Thursday, March 31, 2005

Although each man is born naked, he arrives with a vast inheritance, often in the form of baggage. Those of a mixed cultural background have a larger wardrobe with which to clothe their identity. The cultural choices they make are therefore rather more personal. First and foremost, I consider myself British. English, Arab, Swiss, and even European are all conflicting labels I can apply to myself in part. And in part is the problem with them—they are far too narrow and limiting. The word British on the other hand has notions of a civic model of inclusion. What holds society together is not common religion, race, ethnicity, language or even culture, but common attachment to the rule of law and to the idea that we are all rights-bearing equals. Admittedly it is a romantic idea used to get the Empire to pull together in two World Wars, but the idea is still there all the same.
- Yahya El-Droubie

I can’t think of a better way to spend a week night than catching up with colourful characters from the past. Tonight I caught up with Baden Appleyard. Baden is a Brissie born and bred pilot who also flies above the corridors of justice as a lawyer with experience in IT, Privacy and Tax law and cyberlaw. Back in the mid 90s Baden discussed the finer points of creative commons, MP3, and other concepts including how to sell wine without bottles with trailblazers such as Lawrence Lessig. There is no blogger who is not familiar with Lessig Blog. The fruits of Lessig labour are reflected on search engines looking for Creative Commons. How amazingly fortunate for Cold River to be right below The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World
Whether in Brissie or Sydneyrella, when you are having a communal meal with Baden you meet people from all different backgrounds, and all walks of life. I tend to also always, always, uncover some fascinating stories and people. There are many things to be appreciated about Maria full of ballet grace ;-D. What is it about individuals like Baden that one feels so engaged in a conversation and feels a sense of being appreciated for who we are?
This week seems to be filled with arrivals and departures of travellers who are invading Sydney not just from Brissie, Canberra and Prague, but also my former director of the Public Accounts Committee, Patricia Azarias, will swap New York for the village by the harbour. Patricia has been recently appointed as the Director of the Internal Audit Division at the United Nations. We were the Dream Team 1992-2000; small dedicated team producing 8 reports staging conferences, seminars, round tables

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Don't Fear the Double Dragon
Will somebody please help the Los Angeles Times' David Shaw get a grip? What do bloggers want? That’s a question Freud might have posted on his web site if he were alive today ... As bloggers we are learning to be less concerned about what people think of us. We are learning to be less reliant upon both the affirmation and the criticism of others. Running, like a river beneath and icy surface there is a deeper and truer virtual life waiting to be acknowledged ;-D

In yesterday's (March 27) Los Angeles Times, media reporter and critic David Shaw demonstrates Oscar Wilde's maxim that modern journalism is important—if only because it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.
Giving every indication that he's read a lot of stories about bloggers but not that many actual blogs, Shaw disparages the form as the error-filled rants of amateurs in his piece, "Do Bloggers Deserve Basic Journalistic Protections?" It's a "solipsistic, self-aggrandizing journalist-wannabe genre," Shaw writes.

Jack Shafer does a great job ripping apart David Shaw's sloppy, wrong-headed blogger-bashing column
• The Dragons of Expectation False Dichotomies: Laying the Newspaper Gently Down to Die [Hiding behind my sunglasses A Good Whacking — Jack Shafer whacks David Shaw ; Ansearch A new age of searching ]
• · Editor & Publisher reports that JimJeff GuckertGannon will be included in a panel to be held at the National Press Club on April 8th Meet the future of Journalism: Cannon-Cockert ; Often the coolest gadgets aren't the cheapest or most practical, they're the ones that make your tech-head friends green with envy, like Fossil's Wrist PDA. Watch this space: Liberty for wolves is death to the lambs
• · · Blog back in anger - the online sticky note ; A person who wants to lead the orchestra must be willing to face the music Publish and don't be damned - WAM!NET
• · · · So Liz Smith was having dinner with Nicole Kidman at New York's Four Seasons and it seems the actress really likes to pig out. In blog's era, is there room for Liz Smith? ; Ron Hogan, who writes a literary blog called, recently began a second blog, Beatrix: A Book Review Review On the Internet, 2nd (and 3rd and . . . ) Opinions ; Beatrix ; A Book Review Review
• · · · · The truth about the tabloids ; Nora Paul: A decade after digital news trailblazers discussed the Internet's promise as a cutting-edge news vehicle, only some of those forecasts have become reality. 'New News' retrospective: Is online news reaching its potential?
• · · · · · We want this to be the place where a community of regional bloggers and their many interests can be found. Blogging in Southwest Virginia ; With an index of more than 370 million blog and news feed articles in seven languages, Bloglines is already one of the largest wells of dynamic web information. Popular online blog and news feed aggregator site is one step closer to its goal of a universal inbox for dynamic Web content with the launch of a package tracking service Wednesday Bloglines

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

"Bach" is the German word for a little stream or brook. Of Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven said: "His name should not be Brook, it should be Ocean." [Schwarzenbach (black brook in Vrbov) Without History: Marta Chamilova]
-via Boyton on Bach’s Birthday

A NEW Book Club for Busy People Blog who know that a bad day writing is better than a good day in the office... Sometimes We Read

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Kiss Me Like a Stranger
Sexual-excess memoirs often have a spiritual-discovery aspect to them, as do illness memoirs. Spirit-of-place memoirs often shade into the ethnic-identity memoir, which can, in certain instances, merge with the food memoir ...

The memoir has been on the march for more than a decade now. Readers have long since gotten used to the idea that you do not have to be a statesman or a military commander - or, like Saint-Simon or Chateaubriand, a witness to great events - to commit your life to print. But the genre has become so inclusive that it's almost impossible to imagine which life experiences do not qualify as memoir material.

Every Life's Worth A Story... (But Do You Have To Publish It?) [There is no such thing as Women's Writing. Just as there is no such thing as Left-Handed Writing, Red-Headed Writing, European Writing, Northern Hemisphere Writing, or Writing from the Planet Earth. All of these categories are so large as to be meaningless The Stupidity Of Women's Writing (Whatever That Is) ; Catherine Keenan meets Rick Gekoski, whose quest for ever more rare and wonderful books has led to the Booker prize The treasure hunter ]
• · A convicted murderer and prison escapee led a secret life as a Chicago-area poet for nearly two decades Chicago Poet Was Mass. Murderer ; Tasmanian Tiger ; The Dragon curve (the paperfolding sequence) was discovered by physicist John Heighway and described by Martin Gardner in 1978. It is defined as follows: we fold a sheet of paper in half, then fold in half again, and again, etc. and then unfold in such way that each crease created by the folding process is opened out into a 90-degree angle. The Crakow Cathedral still has surviving Romanesque fragments including the St.Leonard crypt. The massive prehistoric bones suspended by chains to the left of the entrance are supposedly the bones of Krakus' dragon legend has it that when they fall the end of the world will be at hand Hunting hidden dragon curves in Bratislava
• · · Once movies can be delivered directly into the home all the cheap popcorn and clean floors in the world won't matter Is The Movie-Going Experience Running Out Of Steam? ; The intimate details of Hitler's life - from his fear that his lavatory might be poisoned to his habit of scratching his neck until it bled - are obsessing Germans once again amid a huge revival of interest in the Nazi era Hitler books 'show new obsession gripping Germans' ; Czech Republic ranks second in Europe in Ecstasy use Ecstasy
• · · · Knows, Predicts Shopping Habits ; Of the 300 or so foreign books that are translated into English and published each year in the United States, it is not difficult to imagine why Bloomsbury's Children's Books chose to publish a translation of Valérie Zenatti's When I Was A Soldier The experience of an outsider "looking in" ; Bolsheviks at the Australian Academy of Ballet The Kirov Ballet owes its name to Jozef Stalin
• · · · · Unpredictable life: Crowded House drummer dead: Paul Hester; They say the blues is the devil's music: Byron Bay provides blues and roots with a few laughs along the way Charisma comes in all shapes
• · · · · · Narrators of first-person claptrap like this often greet the reader at the door with moist hugs and complaisant kisses. I won't. I will not endear myself. I won't put on airs. I am not that pleasant. The older I get the less pleasant I am / A way to get very rich very easily and speedily by taking full advantage of the infinite gullibility of homo sapiens: Round up of Weekend Book Reviews ; Many psychologists are traumatised by the stories of those they help Putting therapists on the couch

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Two small tsunami waves hit the Perth area this morning, triggered by a huge earthquake in waters off Indonesia. Tsunami waves reach Perth

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Surfing paradise suffers second disaster
A three-metre-high tsunami struck Simeuleu Island near Aceh minutes after the huge earthquake that struck off Indonesia's western coast, Kyoto.
And the fate of around 5000 people living on the isolated Banyak islands close to the epicentre of the massive earthquake remains unknown, as aftershocks continued to rattle Sumatra today.

A centre of ancient and remote communities surrounded by magnificent surfing beaches, Indonesia's Nias island, is ill-equipped to handle the double-disaster of another huge earthquake on top of last year's devastating tsunami.

Panic as quake strikes tsunami region [Google & Thousand Links to Quake ; Tsunami's lessons taken to heart ]
• · They have been shifting the load to the private sector and blaming each other - states versus national - for shortcomings, demanding coherent integrated solutions and cooperation Lessons from life of Paul Hester ; In 2004, 10 boys from a school labelled the worst in Australia for violence decided to prove their critics wrong, creating inspirational school leaders by trekking the challenging Kokoda Track. Kokoda Challenge
• · · Thousands of property investors hit with land tax bills for the first time are also receiving hefty bills for back tax - for which they did not know they were liable. Back tax on land catches investors ; Australand says the city's strict development rules all but barricaded it out of the CUB site, but the reality is more complexUnder lock and key
• · · · Our new nightmare: the United States of America The Australians Speak: 2005 survey ; Rejection: Turning point in Western history
• · · · · Reality check for those in the Federal Government who want to introduce voluntary voting; A group of MPs studying Canada's prostitution laws is seeking $200,000 in federal funds to visit European cities with red-light zones and legal brothels Silver chain of sound: MPs want $200,000 for hooker junket ;
• · · · · · Now that David Hurley has made a comeback, taking back the reins at A Current Affair, we can clear up one of the great misquotes of recent political history. Twenty years ago Hurley was press secretary to former NSW premier Neville Wran during the Rex Jackson affair and was quoted as telling a reporter: "We're eating a turd sandwich on this one and we're gonna have to say it's yummy" Whichever way you slice it ; Gap mystery: police unsure if car dealer jumped ; Flexible work practices NSW police detectives in work practice row

Antony Loewenstein is back from Sri Lanka, Czech his fearless ideas at AL: A Chance to Confront our Worst Social Ills

Digby gives us the latest version of "bluggers suck" and "journalists r000l" from the LA Times's David Shaw, who writes a column about why bluggers aren't high-minded journalists like him so they therefore don't deserve reporters' privilege Journalist, Heal Thyself

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Tories plan to beat ‘bias’ by bringing in bloggers
The Conservative Right is to turn to new American campaigning techniques and the internet to try to revive the party and overcome what it sees as opposition from the metropolitan Establishment.

Only weeks away from the general election, senior Conservatives will open a new front today in the battle for ideas by creating a website advocating “social conservatism”.
It will invite people to bypass the media and put forward their own views on how the party should evolve. The faction behind it denies that it is “rocking the boat” in the pre-election period and says that in the early weeks the website will be used to campaign for a Conservative victory. It wants people to use the increasingly popular practice of “blogging” — writing online diaries — to break the power of the broadcast media.

The website — — is being started today by Tim Montgomerie - via a provider of a snapshot of the latest online news and buzz across the political spectrum Memeorandum [Shelly Horton ; Elizabeth Spiers, editor-in-chief of Coolest Blog]
• · Blog burnout spreading ; Dave Pollard says the blogging popularity curve's long tail shows that it is "just" a logarithmic curve and not a "power law" curve after all Wagging the long tail
• · · Bill Ives: Longest Running Bloggers Meeting: Montreal ; A-List: Female bloggers doing top-notch work in the mainstream poliblog format
• · · · The ethnic diversity to be found within the male bloggers of the activist, lefty political blogosphere should serve as an obvious lesson to all bloggers that it is indeed our actions that determine the diversity of our blogosphere, no matter what type of diversity we are discussing (gender, income, race, creed, ideology, etc) Diversity and the Two Lefty Blogospheres ; Garrett Graff Scott McClellan does not read blogs...if you were wondering; via Boyton: The Blog Cycle.
• · · · · Les Carlyon: Soon we'll have only 18 readers but they'll all be millionaires Words of wisdom come up against marketing strategies ; Dare we begin to believe? Hopeful signs on the road to defamation reform
• · · · · · Thomas Nelson Publishers Corporate Blogging Guidelines, Draft #2 ; TV reporter earned money from state via Jay Rosen

Monday, March 28, 2005

Ye shall know the Truth,
and the Truth shall make you angry
- Aldous Huxley

Commonwealth warns States it may render void the GST agreement So, what options do the States have now?

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Carr's 10-year reign 'killed 200'
Mike Carlton gives a ringing endorsement: Bob Carr is the best, most accomplished Premier I have encountered in more than 40 years of observing politics in Macquarie Street.

NEW South Wales Premier Bob Carr was yesterday accused of being responsible for the deaths of almost 200 people through his Government's mismanagement. “He has ratted on the people of NSW," he added. The report card coincides with an advertising campaign launched by the State Opposition, showing Mr Carr and Labor as a tired rat on a slowing exercise wheel.

Bob Carr's record is a litany of lies and broken promises which have brought unnecessary physical and economic hardships for people in NSW.
Collateral Damage [You can’t do anything except get on with your life ... Labor Premier Bob Carr did not offer a word of remorse over the deaths but mobilised hundreds of heavily armed riot police ; Bob Carr has long blamed immigration for Sydney's creaking services, but experts are now blaming his services for pushing people away Immigration myth exploded as Sydneysiders flee ; He's a self made man in the sense he's a complete construction. I don't want to die in the job but I want to stick around for some time to come: I count the improvement of State Education as the proudest single achievement. I didn't do that well at school, until the last year or so Premier of New South Wales, Bob Carr is the first to admit his political fortunes have surprised even him ; Parents too poor to outfit students ]
• · As propaganda: Adolf Hitler had hoped to use the 1936 Berlin Olympics to promote all things Aryan. As stage for self-promotion: no politician, least of all an Australian one, can resist the temptation to line up with winners. As career path: such is the kudos enjoyed by sports stars that American wrestlers can become state governors, Australian distance runners Gold Coast mayors All the boys come out to play when the game is political football; Libya has adhered scrupulously to its WMD commitments and its dismantling of its previous programs has offered a powerful, positive example to other countries Gaddafi's rehabilitation now complete, the US is expected to reopen full diplomatic relations with Libya this year
• · · The Liberal state MP Robyn Parker has accused a party colleague and Reverend Fred Nile of exploiting the abortion debate for political gain ; Mark Ballard of the Baton Rouge Advocate obtained a Louisiana database that pinpoints places on state roads that [the state] suspects are so defective and so poorly maintained that they cause crashes or, at least, contribute to wrecks. The Abnormal Locations Report identifies more than 12,000 spots ; Mayoral meals cost taxpayers thousands
• · · · Records show buyer got back property for less than airport paid Depreciating Deals: Taxpayers lost out in land swaps ; The UN has again attacked the Howard Government's record on race Geneva v Canberra
• · · · · New laws to target casino chip gangsters ; Hassan "Sam" Harb - owner of Strathfield business Sam the Paving Man Paving business owner under ICAC probe
• · · · · · MP hurt in street scuffle with girl ; Ban gay parent books from school: Stoner

Stories remind us of who we are and from where we came. They mark the trajectories of our lives; they show us our loves; our hopes; our obsessions; our fears. Most of all, our fears. Children understand fear better than adults, perhaps because the fears of childhood are darker and more primitive. Fear of being abandoned, like Hansel and Gretel. Fear of loss. And fear of the beast - be it wolf, dragon, ogre - which is, of course, the fear of adulthood and, lurking inevitably behind, the fear of death... A significant, secret part of us still wants to believe in magic that can change lives; love that can save us; heroes and heroines who can overthrow the ogres of our fear.

The debate about The Da Vinci Code has generated a great deal of interest in the life of Christ and the origins of Christianity. The two men who changed the course of history are the focus of this documentary Jesus and Paul: the word and the witness

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Seeking Sister, Self, and the Spirit
I didn't expect it to become a book

It is not uncommon for someone to respond to the death of a loved one by attempting to understand that person's life better, or trying to find "God," or trying to find out more about one's self. In Julie Mars' A Month of Sundays: Searching for the Spirit and My Sister (Greycore Press, due out in mid-April), the author manages to do all three when, following the death of her beloved older sister from cancer, she embarks on a pilgrimage of going to Church every Sunday for 31 weeks.

In terms of writing, if not life, this was virgin territory for me. But the biggest challenge (and scariest problem) for me was cutting and editing. Cutting this text felt different than editing fiction -- more bloody and far more painful, but, in the end, I had to pick up my pen and go at it. After a while, I realized I was equating editing with lying, with making the story prettier or more hopeful than it really was, disrespecting the project I had assigned myself.
Pilgrimage of spiritual equilibrium [Unwanted Memories of Aga's grave Ageless Aga ; It's not about drugs, definitely. The drugs are there but the story is about Maria and to show the people that this story can happen to anybody. It's so close to you that you don't even know Maria Full of Grace ]
• · A powerful, unflinching story that opens a window on an unknown aspect of a little-known war - the experiences of Chinese POWs held by Americans during the Korean conflict 'War Trash' Wins PEN/Faulkner Prize ; Nearly half of teachers have suffered from mental illness Stressful job
• · · Debutante balls are thrown by doting fathers who want to shore up their class-standing Rites of Passage; To be able to do something positive is a great motivator Risking Social Siberia.
• · · · We travel most ... when we stumble and we stumble most when we come to a place of poverty and need (like Haiti, perhaps, or Cambodia); and what we find in such confounding places, often, is that it is the sadness that makes the sunshine more involving or, as often, that it is the spirit and optimism of the place that makes the difficulties more haunting Sun After Dark: Flights into the Foreign ; Let him who is without sin cast the first stone A time to return to the true path
• · · · · Poverty can be hard to tackle if you can't define it Why poverty persists - even in the boom times ; Book Fairs: Show Off Promotion leading everyone into temptations
• · · · · · Dan Brown's once-humble life has been turned into a paperback circus Decoding Dan ; 19 Entertainment owns the format rights to Pop Idol, here known as American Idol, and pulls in an estimated $1 billion annually in merchandising, ad sales, sponsorships, etc." along with a simple personal message,"WOW! What's a hit worth?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

I think the reason gamblers habitually gamble is to lose. Because they know they have to lose, it's the law of averages. I'm not talking about bookies or gentlemen gamblers. I'm talking about the compulsive, neurotic gambler. Pain is what he's searching for. The emotion of pain. It's much greater than the emotion of pleasure. Bigger, larger, stronger. Therefore more interesting.
-Walter Matthau

John Howard's apparent rebirth as a centraliser sits oddly with his conservative credentials. But each issue should be taken on its merits...The search for a federal system that is supple enough to serve our economic and social needs today and into the future is far too important to be sacrificed to political argy-bargy. Canberra falls out of love with the states

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Australia doesn't need states
Australia would be better off without state governments, Prime Minister John Howard declared yesterday as he strongly backed Treasurer Peter Costello's demand that the states abolish $2.5 billion in business taxes.

Speaking on radio about the federal-state tax deadlock, Mr Howard said it would be better if Australia had no state governments - adding that it was "unrealistic" to wish for that now.
"If we were starting Australia all over again, I wouldn't support having the existing state structure," he said. "I would actually support having a national government, and perhaps a series of regional governments having the power of, say, the Brisbane City Council (Australia's most powerful local government).
"But we're not starting Australia all over again, and the idea of abolishing state governments is unrealistic."

There is a historical irony in the making of the reversal of the federal history of the 20th century: in 21st century the ALP defends the existence of states whilst the conservative Howard Government are the centralists ;-D
The Joy of Federalism [When we have 29 energy regulators in the country, is it any wonder that there is a brawl about whether it is possible to make an appropriate investment and a reasonable rate of return? Alarm bells on infrastructure ; Water restrictions are in force across the country. Power outages have become a fact of life during summer. The conditions of our major roads is such a worry we are talking tolls – yet a creaky and expensive rail system does not provide a feasible alternative to the large trucks that are doing the worst damage. Stuck on freeway car parks ]
• · former Governor General Sir William Deane Australia's multiculturalism: time for assessment and renewal ; Dr. Klaas Woldring is a former Associate Professor from Southern Cross University [Proportional Representation system] Why was there a by-election in Werriwa anyway?
• · · Castle restitution drags on (and on) as two families fight for justice and their reputations: Schwarzenberg and Liechtenstein families (My first western bread put on the table came from working at the Schwarzenberg Palace in Vienna back in August 1980 - Similarly, the government refuses to give land to my Pecharcik side of the family grandfather’s land boasts the therapeutic hot springs in Vrbov) Waiting & freezing ; An ongoing struggle with depression and the likelihood of adverse findings in a new report on the oil-for-food scandal is raising questions about the political future of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. UN chief fights demons within
• · · · Abortion case a Kafkaesque nightmare ; Journalist Matt Price has highlighted in The Australian today, the humiliating nature of revelations about Tony Abbott's contraceptive methods, revealed by his former girlfriend on A Current Affair last night. Astonishingly frank Kathy Donnelly
• · · · · In Praise Of Soeharto The Despot, Anthony Loewenstein We know your people love you ; A Review of God Under Howard Marion Maddox
• · · · · · Gravy Train: David Blunkett, Indepen Consulting Ltd. and the "Identity" speech; Brothers, you came from our own people. You are killing your own brothers. Any human order to kill must be subordinate to the law of God, which says, 'Thou shalt not kill'. No soldier is obliged to obey an order contrary to the law of God. 24 March 2004 is the anniversary of the assassinaion of Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Goldámez archbishop of El Salvador Southerly Buster: Romero

It's a universal law of capitalism: when an industry faces a new and significant threat to its profits and powers it turns to the government for protection. Well, bloggers who write on current events are challenging the mainstream media (MSM), the most politically well-connected industry in America James Miller believes he sees a gathering storm for blogs ... The coming war on blogs? The Business of Blogging

The Blog, The Press, The Media: From Meet the Press to Be the Press
The Economist just said it: the "the traditional notion that the media play a special role in informing people is breaking down." Rising up: government as a "purely neutral" news provider, credible where a sinking press corps is not.

As Andy Card, the White House chief of staff, has put it, the administration does not think that the press has "a check-and-balance function". This is a fundamental change of attitude compared with previous administrations and makes this one's use of fake news different.
I agree: a fundamental change is afoot, and we have to try to understand it. The Economist zeroes in on why the "special interest" charge matters. Listen carefully-- they're catching on:
If there is nothing special about the press, then there is nothing special about what it does. News can be anything--including dressed-up government video footage. And anyone can provide it, including the White House, which, through local networks, can become a news distributor in its own right. Given the proliferation of media outlets and the eroding of boundaries between news, comment and punditry, someone will use government-provided information as news.

The President represented the people, the press represented the public.
Why two reps, why these two words? Because the same Americans who believe in popular sovereignty (election to office) believe too in public opinion (government by discussion.)
Boundaries, Crosslines, De-certification [Reconciling conflicting objectives - New Open Source Journal on Freedom of Information Freedom of information and data protection ; The launch of a pioneering project, OurMedia provides free storage and free bandwidth for your videos, audio files, photos, text or software. Forever. No catches Open Source Project Offers Free Storage For Digital Media ]
• · New University of Florida Study Ranks States' Records Access Laws - The project's panel of experts, known as the Sunshine Review Board, compared the state laws for 30 categories of legal provisions related to records requests and ranked them on a Sunshine Index for openness Sunshine Week: Study Details Public Access to State Records ; Get Assistance from a Federal Depository Librarian: Government Information Online Pilot Project Gov't Sponsored Project Offers Expert Virtual Reference Services
• · · Experiences of a Street Car Conductor Digital History ; Digital reel explodes on Amazon
• · · · View your words constructed out of images selected pseudo-randomly from an Amazon Web site; Newcopia is a commenting system where people can come and discuss the latest additions in Bills and Research from Australian Parliament House. NewCopia; Sheila Lennon writes a story about a musician. She writes it in an HTML editor so she can fill it with links. Not only that, she read it aloud in her first Podcast. Multi-Talented observers
• · · · · Steve Rubel has some great advice for bloggers: get on the Oprah Winfrey show. And writes an open letter to Oprah asking her to bring bloggers on board (and to start her own blog). How to become influential ; searches more than the web—we have a library of columns that you can add to your column list (the list of buttons you see on the right of search results). Amazon's search engine has lots of tricks
• · · · · · The State of the News Media 2005; Peek is AlterNet's blog of blogs, pointing out what's buzzing in the blogosphere. Peek: The Blog Of Blogs

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Most people could put together a team to lift a body, put it in a box, put it in the ground, or deliver it to a crematorium.
-Arthur Chesterfield-Evans, MLC at NSW Parliament, backs do-it-yourselves funerals

Perhaps the NSW Department of Fair Trading was feeling a little bruised when it completed its consumer guide on arranging funerals. In most cases, cemeteries and crematoria will not deal directly with anyone other than a funeral director Digging up dirt

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Carr's decade of lost opportunities
If the Carr Government was a Broadway show getting the sort of reviews that have lately been coming its way, producers would be quietly lowering the curtain.

In reality, the Government's 10 years have been characterised by largely wasted opportunity, false starts, unrealised promise, half-hearted effort and timidity. Given a choice between spin and substance, the Government more than not has opted for the former, convinced that papier mache is less electorally risky (but not necessarily more affordable) than solid carpentry. In part, this is because real changes are guaranteed to offend some, particularly those with interests vested in old methods that benefit the few at the expense of the many. An unproductive bureaucracy weighed down by a Government commitment not to force out those who are unnecessary, comes to mind. And this from a Government played off a break by trade union mates whose obstinacy retards reform of education and public transport, to name but two.

Spin v Substance [ What a farce. Labor state treasurers spat the dummy and walked out of a meeting that affects 20 million Australians ("States defy deadline to wipe out taxes", Herald, March 24). No wonder we are looking for alternatives to how we are governed ... one is a tax, the second a duty and the third is a levy Answer to tax stoush is to abolish state governments; Business sounds warning on infrastructure ; Defaults on home loans and credit cards have plunged to historic lows despite record household debt, a sign that Australians are taking more care with credit. Swimming in debt, but we're not drowning ]
• · For Europe, for ourselves, and for humanity, comrades, we must make a new start, develop a new way of thinking, and endeavor to create a new man The Wretched of the Earth ; The Utilities Minister, Frank Sartor, says that the former Liberal premier Nick Greiner - now the chairman of a powerful international water and infrastructure provider - reported adversely to him about a company fighting to get access to the city's pipes and sewers. Water firm in grab for $500m effluent subsidy, says Sartor
• · · The excruciatingly personal details watched by the nation on prime time television may have softened Tony Abbott in the eyes of the voters Sting in the tale ; So surreal that if it had been a plot for a novel, publishers may well have rejected the storyline as being ridiculously over-blown In the Name of the Father, Part 2
• · · · Thirty years on, Vietnam and its people are still living through very tough times Vietnam: 30 Years On ; Kofi Annan’s plan for revitalisation Kofi Annan’s plan for revitalisation
• · · · · New liberals justify their policies by pointing to the danger of social engineering. Republicanism: a trap for progressives? ; Peter McDonald and Rebecca Kippen Reform of income tax in Australia: a long-term agenda
• · · · · · Call it an ROTC program for the CIA: young researchers are trained to analyze global conflicts in the interests of national security ... Many social scientists say a new government program will turn fieldwork abroad into spying. Can secrecy coexist with academic openness? Cloak and Classroom ; Mr Ruddock will meet his NSW counterpart, Bob Debus, to produce a report on uniform defamation laws, following a meeting of Attorneys-General this week. Mr Ruddock said the States and Territories will take a second look at three key issues: jury trials, correction orders and the ability for corporations to sue for defamation Interview: Philip Ruddock

Bruce Lowry of Novell told The Economist that he can imagine blogs "completely replacing press releases within 10 years." It's a bold thought; does it hold water? Will Blogs Replace Press Releases?

The Blog, The Press, The Media: It’s time to stand up for Google
Is Google bashing the new cool?

I could have easily substituted the opening quote as the headline here but I’d rather make a positive statement, despite some failings, Google is still one of the good guys, and it’s time to stand up for Google.
Many of you who don’t follow political blogs may be wondering what I’m talking about, well in short form here it is: Political blogs, in particular leading conservative blogs and bloggers has stirred up a storm in a tea cup over the inclusion of a “Nazi” website as a source for Google’s News service (since removed) mainly on the grounds that their blogs had not.

Never let the real facts get in the way of a good conspiracy story.
Google is still one of the good guys, and it’s time to stand up for Google [ Dan Gillmor on Google ; Google testing new ad formats ; Principal claims she was harassed Web spy student ends up suspended ]
• · Petr Partyk criticized a city bureaucrat on a web discussion forum, and now faces prison over it. What’s more, he says the comments were written by someone else. It looks absurd, but according to a decision by the Prague 7 district court he could be in prison for 75 days for libel. Man goes to prison over website comments ; Judges Urged to Determine if Crime Occurred in Leak Case Media Groups Back Reporters In Court Filing
• · · Popular as the uncensored bastions of ideological chest-thumping, Web logs have emerged in the debate over Terri Schiavo's fate as something more mature: a place where people struggle to make sense of their complex and contradictory feelings. Rantings and ravings still rule the day in the blogosphere, as it's known, with plenty of political sniping. Blogs Become Sites for Soul-Searching on Life-and-Death Question ; Is linking really stealing?
• · · · The Role of Ethics In Weblogging ; Perish the thought: Fake name. Fake reporter. Fake news agency. And now this ... Fake Marine Plame & PropaG: NO Military Service for Gannon/Guckert
• · · · · The boundary between the mainstream media and the new online underground is increasingly porous Fourth estate 'second rate'; The documentary Touching the Void was a box-office hit, but before its success the written version had languished on bookshop shelves Tails, you win: Into Thin Air
• · · · · · How to Make a Living as a Poet ; Google: Family memories develop out of thin air

Friday, March 25, 2005

We are glad the general public is more and more aware of the fact that investing into NGO’s is sort of business culture. Citizens of Slovakia can decide what happens to their taxes Petr Bokuvka: Two Percent: To The Ones Who Need Them

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: An Invisible Government
In every existing government we find clamor, abuses of power, newspapers with triumphant, lying headlines, lies of every kind in public life. This being the case, someone like me, who understands nothing of politics, is compelled to think about politics and despair of ever understanding it, is compelled to envision something entirely different.

I’ve always found it rather strange that after an election, nearly all the party newspapers proclaim victory even if they’ve been defeated. If I were a party leader, I would proclaim the truth in big red letters. If we had suffered a major defeat, the headline in my paper would read: “Major Defeat for Our Party.” I can’t see why every party newspaper instead finds it necessary to display exultant, triumphant headlines after each election. The few exceptions after the recent elections were remarkable indeed.

Natalia Ginzburg: Major Defeat for Our Party [This weekend, three guys carrying bread tried to push past police officers guarding Terri Schiavo's hospice. It's good they were arrested, because if they'd fed her the bread, she would have choked Culture Vultures ; Central to the last federal election was the question of risk. John Howard portrayed Mark Latham as ideologically extreme, erratic and dangerous. He cast himself as the embodiment of reassurance, especially on interest rates. He was the safe option The changing of the risk factor ]
• · Troppoarmadillo Roulette: Police in the US can't pull people over at random, since this has been ruled a violation of the bit in the Constitution dealing with unjust and discriminatory search and seizure. Blogger Ken Parish: Drug testing v alcohol testing v petrol sniffing; Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration Roadblock-sobriety checkpoints ; The judicial system is being undermined by lawyers who talk to the media, attorneys-general who do not defend the courts and superficial and inappropriate performance indicators (also link is available to the entire speech) Chief judge hits back at court critics
• · · GST fight hots up on both sides ; Brothel scandal engulfs tax office ; Death, Taxes and Secrets Google on Secrets
• · · · James Giffen — facing an $84 million forfeiture and the rest of his life in jail — is mounting a stunning defense to charges he siphoned $78 million in Mobil's money to despotic President Nursultan Nazarbayev, as well as money laundering, mail and wire fraud and tax evasion. Superspy ; Petr Bokuvka Is paying for education like paying for sex?
• · · · · Jan Carnogursky would be too modest to mention the sacrifices, such as frequent imprisonment, that he made on this movement's behalf. But we ought to remember the evenings when the Carnogurskys waited desperately for smuggled shipment of medicines that a vicious regime had denied their son. Just like medicine was denied to my sister Aga. Like double dragons, Slovakia's reformers have been doubly brave The Bridges of Bratislava ; Winning Back Europe's Heart
• · · · · · Protesters stormed the presidential compound in Kyrgyzstan on Thursday, seizing the seat of state power after clashing with riot police during a large opposition rally. President Askar Akayev reportedly fled the country and resigned Kyrgyzstan President Resigns ; Vibrant Cities Find One Thing Missing: Children

Easter is relevant to us today because it's all about hope rather than just The DaVinci Code ... In Easter - an irrational jolt to the complacent, winter-tired soul - we recount how God gives us life again and again where we believed there was only failure and death. Through Easter, we remember how Jesus, the original blogger, defined power: power based on sharing, on healing, on feeding, on giving, on including, on extending compassion, on blessing, and on reacting with dignity and non-violent resistance to external threats. The celebration of Easter reminds us that things could be, and should be, very different; that in the end, good always conquers evil, that love can prevail.
Calling the day of the Crucifixion ‘Good’ Friday is a designation that is peculiar to the English language. In German, for example, it is called Karfreitag. The Kar part is an obsolete word, the ancestor of the English word care in the sense of cares and woes, and it meant mourning. So in German, it is Mourning Friday. And that is what the disciples did on that day—they mourned. They thought all was lost. I think we call it Good Friday because, in pious retrospect, all that tragedy brought about the greatest good there could be. Why do we call it ‘Good’ Friday?

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Branches of Palm: Stations of the Cross
Any other day of the year, they are simply a war memorial, a homeless shelter and a jail. But this Good Friday, they'll become stops in a symbolic retracing of Christ's final steps and reminders of everyday suffering.

The modern observances are becoming more popular among religious leaders trying to make the lessons of a 2,000-year-old crucifixion relevant today.
"It's just to bring to the surface suffering," said Linda Zeorlin, associate director of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph's Peace & Justice Office. "It's to keep the awareness, keep it smack in the face."
In Kansas City, the stops on the Good Friday procession are varied, from the federal building to a business that typically offers one-day gigs for the unemployed.
Along the way, the prayers and testimonies from participants will touch on many issues - war, economic inequity, unemployment, the death penalty, homelessness and government wrongdoing.

It was where, of course, the ultimate cry of human longing ran headlong into the silence of God, and was left, the cry was left out there like a huge, red hook trying to reach up into the heavens, but nothing received it. It's a day of being touched by the void; it's the day of the abyss ...
Way of the Cross [The challenge of Easter goes beyond the church Google on Pope at Easter ; Hoppy Easter ]
• · Sydney Eyes turn to rising Son ; Jesus behaved like any rebbelious blogger The radical new challenge of Easter
• · · The Slavic Easter Monday tradition involves women getting buckets of water thrown over them and, if that isn't enough, getting beaten with a stick made from willow (Vrbov). In return the women, no doubt grateful that the men had made them fresh again, give the men glasses of schnapps, chocolate, sweets, money and decorated eggs. Girls give Easter eggs to their "whippers ; There's more to Easter eating than leg of lamb and chocolate bunnies. There are other things like hard-boiled eggs, sunka (smoked ham), klobasy (smoked sausage), slanina (smoked bacon), cvikia s krenom (a mixture of grated beets, horseradish root, salt, and vinegar) Green Thursday; White Saturday; Wet Monday
• · · · God made the world or he didn't In Love With Death ; The Random Acts of Kindness
• · · · · A historical foundation stone may have to be reconsidered after the discovery of a 16th century German map that used the word "Australia" 259 years before the explorer Matthew Flinders bestowed the name on the continent he had just circumnavigated. Terra Australis or New Holland as Australia Nation's naming mystery ; The fondest dream of the information age is to create an archive of all knowledge. You might call it the Alexandrian fantasy, after the great library founded by Ptolemy I in 286 BC The Great Library of Amazonia
• · · · · · NSW parliament staff have in-house yoga classes to help them de-stress, and even midwives say there's evidence that prenatal yoga can help women cope with childbirth. Yoga ; Henry James isn't famed for making people laugh, but when he's guarding his turf an evil sense of humor can rear its toothy head. As promised, funny Henry James

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Charlie Lynn’s political philosophy embodies the belief that courage, hope, fortitude and endurance are all nurtured by conviction. The strong and united community is supported by a continuity of a great tradition. He believed that it is not wealth and power and organisation that hold a society together but its Christian faith.
Please note that Channel 9 will be screening tonight their 'Dareing the Kokoda' program which involves a group of young blokes from Punchbowl Boys High School which had been written up as the worst school in NSW. For the school and its community, the change was immediate and profound and for the boys testing themselves to the limit, the discovery of a new reality and a new attitude.
There are two men who put the Kokoda Trail or Track back on our radar screens again. One of them is Charlie who at Easter 1991 began organising the heart-wrenching Kokoda trail tours. The other man is James Cumes who around Easter 1995 published His-story about the WWII experiences. The boy who was born in Beenleigh became a man on Kokoda trail. Just as Tolstoy wrote about the Napoleonic wars with which he was familiar, so, in his story Haverleigh, we are intimately told about a war near the Australian shores

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The Epicentre Cannot Hold
O'Farrell swore at the speaker of parliament today after a question was ruled out of order during question time.

Speaker John Aquilina ruled Opposition Leader John Brogden could not ask Assistant Planning Minister Diane Beamer if she had been "lying her head off". As he prepared to make a point of order, Mr O'Farrell called to Labor MPs across the chamber, "He's the joke", in a reference to Mr Aquilina.

Liberal MP swears at speaker [Carrnage in NSW: The Reader Issue 87 wonders whether Bob Carr is a dead man walking ; Google on Unparliamentary Language ; This Easter will see a number of senior liberals meeting to discuss what is happening with the NSW Party. J-Bro seems to be suffering under a weight of half way blues and everyone is hoping he will break out of it soon. A small group of MPs, staff and party officials will be meeting in the Blue Mountains this weekend to discuss the matter. Blue Mountains Link ]
• · For those interested in this continuing debate, Andrew Leigh and Justin Wolfers have a new paper (PDF) comparing the performance of polls and betting markets in predicting election outcomes. Blogger John Quiggin ; The trouble with responding to unserious wannabes like Currency Lad (below) is that the real issues tend to get lost or neglected altogether. So let me take a step sideways and address some of the matters arising from the Terri Schiavo case. Blogger Tim Dunlop ;
• · · My life has been a very fortunate one, Ian Glachan told the NSW Parliament in his farewell address two years ago. I was fortunate to have worked for him when he was a chair of PAC. The most relax MP with the most caring wife in the world: New era for Glachan ; One year on and Clover is only just beginning to fight
• · · · Or is insecurity the message the United States is conveying to the world? Security Check: The view from here ; The 'Wolf' has been shown the path to the henhouse. It's hard to imagine peaceful development under his leadership Dismay at Wolfowitz's nomination
• · · · · Why Don't We Have Senators Like This? ; The U.S. needs Senators like this
• · · · · · Black Economy or Real Economy? New figures released by the Reserve Bank show that hundreds of thousands of low-to-middle income earners are burdened with massive housing debts Australians saddled with massive housing debts ; New Jersey philanthropist Herbert Axelrod has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for tax evasion Axelrod To Jail

Back in the early 1970s during the Tatranka folkloric days and later at the horticultural college periods we used to spent quite a bit of summertime in Morava, one summer we even managed to invade East Germany. Ach, heavy google hitters on the web, I remember well those Morava and East German moments of causing teachers headaches with our ideas of western-disco-kitch-dress-revolutions at night. However, during the day we headed to places along the Morava River where we explored the unusual labyrinth of underground passages and domes of Moravian caves and the Moravian beauties disguised as tourist guides. We were told all about the romantic caves such as “Nature's Temple" and the "Virgin Cave" . I still recall how the underground spaces were richly decorated with stalactites and stalagmites.
As teenagers in East Germany, Dresden and Leipzig seemed to us such a huge contrast between the natural beauty of Morava and the industrial smog of the German city. It is rather hard to believe that an underground movement was born in Leipzig at the time since even to us bridges, main stations and restricted areas were a risk to photograph. Our very own Jozef Kein led a procession of Tatran boys though pubs filled with strange alcoholic and other temptations ;-D
In 2005, Reading rather than drinking fever hits Leipzig

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Neighbours with Sleeves Rolled Up
Economists are beginning to recognise that money really doesn't buy you happiness. Is depression and unhappiness already at boiling point at Point Piper, Bellevue Hill or Darling Point?

It is tough trying to work out if life is good. It is usually only when something goes wrong that you realise it used to be great. For many of us, peer comparison is a useful way to judge how we are travelling.
We check to see if our cars are in the same price bracket and if our children are on the same school waiting lists. If we have a similar quality of living to our mates, we reason, then we must be doing all right.
We also like to be reassured on an international level. It is with a warm, smug glow that we read a recent report from the human resources group Mercer telling us that Sydney is in the top 10 cities in the world for quality of living. It is one of the few times when just physically being somewhere can be made to feel like an achievement.

But governments are still holding on tightly to their belief that standard of living is the same as wellbeing ...
Living in a wealthy, safe, stable city may be bad for your wellbeing [ Bohemian librarian, Casanova, the 18th-century lover who would breakfast on 50 oysters, has been vindicated by a study that proves they really are aphrodisiacs Pearly wisdom: oysters are an aphrodisiac ; A chewing gum which the makers say can help enhance the size, shape and tone of the breasts has proved to be a big hit in Japan Pueraria mirifica: Chewing gum can 'enhance breasts' ; My father used to keep Seven busy hives at our garden: Honey can be a strong ally in the fight against MRSA Antipodes: The healing power of honey bees ]
• · An advertisement for DirecTV recounts the baby boomer life cycle as a succession of instantly recognizable TV moments A Life in Reruns: Watch Out, the Ending Goes Quickly ; Advertising – old media, new media, internet or not – still sells goods by manipulating public attitudes about beauty and status. The New Pitch Under the Sun
• · · Relatives. We’ve all got them. And some are reviving the entrepreneural spirit in the former communist countries... While it takes a village to bring up a child, it takes a global village to make any family business tick and make them priceless. Family businesses are a time-honored tradition and my cousins continue the whole and retail exchange culture our grandfather Pekarcik (meaning baker rather than publican) which he created in the High Tatra Mountains area. M-I-M: Textrend: Mixing Business & Family; Troika: Maria, Ana and Helena, so Slovenskej Vsi (from Slovak Village), with the surname of Kiss keep up with the latest trends in the complex trade of textile and fabrics. Slovak Republic is lucky to have a growing number of successful and thriving businesses. Dovoz, velko a maloobchod s poahovmi látkami. Luxusné froté vrobky, dekorané vankúe, ozdobné prestierania, obrúsky, irok sortiment obrusov. A New Age Way of Doing Business in Bratislava: M.I.M., s.r.o. - Tupolevova 16
• · · · If you believe the truth is stranger than fiction and trust in the power of confession, then Letting Light in through the Cracks is for you; A book about a Friendswood dentist convicted of murder for running over her cheating husband is inaccurate and sensational, according to a defamation lawsuit filed Tuesday against the author and publisher Book about Clara Harris case draws lawsuit
• · · · · There are several forbidden topics for publishing in China, including politics, sex, the military and state secrets Leaks: Banning Cold Rivers In China (But Not Effectively) ; A sign of the times; it is now quite common for an ambitious writer to announce that they will prepare their new proposal and/or sample chapter in time for Frankfurt or London Who are you writing for?
• · · · · · The remixing metaphor applies to almost any area you can think of: music, politics, culture. Life Isn't Just as You Want It? Remix It! ; Are crime shows influencing real-life juries? The CSI Effect: Juries Want More

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

In an effort to increase pressure on North Korea, the Bush administration told its Asian allies in briefings earlier this year that Pyongyang had exported nuclear material to Libya. Search for peace and democracy starts with sunlight U.S. Misled Allies About Nuclear Export

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The Greatest Game
For connoisseurs of intelligence fiction a few titles epitomize the essence of the craft. Rudyard Kipling's Kim is perhaps the most well known. John le Carré's The Spy Who Came In From the Cold has become an icon of the anti-hero spy.

No spy novel can capture the twists and turns that a genuine spy goes through in pursuit of his mission of treachery and betrayal.

If precedence is an indicator, one thing seems certain. As long as the Great Game continues, we can expect more fiction and non-fiction books about this calling. As Kipling wrote, When everyone is dead the Great Game is finished. Not before ...
The Myth and Reality of Espionage Reality of Espionage [Spy books are at home in the White House. Our Literary Leaders ; Small step in the right direction ]
• · Did Abbott fire prematurely? ; The chequebooks have been flying around the tabloid television corridors of A Current Affair and Today Tonight as they gobble up every last morsel of the Tony "who's your daddy" Abbott DNA fatherhood saga Pregnant pause
• · · Their victory lies in the death of innocent civilians, ours lies in its lawful prevention Terror suspects on loose, warns spy chief ; The second man arrested over a plot to kidnap the daughter of a wealthy Sydney Chinese business family and hold her ransom for $800,000 was an illegal immigrant who had obtained a legitimate driver's licence and business and tax file numbers Kidnap sidekick not here legally
• · · · The $35 billion GST agreement between Canberra and the states is in doubt, after the states rejected Peter Costello's ultimatum to abolish business stamp duties States defy deadline to wipe out taxes ; State treasurers Eric Ripper, Paul Lennon, Andrew Refshauge, Ted Quinlan, John Brumby, Terry Mackenroth and Kevin Foley: the political pantomime cannot mask growing problems with fiscal equalisation, the system designed to give each state or territory the same capacity to provide public services Big states hit hard in fight for federal funds
• · · · · The Premier, Bob Carr, yesterday launched a double-barrelled assault on the Grants Commission's methodology used to carve up the GST funding pie between the states, as it became clear that the treasurers' meeting in Canberra would yield no more than the usual ritual squabbling Taken for a ride: NSW pays price for providing services ; It has been now two years since the United States, UK and other countries invaded our nation 2 Years On in Iraq
• · · · · · The son of the owner of the Orange Grove factory outlet has told the Independent Commission Against Corruption the Carr Government minister Joe Tripodi was "a coward and a liar" for not supporting the centre. Tripodi a coward, ICAC hearing told ; Those of us who read liberal blogs also know that this grandstanding by the congress is a purely political move designed to appease the religious right and that the legal maneuverings being employed would be anathema to any true small government conservative. The ghoulish infotainment industry is making a killing by acceding once again to trumped up right wing sensationalism Using Terry Schiavo issue for their political gain

A blog is a bowl and we can pour pieces of our souls into it, as an offering to others, for whomever will hear. Julie Leung's eclectic garden

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Media, Politics & Sex
After first being blase about American Gigolo, I am now gaga over it ;-P Try to imagine Richard Gere in American Gigolo, and substitute Jeff in the gay version. He’s professional, he’s smooth, he’s never late, he’s not strung out, his appearance is immaculate. He provides perfect illusion and fantasy. As any pro will tell you, this is hard to maintain, because it is such an act, and so stressful.

Gannon has nothing to worry about unless his clients turn on him, like they did on Richard Gere in American Gigolo. Boy, was that upsetting! But that won’t happen as long as Jeff has something juicy on his admirers. When you think about it, Jeff Bulldog Gannon is in the Juice Business, the mother’s milk of journalism. I say, give the guy his press pass back, and let him go gonzo.

• via Barista: "Aggressive Verbal Dominant Top" Seeks Submissive Male Who Can Reinstate White House Press Pass [ZoomInfo: has a free search engine as well as fee-based services, provides users with search options New Search Engine Profiles 25 Million People ; Resume Data ; Reporters still anything but shy at news conferences ]
• · Digital memories: cheap to take, cheaper to lose ; Obtaining government data is becoming more difficult
• · · Comprehensive Blog Policy Statement How To Blog And Not Lose Your Job ; Blog-linked firings Prompt calls for better policies ;
• · · · Collecting news bias examples Slanted Journalism is Everywhere ; It's prime time for blogs on CNN's 'Inside Politics CNN's Woodruff was initially skeptical of segment on blogs
• · · · · The Seduction of Secrecy: Toward Better Access to Government Information on the Record "Where's the outrage?" asks AP chief at "Secrecy" panel ; People have long considered the press sensational, rude, pushy, and callous. But in the last 17 years, they have also come to see the press as less professional, less moral, more inaccurate, and less caring about the interests of the country Critic: Talking about "the media" is beginning to seem absurd
• · · · · · Someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to produce a document accusing journalist and activist William Arkin of serving as a spy for Saddam Hussein Fake cable accuses NBC journo Arkin of being a spy for Iraq ; Time Magazine: The Decency Police

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I naively bought into the notion that the wholesale use of journalists and media executives by the CIA, for example, written about by Carl Bernstein in Rolling Stone, was an impediment to a free press. I uncritically accepted the notion that administering chemicals, electric shocks, and prolonged isolation illegally to unwitting victims to test theories of behavior modification suggested that an agency that purportedly existed to "gather intelligence" was coloring a little outside the lines. I Was a Victim of the KGB
Ach, I was a victim of the Bondi train breakdown . But, after the strange detour, I was rewarded by exchanging a few ideas with a former MP, who is now in his 70s, and out of all places over at the blood bank of the Red Cross fame ;-D (I blew his anonymity as he prefers to stay incognito.) It was a day filled with another former MPs who is subject of 50,000 word thesis. I also noticed an interesting development at the State Library which now issues a magnetic card to anyone who wants to use the internet (minus - email). Users are required to fill in their address and provide contact details as well as a proof of ID under the less known Aussie Patriots Act ?!...

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Policies and participation
Evidence of the disengagement of civil society is everywhere. Members are fleeing the political parties, leaving control in the hands of careerist insiders. Parliaments are losing respect and politicians are cynically regarded. Corporations are run by unrepresentative boards.

Democracy is the compelling ideology of our time. We all have an innate urge for community. As one institution breaks down, resourceful Australians have shown in the past that we can renovate some and build others. I know that many parliamentarians, journalists and ordinary citizens share these concerns.

• John Menadue Helping voice the personal and public disquiet: Stop complaining and do something about it [Yesterday's effort, in which he claimed the Carr Government had blood on its hands over the deaths at the Waterfall and Glenbrook rail disasters and deaths caused by hospital waiting lists, signals the fight is going to get dirty. Brogden rolls up his sleeves for state putsch ; South Australian Liberal director Graham Jaeschke, the former head of the Queensland party, has been be parachuted into the top job in NSW A great career move ; Turnbull calls on Carr to recycle Sydney sewage ]
• · Army allegedly failed to investigate kickback scandal ; Australians implicated in Iraq kick-back scandal Axis of Oil ; If a small proportion of the energy and capital that has been devoted to the dangers following September 11, 2001 had been lavished on the problem of AIDS, I feel sure that the world would be a better and probably a safer, certainly a kinder, place Threat of terrorism overblown, says Kirby ; Activist Legislators: The boundless overreaching behind Congress' new Schiavo bill
• · · Zalman Shoval How the Saudis got to be 'special'; This is either an act of provocation by America, or an act so insensitive as to look like provocation ... Wolfowitz is US deputy defence secretary and widely regarded as the chief intellectual architect of the Iraq war. An arch "neoconservative", he is probably Bush's most hawkish advisor and, in some diplomatic circles, an incendiary figure. The Intelligence Made Me Do It: 'The World Bank will be hated'
• · · · Frank Luntz, Los Angeles Times The Lexicon of Political Clout ; History of floods caused by servants, first the BBC, and now COSTA: The Minister for Economic Reform has triggered alarm for the Carr Government by stating up to 20 per cent of the state's 340,000 public servants might be surplus to requirements. Too many workers in Costa's empire
• · · · · The man who once flaunted the biggest muscles in baseball, Mark McGwire, is now the smallest coward in Washington Home-run heroes come off as zeros before Congress ; Owen Harries, Prospect Magazine Power and Morals ; Paternity shock: Health Minister Tony Abbott today said he was numb after learning he had not fathered the baby boy he gave away 27 years ago Surreal and Bizarre twist in love-child tale
• · · · · · Ignoring the truth about American Communists: Since the end of the Cold War, documents released from American and Soviet archives have convinced most Americans that long-disputed spy charges against Alger Hiss, the Rosenbergs, Lauchlin Currie, and Harry Dexter White, among others, were accurate, and that hundreds of Americans worked for Soviet intelligence services during the 1930s and 1940s Professors of Denial ; Cab ride cost $312, but return trip was just fine ; Business supports the NSW Government in its attempt to end the significant unnecessary cross-subsidisation of other states with taxation collected from NSW businesses and residents, the business group said. The State Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Margy Osmond, called on the Federal Government to take a lead in reforming the GST carve-up Business firmly behind Carr in tax onslaught against Costello

Tina Brown: We are in the Eggshell Era

The Blog, The Press, The Media: We're not the Stasi. We're the people

We are in the Eggshell Era, in which everyone has to tiptoe around because there's a world of busybodies out there who are being paid to catch you out -- and a public that is slowly being trained to accept a culture of finks. We're always under surveillance; cameras watch us wherever we go; paparazzi make small fortunes snapping glamour goddesses picking their noses; everything is on tape, with transcripts available. No matter who you are, someone is ready and willing to rat you out. Even the rats themselves have to look over their shoulders, because some smaller rat is always waiting in the wings. Bloggers are the new Stasi. All the timidity this engenders, all this watching your mouth has started to feel positively un-American.

• Bloggers are the new Stasi Hungry Media Fill Up on Rice [ The Second Rule Of AdSense Is That You Can Now Talk About Earnings ; Google code-innovations ; Google AdSense ]
• · The federal government has set up a committee to pave the way for more Australians to live the telecommuter lifestyle. However the move won't go as far as recent legislation in the United States which requires government departments to support teleworkers Thou shalt telecommute ; It's crazy knowing you are part of this exchange of ideas with people all over the world. Xeni Jardin is one of four bloggers from around the world behind Boing Boing, last week voted the best overall weblog. All four of us are eccentric people, with odd sets of interests that mesh together - (Say that again Xeni ;-P) Boing - best of the blogs ; FEC Considers Restricting Online Political Activities
• · · Media bashing is still primarily a right wing phenomenon My Bias for Mainstream News ; Under the Federal Government's model it will be a judge rather than a jury who will decide whether an opinion is "reasonable". Defaming the dead ; Down in the depths of the netherworld: Requiem for the Gingrich Revolution — David Brooks drives a stake through the Class of '94's cheatin' heart. Masters of Sleaze
• · · · Should the FEC Regulate Political Blogging? ; Government Funds Color Press Group’s Objectivity Astroturf politics: If a political gaffe consists of inadvertently revealing the truth, then Sean Treglia, a former program officer for the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts, has just ripped the curtain off of the "good government" groups that foisted the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill on the country in 2002 John Fund's excellent piece today tells the story of how liberal foundations managed to slide under anemic media radar
• · · · · Michigan State Police warn: blogging could mean jail time ; Via Blog Herald ; Before it took up marketing, the labour movement held some considerable political assets in its organisational structures and the sense of belonging to a movement with a cause to promote that many Australians felt Politics and community-building online
• · · · · · A lot of commentary has pointed to the ability of the right to mobilise on a grassroots level as well as a more academic level with things like right-wing think tank Right-wing mobilisation and left-wing conscience raising ; Slaughter At The BBC BBC to axe nearly 4000 jobs