMahon [On Line Opinion]


When did the world become so dumb? We go to concerts to hear singers who lip-sync. We watch movies with actors who can't act. We watch reality TV shows that have nothing to do with reality. We read books by people who can't write... But maybe it's ever been thus.
· Dumber and Dumber [Rocky Mountain News 11/10/02]

Sunday, November 10, 2002

That' is why it is always worth having a few philosophers around the place. One minute it is all - Is Truth Beauty and Is Beauty Truth, and - Does A Falling Tree in the Forest Make A Sound if There's No one There to Hear It, and - then just when you think they're going to start dribbling one of 'em says, Incidentally, putting a thirty-foot parabolic reflector on a high place to shoot the rays of the sun at an enemy's ships would be a very interesting demonstration of optical principles.
-The many and varied advantages of philosophy, Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

Internet I blog, therefore I am

Articles are published and news reports are broadcast around the clock, but the words of the press are quickly outnumbered online. Weblogs or "blogs" are a rising force, filling PC screens with a deluge of commentary direct from diary-writing readers and viewers.
· Log On & QuestiOn [SMH 8 November 2002]

Who needs a pretty website anyway? KR's are making money, what more do you need? I am Rich

Libraries and Archives From Library clippings to clickings . . .

My first professional job in Australia at the NSW parliamentary Library involved cutting newspaper articles and cataloguing them under over 2000 subjects heading. It's not often newspaper libraries get mentioned in the news or otherwise. So this story, celebrating the newspaper's library's history, is a big deal. Nice story about some very enterprising researchers.
· Cutters and Diggers [A Star is Born]

Lets Walk Through Oldies but Goodies

Just as the arts give a flavor which is important to the personality of a city, People need old articles. Despite the common wisdom that most searchers are seeking recent stories. This story in Library Journal discusses the success of older archive databases.
· Past is able to discern hype, spin, bias, misinformation, disinformation, fraud, and lies . [Library Journal]

Come in, come inside an organization that helps newspapers in the area with CAR workshops and archiving. Fund for Investigative Reporting. Now open your eyes shut wide and Marketwatch colourful listing corporate misdoings Scandal Sheet (sic). While you are deep inside the sheet (sic) czech out how lawyers strike gold mining government databases. Meanwhile you also pick up Good research hints. If you are drowning in too much information catch political waves and tides with the real pros. Ohhhkay, you cannot walk away from this site, but you can fall in love with the story of Dvorak in Amerika.

Literature Pro or Amateur, You can be whatever you want to be

Legends about the Hindu gods, like the myths of the Olympians, permutate multiplying selves, gender switches and phantom likenesses: transformations of the self depend on an idea of souls migrating from one shape or species to another.
· Wake Me Up on Judgment Day [Guardian Angel]

Tax Add it up: half your income goes to tax

Professor Bob Deutsch of the University of NSW's ATAX program said he was stunned when he saw the list of direct and indirect taxes compiled by The Sun-Herald. I have never seen them added together like that. It is staggering.
· The Price of Civilisation [SMH 9 November 2002]

Bear in mind that the Italian Chamber of Commerce overwhelmingly rejected a proposed 25% pornography tax.
· The Price of the Oldest Profession [Ananova]

She thinks her taste in wearing see-through-dresses is educated, when it is only aroused to notice what others like.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

Elections It was a long, long TV night of election poetry

Election Night coverage on TV tends to become a marathon of long-windedness. On the other hand, with the right sense of appreciation, there's a certain modern poetry to it all -- or maybe not.
· My Dear Mr. President [Chicago Tribune 8 Nov 2002]

Money Talks And Conviction Walks

Republicans raised about three times more cash than Democrats.... So the GOP regained control of the Senate and increased its advantage in the House despite Wall Street scandals and a stagnant economy.
· Paid for by Citizens against Socialism & Rectal Itch [Tom Paine]
Art Guess who's in for a little criticism?

When art critic Emily Genauer died last August at 91, obituaries dutifully noted that she had received the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1974. What they didn't say is that she's the only newspaper art critic ever to win it.

I refuse to accept any responsibility for anything anybody might claim to have learned from my criticism.
· Art Criticism [Los Angeles Times 11/08/02]

A life, thanks to Pi

The Life of Pi accelerates up the bestseller list.


Going Long, Going Deep

STUFFY, STAID, AND SUCCESSFUL: Current conventional publishing wisdom says that in order to sell copies of your magazine, you need near-naked women on the cover, piles of ads from hip companies, and for the love of God, no big, long, thought-provoking articles! Nobody likes those. Well, nobody except the growing subscriber base of The Atlantic, which may just be America's most unlikely serious magazine success story.
· The Atlantic Hardly The Titanic [Columbia Journalism Review 11/02]
Politics Rage in the suburbs

Colourful responses to Margo Kingston’s piece on Labor is too little, too late on development. Carr's multiple breaches of trust means there is no trust this time. If he promises something, the Greens will want legislation passed BEFORE the election.
· slim line [Webdiary]

Thursday, November 07, 2002

US Elections Time to Remove the Bananas... and Return Our Republic to Democracy

Many leaders seem to have a funny idea about democracy: they think it's about voting. Bush and many, if not most, other American politicians, think that giving hundreds of millions of dollars to huge media corporations to carpet-bomb the minds of voters means that democracy is served when a vote is held. But in the earliest democracy, there was no voting: the Athenian Greeks had an annual lottery, and every citizen was in the pool. When your name was drawn, you had to serve in the Polis or legislature for a year. At the end of the year, you were out and replaced by a new person selected in the lottery. Sort of like jury duty.
· Democratic Loterry and Audit [Common Sense]
· US: Who Won? Who Lost? Who Knows? [Washington Post]

The GOP Sweep And The Fourth Estate

With a Republican sweep in Washington, the Fourth Estate may be the only check and balance to the GOP's ascendent power.
· Will Dissenting and Angry Voices Be Heard? [Tom Paine]

Letterman on Clinton
On monday night Letterman had a joke that went something like this:

Bill Clinton had a busy day on the campaign trail. He was in 5 states, 7 cities and 3 flight attendants.

NSW Elections Developer heaven, Labor hell

I had no Idea...
that Carr was so crashed up.

Margo Kingston how to Drive a Carr through the environment. The drive Includes a speech by former Speaker of the NSW Assembly Kevin Rozzoli.
· Ode to developers [SMH Webdiary]

Media Speaker faults media ownership concentration

Norman Solomon believes democracy in the media is central to our lives. But he doesn’t think there’s enough of it because of the control large corporations exercise over media coverage.
· Monopoly on Storytelling [Mercury]

Off the record

The Messy View From Prague: It’s a good story. It’s more of a bikini story, one would say.
· Storm in a teacup [Observer]

Literature Literary storm swirls around Yann Martel

Just over two weeks after winning Britain's top literary award Canadian author Yann Martel in the centre of a literary storm over plot similarities between his novel and a Brazilian book.
· Idea of Zoo in Berlin [Globe & Male]
US Elections How to Keep Score

An insider's guide to keeping track of the election results tonight:
Here is guide to keeping score while watching the election returns. My advice, for what it's worth, is not to watch the networks at all. Either follow the election on the internet, where you can look at the races you're interested in and avoid mindless blather and bias, or find something entirely different to do and check in towards the end of the evening, when things have started to take shape.

Almost every country in the world tends to invent Antony Green type characters who are not only good at wasting your time, but seem to cause irrepairable (sic) damage to your eyesight. So when a TV Talking head appears on tonight's midterm election coverage and insists the key factor in the outcome is turnout, turn him off, pronto. He's telling you nothing peculiar to this year's election, only citing something that always applies to all elections. Or if you're told that some obscure House race in Indiana is the bellwether contest in the entire election, forget it. That race may be important, but you're unlikely to get the result anytime soon. Television coverage on election night largely ignores House battles and even newspapers the next day may not declare the winner. In fact, newspapers are often negligent in making sure House results are up to date.
· Editor's Note: [Weekly Standard] We'll be posting election analysis all afternoon and all night as returns come in. Be sure to check back often.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Law Hezzonor: Fount of Justice

One odd side effect of the royal butler trial has been a call for the Queen to be subject to court rules, a problem ably discussed in the Telegraph editorial, Regina v Regina. The monarch is the Fount of Justice, from whom British justice flows. It would be genuine upheaval of what the British judicial system is about to subject the fount of justice to judicial procedures. I have regularly argued that the judicial powers exercised on the monarch's behalf by the Prime Minister should be given to an independent Lord Chancellor (appointed independently by another independent Appointments Commission, exercising the Monarch's powers as Fount of Honour), and I personally see no problem when the Monarch may be engaged in High Crimes and Misdemeanors (to coin a phrase) of subjecting the Monarch's person to appropriate proceedings (almost certainly ad hoc).

Yet the general principle of monarch as witness and so on seems wrong to me. The Monarch is not above the law, nor is she the law (shades of Judge Dredd), but is an embodiment of the law, and it is that dignified role that demands different treatment. The USA, of course, has no such dignified embodiment, however much an invariably squabblng Supreme Court attempts to portray itself. This may be part of the reason for the low opinion of the legal system in America generally.
· Regina v Regina [Telegraon (London) ]

A cacophony of Hero-Judges clamour for immortality

WHEN poet and publisher Max Harris described the Australian landscape in the early 1960s as being peopled with good blokes and bastards, but not heroes, he did not foresee the rise and rise of the hero-judge.
· Horrror-Judge. [The Australian]
Culture The holiness of being queer: Clever theory, but is it smart?

IT reads like a homophobe's guide to where and where not to live in Australia. The Australian Local Government Association's State of the Regions 2002 Report actually lists tables of the top 10 regions in the country in terms of the lowest and highest percentages of same-sex couples.

Comparisons are made between inner city areas of Melbourne and Sydney with the whole of Brisbane. Today's artist about town really craves is warmth, subtropical cotton sheets and security of chaotic new economy and pockets of regeneration filled with the voices of children.

Using the logic of this report, we should be encouraging people to set up same-sex households if we want to accelerate our Smart State credentials, Mr Beattie said.

All we have to do is offer cheap housing to same-sex couples in most of rural and remote Queensland, the Fitzroy region and the Gold Coast, and we'll be well on the way.

· This is a nonsense and a joke. [Rupert’s Courier Male]
· Garbage in, Garbage out [Rupert’s Male]
· Make Love Not Children, and Grow [The Old Age]
· Populate and Perish [The Old Age]

Subtropical Views From Roaring Forties: Model Citizens

There must be something in the water because Queensland certainly has generated its share of beauties over the years. modelling agents around the world acknowledge some of world’s best talent comes from the Sunshine State and some have eveb speculated it may be due to our warm climate generating a more creative and body conscious mindsets. Whatever it is it is worth celebrating, as the return of 50 Years of Catwalk lunch proves. The event at 11:30 am on Friday 22 Novemner 2002 at Hilton unites Queensland models from the Forties to now. Bookings, phone the Hilton 3231 323

Everyone is a witness. Everyone is a journalist.
Everyone has a story: we are all indymedia

· Tropical Catwalk: Queensland's Gift to the World

Accolades to Yvette

Yvette Nielsen's newsletter (read or subscribe to it at won a well-deserved recognition at the ICT awards. Add to that the fact that she is the queen of content.
· Content is Queen [Brisbane with the Z]

Cities shortlisted for culture clash

The six UK cities which will battle it out to be named European Capital of Culture 2008 have been named. Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Newcastle/Gateshead and Oxford were unveiled as the contenders by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell. All the bidding cities recognised the power of culture and creativity as an engine for regeneration, and a rich seam for boosting civic pride and firing imaginations.
· Capital of Culture [BBC]

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Religion Jesus = Mr. Rogers or Braveheart?

Christianity has basically communicated to men that the reason God put you on this earth is to be a good boy. Mind your manners, be a nice guy. That’s soul killing! It’s not true, and for a man to hear the message that the greatest achievement of his life is simply not rocking the boat, not offending anyone, not taking any risks but just being a genuinely swell guy--that kills him.

His nature is made for something much more dramatic. Here’s how you can tell: look at the games boys play or the films men love. Boys want risk, adventure, danger, exploration. Why do men love maps? Women don’t love maps. Do you agree?
· A battle to win. [Belief Net]

Internet The Web: Whom Can You Trust?

It is rarely difficult to find information on any given topic on the Web, but it may be difficult to find information that is reliable. Indeed, Consumers International took to task a number of web sites that purport to provide consumers with reliable information on a range of topics.

Click through to the summary of a study by Consumer WebWatch or the full outline of predictable flaws.


Canadian writers are big internationally. But some of the Canada's best-known writers weren't born in-country. Canada is a great hotel maybe, but not necessarily a comforting home, these writers say. In a society that takes pride in the mildness of its political debates (with the exception of periodic dust-ups over Quebec sovereignty), immigrant fiction writers are among the country's sharpest social critics. Canada's immigrant literature often reflects deep feelings of incredible loneliness.
· Unbearable Loneliness of Being [New York Times]

Bringing mistakes to book

Doris Lessing has been complaining about the declining quality in the editing process. Several typos and misspellings appeared in her new novel, and she's upset about them. Some blame an increasing reliance on spell check which would not catch, for example, you're when it should be your. Whatever the cause, mistakes happen in all forms of print.
· The Art of Spilling Czechs [BBC]

Monday, November 04, 2002

A 19th century Irish immigrant named O'Reilly called the newspaper a biography of something greater than a man. It is the biography of a DAY. It is a photograph, of twenty four hours length, of the mysterious river of time that is sweeping past us forever. And yet we take our year's newspapers, which contain more tales of sorrow and suffering, and joy and success, and ambition and defeat, and villainy and virtue, than the greatest book ever written -- and we use them to light the fire.
-Adair Lara, columnist, San Francisco Chronicle

Politics The Loyal Opposition: The Triumph Of Me-Too Politics

Neither side is daring much. Neither is imagining much. Neither seems ready to break out. With Wellstone gone, there is one less voice to counter the boring and alienating politics of cowardice and calculation.
· Politics ... is what we dare to imagine. [Tom Paine]

Ethics The Silence of the World

Elie Wiesel:
I am obsessed with silence because of the silence of the world. Where were the humanists, the leaders, the liberals, the spokesmen for mankind? The victims needed them. If they had spoken up, the slaughterer would not have succeeded in his task.

We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.
· Oral Morality [Tikkun]