Friday, February 28, 2003

Moral of the Koufax- Murdoch a.k.a. Piers Akerman story is

Letters Editor
Daily Telegraph

Dear Sir or Madam,

Piers Akerman ranting attack on the ABC, Media Watch and David Marr deserves just a brief response. Using other people's words without acknowledgement is plagiarism.

Akerman's column on Carmen Lawrence lifted a slab of 262 words in precise order, unacknowledged, straight from an Israeli Defence Forces press release.

His column on John McCrae's poem, In Flanders Field, lifted 350 words from a copyright website. Akerman changed a few words here and there, but didn't acknowledge his source.

Once upon a time newspapers fired plagiarists. Now it seems they give them a column to abuse their critics.

Yours sincerely
Peter McEvoy
Executive Producer
Media Watch

You remember them -- the sort in which virtue vies with vice, right with wrong. In the end, good triumphs and everyone takes home a useful lesson.
Nowadays, that sort of clarity is scarcer than a fairly priced gallon of gas. We deal, most of the time, in mixed motives and ambiguous outcomes.
That's what makes the improbable faceoff between Sandy Koufax and Rupert Murdoch a tale worth pondering by anybody who cares about the state of the American media.

· Good old-fashioned morality tales don't come along too often these days [LATimes]
Mini Me(dia)First Draft by Tim

What we have here is the men-women-Mars-Venus thing: Most bloggers are not (or haven't been) journalists, and most journalists are not (but maybe will be someday) bloggers. For now, they just don't get each other.

This is a dysfunctional dynamic that fails to embrace the flattening of the information hierarchy brought about by the advances of nano-publishing software and miniaturization of image-capture technology.
· NewMedia [TimPorter]
Loneliness is one of the most crushing human emotions. The feelings of abandonment and isolation create an overwhelming sense of helplessness and despair. People in the throes of a heightened state of loneliness often fall prey to temptations or behaviors that are extremely atypical.
- author Charles Stanley, A Touch of His Presence

Restless Mailer Living on the edge

He's 80, and not slowing down. The author of 31 books (beginning with The Naked and the Dead (1948) and including, most recently, The Spooky Art: Thoughts on Writing).
· Living on the edge [CronWatch]
· Executioner's Song [Tallahassee]
· Don Quixote at Eighty [NYBooks]
· The novel is like the Great Bitch in one's life [Rockymountainnews]
There are times when we must sink to the bottom of our misery to understand truth, just as we must descend to the bottom of a well to see the stars in broad daylight.
- Vaclav Havel, writer, Czech Republic president (1936- )

Tiny Scottish pub wins big British award . . .

Anyone who thought the "elevation to the big time" of tiny Scottish publisher Cannongate with its publication of Yann Martel's Life of Pi was a momentary phenomenon was "put firmly back in their place last night" at the British Book Awards, when Canongate and owner Jamie Byng won Publisher of the Year. Byng's success in forcing the Edinburgh company into the major league was confirmed in spectacular fashion" with the prize. Industry awards usually reward quantity as much as quality. Invariably, it is the multi-million global corporations who walk away with the honours. Now, however, as an awards spokesman notes, Canongate may be the smallest publisher ever to win this award, but it just shows that the little guy with the slingshot really can take out the giants.

Tiny Canadian Publisher Double Dragon Publishing will start uploading its titles to Palm Digital Media in the next few days. This is a great achievement for DDP as there are presently only three companies supplying Palm with digital titles:
Disc-US Books
Hard Shell Word Factory
Double Dragon Publishing

Thursday, February 27, 2003

NewMedia Dialing for bloggers

Updating a Web log, already simplified by automated blogging sites, is now as easy as picking up the phone.
· Manywhere Moblogger [News]

OldMedia ABC loses ALP as an ally

It was a split-second decision that knocked the ABC's already troubled relationship with Canberra completely off its axis.
· Win/lose some [Media Australian]
Democracy Gaining an Empire, Losing Democracy

The dire prospect that opens, therefore, is that America is going to become a mega-banana republic where the army will have more and more importance in Americans' lives. It will be an ever greater and greater overlay on the American system. And before it is all over, democracy, noble and delicate as it is, may give way. My long experience with human nature - I'm 80 years old now - suggests that it is possible that fascism, not democracy, is the natural state.

· I'm 80 years old now [CommonDreams::via::IHT]
Leadership Pure Essence

I cannot believe how incredibly stupid you are. I mean rock-hard stupid. Dehydrated-rock-hard stupid. Stupid so stupid that it goes way beyond the stupid we know into a whole different dimension of stupid. You are trans-stupid stupid. Meta-stupid. Blairing tropical mid-day sun on Mercury stupid...
· This is the current American leadership. Go figure. [Scoop]
Ethics Gone Wrong

As for Enron, `At this juncture I cannot confirm or deny' that the bar is investigating any Enron lawyer, says Miller. That either means it's not investigating or that an investigation hasn't found enough evidence to go public -- yet.
· Lawyer's shingle [Bloomberg]
When people cease to complain, they cease to think.
- Napoleon Bonaparte

Taxes Birth & Taxes

Sooner or later, kids need to become more aware of how complex legislation, budget cuts and our convoluted tax code will affect their pocketbooks. No less than their personal livelihood is at stake.
· Livelihood [TheState]

, Jesus would lower it for all

Instead of shifting the tax burden to the rich, Jesus would lower it for all: Tax unto others as you would have them tax unto you. What "tax the rich, not the poor" folks are proposing is roughly opposite of what Jesus would actually support. And that's why I can almost hear him saying now,
· Get thee behind me, Satan [WoldNet]
Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it's important.
- Eugene McCarthy, former United States Senator.

Parliament Breastfeeding MP causes stir

Former Olympic skier Kirstie Marshall said she didn't know she couldn't breastfeed her baby in the Victorian parliament today, after being ushered out and missing her first question time.
· Baby Pit [SMH]

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Librarian Pickup Lines:
So... they say Dewey had a harem, care to help me start mine?

I'd catalog you under "Desirable!"
You'd find me in the RC560.S43's!
I do collection development for 613.96

The Art Of Dating

Bowling is noisy, hiking hurts and personal ads are full of liars. Singles groups in churches are fine for church members, which leaves out most of Seattle. To score at the gym, you have to be obsessively fit and willing to talk about triceps. What's left?
Art museums across the country are beginning to realize that they are the hip new version of a lonely hearts club. Scrambling to fill the role they didn't know they had, they are increasingly open at night and making space for dining and dancing. In Seattle, all of the area's major museums are open till at least 8 p.m. on Thursdays, and nearly all are trying to enlarge their piece of the seeking-soul-mates market.

· Lonely hearts find a new venue to practice the art of the pickup [Seattle Post-Intelligence]

BBC and our ABC understand the dangers posed by tyranny and the special responsibility of democracies to defend our shared values. The head of the BBC's New Politics Initiative explains why the crucial generation in politics is always the next one - and how e-democracy is helping it shape the news it encounters.
· Balanced News [OpenDemocracy]
Of Book Critics Who Don't Read...

Reviewing books is not a particularly well-paid form of journalism and it takes time. A book of any more ambition than a thriller can't be read for review at a rate of more than 40, or at most 60, pages an hour. Some books are only 120-pages long and can comfortably be digested in a couple of hours. Others, though, are 400, or 600 pages, or, in some dreadful instances, even more, and they can easily take days to get through. The reviewer's fee, however, usually remains the same. So, shocking as it may seem, the truth is that some reviewers skip some books. And there are a few who skip through all the books.
· Reviewers skip some books [London Evening Standard]
Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers.
- Mignon McLaughlin, author

NewMedia Digital Troublemakers:You won't read this in print

Online-exclusive columns and weblogs abound at the website of the Christian Science Monitor, a news organization that puts significant resources into online content. That's as it should be, as the newspaper has a global audience but not global printing presses.
· Online-only newspaper columns and weblogs [Poynter]

The curtain goes up, the undies fall down, but this coat makes the wearer invisible.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.
- Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author

Parting Company?

Companies have become part of the furniture of our lives. Most of us work for them. They make almost everything we buy. Most of our savings are tied up in them. Yet now the furniture seems uncomfortable, broken or downright dangerous. Companies are cutting back jobs and slashing pensions. Far from proving a reliable source of future wealth, they seem to be picking the money out of our pockets. Above all, many who have worked most of their lives in companies have suddenly discovered that they are curiously impersonal things...
· Fear [Financial Times]
Future of NSW is open to debate

It's about where I live, how I live, my kids, and am I safe at home and in the streets.
Mr Carr is seen as a practical, approachable Premier, and not at all as an arrogant one. But leadership alone will not allow him to coast through this campaign, as he did in the last, against Kerry Chikarovski. His refusal to debate Mr Brogden is not only ill-judged, but has made it seem as if he is trying to avoid a personable, youthful challenger. Mr Carr's stated reason for rejecting a debate – that neither Nick Greiner nor John Fahey would debate him – is uncharacteristically childish. There are many different lenses one can use to try to assess the relative values of different politicians and parties, none perfect but all yielding pieces of the puzzle
· Poking a stick at cornered boys who cry [Australian]
We are so vain that we even care for the opinion of those we don't care for.
- Marie Ebner von Eschenbach, writer

Time What's three to seven minutes

'It depends on who you ask. Time is the only thing that we really own. So if you ask somebody who's got three days left to live, three minutes is pretty valuable.'
· Value of Pricelessness [WashingtonPost]

The search for extraterrestrial life grips the human imagination because it tells us about ourselves
· Imagination [Guardian (UK)]

I am old enough to remember when the then Premier of NSW, Neville Wran, asked a perplexed journalist, whether he was from the ABC!
The shocked ABC Stateline Crew are unlikely to remember where they came from as they face the reality of 4 am filming this morning. This is the best time to meet face to face with the national treasure and coach Mary Wood who seems to be in a habit of growing the nation's swimming champions at Scarborough.

Ever since my family tasted the ultimate sea change three years ago my three girls are up at 4 every morning bar Sunday.
Morning comes. You rise, refreshed from a good night's sleep on a comfy waterbed bed. You hit the hard bench at Scarborough pool and begin a busy 90 minutes of reflecting on arms splashing and studying mechanics of Mary Wood's training secrets. In her signature red cargo pants, Mary clicks stopwatch million times and peppers neverending words of wisdom and encouragement in every direction. Welcome to the real life of a swimming family. You will be exhausted and wishing to be back in the waterbed too. Your life appears simultaneously real and alien as the first sun rays dive into your pupils.

The 12yrs & under Girls swam a fantastic race to finish with a silver medal in the 200m Freestyle relay. Congratulations to Kylie Palmer, Tara Vernon, Danielle de Launey and Alexandra Imrich.
—Redcliffe Leagues Lawnton Swimming Newsletter January 2003

2003 Queensland 50m Sprint Championship - 8/02/2003 to 9/02/2003
Girls 9-10 50 LC Metre Freestyle
Gabriella Imrich won bronz medal

Monday, February 24, 2003


Manufacture may favor a uniform commodity.
· But human taste yearns for the local or the offbeat [Boston]
Recently, Sir Anthony singled out Chief Justice Gleeson for writing the most easily understood judgments in the court's 100 years. He said judges struggled for simplicity but rarely achieved it.
The clarity of his judgments shines out through layers of complexity. Clarity is not a synonym for simplicity but it comes close. Clarity is what we all need ...

Rejecting Our First Draft Culture: Strategies for Revision
· I love the flowers of afterthought -Bernard Malamud [Poynter]
Literature Self–publishing victory

Stories are means of transport: to read is, in a way, to travel after all . . . Lets move from stories of defeat to victory.
As a boy in Nigeria during the 1970s, novelist Helon Habila started reading to shelter himself from the turbulent reality of his country at the time, and he first emerged as a writer during "perhaps the worst period of corruption the country had seen," the brutal reign of General Sani Abacha. But, in an interview with Frank Bures for Poets & Writers magazine, Habila says he learned So much ... So much from writers such as Chinua Achebe and Ben Okri. They were the pioneers, and they showed us that we could do it. They made the way for us, for the younger generation to follow.
But Habila's writing is quite different from A lot of postcolonial African fiction, which is caught up in anticolonial themes. He also notes that Habila came up with a novel way to get attention for his first book, which was self–published. He submitted it for the $15,000 Caine Prize for African Writing by posing as his own publisher — which he was, and "when the Caine Prize committee wrote back to tell Habila's publisher that he'd been shortlisted, [Habila] replied anonymously. 'Thanks for your mail. We'll let the author know of the good news immediately. We hope that God will guide the judges in their choice.' He subsequently won.

· Hope & Moby Lives [PublisherWeekly]
No continental divide between New Europe and Old Europe

Scott MacMillan is a free-lance journalist based in Prague reports that when it comes to public attitudes toward U.S. military power, there's no continental divide between new Europe and old Europe. The Europeans are conflicted, but not over Iraq: The conflict is about Europe itself.

· Continental Ways [Slate]

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ):That Fuzzy Memorandum

Last Sunday, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) ran a story, Bio-Terror: Danger hushed up, indicating knowledge of Iraqi smallpox weapons may have been widespread in the German government earlier than that. The story rests on a memorandum issued by the German health ministry, dated August 9, 2002 and notes that, judging by the fax dissemination list, it was widely circulated within the German government. Excerpts from that memorandum:

Bonn, August 9, 2002
Ref. 329
Supplementary justification to the request of August 9, 2000, re the acquisition of smallpox vaccine
For the following reasons, the prompt appropriation of 10 million Euros as well as [additional authorizations]* in the sum of 20 million Euros for the acquisition of smallpox vaccines is factually undisputable and should not be delayed:

1. Probability of an attack

Estimates of the world situation and especially news reports point to an acute sharpening of danger levels: German security agencies have documented information that smallpox is being stored not just in official laboratories in Atlanta and Koltsovo, but also illegally, e.g. in Russia, Iraq, and North Korea. There are also indications that terrorist groups are trying to produce biological weapons. Even were a release of smallpox virus to occur elsewhere in the world, it would constitute an extraordinary danger for Germany because of the extreme transmissibility of the the virus and the mobility of the world's population. The indications of a possible imminent attack of the USA on Iraq are growing. It can feared that Iraq would react with the biological weapons at its disposal, including smallpox.
· SmallPox [FAZ]
· No Porks [Bilt]
If evil men were not now and then slain it would not be a good world for weaponless dreamers
- Rudyard Kipling

WITNESSING & SPREADING THE TRUTH by numbers: ‘hand up not a hand out‘

The world is not what it should be; the right solution to the Iraqi crisis either demands the realism of a soldier or the idealism of a peace activist. Either choice brings danger and sorrow with it: peace means continued repression now, and may well mean a greater war later; war means death and destruction now, and untold unwanted consequences later.
The sane course of action seems to be what west did with the Soviet Union: maintain vigilance, apply pressure, avoid war, and wait for the totalitarians to collapse.
What Iraq people need is to speak to the media through Middle Eastern Havel, to circulate Samizdat magazines and especially means and ways of escaping the regime. Lets smuggle computers, typewriters, photocopy paper and copiers inside Iraq. Place on UN official website addresses of churches, clubs, schools and universities so we can all write millions of letters stating the truth about Saddam. Lets also state in those letters that anyone who will continue to actively support Saddam will be prosecuted by International courts.
Sadam will not be able to survive such grass root campaign politically and with a few prayer he might find himself literally in hell before his next birthday. What we have here, is a failure to communicate....

· A new form of non-militarised politics [OpenDemocracy]
· Misdirected hatred ignores Iraqi suffering and gives comfort to Saddam
· Why march now
· The cult of 'peace journalism' is a tendentious

Sunday, February 23, 2003

The relative sanctity of life: Rogue Kim Jong-il poses bigger threat

In depth look at the current political situation concerning North Korea and nuclear weapons. Columnist Geoffrey Barker said North Korea `has sufficient plutonium for several bombs` and added `it exports missiles and missile technology, and gets away with it`. Mr Barker looked at moves that could be taken by Australia to attempt to rectify the situation.
by Geoffrey Barker, Australian Financial Review, 20/02/2003: Page 15
He is pretty dumb! All he did was increase the number of Repulicans in the House and return the Senate to Republican control in less than two years.
—Debate is raging at

How Long Will Amerika & International Community Put Up With Bush?

The present course of the Bush administration quite plainly threatens regime change. Not changes in Iraq's regime, although American military power may well bring that about, but a transformation of the entire pattern of the United States' relationships with the world. Americans have long been taught that international alliances and cooperation form the bedrock of our standing in the modern world. Global economics depends on that kind of cooperation; global politics builds on it. Talking about the United States as a hyperpower obscures the fact that we exist within an international system. That system required decades to craft, but now finds itself under threat after only two short years of the Bush administration.
· Hyperpower [TomPaine]

Vote Early, Vote Often: or Even Better Vote Virtually
There was a new wrinkle added in Florida, and in many other places as well -- 'touch-screen' voting systems. Now the beauty of these systems is that they leave no paper trail. None whatsoever. No way to recount ballots, because ballots don't actually exist.

And who, you may be wondering, manufactures and administers these voting machines? As reporter Lynn Landes noted, Republicans dominate the voting machine business.
In fact, the companies that control the voting machine business are owned by an interwoven network of right-wing extremists > with a long record of pumping money into Republican campaigns.

The touch-screens worked great though, according to all avenues of the media, yielding a final result less than two hours after the last polls in the Panhandle closed. And what was that final result? The reelection of Jeb Bush, of course. If anyone bothered to read past the headlines of the smooth Florida election though, they found that, according to poll monitors, touch screen machines in eight Miami-area precincts were counting ballots cast for Democrat Bill McBride as votes for his opponent, Jeb Bush.

Premier polling services
Lynn Landes contacted John Zogby of Zogby International, one of the country's, and asked him if over the years he had noticed increased variation between pre-election predictions and election results. Zogby said that he didn't notice any big problems until this year. Things were very different this time.

No limits on its criminality
What we have here is a number of elements coming together: a political party that has proven itself to place no limits on its criminality when it comes to the manipulation of elections and the timely closure of the media's exit polling service whose polling results were wildly at odds with the announced results; an alleged dropping of the ball by pretty much all of the pollsters across the country who had been taking the pulse of voters in the weeks leading up to the election; and the introduction of paperless, touch-screen voting systems that lend themselves very nicely to unseen and undetectable manipulations.
Does this prove widespread fraud? No, it does not. But neither can it be proved that the election results are valid. That's the beauty of paperless systems. No trail to follow. No recounts. No investigations.

Inspection of electronic voting systems impossible
As Michael Ruppert reported: There was one other great message from this election. On Wednesday morning I watched a crawl on the bottom of the CNN news screen. It said, 'Proprietary software may make inspection of electronic voting systems impossible.'
It was the final and absolute coronation of corporate rights over democracy.
· deMockery [AriannaOnLine]
In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.
- Charles De Gaulle

Brave new world doesn't look too revolutionary

Antonia Zerbisias opines that original journalism is lacking on the Internet. If online journalism is to gain widespread general respect, it has to produce the journalistic goods. I'd say that we've all been focusing too much on presentation -- with buzzwords like multimedia and interactivity -- rather than substance. So, pull money out of the budget line for technical tricks, and use that cash to fund high-quality investigative reporting. Readers come for the story, not the wrapping.
· High-quality investigative reporting [TorontoStar via eMedia Titbits]

California state lawmakers sent more than 12 million pieces of mail to voters in the second half of 2002 at a cost of nearly $2.5 million in taxpayer money, reports Jim Sanders of the Sacramento Bee. Using state legislative records, Sanders shows that many of the mailers went out before the November election, even though such communications are not intended to be used for political purposes. Mass mailing tends to rise in election years nonetheless: In the Assembly, where all 80 seats were up for grabs, each member spent an average of $6,542 per month for mailers between July and December -- more than twice the $2,845 monthly average in 2001.

Should politicians be legally accountable for their election promises?

Nipping Corruption, Fraud in the Bud?
Hotly contested claims are being made that lawyers and police discussed sacrificing a colleague to protect former commissioner Peter Ryan.

Orwell, right or wrong? If the past 17 months have taught us anything, it is that some ideas and the people who hold them are worth fighting over.
· A shiver of revulsion. [1984]
I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
- Abraham Lincoln

To satirize Irony
I was an absolutely beautiful child, says historian Andrew Roberts, without a trace of irony. I don’t need to boast, but it’s so hard not to...
If you're going to have a website, it's a vehicle for boasting. My girlfriend tells me the boasting is totally unnecessary now, and I simply don't need to do it any longer, because I have significant achievements.
I've won the Woolfson Prize for History. I'm a Fellow of the Royal Society for Literature. So I don't need to boast . . . but gosh, it's so difficult not to do. I don't know why . . .
A little while later, he returns to the subject. You've got to be driven by something, to do all those hours of work. And for me it's showing off: 'Look at me!'
· Read Me Like A Book [Telegraph(UK)]

No intelligence system, no bureaucracy, can offer the information provided by competitive reporting; the cleverest secret agents of the police state are inferior to the plodding reporter of the democracy.
-- Harold Evans

Mitteleuropean Cheekbones: Sunday Diary of the Australian Dreams & Dreamers

The viewers Down Under are aware that Jana Wendt knows how to put flesh on stories. Like Jana, I started to report for work in Sydney in 1982. While I began reporting for duties at the NSW Parliament House, Jana made history at Nine Network’s 60 Minutes as its youngest ever, and first female reporter. Her interviews during her initial six years with 60 Minutes included Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos in exile in Hawaii, Libyan leader, Muammar Ghaddafi and black American Islamist leader, Louis Farrakhan and Ghanaian leader, Jerry Rawlings.
Fifteen years later, more confident, attractive, and determined, Jana lifted the curtain on czech-book (sic) journalism and reopened the debate on mediaethics. Ironically, the compelling speech took place in the Strangers Dining Room at NSW Parliament House few weeks after I entered Czech and Slovak soil for the first time in 17 years.

There are only a handful of journalists who make you believe that journalism is really worth dying for and Jana seems tobe one of them.
· Sunday Business, Art, Culture, Politics, People: Movers & Shakers [SUNDAY by NINE: My Favourite Program]
DEMOCRACY isn't something you can eavesdrop on. It's not something you glimpse through your front window or size up via your television screen. Democracy isn't about what 'they' are doing or, as I am often asked, 'What is being done?' Democracy is all about you and me, and what we do. It doesn't happen in the third person or in the passive voice.
We saw an example of democracy in action last weekend when millions in scores of cities around the world took to the streets to protest an invasion of Iraq. There's 'A New Power in the Streets' read the headline in Monday's New York Times, a second superpower in the world besides the United States, and that is 'world public opinion. '
- Cynthia Peters

War & Peace Blast from the past

Politicians on both sides of the argument over Iraq have been busy rummaging through the history books. The pro-war camp constantly warn against repeating the mistakes of appeasement. The antis claim we are heading for another Suez. But which is the more plausible parallel?
· History [Guardian (UK)]

Ironically, on the very day this second Iraq debate ended so humiliatingly in our Parliament, the US senator Robert Byrd, former Senate Democrat leader and now its longest-serving member (45 years), made a speech in the US Senate that puts to shame so much of the pap of so many of our politicians.
· Price of Little Men [SMH: My favourite newspaper]
Senate Floor Speech - Wednesday, February 12, 2003. Common Dreams Readers Most Forwarded Article This Month
· Reckless Administration May Reap Disastrous Consequences [CommonDreams]

Saturday, February 22, 2003

World of Wonder
Sunshine State is Smiling The Art of Sunlover Holidays

The Daintree Eco Lodge and Spa won the ecotourism and deluxe accommodation categories, Hayman Island was honoured in the luxury accommodation category while Surf Life Saving Queensland won the general tourism award.
· OUTBACK: Destination Queensland [TheAustralian]

Down Under Barbecue in NY The Marrow of the Bone of Contention

Until I had moved to New York, the phrase good barbecue meant nothing to me. molasses sweet vs hot pepper and the sourness of vinegar, coating slow-smoked, succulent ribs. It’s primal. It’s sublime.
· A Barbecue Journal [StorySouth]
A statesman is a politician who places himself at the service of the nation. A politician is a statesman who places the nation at his service.
- Georges Pompidou, President of France

2003 NSW State Election, Campaign Diary
Labour V Liberal

Mao said that a 'guerilla must swim like a fish among the populace.' A politician also depends on those around him for support and power. Is Bob a better swimmer than John?

The 2GB parrot & pork-o-meter measures the election promises made by Labor and the Coalition from Monday February 17 - about five weeks out from polling day and the start of the official campaign.
· 2GB PORK-O-METER [Radio2GB: Click on 2GB - NSW State Election 2003 - On the Campaign Trail]

NSW is on a fast electoral train to living in even more interesting times, and the question is when the voters are going to decide they want to get off. The message for Liberals is, it's time to lead or risk losing again.
· Campaign Trail [ElectionLinks]
Polish Tale of Bribery and/or Politics and/or Journalism

It reads like the script of a B movie: A tough-talking, Russian-born heavy promises to smooth out the legislative obstacles facing one of post-Communist Poland's most successful companies. All he wants, he tells one of the country's most influential men, is $17.5 million.
· No suitcases [NYTimes]

Absolut dinkum
A parliamentary committee looking into investment opportunities in Eastern Europe was informed by the Australia Poland Business Council that a South Australian couple plans to purchase a Polish producing plant and make vodka in Australia. The committee heard that most vodka sold in Australia comes from New Zealand and not Central Europe.
Herald Sun (Melbourne), 20/02/2003: Page 27
The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest men of past centuries.
- Rene Descartes, philosopher and mathematician

An Arts Alternative
Should anyone be surpriseed that popular culture holds such a firm grip on teenagers? It's all around. Unavoidable. A ten-year-old program in San Francisco offers kids an alternative - an art alternative. Art and Film for Teenagers offers Bay Area teens Friday night art movie screenings; Saturday outings to galleries, museums and commercial films; group trips to the symphony, opera and ballet (often three or more times a week); dinner parties and picnics, and an opportunity for mingling with peers passionate about the arts - an antidote to adolescent isolation.
· Local Communities Take Note [San Francisco Chronicle]
Why should I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not. Why should I fear that which cannot exist when I do?
- Epicurus, philosopher

Goldie Hawn writes spiritual memoir: Death, Taxes, Spiritual Orgasms

Putnam's in the US have bought world rights to the catchily titled A Lotus Grows in the Mud: Footprints of a Spiritual Life - a spiritual memoir by Goldie Hawn.
It's like an orgasm. You never know when it's going to come, and it's always exciting. We need to understand how we get there.
· Mud of Lotus [Reuters]

Friday, February 21, 2003

A Whistlestop Tour of Useful Sites

Search Portfolio is a subscrition-based directory of online search tools put together by Rita Vine and other information professionals at Have a look at the directory for free until the end of February at this link.
· Tools [SearchPortfolio]

LEGISinfo, the latest offering from the Library of Parliament, is a resource for finding information on legislation that is currently before Parliament.
· Autumn Leaves [Parliament (Canada)]
A Call For Self-Review

The case of the New York Times Book Review running a review of a book by a reviewer who doesn't appear to have read the book prompts Alex Good to propose a solution. Since the regular reader of book review sections can be reasonably sure that some of the reviews are written without reading the books, have authors write their own reviews. Sir Walter Scott did it. Poe and Whitman did it. And Anthony Burgess did it, prompting Gore Vidal to remark approvingly 'shouldn't there be at least one book review in all of England written by someone who had actually read the book'?
· Have authors write their own reviews. [GoodReports]
All great truths begin as blasphemies.
- George Bernard Shaw, writer

The Art of Being Great Emotional Truths: Richness of Feelings

The study of feelings, once the province of psychology, is now spreading to history, literature, and other fields.
· I feel humiliated rather than I am humiliated [Chronicle]

Others will witness acts of inhumanity that will haunt their remaining days. Evans tells the story of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Kevin Carter who convinced himself that he was right in the mid-1980s to photograph the first known public execution in South Africa by 'necklacing,' setting fire to a gasoline-filled tire around someone's neck. 'I was appalled at what they were doing. I was appalled at what I was doing. But then people started talking about those pictures... then I felt that maybe my actions hadn't been at all bad. Being a witness to something this horrible wasn't necessarily such a bad thing to do.' Carter later took his own life.
· Is journalism worth dying for? Is history worth dying for? [TimPorter]

Greed, Good God!
· Christian Democratic Union representative [FAZ(Germany)]

· Diary of the human dream [Siflayhraka]

Nan Wyatt, a very prominent broadcast journalist and radio personality in St. Louis, was shot to death last night. The St. LouisPost-Dispatch posted this story
The believer is happy; the doubter is wise.
- Slavic proverb

All right, you knuckleheads

The greeting within the Labour Party emails used to be Hey, Komrade now it appears to be Hey, Knucklehead... (ironbarkish smile)
The Three Stooges are returning...
· Hey. I resemble that remark [WashingtonTimes]

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Media Boss, Gun, Entertainment

BTW, The Bulletin, the new lair of Tim Blair, is owned by a man who no longer wishes to be licenced to carry Glock Guns. Shame, as little does Mr Packer know that almost every piece Timush writes seems to be in many ways aimed at him, [sadly Mr Packer suffers from dyslexia (sic)]. Timush, who appears to suffer neverending growing up pains, likes to have a go at trivial things involving the most subjective things in language and Margo in order to entertain Amerikans such as Instapundit. Just imagine the private version of Timush making fun of the new boss (and his son James) whose successful publishing business goes back three generations... It surely could not have been characters like Timush who while on Murdoch's payroll liked spreading stories about scientifically proven facts in relation to intelligence genes being passed on to the son by the mother...or was it the other way around?
Indeed, let us see the neo-con snarl behind the entertainer... (smile)
· Entertain Us [SauerThompson]
It is dangerous to be right when the government (read also management) is wrong.
- Voltaire, philosopher

Master/Servant: Even This Shall Pass Murdoch's war: 175 generals on song

Rupert Murdoch is pro-war, and thinks a lower price for oil after Iraq is conquered will be better than a tax cut. Their master's voice by Roy Greenslade in The Guardian, which reports that all 175 Murdoch editors around the world just happen to agree with their boss. It begins:
· Their master's voice [SMH]
Politicians Hogs at the trough

It's bad enough when politicians stand as accomplices to plunder. It's that much worse when they hide the plunder behind bastardized definitions of easily understood words.
· Who is Responsible [Worldnetdaily]

As chairman of the House subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, Coble’s views on locking people up are of particular interest these days. During a radio call-in show on WKZL, Coble said he did not think Americans of Arab descent should be interned due to current events, but his endorsement of the past use of ethnicity-based internment was more than a little spooky.
· Howard Coble has once again run afoul of the Weblog Nation [RadioWeblogy]
When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been murderers and tyrants, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it, always.
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

OpenSociety Towards open government

The State Opposition's proposal to enlarge the responsibilities of the NSW Ombudsman and create a regulator-general "responsible for opening up the processes of government, improving accountability and lifting standards in government" deserves full marks for the worthy inspiration behind it. There is undoubtedly too much secrecy and too little openness and accountability in government.
· OpenDemocracy [SMH]
The unluckiest insolvent in the world is the man whose expenditure of speech is too great for his income of ideas.
- Christopher Morley, writer

Law & Order If some Barristers need money for a train fare to come to Sydney wives give them the money

Sydney barrister Stephen Archer could not afford to pay his tax debt of $3.1 million but he could still manage to buy $14,000 worth of wine in a year and give his wife $1.2million, a Mercedes-Benz and holidays with their children
· Is The Price of Civilisation to Avoid Taxation? [SMH]

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Along Came the Spiders

News and views, culled and edited from my online eJournal:
Welcome to the world of ``nano publishing'' -- an emerging brand of Internet-based journalism that is helping shape the future of news. Gawker is a weblog devoted to news and gossip about New York City and its gossip-heavy industries. Gizmodo, also a weblog, covers electronic gadgets. They're both fun to read, and highly informative.
The sites are largely the creation of Nick Denton, a former print journalist who has done several noteworthy online efforts.
Full Story
Media The Morning Snooze Wakes Up

The real world? The real fucking world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it, for Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else portrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life, then you, my friend, don't know much about life!
· LifeReality [TimPorter]

How googlewatch & bloggers make news Sheila Lennon's Providence Journal-based Weblog is now linked daily from the paper's front page.
· WebWatchers [Projo]
· BloggerGoogle [Corante]
Who is Your Hero?

RECENTLY, I asked a class of University of California undergraduates to name their heroes. Ten years earlier, their counterparts had listed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Mohandas K. Gandhi and Vaclav Havel. This time, they mostly named celebrities who were famous -- well, for being famous. Sure, it's a sign of the times, a result of our pervasive celebrity culture.
But we need heroes. Celebrities teach us about glamour and appearance, not how to reach deeply and draw upon inner strengths.

· Vaclav Havel [CommonDream]
Elections Political front line

Elections are expensive, but apolitical public servants are priceless. Pauline Hanson confirmed today that she will run for the NSW Upper House.
Best show in town might be coming to you David v Polianna. Some liberal voters aren't demanding Carr's departure. They want him right where he is so that they can tar all unions and the entire Labour Party with his image in order to win the next Federal election.

· Sisterhood in the brotherly City of David [SMH]
· Politisations of Public Service
During the 2001 Federal election On Line Opinion picked up a lot of things that the mainstream media missed, thanks to our online research project. We're running another one for the NSW state election and need your help.
To participate in this project simply fill out the questionnaire at our new elections site ozelections. Once you've done that you will have the opportunity to participate in online discussions, focus groups and chat rooms.
In 2003 we are celebrating our sixth successful year as the biggest reading initiative in the UK and Ireland, and we have some great new activities to announce as well as continuing many of our established and successful elements.
I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it!
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Head North Young Man The Ultimate Sea Change at Subtropicana

The enduring image of Queensland for many Australians a beautiful place to holiday, but hampered by a narrow-based economy and an unsophisticated cultural life – is eroding fast. Some institutions interstate cling to the idea of Queensland being a cultural and economic backwater but, as they have done for a decade or more now. While some Sydneysiders are sitting on goldmines many ordinary young Australians are voting with their feet. Affordability, clean air, stunning beaches, solid school system and good transport access have made many parts of Queensland the country's fastest-growing regions.
· The Sunshine State story has rarely been at a more interesting stage [CourierMail]

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Dreams? Dream of killing the boss? You're not alone

More than half of all workers have nightmares about their job. Top of the list of bad dreams was arguing with the boss, followed by arriving late for an important meeting and lusting after a colleague, which was perceived as a key indicator of stress and anxiety.
Nearly a quarter of the nightmares occurred on a Sunday night, a finding thought to be related to a dread of the impending week, while one in four dreamt about work at least once a week.

· Feeling Better Now? [SMH]
Corporate Life Balzar: Gimme shelter, lawyers

Today, a pop quiz about the state of ethics, taxes and wealth in the United States.
· Death & Taxes [Opinion]
PeopleNews Sad Man: Warren

Warren Schmidt is a man without resources. He has no intellectual curiosity. May never have read a book for pleasure. Lives in a home "decorated" with sets of collector's items accumulated by his wife, each in the display case that came with the items.
On his retirement day, he is left with nothing but time on his empty hands. He has spent his entire life working at a job that could have been done by anybody or, apparently, nobody. He goes to the office to see if he can answer any questions that the new guy might have, but the new guy doesn't. In a lifetime of work, Warren Schmidt has not accumulated even one piece of information that is needed by his replacement.
Thoreau famously observed, The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

· Quiet desperation [TimesUnion]
Terrorism Opportunist bin Laden is waiting

A war in Iraq, with or without UN sanction, may well influence the timing of some terrorist attacks. But of one thing we can be certain: a peaceful solution to the current situation will be irrelevant to bin Laden's intent and purpose. Al-Qaeda will seek to follow through on whatever it may be planning at present; and its targets of first choice will remain innocent civilians.
· Laden [SMH]
Google Buys Blogger

Google last week purchased Pyra Labs, maker of the Blogger software that powers many thousands of weblogs. Dan Gillmor of the San Jose Mercury News has a 00802> good overview in his weblog, which includes multiple links to other opinions about what this purchase portends. I'm not prepared to speculate much, butI would say that Google's technologists repeatedly have demonstrated their ability to make the Web more accessible and useful. So this purchase is an indicator of the growing importance of self-publishing -- both as a form of content and as a way to help guide users to relevant online information.
Old prophecies speak of the death of God. Since Auschwitz we are more alone. We must create our values ourselves, day by day.
—Nobel winner Imre Kertész

History Stonehenge 'King' Came from Central Europe

Archaeologists studying the remains of a wealthy archer found in a 4,000-year-old grave exhumed near Stonehenge last year said Monday he was originally from the Alps region, probably modern-day Switzerland, Austria or Germany.
· MittelPundit [ABCNews(US)]

Monday, February 17, 2003

Mayor's 'trysts' with top names Gossips in subtropical cafes are having a field day

The alleged stalker of Maroochy Mayor Alison Grosse yesterday testified in court that she had a sexual relationships with many high-profile Queensland identities including veteran Queensland National Party MP Vince Lester. The Brisbane District Court yesterday heard evidence from alleged stalker Rob Purvis that Mr Lester was very keen on Grosse and took a trip to Canberra in December 1997 for a weekend tryst with her.
Purvis, under cross-examination, also gave evidence Grosse had been involved sexually with disgraced former Labor MP and convicted rapist Keith Wright before the commencement of his affair with her in 1993.

· LocalMews [RupertsPaper]
NewMedia Web Craze

News and information sites are joining the commercial search craze, adding paid links to their query results and pushing the boundaries of the Web's hottest advertising format.
· NewsSites [News]
· 20% of the population hold 80% of the webtraffic [Shirky]
Darwinian Storytelling

What do Stalin, modern architecture, radical feminism, and most parenting experts have in common? They are all products of the false belief that we are born with empty minds, a tabula rasa.
· Getting Under The Hood Of Human Hardwiring [NYBooks]
History Bali & The Russian Colonizer

Nobody knows Vasily Malygin. But one hundred years ago, this enterprising person decided on his own to participate in the world partition and to annex an Indonesian island to Russia. In 1895 he was a real sensation in Dutch East-India. His name is still remembered by the Bali population.
· Annex [Pravda]
I've rarely trusted a man who doesn't drink. George W. Bush, once a heavy tippler, is now a non-drinker. Some say he's a reformed alcoholic. Bush has a foot in both camps, so I half-trust him.
—Richard Zachariah

The streets were full but still they came marching in Peace

I never thought I would see a research which confirms that human nature tends to shine brightest at times of hardship and danger.
Here it is. Research shows that people behave in catastrophes much like they do in ordinary life - helping those nearby first before they help themselves, Dr. Lee Clarke of Rutgers University said. The empathy continues in the aftermath, with people connecting with one another to cooperate in rebuilding and recovering emotionally.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

A Platform for Global Anti-War Movement: No To War; No To Creating Monsters Like Ladin & Sadam

Over this weekend, in 316 cities in 60 countries around the world, millions of people have marched and rallied against a possible U.S. invasion of Iraq. Without the Internet, of course, such a global protest would be unimaginable. But the Internet is only the messenger. Clearly, there is strong opposition here and abroad to an American invasion of Iraq, writes Ruth Rosen of the San Francisco Chronicle. Anti-war sites cropping up in recent weeks include and
Though Jesus Christ, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. all expressed similar thoughts, they didn't have the misfortune of living in a world with Fox News.
—Laura Billings S

Rupert's army of editors say they made a mistake by confusing opinion with news. Will they now confess their many other journalistic sins -- like confusing lies with truth? Sunday is the time to make confessions...

Media The Varieties of Media Bias

Whenever conservatives talk to liberals about press bias—or vice versa— they talk right past one another. Both factions seem to work backward from their conclusions to the evidence and damn what the other side says.
· Impartiality [Slate]
Education The HSC exam topic was revenge tragedy

I (and who knows how many others?) was deliberately censored and punished for presenting a politically controversial view. Education, as long as it is dominated by the Board of Studies we are presently stuck with, is rewarding the indoctrinated and crucifying creativity. The board does not represent pure education, or passionate teachers, or real literature. Any student with independent thought feels resentment and contempt for it. But, at this stage, anyone trying to be creative will just be censored into oblivion.
· Censored into oblivion [SMH]
· Edu-blogging education [Shifted Librarian]
The World is Not Afraid Say NO TO WAR and Yes to the War on Indifference:

Today’s world poverty and disease is the price of indifference. Yesterday’s ethnic cleansing is the price of indifference. And the terrorism that threatens us all is nothing more than the price of indifference.

Over a Million Take to the London Street...The largest peace demonstration ever

The price of indifference is now too clear to all around the world. There is no comparison between pushing Iraq out of Kuwait and invading...

And even Blix says hold the fire...

Will we today apply old maxim that prevention is better than cure and pledge to make the world safe for our children? Will we take a VOW and promise our children and our children’s children a world of peace and prosperity, a world of cooperation and compassion, a world free from hunger and oppression? In this global world, we will only achieve these goals for our own children as we work to realize them for children across the globe.

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Nobody knows my rudest kit and caboodle. But here it is my vocabulary with horns. What is the rudest rude word in the English language?
PeopleNews Fast Men of Sydney: Bistro Bristow

I bribed police for 40 years. I found that the higher I went in society the lower the morals became.
· Dead Underworld Identity [SMH]

Anti-corruption investigations

Eastern European politicians too often die in car crashes, and always to the point. However, in all cases, the results of official investigation witness “usual car accidents.
· Remember Dubcek... [Pravda]

Costa-Gavras, Greek-born and French-nurtured, has spent most of his long career making troublesome films. His chief drive has been political, in the sense of addressing social injustice in various parts of the globe, so his films often have annoyed those who like things the way they are.
· The Confession [NewRepublic]
Internet Verifying information -- and what can happen when you don't

No matter how often the media gets warned to verify information -- especially online information -- it seems journalists never learn. Here are a a few tips to help you make sure you get the facts straight, followed by a summary of some of the cyber slip-ups journalists have made.
China's Beijing Evening News copied an article from The Onion, not realizing it was satire, and published a rewritten version reporting that Congress was threatening to move out of Washington unless a fancy new Capitol is built.
· Web of Slip-Ups [Cyberjournalist]
Irony is the great purger and cleanser of life. Irony is a sort of spiritual massage, rubbing the souls of men. It may seem rough to some tender souls, but it does not sere or scar them. The strong arm of irony restores the circulation, and drives away anaemia.
—Randolph Bourne

So what do we do?

We move. Really. We move, and we do it now, while it's still possible. We don't wait until it's clear to every idiot that the time to move has come at that point, it will no longer be possible.
Believe me, I know what it's like to wake up in the morning feeling like a sensitive grain of wheat lookin' at a millstone.
—William Sloane Coffin

Film About Failed Book and Missing Author
You may have already heard about Mark Moskowitz's film ‘Stone Reader,’ in which he searches for (and ultimately finds) novelist Dow Mossman, author of the 1972 novel THE STONES OF SUMMER, who more or less disappeared after its publication. The Daily News reports, ‘Despite a rave review in The New York Times, ‘Stones’ didn't make a ripple in the publishing pond, and only a handful of people were aware of either the book or the writer. Mossman's story is a sad one, about the curse of genius, and you're left with the impression that there are more literary casualties out there like him.’
Old truths have been relearned; untruths have been unlearned. We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics. Out of the collapse of a prosperity whose builders boasted their practicality has come the conviction that in the long run economic morality pays.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, Second Inaugural Address, January 20, 1937

They [The Nazis] are in reality only miserable plagiarists who dress up old errors with new tinsel. It does not make any difference whether they flock to the banners of the social revolution, whether they are guided by a false conception of the world and of life, or whether they are possessed by the superstition of a race and blood cult.
—Pacelli 1935

Off the Cuff: Rich People and Their Level of Greed

I join critics of the obscene $33 million payment to Chris Cuffe the former Colonial First State chief. I suggest people look at some reports published in the name of NSW Auditor General reports and penned by fearless Tony Harris in 1990s. In the world of materialism, there is only one way to know for sure if a character is worth admiring, or if the character is worth detesting -- and that is their public record on greed. As we all know too well Greed is a global disease. The closer you are to the trough whether it is called legislature, or executive board or just simply some kind of Labour Council there are more chances for you to catch the obscene virus.

In the US Sprint Corp has just fired its two top executives for (I love this part) a conflict of interest. It seems these gentlemen felt perfectly entitled to pay zero taxes on more than $100 million in stock-option gains. Isn't that special? But that's not why they were fired.
They were fired because Sprint's accounting firm Ernst & Young set up these lucrative tax shelters. After the IRS disallowed the shelters, the execs were at war with their own company's auditors. Not nice.

· Greed Corp [SLTribune]
· Not nice example [Alternet]

Taxes A swag of tax avoidance schemes

The Tax Office is eyeing about 60 avoidance schemes in Vanuatu - many involving Australian small businesses looking to lower their tax - involving about $56 million.
· Tax Heaven [SMH]

Friday, February 14, 2003

History Witness to Jewish history

Centropa historians are compiling the largest online library of privately owned pre (and post)-Holocaust family photographs and oral histories ever assembled in Central and Eastern Europe.
· History [Centropa]

Keith Windschuttle: Why I'm a bad historian
Elections Electronic Voting Machines

The question is not whether electronic balloting is a good thing or a bad thing. It is what kinds of electronic balloting have built in safeguards and checks against electronic fraud, and what kinds don’t.
· eDemocracy? [Balkin]
Bioterrorism For Any Mystery Flues: Clues at the Bioterrorism Experts

If my hunch is right this website will register a record number of hits in 2003. Dozens of bioterrorism expert databases are listed on this website but by no means is this the end-all for sourcing information on the subject. It's a starting point.
· Vaccine [JournalistsToolBox]
Tax Street Lamps and Taxes

While Certain business barons continue to believe, the best tax is the tax that someone else pays, taxes will remain the single most important policy issue in the world this century.
The establishment press in Washington reminds one of the old joke about a drunk who was looking for his keys under a street lamp. He had dropped the keys elsewhere, but the light was better under the streetlight.

· Means and Ways [Americans for Tax reform]

Dear Greedy Out-of-State Corporation: We understand you want to come here and not pay your fair share to support our ever-expanding public sector. I'd like to warn you that if you come here you'll be blamed for the pathetic academic performance of our public schools, as well as this state's high rates of drug abuse, illegitimate birth ...
· Greedy, out-of-state corporations [Review Journal]
Literature Writers & Readers

The Spirit of Thriving Ideas and Democracy
The New Yorker has an in-depth profile of Vaclav Havel.

Like his emigre characters, the celebrated author seems caught in an odd time warp
Milan Kundera

Margaret Berry writes about the lessons she's learned from books.

Some stories, it's better to miss

MANY a journalist has fantasised about falling into the lap of a mighty story. Something momentous happens and there you just happen, serendipitously, to be. You know the kind of thing.
· Just be wary of what you think you want [The Australian]
Ironically, it is only by enforcing law and imposing laws upon itself that a democratic government can protect its own existence. Otherwise it will be destroyed, not according to the rules (which it has itself devalued), but by any available means. But before that happens, many people will be hurt in the process. And that process is happening now.
-Tamsin Clarke

A question in your nerves is lit / Yet you know there is no answer fit to satisfy, ensure you not to quit.
- Bob Dylan

No to war!
—Pope John Paul

See! the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?
Investigative Journalism - RIP?
The Evatt Foundation is holding a public seminar on The Death of Investigative Journalism and Who Killed It? Speakers include Phillip Knightley and Four Corners reporter Chris Masters.
Venue: Seymour Centre, Sydney
When: Saturday 15 February, 6pm to 7.30pm
More info can be found at · Evatt

Thursday, February 13, 2003

· Richard Face: I have always acted with integrity, honesty and propriety [SMH]
Life Mysteries Let's Not Overanalyze This

To be conscious in these days of Paxil, Prozac and Dr. Phil is to question one's own sanity on an almost weekly basis. Self-diagnosis is a tricky business, especially when it comes to the mind. Still, with all the memoirs of addiction and depression and the countless websites devoted to mental health, it's more tempting than ever to lie down on the couch and ask, Am I rich?
· Self-diagnosis is a fool's game, but that never stopped me [Time]

Is Valentine's Day harmless fun?

From Love lotteries to Water Loterries: Roses and the big p... Down Under
Fifteen months after Adelaide signed a contract turning over its waterworks to a private consortium controlled by Thames Water and Vivendi, the city was engulfed in a powerful sewage smell, which became known as ‘the big pong.’
Happy Valentine’s Day for Tomorrow & Conratulations Samizdata for yesterday

Voted No. 1 Group Blog by a fairly large group of the great and the good of the blogosphere (or the mad and the bad, depending on your p.o.v.) Nice. True. Stiff competition, too.

Jail tobacco bucks go up in smoke
Cigarette fund launched by Kerik vanishes
· Battlers thank big donors a million [The Age]

Internet More Smoke and Spam: For Better or for Worse, a Web site that often makes headlines by disclosing court records, has done it again — this time posting a 1993 deposition by a 13-year-old boy who said that singer Michael Jackson molested him. The revelation comes a decade after Jackson reportedly made a $20 million payoff to the boy and just days after the singer acknowledged that he shares his bedroom with kids.
· Fire [USA Today]

I know what your in-box looks like, and it isn't pretty. It looks like mine: a babble of come-ons and lies from hucksters and con artists. To find your real e-mail, you must wade through the torrent of fraud and obscenity known politely as ''unsolicited bulk e-mail'' and colloquially as spam. In a perverse tribute to the power of the online revolution, we are all suddenly getting the same mail.
· Web Spasms [NY Times]
Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them.
- Leo Tolstoy

I interupt this quote to alert you to the coming day of dangerous giving:
Is it absolutely necessary to devote a day to a conspiracy of love?

I would like to dedicate this cowboy cherrie to characters born and bred on Vodka or Bundaberg Rum.
· Cherries in the Snow[]
There is now an acceptance by many that perhaps love really does flow in the veins of the people who drink Vodka distilled from potato seeds.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

A Little Round-Up of some author interviews from over the weekend:

Ariana Huffington, on PIGS AT THE TROUGH

Bob Schieffer on THIS JUST IN


Louise Erdrich on her new novel (and her father)

William Gibson on PATTERN RECOGNITION, and writing in the present: I've been threatening to do this for the last three books. I think, in a way, the books themselves always felt to me more like alternate presents than viable futures. I don't buy it that I was writing about the future. This was a very challenging book for me. I had no idea how different it would be, as a result of changing a couple of what seemed like very basic parameters:
It's in the present ... (and) there's only a single narrative
viewpoint. The single narrative viewpoint is, by and large, in
real time. Cayce wakes up, and lives a chapter, and goes to sleep,
more or less. I've never done that before - I've always relied
on multiple points of view and a lot of sort of literary jump
cuts. I think I had to develop a sort of different narrative
musculature ...

Checking in with Mark Bowden
Law & Order Benching Congress

Are legislative powers being snatched away by federal judges?
· The Rising Power Of the Judiciary [Tom Paine]

Like Mother of Courts, like Daughters of Justice
· Top judges still white and male [Guardian (UK)]
· Colonial Justice: Men and Man regain High Court monopoly [Courier Mail Rupert’s paper]
Dorothy Boyd: I've had three lovers [read political leaders] in the past four years, and they all ran a distant second to a good book and a warm bath.
-Jerry Maguire

Politics Adoption of Digital Education

Senator Alston told 2UE radio talkback host John Laws yesterday that he would have remained ignorant of digital TV if he had refused Telstra's offer to lend him the set. Asked why the minister had not fully ascertained the benefits of digital TV before deciding his policy a few years ago, Senator Alston's spokesman said: He did have a good understanding of the technology before. He has a better understanding of it as a viewer now.
· The adoption of the technology [SMH]
· Richard Face: Post separation from politics [SMH]

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

New Media Why Information Will No Longer Be Free

The old broadcast model for online journalism, with free words and blinking banner ads, is heading the way of bankable stock options and the office foosball table.
· New Vision [CJR]

Poynter's 'MediaNews' Becomes 'Romenesko'
· I'll be sure to give him a hug when I see him [Editor & Publisher]
Life Mysteries Baby talk

Women really are better at baby talk than men. When talking in the coochy-coo baby-speak that parents often use with their infants, mothers' utterances are less ambiguous than fathers'. And though it is practically impossible to know what babies make of it all, this suggests that infants may find their mothers easier to understand.
· Dad's coochy coos leave baby guessing [New Scientist, BBC News]


Sleep is not just for resting, according to new research that suggests the brain uses this apparent down time to process information obtained during the day into more permanent memories
· Sleepping Pills May Ruin Memory [ Discovery]
War & Peace Support the troops? Why?

Imagine that you live in Nazi Germany, but you and your friends oppose the government, which possesses the mightiest military force in Europe, perhaps the world. Now Adolf Hitler rumbles ominously about war. You know that the likely first targets of attack — places like Poland and Luxumbourg — pose no immediate threat to your security. You oppose further aggression. But on Sept. 1, 1939, tinny radio broadcasts announce a German invasion of hapless Poland, whose piteous soldiers try to fight Panzer divisions with mounted cavalry.
· Bold Evans [Boulder News]
Plot is a literary convention. Story is a force of nature.
-Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Where there is no Vision People Will Perish

A Former NSW Parliamentary Speaker, Kevine Rozzoli writes: T'he four elements of good decision-making are data, information, knowledge and wisdom.'
· Planning Vision [SMH]
· Bulky Vision [SMH]
· Web Vision [IT Australian]

Monday, February 10, 2003

Internet Bloggers

Web logs, electronic diaries known in Internet shorthand as blogs, are the latest tool to monitor and comment on court news, swap stories and indulge in a little gossip.
The rooftops of our past have evolved into the internet domain names of our present. We find that Mishkoff's use of Taubman's mark in the domain name ‘’ is purely an exhibition of Free Speech, and the Lanham Act is not invoked. And although economic damage might be an intended effect of Mishkoff's expression, the First Amendment protects critical commentary when there is no confusion as to source, even when it involves the criticism of a business. Such use is not subject to scrutiny under the Lanham Act. In fact, Taubman concedes that Mishkoff is ‘free to shout 'Taubman Sucks!' from the rooftops. . . .’

· Bloody Minded [MediaMinded]
Literature It's ready, set, read in 'One Book, One Phila.'

One Book for Brisbane was introduced successfully last year by Jim Soorley. The official launch of "One Book, One Philadelphia," the project that aims to unite the entire region as one big book club is following the Australian lead.
Are you reading The Price of a Child by Lorene Cary?’ ask the 200,000 adhesive stickers that will be available at bookstores and libraries and convenience stores, along with 200,000 calendars of events involving the program.

· All together, now: Read [Philly]

The Case of the Reviewer Who Didn't Read

There is a controversy brewing over a New York Times book review. There were some factual errors about the book in question, and one columnist accused the reviewer of not reading the book at all. The specifics aren't too interesting, but the debate over the bigger picture is.
· Book Babes [Poynter via Bookslut]
· More On Book Review: Publishing industry [NY Metro]
Analysis of the Australian Election Study over 14 years shows a significant increase in the proportion of people opting for increased social spending over more tax cuts.

Legislature Lawmakers' perks raise eyebrows

Because of fiscal setbacks, retired teachers are bracing for a decade of flat pension pay and rising health costs. But many of the politicians who just left the Legislature will enjoy some of the most generous retirement benefits available anywhere in the United States -- collectible as early as age 50.
· Former Ones [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

Sunday, February 09, 2003

War & Peace Iraq and the Ghosts of Munich and Czechoslovakia

Nothing has haunted American foreign policy more than the image of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain waving the Munich Agreement in his hand and declaring that he had brought peace in our time. He hadn't, of course. Adolf Hitler, only emboldened by Western Europe's sellout of Czechoslovakia, continued his aggression, leading ultimately to World War II. The memory of this debacle has since clouded the worldview on the role of diplomacy in resolving international conflicts.
· 1938 [PopPolitics]

After Two Decades 1984 Repeats Itself

Political Quiz for 2003

People who live near chemical plants can no longer go online and find out which hazardous materials are stored near their home. Air travelers can no longer see Federal Aviation Administration records on airport-security violations. Journalists and elected officials no longer have access to a string of reports pinpointing weaknesses in the nation's antiterrorism defenses.
· 1984 [Mother Jones]