Sunday, February 29, 2004

Characters like Barrister show strangers like me how and where to explore the hills and valleys of Australian landscapes...
Such as Story of Mrs Robinson

Civil War I: The battle of Vinegar Hill
Muskets, drunken rebels and burning torches: next month marks the bicentenary of one of our bloodiest uprisings
· Colourful Hills
· Bubonic Rat at sixpence a head: when the rat population started to dwindle, canny slum dwellers started to breed rats...]
· See Also Animals harbour bubonic plague in every continent except Australia
· See Also Historical Sun lurches into view for a thorough man: Fraser

To get along you go along...Journalists increasingly find themselves facing invidious choice; become cipher for the spin of politicians (in power) and get easy access and the information that builds professional success, or remain outsiders and trade easy access for critical independence. That some journalists choose career success over independence is part of the legacy spin. That many resist is one reason why there is still some honour, however tarnished, in the grisly business of journalism.
Sexing it Up

Acosta-ing the Opposition with Contempt for Alternative Government
The Hon. MICHAEL COSTA: This censure motion is a joke, just like everything else that Opposition members do in this House...
Just in case you missed the key points
1. Costa has "contempt" for those on the other side of the benches
2. Opposition - lazy, incompotent (Sadly half true)
3. The Coalition members should donate their salaries to the press gallery
· Sexing it Down [ via Stephen Hill smells a whiff of the fall of PJK all over again?]

Roger Cameron of Marrickville wants to congratulate CityRail staff on their "proactive, safety-aware, customer-focused approach to carriage maintenance", demonstrated yesterday near Wynyard. Travelling north at about 9.45am he heard the guard laconically announce: Would the passengers travelling in the car with the open door please kick it . . . it will then close.
· Doors
The "killer" hospitals
· While Labor is apparently considering large-scale tax reform, John Quiggin says the public has other priorities on its mind ] [ courtesy of Czech out newish homesite of John Quiggin: the King of Blogging]
· See Also We must be due for a financial crisis any day now
· See Also Tax & Spend

The US Congress takes up another round of media bashing today, with more hearings on "indecency" on the airwaves...At the least, the spectacle makes for great theatre...

Make It Real (But What Is Real?)
The way we perceive what we call 'real' speech in drama is constantly changing: the mirror held up to nature is a lens whose focal length changes with time. In the theatre the search for documentary truth is the logical extension of an art form that seeks to present slices of life while always reminding the spectator (unlike film) that what they are watching is a simulation of life, a metaphor for it, not the real thing. The desire to make that experience of simulated reality more "real", more like life as it is rather than how it's supposed to be, is the motor of modern theatre.
· Speech impediments: With more realism in theatre, Richard Eyre wonders if the straight talking might extend to politicians

The adjective is the enemy of the noun, wrote Voltaire, though it agrees with it in number and gender. If you catch one, Mark Twain added, kick it

I get a kick out of you
For artists and poets love is as mysterious as a rainbow. Yeah, well, the guys in white smocks explained rainbows. So now to love
· Adjective

Take the leap today, girls
Scottish tradition has it that on February 29 a woman has the right to propose marriage to any man she likes - and if the would-be husband refuses, he's liable to a £100 fine.
· See Also Leap it

USA Today's study of 2003 releases found that movie critics' grades had a significant relationship to the money the movies grossed. In general, the better the reviews, the higher the box office. Even a half-star meant millions of dollars more for a movie's total take. How pretentious is that?
· You're a Chorible(sic) Man, Aren't You? One Star in Jozef’s closet: A literary houdini.

Why do guys like Anschutz, Wasserstein get into publishing?
For fun (and ideological reasons for some). Jack Shafer writes: They usually join the game because they're already bulging at the seams with profitable investments and are bored with their yachts, airplanes, mansions, sports franchises, race horses, and priceless works of art, and they view publications (correctly) as exciting diversions from their conventional holdings.
· How to attract the opposite sex: Hopelessly utopian. Desperately needed [link first seen at Tim Porter]

My mother called me Silver. I was born part precious metal, part pirate.
· See Also A rebel goes to water: It's all right for you; we are locked in situations X, Y and Z . . . a great feeling of powerlessness

Oprah: UK
Richard & Judy's book club

Saturday, February 28, 2004

A contempt for the aboriginal culture

Bulldogs: two girls to every guy in Coffs
Political parties, academia and gangs in general attract people who are finding it difficult to be understood, they are involved in some sort of initiation ceremony and exhibit anti-social behaviour. "They say 'up you' to the rest of the world, they believe the rules don't apply to them and taken to extreme, sexual assault by many of a group is showing gang mentality."
One barman claims a young footballer, thrown out of the hotel, said: "Don't you know who I am?"
Most footballers don't say that. Big-headedness is a crime in rugby league. The code's Darwinian winnowing forbids it. But "chop ups", as group sex with a willing woman is known among players, is not.

· Then, under a fierce sun, they performed every reality show
· See Also What dogs do
· See Also What Woolves do
· Cavalier style led to water chief's fall

I'm horrified to discover there is spying going on in our spy services... If you aren't paranoid, you aren't paying attention

Democracies the most eager to cast stones and bugs
It is a sunniest Saturday and that splendid Sydney Morning Herald carries a story based on the new book by former Air Force Secretary Thomas Reed, describing some of the audacious efforts President Reagan authorized to sabotage the economy of the Soviet Union: Reagan approved plan to sabotage Soviets. On the other hand, National Review Online yesterday posted Ion Mihai Pacepa's account of one set of KGB "active measures" to sabotage American foreign policy that is relevant to the current presidential campaign: Kerry's Soviet rhetoric.
· CIA [link first seen at KGB ]
· See Also Weapons inspectors' phones 'bugged'
· See Also Blix, Butler bugged: Russell Balding

Old Customs Die Hard
Barbara Walters of 60 Minutes (USA) did a story on gender roles in Kabul several years before the Afghan conflict. She noted that women customarily walked about 5 paces behind their husbands.
She returned to Kabul recently and observed that women still walk behind their husbands, but now seem to walk even further back and are now happy with the old custom.
Ms. Walters approached one of the Afghani women and asked. "But why do you now seem happy with the old custom that you used to try and change?"
"Land mines," said the woman.

According to the Corriere della Sera, Silvio Berlusconi, the most entertaining European politician since mad king Ludwig..
· See Also Welcome to Europe! Have Fun! Drive Fast!
[link first seen at Geoff Goodfellow ]

A reputation, it is said, is one of a person's most precious assets... Some reputations (animals) are more equal than others

The World's Richest Families
I didn't need blog to build an empire. My rise to the top of the publishing ranks has mouths flapping...
· Mouth of Ironies [ courtesy of Fire-breathing survivor ]
· Larry Page and Sergey Brin are worth $1bn each: Google Founders
· See Also is a 'best-of-breed-banking' service

Law grinds the poor, and rich men rule the law.
-- Oliver Goldsmith

Rich the most eager to grab welfare
Ronald Reagan memorably complained about welfare queens, but he never told us that the biggest welfare queens are the already wealthy. Their lobbyists fawn over politicians, giving them little bits of money -- campaign contributions, plane trips, dinners, golf outings -- in exchange for huge chunks of taxpayers’ money. Millionaires who own your favorite sports teams get subsidies, as do millionaire farmers, corporations, and well-connected plutocrats of every variety. Even successful, wealthy TV journalists.
That’s right, I got some of your money too.

· Confessions of a Welfare Queen

The benefits of a world economy are bypassing those who most need them, writes Charlotte Denny.
· Winners and losers of globalisation

Definitions are boundaries, and boundaries are anathema to Webloggers. Moreover, the best Weblogs are always shifting and evolving, always on their way to being something else.
- Julia Keller of the Chicago Tribune

Blogging For Fun
· turns your blog into a bound book ]
· Big and Bad: Cars have to meet stringent fuel-efficiency regulations. Trucks don't
· Everyone loves internet quizzes. But so few of them offer the satisfaction of giving the quiz-taker a truly unique identity: BookQuiz
· Food Quiz

Friday, February 27, 2004

Reservist Captains that tend to have the subtlety of smashing a sledgehammer through a plate-glass window

Who Controls the City and Police is Always the King or Queen in Sydney
In politics as in life, that which goes around comes around. Labor smugly thought it had neatly stitched up the lord mayoral robes for its candidate, Michael Lee, when it thrust together the City of Sydney and South Sydney councils three weeks ago. The forced amalgamation brought Labor strongholds into the city boundaries and seemed to confirm the shoo-in status of Mr Lee, whose odds had been shortened last month by the withdrawal of his main rival, the former lord mayor, Lucy Turnbull.
That seemed to be that - until Clover Moore decided to gatecrash the party.

· Moore, Moore [link first seen at No sheilas here, mate?
Independent tongue revives new passions
· See Also Sydney City Council files
· See Also Pillar of Honesty Speaks Out: If observers of the Sandpit have memories of pipesmoking Ted Mack, I have more than most...
· Exposed to the vapour (Mac Truck)

In the 17th century MPs quoted the Bible, in the 18th and 19th centuries the classics, in the 20th century nothing...

Cross your fingers and hope for the best Dictatorship
It's funny what the Hansard parliamentary reporters hear and what they miss. At a committee hearing last week, the Greens MP Ian Cohen was grilling the head of Sydney Water, Greg Robinson, about sewerage outfalls.
"I have been down to the outfalls . . . faeces the size of a man could get through the filtration processors at Malabar and I went down there with my surfboard one day," Cohen said sternly.
Other people in the room then heard One Nation MP David Oldfield say to Cohen: "Are you saying you are a piece of faeces the size of a man?", and the groans that followed. Which is odd, because the Hansard reporters record only Oldfield's more sensible comments about depth and distance from shore and such. Censorship on the grounds of good taste perhaps?

· Rough mouth: Fine line Censorship
· Parliament’s back: Sage PIC Commissioner

The local critic didn't like the piece, which poses the question: does one write for the public, or for the critics? Three thousand people applaud enthusiastically and one journalist makes uncharitable remarks. Which is more important? And how do critics feel able to make a definite judgment after one hearing? As a composer, I would never presume to do such a thing. When my pupils brought their music to me I always made them play it twice, something I learned from Honegger. There is too much of the unexpected in a first hearing; after a second hearing things begin to fall into place.
Miklós Rózsa, Double Life

No degrees of separation: A magnet for Survival
The American publishing business today is in a tremendous state of confusion between its two classic functions: the higher-minded and more vocally trumpeted mission civilisatrice to instruct and edify and uplift the reading public and the less loudly advertised but, in the nature of things, more consistently compelling mission commerciale to separate the consumer from his cash. Happy the publisher (and happy the author) who can manage to make a single book fulfill both functions! The real art of publishing consists not in reconciling what are, in a capitalist system, quite simply irreconcilable imperatives but in orchestrating the built-in tensions in a harmonious fashion. However, the two-way road in publishing from the bottom line to Mount Olympus travels right across a fault line, and that is where the serious editor lives and plies his trade.

· Plies of trade [ courtesy of Saloon]
· See Also A Great Revision Descends to Self-parody
· See Also Cold Phwoar 2004 AD

A Publishing Best-seller Miracle Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? sold 11.3 million copies in 2003, making it one of the biggest best-sellers of all time

The Plug Fest: literary episode of Scooby Doo
Last week it was revealed how easy it is for authors to praise their own books anonymously in online reviews
· Price we pay for the freedom of expression which the internet offers us [link first seen at Quest for the fool's gold of turnover ]

Pregnant Giannas begging taxi drivers to floor it to the hospital, take note - if the cabbies are recent immigrants, chances are they are also doctors...

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Czech this world exclusive Aussie Goannas out...

A small country town, Australia:
After a very long day, Gianna gave birth to a gorgeous baby boy late last night, assisted by grandmama. Baby's vital stats are:
-ten little fingers: check
-ten little toes: check
-baby blue eyes: check
-on a scale to 1 to 10 of gorgeousness - 10000000000000000000000000
weight: 0.003360 tonnes
length: 0.00053 kilometres
The baby is a little brother for Fuzzle and Chi Chi.
Mother and baby are happy and healthy.

· This message by Auntie: Blogson

Fifty years ago, an unpublished 28-year-old American poet came into the United States at Mexicali dreaming of literary glory. His name was Allen Ginsberg

Why Certain Polliticians Should Sue the Truth...
Washington is attempting to give us a 14-mile triple fence along San Diego's border as its solution to the problem of illegal immigration from Mexico.
· A Fence Won't Stem the Tide of Immigration... [ via Wall ]
If British Prime Minister Tony Blair is President Bush's poodle, then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is his cocker spaniel

Any Aussie Analogies: The Post is often more scrappy with surprising exclusives, but its coverage can be exhausting rather than exhaustive. The Times is still best for its ability to frame issues and candidates with smart coverage and fine writing...(read on the train, but source lost)

Double DragonFly
Mangan's Newsroom Blogging Vision
PJNet Today (Public Journalism Network) has a great interview with Tom Mangan, proprietor of the Prints the Chaff weblog and a features copy editor at the San Jose Mercury News. Mangan makes the case for blogging by news organizations, and for editing of news blogs. There's some good stuff in this interview.
The part that had me nodding my head is when Mangan points out the importance of a newsroom establishing a blog immediately when a major local story breaks. He says:
If we have a blog up and running within minutes of a big story breaking, we cut Google and the bloggers out of the equation. If we make it interactive, we make our site the go-to location for breaking news. We will open ourselves up to the problem of people entering comments that later prove untrue, but readers will learn to distinguish between the feedback -- half of which is nonsense -- and the work of the pros, which, hopefully, will have a much smaller nonsense factor. In other words, combine the best of blogging with the best practices of the professional news organization.

Bloggers Toys Grow Up to Be News Tools: Nowhere to hide B:=)
How many bloggers would like to use a helicopter to take a picture of Bohemian Streets they are reporting on? My latest royalty cheque hit the bank $1.4M only to fund my latest venture introducing a consumer level Predator Spy Plane with wireless video broadcast.

· [ courtesy of A group weblog by the sharpest minds in online media/journalism/publishing]
· Visions of the Virgin: Our Latest Air War

Everybody loves Gianna and her double... Virtual separation appears to be less than three degrees!

What A Wonderful World of Communal Blogging & Librarianship :=)
Partially overdue blogger just ducking out to hospital first thing this morning to see if they can't somehow persuade this baby make an appearance, as he's now a week overdue....
· Double Fines: Creative Revenue Raising Overdue Giannas
· See Also Blogs by women
· See Also Posing as a mother returning to work from maternity leave
· See Also Blogs: Double Dragon
· Blogging left

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

History Lesions: How Much Better Off We Would All Be Today If Only We Remembered More... Permission to drown, please

A Small Victory: The Gentle Art of Making Political & Managerial Enemies
And so here we are, at the crossroads of another day, speechless and troubled by what is before us, so anxious to engage in a conversation with what ought to be, and yet so unaware of or indifferent to a past waiting to explain itself, to be heard, to be remembered.
· Another (Better) World is Possible
· Common History
· For 'Gutter Politics,' Look to the Bush Camp
· Soros: Suppose We Had a Real Democracy
· Soros: A Hundred Little Hitlers

It was tragic to hear news from Europe on 13 January the news that my non smoking godmother, Sidka Kissova, passed away, but words cannot describe the feelings when my family learned that her son, my cousin, Stefan Kiss lost his wife on 13 February...

Mr Bacon
I have no choice but to inform the people of Tasmania that I was diagnosed and perhaps - I'm not superstitious, but some might feel it's ironic - on Friday, 13 February, 2004, with lung cancer and that the condition is inoperable.
· Cool as can be, until deadly reality behind the myths is revealed

There are some journalists who have not adjusted to pop journalism. They have not adjusted to soundbite, ratings journalism. Jeff is of that tradition. And so we thank him for his service...
A little solidarity on behalf of the truth, please. My favorite. It’s time for journalists to get mad, to unify against restrictions on the press and the flow of public information, and to openly resist – with words and actions – those who would redefine the First Amendment for their personal or political interests.

Going after Key Political Stories ...
If journalists demonstrated the kind of tenacity in going after key political stories that they did during that brief shining moment, well, America will have an election worthy of the world's oldest democracy, and reporters and editors alike will be able to speak proudly of the charge given to them by its oldest written constitution: to protect and defend the public's right to know its leaders -- and to choose them wisely
· Facts Fashions [ via Why Journalists Should Blog]
· Ana Menendez has the kind of face and coloring that allow her to slip easily into a number of cultures
· See Also Telegraph editor admits morale problem

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Bravish Bloggers Note: Four Corners invites considered contributions on issues of national and international interest. A few original articles of no more than 1,000 words will be selected to be posted on our website. Please email us at specifying that your letter is a piece for the website and including your full name and contact details. Four Corners reserves the right to edit letters.

Strike Force Westbank
He was carrying an iron bar... He hit me from behind and pushed me into... a metal door frame.
Fuelled by a cocktail of drugs, armed robberies are growing more violent and unpredictable.
The robbers carry guns, knives, sledgehammers, iron bars or baseball bats. Wired on drugs and adrenaline, they storm into the bank, screaming and swearing at terrified staff and customers.

· In the Firing Line
· Four men, including three brothers, were arrested today in a series of raids across Sydney targeting drugs and firearms.

With trains back to normal yesterday, the rail network ran, on the whole, only 15 minutes late in the morning, not that that was much consolation to the 7500 commuters stranded by a ferry workers' snap strike.

Sydney Salted with Solidarity
All Sydney Ferries services were cancelled this morning after union members walked off the job, calling for an end to sackings and what they say is harassment and intimidation of workers.
· Ferries
· See Also Fraud and bad Faith
· See Also Doctors and Bad Health
· Not Quite Extra News? or News Extra? Dunno... [ via Road To...]
· The Sunday Express & Jeni Cooper known for their sometimes colourful scoops

The story was thoroughly English. There was a little fox-hunting and a little tuft-hunting, some Christian virtue and some Christian cant. There was no heroism and no villainy. There was much Church, but more love-making. And it was downright honest love,—in which there was no pretence on the part of the lady that she was too ethereal to be fond of a man, no half-and-half inclination on the part of the man to pay a certain price and no more for a pretty toy. Each of them longed for the other, and they were not ashamed to say so. Consequently they in England who were living, or had lived, the same sort of life, liked Framley Parsonage.
Anthony Trollope, An Autobiography

Everyone Wants a Piece of Kerry
It seems that everyone wants a piece of American Democratic Party presidential front-runner John F. Kerry these days.
And now that the Massachusetts senator has swept almost every primary contest so far and emerged as a likely Democratic Party presidential nominee, a tug of war over who can claim rights to Kerry's heritage has spurred debate in the Czech Republic.
In the small, poverty-stricken town of Horni Benesov in north Moravia, residents have watched with interest as Kerry has continued to dominate the dwindling pack of candidates.
Their interest stems from the tracing of Kerry's roots back to the once-prosperous mining town. It was in Horni Benesov that his Jewish grandfather, Fritz Kohn, worked as a brewer before emigrating to America, converting to Catholicism and changing his name at the beginning of the last century, according to a genealogical study carried out last year by the Boston Globe.

· Sudetens lay claim to Kerry ancestry [ courtesy of Prague Post]
Madeleine Albright (Mrs. Fulbright): the Iron Czech

A look at Czech history reveals why some Czechs are so unwilling to accept fiscal change

Status of International Tax MOU: Antipodian Bohemian
And On the Second day of February 2004 AD the most recent Memorundum of Understanding between Australia and the Czech Republic was signed by the Tax Commissioner Michael Carmody and Mr Robert Szurman, Director General, Central Financial and Tax Directorate, Ministry of Finance (Ministerstvo Vnitra?) for the Czech Republic.
· Trust
· Why People Evade Taxes in the Czech and Slovak Republics: A Tale of Twins [link first seen at Major tax evaders targeted ]
· See Also 1995: MOU
· Czech Republic Profile - For Australian exporters - Austrade
· A tale about a man strapped for cash who faces the perils of debt collectors
The other major contributor to the comic was Michael Nugent, a peace campaigner and otherwise life-long Bohemians FC fan from ORiordan Dublin...
· See Also Two wits to woo: There's hope only as long as we can laugh at our riches
· Death: Feel gooders aren't do gooders

Everybody's had a few
Now they're talking about who knows who...
My brother knows where the best bars are
Let's see how these blues'll do
in the town where the good times stay
Tu le ton temps that's all we say
We used to dance the night away
Me and my sister me and my brother
We used to walk down by the river
A song where everything's still the same

A Small Victory: The King
If I had tried to write with those things in mind, I believe I would have sold my birthright for a plot of message, as the old pun has it. Either way, Tabby and I would still be living in a trailer or an equivalent, a boat. My wife knows the importance of this award isn’t the recognition of being a great writer or even a good writer but the recognition of being an honest writer.
Frank Norris, the author of McTeague, said something like this: What should I care if they, i.e., the critics, single me out for sneers and laughter? I never truckled, I never lied. I told the truth.
And that’s always been the bottom line for me. The story and the people in it may be make believe but I need to ask myself over and over if I’ve told the truth about the way real people would behave in a similar situation.
If I happen to be the writer of such a death bed scene, I’d choose “Son of a bitch” over “Marry her, Jake” every time. We understand that fiction is a lie to begin with. To ignore the truth inside the lie is to sin against the craft, in general, and one’s own work in particular.
But the storyteller cannot afford to forget and must always be ready to hold himself or herself to account. He or she needs to remember that the truth lends verisimilitude to the lies that surround it. If you tell your reader:
Sometimes chickens will pick out the weakest one in the flock and peck it to death.
The people who speak out, speak out because they are passionate about the book, about the word, about the page and, in that sense, we’re all brothers and sisters. Give yourself a hand.
· Agents of Literature
· Making Light

In the Grub Street of the twenty-first century, books are traded on less and less material, and almost never on complete manuscripts. First novels are sold on sample chapters; translations snapped up on hearsay (...) The synopsis has become the curse of the business in so many other ways. You don't have to be Roland Barthes to see that such puffery has little, or nothing, to do with real writing.
· See Also Robert McCrum: The curse of the synopsis

Publishing turns page with print on demand
A burgeoning number of authors are putting out books on their own as digital technology improves and small press runs become less expensive
This Chicago Tribune article about self-publishing covers most of the traditional bases. The interesting part comes towards the end; it's one of a number of stories picking up on the POD product line from Florida's InstaBook Corp. They are the first to provide one-at-a-time book manufacturing and binding through machines that are about the size of a photocopier. The company has targeted libraries, retailers, and government markets. Studies show that most book purchases are made on a whim said publishing analyst Thad McLeroy:

· People like to thumb through books they find interesting (Rego Required) [ No Rego here Dual Loyalty: InstaBook's Smaller POD Solution]

Monday, February 23, 2004

First it was the Aussie Molly...Now artists from all over the world are being refused entry to the US on security grounds

Land of the brave and the free
No one, it seems, is exempt. Last week, at the Grammy awards, the Cuban guitarist Ibrahim Ferrer was supposed to have received an award - but he couldn't get into the country. The 77-year-old was cited as a security risk. A Peking Opera company had to cancel an 18-city tour because the American consulate in China claimed not all of the musicians could adequately prove that they intended to return home after the tour ended. The South African anti-apartheid leader and singer Vusi Mahlasela had to cancel a good chunk of a US tour because his visa took months to get approved, as did the Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucia.
· Soviet Granny Tactics [ courtesy of Technorati ]
In the New Economics: Fast-Food Factories? Bush administration troubled they are losing too many manufacturing jobs? Just call flipping burgers at McD's a manufacturing job. Seriously. Are we at war with Oceana yet?
· Truth is the Parody

Soldier for the Truth: Exposing Bush’s Talking-Points War... Iraq Hawks Put WMD Cart Before Horse...
[SEE Also Re-dubbed with the Orwellian name of the Office of Special Plans ]

Give me back the Berlin Wall
give me Stalin and St. Paul
I've seen the future, brother:
it is murder.
Leonard Cohen, The Future, 1992

Empires and the Modern Premiers
The great scandal of Lenin was that he taught realpolitik to the lower classes and backward peoples. If the working class was ever to become a ruling class it had better start thinking like one, and for a ruling class there are no rules. There is only the struggle to get and keep power. This is not to say that the Leninists and the imperialists are without moral feelings. Individually they are for the most part perfectly normal. Their compassion for their enemies' victims is absolutely genuine. So is their outrage at their enemies' moral failings and blind spots. In the 1980s I found it very difficult to regard supporters of the Chinese Communists' consistently anti-Soviet international policies as anything but scoundrels and scabs; but they were merely applying the same criteria as I was, to a different analysis of the world; and their indignation at my callous calculations and selective sympathies was just as real. I had the same sort of arguments with Trotskyists who supported the muj.
'How can you ...?' 'How can you ...?'
Morality has very little to do with choosing sides. It can tell us that a given act is dreadful, but it can't tell us whether to say, 'This is dreadful, therefore ...' or 'This is dreadful, but ...' We still often believe that we oppose our enemies because of their crimes, and support our allies despite their crimes. I wouldn't be surprised if Margaret Thatcher was quite sincere in condemning ZAPU as a terrorist organization because it shot down a civilian airliner, and in supporting one of the mujahedin factions, despite the fact that it had deliberately blown up a civilian airliner. Sometimes our moral justifications can blunt our moral sense. Think of the incendiary bombings of Germany and Japan. Suppose they were a military necessity. If so, better to accept that what 'our side' is doing is wrong and do it anyway than to persuade ourselves it is right because it is in a just cause.

· How can you ...? How can you ...?

And Now a Word from...MEdia Dragon!:
The greatest fear for people is the oldest fear of humanity: fear of the technological monsters we can create ...

How To Network With Blogger
In 1973 a guy named Mark Granovetter wrote an article called The Strength of Weak Ties. The thing was lousy with brilliance and included the idea that you're more likely to get a job through a friend of a friend than a close friend. I think he even had pie charts backing him up. Very scientific, but it's not the seventies any more.
· The Strength of Weak Ties [Okay, kickin' it up a notch:
How To Date and Blog: a potential minefield of disaster]
The Columbia Journalism Review has a useful website for presidential campaign media junkies - those interested in how the media reports the media reporting the campaign - accessible at
Nobody's immune from the dreaded blog (Must Pay)
Democracy and the ‘Information Age’

Google has bolstered their efforts to develop the beta feature Google Print into a major repository of online book text with the hiring of Tom Turvey, who started this week.
In his three years as vp of business development at ebrary, Turvey helped spearhead the company's content relationships with publishers. Prior to that, he was director of e-books at
In their standard shy fashion, Google has not responded to queries about Turvey's hiring and his job title and responsibilities.
Bezos Lightened Amazon Stake
An SEC filing from last Friday indicated that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos reduced his stake in the company from 28 percent to 26 percent in 2003, shedding approximately 4 million shares.

Coolest Thing in a Long Time
Paul Auster was 15 years old when he found the book that made him decide to become a writer:
I was a sophomore in high school when I read Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. And I was so overwhelmed by the book, I said to myself:
If this is what a novel can be -- then I want to do it, too.

· Paul Auster: From Poetry to Novels With a Side Trip Out to Sea
· Coldest Thing in a Long Time

Sunday, February 22, 2004

People ask -- Jozef, the world is going to hell in a handbasket. What can we do about it?
We say -- read one book, see one movie.
Unfortunately, the movie and the book are available now only in
But wait -- before you head north of the border -- they will be available here in a month or so.
And believe us, it is worth the wait. (Full disclosure -- our work -- the Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the 1990s -- is featured in the movie.)
· See Also The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power

Ministerial spinners have Sydney and world mesmerised right now... (see also The Sun Herald 22 February 2004 AD offline only (My Career Section p 17:)
Walt Secord spins in a different stadium: the bear pit of the NSW Government, as director of communication for Premier Bob Carr.
Secord has been taking care of Carrs media image for nine years (the average career span for a press secretary is 18 months) and has at various times been described by the media as fat talking Canadian with a penchant for tabloid style headlines, a consummate political dirt digger and a larger than life old style spinner....

You're Either Spinning With Me Or Against Me: Soviet style Bullet Proofing
The force's most senior public servant has been replaced and the futures of several others are in limbo after a $65 million hole appeared in the police force books. The revelation, coming as the Government is still dealing with the political fallout from the train chaos and the hospital crisis, is bound to embarrass the Carr Government
The daughter of former prime minister Gough Whitlam has resigned from the NSW Parole Board, complaining of political interference from the Carr Government.
· Political Interference

Redfern Riot
As the far north-west NSW town of Walgett gears up for the funeral of Thomas "TJ" Hickey in predicted 40-degree-plus heat, Aboriginal leaders are furious about the round of arrests of black youths which will follow.
Busloads of TJ's relatives and friends, the international media and police reinforcements will converge on the town on Tuesday.

· Black fears as town prepares for funeral [ See Also No Go Zone: Police meet in secret to ban Block patrols]
· Roseburry Riot
· Road Rage

There are basically two kinds of censorship, but most people only notice the harmless kind that involves trying to hide naughty words or pictures once they’re already out there in plain sight. This kind of censorship is what brought down the Soviets. It just doesn’t work, and ain’t worth the trouble of trying. It just ends up as a joke.[...]
The other sort of censorship is harder to spot and much more cruel...

· Poet Hugh MacDiarmid famously and foolishly said he would kill a million men for one glorious lyric [link first seen at Ken McLeod]

I got a phone call with the four names and the policeman who called me made sure that I took them down just as he said. They wanted us to catch and kill our own. They wanted us to shoot 'em dead do their work for them. But I'm sorry it's not going to happen.

Sunday continues its inside look at the civil war raging in Melbourne's ganglands ... and the 22 killings that have changed the landscape of the city's underworld in the past five years. And former NSW rogue detective, Roger Rogerson, talks about the fate of Melbourne hit man Christopher Dale Flannery, who came to Sydney and disappeared after inspiring fear and panic in the city's underworld ...
· Mates, Enemies: Who Knows?

Arafat's billions

Yasser Arafat diverted nearly $1 billion in public funds to insure his political survival, but a lot more is still unaccounted for. Jim Prince and a team of American accountants are searching Arafat's books. Given what they've already uncovered, Arafat may be rethinking his decision to allow his Finance Ministry to hire the anti-corruption team.
· Political Survival
· Businessmen handed on money illicitly siphoned from UN deals to pressure groups run by George Galloway and Tam Dalyell ]

The Passion of the Pain
Even before the curtain goes up, Gibson's film has triggered an international furore.
· Last half day [ See Also Mel Gibson Tackles Addiction ]

The really simple future of the web
E-mails coming out of your ears? No time to stop and read your favourite websites? Is the luxury of being able to "surf the web" just a distant memory?
An old idea, which could have ended up on the rubbish tip, might be just what is needed to help solve your problems.

· Tense, nervous headache? Try a new way to surf
· Linking NYTimes
[ via We Wanted Answers, And Google Really Clicked ]
· Whistleblowers warned: Soldiers battling faulty kit gagged [link first seen at .com ]

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Classified information: Movers & Sheiks
Those privy to what really went on behind closed doors: from left, Ziggy Switkowski, Bob Mansfield, Sam Chisholm, John Fletcher, John Howard and David Gonski.
· Gonski

It is written
Capitalising on Mark Latham's flavour-of-the month status, this week Allen & Unwin signed journo Bernie Lagan to catch the essence of the man. But already weeks ahead of Lagan on the Latham trail is Tele columnist Michael Duffy, who's doing his Latham tome for Random House.
Then there's the spate of political minders churning out works on their former leaders. Alison Rogers, who was press secretary to Democrats taskmistress Natasha Stott Despoja, has a book coming out on her boss's brief time at the top.
Another political blonde whose ambitions were thwarted is former state Liberal leader Kerry Chikarovski. Chika is polishing her life story with the aid of former chief of staff Luis M. Garcia.
Since Chika's demise - she was rolled by Young Broggers in early 2002 - Garcia, a former Herald political correspondent, has joined "the dark side" going to work for corporate PR outfit Cannings, where he was made a partner earlier this year.
Entitled Chika: Lessons from Politics, the book by the dynamic duo is due out in September.
Not so sure of a release date is the autobiography of former NRMA chieftain Nick Whitlam, entitled Still Standing, which unfortunately is still standing in the shelf.

· Someone wished the cabbages turned into literary masterpieces? [See Also Some of those answers must have shaken Jones]

The physical infrastructure of many Australian cities is in crisis.
It is almost making the former Soviet Union look like well oiled machine... Hypocrisy is a necessary tool for public servants, but in current infrastucture crisis some seem to be making a moral virtue of it.

Gear Boxes
Worn-out gearbox ball bearings on many of CityRail's Tangara trains could be putting passengers at risk of a catastrophic derailment.
· Worn gears threaten derailment
· Hospital warnings not ignored

Redfern, the crucible of black-white relations
Thomas "TJ" Hickey, the diminutive Redfern 17-year-old who became world famous this week when his death caused a riot, shared the tastes of many Australian youths.
· It takes a riot to care about these kids
· Memorial Marches
· Disregarded and dispossessed

Party: You're invited: Sydney Mardi Gras

Should the political parties and police be compiling data about you?
Some journalists may dream about asking friends and relatives to send in glowing letters to the newspaper where they work, praising their efforts ("Give that amazingly talented journalist a raise"). They might imagine writing those letters themselves. But anyone who knows how most "Letters to the Editor" columns work wouldn't risk it.
· Weeding out phony praise
· Tentacles everywhere: whether we like it or not
· It's not the internet or pay TV but datacasting provides yet another way to get information
[ A bit of Rich Iam Rich used to mean wealth, status and power. Now they're a dime a dozen
· Bus tycoon siphoned millions: King Saga

The NSA told GCHQ that the particular targets of an eavesdropping "surge" were the delegates from Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria, Guinea and Pakistan - the six crucial "swing votes" on the security council.

Gun of Dirty Tricks
The Katherine Gun case should be a BIG story in the U.S. If for no other reason than that it appears to be getting quite a bit of play in China.
· China was presumably a target of U.S. spy plans because Gun was fluent in Chinese

Gannett NJ papers win '04 Ring Award for Profiting series
Gannett New Jersey newspapers have won the 2004 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting for their Profiting from Public Service series. Two other projects -- the Toledo Blade's Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths" and the Wall Street Journal's "The American Hospital System" -- were Ring Award finalists.
· The top winner receives $35,000.
· It's really hard for me to talk about the First Amendment without getting extremely emotional
· Looking down throat of media columns: [Sex] has as much of a place on the opinion page as a column about spying and Bob ...]
· Nobody covered Sex like Veronica

Use the log-in freethepresses and password freethepresses on many news sites that require registration. For those sites that require an e-mail address instead of just a user name, use
· A Trick to Avoid News Website Registration

Paradox (not the person) sucks, so does paradise.
I am proud of some of things I've done since I began blogging -- the Tangled Web collection of quotes being one of them. I thought it was a nice real-world example of something the film Galadriel told the movie Frodo in The Fellowship of the Ring: Even the smallest person can change the course of the future. But I'm glad I'm not the one who had to decide whether it was better or worse than the other outstanding progressive posts nominated this year -- much less all the excellent posts that didn't get the nominations they deserved, because they fell outside the charmed circle of the popular blogs.
· Winners Losers: Everyone's a Winner
· Many Freds get nervous when their staffers start blogging [ See Also Teen Google's his name, learns he was abducted 14 years ago]
· Sourcing hard stats, not search-engine evidence, to bolster their stories
· At the bottom are bloody knives and rosary beads, wedding rings and baseball cards. At the top are "meaning" words like 'freedom' and 'literacy.' Beware of the middle, where bureaucracy and public policy live. There teachers are refered to as "instructional units.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Stop the developers, or our beauty will be lost
Sydney's harbour and many iconic sites are up for grabs because of the senseless pursuit of a fast buck, writes Paul Keating.
· Unstoppable fast buck
· Why do we live in a town where the smartest have no power and the stupidest run everything?
· Antiquated" grants system THE RUNAWAY CITY

· Trust

Block: Redfern
The 14-year-old girl, April, was arrested and charged by police yesterday after she abused a group of officers and accused them of murdering TJ, whose death sparked a nine-hour riot in the Block area of Redfern on Sunday night.
· TJ [See Hurstville Woman]

Confessions of a Media Maverick: Exposing Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists
Stossel began by recounting his evolution from an Emmy-award-winning consumer-affairs reporter to America's best-known skeptic of government regulation. What seems strange to him in hindsight, he explained, is not that he came to have more confidence in the market's protection of consumers than in consumer protection laws, but that this development took as long as it did:
I'd go further and say that you really don't need the government to even be the information agency, because as we should have learned from the fall of the Soviet Union, government agencies don't do things well. And if you simply eliminated the FDA, the private groups that government has crowded out would step in and do the job better, quicker, cheaper. . . . It's a fatal conceit to predict how the market will work, but maybe Underwriters Laboratories would do it or Consumer Reports. But I bet they'd do it better than the government.

· Patrick Henry didn't say, Give me absolute safety or give me death... It's supposed to be about freedom [
· U.S. Iraq Policy Uncovered, by Ivan Eland
· Oval Office Club
· No More Great Presidents
· Nova Nuclear Danger
· For the President's Eyes Only
Reading As Key to Freedom?
Among those steady readers were at least a couple of Sing Sing inmates. USA Today reports, Last week, New York police arrested seven people, including two inmates and a guard, at Sing Sing state prison and accused them of planning an elaborate escape. What makes this a literary story is that prosecutors say the plot involved assigned reading: Newjack, Ted Conover's acclaimed book about life as a correctional officer at Sing Sing. Conover says he had indeed come up with a pretty good plan" for how to escape the prison while working there, "But I didn't put it in the book.
· Library Blogs: Useful or Useless? [ via Library Bloggers]

Copyright raids fail to rattle net boss
Business as usual' . . . Nikki Hemming says the raid on her company smacks of desperation.
She drives a silver Porsche Boxster, lives in a luxury $1 million home in exclusive Castle Cove and runs her own company.
When Nikki Hemming, 36, sweeps into the underground car park of her Cremorne office she looks every inch the power-dressed successful businesswoman.

· Wazza: Kazza

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Nothing is so beautiful and wonderful, nothing is so continually fresh and surprising, so full of sweet and perpetual ecstasy, as the good. No desert is so dreary, monotonous, and boring as evil. This is the truth about authentic good and evil. With fictional good and evil it is the other way around. Fictional good is boring and flat, while fictional evil is varied and intriguing, attractive, profound, full of charm.
Simone Weil

Powerhouse Aussie Lit
Time was that Australian literature was considered lesser than the Englis variety. But in the last 50 years, Australian literature has become a force to be reckoned with; now it is the motherland's turn to feel insecure. Australian novelists are outwriting us, they tweak the Booker prize out of our hands (Peter Carey has won it twice, Thomas Keneally once, Tim Winton has been shortlisted twice and 2003's winner, DBC Pierre, is Australian by birth). And there is a flotilla of younger Antipodean writers coming on stream.
· Double Prospect 02/04 [ courtesy of Double Dragon]

Tim Dunlop blogs about Ordinary and extraordinary political voices...

Polls and Politics: Monopoly of the Elite?
Exactly how Gerard gets from start to finish in this column is something of a wonder to behold, contestable as it is at almost every point. Because the whole column could be readily criticised, and because this would take too much time, Back Pages will be content to to dish out a minor correction to Henderson for describing politics as a 'profession'. In ordinary meaning, a profession requires special training, whereas standing for parliament is open to all citizens. Insisting on this is itself, of course, a 'populist' notion.
· A 'populist' notion
[See Also Gianna on Politics]
Senior and middle managers - the dedicated men and women whose job is to keep the trains on time, the nurses in work, the police on the beat, the water flowing, the teachers in classrooms, the power utilities in tip-top service and children safe from domestic abuse - have been made scapegoats and humiliated by ministers and their minders on so many occasions that they no longer care.
· They are fed up with being made pawns in the day's media cycle as ministers scramble to grab headlines or shift blame

Moments before Thomas "TJ" Hickey was fatally impaled on a metal fence, a female charity worker claims to have seen the teenager being chased on his bike by police in a caged truck.
· Caged truck
· Randwick bus crash injures eight children
The use of tragedy, deaths in hospitals, for political purposes is absolutely shameful...
· Who do I blame? I don't know who to blame.
· Lee Glendinning report: In cold blood

Just for once let me be your alleged bouncing Czech parliamentary spy (warning long sentence ahead): I gather that the alleged powerful troika which is supposedly on the path to heading parliamentary departments, (consisting of ex parliamentary library and current library staffers, Greig Tillotson, Rhonda Miller (this is not the stuntwoman of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Fame,) and Warren Cahill,) (Last century LC parliamentary attendants used to assume that Warren rather than Lauren was on the phone for me, and had a crash on the Bohemian poet :=) is likely to add another secret report on their CVs. This time even the auction houses around the world might find the content of the minutes of meetings and the report of interest...However, it is unlikely that even the ultimate insiders, such as the first Maltese Speaker, John Aquilina, will read the report before the Mardi Grass of 2004.
· Move over, God, it's time to make room for a real power

Telstra leaks, just like a government
When Telstra's Bob Mansfield sat down on his sofa on Tuesday night, turned on the TV and was confronted with the 6 o'clock news that The Bulletin magazine had uncovered a plan hatched by him and chief executive Ziggy Switkowski to take over John Fairfax his otherwise routine day was turned on its head.
The Prime Minister is, of course, correct. A partially privatised Telstra is an "absurdity" ("Telstra board knocks back takeover bid for Fairfax", Herald, February 18), like being partially pregnant. (Letter by H.E. Hayward, Turramurra, February 18.)

· Decorum doesn't allow me to quote Mansfield's self-admitted description of his initial response [ See Also Sexed Up? I was source: intelligence chief]
· If this alleged report ever sees the light of the public day, Google will add the wisdom into its archives

Trends: Seven Year Itch
Australian dollar burst through the landmark US80c level last night for the first time in seven years and there are predictions it could surge to US90c and even towards parity with the American greenback.
· Dollar punches through US80c [See Also Black Moroccan halter-neck to the sequinned and beaded silk georgette]
Mouthing off at the office can be good for your health - and disastrous for your career

Are you a challenger?
Move over yuppies a new tribe is born -- they are the Challengers, and they're not going to take it any more...

· New Tribe: Antipodian Trendsetters
· How happiness can be bought: Doing things, not buying stuff, has proved to be a superior pathway to pleasure in life

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Man of Steel gave green light to Telstra-Fairfax deal: Ministry of Misinformation

The PM’s pork-barrelling protectionism
John Howard is neither a free-trader nor an ‘economic rationalist’ and rational industry policy is suffering as a result
· Coping with chaos
· Is it our constitution, grounded as it was on fear and Empire dependency and the interests of the home country, that is a millstone around our neck, or is it simply that we lack the confidence and the courage to live up to the opportunities offered by this magnificent land?
· Can’t buy me love? This is the first exploration of Australian children’s attitudes to work, parental guilt and consumption...
[ via Social and economic aspects of the Australian constituents

I'm not sure how that happened. Perhaps because a good percentage of us thing knowledge is power? And knowledge to a crazed Religious Right person is a very dangerous thing? I don't know. Personally, I say good on them to these kids having a Purity Day . Good for you, don't rush into sex, promote's all good. Just understand that because you've chosen to wait until you're married doesn't make you morally superior to someone who has chosen not to.
· Young gents who are themselves a promotion for abstinence
[ via What Are You So Afraid Of? Sex? Gays? Terrorists? God? In BushCo's fear-drunk world, only one question really matters] [ See Also When Trying Again Makes the Difference]
[ See Also Selling Sleaze: A User's Guide -- Ten ways to rationalize the publication of infidelity rumors ]
· Editors insist H Bomb is a literary arts mag, not porn (Crimson)
· A lot of interest in H Bomb: a literary arts magazine about sex and sexual issues at Harvard. It will contain fiction, features, poetry, and art

Cory Doctorow's conference speech (in .txt format) includes the following insights:
Ebooks compliment paper books
Ebooks demand a different attention span (but not a shorter one)...
More people are reading more words off more screens every day Ebooks are a better deal for writers ...

Publicity: An Author's Gotta Have It
Publicity is the key to making you and your work known to the world. Without publicity, you might as well be dogpaddling up Niagara Falls. Columnist Kathy Sanborn tells how an author can get the word out about his or her new book, and land that long-awaited book deal.
· eGalleys; Book Deal: Big Deal [link first seen at eBookweb ]
· Digital and Printal
· Distribution: A Wide Net Reels in Book Sales
· The only difference is the way we have a climbed the mountains of challenge that has been placed in front of us
· eBooks Alive

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Public servants speaking publicly: the Bennett case
What should a public servant be able to say publicly about government matters? In August 2001, both civilian and military arms of Defence issued new instructions severely restricting staff contact with the media. Even tighter restrictions were imposed on Operation Relex, which interdicted people-smuggling operations on Australia’s northern borders. Concern was expressed at the time that the new restrictions were not appropriate in a liberal democracy.They were relaxed in February 2002, to the apparent relief of some within the defence forces, as well as more broadly.
· Operation Relex
· To death and taxes, add lies
· The Australian Senate [ courtesy of Information and Research Services, Department of the Parliamentary Library ]

Take-Out Chinese Hello? This is PakiStan. I'll take an order of General Tao's Chicken, and the some spicy nuclear sauce. Investigators have identified China as the origin of nuclear weapons designs found in Libya last year, exposing yet another link in a chain of proliferation that passed nuclear secrets through Pakistan to other countries in Asia and the Middle East...

New York Police Training for Catastrophic Terrorism
The New York Police Department, working with city health officials, federal authorities and other agencies, has been preparing for a possible attack with nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, perhaps the most daunting threat facing municipalities in a post-9/11 world.
· Preparing for the worst

The big thieves hang the little ones. -- Czech Proverb

Sydney Police Practicing for Catastrophic Rampage
Notice if you will, how Thomas "TJ" Hickey believed the police were after him...
I hope it does make a better Redfern. They've got to stop chasing our kids, and hurting our kids.

· Chased or not, TJ had reasons to run: Caught on camera [See Also Alcohol, heat, grief triggered the riot: The Premier, Bob Carr, and the Police Commissioner, Ken Moroney ]
· Repairing Redfern and race relations
· Police claim to be experienced in the area, but locals say they acted like stormtroopers

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu helped lead his country out of apartheid and the Nobel Peace Prize winner has been a strong opponent of the Iraq War. He’s to give an important speech today in which he will demand apologies... Weak and insecure people hardly ever say 'sorry'. It is large-hearted and courageous people who are not diminished by saying: 'I made a mistake'.

An article in the Guardian about authors writing glowing anonymous reviews for their own books at This only further confirms my feeling one shouldn't evaluate books on reader reviews alone.First of all, we have Harriet Klausner who typically rates books no less than One Star Reviews :=) Just one star thrills Jozef Imrich His Star, Lucy, is a diamond in the sky
Apparently I'm only a second-rate cynic. How about you? A cynic is someone who habitually questions the motives of others, believing them to be selfish by nature.

The law of diminishing monopoly: Amazon reviewers brought to book
The five-star review on Amazon, one of the world's biggest online booksellers, was attributed only to 'a reader from Chicago'.
· Star Wars [link first seen at Google ]
· Another long look at life in the age of Google.

Shorter Washington Post editorial page
Senate Democrats are bad people who have strategies and constituencies and stuff, but the Republicans shouldnt have stolen a really lot of their files like that (just a few would have been OK), although the people the bad thief lawyer guy worked for clearly knew nothing about it at the time and really the Republicans are the heroes of this story for not stonewalling after they were publicly busted by the Sergeant at Arms.
[ via Thief Memo]

Monday, February 16, 2004

Military Service by the coalition of the willing, the Brittish and Australian, politicians is barely mentioned, if at all. The bureaucrats in the National Guard have not kept very good records...

The Super Bowl of Political Hypocrisy
White House spokesman Scott McClellan went ballistic on Friday after Helen Thomas asked a question about President Bush's National Guard days.
Helen was asking about trashy rumors. There’s a difference between trashy rumors and journalism. I will not dignify them from the podium. The veteran newswoman says of the AWOL issue: I think they are getting pretty nervous about this.
THE BOSTON GLOBE REPORTS that the Bush AWOL story is collapsing, as a key witness turns out to have lied. Capt. Ed observes: The Globe, which has been at the forefront of the media pushing this story, now reveals that the entire series of accusations had no basis in reality...

· part of the Bush Crime Family Conspiracy
· Bush Acts Against Critics on Guard Records and 9/11
· Still the Question: What Did You Do in the War?
· Those on the far left say, ‘Why didn't you punch him,' and on the far right, they said, 'Why didn’t you hug him.' But the vast majority said they learned a lot by watching it.

Inflating circulation figures to support higher ad rates...

The Truth About the Fact: Everything changes. Nothing changes
Apply the Hutchins Commission quote to your local newspaper. Do its stories about the city or school district budget go beyond a recitation of numbers and a comparison to them being greater or lesser than the year before? Does it seem as if the reporter who wrote the story understands financial principles? Did he or she even get the math right?
How is this reporter supposed to write an informative story on a company’s earnings if he can’t read a balance sheet? How can he have a substantive interview with a CEO, or even a city manager about a local budget.

· Journalism [ via First Draft]
· No one gets rich writing book reviews, but the psychic rewards are immense
· Ann Marie Lipinski
· I'm probably trying harder to get items than get laid at the moment
· New blog-like political feature
· Six reasons why sources should see stories before publication
· Writer spanks Missouri j-school for secrecy surrounding gift
· Vanity Fair's catty Fuller profile breaks the mean-o-meter [ courtesy of Romenesko ]

Search Beyond Google
It's very easy to move from one search engine to a better one [Google's Director of Technology Craig Silverstein] says. Google pays hundreds of researchers and software developers, including more than 60 PhDs, to man the front lines in this technology war, explains Silverstein, who is himself on extended leave from his doctoral studies in computer science at Stanford University. But he acknowledges that?s no guarantee of victory. We hope the next breakthrough comes from Google, but who knows.
When Google first launched, they had some new tricks that nobody else had thought about before," says Doug Cutting, an independent software consultant who wrote some of the core technology behind search engine Excite and has designed search tools for Apple Macintosh computers. Other search engines now offer intriguing alternatives to Google techniques:
The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine" paper.
For example, there's Teoma, which ranks results according to their standing among recognized authorities on a topic, and Australian startup Mooter, which studies the behavior of users to better intuit exactly what they're looking for.

· Source: Technology Review (Registration Required, Free) [ courtesy of BusinessWire ]
· TechReview Index
· dipsie [link first seen at Blogrolling]
· Agencies' information technology plans neglect performance measurements
· eBay Searches

Tennaged Blogger
She Was a Teenaged Blogger NRO looks at the movement behind Cecile DuBois, and since we've posted on Glenn Reynolds once today, how the Blogfather can make or break a blogger
My 14-year-old blogger daughter got Instalanched last week, after she wrote about how her English teacher had ridiculed her in front of the class for writing an un-p.c. paper. I've heard what happens when the mighty Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds links you but never seen it up close, and it really is amazing: From 100 hits a day (typical for a teenager's blog) to 100 an hour, with links to dozens of other blogs and almost 200 posted comments from Prague to Sydney.

· She Was a Teenaged Blogger

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Keeping track of Carr family
Bob Carr is the son and grandson of train drivers. Last week he invited some drivers' delegates to his office to talk privately.
Less than a year after winning a third term, Premier Bob Carr and his senior ministers are on the nose.
In August last year I wrote: Some experts say that infrastructure is in such a parlous state that water shortages, power cuts, longer train delays and more clogged up roads will soon become the norm of daily life in Australia's richest and most populous state.(Rebuilding the rundown state, The Sun-Herald, August 10, 2003)

· Acting Premier [link first seen at After runaway failures Carr may be moving on ]

Clover Moore, the inner-city independent MP who is feared and loathed by the Labor Party and referred to as "the Witch of Oxford Street", is set to spoil the ALP's Sydney Council power grab.
· More Mega Power Grab Means Moore (Charter 1992 signatory)
· Charlie Thompson saw a big mess and decided to clean it up

NAO to investigate whisky fraud claims, Accountancy Age, 6 February 2004.
The National Audit Office is to take a close look at whisky fraud after the chancellor said the Treasury misses out on duty on one in every six bottles.

A Tax Office review is hunting for gaps between declared income and the prices paid for antiques and fine art. Peter Fish reports. Bought or sold any art work lately? If so you could be in for a shock.
Sydney Morning Herald 14/02/2004 (hard copy only)

Fine That Dare Not Speed Its Name
Police gave a record $216,900 speeding ticket to a millionaire under a system in which traffic fines are linked to an offender's income. The Iltalehti tabloid reported that millionaire Jussi Salonoja zoomed through the city center last weekend in a 25 mph zone and police handed him a ticket of $216,900. It didn't say what his speed was...
· Finnish Police Give Record Speeding Fine [link first seen at Skoda: Harm]
· The US legislature is spending a great deal of time scrutinizing the tax revenues and the state budget proposals.

In an interview with the businessman sought after for his views on the economy, he stressed that democracy doesn't mean very much, in real terms, if "the bottom group," meaning the most impoverished, is hungry...
· Economic freedom first, then political freedom
· Charlie Thompson saw a big mess and decided to clean it up
· 2003 Comparative Tax Study
· The British Dream: Why I am an Angry Young Man