Monday, January 31, 2005

A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.
- G. K. Chesterton Everlasting Man, 1925

The bells of freedom are ringing: How do you begin to contain the emotion of contributing to freedom for the very first time in over 50 years. And for many - the first time ever in their life? How do you contain the emotion of seeing a day arrive that you have dreamed of for many tortured, horrible, murderous nights...
Some assorted quotes from Iraqis on the eve of elections

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Great Freedom: Just Another Word?
Polls open in country's first free vote in a half-century. Bush's freedom had better be more than a song. Over-civilization and barbarism are within an inch of each other...

A string of suicide bombings and mortar attacks, some targeting lines of Iraqi voters waiting to cast their ballots in the first free elections in half a century, have killed at least 16 people and wounded at least 52 more.

Like most Americans, I've never had to be brave to vote. I just show up at the polls, negotiate the ballot, grab an "I voted" sticker and drive home satisfied that the world will continue to turn on its axis in the usual way. We're not the kind of people that kneel to terror & the sights of blood & beheadings.The people have accepted the challenge; democracy & elections are not a luxury for Iraqis, it's an issue of life or death.
Historical Times [The election in Iraq is without precedent. Never, not even in the dying days of Weimar Germany, when Nazis and Communists brawled in the streets, has there been such a concerted attempt to destroy an election through violence - with candidates unable to appear in public, election workers driven into hiding, foreign monitors forced to 'observe' from a nearby country, actual voting a gamble with death, and the only people voting safely the fortunate expatriates and exiles abroad. ; Iraq's election takes place in extraordinary circumstances, and it poses extraordinary difficulties For the Triumph of Evil' ; Election in pictures; via cigar in sand ]
• · When you read that Jordan’s King Abdullah is taking steps to organize new elections in his country, with regional election districts that look a lot like Iraq’s, you realize just how wrong my friend Peggy Noonan is when she writes that President Bush’s inaugural speech “forgot context.” Freedom Over Cynicism; [The Long Road to a Vote ]
• · · Winston Churchill was born in the grandest private house ever bought with public money... In the great drama, he was the greatest of them all Why the world is still in the shadow of Churchill ; [I've only come to realise recently that Thailand is very much a fledgling democracy itself ]
• · · · Democrats agonizing over finding their way back from their 2004 presidential defeat got a lesson in how not to do it in the Senate vote to confirm Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state. Searching for a spine: A second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience; [There was a death in Washington recently that received far less attention than it deserved: the New Democrat philosophy of Bill Clinton is dead. This is a truly extraordinary development; one that should not be allowed to pass so quietly. The Strange Death That No One Cares About]
• · · · · Anthony Wilmo writes that everyone in NSW from the Premier down is gambling with their lives stepping on to a train in Sydney. Taking us back to the good old days when the NSW Government was handing out steel contracts to BHP; G. K. Chesterton: It is terrible to contemplete how few politicians are hanged: Christian Berthelsen, Jim Herron Zamora and Todd Wallack of the San Francisco Chronicle used state campaign finance records to show that four political consultants have benefited from their association with state Sen. Don Perata: “they have collectively grossed $1.4 million from campaigns and political funds associated with Perata over the last 10 years Influence, family and political favors
• · · · · · G. K. Chesterton: When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale. Sean O’Neill of the The Times of London used Britain’s new Freedom of Information law to obtain records showing that “almost £900,000 has been spent by police to steward illegal street meetings by the radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri and his followers British Police Protection

While I managed to read most of the weekend papers, I even read the Daily Terror on Saturday from cover to cover at the Grind on Cronulla Beach and between my barbecue duties during the weekend two-day Athletics competition - 8 am to 6 pm. After the daylight of swimming and althletics in the most humid weekends of all, we also coped with the night invasion from Gabriella's Godfather and co. Steve tends to boast several world trips in a year and each takes less than 80 days. Steve is like me he loves reading and he seems to also spend more time reading blogs than the actual newspapers or magazines. I just spent several hours walking through my favourite blogs all classified in my odd way on the left side. I start at the Nota Nota Bene and move down gradually till I read the very last links. Some blog entries, I just scan, others I re-read several times and occasionally if the spirit moves me I go through the commentariat baptism of left v right wing fire. Like most bloggers, I dream of being on my death bed with a blog in my hand (smile). Without any doubt, the coverage of election in Iraq on a number of blogs is just unbelievable. Touching. Inclusive. Like a conversation over an espresso. Some write with such passion that one feels transported to the trouble spots of Iraq. The words and the images are rather moving. Let us hope that the people of Iraq move in the right direction in 2005. A direction of freedom and forgiveness ...
Voters flock to blog awards site: Voting is under way for the annual Bloggies which recognise the best web blogs - online spaces where people publish their thoughts - of the year Bloggies

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Iraqi Election Bloggrage
Buzzmachine compiles a roundup of blogs covering the Iraq election.

Friends of Democracy has citizen correspondents in each province filing reports, mostly in Arabic, which are translated and posted here. Michael J. Totten is acting as anchor-blogger through the election. Note that they will have a webcast show about this starting at 2p ET Sunday and it will also be aired on C-SPAN.

The election in Iraq this coming Monday is easily the biggest story of the year thus far and could arguably be one of the most consequential events since the attacks of September 11 or the fall of the Berlin Wall. Given its importance, you would expect the mainstream media to devote a significant amount of resources to covering and analyzing the run up to the election. But aside from a few notable exceptions, that just isn't happening - especially in the major daily newspapers across the country.
Unbelievable Coverage from the Ground [Mainstream Coverage: What little coverage we get of the Iraqi election is either bundled into or completely overshadowed by astonishingly negative stories that get front page treatment with blaring headlines. ; The Blog Search Engine]
• · John Cameron MeMo The verdict on the ABC News revamp ; [At the end of this column each week I ask you blogfans to let me know what bloggers are most in need of mention in this space.]
• · · Bill Haas says he may kill himself; [Norwegians might want to use a reality check before trusting directions from Microsoft's online MapPoint service. Ultimately, Microsoft evangelist Robert Scoble posted a blog item of his own, apologizing for the error ]
• · · · The Blog's New Role in Crisis Communications So, why a blog in a crisis? ; [Extreme bloggers are so hip and cool they can make fun of the poor and disadvantaged while working out of paneled bank offices Beware of the Blog ; Tim Blair ; Jolly Jelly Fish on Australia Day ]
• · · · · Tekrati Debuts Directory of Industry Analyst Weblogs Analyst blog directory and special report debut in conjunction with New Communications Forum 2005 ; [Tekrati ;]
• · · · · · If you've been wondering who was behind The GM Fastlane Blog, General Motors' step into the public blogosphere by executive blogger Vice Chairman Bob Lutz. Insights On GM Executive Blog ; [Don't call Jossip a blog, even though, well, it is. Hauslaib prefers "online magazine." B**g as a dirty word]

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Bob: Minister are you lying the foundations for a police state?
Jim: You know, I'm glad you asked that question.
Bob: Well Minister could we have the answer?
Jim: Well yes, of course, I was just about to give it to you, if I may. Yes as I said I'm glad you asked me that question because it's a question that a lot of people are asking, and quite so, because a lot of people want to know the answer to it. And let's be quite clear about this without beating about the bush the plain fact of the matter is that it is a very important question indeed and people have a right to know.
Bob: Minister, we haven't yet had the answer.
Jim: I'm sorry, what was the question?
- Big Brother (Yes Minister / PM series)

The first day of a new emergency calls system in NSW had been beset by problem Police calls redirected in triple-0 bungle

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It
Sir Humphrey: The police have suffered an acute personnel establishment shortfall.
Jim: They what?
Sir Humphrey: They're short staffed.
- The Death List

State MPs who rort their parliamentary allowances will no longer have to face the Independent Commission Against Corruption under far-reaching changes recommended to Premier Bob Carr. In the Sun Herald editorail (not available on line) Philip McLean writers that the concept may have taken a battering over the past few years - with, for example, untruths told about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq-but trust and integrity in public life should still matter to the Australian people. That is why we view with concern a proposal to partially exempt NSW politicians from the purview of the state’s anti-corruption watchdog. While it remains just a proposal, it is disturbing to think that our politicians would even contemplate a change to allow them to live by a different set of rules.

It's little wonder that in the middle of a damning and damaging inquiry into (NSW premier) Bob Carr and his government he's talking about weakening the ICAC. Man of 1,000 masks: But the real one was hard to find John Brogden is trying to find the real reason behind the latest salvo on ICAC.
One Law to Govern the public service - Mps included [The Bush administration "spent $250 million on public relations contracts during its first term, compared with $128 million spent for President Clinton between 1997 and 2000," including $88 million in fiscal year 2004 How to Win through Spin ; Public relations firms; Mercy Buckets Source Watch ]
• · In all of Iraq, Jumana Hanna was the bravest witness to the horror of Saddam's regime ; [Election Under the Shadow of Violence; Fighting broke out yesterday at Sydney polling booths where expatriate Iraqis cast their votes for today's historic election in the strife-torn country. Police cordoned-off Queen St, Auburn; When I look at the ink on my finger -- this is a mark of freedom Iraqis in Australia cast first votes in election ; Iraqi exiles cast first votes in election ]
• · · The Labor whip Roger Price broke tradition to ban TV and print camera people from filming caucus members going in and out. He even tried to ban reporters gathering in the usual place on the way to the Caucus room. Huh? They stood their ground, and on the way in to rubber stamp Beazley (Price is a Rudd supporter) he barked, "No cameras. And no approaching anyone." (He did allow filming, by one shooter on behalf of all, of Beazley and Macklin arriving. Burial or praise of Labor's new Caesar? No comment ; [Who Do You Trust? ]
• · · · Alex Mitchell and Kerry-Anne Walsh, in their Naked (Mirror) Eye on 30 January 2005, ask readers to meet Mutt ‘n’ Jeff. Jim Maher, former press secretary to just exited NSW Treasurer Michael Egan, will not be going to Kabul as agent-general as suggested by the Sun Herald last week. He is joining Nathan Vass, whose position as communications director at Egan’s Department of State Development ended abruptly last December, to form a corporate communications partnership called Maher & Vass. Already it is being affectionately nicknamed Mutt ‘n’ Jeff. [New Hampshire judge suspended for groping five women quits Dumbest move ever ; NSW Treasurer Andrew Refshauge has signalled tax relief for families while hinting at greater spending on the State's beleaguered rail network. Treasurer signals tax relief; Underdog takes on Tripodi for place in Carr's cabinet ; Scully risks all in power play for his faction mate ]
• · · · · Families sending their child off to start school this week can expect to spend up to $150,000 on that child's education over the next 13 years Parents hit by mounting education bills; [The student-to-staff ratio in our state schools is 15 to 1, higher than any other state or territory and above the national average of 14.6 to 1. NSW pupil ratios the 'worst in Australia' ; Between 1995 and 2002, 634 people were charged with murder in NSW. About two-thirds (422 people) were refused bail. Of those, 83 people who pleaded not guilty won their cases. And despite spending more than a year in custody for a crime they did not commit, the former inmates are entitled to neither compensation nor counselling. One in five prisoners charged with murder and refused bail will later be cleared of all charges and released. ]
• · · · · · NSW would do what it could to help the Federal Government keep an eye on Mamdouh Habib, Premier Bob Carr said today. It's a matter for police and their counter terrorism unit. We will cooperate with commonwealth police but it is not a matter that I will direct or give a public account of; Mr Habib has some chronic medical conditions as a result of his incarceration that we're going to get taken care of, or at least have specialists take a look at Mr Habib's legal team today painted a picture of a broken man trying to reclaim his life; Google: Canberra shackled and shamed by Habib

The average adult has about five liters of blood living inside of their body, coursing through their vessels, delivering essential elements, and removing harmful wastes. Without blood, the human body would stop working.
Blood is the fluid of life, transporting oxygen from the lungs to body tissue and carbon dioxide from body tissue to the lungs. It’s as hard to find a universal blood donors as it is to find a great espresso. According to Karl Landsteiner, my blood type, type O blood, is said to be a universal donor. And so is the blood of Peter the Great (smile)
One of the reasons my blood at the Red Cross Bank has a consistently good level of hemoglobin is because I tend to discover great baristas not only in the virtual world, but also in the real world. Robust, fragrant, and surprisingly versatile, espresso is more than simply the world's favorite beverage, it is hearty and distinctive ingredient in its own right, enhancing the flavors of everything from cakes and cookies to candies, ice creams, and sauces. Without any doubt, Richard Calabro is one of Australia's finest Baristas. Every drop of his espresso shows a burning passion and the photo mosaics on the walls ooze out with smiles and exotic atmosphere from every single shot. At summer time, Richard surrounds himself with bohemian artists who are part of the furniture at his cafe Grind down on Cronulla Beach. On Saturday and Sunday, it is there that coffee lovers congregate from all over Sydney to go and experience his charm, charisma and of course his famous blend of coffee, all garnished with latte art! In Richard's words "It's like Mona Lisa in a cup" If you are lucky, he may even play you a song on the guitar... Robust espresso props go out to this amazing Barista who is a true testament to his craft!
At the Nulla Grind, Richard treats coffee addiction with respect. In fact, he will show you how to elevate your coffee drinking habit to a higher level of sophistication. During the week Richard explains what it takes to become a world class barista... Well, it takes a great passion for espresso, dedication, technical skill and a way of making people feel relaxed and welcome. Behind the cool facade of a great barista serving cup after cup of perfection lies years of practice and dedication. It is not something that is learned simply by reading a book or watching a instructional video, even though they might be a good source of inspiration :) First of all, to make a perfect cappuccino you first have to start by making a perfect espresso.
I am happy to say that if you really want to stand out from the Coffee Crowd Richard will show you how to create your very own signature drink. This is an opportunity of a lifetime to learn the rich skills and useful techniques from the man who not only practices, but also preaches. Email Richard at or ring him on 0403 844 533 to book your spot at his espresso of mona lisa classes. Ach, in April 2005 you could find yourself sleepless at the World Barista Championship
[I'd Rather Be At Grind Espresso Bar - Base of Royal Rydges Hotel 20-6 Kings Way; Cronulla NSW 2230]

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Red Cross Calling: Royal Blood Transfusions
This year marks the 90th anniversary year of the Red Cross on Australian shores - 90 years of Australians helping Australians.
Australian Red Cross proudly announces the attendance of their Royal Highnesses, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark at the Australian Red Cross 90th Anniversary Gala Event to be held on 2 March 2005.
In June 1859 Dunant, a Swiss national, witnessed the horrifying aftermath of the Battle of Solferino - a fierce and bloody conflict in Northern Italy between 300,000 soldiers, among them ten thousand Czechs and Slovaks, from Imperial Austria and the Franco-Sardinian Alliance. Convinced that the power of humanity could be engaged to alleviate suffering and distress on a global scale, Dunant founded the International Committee of the Red Cross in October 1863.

Typically, each donated unit of blood - referred to as whole blood - is separated into multiple components, such as red blood cells, plasma, platelets, and cryoprecipatitated AHF (antihemophilic factor). Each component can be transfused to different individuals with different needs. Therefore, each donation can be used to help save as many as three lives.

In a quirky twist the agency and crew behind the Australian Red Cross’ new TVC also star in the ad ...
Do as we do: BMF art director Andrew Ostrom gives blood in the new Red Cross ad ; [credits: Red Cross ; One enchanted evening... ; To purchase tables please contact Robyn Dinners on 02 9699 2000,, or visit and click on 'One Enchanted Royal Evening'. ; There may be no greater act of bravery for someone with a fear of needles than to donate blood. Of course, it's this kind of giving that is so important to maintaining the Red Cross's life-saving stocks. In many ways giving blood is like blogging. I assume that is why not many politicians give blood or blog on a regular basis ... Icon links to Red Cross ]
• · Brett Sheehy can be proud of his four years in the Sydney Festival director's seat Thanks for the memories
• · · He is the all-time giant of Russian literature, who shaped the literary heritage of the world’s biggest country. But now Alexander Pushkin’s legacy is in danger of being tainted by an argument over whether some of his early work is pornographic, and whether his ‘adult verses’ even came from the pen of the ‘National Poet’. Russian literary giant Pushkin labelled as a peddler of porn
• · · · Christopher MacLehose warns, 'Publishers are sheep. They think: something is going on in Japan. They're right. But there has always been something going on in Japan. Lonely pleasures of fiction from Toky
• · · · · Claudia Karvan is considering a leading role in Footy Legends, the feature film that is expected to propel director Khoa Do towards mainstream success. Do, who was celebrating his award as Young Australian of the Year last week, has pulled together a promising potential cast for his new movie - the follow-up to his critically acclaimed independent film The Finished People. Footy Legends
• · · · · · For a rather long time now -- approximately, since the Berlin Wall came down, the name Durs Grünbein (b. 1962) has been the answer to the question: who's the leading young poet in Germany ? From The burning issue in The Guardian by James Fenton

Saturday, January 29, 2005

The danger of hyping a good thing into the ground. Slate's Shafer likes to think of himself as a slow blogger

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Blog Overkill

Chill, blogophiles; you're not the first to do what you're doing. Thomas Paine was basically a blogger — in 1776

Sometimes I'm so slow -- as this Wednesday dispatch from a Friday-Saturday ["Blogging, Journalism, and Credibility"] conference proves -- that I resemble a conventional journalist," says Jack Shafer. He writes: "The premature triumphalism of some bloggers indicates that they haven't paid attention to how Webified journalists have become. They also ignore media history. New media technologies almost never replace old media technologies, they merely force old technologies to adapt and find new ways to connect with their audiences

Jeez. Take a pill, all you blogomaniacs [Jay Rosen - It’s Decency Jack Shafer Lacks. ; grooming - More sources are great, but we need to arrange them better]
• · Jill Abramson writes after attending the blogging conference: Big Wigs From the Blogging & Journalism Conference Say What They Found; [Rick Edmonds : Not so long ago -- three or four years -- online operations were a business afterthought at newspapers. Revenues from the sites were tiny, one percent or less of the total.An Online Rescue for Newpapers? ]
• · · I try to look at big issues that I don’t think are being well covered and then cover them," he says. Taxes was just one of the big issues I looked at and said, boy this is just not well covered at all. David Cay Johnsto: doing investigative work his entire life ; [When is a multi million dollar organization forced to react to a rag-tag group of bloggers "waging politics online? Rat Bags ]
• · · · Cash For Comment; Ministerial Positions for Great Spins: Now that two syndicated columnists have admitted taking government money for promoting certain points of view, is the growing scrutiny of all commentators long overdue? Pundit Payola: Williams, Gallagher Were Wrong, But What's Right?
• · · · · The Imagining the Internet Predictions Database examines the potential future of the Internet while simultaneously providing a peek back into its history Searchable and browsable database of over 4000 predictions made about the Internet ; [A new First Amendment Center Online research compilation examines the ins and outs of filing requests for government information Freedom of Information Database ]
• · · · · · I'm often asked how I stay motivated to blog every day (well, almost every day). I tell them that if you have a passion for something, then the motivation will just come naturally Staying Motivated ; [Critics and supporters debate success of fast-rising PublishAmerica Self Marketing Void]

We like to believe in progress, but the truth is that the electronic age may be just a return of the manuscript age, and the print age may come to be seen as a 500 year abberation -- an island of fixity in an ocean of loss.
-Michael Gorman

A multi-million pound lottery grant has secured for Scotland the most important literary archive to become available in the last 100 years. Lottery saves literary who's who
Over 3000 visitors to a Washington DC arts festival picked up postcards (just like this one) inviting them to share a secret anonymously

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Editors: there is no Gentleman's Safety Net
M .J. Rose's January at Buzz Balls & Hype presents what, for Mad Max a heartbreaking letter from an anonymous
literary writer.
Dynamite Dexter, Sad Saxe and many others out there may not admire Dan Brown's THE DA VINCI CODE.

But what started the fire that lead to TDVC becoming one of (if not the) bestselling hardcovers in modern history was not some by-the-numbers calculation by some hooded group of marketing executives, but the passion--yes, I'll say it again: the PASSION, and follow-through, of one editor; of his belief in an author's talent; of his confidence that the author had a book in him that could catch fire at a larger level.
If Jason Kaufman had NOT taken Dan Brown with him to Doubleday; if another editor, equally smart and talented but perhaps less personally invested in Dan's career--me, say--had inherited, edited and published it, THE DA VINCI CODE almost certainly would not have become anything like the phenomenon we all know it to be now.

An editor's passion guarantees NOTHING--except, perhaps, an honest chance [The Quills Awards are a consumer-driven celebration of the written word created to inspire reading while promoting literacy ; Wait. Let me get this straight Flickr coincidence; Wikipedia: Unusual articles ]
• · Prague's leading-locale status for Hollywood films is under threat unless government does more to keep them here, say producers Lights, camera, inaction; [The self-published books that go on to become bestsellers are few, but they never cease to inspire ; Self-publishing companies are in the business of selling dreams. But what if the dream becomes a nightmare? ]
• · · Every day for eight months Tomas Radil cheated death Dark humor marks concentration camp survivor's tale ; [The imminent return of Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib has sparked a debate over anti-terror laws which could stop him from making money from selling his story. Proceeds of criminal legislation may well cover any payment to him ]
• · · · Hottest Young Screenwriter: Stuart Beattie: On his way home from the airport to his home in Sydney, Stuart Beattie had a homicidal thought while sitting in the backseat of the taxi... First Novel: A 35-Year Literary Odyssey ; [THE ULTIMATE SCREENWRITING EXPERIENCE SINCE 1996 ]
• · · · · Roll out the red carpet: the publishing industry is trying to apply some glitter to its image with a new book awards program that is a cross between the Oscars and the People's Choice Awards. Quills Literacy Foundation ; [Steve Martin ]
• · · · · · My auntie was married to Jozef Slivka: I'm interested in human culture, what we do, where we have been, what we have left behind, what we have learned or not learned from past experiences. Ruins are a window into human histories, they tell the stories of the past through the stark presence of objects and architectures. An Exhibit of Judaica in honor of the opening of the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale

Friday, January 28, 2005

It can happen, and it can happen everywhere. I do not intend to nor can I say that it will is not very probable that all the factors that unleashed the Nazi madness will again occur simultaneously but precursory signs loom before us...It only awaits its new buffoon (there is no dearth of candidates) to organize it, legalize it, declare it necessary and mandatory, and so contaminate the world.
-Primo Levi Drowned, pp. 199-200
What is Levi's main point here about memory?

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The Gray Zone: Wal-Mart's Telling 'Statement'
As you may know, Wal-Mart makes an exception to its anti-union stance in that bastion of freedom, China.

BBC story provides the basic facts. (The Chinese "union" is controlled by the government, and "represents" workers accordingly.) Then read Harold Myerson's Washington Post column (reg req) to understand the meaning of it all, which I summarize with this apt quote: When a company such as Wal-Mart is so plainly comfortable with authoritarianism abroad, it tells you something about that company's values at home.

If in Rome ... [Gillmor; A former Mr Fixit who moved in a shadowy world between crooks, police and politicians, Fayez (Frank) Hakim has died aged 74. Hakim: Death of a one-time godfather ]
• · Young Australian adults want to have children but job and relationship insecurities are holding them back, says a major Federal Government-funded study of the country's low fertility rate. Only 8 per cent say they never want children
• · · A brief truce within the federal ALP broke down dramatically last night, with senior frontbenchers accusing one another of plotting to bring down deputy leader Jenny Macklin. ALP united - in the spirit of bickering
• · · · I grew up on tales from concentration camps. My parents remembered Gulags and Ukraine of Stalin. They remembered Holocaust of Hitler. Holocaust literature must be sampled, interspersed with other reading. If you dive into it for several months at a time, you wind up wanting to kill yourself Remembering the end of horror that was Auschwitz ; Survivors and their children and their children's children continue in their private and largely silent struggle None of it is over. I doubt the alphabet will ever end
• · · · · No more secrecy as Sydney investigates how open it has been Town Hall Lord Mayor, Clover Moore ; Orange Grove inquiry told of Trojan horse warning

Dylanesque times at the wettest Blue Mountains:
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide,
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who that it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.
Link of Links

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The River is Real, the Word is still Fake
The world has, to its shame, failed more than once to prevent or halt genocide - for instance in Cambodia, in Rwanda, and in the former Yugoslavia

The world has not absorbed the lessons of the Holocaust, and genocide occurs today as if it had never happened. That was the message delivered to a historic session of the United Nations on Monday by the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, and the Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, who is a Holocaust survivor.

Sixty years on, lessons of Holocaust ignored [A 'Tsunami' in Private Giving This shameful indifference we must remember ; High Hopes, Hard Facts For the dead it is too late, but it is not too late for today's children, ours and yours ]
• · Simple things should be simple. Complex things should be possible. -Alan Kay If you stumbled out of bed in the dark this morning, fell over the cat, found no milk in the fridge for your porridge, had a row with your partner, received a rude letter from the bank, got covered in snow at the bus stop and finally arrived at work in time to be made redundant, you will already know that today is the most depressing day of the year. It's The Moustache That Matters; [New beginnings: Sometimes I look at taxes similarly Left Brain Matters: Telling the Tax Story; My old work address in Manhattan (45th and Madison) has 169 stores within 5 miles. Put your address into the Starbucks locator and see what your Starbucks density is.Ashes to Ashes ]
• · · Tim Porter: After a road trip, it takes me a while to get caught up on my reading, electronic and other. Here's what caught my eye: Reading List: Bloggers, Economics, Humans and Pogo ; [Movies. No matter their theme, budget, or cast, they all start out in pretty much the same way. They start out with dreamers—just like you—sitting in darkened theaters around the world and imagining what it would be like to see their names scrolling up the credits after the words The Year of the Screenplay]
• · · · Google headhunting Ben Goodger Dragon and Fox Fire; [Google and the Video ]
• · · · · You and Jack Benny taught me about generosity toward other comedians, about the appreciation of the plight of the pro, as valuable as any lessons I ever learned. The Man in Front of the Curtain
• · · · · · When I have one martini, I feel bigger, wiser, taller. When I have the second, I feel superlative. When I have more, there's no holding me; William Faulkner
Fear not, faithful Mac believers. We have found it. We have found what seems to be the only copy of a public TV broadcast on that very day. It was recorded and preserved by Scott Knaster, the "legendary Mac hacker", as Amazon puts it. There is no holding the Apple: EveMac Coming Soon

Congratulations to the winners of 2005 Best Media Dragons Overall: Australian Blog Awards Reasons You Will Hate Me
And the First Annual Best of Blog (BoB) Awards!
Confessions of sore tropical winner/loser Parish

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The Milton Keynes Partnership in UK, a local development consortium, is set to become the first public body to use a 'blog' - a type of online diary - to engage local people with its work, E-Government Bulletin has learned.
The local Labour MP Brian White has proposed the blog to involve residents in shaping the long-term development of Milton Keynes.
This could set new standards for the way public sector bodies communicate with the public," White told E-Government Bulletin. More traditional methods of citizen consultation, such as publishing press releases and leaflets, have left the public feeling isolated from the decision-making process, he said. "People grow frustrated because they feel powerless without an effective voice. It can seem pointless to get involved. A blog could help reconnect people.
The Milton Keynes Partnership was launched earlier this year, drawing together representatives of local government, the voluntary sector, the business community, and the health service
A blog could also form part of a permanent record of the discussions and decisions that will shape the future of the city, White said. "All public sector organisations need to recognise that that they provide the historical archives of the future. A blog could be a valuable record of what people thought at the time. Plan to Use Blog for Public Consultation, E-Government Bulletin, Issue 176, 13 December 2004

Eye on Politics & Law Lords:
The lives of seven people could have been spared if the NSW Government had heeded earlier warnings that the rail system was unsafe, a coronial inquest has found.

John Raymond Burt, Marie Genevieve Goder, Mark Hudson, Andrew Ludmon, James Ritchie, Yi Zhang and driver Herman Zeides died when a train derailed 2km south of Waterfall railway station, south of Sydney on January 31, 2003.
Handing down his findings today, Justice Peter McInerney said the lives could have been spared if the government had heeded warnings from his earlier inquiry into the 1999 Glenbrook train crash that the rail system was unsafe.
Mr Carr said his government had already responded to recommendations from the Glenbrook report. "We've given a full account of that.

Waterfall [Google: Lives lost through 'government inaction; Mr Roozendaal, who had the support of the Premier, Bob Carr, withdrew his candidacy after it became clear Mr Tripodi had secured more votes in caucus Tripodi to get ministry]
• · Harry Heidelberg on Leadership: Who do you exclude today, who will you include tomorrow? Bob Carr has no kids, he doesn't drink, he doesn't care for sport and he doesn't have a drivers license. Did anyone say these things mattered to his ability to lead? No. We are most interested in how he runs the state. We started caring when the trains stopped working. The same standards should be applied to all. Hell, we have plenty of those be it gender, religion, sexual orientation, race, national origin, marital status, age, and it goes on
• · · Boy's club mentality of the party Gillard: Susan Ryan: Boys' club left back in the '50s; [He acts like an old-time Baptist minister. But his revival meetings feature not hellfire and brimstone but sermons about racism and the horrible failings of American society The intellectual capacity of women ]
• · · · The New Math: 28 + 35 = 43 The only thing we have to fear is fear itself ; [Dependent on the Kindness of Strangers ; A FIVE-month-old baby was patted down by police in front of startled shoppers after a store owner complained a $5 toy gun had been stolen from his shelves Outrage as cops frisk babies]
• · · · · Arnaud de Borchgrave: For three years, we have been reminded we are a country at war — first against al Qaeda and its global affiliates, then against Iraq's bloody tyranny that was an integral part of transnational terrorism. Almost 1,400 American servicemen and women have given their lives in a war President Bush deliberately avoided mentioning in his Inaugural address. It was a classic case of censorship by omission. But why? Revolutionary idea . . . on bridge too far? ; [Fire and freedom captured the headlines of the president's stirring inaugural address, but it was a handful of words toward the end of the speech that are likely to have the most profound impact on the daily lives of millions of Americans. After a nod to landmark legislation like the Homestead Act, the Social Security Act, and the GI Bill of Rights, the president said, "And now we will extend this vision by reforming great institutions to serve the needs of our time. . . . We will . . . build an ownership society." A 'cure' worse than the cold river ; Tod Lindberg: Bush's complex personality confounds experts ]
• · · · · · Freedom by its nature must be chosen and defended by citizens and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities The New Bush Doctrine, by George Soros ; [A one page tax return, one day: Taxpayers may one day fill in a single-page tax return instead of a book-sized TaxPack, Assistant Treasurer Mal Brough said yesterday. "That is a distinct possibility - that people who have simple tax affairs like PAYG workers will have the opportunity to use a single-page tax return," Mr Brough said. Reforms ; A bank robber has been allowed to claim the cost of a pistol used in a hold-up as a legitimate business expense ]

Mark your diaries as many gurus from different corners of the world will be sharing their stories at Blogtalk Downunder Conference which will be held in Sydney, Australia from May 19th-22. The conference will be hosted by the UTS Centre for Language and Literacy. Also note that Conference organizers are accepting submissions of abstracts until the end of next week and papers by 28 February Among the drawcards are Mark Bernstein whose essay is the biggest hit at the moment Writing for the Living Web. Another speaker was named in UK as one of the Web's "Hot Faces" (right between Beck and Bowie), and Sweden's Internet World ranked her as one of the world's Top Ten Bloggers. She was once Goth Babe of the Week. Rebecca Blood draws karma and cool crowds. The superblogger status goes to Thomas N. Burg, the founder of Blogtalk. Thomas, who swims and lectures at the Danube University Krems, had to issue a press release stating that the Conference was not held in Austria but in Australia. Krems is a delightful city a shortish drive (by Australian standards 80 km) from Vienna or Morava River.

The Blog, The Press, The Media: A Question of Detail and Trust
Richard Lambert discusses the state of journalism in Britain. His general drift is that media businesses should operate with to the same sort of standards for corporate responsibility that are set for other institutions

Although most media groups are happy to make high-minded statements about their commitment to their viewers and readers, only a very few take their corporate responsibilities seriously enough to spell them out in detail, and to disclose the standards against which their editorial decisions should be judged.
Even fewer then report back on how well they have met their key performance indicators. The oil and the chemical industries have not been able to get away with behaviour like this. Why should the media be different?

The media is owned. The blogosphere isn't. We together are building it. The media have to try to get us interested in what they do, but the blogosphere is constructed out of our interests. It's ours not (just) in the sense of ownership but in the sense of what we care about and what we are.
• Guardian Media No Strings Attached [Credits: Onora O'Neill challenges current approaches to accountability, investigates sources of deception in our society and re-examines questions of press freedom. ; The Encyclopedia Britannica is a $350M operation, but Wikipedia is kicking its butt without having a single employee ]
• · Newspapers that charge for their sites
• · · My very great mate Verne Kopytoff of Chronicle fame writes: Before the southern Asian tsunami hit, the PunditGuy blog was an Internet unknown. But after its owner posted video clips of waves turning buildings into splinters, the Web site's modest traffic leaped 500-fold. Bill Nienhuis: Web logs come of age as source of news ; Bloggies 2005
• · · · Photos from Iraq via bloggers
• · · · · Blogging continues its march on the mainstream. It's considered essential to consume a steady diet of weblogs to keep up with what's hot on the Web. Blogger at Work ; [Buzz Index ]
• · · · · · Google revolutionised the internet. Now it is hoping to do the same with our phones. Clearest and sweetest sound on earth coming near you soon Google gears up for a free-phone challenge to BT ; [Google greatly advances its web search by raising the word limit to 32 words. It almost accommodates every letter in the Slavic Alphabet ]

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

We are the ALP, we are the alternative government of Australia, and frankly, right now, we are in a God-awful shambles.We need to patch this up straight away in order to lift ourselves out of the muck and become a viable alternative government for this country. This country deserves better than we are currently delivering.
Leadership aspirant and shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd didn't need a psychic to tell him this was not his time

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Tsunami Toll passes 280,000
Brat Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, get tons more coverage than the anonymous victims of tsunami these days ...

The tsunami that erased dozens of coastal communities in Aceh, Indonesia, killing more than 228,000 people in the country, may have taken a toll on another group that has dogged security officials in the region for years

Ghosts stalk Thai tsunami survivors. At such times religion is very important because there is nothing else ...
Toll of Biblical Proportion [We can do nothing to ward off the spirits Tsunami Tragedy ; A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic. Josef Stalin said callously For us, that's a tragedy. The rest is news]
• · Amid the media din about the tsunami, Dan Rather's implosion, and the usual grim news from Iraq, an amazing story has been unfolding - but has received scant appreciation from the chattering classes. Democracy is on the march. I would rather live in an undemocratic country with constitutional rights, fair courts, and a government that upholds the rule of law than live in a democratic country without those things. I'd also rather live in a republic where democracy is tempered and cooled through deliberation and debate. After all, direct democracy is little more than the rule of the mob with ballots instead of torches. Democracy has to be good -- not perfect; Lack of transparency in party funding, and the troublesome issue of internal party democracy. Australian political parties in the spotlight
• · · The Nation, here's a list of the Bush Administration's Ten Most Outrageous Scandals thus far uncovered by government investigators Annals of Outrage ; [Open parties? A map of 21st century democracy. The traditional political party is dying Can it reinvent itself in a way that matches transformations of society, technology, and personal identity?; Soros should revive the old liberalism]
• · · · Has America morphed into a nation of Tony Maneros, collectively dismissing the future? Nation is behaving as if the end is near
• · · · · Tim Dunlop is Not Happy: Suggests that in Politics You cannot be Partially Pregnant especially when it comes to Leadership Ironic, isn't it? Mark Latham is criticised for saying too little too late and Kim Beazley for saying too much too soon. How is your sense of timing, Kevin? (Letter to SMH 24 January 2005 by Peter Williams, Epping); Britain's struggling Conservative opposition struck new difficulties yesterday when it was reported that even its new campaign director, the Australian Liberal mastermind Lynton Crosby, believed the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to be unbeatable. Lynton Crosby ... helped engineer Australian Liberals' win ; How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Faceless Omnipotent Oppressors: I’m sure a psychiatrist would have a field day analysing the relationship between Premier Carr and public sector infrastructure. Or maybe it should be a marriage guidance counselor. Carr slams school funding report I've seen very silly arguments from time to time but that's the silliest one ]
• · · · · · A state-of-the art particle accelerator switched on at Lucas Heights yesterday by the federal Science Minister, Brendan Nelson, will play a vital role in the worldwide detection of clandestine nuclear testing. Minister aglow over new reactor ; [The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that in making a routine traffic stop, the police can permit a trained dog to sniff the car for drugs without the need for any particular reason to suspect the driver of a narcotics violation. I assume the judge susspects that if you are a successfull drug runner you are unlikely to be catching public transport ;-)]

Flourish a sprig of wattle. Bone up on the lyrics of the national anthem ...

One of us wants to write, one of us wants to sing, one of us wants to get exceptionally fit. One of us wants find enduring love in another. One of us wants to draw and paint and sculpt and take photographs. One of us wants to do absolutely nothing... Link of Medlow Bath fame: the divided River of US

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: We Are All New Australians
As one of the Czech mates once said, after a few glasses of Becherovka, You know we are all Australian some new some old, but some of us were just born in wrong places.

The Governor-General, Major-General Michael Jeffery, has called for school children to be taught Aboriginal culture to better understand Australian history.
He flagged the idea yesterday during a dawn ceremony at Uluru to kick off the week's Australia Day celebrations. He said it was important all Australians learned more about Aboriginal culture and urged education authorities to introduce a uniform indigenous culture curriculum. Major-General Jeffery said he had a strong desire to see the best aspects of Aboriginal culture being enshrined in our education system.

My city of exiles, Sydney, is a place of multiple identities, where one in four residents were born in wrong places and more than 140 languages are spoken, no matter how tragically. The Museum of Sydney, corner of Phillip and Bridge street, a stone throw away from the Circular Quay brought all the questions what this dynamoic city ultimately will mean to our children and each of us alive and dead. Czech it out...
Australia did not rise from the ashes of revolution or civil war. Aside from Anzac Day, which carries a solemn significance unsuited to a day of celebration, there is no momentous event that serves to galvanise national pride. January 26 commemorates the day Governor Arthur Phillip sailed into Sydney Cove in 1788 with a fleet of convict ships and colonised the fifth continent in the name of a British monarch.
Of greater import is the fact that the founding of our first city entailed the subjugation of the indigenous population by a European civilisation. For Aboriginal Australians, January 26 is not, and will never be, a day of celebration.
Many cultures and Australia Day [Goggle of Uluru; Australia Day was an opportunity to acknowledge the country's generosity of spirit in response to the Asian tsunami disaster Australia Day about friendship ]
• · Boy, was I wrong. Or more precisely, ignorant about how to tell the world that the book is out! When writers and would-be writers asked him to read and comment on their work, William Faulkner used to tell them that he only read the bible—a lie finer by far than those of which blurbs are made Blurbs for Goops: It Happened One Night Cold River Came Out ; [A review of books on copyright ; Many things in the world have not been named; and many things, even if they have been named, have never been catalogued. For book lovers: Readerware: because Cataloguing and Reading Is Sexy; -) ]
• · · Police believe the Sydney home of Nicole Kidman may have been bugged following the discovery of a listening device opposite her Bugging Nicki Darling Point mansion bugged; [Monk used in net sex sting; Moviegoers can thank Austin Powers for killing off the martini-quaffing sexoholic The silly spy whose mojo overpowered James Bond; New device to treat chronic pain also brings pleasure to his female patients Freud of Orgasmatron ]
• · · · A new documentary hitting video store shelves this year may explain why Cold River is No Longer An Oprah Favorite. I get paid for being myself on television, and that connects to a lot of people because people see themselves in me All About Oprah Inc. ; Who tells Oprah "no"?
• · · · · Prof John Sutherland Booker chairman `gags himself ' until winner is named ; As longtime readers know, we're not only interested in what's happening every day, but in how traditional news organizations decide what to cover. Ooooh Index of controversiality by Comrade Mikhail Gronas
• · · · · · Publishing ideas come and go in such fleeting fashion ... New York publisher faces fierce opposition to al-Qa'eda tome ; Pick up a Penguin? Not easy these days. But with walk-in bookshops doomed, soon it will be hard to pick up anything. Penguin books were scarcer than Penguin's teeth. No more bookshop idyll ]

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Political history is vital and enjoyable so we should focus on teaching it properly
As long as children are children, there is hope. Young people have a natural curiosity about where they and their families come from. They are always interested in how the world began, in where castles, machines or flags come from. Even six-year-olds are ready to embark on the adventure of tracing their ancestors and thus gaining a sense of real history.
Guido of Rank and Vile victories acts as a guiding librarian and political historian who focuses his torch on the vital issues and observations of the day. Today. Tomorrow. We need more than just a leader.
If following Guido blog leads readers to present future tense, Cut Price Commentariat tends to put no-frill, relaxed insider’s insider, sign posts along the road less travelled Whoever leads, I beg of you Labor, change! Give Australia the reason it needs! What’s wrong here? Is it just me who thinks that the idea of factions binding their members to vote certain ways in a vote which defies the factional makeup, is crazy? It’s a ballot between two Right-wingers! For the words of the prophets were written on the leadership walls The Triumph of Gesture Politics

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The Dark Side of Journalism We Can Never Escape
Can a single woman without children become Prime Minister? Strictly short in stature Glenn Milne certainly doesn't think so... Have a look at Altered Statesmen on the ABC for insights in to the shortcomings of great leaders! If you want to view weaknesses of Crocodile Dundee knife proportions czech out the documentary.

No one person can encapsulate everyone's life experience. A man doesn't know what it's like to be a woman, a person with children doesn't know what it's like to be a person without children, a person from a wealthy background doesn't know what it's like to grow up on a housing estate. In terms of whether being childless counts in politics, well, someone better explain that to (NSW Premier) Bob Carr, and whether being single counts in politics, well, someone better explain that to (South Australian Premier) Mike Rann

Marital status of women in politics ; [Reflecting the views of the factional chieftans ; It is better to be talked about than not to be talked about; Ech ... Crikey! Latham is a Winner ]
• · The president of Harvard University, Lawrence H. Summers, sparked an uproar at an academic conference Friday when he said that innate differences between men and women might be one reason fewer women succeed in science and math careers Summers' remarks on women draw fire ; [You look at foreign affairs through the wrong end of a municipal drainpipe How the west followed Bin Laden's script ]
• · · Conservatives no longer believe in Australia's tiered federal system because the states were wasteful and inclined towards socialism Federalism isn't working: Abbott ; A new push to create more states in Australia is coming from country people who think they are being ignored by the big cities ; Issues Great and Small: Nick Greiner; [Tsunami toll passes 230,000]
• · · · No issue, not one, threatens to do more damage to the Republican coalition than immigration Samuel Francis: on weak reasons for immigration control ; [ The cutting edge of illegal immigration used to be L.A. Now, it's Owensboro ; The Ethics and Culture of nomands ]
• · · · · The question of Lincoln's sexuality can never be answered. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be asked. Every generation and country, it seems, gets the Lincoln it deserves The gay Lincoln controversy What's wrong with The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln. The Gay Emancipator? The author answers Andrew Sullivan. Honest, Abe? [The Inquisition worked "fact finding" pretty much like the American Congress works such things. In other words, after deciding what the "facts" were, they set out to find them. And, in this case, they "found" that Girolamo Savanarola was a heretic ; Chinawords searches for words to honour Comrade Zhao Shall we abolish the political copyright? ]
• · · · · · Histories of the Hanged; Britain's Gulag: At one level, the story of what we allowed to happen to Kenya is a giant corrective. Britain may sneer at French frailties in Algeria or Israeli raids inside the West Bank, but, in the wrong place at the wrong time, we were full, functioning members of the wild bunch. Civil service integrity and ministerial piety went for nothing. The press was too dozy. Parliament - putting gallant warriors like Barbara Castle and Fenner Brockway to one side - was pretty toothless. Ministers ritually covered their backs. In the midst of the war, draconian anti-terrorist laws were introduced, suspending the human rights of subjects, imposing collective punishments ; [My truth is as valid as yours, whatever the evidence It is fashionable to say 'my truth is as valid as yours'. But it's not true ; Sun Herald, 23/01/05, by Alex Mitchell and co: The 20th annual report of the NSW Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Fund for 2003-2004 has been sent to MPs giving details of their booming super scheme after an 18.2 per cent return. Among shares held by the fund are $168,582 worth of James Hardie Industries NV... But Aussie shares dropped to 35.62 per cent of the protfolio to 35.62 per cent last year while more international stocks were added. Super Time for State Mps (not on line) (Trustees of the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Fund: Mr Campbell, Mr Humpherson, Mr McLeay, Mr Mills and Mr J. H. Turner); With Michael Egan shuffling off to become an unlikely amateur fisherman, the diminutive former state treasurer leaves a substantial legacy in the increasingly politicised senior ranks of the NSW public service. Three of Egan's former staffers have key roles outside Treasury. His most recent chief of staff, Michael Coutts-Trotter, got in just in time, being recently elevated to the lofty ranks of Sir Humphreydom as director-general of the Department of Commerce. Mark Duffy, another former chief of staff; the former Egan press secretary John Lee ... Sir Humphreydom ]

Inauguration Blog Images 2005 Majestic Austrio-Hungarian, Roman, Empire Scenes [Deja Views of my forefathers]

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Bos(to)nians Not Outraged by NYT Co.-Metro Deal
Boston Globe Globe ombud Christine Chinlund says she's received just seven e-mails and one phone call about the New York Times Co.'s plan to buy part of Boston Metro.

Maybe the racial slurs used by Metro execs were an aberration -- but maybe not, she writes. The Globe and its Times Co. parent need to find out before they buy in to the operation, she adds. "If they find something systemically rotten, the deal should be canceled. If there are no new revelations, and a clear promise to do better, there may still be an argument for getting out -- but perhaps a better one for staying in

Okrent: Circ story could have been more candid re NYT's practices (NYT); Seattle Times editor: We're forced to make painful cuts in content (ST); TV section cutbacks anger some Akron Beacon Journal readers (ABJ); Getler says WP did the right thing in re-reporting Hanna story (WP); Clark says the ethics code is taken seriously at the Times-Union (FT-U); Oregonian's '04 errors included misreporting first publisher's name (O); Some papers have databases that track and categorize errors (SacBee); San Diego Union-Tribune offers survey on controversial photos (SDU-T) [Credits: still life - Romenesko ]
• · If you're reading this, I have already looked upon the face of God. And I pray that he has nodded his head in a positive way. In my last days, cancer changed me. I believe it made me a better man. It brought me closer to my wife and daughter. It made me more compassionate to mankind Lifelong dream ends in final column But maybe I can hear a few prayers coming my way, writes ; John Whiteside, who died over the weekend Words on the Whiteside of Life ; [Reading their stories on rather regular basis, I feel I knew these writers Ex-Boston Globe columnist Nyhan dies after shoveling snow ]
• · · No Place to Hide: America's New Surveillance Society: New Brave Digital World; [Beheading the Messenger... ; Photoblog: Student's provocative pictures of dorm life lead to his eviction and fuel discussion over a photojournalist's rights and responsibilities]
• · · · Johnny Carson and An Era Remembered ; [via Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism, Etc. ]
• · · · · Why am I bidding Op-Ed readers farewell today after more than 3,000 columns? Two bits of counsel might help explain the path I'm now taking A Columnist’s Farewell; [At last I am at liberty to vouchsafe to you the dozen rules in reading a political column: Beware the pundit's device of using a quotation from a liberal opposition figure to make a conservative case, and vice versa... Never look for the story in the lede... Do not be taken in by insiderisms: Where they lede, do not follow]
• · · · · · Blogging pioneers unite in online journal boom ; Bill Ives Searches High and Low on the Blogging Ground ; [Rather than competing for audience, the increasing synergies between movies and games are delivering big returns Joining Forces]

Ministers of course have a whole range of dazzling qualities including ... um ... well, including an enviable intellectual suppleness and moral manoeuvrability.
- Sir Humphrey, The Death List (Yes Minister / PM series)

The real power of Jazz... is that a group of people can come together and create... improvised art and negotiate their agendas... and that negotiation is the art
- Wynton Marsalis from 'Jazz, a film by Ken Burns.'

If you gotta ask what kind of jazz and blogging Backpages is passionate about you just have to open the pages of the Sydney Morning Herald or Wrong Side of Death...
When Alice Walker was eight, growing up in Georgia, her brother shot her in the eye while playing with a pellet gun. A passing white motorist in the Jim Crow South refused to stop, and by the time she reached a doctor, her right eye was blind. Yet she came to see the wound as a gift. On a spiritual level it's as though with my sighted eye I see what's before me, and with my unsighted eye I see what's hidden. It's illuminated life more than darkened it. Redemption songs
You really don't understand the internet until you understand blogging craze for folklore music. Once you do, then you should have a conference on blogging ... William Hung has met his match and the unstoppable NumaNumania continues as even the Japanese get into the game. This is something from Vychodna Folkloric Festival held each year in July. Words like 'Dragostea din tei' or 'Love in the lime-tree' and nu m iei 'you don't take me away with you' rock Wanna sing??? Dragostea Din Tei (Romanian Macarena Gypsy song on the lips all over the world: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference especially if they make you laugh!)

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The Double Dragon: Someone Had to Sing it
You know a dream is like a river, ever changing as it flows.

And a dreamer's just a vessel that must follow where it goes.
Trying to learn from what's behind you and never knowing what's in store
makes each day a constant battle just to stay between the shores.
And I will sail my vessel 'til the river runs dry.
Like a bird upon the wind, these waters are my sky.
I'll never reach my destination if I never try,
So I will sail my vessel 'til the river runs dry.

Choose to chance the rapids and dare to dance the tides. [credits: write locally; publish globally I'll never reach my destination if I never try; Hornby's love of reading, flair for writing There's bound to be rough waters, and I know I'll take some falls ]
• · Man reduced to nothing, to being a mere survivor, is not tragic but comic, since he has no fate. Imre Kertész’s bleak vision Beyond Good and Evil ; [Love for Sale: A Global History of Prostitution For the words of the prophets were written on the Iron walls ...]
• · · Here it is again, that great Aussie trumpet blown so powerfully that the rest of the world drowns in the spittle. Australia stops our feet from getting wet. That's it [ The Sundance Film Festival Independents turn in the sun, and Hollywood takes note ; At a nation's heart: Dance as if no one's watching. Love as if you'll never get hurt. Sing as if no one's listening. And live like heaven on earth. Mexico's best-known painters did more than create great works of art - they helped define a nation Walls of fame]
• · · · A previously unknown 1892 novel by McCullogh, which tells the tale of a man who sleeps until 2000... [is titled] 'Golf in the Year 2000, or What We Are Coming To,' and predicted the advent of both golf carts and golf professionals... Other ideas were the digital watch, high-speed bullet trains, working women who dressed like men and a large glass screen that plays images, much like a television. Book of Predictions 1892; Northern Tanganyika 1953, the year Aga was born The Lesson is We can All Be Subhuman
• · · · · A study into the case of a statue of the Madonna reported to have shed tears of blood a decade ago near Rome concluded the event has no human explanation. There's the hand of G-d here Tears 'beyond human explanation' ; [Gloria Steinem surprised the world when, at 66, she signed up for an institution she had spent previous decades attacking: marriage 'Feminism? It's hardly begun ]
• · · · · · A Czech man is being taken to court after he hid in a restaurant bathroom until the employees had left and then hooked up beer kegs directly to his mouth. This is almost as good as winning the race number 13 during the Bondi Iceberg season. Your handicap is your strength or weakness. A tall man with a glass eye who holds a record by drowning 256 beer in a week was known around the Iceberg Club as Lofty. Being fit is not always an advantage ;-) Only in Moravia: Man from Morava River hides out to scull kegs; [Over a year, a family of four spends around $4,135 on alcohol, guzzling on average 44 slabs of beer, 14 bottles of spirits and 77 bottles of wine]

Monday, January 24, 2005

We Interrupt Our Usual Broadcast...
And then there were none: Mr Rudd will not stand against Mr Beazley.
... to confirm our suspicions that once they were sticks and stones we feared would break our bones today it is the Sitting Premiers' Call Center Trade Union breathing down the phones
• Raising of the white flag? Google realises, in its digital bones, the news from the leadership invades the air like factionalistic fallout
• • ALP a 'G-d awful shambles': Rudd pulls out

PS: The necessary emotional fever for fighting a factional war cannot be turned off like a water tap. Enemies must continue to be found. Media Dragon Scoop: Transcripts of Factional Proceedings - Premiers Telephone Conversations 14 to 24 January 2005 (security password required)

Left: 'Determined bastard' widens support?

Like John Quiggin, Chris Sheil thinks Mark Latham was shabbily treated, but that's now bye the bye. Before us, we already have a decision that may turn the next election.

Kim Beazley has started a hot favourite, but Back Pages is endorsing Kevin Rudd. If the deputy position is spilled, Julia Gillard would be added to Back Pages’ ticket...

I've never seen a nasty streak, but ice water does run in his veins. No more Mr Nice Guy

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Pining for loss and stability, Labor backs Beazley
Tight-lipped Rudd rallies faithful, but Kevin Rudd will end speculation today on whether he will run for the party's top job

Solid Kim Beazley has a predictable lead in public opinion as preferred successor to the mercurial Mark Latham, although it's interesting that the combined vote of the two "new generation" candidates is bigger than Beazley's.
Beazley is getting the benefit of being the best known of the possibles. As he's the only one of the three who's much in the public mind, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard are polling quite well with voters in the circumstances.
One could also see the result as a metaphor for the thinking of caucus members: they might like generational change but don't trust it just now.

But it's academic. Beazley is headed to victory. The question is whether Rudd and Gillard decide it's worth making a fight of it. Rudd, who will announce his decision today, faces that issue most acutely. Gillard has ensured he has to make his decision before she makes hers. He also has more to lose.
Conundrum for the challengers [ Beazley's home state is Howard's strongest base ]
• · Matthew Parris, Times of London America's Might is Draining Away; [David Brooks, New York Times: If you want to understand America, I hope you were in Washington on Thursday. I hope you heard the high ideals of President Bush's inaugural address, and also saw the stretch Hummer limos heading to the balls in the evening. Ideals and Reality ; 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2004 ; When Pentagon officials were killed on 9-11, their families got an average $1.5 million in death benefits from a special fund. When GIs are killed overseas fighting terrorists, their families get $12,420. That's right, barely enough to cover funeral costs. What's wrong with this picture? Everything ]
• · · As The Guardian's James Meek reminds us, Bush's rhetorical flourish owes its existence to a quote from a Russian novel. One of the models of American leadership is that of Moses, leading God's chosen people - then the Jews, now the Americans - towards a promised land, following a pillar of fire. At one point, according to the Bible, Moses was shown a sign: "Behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. But the key fire passage in the Burning Bush speech - We have lit a fire as well; a fire in the minds of men" - actually has its origins in a novel by the 19th century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, ; The Devils, about a group of terrorists' ineffectual struggle to bring down the tyrannical Tsarist regime. Ach, I once knew a dog Bessie named after the American Hollywood icon Bessie and the Russian Devil: Besy, 1872 (The Devil/The Possessed]
• · · · Kim Beazley's race for the Labor leadership was all but cemented last night as senior right-wing officials urged his chief rival, Kevin Rudd, to withdraw from the ballot for the sake of party stability. ; Factions? Knock me down with a feather, but we don't have factions in our part. "It's really faded," insisted a straight-faced Premier Bob Carr Ministrial Pool from factional heaven swon in ; [Drug abuse by any other name MI6 ordered LSD tests on servicemen, Guardian ; The National Interest is invariably rivetting, but on Sunday 23 January 2005 it was even more so Terry Lane: Always Pointing Out the Most Important Issues of the Day: Politicians use increasingly sophisticated techniques to win our hearts and minds. Is political advertising a threat to the quality of Australia's democratic system? The art of political persuasion [credits: Political parties are using the electoral roll to build up detailed data banks on the interests and concerns of voters but the files are exempt from both the Privacy Act and Freedom of Information legislation. Keeping track of voters ; (Thanks Dr Cope]
• · · · · Online Interview With Author of New Book on Surveillance Society: As a follow-up to Bespacific January 19 posting, Washington Post Examines Data Aggregator ChoicePoint, again from the Post, an online interview with Robert O'Harrow Jr., author of No Place to Hide: Behind the Scenes of Our Emerging Surveillance Society; North Korea is the most secretive country in the world today, with its main railway lined with walls so high that its foreign passengers can't see the countryside ]
• · · · · · The swirling political rumour though is that the Parrot is prepared to support Frank Sartor for Premier. All he needs to do is build a new water supply dam for Sydney and name it after the Parrot. The Egan Diaries - a retirement reflection ; [When a lawyer blows a whistle; The case of an attorney who was fired includes questions about ethical behavior and legal technicalities ]