Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Sydney's local elections: lessons for Labor
I was surprised by the local government elections. I always campaign for a candidate of my choice and spent the day at the polling station handing out. This time work and personal commitments made me a pre-poll person: all the routine without any of the excitement of finding my candidate’s poster and how to vote.
· But what a day!
· See Also 'War on Terror': a formula on anti-terrorism laws based on opportunism, exaggerations and misrepresentations
· See Also Paul Krugman: Manipulation and abuse of power by the American Government puts Watergate in the shade

Employers face ban on email spying
Employers in NSW will be banned from spying on employees' private emails under new laws that will place strict limits on electronic surveillance in the workplace. What is your big bad bosses's dark secret? Why would s/he ... get IT department to read your private e-mails?
· Electronic surveillance: Criminal Charges Expected...
· See Also Back off boss: you're making me feel sick

Cold Stream: Our Little Soulful Secret
A water bearer in old Czechoslovakia of Mannor Born era had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.
At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to his house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.
The bearer said to the pot, Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.
Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.
You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.
To all of my crackpot friends, have a great life as earth smiles with flowers and also remember to smell those flowers.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004 Ranking 557 as at 30 March 2004....I will be honest the people who tell other people that I am chorrible (sic) are the best advertising for Cold River than most of my family members Media Dragon is so broke, so unsuccessful and so self-failed that, like every other sole survivor you could name, he doesn't need to pretend that his next mistake will be his first...

It seems fitting somehow that the hulls of ships carrying raw sugar from the tropics, north through the Atlantic to the Jarvis Quay in Toronto, should be bright and cheerful. That, like those products that will be produced from their cargo, they should be the color of jawbreakers and soda cans, candy wrappers, and the sprinkles that dress the top of cupcakes. It’s also appropriate that they show signs of decay.
Jim Coudal

Antony Loewenstein: Championing the notions of empowerment and positive change
It's not always easy being an Australian trapped in a universalist's body, especially when you've got a penchant for dissent. Antony Loewenstein is a Sydney-based journalist with Fairfax and editor of ZNet Australasia watch. He is a voracious participant in the reporting and critique of local and world news. Championing the notions of empowerment and positive change, he enjoys challenging the status quo and feels the potential outcomes are well worth the risks. With hobbies including film, table tennis, Middle Eastern politics, endless Web trawling and travel, he's visited places like Mongolia, India and Siberia as they make him feel disoriented and alive.
· People Power [ via Webdiary ]
· Police Pursuits: 2 Fast, 2 Furious [ via 60 Minutes]
· See Also Redfern Riot [courtesy of 4 Corners]

Arithmetic of Wrists
Heaven help the state's finances if the Carr Government's arithmetic for its 10th budget, due on June 22, is as sound as its explanation for next Tuesday's mini-budget. The justification does not add up
· Tax increases, service cuts and public sector job losses are on the agenda
· See Also Wrist-slashing time over budget, says Egan
· See Also Moore Future: Last chance to give our city a future

Choreography, finally, becomes a profession. In making ballets, you cannot sit and wait for the Muse. Union time hardly allows it, anyhow. You must be able to be inventive at any time. You can’t be like the cook who can cook only two dishes: you must be able to cook them all.
George Balanchine, Balanchine’s Complete Stories of the Great Ballets

Sir Peter Ustinov, actor, director, producer, playwright, raconteur and a host of other things ...

Malcolm Pasley recently died, and Jeremy Adler writes:
Malcolm Pasley was the doyen of Kafka editors, whose stewardship of the great critical edition of Kafka's works earned him an international reputation. In a distinguished career he laid a new, secure foundation for Kafka studies, explained the writer's practice, and helped to preserve his work for posterity.
The whole Kafka-manuscript debates (and there are a lot of them) always get us in a tizzy. From Max Brod's outrageous betrayal (tempered, vaguely, by the fact that his was an understandable refusal to do as he had been instructed) to Brod's (ab)use of his position as controller of the manuscripts all the way to the current state of affairs poor Franz K. can't be pleased by how things turned out.
· Lightning was a mad grin in the room, thunder a shudder over all the earth
· Parsley (sic) is Able to Kook Them All: We very much like the idea of the past, present and future being connected
· See Also International Literary Prizes: Why There Are No Good Prices Left

Slices of Swimming life: Antipodian Ending
It may have come 48 hours later than expected but it was better late than never as far as Ian Thorpe was concerned as he last night claimed a place in the Athens Olympics by winning the 200-metre freestyle final at the Sydney Aquatic Centre.
· Thorpe books ticket to Athens [Link poached from Google ]

Monday, March 29, 2004

Moore love: Greens sweep to victory in local polls
The Greens and the high-profile independent Clover Moore have crushed Labor's hopes of regaining control of local government in the inner suburbs of Sydney, as development issues and forced mergers drove voters to grassroots campaigners.
· Grassroots
· See Also Moore promises return of community spirit
· See Also Two-Up: NSW government bureaucrats sanitise new history of gambling

Downtown for Democracy is presenting Where's My Democracy, two back-to-back fundraising readings introduced by Jonathan Safran Foer. The authors involved include some of the most well-known names in contemporary letters: Paul Auster, Michael Cunningham, Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers, Jonathan Franzen, Gary Indiana, Jhumpa Lahiri, Joyce Carol Oates, Susan Sontag, Wendy Wasserstein and Colson Whitehead, as well as Lou Reed and other special guests.

The central allegation - that Mr Bush was so obsessed with going after Saddam Hussein that he openly challenged his counter-terrorism adviser to find a link between September 11 and Iraq the day after the attacks took place - is serious.
Through all this commotion and vitriol over Richard Clarke's 9/11 Commission testimony there is a pervading aura of the surreal. I say that because, at least in its broad outlines, little he has said is even that controversial.
· Declassifying documents in order to smear Richard Clarke
· Just look at the fiasco that my homeland had created by following the leader on his alice and wonderland search for weapons
· See Also Tim Dunlop: Reading Richard Clarke's book is a reminder of our much of the exercise of government power is kept secret from we the people and that there really needs to be more openness.
· See Also (Freedom Fighters like Nelson Mandella) would be banned from selling memoirs about their time in crime

Perhaps you will blame me for having spent so much of my time in Music Halls, so frivolously, when I should have been sticking to my books, burning the midnight oil and compassing the larger latitude. But I am impenitent. I am inclined to think, indeed I have always thought, that a young man who desires to know all that in all ages in all lands has been thought by the best minds, and wishes to make a synthesis of all these thoughts for the future benefit of mankind, is laying up for himself a very miserable old age.
Max Beerbohm, "Music Halls of My Youth

Glory/Beauty/ Witch/Rich: The Rest Of The Story - BBC Listeners Get The Chance
BBC has hired prominent writers to write first-parts of stories and will challenge listeners to complete them. Eight novelists who will each write the first half of a short story for BBC Three. Their work will be published in a leaflet and distributed to coffee shops, libraries and on the internet. Readers will have six weeks to complete their chosen tale, with the winners showcased on BBC Three later this year.
· Cold Stories
· See Also Olympic Poet Wanted. For What, We're Not Sure
· See Also Everyone is a poetic critic: Power to the Con People

Shut Up & Write: How Elites from Spinning Houses and Politics are Subverting World:
· See Also Words are no longer enough. The all authors must be like Imrich all-singing, all-dancing, good looking if possible and, if not, with a sufficiently troubled past to keep the public interested
· Sued To Fame And Fortune
Average Hollywood Movie Now Costs $100 Million... Hollywood's Record Year (Despite The Pirates) Hollywood movie studios took in almost $11 billion in 2003 - a record!
· See Also Escape To Reality (On The Screen) Movie documentaries like Cold River are hot these days
· See Also Lynden Barber, film critic for The Australian newspaper: It is a poacher-turns-gamekeeper appointment

The McKids range will be designed, made and distributed by Chinese firm Shanghai Longhurst.

Say Hi To Electronic Paper
Maiden electronic paper is ready for the consumer market. This 'first ever' Philips' display utilizes E Ink's revolutionary electronic ink technology which offers a truly paper-like reading experience with contrast that is the same as newsprint. The Electronic Paper Display is reflective and can be easily read in bright sunlight or dimly lit environments while being able to be seen at virtually any angle - just like paper. Its black and white ink-on-paper look.
· E-Ink 03/25/04
Australian Citation Laureate for 2004 goes to hearty economist whose head looks remarkably like Ned Kelly (Juraj Janosik)
· See Also It was a only matter of time, and all I have to say is: "What took them so long?
· Internet: Banning the Chinese Dragon
· Michael McDonough’s Top Ten Things They Never Taught Me in Design School: 1-9 are all true. 10 is ultra-true...
· Medicine: Heart Map

Thorpe accepts decision
Ian Thorpe doesn't see any way that he can take part in the Olympic 400-metres freestyle after his disastrous false start.
· Champion of Grace
· See Also The system has to be changed so the best represent Australia at the Olympics: Call to change rules

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Suddenly, the metaphors are singing, and the rebukes have a vividness they lacked in the past. There's only one possible explanation: Osama bin Laden has slipped into Australia and is now working as a freelance speech writer... The Labor candidate, I remember from one one roneoed sheet, is full of falsehood and lies, and must be swept from the chambers like a covetous raven... More than a few choice words from the top: Seems there's a new speechwriter in town

Independent's Day: Clover Moore is off to Town Hall
A landslide of "people power" has installed independent MP Clover Moore as Sydney Lord Mayor and given her team control of the new super council.
· Moore Democracy In the Crude World of Naked Politics
· See Also People power sweeps Moore into Sydney's top seat
· See Also Despite Plenty of Ruthless Enemies in High SusSex Places
· See Also Interview: John Howard: Handover to an interim government in Baghdad

Bruce Elder in Weekend edition of the best paper in the world, SMH, shares with readers the background to a book entitled Stasiland which like Schindlers Arch (List) is written by an Australian, this time by a woman called, Anna Funder. Funder was apparently confronted by an Argentinian viewer who wanted to know why the televesion station she was working for in Berlin did not do more stories on the Iron Curtain and the Stasi, the old East German secret police. The Argentinian viewer pointed out that it took Germany 20 years to start discussing and dissecting Nazism:
Will it be 2010 or 2020 before what happened in East Germany (or Czechoslovakia) is remembered?...
It’s generally believed that people want to forget about the past and move on—but I find it curious that they wouldn’t want to know about this when so much remains unresolved... Stasiland shine a dazzling light on one of the world’s most paranoid and secretive regimes, and its effects on contemporary German society.
(Some unkind soul suggested resently to this Slavic Dragon that 21st Sentury Sydney has SusSex Secret Police...)

What's Wrong With Germany?
If it is true, as Jimmy Carter once asserted, that nations can find themselves in a state of collective malaise, there is no doubt that Germany in 2004 would qualify as downright sickly, at least as far as its own residents are concerned. Strangely, when viewed from an objective standpoint, Germany doesn't seem to be any worse off economically, culturally, or politically, than most other European nations, but England and France do not seem to be in quite the despairing mood that Germany is in. Is the difference perhaps, as some have been saying, Germans just enjoy complaining? Or does it run deeper?
· Nations can find themselves in a state of collective malaise [link first seen at The New York Times 03/24/04 ]
· See Also Hamas: Gates of Hell, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin
· See Also Interview: Alan Dershowitz
· See Also Bluntly Our Culture Through A Wagner Filter: The English like their mythologies to work out, to resolve themselves
· Did the Terrorists Win in Madrid? German Views
· A New Churchill Needed for Europe? Czech Views
· The EU's New Terrorism Czar [ via EuroSavant ]

GAP MYSTERY: Sydney Model Caroline Byrne
It is extraordinary. Parliament is sitting on Tuesday and I will be raising it again with the Police Minister [John Watkins] to ask him to establish an independent inquiry.
A number of disturbing concerns have been raised about delays. Obviously, you have to ask whether it was a lack of resources, incompetence, or do some of the wilder conspiracy theories have merit?

· Do some of the wilder conspiracy theories have merit?
· See Also Inquiry call over flaws in model's death investigation
See Also Building industry 'rife with criminals'

Triple Olympic gold medallist Shane Gould reacted angrily to Ian Thorpe's disqualification. I think it sucks. There's rules and there's rules. There's rules about genuine stroke faults and false starts, but these are the Olympic trials, they're not the Olympics....

Ian Thorpe's rival, Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenband, said he thought it was laughable the Australian would miss out on defending his 400 metres Olympic title after being disqualified at his national trials.
I find that so childish... It is laughable that he can't defend his title for something like that.

Thorpe can appeal to the Australian Swimming Incorporated Appeals Tribunal and independent international body, the Court of Arbitration for Sport... if noise was the factor! Without any doubt it was very noisy at the Aquatic Center yesterday as some bloggers were drinking beer and wine while others were Czeching out the tall dark woman next to Michael Knight. Hope that before the next Games, the sport's officialdom will be injected with a powerful dose of commonsense.

Cut-throat Trials Shame: Australian Swimming Making the World Down Under A Laughing Stock
Ian Thorpe, the 400 metres world record-holder, unbeaten in the event for more than six years, will not defend his Olympic title after being disqualified from a heat at the selection trials. Under Australia's strict qualification policy, only the two fastest swimmers in each race final qualify for the Olympics. Australia's costliest slip...
· Selection trials a joke: Hoogie Thorpe's golden dream crashes
· See Also Swim stars slam disqualification
· See Also This unforgiving method of selection gives the trials an emotional edge, but it's a world in which Petria Thomas is very much at home

Saturday, March 27, 2004

FAME aside, what do Kerry Packer, Jozef Imrich, Laurence Olivier, Bob Hawke, Rupert Murdoch, Maggie Smith, Paul Keating, Clive James, Trevor Kennedy and Malcolm Turnbull have in common? E(l)ection fright. An own-goal by the NSW Government and ALP chieftains will headed to polling booths today for local government elections and referees will also test drive 2004 Federal Election Probability Calculator

Quick and Savvy: A Portal for Local Politicians
St. Cloud (Minn.) Times has invited elected officials into a blog portal (offering them the opportunity to blog as much as they want). At this stage, it shows one thing: blogging does not come naturally. However, in the best moments it provides a unique perspective and certainly adds transparency to the political process. With a bit of extra training for politicians this could be truly intriguing to your readers.

· See Also Intriguing Bloggers
· See Also Nothing to fear but fear itself
· You take the bullet, we'll make a soft landing: Ministers and
their advisors

· Centrelink's breaching policies do the unemployed more harm than good
· See Also Recent policy has abandoned the people in pursuit of the bottomline
· See Also Why does consultation with the public require professional submissions?
· See Also Slavery exists today - and will still exist tomorrow unless we act to stop it now
· See Also How the media cover gang rape, sport, power - and prejudice

Babygirl dragons trained so hard this year that MEdia Dragons family will invade fourth and final Olympic selection trials at Sydney Aquatic Centre, Homebush Bay

Tarnished Gold
It's less than five months to the Athens Olympics, and Australia’s elite athletes are straining their minds and bodies to extract the performance of a lifetime.
Every one of them is expected to compete fairly, minus the help of performance-enhancing drugs. They too want to know that their rivals are drug-free.

· HERA: Dawn of the Olympic Dragons
· SBS to telecast Athens Olympics...
· See Also Thorpe starts bid to reclaim title of world's best
· Athens Olympics flame lit at Games birthplace
· Latest news on Athens Olympics with Google News
The End of Olympic Poetry? Not quite yet
· See Also Concern over Aussie team's security: Olympic Terror Real Threat, But We Can't Give In
· See Also FBI fears attacks on Olympics

Following the success of Cold River and da Vinci (code) Con, we now have the latest grail of political conspiracy theory

Shallow Electorate's Deep Flaws...Where the Chemicals Roam
Salon and Rolling Stone team up to investigate chemical-weapons dumps in the U.S. The article quotes an organizer for a coalition of citizens living near the sites, who says that for all of the U.S. government's finger-pointing at Iraq and other countries, our country is riddled with similar weapons that our government itself can't even find.
· Our Leaders Misreading Machiavelli
· See Also 42-year-old man died from exposure to nuclear, biological and chemical weapons tests
· Chemicals: How to Effectively Locate Government Information on the World Wide Web
· See Also We're in a new Era of Secrecy: Police Dogs on Railways Stations Days
· A coaliton comprised of library associations and advocacy groups with a strong interest in freedom of information, has launched a new website, still under construction, called

There is MEdia Dragon who does not get enough love, but there are also 100 Movies That Deserve More Lov

Why RSS & Memory Erasure Are Everywhere
So many blogs, so little time. If you want to stay at the top of the information food chain, you gotta read 'em - lots of 'em. And you have to do it every day. But as that list of must-read blogs grows, hunting and gathering the latest posts becomes a daily drain. You could hire an assistant to read them for you.
· See Also RSS1
· See Also RSS2
How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity
· See Also A First Layer of Scouting: Digital Information Librarian Marcus P. Zillman
· See Also Library of Congress to Undertake Major Update of Global Legal Information Network
· See Also How creative work builds on the past and how society encourages or inhibits that building with laws and technologies
· Memory erasure, in Eternal Sunshine's world, is just the next logical step up from breast augmentation and Prozac
· Hungarian Concrete casts new light in dull rooms
· See Also Genre is still thriving in the underground
· See Also Now anyone can be one of the bloggers who Never Gonna Let You Go without the epic of the freestanding lasagna

Friday, March 26, 2004

Einstein was sure the only way to win in roulette was to pocket the money when the dealer wasn’t looking.

History on the attack: Vengeance is ours; We will repay
A vicious war of words has erupted between the Deputy Opposition Leader, Barry O'Farrell, and lord mayoral candidate Peter Collins, the former Liberal leader who is now accused of being Labor's "attack dog" in the race for control of Town Hall.
· Collins accused of being Labor attack dog
· See Also Developers sponsored new council library
· See Also Imagine that a Tammany Hall is a blank canvas of the brains trust, and its structures the basis upon which we create a masterpiece

It's Hard for Politcians to Say War Wasn't Worth It... Your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. And I failed you. He asked for their understanding and forgiveness.

Richard Clarke: Reviewed Revised Reread
First, real, hard-core lefties are going to be very uncomfortable reading this book. Pages 45-49 are a good example why. Clarke is clearly a hawk's hawk. He talks about being charmed by Perle's ideas and whatnot. I actually find this refreshing because he puts our actions in the Middle East into their proper context, e.g. we were fighting the Cold War.
The one passage I found that was really amusing was when he writes: "Agh, come up with a new thought. CIA and the Pentagon won't agree . . . ." Mort [Abramowitz] was relighting the stub of a cigar. "You wanna do something? Go see your friend Richard Perle, the Prince of Darkness, get him [to do it]."
Any thoughts on your end?

· Hawk's hawk [ courtesy of RoadToSurfdom ]
· A New Folk Hero: Richard Clarke: His Case is Deep, Compelling...
· See Also Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies ranked no. 1 at Amazon as of Tuesday
· Ripples from Spain are Rocking Australia...

First thing first, Czech Out Noam Chomsky: Turning The Tide & New Technorati redesign Launched

Writers, Journalists, Storytellers... Thomas says outrage keeps her going on White House beat
Helen Thomas complains that she's not called on at White House press briefings: I'm in the back row now so I'm ignored . . . They don’t like my questions. That’s okay, just so somebody asks them, but they just don’t want me to ask questions. Geov Parrish asks Thomas what keeps her going:
· Outrage. And interest in the world, and knowing that I'm lucky to be alive [link first seen at Romenesko ]
· See Also Howell Raines: The Times not only occupies a central place in our national civic life but also plays just as important a role as the ethical keystone of American journalism

I suppose I’m a believer in Original Sin. People are profoundly bad, but irresistibly funny.
Joe Orton, quoted in the Manchester Guardian (September 19, 1966)

How the boss monitors you
We all do it: a bit of online banking, holiday planning and personal e-mailing. There is no harm in it if the boss isn't watching..... is there? Well, your boss just might be watching.
Firms are increasingly using advanced technology to keep an eye on their workers, according to a recent report by the TUC. So what techniques can be used?

· No one is irreplaceable but the loss of KBG has created gaps

Wearing pyjamas on the job, long lunches, no bosses - it's all possible if you work from home, and more people than ever are doing it. Bill Bennett explains how to set up an office at your place and have change to spare.
· See Also Home work
· See Also Dark nature that nabbed the Hands off approach
· Masters: I can wreck your career
· See Also Random drug tests at frontline of workplace battleground

A former senior aide of Saddam Hussein claims the dictator was probably high on drugs when he decided to invade Kuwait in 1990...
Take a toke. Marijuana puts you into "weed time." Not sure who the bad guys are? Drop some LSD and enemies will appear to have giant devil heads. Moving too slow? A little speed will take care of that, letting you zip around and fight at an incredibly fast pace

Things get worse with Bulldogs & Coke
Canterbury Bulldogs player Willie Mason tested positive to an illicit social drug midway through last season and was fined $25,000 by the club.
· Bulldogs star Mason failed drug test
· Things get worse with Coke
· Can Diet Coke Kill You?

Birds do it, bees do it, and thanks to all that dopamine, our cousins the baboons do it too. Just like us, they fall in love...
Love in a cold climate: Romance in Anna Karenina opens up previously unseen depths

The Brain in Love: Irrational Passions
And the object of her desires? Not the dashing, heroic Vronsky my teenage eyes had conjured up, but a damaged, aimless, limited soldier, in love as much with himself and his way of life as with any woman. This, after all, is a man who despises his mother but obeys her, who leads on the young Kitty, not from malice, but because he doesn't even notice he's doing it, and who sets out to build a hospital on his estate not to do good, but to prove he isn't mean.
· Keeping the home fires burning: Dying of a broken heart
Unwanted advances often border on the ridiculous
· See Also Old romances are being rekindled via an internet site at a rate that is alarming for marriages

The divorce rate has stabilised among the middle class but is increasing among the poor, explaining why many separated fathers pay little or no child support.
A new study reveals that financial hardship is a major cause of family breakdown. Low-income parents are more likely than others to break up - and they remain poor after the split

· How poverty is pushing families into divorce

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Proverbs 24:17 says Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thy heart be glad when he stumbleth. I am not strong enough to do that...

Omigod! Universal McCann Can Do It
Preliminary discussions with major regional newspaper networks have identified a commitment to implement a ‘telecommunications feature’ in many of the publications. This could take the form of placing one full-page mono advertisement and receive one full page of editorial, supplied predominantly by DCITA (the Department of Communications). Newspapers who take up the incentive will be rewarded with a second full-page mono advertisement. Those who do not take up the feature only receive one full-page mono advertisement. We estimate that there will be a 50% take-up.
· Reason Number 326 Of What's Wrong With Our Media: Cash for comment play
· The whole idea of punk rock and politics was a mess from the beginning...

Some are born to dominate, some to submit. Let's follow the way leading to power play...
Before collectivization people in Russia had potatoes but no socialism. Later, they had socialism but no potatoes... The overall impression is that the Council on Foreign Relations isn't just a think thank, it's a do tank:

Foreign Mood Disorders: one-stop shop about all things international
At a time when so many hip, glossy magazines with deep pockets aren't very aggressive on the Web, it's refreshing to see an 83-year-old nonprofit thrive online. The Council on Foreign Relations and its venerable publication, Foreign Affairs, have kept themselves more than just relevant in the digital age, they are a model for quality online publishing.
Collectively, and have done a terrific job of capitalizing on the Council's resident expertise, as well as extending the shelf life of the scholarly articles in the magazine. The overall impression is that the Council isn't just a think thank, it's a "do" tank.

· Foreign Affairs Backgrounders By Sree Sreenivasan [ courtesy of SreeTips]
· See Also a terrorism encyclopedia

Analysis By the Electorate for the Electorate
Stephen Barber and Andrew Kopras take recently published postcode taxation statistics and aggregate them to an electorate basis. Summary information on such items as taxpayers, taxable income, tax paid and net tax ratio are shown for each electorate in Australia. Six tables ranking the electorates by various taxation categories are provided as well as two choropleth (colour coded) maps.
· See Also Taxable income and tax paid in Commonwealth electoral divisions, 2000–01 (PDF) [ courtesy of Successful delivery of professional and non-partisan services in a partisan environment]
· See Also In today’s infantile world of lifestyle politics, ask not what the arguments are or even what a voter believes in. It’s all about how you feel...

How Do you Feel ... Down But Not Out
The personal, intellectual, and political faults of Sartre are obvious today. Yet how much poorer we’d be without his oeuvre
· Accidental Friends
If you define “miracle” as a one in a million chance, then normal folks observe miracles, including ESP, about once a month
· See Also Australian & American colonies, including New Amsterdam, were rife with utopian loonies, sex deviants, and scary criminals: fine future citizens of the New World...
· Touch and Taste Australia: Dining Downunder: Didgeridoo & Fujara

Sydney Trend every Mittel Earth European Elector approves of!
· See Also Gambits in, gambling out, as classics move into pubs

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

UNCLE RUPERT (International Edition)
Dear Readers,
I want to let you know that a splendid edition of Uncle Rupert is just making its dramatic appearance, in Australia and around the world.
Uncle Rupert links in with other political, social and economic objectives that we share. For example, a front page excerpt from the book The Human Mirror, contains a call for a new vision, a new image, a new consciousness of self.
At the end of the book is a Call to Action by Victory Over Want (VOW). Here is an account of what VOW is all about and its importance in seeking - and, I hope, finding - a path to human cooperation, peaceful change and a more peaceful and prosperous world.
The Uncle Rupert story is lively, often amusing and sometimes bordering on fantasy; but it is also practical and offers ways in which a world of more equal opportunities and more equal enjoyment of life may be found.
The characters are not only curious, amusing, fascinating, but many of them have whimsical names that may sometimes - repeat, sometimes - conceal a real person. For example, who do you think might answer to the name of Sterling Bodger? No prizes are offered for giving the correct answer.
I hope you like Uncle Rupert and, if you do, please recommend it to your mates and family.

· Order a copy of Uncle Rupert at Magellanbooks
· James Cumes: Authorsden]
· Real Memories of Kokoda Trail

Knowing how energetic James is, it is likely that he will invade Weblog Conference; his European residence is not far from the venue. So if you happen to escape to Austria this summer please say G'day to this Australian born internationally recognised author and future Nobel Price winner...
· See Also BlogTalk: 2nd European Conference on Weblogs Vienna, July 5-6: 2004

Designers are the key to creating effective and attractive websites. Darryl Nelson meets half a dozen of the best.
· Web Spinners

New Politics
Throughout my 10 years in Federal Parliament one thing has always puzzled me. Why don't more MPs talk openly about the loss of public trust and confidence in the political system? It's as if, having become part of the system, nobody is allowed to talk about it.
· Potential will not be realised if the Parliament is weak and our democracy is shallow

Too many journalists in the world's most respected publications became unquestioning messengers of their government's desired message...
· See Also Engineering consent: Antony Loewenstein

Women love these
songs about "my life"
and always "always"
and "forever" and "survive"
as if these were possible.
from another gem at Tram Spark
[link first seen at Boynton]

You'd have to have a heart of data terminal not to laugh
Th e boundary between good desire and ugly lust is so crooked and gerrymandered... Gluttony: Without it, I would be only half the man I am,
Anger: better out than in,
Sloth: Wake me up when it’s over,

· Lust by Simon Blackburn
· Ancient Slavs made It their 'duty' to procreate

Sex and academic research complement each other nicely, since you can do either one while thinking about the other
· See Also The Economics of Faking Orgasm: No, really

Each culture, of course, has a different idea as to what rates as an accomplishment. 40 Things Every Drunkard Should Do Before He Dies...
· See Also Do you know the difference between a failed life and an amazing life?
· Hundreds of people near Vancouver are now cannibals

She stepped forward, kissed me and laid her head against my shoulder, leaning prudently forward to keep the rest of herself out of contact with the rest of me. Both of us sighed deeply. I felt as if I had just sat through a complete performance of La Traviata compressed into one and a half minutes.
· Literary biography: fresh, dry, surprising: Bloomsbury and Henry James via Kingsley Amis, Girl, 20

Lightish Links: Gambling With Data Terminals
With personal bankruptcy filings at historic highs, a growing number of grass-roots organizations contend that the phenomenon is fueled, at least in part, by the explosion of legal gambling in the United States over the past quarter of a century. And here's data to back up the claim - a study shows that bankruptcy rates are highest where casinos are.
· Russian Roullette [Christian Science Monitor 03/18/04]
· Be The Smartest Person On Your Block! (On Paper, Anyway...)
· See Also An Invented World (It's Nice In Here)

· See Also Victor Gruen had invented shopping malls in order to make America more like Vienna. Alas, he made Vienna more in the end like America...
Meanwhile, old news is rehashed with an oh-so-scientific study of how your choice of supermarket reflects your character. Right. I'm off to Lidl.
· 'I'm rich and I'm living well. Shopping here is part of that'
· The feeble-minded gullibility of consumers is at the root of much unhappiness in that dogs us

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Getting Together to Defeat Terrorism: Step 1: Look in the Mirror...
The writing on Baghdad's walls:

Latest Studies: Regarding others: In The Interest Of Interest
Oxymoron aside, don't expect dramatic results from the House ethics committee's new investigation.
· Washington Ethics
· Violence, threats and intimidation in the lives of professionals whose work involves children
· See Also Eating Their Words: Habermas and Derrida on terrorism

Continued Questions on Administration Handling of Info
The facts, in the capital, are never just the facts. From scientific data to health facts to intelligence in the war in Iraq, the Bush White House has been dogged by a string of high-profile controversies over how it handles information.
· When Spin Spins Out of Control [link first seen at ]
· See Also Tracking Federal Campaign Contributions searchable FundRace2004's database: $200 and above
· See Also A Selected Bibliography on the Freedom of Information Act, 1980-2004
· See Also Keeping Up With Health Trends Online Through E-Letters
· See Also New Digital Law and Technology Journal: SCRIPT-ed, Issue 1, March 2004 [Personality rights and laws in Australia (MD will soon materialise into a testing case), France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.]
· On a monthly basis during 2004, the Infopro Web site will spotlight a law librarian from a different country. This month, our spotlight is on Moyra McAllister, National Library Manager at Blake Dawson Waldron in Australia

Booksellers with kiosks have found the axiom made famous in W.P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe on target: Build it, and they will come. Who Needs an Agent? You Do!

Double Dragons Take Flight
Passengers on American Airlines flights during the month of February who pick up the airline's publication, American Way, will discover a feature article by Chris Tucker entitled "Book Tour -- The conventional wisdom is wrong:
Real bookstores are not dead
Ingram Product Will Allow Booksellers to Order Direct From Publishers
Ingram Book Group unveiled Pubsource ]
Kiosks Bring In-Store
· Build it, and they will come
· See Also William Faulkner only opened mail from publishers, and then with a slit to see if it was a check. If not, the letter went into his enormous pile of unread mail
· Perhaps there’s a delicious irony in that, these days, Hollywood comes to Australia for famous names. So the joke’s on it.
· See Also Ancient Indians made 'rock music'
· See Also Absinthe, the mythical herbal liqueur beloved of turn-of-the-century artists and blamed for driving some of them mad
· My sole reason for existing is to serve as a warning to others

One of the longest journeys in the world is from Vrbov to Vienna. For many people, yes. But if you’re media dragon ....

Aussies Pull Broadband out of Air
Australian company launched a wireless broadband service in Sydney this week that lets laptop and PDA users roam up to nine miles away from the base station and still get a speedy connection.
The technology, called iBurst, fits in a potentially lucrative niche.

· We need to get teams of varying sizes into our client's [ courtesy of Unwired Australia ]
· See Also NASA develops handsfree web browsing technolog: Look Mum No Hands...
· See Also Trends to Watch
· Social Change Online's Mark McGrath looks back on how unions have used the web in 2003
· See Also Blog Survey: Expectations of Privacy and Accountability [ some via Barista ]
· See Also 110 page PDF presentation by Jenny Levine and Steven Cohen on Blogging and RSS

Monday, March 22, 2004

Smell the roses: Bob Carr dares to think about freedom
He's entering his 10th year as Premier, but some believe Bob Carr may quit within a year. The Government's practice of testing media or voter reaction before deciding whether to proceed with controversial initiatives has been characterised by some as a measure of Mr Carr's political astuteness. That might be so if the business of politics was wholly consumed with avoiding criticism and keeping one's fingers crossed in the hope that problems concealed do not rebound. The reality, however, is that the Government's almost obsessive aversion to controversy and criticism has swelled the bank of inaction on many of the very issues that now weaken its position.
· In essence, the Government has stored its troubles, not confronted them
· See Also As Samuel Johnson observed, nothing so concentrates the mind as the prospect of a hanging
· See Also Labor coast to coast? Bloody hell!

Greatest Cities in Best Practices
The greatest cities in the world, such as New York, London and Paris are amalgams of discrete communities, such as Greenwich Village in New York, or the arrondissements of Paris
· Moore Space
· See Also HighRise
· See Also Our Roads are Killing Fields

Cloak of Secrecy
Where people who have that information breach their public trust there should be consequences... In silencing Mick Keelty the PM has delivered a warning shot to his MPs and the public service, says Robert Manne.
· Latham’s now got proof most Australians accept that Howard also stops his top officials telling the truth, allowing him to bleed credibility from the entire administration [ via Webdiary ]
Toe the line on Iraq or the boot goes in
· See Also Leaked Information
· See Also Dishonest Spin of Governments

This ones may have escaped your notice: McCarthyism Watch...

Watching the Watchdogs
Mark Gillispie of the Cleveland Plain Dealer analyzed police overtime records to find that members of the Cleveland police Internal Affairs department were among the biggest recipients of overtime pay - something they are charged with policing themselves. The head of Internal Affairs through last fall, Lt. Robert Klimak, averaged more than $43,000 a year in overtime, which helped make him the highest-paid police officer in the city during the last few years.
· During Klimak’s watch, Internal Affairs was one of the biggest overtime users in the department
· See Also Not-So Supreme: dumb new proposal to veto the Supreme Court
· See Also Democracy in Action
· See Also We locked you up in jail for 25 years and you were innocent all along? That’ll be £80,000 please
· See Also The end of history? Not quite yet. We've still got plenty of time for authoritarianism

Singer Challenges Bush's Ethics and steps up to this barrel of fish with a 12-gauge shotgun and scores hit after hit. By the time you finish the book, you're surprised by two things: that you're starting to feel sorry for Bush and that Singer has managed to make bashing Dubya the most boring spectator sport this side of golf.

The News about News
It is possible that the public is simply of two minds. It wants a more entertainment-infused, more sensationalized, more interpretative style of news, and the media have given it to them. The public then feels repulsed and derides the messenger for delivering it.
It is also possible that this declining trust has only a little to do with the press, that these attitudes toward the news media are only a reflection of a declining trust in all institutions.
Brushing off these issues as a sign of public hypocrisy or general skepticism, however, seems too glib. The public attitudes aside, something is changing in the news media. Faced with declining audiences, many major news institutions have changed their product in a way that costs less to produce while still attracting an audience.

· The public senses this and says it doesn't like it [ via Tim Porter]

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Marking the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, crowds of sign-waving, slogan-chanting demonstrators climbed Mountains, Big Bens and marched through cities...

Global protests mark invasion anniversary
David Corn introduces a report prepared by the Democratic staff of the House Government Reform Committee, that identifies 237 specific misleading Iraq-related statements made by President Bush and four top advisers, in 125 separate public appearances.
· A searchable database includes Urgent Threat
· Protests
· See Also Apparat: Bush's back-door political machine
· See Also Soros
· Unsavory Record: Vance International, a firm that specializes in, among other things, Secret Service-like personal protection, surveillance, and corporate security during labor disputes

Taken for a Ride: one year anniversary of the war
Spinning the Past, Threatening the Future... But what was he saying? Surely he didn't mean that everyone was obliged to support all of his policies, that if you opposed him on anything you were aiding terrorists. Now we know that he meant just that. - from another great column by Paul Krugman.
· Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists
· See Also The Spannish conservatives thought blaming ETA would help them politically as Communist thought that Iron Curtain would keep dissidents out
· You would think a government determined to introduce democracy to Iraq could tolerate a little dissent in its own backyard... [ via SMH]
· Bin Laden reward doubled
· See Also My Publisher based in Canada Got it Right on Iraq
· Mass rape atrocity in west Sudan ]

Like Andrew Bartlett and Max Willis before him, he forgot the cardinal rule: evening sittings of Parliament are not like some version of a gentlemen's club where you can wander in after a good dinner and wear off the excesses of the libations offered freely in the Members' Dining Room. The cameras are always going - and they will catch you.
The Passion of the Boilermaker: Hand on heart, Labor does it better

Go To Your Party Room!
We used to joke at Drummond St in Carlton that "4 members of the Libs are not worth one member of the ALP". Well now I totally believe that having been there done that. For mine the Liberals still lack the volunteers for guts and hardness. I make no apologies for changing camps. Income levels change and ideologies often change. I now fully believe in free enterprise market.
· Political Rat Roadkill: Serving Two Party Machines
· See Also Ivo Svoboda (Freedom): Ex-Cabinet member's conviction rare step in fight against corruption
· See Also Corridors of Power: Commie season arrives
· See Also Kenny Kramer and George Costanza popped into the NSW upper house (Maiden Sighting at Catallaxy)

Obey the inner voice telling you 'we can't put this in the paper: Ex-Watergate writer laments 'idiot culture' Their interest in truth is secondary to their interest in huge profits. Good journalism should challenge people, not amuse them

Little Book Makes Big
The reality of the publishing business these days is that it's the rare little book that gets any traction in the marketplace. All the more remarkable then, for Matthew Sharpe’s stunning, offbeat coming-of-age novel, The Sleeping Father, which, though rejected by 20 publishers and published by a small press for only a $1,000 advance, has become a hit.
· The two-book deal with a big publisher is supposed to be the Holy Grail, But it turned out, in this case, that the Grail was made of Cold River [ courtesy of New York Observer 03/17/04 ]
· See Also The 21st Century Media Dragon Niche Goes Mainstream
· See Also Vt. editor "naive" about freebies?
· See Also Media Roundup from the Road: Complacency, Bureaucracy, and Fear
· Claims of Fabrication: Aboriginal author Sally Morgan's My Place is one of the most successful Australian books ever published
· See Also Based On A (Not Really) True Story: How much fictionalization should be tolerated...
· Blurbs: you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours
· Jewish Book Week Online Archive

Saturday, March 20, 2004

When politics is brought to book
Writing just after the Second World War, George Orwell noted how adjectives like epoch-making, epic, historic, inevitable, inexorable... are used to dignify the sordid process of international politics, while writing that aims at glorifying war usually takes on an archaic colour, its characteristic words being: realm, throne, chariot, mailed fist...".
At a time when public debate is dominated by the "axis of evil", dodgy dossiers and the war in Iraq, his observations are as pertinent as ever. Appropriate, then, that the Cheltenham Festival of Literature Spring Weekend this year is to focus on politics and the political use of language.

· Cheltenham lures an inspiring line-up of writers for a timely look at the political use of language
· In short, novelists grant due authority and prestige to values that are underrated or overlooked by the mainstream

Terrorism leaves us no place to run

45 years ago, witness to Dalai Lama's flight did not know history being made
Forty-five years ago, the Dalai Lama disguised himself as a soldier and sneaked out of Lhasa where his predecessors ruled supreme for centuries, in one of the most dramatic flights of the 20th century.
· Tibetan monk [link first seen at China Letter][ via Gianna]
· The Taiwanese president, Chen Shui-bian, and the vice-president, Annette Lu, survived an assassination attempt

I say the world isn't any more dangerous than it was Sept. 10, 2001. It was just as dangerous then, we just didn't realize it.
· See Also We have let the Spanish people choose between war and peace
· [ courtesy of Not Much]

Sydney Links
· Sydneysider: Essential Local Knowledge
· Wild and Fugitive Men of Sydney
· Sydney hospitals in September 2000, during Olympics time, were woefully inadequate
Shotgun weddings out west: Why big business wants your council [via Much to the amusement of ratepayers: Elvis impersonator]
· Karl Bitar, Mark Arbib's, Eric Roozendaal: Colourful Diversity
· Three in four parents feel overwhelmed by the task of raising children
· Thorpe: Boy next door in lap of luxury
· Shifting is a nightmare, but it's part of the Australian dream
· See Also Pick neighbours with care: it may determine your chances
· Rich could fund poor: rent report
· Rise & wave of prices going down the tube

At last, what poets had been saying for centuries was scientific fact. Rejection really does hurt. We can have a broken bone or a broken heart. We can feel the pain of a stomach ache or of heartache. We can be hurt by a dog's bite or by a biting remark...

From the outside, Looking In
Despite a dream life in a farmhouse in the French countryside, Isabel Huggan is still searching for her place in an alien land.
Time passes unevenly from place to place, has different weight and value. Here, it seems to have collapsed, folding in and compressing itself into something deep and dense, a richer, thicker brew than I, a child of the New World, have been accustomed to. The air I breathe as I walk by the Ourne is full of old souls, the noise of the water falling over the dam is like the sound of distant voices. Layer upon layer of lives come and gone.
In some ways I exist at a level beneath language, where words do not touch me, but at the same time I am forever trying to "catch on", to know and be known. I am not myself, at the same time as I am more myself than ever, for there is also constant clear definition...
A line floats into my head, so perfectly appropriate that it makes me laugh aloud: "If you can't be with the one you love, then love the one you're with." Easier said than done, of course. I know all about homesickness - sipping maple syrup from a spoon while listening to a cassette tape of loon calls, endlessly writing letters to friends asking for news, sifting through old photographs, weeping on the telephone. I've been there, that strange and dangerous place where longing can blind you to everything else. And so you learn to live with mal de pays as with a chronic illness or disability, you salt your days with nostalgie. Then finally you wake up and compare yourself to the millions of displaced people in the world who will never see their homes again, and you feel ashamed, and you stop.
The ghosts of the silkworms are as silent as they were in life, and you sleep without interruption, except for the hourly tolling of the bell at the mairie coming clear and sweet across the fields. It always rings the hour twice, as if to ensure that its message is heard: Listen, it says. Pay attention. This is where you are.
An exile in Darkness and Light
There's method in our sadness
Social rejection can be so painful that it sometimes leads to violence. But, researchers are finding ways to recover from ostracism, including social snacking.

· We often try to hurry others through the healing of social pain

An insightful feature can be digested by indulging in the latest edition of the SMH Good Weekend: 20 March 2004, p 18 about Billy Connolly. While there are many abondoned, abused and now rich as @*#%, there is only one Jozef Imrich ... Snippets:
Alcohol kept his mood and aggression levels elevated. I did not mind a good punch-up at all. I used to delight in being the world's only violent hippie....
For five decades, he has had a persistent nightmare, like Jozef, about drowning. What normally happens is he discovers he can breathe under water.

The whole thing reminds me of a great story by Spencer Holst (in his collection The Language of Cats, out of print), where a beautiful girl chats up a lonely old guy during a costume party, and he completely falls for her, and the story ends with her whispering to him, It's midnight, take off your mask. Of course, he wasn't wearing one.
· Ouch............. [ via Observant Gianna ]
The stories they could tell
It might not be everyone’s idea of the perfect way to pass an idle hour, but for Robert Hillmanit’s a must on visits home. Here, why communing with the dead in the country graveyard leaves him feeling comforted... and thrillingly alive.
In common with many of my fellow human beings, I am terrified of death. But the cemetery, or at least this particular cemetery, soothes me. As I walk among the headstones, the dead revive. I knew so many of them; went to school with some; knew others as friends of my parents, or as parents of my friends. Their names create a pleasant humming sensation in my head. At the same time, that part of me that looks for instruction in life murmurs placatingly, ’See? They all went through it. Doesn’t seem to have done them much harm, does it?’
The graves evoke images and episodes. I see Normie’s grave and I instantly recall at all ruddy-faced boy with jug ears who was widely regarded as a total fool, until he pulled on the school colours and lined up in the ruck on the footy team. Then, he became something fabulous. And here’s James, never called Jim, who could draw Warner Bros cartoon characters (Bugs, Daffy, Tweety and Sylvester) so deftly that we all foretold a great future for him in the world of art...
Scarcely less vivid to me are the stories of those who expired before my time. One young woman’s century old tomb stone tells us that she ’drowned while attempting to cross the Goulburn River in flood to bring help for her neighbours’. I see her as the heroine of a silent moovie, arriving at the river’s edge and raising her hands in dread as piano music mounts to a crescendo; one hand is raising above the water, and then - nothing. ’Alas!’
This is where my graveyard solace comes from, I think: the hope that someone who knew me, will read my name on a headstone and restore me briefly to the world I did not wish to leave.

[Good Weekend 20 March 2004 p 41 (Sydney Morning Herald)]

Friday, March 19, 2004

In memoriam, Mark D'Arney, Librarian

Thou canst not die. Here thou art more than safe. Where every book is thy epitaph.

In memoriam, Mark D'Arney, Librarian
The New South Wales Parliamentary Library is the oldest of the several parliamentary libraries in Australia. One of the youngest librarians, Mark D’Arney, has guided many parliamentarians and parliamentary researchers through the maze called the Internet...
Catherine Cusack MLC points out in her tribute to Mark that the E-clips service, as it came to be called seemed to be reading my mind as to what I wanted to know. Nothing arrived that was not urgent or interesting or important.
That was precisely the sort of pro-active type of library service that Rob Brian, the chief Parliamentary Librarian, dreamed about the Library to develop and Mark clearly turned the dream into reality. A reality much appreciated by busy Members of Parliament.
We shall miss his cheery face, the mop of tousled black hair, the smile, the mischievous sense of humour, the support he gave to many Members in his role as a delegate on the PSA Workplace Committee, the timely E-clips, his unfailing willingness to assist, his professionalism. May he rest in peace.

The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK [9.46 p.m.]:
I am deeply honoured by this opportunity to reflect upon and give thanks for the contribution made to this Parliament by Mr Mark D'Arney, a highly valued member and colleague of the New South Wales Parliamentary Library. I thank the Government for its courtesy in arranging this opportunity. I feel that this is an occasion to give credit where it is due. I therefore begin by giving credit to Anita Gylseth, a member of the staff of the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, who has initiated and arranged this unusual moment in procedure. It has been a difficult thing to do and it is a credit to her feeling for Mark D'Arney and this Parliament. We are a better place to because of it. I thank the Minister and his office.
This is an all-too-rare moment for all of us as members to reflect soberly and truthfully upon the fact that each of us who stands here stands on the shoulders of others. There are many tall shoulders, but Mark D'Arney stood with the tallest. As a member of the staff of the Parliamentary Library, he and his colleagues chose what I regard, without qualification, as the noblest and most decent profession in our community. Any person who is surprised by such a statement is simply a person who has not thought about it. There are many things I could speak of tonight, but I think it is fair to say that Mark was most famous in the Parliament for three things, the first being his electorate profile research papers which date back to 1996. They were genuinely innovative in their methodology, and nationally acclaimed within his profession. I am sure I am not the only member who has a full set of Mark's papers at home and at work. Indeed, it is a well-travelled collection which has accompanied me and my family on holidays. Individual papers are frequently found on my bedside table.
Mark created the profiles by taking the raw Australian Bureau of Statistics [ABS] data and cobbling together available technology, such as Microsoft Excel—which was not designed for the purpose, but then nothing ever was designed for such a purpose—to generate electoral comparisons of key demographic areas in his series of library background papers. This work was undertaken with Kate Curr, who I know, together with his colleague Melinda McIntyre, has an intense sense of the loss of Mark tonight. Mark was also famous for running the Australian Football League [AFL] tipping competition. Although I was personally never brave enough to venture my own hand at the competition, I had complete empathy with his choice of code. I know that many people, including the Hon. Jennifer Gardiner, participated and looked forward to it each year. It was one of the too-few levellers in this Parliament in which members and staff across the parties and professions could engage and share a great Australian pastime. The tipping competition will be sorely missed. Its absence will be a keen reminder of Mark's absence.
Many honourable members may not be aware of what I came to realise was Mark's pseudonym—Library Eclips. As a new member, I was fascinated by this service¯an automated email that arrived at all hours of the day and night on really interesting and useful topics. Indeed, it seemed to be reading my mind as to what I wanted to know. Nothing arrived that was not urgent or interesting or important. This was not at all consistent with my experience of the Internet and so I chanced my hand one Sunday afternoon and send a reply email to Library Eclips. I received a speedy response, from Mark D'Arney. He explained the system and my profile, and asked whether he could do anything to improve the service. That was typical of Mark's commitment to service. It was that commitment, combined with his intellect, that made him a potent talent in his chosen profession.
What set Mark apart, however, was the rare ability to set his own standards of professionalism and achievement. His standards, which were set in a futuristic area of library service, were without precedent and without peer. Tragically, Mark was just 36 when he passed away. He was at the forefront of a trailblazing generation. When one thinks about it, our great library tradition is steeped in history; it is an activity in conservation in many respects. Francis Bacon said:
Libraries are as the shrines where all the relics of the ancient saints, full of true virtue, and that without delusion or imposture, are preserved and reposed.
I have also heard it eloquently said, although I regret I cannot attribute it, that When I walk into a library it is as if all history unfolds before me. Mark was a man dedicated to the great tradition of libraries, the custodians of ideas and knowledge and freedom for civilised people throughout the ages. But as a modern man he was a pioneer in his great profession, which is crossing a huge threshold from custodians of knowledge to what he called a new additional role as "online traffic cops". I refer honourable members to a paper Mark wrote in 1999 entitled A Library's Approach to Online Government Information. Fittingly, it can be found on the Internet, and it is an important paper. It shows the sympathy and understanding he had for us, his clients, who I would have speculated might have been rather difficult customers. It did not come across that way at all in the way Mark discussed us.
Mark talks about how the library can now supply access to resources that never have been and never will be physically contained in the library. Mark recognised the new frontier; he embraced it, and we are all deeply in his debt for his achievements in conquering it. I emphasise that Mark was amongst the leading figures in Australia in bridging the tradition, the future, the possible and the practical. Mark was a popular member of the New South Wales parliamentary family for nearly 10 years. Today I heard stories of how he would phone the children of library staff members and pretend to be Santa Claus; it absolutely thrilled and amazed them that Santa Claus knew so much about them individually.
Mark had a wry and wonderful sense of humour. Mark was husband to Michelle and father to Valerie Pearl, who turns three in April. The thoughts of all members tonight are particularly with Mark's mother, father and sister. We feel deeply for the staff of the Parliamentary Library; they are at the core of what we do, and we do not thank them enough. Mark's passing is a painful moment, because I fear he may not have realised the extent of our appreciation and sense of loss at his passing. It was once said of a great man who loved his library, Thou canst not die. Here thou art more than safe. Where every book is thy epitaph. Vale, Mark, and thank you from all of us.
· Hon Catherine Cusack: Extract from NSW Legislative Council Hansard [Proof NSW Legislative Council Hansard Article No.46 of 16/03/2004.]

· A Library's Approach to Online Government Information
· With Friends at the Library
· See Also Global Link: Thanks to Librarians at Google


Death of a whistleblower - Sydney Morning Herald


Thursday, March 18, 2004

As under Soviet totalitarian regime, I know we are all brothers and sisters, fighting totalitarian tendencies and terrorism together. They are wrong, we are right!
Some cowards in government want us to be afraid of terorists; do not be; Be bold at all times! There are times when Left Is Right and Right Is Wrong... Up on the High Ground of OpenSociety, There's Nowhere to Hide for liars, rumour spreaders and terrorists!

The Aftershocks from Madrid
G’day. I got my first deluge of emails for the year - on Spain, Iraq and Keelty – and you’re split. The Iraq war takes centre stage, yet again, and it’s hard to imagine it won’t be a factor at the election. I’ve published a strong piece by new Webdiarist Sam Guthrie on the Spanish election and where it might lead which might help clarify our thoughts about this latest twist in the Iraq war saga.
· Death in Madrid
· See Also The sky is falling: Shaun O'Brien
· Councils sacked as Oasis ends in stench

Reading is personal; do we really want to follow a crowd in our march to literacy?
Patti Thorn

But books are not like eggs. Every time we buy eggs, we are looking for the same thing we had last time; but every time we buy a book, we're looking for something different... Yesterday was St Patrick's Day Tomorrow is Sinner Jozef's Day!

The New Irish Chicks
Young women of Ireland are storming the global market for 'chick-lit'. A new breed of Irish female authors in their 20s and 30s, from both Northern Ireland and the Republic, have become hot properties and publishers like Penguin are queueing for their signatures.
· Chick-lit flourishes in singletons' Dublin

· See Also I told you so on Sunday: Jana Wendt would win the Packing Room Prize in this year's Archibald awards. Czech out the full portrait of the Bohemian Czeek