Friday, April 30, 2004

Strange, but this debate over Doonesbury and the coffin photos brings to mind something that "Sopranos" creator David Chase has said: That his goal is to make people squirm, to make them uncomfortable. I think that's part of the media's job--to make people uncomfortable, to make them squirm, to make them feel sick if necessary. I don't mean shock for its own sake, but the shock of uncomfortable and painful realities that force us to challenge our assumptions.
Jonathan Potts

Off the Record
I mean no disrespect to The Times, but what discriminating citizen can really afford to rely on only one source of news? And can't all discriminating readers contextualize what their newspapers (or television stations or radio hosts or Web logs) tell them?
· Paper of Record? No Way, No Reason, No Thanks
[Link Poached from ]
· See Also Newspapers, especially, have a duty to show all aspects of a war, its ugly side as well as its public policy side
· See Also Critic: I know journos who want to write real press criticism

Make no bones about trends:: Forget the BMW, the Armani suit and the Beluga caviar; the latest, must-have item comes in a bottle costing up to $300...
Students set to hit the latest e-books: textbooks, literature and art

Why aren't reporters probing Office of Homeland Security?
Coverage of the structure and actual performance of the Office of Homeland Security in particular is one of the great unreported stories in Washington. No one was asking questions about how every system designed to protect this country failed.
· What did Bush know? Let's ask, 'What's he doing now?'
· See Also Web Filtering and Surveillance
· See Also Sean Nicholls: ASIO lends Bob Carr expertise for material on all government websites
· See Also Balancing the Need To Know: public concerns and private concerns
· See Also Librarians' Index to the Internet, Information You Can Trust!

Thursday, April 29, 2004

The lines, in Yes Prime Minister, get big laugh every time, though sometimes just from me... Politicians, insisted Yes Minister's legendary mandarin, Sir Humphrey Appleby, simply cannot be trusted. They are high-profile amateurs who should leave the real thinking to the professionals, the civil servants...

Power behind the throne: Carr's shot at greatness
Bob Carr's success depends not just on his ministers but on a trusted band of behind-the-scenes advisers - the top-level bureaucrats who help run the state. Paola Totaro examines power and influence in NSW.
Every weekday at 9am sharp, Gellatly, director-general of the Premier's Department, and Roger Wilkins, the dapper head of the Cabinet Office, meet Carr and two or three of his senior personal staff for what has become known internally as the "update". Here, they identify emerging problems and running issues, then divide responsibility for managing them.

· 1,984 Reasons Orwell Was Only 20 Years Off: The Odd Couple, the Engines Behind Carr [ via Ice Age: Different Faces Must Finish What Bob Started...]
· See Also White Death: Two degrees between life and suicide
· See Also What Sydney can learn from the world's leading public transport cities?
· See Also Health: Act Like No One Can Hear You Scream
· See Also In 1993 Independent MP John Hatton when asked by the media if another 'Chelmsford' was possible replied: It's not a question of if - just a question of when... [link to Living National Treasures i.e. John Hatton
· See Also Time and again, Latinos, who make up almost two-thirds of the city's 30,000 residents, have run for council and failed

Arthur Sulzberger of the New York Times: We had a truly horrible year at the New York Times last year. ... "The scariest thing of all of last year for me... wasn't Jayson Blair.... The scariest part was that the people we lied about didn't bother to call because they just assumed that's the way newspapers worked. That's scary.
As Jeff Jarvis says: Amen and amen again

Everything is Costed Nothing is Valued
ME and my big mouth… A reader has taken me to task for the items that appeared last month calling new Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore a crypto-communist.
· Hillary's Clover Moore challenge
· See Also Humans are herd animals. When we see other people trading up to better homes, we have an almost irresistible urge to join them
· See Also How much is Google worth? [Link Poached from ]

John Howard and Alan Jones are friends. They're also political allies. Mutual backscratchers, in other words, for mutual advantage. Cool. But what happens when the third party in the mutual admiration and mutual benefit society is the bloke Howard appoints to enforce the law on radio broadcasting licence holders - in this case 2UE, in which Jones is a substantial shareholder - and to set standards of conduct to protect citizens from abuse of power?
Why the big parties won't keep Big Media honest

Blog Me Tender: Still, it puts bums on seats at conferences, eh? [/obligatory snark ]
I have to question the wisdom of putting people and their passions into boxes, particularly when many (myself included) love it out here on the new frontier precisely because we can avoid being boxed in by those who would diminish our work by drawing lines around it. Which be an exercise in self-deception, but that's the most delicious flavour, after all.
· Irak: Bloggers are editors, not journalists [ courtesy of ]
· See Also Political Biases
· See Also Not to go blubbery on me the way you do when you read a dog story with a sad ending

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

If only there were ice cream for everyone, Camelot would still be with us! Instead, we preach the American dream, and some of those born losers who find it hollow seek to even the score with a gun: And all you have to do/Is/Squeeze your little finger./Ease your little finger back—/You can change the world

Meanwhile, Latham' s alleged plagiarism was a gift to bloggers. Of course everyone divided on partisan lines, but various commenters revealed themselves as sometime speechwriters. Chris Sheil at Back Pages confessed to popping bits of Gorbachev into a National Party minister?s speeches, while 'Nabakov' admitted:
I've borrowed stuff from sources as diverse as CS Lewis, Ian Fleming, Simon Schuma, Bruce Sterling, Larry Ellison, Nye Bevan and Sir Richard Burton....

· Lakatoi - cross-cultural observations and reflections by a former Australian Ambassador and High Commissioner, Dr James Cumes [Link Poached from Barista, Heartstarters for the hungry mind]
· See Also Blog-Tracking Gaining Ground Among U.S. Intelligence Officials
· See Also LawsJaming (@Technorati#1: Laws accuses Jones - National -

It was, Woodward said, something Powell and his deputy, Dick Armitage, called the Pottery Barn rule: 'You break it, you own it.'
Not so, the company protested in a statement, saying broken items are seen as 'the cost of doing business and (we) would not require a customer to pay for an item that he or she inadvertently broke in our store.'
Being dissed by a retail chain specializing in ceramics and kitchenware summed up the week for Powell.

Bizarre! Nuclear Bazaar
4Corners reports that the most alarming scenario – the possibility that Pakistan’s secrets might now be in Al Qaeda’s hands – is being seriously contemplated by weapons specialists.
· Specialist Secrets [link first seen at 4 Corners]
· See Also Divorced from reality? A collection of Orwellian prescient observations
· See Also The Condensed Bob Woodward - Slate reads Plan of Attack so you don't have to
· See Also Mordechai Vanunu: Nuclear Hero's 'Crime' Was Making Us Safer...
· See Also Vanunu was guilty, of course, of telling the truth: Israel's WMDs seem to be accepted, unreported and beyond criticism
Good Olympics News all about the golden 400 meters: Thorpe thanks his good friend Stevens

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Act 1948
By outlining the basis upon which the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Bill 1948 was introduced, the e-brief hopes to assist debate on proposed changes to the scheme in 2004.
· Briefing Paper from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library [Link Poached from APO ]
· See Also Are Australian MPs in touch with constituents?
· See Also THE REPUBLIC: Debate should involve all of us from the start
· See Also Continuity in Representation Act of 2004, The US House of Representatives has approved a "doomsday bill" in the event that 100 or more members were killed
· See Also Meanwhile, in Rome. Politicians get punished because they have public lives.
· See Also British MPs get poison gas screen: History of Parliamentary Chambers
· See Also Controversy Over E-Voting Machines Escalates
· Mark D'Arney: Parliament's library

Poverty is engulfing the people and unrest is rising... Whoever wins, the uprising will come.
Father Joe Dizon, 2004 (Neighbourhood priest of Philippines Phame)

Nobody Expects The Czech Inquisition! If China is Blind, Czech Memory is at Best Near-Sighted...
In China, President Klaus can act like a statesman from a country that remembers its communist past or like a pragmatic, silent technocrat.
Klaus cannot claim during his current visit, as he did before his 1994 trip as prime minister, that he does not know a single Chinese dissident. He now knows the stories of He Depu, Zheng Enchong, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Wang Wanxing and Yan Jun.

· 1,984 Reasons Orwell Was Only 20 Years Off: Choices in Beijing [Link Poached from Prague Post]
· See Also Mikhail Gorbachev: For A Global Glasnost...
· See Also A silent migration: Since the year 2000, between 234,000 and 350,000 Ecuadorians have set sail for Guatamala in illegal embarcations
· See Also THE SECOND round of Slovakia's presidential elections brought defeat to Meciar who was boxed out by his estranged ally, Ivan Gasparovic [Link Poached from Slovak Spectator]
· See Also Who is Gasparovic? Another lesser evil?
· See Also Eastern European Memories of Easter: Willow and water treats [Hockey Memories: 7 Months exactly after the Invasion You have tanks. We have goals! Cold as ice: The triumph in 1969 [Memories Poached from This is My P1S1: Tucked away in the folds of the ancient mountains that embrace the Kezmarok and Poprad valleys lay a royal town called Vrbov (a place with dual meanings: ‘willow’ and ‘boiling water’)]
· See Also Both the Old and New Testaments tell us that fathers who sacrifice their sons are good and sons who allow themselves to be sacrificed on the orders of their fathers become our saviors
· See Also Oprah of Poprad: Whirlpool brings new work culture and jobs to Slovakian town`
· See Also MEl Forgives Us for His Sins: You try to perform an act of love even for those who persecute you, and I think that's the message of the film

Building bigger roads to solve traffic congestion is like buying larger trousers to cure obesity.
Bob Passey (letter to SMH 23 April 2004)

Pearson and O'Reilly Do e-Textbook Deal
BooksSource: e-consultancyPearson launches web-textbooks programme"Publishing giant Pearson is launching a project in the US to offer students digital textbooks at half the price of the printed versions...The group's education division is to launch the project, SafariX Textbooks Online, as a joint venture with another US publisher O'Reilly Media, which offers textbooks on technology, and already uses the Safari system. Rather than offering textbooks for digital download, Safari hosts books online with the ability to annotate and navigate through a web browser.
· By making more and more e(in)Books digital, publishers can keep greater control over them and lower the expenses [Link Poached from Albert Einstein dated a librarian -- what more proof do you need? Johanna Fantova ]
· Finalists lists [link first seen at WebbyAwards][ via German Top 100]
· See Also Act Like Nothing's Wrong: Google ranks popularity, not authority. And popularity is a measure which is vulnerable to many some pages higher ranking than they deserve
· See Also How To Speed-Read the Net: Ditch your browser...RSS makes surfing for news a joy
· See Also Iraqis enjoy new freedom of expression on Web journals
· See Also Quoteblogs vs. Linkblogs: John Inluminant writes about quoting on blogs
· See Also Apple: The problem with most conferences is that the intelligence is sitting in the dark with its hands folded, falling asleep while a bunch of idiots on stage with PowerPoints talking nonsense
· See Also Free Books: Published before the 1920's

Monday, April 26, 2004

A crimson thread links Marcel Caux to Linda Baulch. It's a thread that hangs heavily with fame and with folly, with bright hopes and sorrowful endings. It's part of Australia's collective sentiment, deep in the heart's core. It's called Anzac...

ANZAC Memories
GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

· Away in far Gallipolli: As Ferguson points out to describe one of the great military disasters as 'dirty' is an absurd reduction [ via Barista ]
[ courtesy of Google: Tears for war tales; Societies reaffirm their collective sentiments from time to time, and Australians reaffirm theirs every Anzac Day]
· See Also Full Coverage: ANZAC
· See Also A top-secret Anzac Day visit: It's a small risk I take . . . Mr Howard with Australian troops during the Anzac Day dawn service at Baghdad
· See Also Pat Tillman, K.I.A. U.S. Army Ranger and Ex-NFL Player Pat Tillman Killed in Afghanistan
· See Also Are we feeling comfortable yet? Through the Wire: Their torment is carried out by our Government, in our names

Evil comes to us men of imagination wearing as its mask all the virtues.
W.B. Yeats, Dramatis Personae

The Sad Seedy Side Of Legendary
The trouble with legends is that they simultaneously attract and repel. There's a serious downside. The world of legend worship is patrolled and inhabited by very sad people, almost all of them men. This is not a world that suffers fools gladly. There is something embarrassing about being part of it
· Legendary performances take on an aura of their own
· See Also No substantial famine has ever occurred in any country with a relatively free press: Four reasons why a free press is so important [Link Poached from Tim Porter]
· See Also Free Press? A surreal logic concerning radio deals

Sunday, April 25, 2004

French police are releasing their files on Pablo Picasso. Documents show that Picasso was spied on initially as a suspected anarchist, and later over his communist sympathies - before he became a prominent member of France's Communist Party.

Getting Older? So What!
You hear it everywhere - we're getting older, and society will be the worse for it. Even as we reap the benefits of longevity and vitality, we are becoming more anxious about the social and economic effects of ageing upon society. Demographics has turned from a peripheral issue into a major source of concern. We are told we need to confront some pretty big questions. Can society cope with having so many more old people? Can we really afford our future? But just because the mood of social pessimism is so ubiquitous does not mean we should simply accept it.
· Double Standards of Ageing: the future is affordable [Link Poached from 'We Built This City' ranks as the worst record ever ]
· See Also Trying to fix the unfixable: North Korean blast a symbol of decay that blights a shambolic system
· See Also A bit on the side: Sydney may get another window dressing
· See Also Talkfest: New blueprint to turn city green
· See Also Their beliefs are bonkers, but they are at the heart of power
· See Also Dad ... what's a terrorist?

The man who tells you that there is no such thing as truth, or that truth is relative, is asking you not to believe him. So don't...
Roger Scruton

People have eyes: On whistleblowing and why it's so hard to do
The reprisals for being a dissenter are extremely serious in many cases, which is why you often get either the young or the old being rebels. Less to lose. The balance in society is way too skewed towards conformity. Dissent is becoming more important, but it's also more difficult to take on powerful corporations. And if you're on the inside of the corporation, it's easy to be targeted vehemently.
For speaking out, and bringing the wrongdoing to the attention of their superiors, employers, or an external agency with, at least on paper, the power to investigate and do something to remedy the situation, the employee, far from receiving praise for their honesty or rectitude, often receives the kinds of persecutions metéd out to Franz Kafka’s Joseph K in The Trial or Winston Smith in George Orwell’s 1984. In other words, it seems far more important to conform, stay silent, go along to get along, exist only for the advancement of your superior’s career, keep your mouth shut, don’t cause trouble, etc. and similar, because if you don’t, this is what will happen to you.

· Taxing World of Whistleblowers [ courtesy of Webdiary ]
· See Also Five years ago a brilliant man hanged himself: The spy chief left out in the cold (A tale of two thieves, in their own words)

Linking to political tales, Is the socially conscious novel a dead genre? Whatever happened to the idea that a book can change the world? Are authors so intent on their own characters that they can't be bothered to make their plots politically relevant to our increasingly dangerous world? Ray Conlogue is only asking, but modern authors seem increasingly hostile to the notion that they could actually advance political ideas or social agendas with their works of fiction. These days, novelists are perfectly within their rights to spend hours working on behalf of whatever causes they support, but to put the crusade to paper would apparently cross some invisible line of decorum.
· See Also Maybe it's that political writers tend to be such tortured souls. Or maybe the constant battle for public understanding and acceptance is just too much for some... Whatever Happened to the Political Novel?
· See Also Woodward chose to be a rich, not great, writer (TNR)
· See Also Dad ... what's a drug dealer? Someone carrying a small amount of cannabis on a suburban train...

In the realm of life & death, all things being equal, most people find unhappiness more interesting than joy.
Most people somehow find unhappiness more profound or meaningful or important than happiness... Trying to hide the photos is dishonoring fallen soldiers (SeaTimes); when issues are about government censorship, not sensitivity

Escape, Desire, Culture, Receipts: Of Value And Survival
Sure, there's the obvious connection between art and money, writes Thomas Crow. But art also has its business in the world, in how a society functions and sees itself. As works of circulate from creator to patron, from dealer to collector, from private interior to public gallery, the transactions can be as much about sheltering the emotional, cultural and intellectual value of art as they are about money, even as prices climb and currency changes hands.
· I've always believed that one of the signs of a healthy society is when all aspects of that society communicate with each other [ One-in-a-million links: One Story Fits All? The trouble with escapes is that they simultaneously attract and repel ]
· See Also What makes Us Write? There are not too many Jozef Konrads, either, and Konrad published his first book when he was thirty-eight
· See Also Officially the Parliamentary Librarian is looking for someone who can demonstrate literary excellence though a substantial history of published works, including poetry
· See Also Edinburgh: City pitches for world's literary crown
· See Also Sexiest photo of MEdia Dragon in a parliamentary library: stack X collection

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Vanunu said of Mossad and Shin Bet, which he accused of cruel, barbaric treatment... You didn't succeed to break me, you didn't succeed to make me crazy. I am a symbol of the will of freedom, that you cannot break the human spirit.

The Secret of the B-29
Barry Siegel of the Los Angeles Times spent eight months unraveling the story of a 50-year-old court case that "provides a fundamental basis for much of the Bush administration's response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, including the USA Patriot Act and the handling of terrorist suspects. The case, involving the families of three men who died in an B-29 plane crash and the ability of the government to withhold information about the accident, created a legal privilege
· that has enabled federal agencies to conceal conduct, withhold documents and block troublesome civil litigation, including suits by whistle-blowers and possible victims of discrimination [link first seen at Scoop]
· See Also Siegel used declassified Air Force records and court documents for the story

Tim Darragh of the Allentown Morning Call has a two-day series on the financial history of Pennsylvania's Turnpike, which in seeking a 44-percent increase in tolls this summer is continuing a nearly two-decade-long spending binge that has left the agency with billions of dollars of debt, a doubling of tolls and the prospect of more to come. Part of the problem is that decisions were made easy by a closed loop of Turnpike officials, who have no direct accountability to taxpayers,
· and legislators, who ordered the highway system's expansion but have no budgetary authority over the Turnpike [Link Poached from Scoop]
· See Also Black hole" expressway project
· See Also Best way to get a toll-booth job is through political connections

He had expected compliance, but not at the astounding rate of 65 per cent of subjects willing to deliver what they believed were lethal shocks.

Whatever you say, boss
An infamous experiment,threeyearsafterMEdiaDragonwasborn, showed how easily people could be led to kill.
In a post-Holocaust world, like in post-Cold War world, people were struggling to understand how scores of SS, and KGB officers, had shot, gassed and tortured millions of people to death, supposedly on orders from their commanders.

· Why even non partisan parliamentary officers will obey the deadliest orders

A sinister killer, a flight to Amsterdam, and hundreds of millions of dollars at stake . . . the asbestos saga reads like a novel
· ASBESTOS AFTERMATH: Hardie casts a long shadow
· Asian tigers, Double Dragons: Twofold disaster [link first seen at NY ]

Kapri is as charming as ever it was, the people as odd: everybody is very immoral, but fortunately not so dull as those who kick over the traces often are.
W. Somerset Maugham, letter to Violet Hunt (c. 1905)

MEdia Dragon eBook and My Passwords for a Chocolate...
Library e-books now on cell phones. David Rothman writes Patrons of the Cleveland Public Library's virtual side can now read e-books on cell phones, via the crossplatform Mobipocket reader. It's surprising how clear and readable eBooks appear on the color screen of my Motorola cell phone, says library official Cynthia Orr as quoted in an OverDrive news release. More at TeleRead.
· See Also Library e-books now on cell phones
· See Also The Electronic Paper Book (Wow!)
· See Also Window-Wire-Dressing?(WWD): Wiring Atherton Gardens, a much-studied public-housing estate in inner Melbourne, Australia, is subverting the ‘digital divide’ by giving the residents access to computers and the internet
· See Also Google flexes its muscles? What is Google cooking? [via Google's indexing of syndication feeds]
· See Also What Privacy Issues? I trust Google more than most governments: I was among the lucky Blogger users who received invitation to Gmail, but my dinasaur application failed to support the system
· See Also Gianna hangs up her blogging gloves: The blogworld will definitely feel Gianna's absence. Good luck with life, Harley, love, and happiness

Friday, April 23, 2004

Hard core irony of window dressing? An exclusive Sydney club (not far away from Macquarie Street, Sydney, Australia) had a security policy that scanned law-abiding citizens with metal detectors but let "heavies" and bikies enter unchecked because of fears of violence.

It's hard to know what is more disturbing... The road and river map is not dead; iraq is free; the referendum is now good; and, as orwell might have added, war is peace... Revelation (9:14-15) maintains that four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates will be released to slay the third part of men... Madness Explained...

Putting Our Ideas up for Destiny
A small number of citizens whose ideas are regarded as exceptional, brilliant, and world changing. The bulk of our citizens accept the world as something they cannot change - and yet if only they knew the power of that idea about the world!
We are all born into the world as travellers on the (river) of life, down through the ages, none of us with absolute certainty about the (river) we are on, nor any (river) for that matter, except certainties we choose ourselves. As citizens of the world we've been given a free ticket to create it any way we want...

· Artist Robert Bosler: Beneath us is the oldest land in the world [ via ]
· See Also Keelty driven to brink of resigning
· See Also Vanunu: traitor or prisoner of conscience?
· See Also Killing Us Softly: Weblog coverage of families of American war victims in Iraq?
· See Also Oil-for-Terror? Oil-for-Food scandal: The corruption in this deal appears to have been one of the biggest in U.N. history
· See Also This is nothing short of the scariest article i've read in exile: 7 new Elite Russian Scientists Mysteriously Being Murdered

Celebrating a universal moment devoted to the culture of reading isn’t an easy thing at the moment, nor perhaps when MEn Dragons are Losing Our (sic) Edge? The mouse, Yoda, that roared & Yoedeled! Virgin mouse gives birth: In a First, Mice Are Made Without Fathers... Running naked through the jungle, which didn't matter until somebody released some dragons...

Friday April 23rd is World Book Day
Although many locales are concerned about their populations leaning away from books and towards mass media, on April 23, the world will once again celebrate World Book Day. The day was chosen due to a significant confluence of important author dates; it marks both the day of Shakespeare's birth and his death.
· My book cycle [Link Poached from Google by not so Virgin Mouse]
· See Also Librarian's Dramatic Past Life: Here's a librarian to abolish stereotypes ...
· See Also Librarians, Escapes & Politics sells books, left and right [Engaging Ordinary Readers Sole Survivor: Wait a second. What is my role? ]
· See Also Library e-books now on cell phones
· See Also Killing Us Poetically: Poets die young -- younger than novelists, playwrights and other writers

Thursday, April 22, 2004

The Farmer allows walkers to cross the paddock for free, but the bull charges!!!
[In this extraordinary time, first we had Man Bites Dog to Death--headline, Sydney Morning Herald, April 11; & today We Know We Left Those Scissors Somewhere... ]

Much Ado About Something: South Treasures Meet North
Three things succeed on the internet: shopping, as perfected by Amazon; searching, as perfected by Google; and blogging as perfected by thousands of creative fingers and linkers...
In keeping with the egalitarian nature of blogs, David Tiley of Barista fame is encouraging everyone to share small, but beautiful blogging treasures....
For my part, I suggested
[Lakatoi by James Cumes:
Cross-cultural observations and reflections by a former Australian Ambassador and High Commissioner, Dr James Cumes:: James born and bred in Brissie is now based in Vienna where he devotes his time to charities, writing and leading Victory over Want]
[ (Southern Cross) Words;]
(Southern Cross) Words by Gregory Altreuter :: Cross-cultural observations and reflections by a former New Yorker on Sydney Australia, including philosophical musings, art, music, literature raves, political obtuseness, and anything else that comes to mind on the differences between life directed by the Pole Star and living beneath the Southern Cross.

· See Also The rise of Weblogging has been a cold shower for the complacent mass communication industries [Link Poached from Webdiary: Blogjam5]
· See Also Jeremy Zawodny on creative linking [link first seen at ]
· See Also P23;S5 MEmedia Dragon
· See Also Metadata librarian becoming cool: Was it due to Harriet Klausner, retired librarian and #1 Amazon book reviewer?

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The argument, in a nutshell, is that the contingency of natural endowments softens the hearts of the successful, taking some of the edge off meritocracy. Once our physical and mental capacities become a matter of choice, we enter a world in which people see themselves as deserving of all that they possess. It is a world of hyper-competition, and without charity.

Follow me, said the policymaker. And, tragically, we did
What's wrong with designer politicians, bionic athletes, and genetic engineering...Breakthroughs in genetics present us with a promise and a predicament. The promise is that we may soon be able to treat and prevent a host of debilitating diseases. The predicament is that our newfound genetic knowledge may also enable us to manipulate our own nature—to enhance our muscles, memories, and moods; to choose the sex, height, and other genetic traits of our children; to make ourselves better than well... It threatens to banish our appreciation of life as a gift, and to leave us with nothing to affirm or behold outside our own will
· The Case Against Perfection: Creative Destruction
· See Also But what of the press? Did newspapers ignore the lessons of history as well? As the public's watchdog, did we bark loud enough as Bush's plans took shape, or were we dozing?
· See Also Roadside drug tests are steering towards a legal minefield

His only weakness is a lust for power—
And that is not a weakness, people think,
When unaccompanied by bribes or drink.
Sir John Betjeman, The Town Clerk’s Views

Federal Election Commission Auto-Commenters
Andrew Mollison of Cox News Service performed a statistical analysis on e-mail comments submitted to the Federal Election Commission in advance of a ruling on political committees, finding that roughly 48 percent arrived through a feature on the Bush-Cheney Web site, where users could sign and e-mail a pre-written message directly to the commission
· When will we learn that we're not going to end the mess in legislatures by getting bad guys? There are always new bad guys to take their place...

And let us bathe our hands in . . . blood up to the elbows, and besmear our swords. Then we walk forth, even to the market place, And waving our red weapons o'er our heads, Let's all cry peace, freedom and liberty!
- Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
· See Also Blood Vote - The Consequences of Voting for George W. Bush...
· See Also Fixing The Election (by Steven Hill and Rob Richie): Ordinary people can ensure the 2004 presidential election isn't stolen
· See Also Election Could Tempt Attack by Terror Groups, Rice Says
· See Also Marian Sawer: Above-the-line voting: how democratic? (PDF Format)

While on my way to the airport, I saw an ad for Wild Turkey bourbon, which said Anything less is a waste of good ice. I had that uneasy feeling that something was wrong, but I couldn't quite say what. Then it struck me that the claim was logically equivalent to Any worse, and it would be undrinkable.
Turkeys by John Quiggin

This Season Our Economy Is Offering Debt and Casual Jobs
The United Nations has finally noticed that entrepreneurial economic activity is sweeping the globe. UN’s Commission on the Private Sector and Development issued its report, Unleashing Entrepreneurship: Making Business Work for the Poor, in which the primary recommendation is, you guessed it, break down barriers created by governmental bureaucracy and get out of the way.
· Entrepreneurship as an strategy to reduce poverty [Link Poached from Anita ]
· See Also Harry Heidelberg: Dreams becoming nightmares
· See Also Global Slumlords
· See Also Max Uechtritz: From the ABC to Nine and back [ via Crikey ]
· See Also Eastern Europe productivity: Czech Republic and Slovakia becoming a regional cluster for the auto industry

A Passion for Poetry (and Profits)
When John W. Barr was a teenager, he walked into his family's living room and announced that he had decided to become a poet.
His father replied: That's fine, but go to college so people will think you're an eccentric, not just a beach bum.

· Deciding how to make use of a gift worth more than $100 million.
· See Also A good nose for a business opportunity: Aroma Tours, an Australian company, organises holidays to nice-smelling places

David Tiley is standing in for Tim Dunlop for the next four weeks. He is a writer, script editor, teacher and occasional director who works in film and multimedia, particularly on documentaries, and has done his bit as an arts bureaucrat. His blog Barista tries to find humour in a deadly serious world... Nevermind the substantiated accussation of MEdia Dragon being the prince of the link...

NEXT TIME DON’T BLOG SO CLOSE: Faherty has a dirty, dirty, suggestion
Juile Faherty writes an article in today's New York Times about BloggerCon II. The article focuses on the business potential of blogs and advertising again rises to the number one position for revenue generation.
There is too much emphasis on advertising and blogs. I realize that Adwords and BlogAds have created the possibility of instant micropublishing. I realize that when mainstream media reports on our corner of the world that they are going to report from their perspective - newspapers and magazines create content and then sell advertising. I also realize that people are finding success and that makes a good story.

· ConBloggerII [ courtesy of A Penny For...]
· See Also Sadly, the last thing most bloggers (and not just guys) think about is their feet
· See Also Warning! The dragon monster demands a mate! Well, I don't really have a girlfriend but in my fantasies in which I'm having sex with my girlfriend, you're her
· See Also And they say romance is dead: A lot of my day's taken up with a soul-aching commute into the city, and that just feels like dead time
· See Also The Zen of Blogging
· See Also Blogrunner

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The Lords of Bakersfield, an in-depth investigative series that exposed public and private corruption in its community over several decades. The paper carefully considered the many ethical issues involved in reporting and editing the series, insulated the newsroom from any real or perceived conflict of interest raised in reporting on the activities of former staff and members of the current publisher’s family, and withstood efforts by the local district attorney to discredit the series following publication...

Preventing the Next (Sydney) Scandal ...
Powerful gay men. Vulnerable teen-age boys. Murder. For years, some prominent local men who led secret lives were rumored to be protected. Whispers surrounding another important man's death prompt the question:
· Is there really a conspiracy??? [ courtesy of Payne Awards for Ethics Honor 2004 Winners]
· See Also Abusing Secrets: The no-right-to-know White House
· See Also The Cost of Doing Business' Sierra magazine's Marilyn Berlin Snell breaks the story of how Denver-based Echo Bay Mines secretly paid upwards of $2 million in protection money to al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in the Philippines
· See Also Amerikan ABC News: 'Blood Money, report on Echo Bay Mines
· See Also $4.5 Billion For Mercenaries In Iraq: NY Times has an extensive report on the scope, costs and problems of the military's use of mercenaries in Iraq

Opportunism is something for which intellectuals have especial talents because of their aptitude for managing vocabulary at the expense of thought.
John Lukacs, Confessions of an Original Sinner

Enter the village people to ringing applause
When the new Lord Mayor of Sydney led her team in at Town Hall, she might have been someone between Mother Teresa and Joan of Arc, wearing no mayoral chain but with rings sparkling from ears and fingers.
· Moore Villagish
· See Also Chainless with Arcs
· See Also ABC of Alan Jones

I’m of a fearsome mind to throw my arms around every living librarian who crosses my path, on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved.
– Barbara Kingsolver Who's reading what? Laura Bush asked for preferences

The nature of meaning in the age of Google
Google may index billions of Web pages, but it will never exhaust the store of meaning of the Web. The reason is that Google's aggregation strategy is only one of many different strategies that could be applied to the semantic objects in public Web space. Hidden in the 'dogs' retrieval set of 14.5 million are special, singular, obscure, unpopular, etc., Web pages that await a different aggregation strategy that would expose their special meanings. To charge that Google has a bias against obscure websites... is to expect Google to be something other than Google. Google finds the common meanings. Many other meanings exist on the Web and await their aggregators.
· The culture of lay indexing [Link Poached from a paper by professor Terry Brooks]
· See Also This would be the time to say thank you to your local librarian
· See Also Luring readers with tacos: Reading nourishes the soul, and this week it satisfies the stomach, too

I was repining at the thought of my slow progress—how few new ideas I had or picked up—when it occurred to me to think of the total of life and how the greater part was wholly absorbed in living and continuing life—victuals—procreation—rest and eternal terror. And I bid myself accept the common lot; an adequate vitality would say daily, 'God, what a good sleep I’ve had,' 'My eye, that was dinner,' 'Now for a fine rattling walk'—in short, life as an end in itself.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., letter to Frederick Pollock, 1919

I Can tell that we're going to be enemies: MEdia Dragon (TM) has dreams of blogging all about it
What dragon's blog would be complete without displaying something with a lot of dragonanger?
Weblogs have revolutionised the media. But are they more than just vanity publishing? And if so, what kind of content is best? Leading bloggers Salam Pax, Rhodri Marsden and Gregor Wright debate the issues. Via email, naturally ...
BTW, come and listen to a young man from Iraq with the pseudonym of Salam Pax, the Baghdad Blogger, @ Sydney Writers' Festival, May 17 - 23, 2004

· Being a Spy and a MEdia Dragon is a Conflict of Interest
· See Also Jungle Journalism and Weblogging in Their Corrected Fullness
· See Also Amazon: More Rain Forest... Criticism and Elitism [ The books Amazon natives are talking about now Buy this book, it's amazingly good ]
· See Also DID YOU SEE?: Blogs are all effectively Did You Sees, one person's effort to boil the news of the world down to a handful of salient items
· See Also Here's a word that will interest editorial page editors: No Word Is Mightier Than the Pollutocrat

Monday, April 19, 2004

She gave him a gift that would be useful for the rest of his life...
I didn't care how God wanted to work, I wanted a result. In his better moments since Jenny died three months ago, when his grief is less overwhelming and he can contemplate just what it is he really believes, Cain has had to deal with what theologians know as "the problem of evil": either God is loving and just, but not powerful enough to prevent evil; or God has the power, but does not love us enough to stop bad things happening.
Cain, who turned 50 last month, does not believe in a God who manipulates all that happens in the world. He describes life as "risky", and accepts that the creaturely life humans live is finite. But Jenny's death hurts and he daily confronts feelings of abandonment...

Beyond Good And Evil: There is a contradiction about God!

Ten years ago the world watched as one of history’s greatest crimes unfolded.
The tiny African state of Rwanda became a slaughterhouse when the majority Hutu rampaged against their Tutsi neighbours. In 100 frenzied days, an estimated 800,000 people were murdered. The international community stood by and did nothing as Rwanda joined the list of 20th century genocides…

· Bosnia, Cambodia, the Holocaust, Armenia [ via Tribute to Des Horne, much-loved Four Corners editor]
· See Also Murdoch: Well look at the power of radio, look at your power, you’ve got more power than I have at the moment. Jones: Oh cut it out...
· See Also Jones and Cash for Comment – Mark 2 Media Watch: Everybody loves it until they're on it - and then they sometimes hate it

Building is a little like war. Once you get in it, you have to go all the way...
Architect James Polshek

Fatal Errors: Rotten to the Corps
It is clear that the Australian intelligence community is unable to identify reality in a timely manner or convey its significance to the Government
· No sweeping of the matters under the carpet [ via Sunday ]
· See Also Shadow Defence Minister, Senator Chris Evans
· See Also Soldiers And Fortune: Who's calling the shots in Iraq? And who pays his salary? (By Barry Lando, a former CBS producer of 60 Minutes)
· See Also Anti-Bush Sentiment Busts Out All Over: & it's not just the usual suspects taking shots. The fire is coming from feature film, theatre and TV

According to Not much, last week EU officials moved to end Czech Republic's gladiator fight clubs ...
Letter from Prague suggests that Czechs are among the most liberal nations in the world with regards to issues such as abortion, homosexuality, and infidelity.

While dragons of Beijing Evening News stature told a shocking story of American hubris: Congress was behaving like a petulant baseball team and threatening to bolt Washington, D.C., unless it got a new, modern Sydney Opera House building, complete with retractable roof...

Great Amerikan Business Leaders Database
The database was compiled over a two-year period in an effort to identify and chronicle the lives of individuals whose business leadership in the twentieth century shaped the way people live, work, and interact.... Note: only a portion of the database is available on this website.
· Only in, kan do gud, Amerika
· See Also What Great American Leaders Teach Us
· See Also Drawing Baseball Fans: runs scored and high-salaried player, not wins, were the most significant factors in drawing fans to ballgames
· See Also Watching Justice: (Gara LaMarche) A new website launched by the Open Society Institute to focus public and media attention on the many ways in which the U.S. Department of Justice and related federal entities affect our lives
· See Also Best Reference Sources 2003: Amerika & the world had many reasons to worry in 2003. and Australia & James Russell

Wisdom of Antipodian waterhole BUNYIP: a cross between a dog and a (MEdia) dragon ...Mother dragoness retaliated by causing the waters of the lake to rise until the whole countryside was flooded and the baby floated back to her.
The town of Bunyip is named after a mythical creature from Aboriginal storeytelling which was said to inhabit swamps and billibongs. The town itself is located on the Gippsland railway line, 77 kilometres east of Melbourne.

Sydney: Rich city, poor kids
Lawless street gangs in an inner-city suburb reflect deeper tensions between the have-nots and the haves...
As its population booms, Sydney will create a whole new city on its fringe, not just more suburbs. And there are riches to be made
· Bones of Sydney
· A City from scratch
· City of HypoCrites: Thinking inside the Harbour

Occasionally, reckless use of a search engine uncovers something interesting. Even things like why Jozef Imrich just wants to be humiliated. Over and over again. Mortification: a collection of writers' most humiliating moments:
`Reading Canceled,' or three chairs occupied by people released from mental institutions and not thought to be violent; People who would much rather be gluing seashells to flower pots; Most frequently, though, no one shows up...

I didn't ask if blogging is journalism: If your mother says she loves you, czech it out.
Let's start with the basics. When a journalist writes a story, she calls a bunch of experts, and writes down what they say. Then the reporter thinks about what all this means. Maybe she interviews more experts. Maybe she interviews The Man on the Street to find out what it means to The Average Person. And then in the end, she strings together the quotes to make a story. This is an act of journalism. I think we all agree.
Enter the weblogs. They make it possible for the experts to go direct, without any intermediaries. A person who wants info can now find out what people think without going through the reporter. This is revolutionary

· This is what the Internet does to everything it touches [Link Poached from j's scratchpad ]
· See Also This is a draft of Chapter 9: Trust's Boundaries of my upcoming book, Making the News
· See Also Stories are generally about people in the last stages of physical, moral and social decrepitude, which explains the reflective and occasionally melancholy undercurrent in many of the tales
· See Also An excellent directory of library weblogs
· See Also A Novel Approach to Legal Research
· See Also Ten Most Wanted Documents for 2004
· See Also Search Congressional-Research-Service Reports

Excellent roundup from Chris Sherman, a must read to keep up to date with what is really going on in the world of secret warrants & searches, Search Engine Milestones for March 2004 [ Google still has 40% of search referrals, Yahoo has 27%, MSN 19%, then there's the rest of the engines bringing up the rear]

Sunday, April 18, 2004

How do I love alternativish countryfied Blogjam? Let me count the ways ...

Tiger Force: Major media have failed to follow up the Blade’s revelations. It’s as if there’s a statute of limitations on the collective conscience. A conspiracy of silence has given way to widespread indifference, coupled, presumably, with contemporary anxieties...

Welcome and Unwelcome Attention: FBI
FBI Files on Kerry Stolen from Author's Home
Historian and biographer Gerald Nicosia has been the sudden object of both welcome and unwelcome attention lately. The SF Chronicle explains: The past two weeks have been too high-octane even for Nicosia, not unaccustomed to attention (or flak) on the Beat and political fronts. Fourteen boxes of FBI surveillance files that he battled for more than a decade to obtain have suddenly become a mother lode of information about the 1970s anti- war activities of Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry. So enticing are the contents of those files, somebody slipped into Nicosia's modest Corte Madera home on March 25 and made off with several thousand pages -- most dealing with Kerry's years in Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

· Without a permit, rising from the websites
· See Also Were you there when they spied on MEdia Dragon? How many boxes of surveillance files are there?
· See Also Battered and Bloodied Battalion: Behind the birth of Tiger Force
· See Also (Tiger Force) Blade wins Pulitzer: Series exposing Vietnam atrocities earns top honor
· See Also No-one realized that terrorists could use an airplane as a weapon, except for Tom Clancy and NORAD
· See Also Antony Loewenstein: Tools to stop them engineering your consent
· See Also A Busy Person's Guide to the Bush Press Conference

Exclusives from Iraq
This week, in only his third prime-time press conference in three-and-a-half years of presidency, George W. Bush admitted the past few weeks in Iraq have been difficult.
OpenDemocracy continues its extraordinary coverage of the spiralling crisis.
From Iraq, Ayub Nuri, a supporter of the war, watches the US military unite Shi'a, Sunni and Kurds against America.
Middle East expert, Sami Zubaida, identifies the basic cause of the trouble in Iraq: One year after the occupation and the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime the great majority of Iraqis are worse off...

Why do they do it, these whistleblowers? Why do they dare speak out? Whether in the private or public sector, often they lose their livelihoods, and the strain can damage their health, end their closest relationships and smash their friendships. Almost always they are smeared, threatened and put under intolerable psychological pressure... The balance of power is so stacked against the ethical individual that unless citizens do something to redress it, we'll run out of whistleblowers. We'll miss them when they're gone.

Axe Labor's Mates Boards: Brogden's committment to honesty blows Carr's out of the water
The NSW Opposition has promised to abolish more than 20 statutory boards including Landcom and Sydney Water, in an effort to save up to $5 million a year in directors' fees paid to Labor Mates.
· Pork O Barrel: The truth hurts... especially in SusSex Street

The political practice of dipping into the public trough to finance projects that benefit only a single legislator is so firmly established that most people yawn when they see the words pork-barrel spending. Yet every so often a project comes along with such a grotesquely negative cost-benefit ratio that even the most cynical citizen snaps awake...
· See Also Pork, Sweet and Sour [ courtesy of Personally I think they've got it all arse-backwards. The real issue is not how do you stop idiots and lunatics from voting, but how do you stop them from running for government... ]
· See Also Wife Refuses To Disclose Tax Info: Kerry claimed a wealthy candidate must release returns to prove he pays a fair share in a tax system that isn't fair and lets the super-rich get off

Oops, somehow MEdia D missed this link last week in the Sydney Morning Herald... The power of search
+ Use "" for phrase searching
+ Boolean available (and, or, andnot)
+ t: to limit to words in the title/headline of the document
+ d: to limit to words in the text of the document.
+ It's possible to combine the syntax
More Search News Tips & Topix

Open all hours
With the click of a mouse, libraries and museums are reaching a new audience.
It was Umberto Eco who said libraries had always been humanity's way of preserving its collective wisdom, a sort of universal brain where we can retrieve what we have forgotten. Now, thanks to the internet, Australians are peering beyond the bricks and mortar, seeing libraries and museums for what they always wanted to be - citadels of ideas, repositories of human knowledge.

· Ironically, the web's flaws are what now help people appreciate the integrity of the information issued by libraries and institutions such as the Sydney Morning Herald [ via Best Stack & Library in the World]
· See Also Special librarians are information 'detectives'
· See Also On the seventh day Cold River rested: eBook of the Month
· See Also And now, the good word by email - and that's gospel
· See Also Print-on-demand
· See Also Sifry's Alerts: BoingBoing adds Technorati support - you can too!

To what extent might (bloggers) contribute to the spread of disinformation, and to tyrannies of misinformed majorities?
Rebecca MacKinnon

BloggerCon: On the lowered barrier of entry...
Jay Rosen is moderating a discussion at BloggerCon on Saturday of the questions, What is Journalism And What Can Weblogs Do About It? I am reading through his background essay and the associated comments to get a feel for what it will be like.
Right up front, Jay hits me over the head with insight in making sure that journalism is not defined as a profession, but an act...
Dave Winer: I think the best journalists around today are bloggers, not professionals, and I'm not saying that to be argumentative, I really believe it, and could and would debate it, except this is not the topic of this session.

· My advice to bloggers seeking traffic is to entirely ignore anything said by bubble-blowers [Link Poached from all you need are kisses to start a makeout party]
· See Also Michele Catalano Of A Small Victory Gives Up Political Blogging
· See Also Virtual Opinion
· See Also Fascinating article on domain names: Get Out of My Namespace
· See Also The perils of NexGen Librarian

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Left & Right Join to Voice Concerns Over Patriot Act
In April , Senator Orrin Hatch's Senate Judiciary Committee field hearing on the USA Patriot Act in Salt Lake City made for strange bedfellows, as liberals, libertarians, and conservatives joined together to voice their concerns over a half-dozen provisions in the Patriot Act, as reported in the Salt Lake Tribune. One such provision is Section 215, which gives law enforcement officials broad authority to demand that libraries or bookstores turn over books, records, papers, and documents.
· A new politics and the culture of fear
· See Also Iraq: Regardless of ones political persuasion it must be seen at the very least as a humanitarian catastrophe

If Australia's public servants tell the Government only what it wants to hear, then politicians have an escape hatch when things go wrong - in Timor, Iraq or anywhere else...
· See Also Speak no Evil [Southerly Buster: All that's happening is that the Man of Steel is repeating his usual pattern of cherry-picking reports to make himself and his policies look good (16/04/2004)]
· See Also Lance Collins: The man they couldn't silence
[Quiggin: It's been a long time since I took on trust anything coming out of policy departments like Treasury and the Productivity Commission. Under the present government, we've already learned we can't trust statements from the armed forces, the Defence Department or the Electoral Commission. But until now, I've never seen any serious evidence of political interference with ABS. This letter suggests that the process has begun]
· See Also Price of Mistakes
· Colonel Richard Tracey is, in fact, Dick Tracey, QC [Link Poached from Backpages]
· Militants free Czech hostages
· See Also 'I'll show you how an Italian dies': hero hostage
· See Also Links to the full text of CRS reports covering homeland security, intelligence, Iraq, national defense, national security threats & issues, NATO and terrorism [Congressional-Research-Service Reports Links to Reports

As seen somewhere on the Mittel Earth Web:Just can't be stopped from blogging, no matter how little financial reward they find in it...
This blog complies with a paperwork reduction act...

Off the Beaten Path: The Speech Nobody Heard
We lost forty years in the refrigerator of the Cold War, [which resulted in] the postponement of urgently needed reforms," he said. "The fall of communism did not assure the triumph of social justice.
The global economy, like Morava River, is there. It is not going to move; the question is how not to drown in it.

· Terra Nostra: (KISS Keep It Strong and Spanish) [ courtesy of The Cold War Book Nobody Read: tip of the iceberg of frozen memories]
· See Also Mexican author Carlos Fuentes
· Myth and Reality for Immigrants in New York and Amsterdam [link first seen at Szirine Magazine]

Since you left me at eight I have always been lonely
· I'll be damned, You're a poet. Welcome to hell

I am almost 61, live in Sydney, Australia and am retired from professional life. As I grow older, I grow more intolerant of bullshit, especially in political circles: The blog of John Boase

Blogs: Here to stay
They're hip. Influential. Out there. By one estimate, there are 2 million of them posted on the Internet around the world talking about everything from knitting patterns to the war in Iraq. But as blogs - or personal weblogs - move into the limelight, they're also coming under closer scrutiny. And the conclusions are in some ways sobering.
Take politics. David Winer says weblogs are going to play a huge role in politics. But all the buzz about politicians using them is overblown. The blog of Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean was just a "gimmick," says Mr. Winer, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and a pioneer blogger. And any blogs produced this year by President Bush or John Kerry will be "basically run by the ad agencies" - not the kind of honest, even intimate conversations that blogs can represent.
Here's his vision of how real "blogging" by a politician could work. A candidate for city council, for example, would write an ongoing blog to his potential constituents explaining his positions on issues. They could read his pitch and offer feedback, creating a kind of political dialogue that would be based on substance more than sound bites.

· Sound bites [ via CS Monitor]

Is Amazon a media site or a retailer? The answer is BOTH
Amazon's much discussed skunk works search project goes live thisweek, so we can finally write about it. On first blush it's a very, very good service, and an intriguing move by Amazon. It raises a clear question: How will Google - and more broadly, the entire search-driven world - react?
Like Google, Amazon understands audience management, user-contributed content, and user-driven recommendation systems better than any "media site" today. They're focused on knowing their audience, building that audience independently of traditional media, and delivering offers to that audience -- on behalf of other "partner" retailers as well as themselves.

· In essence, Amazon seems to be making a play for Google's customers [Link Poached from Battlemedia]
· See Also

Friday, April 16, 2004

A lack of public support is responsible for a dearth of overt fearless principle in the public service ...

Presidential Advisers' Testimony Before Congressional Committees: A Brief Overview
Congress has a constitutionally rooted right of access to the information it needs to perform its Article I legislative and oversight functions. Generally, a congressional committee with jurisdiction over the subject matter, which is conducting an authorized investigation for legislative or oversight purposes, has a right to information held by the executive branch in the absence of either a valid claim of constitutional privilege by the executive or a statutory provision whereby Congress has limited its constitutional right to information.
· Be Advised contains PDF File [Link Poached from Google]
· See Also Jock Given: Flaws in the electronic pork barrel that was supposed to network this nation [ via Australian Policy Online ]
· See Also (PDF Format) Rebecca Kippen & David Lucas: The story of past populations... historical demography helps inform us why populations are the way they are, and allows us some insight into population futures
· See Also (PDF Format) Conde: The long eye of the law: closed circuit television, crime prevention and civil liberties

According to thoughtful Alan of Southerly Buster fame, X is unthinkable is not an especially new strategy in politics or in war-making. (11/04/2004) May God have mercy on our souls...

A National ID Card Wouldn't Make Us Safer
As a security technologist, I regularly encounter people who say the United States should adopt a national ID card. How could such a program not make us more secure, they ask?
The suggestion, when it's made by a thoughtful civic-minded person like Nicholas Kristof (Star-Tribune, March 18), often takes on a tone that is regretful and ambivalent: Yes, indeed, the card would be a minor invasion of our privacy, and undoubtedly it would add to the growing list of interruptions and delays we encounter every day; but we live in dangerous times, we live in a new world ... .

· It all sounds so reasonable, but there's a lot to disagree with in such an attitude [ via Bruce Schneier is security guru: national ID card doesn't even belong on a scale]
· See Also SENATORS COLLINS, LIEBERMAN ASK Agency to Explain Why It Requested Sensitive Data From Airlines
· See Also Come on in, the water's fine: Why the temperature doesn't hold water [ via RoadToSurfdom]
· See Also Welcome to the inaugural (Virgin) issue of Econ Journal Watch: [Link Poached from Coming Soon; According to Jason]
· See Also Cyborg Democracy: Future Hi - Celebrating the Rebirth of Psychedelic Futurism; Agents of the Culture

I Thought the Reader Was Always Right
.-- but not in the news business: At a time when public distrust of the news media appears to be at a dangerously high level, there is evidence of a deep and fundamental disagreement between those who produce news and those who consume it.
· Public's cynicism about media has become a pressing concern

Baby dragons born in May are most likely to think themselves lucky, and October newborns the least...

Luckiest Dragons in the World
We now come to one of my favorite times of year (in the United States at least), which is the federal income tax deadline. Why is this one of my favorite times? Well for one thing, a lot of people do receive tax returns at this time of year, which they immediately use to buy a lot of ebooks, which is what you should be doing with this years tax return.
By the same token, if youve had to pay (dont you hate that?), you probably wont want to go out and buy a big expensive paper book, when you can satisfy your reading addiction for a whole lot less by buying refreshing, entertaining, exceptional ebooks from Double Dragon.
If youre looking for another good reason to support Double Dragon, last year, when the IRS tried to collect taxes on my treasure hoard, I ate the auditor.
Not as tasty as a virgin, by any means, but it could be considerd a useful public service. One less tax collector to go around and I think my treasures are secure for the next year or two, though after that who can tell, for you humans have such short memories.

· We have added a bunch of new features to our DDP website: the ability to score a purchased title to receive up to 50% off selected titles [ courtesy of Double Dragon]

You'll pull that drainplug from the wish fountain because I do not happen to be a 'Somebody:' I am Nobody...

Know-How Dragon: 10 Rules for Corporate Blogs and Wikis
Time capsule of conventional wisdom...
Recognizing that this is an emerging area, here are 10 rules for using blogs and wikis to achieve your branding goals. Brands are about trust, and authenticity is the foundation of trust. Blogs should be written as if close friends were sharing observations over a Czech beer.
Note: In addition, there is a link to an excellent presentation (pdf, 52 pages and all free),

· 1. Be authentic [Link Poached from]
· See Also Gopher: Back in 1992, when yahoo was something cowboys yelled and ebay was just pig Latin...
· See Also Sneak Peeks at Tomorrow's Office
· See Also Boing Boing add Technorati support
· See Also Lawish Hall-Of-Fame 2004: 60 Sites in 60 Minutes

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Oh... currently Iraq (Detailed Iraq Chronology 1980-2004) and Australia are listed among the top 10 searches on Daypop.
Is this chillingly prescient? As when seven years ago Russ Travers of the Defense Intelligence Agency wrote an article for Studies in Intelligence, a journal published by the CIA's Center about the ways intelligence analysis would become dangerously fragmented by 21st century... From the vantage point of 2001, intelligence failure is inevitable.
There's a hindsight article that is worth reading to help put the kerfuffle over pre-Sept. 11 intelligence into perspective. Blogger Gregg Easterbrook of the New Republic imagines an alternative history ...

Moments after being sworn in as the 44th president, Dick Cheney said that disgraced former national security adviser Condoleezza Rice would be turned over to the Hague for trial in the International Court of Justice as a war criminal. Cheney said Washington would "firmly resist" international demands that Bush be extradited for prosecution as well.
· Hague: This guy isn't exactly Winston Churchill, is he? [Link Poached from Will the 2004 Election Be Called Off? Buzzflash]
· See Also Three prominent Czech journalists have disappeared in Iraq
· See Also Lt Col Collins wrote to Prime Minister John Howard calling for the royal commission, outlining how Australia's spy agencies had failed Australia many times ... > [Link Poached from The code of silence]
· See Also First off, (Non nuclear) heads should roll: Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) chairs the House Committee on Government Reform's National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations Subcommittee