Thursday, June 30, 2005

The ex-Labor leader is honest, blunt and angry, but certainly not the least bit interested in rebuilding any bridges Mark Latham gets angry, err, angrier
Mark Latham's splenetic comments about the Labor Party, the state premiers, the media and anyone else who got in his way received plenty of newsprint today David Roffey signed in just behind Laurie Ferguson. Why is he here? ... Lets hope that the rest of Bernie's book will remind us all of a more rounded picture of Mark's career: not only the disappointment, but also the excitement. Not just the acrimony, but also the inspiration Not just the risk, but the reasons we were willing to take the risk.

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The Loner: Inside a Labor tragedy
Bernie Lagan has taken a risk himself, engaging so closely and so soon with this highly-coloured and highly dramatic story.

When Bernie Lagan asked me to launch this book, I admit I had some misgivings. I disagree with some of the analysis, and with some of the opinions in this book – including those of its subject! There is always the risk that someone, motivated by stupidity or by spite, will think launching a book equals endorsing its contents. But, on reflection, I thought this was a risk well worth taking. Loner covers a very recent and very volatile episode in Labor's history. The dust has not settled. The wounds are raw. Some would say that nowhere near enough time has passed for a reasoned (or reasonable) discussion of Mark Latham's leadership...
We value our history without caveat. The light on the hill, and the shadows beneath, are both part of Labor's past. And we struggle to accept and learn from both. We hold our history close in the Labor Party, we breathe new life into old feuds. We use our history as a guide and a justification. It is our weapon of choice in battles against foes without and within the party. It's our weapon of choice, but it's a two-edged sword. Labor's close engagement with our history risks uncomfortable truths and awkward revelations. Perhaps this is why books about Labor's history sell better than those about the conservatives.

• Nightmare on Beazley Street: Latham bites back ... The Tsunami and the Mad End John Faulkner, Labor's leading historian, on 'Loner' [Sour Grapes: Latham book hot property: Costello A-list: Carr gives Latham an F for grade A insult ; A-Humour Preacher of Practicer: a Politician or a Priest ; Bernie Lagan; Labor got the leader it truly deserves - It’s beyond repair, beyond reform Google: Latham biography reopens wounds in ALP]
• · One of Australia's largest transport companies, Lindsay Australia, moved from New South Wales (NSW) to Queensland two years ago. Director, Tom Lindsay, says the company will never return, describing NSW as a "Gestapo state". By moving, he says the company has reduced the cost of payroll tax, worker's compensation premiums and vehicle registration. The savings paid for the cost of the move within 12 months. Other key businesses have also left the state because of higher taxes and charges How tax drove a company north ; Freedom in the Market
• · · The New Yorker: Did AIPAC lobbyists and a Pentagon analyst pass secrets to Israel? Real Insiders ; Ari Sharp John Howard's ten worst ministers ; Yearning for Great Men without too much of Executive Power Presidential Powers
• · · · The Australian goods and services tax (GST) has been successful overall. Lachlan Wolfers, of accounting firm KPMG, said that GST revenues had been higher than predicted, administration presented few problems, and it had been widely accepted. It had not dealt with the problem of the black market, but it had brought many businesses within the tax net. However, there were several problems. The treatment of property, financial services and non-profit operations was very complex. The GST also created problems for foreign buyers of goods and services in Australia, Wolfers argued GST a 'stunning success'. ; Taxing but 'relatively painless' - the GST rakes it in ; Attempts by the Australian Taxation Office to tighten the rules covering political advocacy and lobbying have left non-profit organisations fearful they could lose their charity status and some tax exemptions Charities fear losing tax-free status
• · · · · Tory David Davis said Labour's legacy would be "surveillance from cradle to grave" ... We can see no benefits, huge cost and serious risks to civil liberties and privacy The Good the Bad and the Ugly; MPs narrowly back ID cards plan ; The Blair government competes with the US for the prize of world's most intellectually bankrupt Western ruling party: the costly, redundant new ID legislation Rebels halve Blair's majority in vote on ID cards ; Let’s hope that it gets mauled in committee and then dropped Ministers plan to sell your ID card details to raise cash
• · · · · · No one knows yet whether William Rehnquist plans to resign this week. But if he does, the stage will be set for the most contentious nomination battle since the Clarence Thomas hearings of 1991. That battle will in all likelihood provide Washington's primary political drama of the summer Court Gestures ; In his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, then-President Thomas Jefferson made it clear that the intent of the founders was to maintain a "wall of separation between church and state." Reinforcing the Wall ; If life tenure is a good idea, then why has it been shunned by all of the world's other democracies? Life Tenure Is Too Long For Supreme Court Justices ; Is it possible to square judicial review with democracy? Just where do judges derive the democratic credentials to overturn laws enacted by elected officials? The ideal of self-government constrained by law ; Rehnquist in the minority on a number of big rulings A season of dissent for the chief justice

The tale is like something out of Orwell. With the help of companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and Juniper, China continues to be quite successful in censoring access to the Internet within its borders. In the last couple weeks, we learned that Microsoft was helping China censor bloggers on MSN:Spaces. Because of this cooperation, China does not block access to MSN:Spaces. Interestingly, China blocks entire domains like Blogger and Typepad. Why? My guess is that Google (owner of Blogger) and Six Apart (owner of Typepad) refuse to provide censorship services. The Sandbox of Geo-Political-Corporate Censorship

The Blog, The Press, The Media: A Bitter Defeat for the Press
The tale is like something out of Kafka: In 2003, George W. Bush accused Saddam Hussein of trying to buy uranium in Africa. A former U.S. ambassador, Joseph Wilson, revealed that the claim was false.

The Supreme Court's refusal to hear the Cooper-Miller case will do more than hurt two reporters -- it will erode the press's ability to cover sensitive stories. In an obvious attempt to punish Wilson (Smith), one of Bush's aides then disclosed the identity of Wilson's wife, an undercover CIA operative named Valerie Plame, to the conservative columnist Robert Novak, who printed the name.

Divulge Sources, 4 More Reporters Told The Fourth Estate lost another high-profile legal battle
And Strikes a Blow at a Strong Press: Reinforcing the Medieval Flame [Legend has it when Henry David Thoreau went to jail to protest an unjust law, his friend, the philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, visited him and asked, "Henry, what are you doing in here?" The great nature writer replied, "What are you doing out there?" It's time for Novak to write the column he owes his readers ; Minor players in leak saga face prison, but that won't benefit public Twilight zone for reporters; There is so much more at Romenesko: Jailing of reporters seems medieval in this info age ; Complete Coverage: Monday's Supreme Court Decisions ; A Supreme Court Conversation ]
• · Note to technology developers who want to market products that will help people share copyrighted files: Whatever you do, don't end your brand name with "-ster"! Supreme Court's unsound decision ; The attorney who argued the landmark eminent domain case surveys the blight in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision Never Mind the Kelo, Here's Scott Bullock
• · · Here's another example of how grassroots are using the internet to fight back. Just a Minor Threat ; Millions of former newspaper readers now get their news from the Web, but the majority remain loyal to their favorite print news outlets Newspaper Readers Turning to Web ; Washington has a simple solution to most governments it doesn't like: isolate them, slap sanctions on them and wait for their downfall How To Change Ugly Regimes
• · · · Media studies courses have for years been cruelly mocked by the industry. Can they survive a renewed assault? Mouse trap; US public more critical of press Online readership countering print losses
• · · · · Lessig: Wow - I said that?.; NYT endorses Bugmenot
• · · · · · Journos have sunk so low that even bosses are kicking them ; I think there were like two blips in the 20th century - Ernie Pyle in World War II, and Watergate-- that gave journalists a reputation that they in no way deserved, and don't usually have P.J. O'Rourke has consistently remained one of the funniest writers in America ; Don't Be a Blogger Manqué, Norman Mailer ; via Tim Dunlop: There are those who write good news blogs and pretend they are providing balance, and there are those who actually work in Iraq

Less than seven years ago Alex and Bella babysitted this young lad at Darling Point, Bellevue Hill and even Helsinki, but, today he is independent as the next virtual Bill Gates. Robert Scoble et al may I introduce you to the extraordinary Antipodean-Finnish mover and risk taking skater Aleksi

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Inspiration bubbles over for winning wordsmith: Ismail Kadaré
There would be a grave risk of you thinking a writer who has travelled two thousand kilometres to be here a little simple-minded and banal if he were to begin his speech with a hymn declaring his faith in literature, and saying, more precisely, that literature is what made him a free man.

Believing in literature means believing in a reality above that which is. Believing in literature means saying that the ghastly regime holding sway over your country is altogether insipid, compared to literature in all its funereal majesty. Believing in that art means being convinced that the regime to which you are subjected, with its policemen who spy on you, its top leaders and its functionaries -- in sum, that the entire edifice of tyranny is but a passing nightmare, something dead in comparison to the Supreme order whose disciple you now are.

But the tacit suggestion that Mr. Kadare was a dissident, like Vaclav Havel or Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, is very misleading. Mr. Kadare could never have survived and published under the Hoxha regime without some degree of cooperation, the complete details of which are not yet entirely clear. Mr. Kadare himself only claims that his writing was ipso facto an act of defiance. "Every time I wrote a book," he has said, "I had the impression that I was thrusting a dagger into the dictatorship."
ODDEST YET: a miracle of Biblical proportions [Little-known author's win sparks battle to find books Booker Prize Winner Surprised at Award ; Booker Prize is satisfying to dissident Google on Mystery of Man: Just Who Is Ismail Kadare? ; Mr. Kadare is a grimly political writer The Palace of Dreams ]
• · THE Albanian dissident novelist and winner of the inaugural Man Booker International Prize has revealed how Scotland provided vital inspiration for him growing up under a repressive Communist regime Macbeth’s castle inspired a writer raised under communism ; Britain's literary scene is so parochial that there is virtually a conspiracy against readers experiencing the best of the world's literature. Worthy winner despite language restrictions UK readers deprived of world literature ; If you really want to be happy, throw away your television set. That's the bizarre finding of new economic research completely at odds with traditional assumptions Thief of time
• · · This is the story of a Maryland woman who is retiring after twenty years of driving a school bus. Driving into the future ; Necessity, or much ado about nothing? Ten Myths about the Ten Commandments
• · · · Is it possible at the dawn of the 21st century that an entire university could be driven into exile in Europe? From exile, a beacon of hope for Belarus ; Seachange cities’ to reinvent themselves over first three decades of 21st century
• · · · · Umberto Eco's new novel about memory really postmodern ... In Search of Lost Time ; There's good chick lit and bad chick lit, just as there's good literary fiction and bad literary fiction Literary bonbons
• · · · · · European Rivers are trecherous: William Mather-Brown, 41, died after diving into the Le Var River in the city of St Laurent du Val in the south of France when his daughter Olivia got into difficulties on Sunday afternoon Australian film director drowns in France ; Their first taste of freedom in almost four years was almost too much for the Rahmati family. Refugee family free at least

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Recent raids show that the taxman's negotiations with wrongdoers will be of the bare-knuckle kind. A veteran tax consultant, Gordon Cooper, compares Trevor Boucher and Michael Carmody and parallels the Commissioner’s term in the office with a long term behind bars in the BRW article dated 23 June 2005. According to Cooper, Michael Carmody will be unlikely to accept a third seven-year term. ‘You do not necessarily do 14 years for murder; it is a tough job.’ And he predicts Carmody’s post-ATO role could be a finance post with the OECD. The article suggests that Michael D’Ascenzo or Jennie Granger who occupy the offices next to Carmody’s could be the likely Commissioners. [Locally and globally, Assistant Commissioner with the initials of JC is growing in popularity: Some men are destined to be gentle giants] Tax cheats beware: No Mercy

Eye on Politics & Culture of Fear: What’s legal? What’s ethical?
What can we get away with? How do you measure up?

Like John, I decided that in approaching this task I had better do some research. Having done that it soon became obvious that ethics and taxation has been the subject of intermittent debate over many years, and I have to say without any general resolution. Views are generally polarised, each premised on what is said to be good public policy principles. Thus on the one hand, you have the view that derives from the role of taxation and its important community nature. This view is reflected in the often quoted notion of taxes being 'the price we pay for a civilised society'. On the other hand you have and equally principled rule of law view. Our society is based on the rule of law. To overlay any other measure, so this school of though goes is to introduce inappropriate subjectivity to this guiding principle. Continuing this line of logic leads to the conclusion that its people’s rights and advises responsibilities to minimise tax, including it seems taking advantage of loopholes provided by the courts and legislation.

The integrity of the tax-system [Tax Commissioner Michael Carmody learnt some painful lessons from his old boss Trevor Boucher, who lacked delicacy when pursuing rich and well-connected tax avoiders. Boucher was hounded mercilessly until he eventually retired Carmody's softly, softly approach delivers windfall ; It's being billed as the most sweeping tax fraud investigation ever conducted in Australia Probe uncovers $300m in unpaid taxes ; The Tax Office is preparing to triple the size of a data-matching program that makes it far harder for taxpayers to cheat on their capital gains tax declarations Tax Office will target capital gains cheats ; A celebrity lawyer has launched an 11th hour bid to avoid being questioned over an alleged multi-million dollar tax fraud involving tax havens, false documents and prominent sportspeople and entertainers Stars' lawyer faces tax scam trial ]
• · Listening to Paul Keating recently and listening to Malcolm Fraser last night one has to wonder why politicians start to talk sense only when they can no longer make a difference: Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser has criticised the federal Government's anti-terrorism policies, saying they have created a "secret police" and a culture of fear Australia 'secret police' state; In his Fulbright Public Lecture, delivered earlier this week at the University of Melbourne, George Williams looks at the lessons of Australia’s response to terrorism Balancing national security and human rights ; Mr Carr said NSW Police was working "hand-in-glove" with ASIO and the Australian Federal Police on counter-terrorism ASIO raids have Carr's full support ; Melbourne criminal lawyer Rod Stary today accused federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock's office of cowardly leaking defamatory information about anti-terrorism raid Ruddock accused of raid leak: Terror leaks run deep; It's rattling the cages at this stage More raids, still no arrests; Google: Web Wide World Watching Wild Invaders
• · · Labor is preparing for more internal bloodletting with former leader Mark Latham set to dump on his replacement Kim Beazley and the entire party - Loner: Inside a Labor tragedy Labor waits as Latham locks and loads ; Mark's career – short, spectacular and Labor through and through - world of self-made umpires ALP hits back at 'rat' Latham ; Staff in the Federal Workplace Relations Minister's own department have used a protest to accuse their boss of "hypocrisy" Workplace Minister's staff in IR protest: PM brushes off dissent on industrial law ; Bradon Ellem and Russell Lansbury: The gap between high- and low-income workers is about to widen Tough times ahead as proposed workplace reforms miss the boat
• · · · I live in # 20 Sydney, but I visited if ever so briefly # 3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 21 and both Budapest and Amsterdam at 24 [What # is Prague I wonder ...] Top 25 World's Most Expensive Cities ; Millionaire mile record topples; In 10 years, Glenwood has gone from cabbages, cauliflowers and tomatoes to houses, backyards and garages; from productive agricultural land popular with Maltese immigrants to a suburb chock-full of families Productive land lost for good under creeping suburban tide ; Corridors of Power Your money, ill spent ; Then, in a dramatic 11th-hour gesture, the Polish Prime Minister, Marek Belka, and his Czech counterpart, Jiri Paroubek, led a group of former Communist nations in offering to forgo some of their countries' cash in the interests of a deal 'Pathetic. Tragic. Embarrassing.' And then things got really nasty ; Applying the theories of the enlightenment may not be so enlightened More to the poverty trap than money
• · · · · Is it futile, or useful, to compare such punishments? The future of criminal law, by Michael Kirby ; The tax office and corporate regulators have signalled a softly-softly approach to businesses that have trouble with the new superannuation choice laws that start from Friday ATO, ASIC to go softly on new super laws
• · · · · · Police Commissioner Ken Moroney has given one of the state's top officers until the end of the week to respond to allegations concerning a $6000 desk and other furniture purchased for his police office Explain table purchase, Moroney tells top cop ; THE senior leadership of the NSW Police is in disarray with yet another executive officer at the centre of a corruption investigation that could destroy his career.
Senior Assistant Commissioner Dick Adams – touted as a successor to Commissioner Ken Moroney Moroney's crisis ; Moroney denies NSW police in crisis

Dramatic new developments in information technology are exposing undemocratic regimes worldwide. These rapidly growing communication networks are weakening government control on information and besieging them. The blog is the latest incarnation of the digital revolution. A web log, or log, for short, represents the crowning achievement of modern technology, by adding a personal touch to news and information Blogs for Everyone
In an opinion piece about opinion pieces and other matters of media diversity by the greatest fact czecher of them all - Tim Dunlop: If you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail and as Australian richest technorati blogger, John Quiggin notes: Freedom of the press is great if you own one

Robert Scoble, whose blog i read with interest, reads more than a 1000 blogs a day. I used to think that was excessive - Turns out, it's not excessive at all

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Corporations enter brave new world of blogs
When General Motors Corp. wanted to stop speculation this spring that it might eliminate its Pontiac and Buick brands, Vice Chairman Bob Lutz took his case directly to dealers and customers who were up in arms about the possibility. He wrote about it on the company’s blog.

“The media coverage on the auto industry of late has done much to paint an ugly portrait of General Motors,” began Lutz’s entry on GM’s FastLane Blog, which the company launched in January.
The March 30 entry went on to say that widely reported remarks he made to analysts the week before had been “taken out of context” and that the automaker would not shed the brands. A growing number of companies are stepping softly into the blogosphere, following a path blazed by Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and others in the technology field. The Internet journal format, they find, lets businesses expand their reach, generate product buzz and encourage consumer loyalty — while bypassing traditional media.
“When we feel that we need to get a direct response out there, we’ve certainly got this bully pulpit to some extent,” said Michael Wiley, GM’s director of new media. “It’s a place where we can talk directly to people unfiltered.”

It's hard to quantify how many companies, executives and employees are blogging, but there are probably more than 100 official corporate blogs ... More companies finding blogs a good way to reach public
• The hallmark of companies that will find blogs useful is the company that cares about its perception ... and the integrity of its relationship with its customers Bad blogging can easily backfire [David Sifry, CEO of Technorati, is calling out Google and Yahoo to explain why their reported results are sometimes much larger than their viewable results Technorati, Google, Yahoo, Blogs and Accusations of Inflated Results ; Blog needs to be dedicated to a niche market -
"I'm beginning to see why one would want to write a blog." Make Money Blogging ; Concerns raised on disclosure For a fee, some blogs boost firms ; Journalists have a love-hate relationship with blogs - 51% of journalists read blogs on a regular basis Reporters Eye Blogs; Opinion is cheap. Facts rule, OK? ]
• · Rafael Behr: The press wants to get bloggers on its side, but a US experiment shows it may not be easy Internet's new wave proves hard to catch ; Many people have become obsessed with blogs The upsides and dangers of blogging; The doctor's blog: Examining rooms -- blogs are straight line into doc's heart
• · · At Glastonbury this year, one of the realities of weblogging became apparent: it's now easier to photo-blog than it is to post text Blogs from the field ; In a sure way to attract early adopters and specifically bloggers, Akimbo has given its users the ability to watch video blogs through their television Video blogs enter the home
• · · · So Steve Rubel gets up at Gnomedex and says something along the lines of, "Blogging is PR with candor." I wasn't there, but I've read the reports of people who were Another Call To Replace PR With Blogs ; Every day, stray thoughts, ideas and opinions pile up in Roger Baylor's head Bloggers let the world see their thoughts ; Blogs are no longer just outlets for cranky people but are increasingly being used by businesses to peddle products, communicate with employees, and project a corporate image to the world, Blogs Grow as Business Tools
• · · · · The seemingly boundless interest in blogging. . .the Horse's Ass blog. . .and why forced blogging doesn't work Blogging as a work duty rarely works ; Some civil libertarians fear blogophobic companies may adopt policies that stifle the free exchange that has made blogs so popular Expanding logosphere creates rift in workplace ; Once again, George Orwell must be smiling from his grave Journalists Go to Jail, Robert Novak Free: Why?
• · · · · · A brief case study of how BBC News Interactive approached the 2005 General Elections in the UK, from Pete Clifton, Editor, BBC News Interactive: Convergence and the Common Good Civic engagement and the BBC ; via Morph and Hugh Martin Mediablog: Full electoral speed ahead, but keep a light common touch

Sometimes the reason I pick up something is completely random. I take a lot of chances with things. Lately I've been listening to a lot of history. This week John Fund has his own story on why failing to teach history is bad for democracy, Everyone agrees we aren't teaching history well, but the direction of reform is controversial The Amerikan-Antipodean Story - Operation Respect: Don’t Laugh at Media Dragon

You’ve heard these clichés many times, on both TV and radio. But, chances are, you never stopped to think about what they mean. If you did, you may have smiled (or even laughed) each time some politician (from either side) nonchalantly pulled one out of his hat and incorporated it in his speech Lesson # 1: 20 Over-Used Political Cliches

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Clearing muddy waters: Here lies Peter Cundall
If, like me, you feel as though you'll be paddling blissfully in clear, deep Sydneyrella Harbour till the end of your days, you will fold this rope right into all the significant exiled others:

By giving them power. By giving them absolute power over people. I suppose I see, today, the biggest problem in society is what we call the "control freaks" But they're people without a gone conscience and without any pity, and there is not many of them. But when you and I are fast asleep at night, they're lying awake, scheming, and they're hard to compete with, and I'm not joking. You know - anybody that's worked in an office or anything, there is always someone that wants to take control, right. The supreme example, of course, is people like Stalin and Hitler. Hitler, don't forget, almost his last days, when he was in the bunker, he was saying at one time that, "The SS have betrayed me," because they retreated, and he had all his commanders executed. And almost his last words was, "The German people have betrayed me," you know. I mean - and this is an example of a supreme form of pathological narcissism and you do get it. You get it in politics. They're the people who can't admit that they have made a mistake.

Three cheers for Peter Yarrow who aims to combat bullying by emphasizing the moral lessons of folk music ‘My name is Margalo,’ said the bird, softly, in a musical voice. ‘I come from fields once tall with wheat, from pastures deep in fern and thistle; I come from vales of meadowsweet, and I love to whistle!’ My folkloric teacher, Marta Chamillova, used to say If you want to set something afire, you must burn yourself, Jozef
• Making Your Life Richer No Bull****: A Suprising Journey [Media companies don't respect consumers -
And it's not just big companies which will benefit from online distribution. Partying Together ; Like many other readers of the Sydney Morning Herald and the New Republic, I look at all the cartoons before reading the articles. Is there anything people won't do to avoid having an ordinary job? Or to avoid working at a job that requires them to think about something or someone other than themselves? The desire of a lot of "artists" nowadays to become rich and famous makes their art incidental to the pursuit of their very concrete and practical goals Stupid Human Tricks "I've been affected. And I'm better for it." Supersize you ;-)]
• · Good reel tidings from Prague: Some people go for the films, others go for the parties - A guide to crashing the other half of the festival. World-class film fest for true bohemians ; Finding the best flicks is in knowing where to look
Film categories ; Czech cinema is in desperate need of a new mise-en-scne. - Government must enact policies to keep Czech cinema competitive Producing trouble
• · · The late John Gregory Dunne -- novelist, essayist, screenwriter -- was my friend. For a year or two around 1990, though, he wouldn't have anything to do with me. I found this out the hard way by inviting him to dinner. He wouldn't come, he said, and when he asked if I wanted to know why, he told me flat out: I was a hypocrite The Other Guy's Sacrifice ; This weekend, the Third World comes to Prague Showing respect ; Matilda Weekend Round-Up #26 ; Josh Mettee's business grew volumes from a stock of 25 books to a warehouse of 3,000 titles Valley's Legends & Legacies
• · · · Can most popular female singer avoid her communist past? She owed her success to communist-era "mafiosi Helena Vondráková; When it seems self-evident that commemoration averts recurrence of that being commemorated, it takes a psychoanalyst to point out that making people remember assumes that their responses to their memories can be calculated. An obsession with memory blinds us to the abuses of memory and to the uses of forgetting The forgetting museum; The debate in Germany on National Socialism, initially imposed on a reluctant German public by the Allies, was brought by the radical '68 generation into the mainstream, where it became a national mission Is the tide of German memory turning?
• · · · · Some studies are destined to set off controversy: Robyn May, Iain Campbell and John Burgess argue that the Coalition government’s next round of industrial relations reform will create further opportunities for employers to ‘casualise’ jobs. Centre for Applied Social Research, RMIT University - The rise and rise of casual work in Australia: who benefits, who loses?; When, in Washington, is outrage truly outrage? H. G. Wells's 1898 novel, "The War of the Worlds," has had several incarnations: I'm Shocked and Outraged
• · · · · · An anthropological debunking of the housing bubble. Economists have an irrational enthusiasm for a rational model of human economic behavior, and therefore they can coolly confuse apples with prickly pears and conclude that all asset classes are the same Basic Instinct ; In his recent book "The Universe in a Nutshell," Dr. Stephen W. Hawking wrote, "Even if it turns out that time travel is impossible, it is important that we understand why it is impossible." Remembrance of Things Future: The Mystery of Time ; Pioneers Are Taking Black Chick Lit Into Middle Age: Terry McMillan, Connie Briscoe and Benilde Little taking a black chick lit into middle age Writers Coming of Middle Age

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Shouting, interjections, hurled documents, missing closed-circuit TV footage - not just another day in State Parliament but the last day before MPs took an 11-week holiday Pollies muck up on last day of term

Comedian in training,, screams one of the headers of The Fitz Files by Peter Fitzsimons, in the Sun Herald. One of the TFF’s friends was on a platform at Sutherland station last Friday afternoon and heard the following announcement croaking through the speakers: ‘The 4:30 train to Dapto has been cancelled [audible groan from those on the platform] ... for today only ... For today, anyway. The train to Central due on platform one at 4.20 is approximately 10 minutes late ....[resigned sighs] The train to Waterfall due on platform four at 4.30 is ... on time! [The travellers look at each other, stunned] Hold on, I’ll just czech (sic) that ... Yes, that’s right, the 4.30 train to Waterfall is on time ...[Audible laughter from the long-suffering travelling public.] Ed. The entire Sydney is in comedy training ;-)

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: 'Two Iraqis were shot while I was there'
A blindfolded Douglas Wood heard two Iraqi hostages being executed - one at his feet - during his 47 day ordeal at the hands of his captors in Iraq.

The freed Australian hostage has told how he heard the two executions at the second house in which he was held.
"Over a period of about five days three Iraqis turned up, the first of which was the only one that got out alive," he told the Ten network.
"He came out with me and the other two were shot while I was there."
Mr Wood said his captors came into his room one night, tapped one of the Iraqi men on the shoulder, and gave him a karate chop.

Rescuing Wood 'put off to save ransom' ["Ye have the poor with you always”, said Jesus (Mark 14: 7) From TLS, a review of books on poverty ; What's the difference between an Antipodean wet and moderate? Moderates win preselections: Wets are still drips ]
• · To the great growth industries of America such as health care and home building add one more: influence peddling ... Lobbying Firms Hire More, Pay More, Charge More to Influence Government The Road to Riches Is Called K Street ; It's sweeps week for corporate crooks How to Deter White-Collar Crime ; Only two Australian universities rank in the world’s top 100. Staff-student ratios have shot up nearly 30 per cent in 10 years. It’s not only quality that’s suffering. As students pay more and more for overcrowded courses, equality of opportunity is becoming a timeworn slogan The Degree Factories: a degree mill
• · · NSW Police Commissioner Ken Moroney denies ignoring a report two years ago warning that Sydney airport had become a haven for criminals. I didn't ignore airport crime report: Moroney ; Airport crime report ignored for two years ; Unscrupulous practices by shonky tour operators: As Australians we pride ourselves on our egalitarian nature, our love of the great outdoors and the fact that we are the only island continent in the world that can boast its own uninterrupted coastline. And so it is that our sweeping coast, beautiful beaches and magnificent harbour have become an integral part of our national identity as well as our greatest tourist assets. We also take a certain amount of pride in the fact that they are free, unlike many beaches that line the tourist-rich coasts of Europe, Africa and parts of north and south America. Anyone from any nation, no matter how affluent or impecunious they may be, can step on to our golden sands and enjoy the gifts of our national icons. Tourists charged $25 to walk on Bondi
• · · · Webdiarist Darlene Taylor says protesters should move beyond 1917 Anatomy of a rally ; The cords of collegiality that used to bind the members of Congress to one another - and to the president - haven't just frayed, they've snapped. This descent into enmity is not just one party's fault. There is blame to distribute among all The Best of Enemies ; Founding a democracy, rather like living in a democracy, can be very tough on friendship. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson began as friends
• · · · · Insurgent unionists have the right goals. But leaving the AFL-CIO may make them harder to achieve Big Labor, Big Choices ; Dozens of members of Congress have accepted trips from non-profits with registered lobbyists on their boards Congressional Non-Profit Travel ; State officials travel free as invited guests - Ethics law says gifts under $250 a day can go unreported Alabama Private Trips
• · · · · · Scoop: Buffalo Gun Traficking ; Australian Story tells the untold personal story of the nurse who lifted the lid on a medical scandal making front page news, not just in Australia, but around the world. Toni Hoffman is nurse in charge of the Intensive Care Unit at the Bundaberg Base Hospital in Queensland. For two years she tried to raise concerns about the lethal activities of a surgeon called Jayant Patel, a man now accused of murder Death Doctor: At Death's Door ; State revenue agencies across the nation are hunting for tax evaders with new high-tech tools: computer programs that mine an increasing number of databases for clues on the finances of people and businesses. Tax cheats beware - how the IRS will catch you

WELCOME NUDE & SEMI NUDE PAJAMAHADEENS OF TECHNORATI FAME who have stumbled across the Media Dragon via top 100 Naked Conversations

Michael might be moving a house, but still he manages to blog forward about a few websites of note: Rant or BIF?
Pay it forward is all about a notion of transformation and what drives us to cross to all kinds of wise and thoughtful blogs. It is also an opportunity for us to explore less known blogs or give an extra link to blogs that deserve wider attention ...
Czech out a creative Barista David Tiley
Get swept off your feet by a kind legal eagle David Starkoff
Invade Alan at Southerly Buster
... An answer came directed in a writing unexpected Perry Middlemiss
Ach, New is a place for you to speak out about the Australia you want New Walzing Matilda

CODA: Shel Israel and Robert Scoble have moved to Chapter 9 and kindly quote Media Dragon ... We, of course, believe your decision not to blog will hurt your company in the long run. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant -- all great CEOs encourage transparency and openness as long as sensitive data is not leaked,” Cold River author Jozef Imrich told us Naked Thorns in the Roses

I am over the huge moon as the greatest bloggers of all times Terry Teachout tickled my email today and deep inside Jay’s thoughtful story is some of Terry’s wisdom: News judgment used to be king. If the press ruled against you, you just weren't news. But if you weren't news how would anyone know enough about you to contest the ruling? Today, the World Wide Web is the sovereign force, and journalists live and work according to its rule Why are the Downing Street memos news?
Around the World in 80 blogs: After the Jump

The Blog, The Press, The Media: We don't want your money, we want your voice
Come and add your voice - there has been no better opportunity for bloggers to be heard

'm proud to announce the launch of Blog Central for the Live 8 concerts, at We were asked by the Live 8 folks along with Joe Trippi and John Hinderaker to help achieve the vision of Live 8

Loud Live 8 [Happy-slap politics How journalism has triumphed over party politics ; A self-confessed spam king who faces the first court action taken under the Spam Act said it was "staggering" how many people responded to junk email Spam king says list was his right ; The digitisation of old music, manuscripts and newspapers is a national asset Australia's back catalogue has a revolution ]
• · Loic Le Meur’s wiki attempts unscientifically to estimate the size of the European blogosphere. Note that France with an estimated 3m bloggers has a big lead on the UK with an estimated 900,000. Poland with 1.1m and Russia with 800,000+ are countries to watch Size of European blogosphere ; "Tax and the Internet" (Title pinched from Peter Gerard Mitchell Title: "Look Ma, No Hands - Product Delivery Systems in the Information Economy"
• · · Your Democracy is committed to diversity Loosened cross-media ownership means more media bias – a tale from the 2004 election ; Mainstream media no longer produce news for the mainstream population-nor should we consider the media as plural. Instead it is more accurate to speak of big media in the US today as the corporate media and to use the term in the singular tense-as it refers to the singular monolithic top-down power structure of self-interested news giants Big Media Interlocks with Corporate America ; Trevor Cook a master of death sentences Tom Murphy of PR Opinions has taken the machete to Steve Rubel’s latest piece of fantasy : Blogs are the New Press Releases ; Sally Saville Hodge asks: Will Somebody Please Tell the Clients? The Press Release is Dead
• · · · Small online proprietors often spend lots of time and money trying to improve their search-engine rankings, getting only poor results for their effort Three Myths on Boosting Search-Engine Rankings ; Culture Vulture, a new Guardian blog ; Bayosphere of Media Dragon; Internet sales surge as teleshopping companies watch digital TV space Net profits
• · · · · Deep Blog IBM - Autonomic computing ; Googler insights into product and technology news and our culture - Google’s Blogger has announced that they are now offering users free image uploads Blogger Images ; How do I post pictures?
• · · · · · I believe any definition and general debate about media diversity in Australia [that] does not include an adequately funded ABC is either flawed or meaningless Probe into ABC money woes ; All to play for as Coonan puts reform cards on table ; AS we approach the time for reckoning the media's mid-year score card, it is apparent we have reached a State of Indecision. The nature and shape of media ownership reform remains undecided; the identity of the media's top regulator is undecided; and the future of digital radio isundecided Nervous nellies frustrate Coonan's reform proposals

Monday, June 27, 2005

I am such a complete atheist that I am afraid God will punish me. Such is the pithy wisdom of Jára Cimrman - Existence cannot not exist. Fictional Cimrman is so beloved because he is that most prickly of ironies: a Czech who was greater than all the world’s greats, but who for some hiccup of chance has never been recognized for his achievements. I like to think that the vote for Cimrman says something about the country’s rousing enthusiasm for blowing raspberries in the face of authority. Czech out the two things about the Czech nation: “that it is skeptical about those who are major figures and those who are supposedly ‘the greatest.’ And that the only certainty that has saved the nation many times throughout history is its humour.” When optimists should be shot: Jára Cimrman: the Greatest Czech of All Time

As in so many other countries and in so many other times, the rise of a newly educated intellectual class in the 19th century polarized the society with ethnic identity politics. All over Bohemia, the new Czech intelligentsia urged Czechs to think of themselves as Czechs, not Bohemians or Budweisers or anything else that would transcend their ethnic identity We Are All Budweisers [If only the grievances of past centuries had been left in the past! If only they had all remained Budweisers or Bohemians]

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Move Over, Boomers
Contributing Editor Adam Werbach asks if the baby boomers are to blame for the sad state of affairs. "What should these leaders do now?" he asks. "Die?"

Raised during the heyday of ecological activism and the rise of a post-industrial networked society, practivists are steeped in systems thinking. Having come of age during the fall of the Berlin Wall, they are suspicious of nationalism and artificial dualities, a mistrust further informed by academic and political training in deconstructing absolute identity categories like race or gender. Practivists prefer to emphasize similarities rather than dwell in the "silos" of various "isms."

The old era of political party identification is giving way to a disaggregated thunderdome of cause-based politics, distributed democracy, MoveOn house parties and do-it-yourself politics
MoveOn ; Stephen Matchett's article shows much more than the usual superficial understanding of Kokoda and the fascination it has for so many of us The Digger Legend: James Cumes ; [American political parties, as we have known them for two centuries, are disintegrating Are the Parties Over? ; Why do those who stand to gain the least from virtually every policy of George W. Bush, support him the most? Let Them Eat War; What else could war dollars buy? Six billion dollars a month can pay for a lot of stuff, and we've got the T-shirts, tickers and widgets to prove it. Tim Grieve, in Salon ; The scale of the theft indulged in over the last forty years by the Nigerian ruling-class is almost unbelievable £220bn stolen by Nigeria's corrupt rulers ; Bulgarians vote, seen ending reign of ex-king PM - Bulgaria's ex-communists claim election victory Bulgaria's election lottery ]
• · Scary Stuff: Revolutionary Communist Party, a statement on the battle for the future ; Cathy Young on the hypocrisy of Hollywood leftists Bolshywood Revisited
• · · The False Problem of Free Will and Determinism Getting the Fly Out of the Bottle; Ever since the first Jew arrived on American shores 350 years ago, one question has persistently been asked but never definitively answered The Great Jewish-American Synthesis
• · · · What follows is a blatant intrusion into private grief. Well, very nearly private grief. The Tory party has not quite diminished to a level of importance at which its affairs are of concern only to members of its dwindling associations. But it has certainly declined to a point that is dangerously close to effective disappearance The Tory party faces an unenviable choice of leadership candidates ; Regime Change and Its Limits ; Senator Norm Coleman, New York Tax Cheats at the Government Trough ; Christopher Hitchens, Slate The Da Vinci Code vs. The Downing Street Memo
• · · · · We need a serious book about Hillary Clinton. Ed Klein's isn't it Eine Kleine Biographie ; Kathleen Parker, Townhall There's Something (Else) About Hillary; Amity Shlaes, Financial Times Don't Ignore Blue Dog Wisdom
• · · · · · via Tim Dunlop: In George Orwell's classic novel '1984', a central theme was the absolute control of information through the Ministry of Truth - a misnomer, if ever there was one. In a contemporary reality twist, control of information has become an integral part of the response of Western Governments to the so-called war on terror. Sledgehammer Politics ; Lionel Tiger, WSJ
An Anthropological Debunking Of The "Housing Bubble"

Bleak City may not be so bleak after all, according to one industry insider who suggest Melbourne is the cultural capital of Australia The Arts: How our cities compare

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Married to a Genius
D.H. Lawrence said you must have “something vicious in you” to be a writer – perhaps a splinter of ice in your heart. Imagine marrying one...

Geniuses are traditionally difficult to live with. It is part of their mystique. Disregard for other people is vital for their art, or so they claim. Jeffrey Meyers’s sharp-witted book tests these beliefs by examining the marital relationships of nine writers — Leo Tolstoy, Joseph Conrad, George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald. Each study is brilliant and arresting, and they reflect fascinatingly on one another. Meyers has an intricate grasp of modern literature, and has already written full-scale biographies of five of his subjects. Above all, he reveals how subtly writers’ lives infiltrate their fiction — the hardest trick in literary biography

Dragging, literary style [Michel Houellebecq the only writer alive said to be a Stalinist, a Nazi, a sex maniac, and a drunk. This is the man who fell asleep during a TV interview You dine with Michel Houellebecq at your peril ; When Simone de Beauvoir died in April 1986, headlines announced, “Women, you owe her everything.” Now do you really?... ]
• · Teaching is an art form, one that needs a constant flow of new - and, yes, 'trendy' - ideas Be fascinating, or be toast ; Coffee is the drug that changed my life. Without its brain-perking effects, it's doubtful that I could have passed astronomy in college, read The Wealth of Nations cover to cover, or made a favorable first impression on my girlfriend's parents despite suffering from a colossal hangover Brain Brew
• · · Caffeine has long been a drug of choice for students, helping many of them through all-nighters, exam weeks, and just getting up every day Do You Really Need That Latte? ; Javanomics 101: Today's Coffee Is Tomorrow's Debt
• · · · The notion of American exceptionalism—that the United States alone has the right, whether by divine sanction or moral obligation, to bring civilization, or democracy, or liberty to the rest of the world, by violence if necessary—is not new The Power and the Glory; Seven deadly sins: A new look at society through an old lens
• · · · Three songs from the End of History ; Constants of the universe are a tantalizing mystery. Why do they exist at all? They pose physics’s grandest question Inconstant Constants
• · · · · There are two groups who seem to indulge in writing memoirs: people who are too young to have lived through very much, and those who have lived so long that they've forgotten much that happened. Jamie Reidy would seem to be from the first pack. He's only 35, and his story, "Hard Sell," chronicles his professional adventures from age 25 to 30 Slacker Viagra salesman tells all ; Flying snakes are a small group of species of tree snakes that live in South and Southeast Asia Flying Snakes
• · · · · · The Sydney writer talks about writing the screenplay for the film Peaches. Questions for Sue Smith ; A new study from the American Library Association which was conducted by researchers at Florida State University, found that 98.9 percent of libraries offer free public Internet access, up from 21 percent in 1994 and 95 percent in 2002. It also found that 18 percent of libraries have wireless Internet access and 21 percent plan to get it within the next year Almost All Libraries Offer Free Web Access

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Australian Tax Commissioner, Michael Carmody, received an Order of Australia (AO) medal in the Queen’s Birthday honours list. In addition he is highly respected by his international peers and the ATO is recognised as one of the world’s best tax administrations. It was only a few months ago he was rated number six of the most influential members of the tax industry globally, in the UK magazine Tax Business: Gong for Michael Coup de Commish

Swoops by the Australian Crime Commission and the Tax Office on a clutch of law and accountancy firms, plus numerous others of "interest" around town, have given rise to much indignity, not to mention indignation. This is the first phase in a bold operation by these agencies to track down the players in various offshore schemes and to recover up to $300 million that should have been paid in tax, but wasn't At last, the Tax Office is on the front foot
Michael Carmody has been Commissioner of Taxation since January 1993, his seven-year appointment having been renewed in January 2000 Raids tip of the iceberg: tax chief doing his bit for Australia

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: ID crime Sages, spooks and scions
News that one MP has had 26 mistresses shouldn't surprise us. Power-hungry alpha males are always more likely to stray Mind of an Adulterer

Fellow-author Karl May - who'd earlier been imprisoned for impersonating German secret service agents and policemen - gained fame for 'wild west' genre novellas, presented as autobiographical although he didn't venture west to the English Channel. Adoption of a false persona didn't inhibit sales, which were above 50 million copies after 1912.
'Louis de Rougemont' (1847-1921), aka Louis Grin, gained fame for journalism about his travels - which apparently did not extend much beyond the Reading Room of the British Museum. He was exposed after enthusing over the marvellous "flight of the wombat", implausible given that wombats are burrowing creatures with the aerodynamic qualities of a bag of cement. He was more successful than Jean Christoph de Lancourt de Brenil, supposed companion of Jack London, master of 25 languages, war hero, equestrian, aviator and long distance walker.
Across the Atlantic 'Yellow Kid' Weill successfully posed as a major investor from Chicago, borrowing executive offices in several banks. His victims were then invited to the bank to meet that institution's CEO, duly being impressed by the surroundings and handing over large amounts of cash.
Perhaps more sadly, is the story of Jean-Claude Romand, who murdered his family when he could no longer maintain the fiction - as he had assiduously done for most of his adult life - that he was a senior World Health Organization bureaucrat.

• The Tax Office has shown its fangs ID theft and fraud before the dot [Crime Czechlist: Timeline; Princeton's Andrew Moravcsik explains the meaning of the European "no" A category error; the law has an even bigger ass ... ]
• · Federal Treasurer Peter Costello is preparing to crack down on the NSW and West Australian governments over their refusal to cut state taxes in return for the GST revenue Costello in GST crackdown on states ; Seemingly innocent requests over boozy lunches has ended in a jail term for a 25-year veteran of the Australian Taxation Office Fall of a veteran tax man ; Ten Stories the World Should Hear More About ; Human rights investigators cite "Persistent and credible" reports of torture at Guantanamo
• · · Que? Carr 'risking environmental legacy' ; Peter Slipper visited Thailand and Laos just weeks after the federal election for a fortnight-long taxpayer-funded trip that included just three days of official meetings Junket justified, MP says ; VIRGIN Money is set to shake up the $750 billion superannuation industry, offering its signature low- frills product aimed at the youth market Virgin puts sizzle into super ; A bold solution to Japan's floundering economy: 68 American-style law schools. Small world, big ripples
• · · · NSW Liberal leader John Brogden has accused John Howard of being too cosy with the nation's Labor premiers and creating the "perfect storm" where federal and state governments can successfully blame each other for their problems. Mr Brogden says the Prime Minister is letting down his state colleagues as they toil away in opposition by praising Labor leaders, especially NSW Premier Bob Carr PM letting state Libs down: Brogden ; More from presidential candidate and actor Michael Moriarty ; DNC finds no evidence of widespread election fraud in Ohio. In Ohio Vote, Woes, Yes, Fraud, No
• · · · · The Great Live 8 Debate ; Live 8 ; to Be Largest Global Broadcast' ; Every year the State of Israel goes into hysterics when the water level of Lake Kinneret dips below the red line Will water be the crude oil
• · · · · · The CIA says Iraq is now a terrorist training ground ; But not to worry: Evangelicals are building a base in Iraq ; Terrorism globally is big business. It also is rapidly becoming a new science; How thinking of terrorists as pirates can help win the war on terror

Bill Moyers unashamed of his passion as a broadcast journalist and former host the PBS program NOW With Bill Moyers: The luckiest man in television

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Blog Day Proposed
Nir Ofir, Editor in Chief of and founder of Isreal’s first commercial blog service has proposed a “Blog Day” which will be dedicated to spreading the blogging gospel and getting to know other bloggers from other countries or areas of interests.

The proposed date is August 31, based on the notion that the numbers 3108 look a little bit like the word blog (as per the logo to the right)
Ofir writes that the day would also be a way of spreading traffic to unknown bloggers who may otherwise remain unexposed to a large audience.

Have you ever noticed that the date 3108 [David Wilson lists the 10 silliest things we can do with technology Sorry, my mistake ; Public Television's Mystery Mann ; There will be a meeting tonight in Washington to celebrate the life of James Weinstein Ambiguous Legacy ]
• · So much of what we do on the internet depends on a search engine. It's how we find information, news and entertainment. It's how we sell things, meet people and find property Super sleuths ; Open Media 100 List
• · · The simmering feud between News Ltd and Fairfax over Iraq war coverage has burst into all-out combat, with News launching a concerted attack against Fairfax's top foreign correspondent Paul McGeough Incoming flak: McGeough cops a News Ltd assault ; Lie tests clear Allawi ; Sheik meets sucker
• · · · Lawyer to stars helps Wood control his tale ; His theorem was interpreted by the jazzier parts of the intellectual culture as saying, philosophically exactly the opposite of what he had been intending to say with it Gödel mistrusted our ability to communicate
• · · · · Chinese bloggers using a new Microsoft service to post messages titled "democracy," "capitalism," "liberty" or "human rights" are greeted with a bright yellow warning As China Censors the Internet, Money Talks ; Imagine the military uses of invisibility, levitation, walking through walls, and killing goats just by staring at them... The Pentagon's psychic friends network
• · · · · · Like many kinds of statistics, search engine popularity is very hard to measure reliably, and interpretations of available data vary Is Google God? ; Many marketers suspect there are probably some valuable insights contained in the Web logs produced by the estimated 12 million online diarists Companies charged $100k per year to monitor blogs

The stars and the moon looked closer this week. Are we all getting a step or two closer to heaven? The giant ball of yellow-white light made the Moon appear to linger for longer for the past few nights. Without any doubt the moon has appeared larger than many people have seen since they escaped from Iron Curtain of Czechoslovakia in 1980. Bigger Moon: Full moon's fever still lingers at lakes and rivers

With World War II fast passing from the land of living memory, perhaps we are at the beginning of the end of the Australian interest in our ancient wars. But don't bet on it. Interest in the national military achievement will strengthen for as long as Australians look to history for ideals to bind us together and to provide people to admire and values to respect. In fact, if anything, interest in matters military, from Anzac Day attendance to book sales, are on the up In the tracks of Kokoda

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Book on Line: Walkin', talkin' fiction
No time to read a good book? Why not listen to on

David Griggs has a good excuse to listen to his iPod: his doctor told him to. Well, not exactly, but he did say the 53-year-old had a high cholesterol level and was in desperate need of daily exercise.
So Griggs put his health and love of books together, added an iPod and began walking while listening to audio-books on the digital music player. He now walks six kilometres every morning and is mentally and physically better for it. "The books encouraged me to walk everyday," he says adding he will soon finish listening to Charles Dickens's Bleak House - a 25-hour epic.

“No one is a mere instrument, no one a serf,” said Friedrich Schiller. Freedom was his highest ideal, achieved not with violence, but with education
Listening to Cold River [I know you will not believe me, but I swear it's true: I'm not of this earth. I fled here years ago because my home planet was driving me crazy. Let me explain - many critics and enemies have questioned if my name is made up I am not of this earth ; Shattering many illusions ; Defined as distinctive and hence lend individuals an aura of superiority ... This painting was done by a chimpanzee ... yet an Oxford professor believes it is just as important a piece of art as the works of Michelangelo. Is he mad? ; The life of man has repeatedly proved that illusions are seductive. Mankind has constantly being swayed and crippled into idiocy, by waves of illusions, entertained as reality, by a cross section of her members Power and the illusions of omnipotence]
• · For years you've been able to buy their clothing lines, and perfume. Now you can buy a piece of their soul with celebrity CD compilations Their favourite things ; Ranking the 50 best magazines some of the best periodicals
• · · Anyone who becomes a war correspondent at 24 by simply marching off to Chechnya and living with guerrillas in the mountains is not like most people Woman in the wars ; Here are some lessons learned over a lunch buffet at the Heritage Free Markets and Free Sandwiches; The science behind female orgasm Female orgasm is hot these days
• · · · Jail is a savage place where rage and resentment fester. But there is more going on behind the high walls and razor wire. Prison unlocks a forgotten creative passion ; I don't like you, you don't like me, where is the problem? Hollywood fame and misfortune ; American consumers believe they are being spied on and manipulated, but they feel powerless to do anything about it. It's Suspiciously Cozy In the Cybermarket Windsor Boy: Have They Got a Deal For You
• · · · · Alex Scott was a little girl with big problems and big ideas A Short Life Inspires Many Others; Striking Back At The Empire Comedians throughout history have raged against the machine ; As a previous PhD student studying entrepreneurs (a person with a high need to achieve, demonstrates intermediate level risk taking, and can cope with failure), I realise most large organisations fail to benefit fully from these highly motivated risk takers. Organisations need individuals who challenge orthodoxy and the comfort zones of growing irrelevance, and thus release the creative forces that see organisations move to new levels. If we don’t move forward, we will descend into failure in the face of an ever-changing world. [Large organisations] face some grave risks to its future capability by developing a homogenised workforce which through selection processes places a higher value on written communication skills (answering selection criteria) than on intelligence and ability, whether technical or creative. Could our own society face its own demise through the domination of the legal fraternity arguing about words, rather than the creative and productive people deciding our fate? By AT Eccentrics and entrepreneurs
• · · · · · Mounted Police In UK Arrest Student For Calling Their Horse Gay ; Why bagels could hold the key to human behaviour A great example of how incentives can have unpredictable effects

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Outgoing Defence Force Chief Peter Cosgrove rides my hobbywarhorse, even though he mounts it from the other side: Dead troops my great fear

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The Best Clothes may be no Clothes at all
Next Friday John Howard will hold power not seen in a generation. The Prime Minister tells Peter Hartcher that he intends using it.

The last time that an Australian government had a majority in both houses of Parliament was 24 years ago, a generation in the standard reckoning but lifetimes away by some measures. It was 1981, the year in which IBM put its first PC on the market, the time that the first cases of AIDS were identified, and when Wheel of Fortune made its debut on Australian TV.

King of the castle [The nation's political landscape is undergoing its greatest change in at least 30 years A new landscape ; NSW independent Peter Andren announced 10 days ago he would move to have Parliament disallow the increase. But when Andren tried to get his proposal drafted, he found the Government was using an arcane parliamentary procedure to prevent the House of Representatives even debating the increase. Labor backed the Government and said nothing MPs' greed stuffs up our letterboxes ; Senate changes will make scandals harder to expose ]
• · The Labor leader, Kim Beazley, has announced a limited reshuffle of the front bench largely bequeathed to him by Mark Latham, declaring it is the team he plans to take to the next election Beazley unveils his election battlers ;
• · · Most workers probably have no idea how their pay and conditions are determined. Workers will be on their knees for fair pay ; Nation's 26 worst hospitals shamed

• · · · Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the hardliner who will become Iran's president in August, is hailed by the devout poor as a Robin Hood figure who will give them a slice of the Islamic Republic's abundant oil wealth 'Robin Hood' wins hearts of Iran's poor ; Peter Casserly, Australia's last survivor of the Western Front in World War I, died yesterday. Aged 107, he was also believed to be Australia's oldest man Last Western Front warrior dies at 107 ; A series of news reports written after Nagasaki was bombed has just been published for the first time Chronicle of a city's death - Nagasaki dispatches
• · · · · Politicians are never so human as when they're leaving public life. So it was this week. Parliament was awash with emotion, goodwill and goodbyes. And hypocrisy, obviously Behind the fluff, the biting reality; It is hard to imagine much worse for the pedestrians who will take refuge along the shopfronts of George Street after it is converted into a bus mall Fumes, heat but not much light rail
• · · · · · The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority should be stripped of its planning and consent powers because they constitute a conflict of interest, a parliamentary committee has concluded Harbour agency review ; A businessman caught up in an industrial espionage scandal in Brazil has turned up in Sydney Ben Hills investigates The Brazilian connection

The hushed distillation of a Keaton silent draws you in in singular ways. I will never forget, after having seen each of his independent films over and over, the disconcerting thrill of hearing Buster talk. It was a 1937 short. He entered a room whistling; then he spoke. His voice scratched my ears. It was deeper, huskier—not at all the voice I had heard in my head, which, I realized, was modeled (in a cheerfully narcissistic way) after my own internal monologue. But that's the point, the solipsistic strength of silence—something takes place inside: we cast ourselves into the film, we make it ours. And as is often pointed out, that interior work is half the fun. Think of the 500 brides thundering after Keaton at the end of Seven Chances. As the poet Charles Simic put it, 'All of us who saw the movie can still hear the sound of their feet.'
-Edward McPherson, Buster Keaton: Tempest in a Flat Hat

When novels by 'Yasmina Khadra' first appeared, literary France thought it had at last found the authentic voice of the Arab woman. But then she turned out to be a man - and not just a man but a veteran Algerian army officer Reader, I'm a he

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The best marketing comes from the heart
During the last couple of decades, the American economy has undergone a variety revolution

Instead of simply offering mass-market goods, businesses of all sorts increasingly compete to give consumers more personalized products, more varied experiences, and more choice. As the number of choices keeps growing, negative aspects of having a multitude of options begin to appear. As the number of choices grows further, the negatives escalate until we become overloaded. At this point, choice no longer liberates, but debilitates. It might even be said to tyrannize.

• Do We Have Too Much Choice? The road of excess [Psychologists find beauty is not solely determined by culture and the media. He's got the look ; There are many ways to assess students, and this week's allegations of HSC cheating have exposed flaws in the current system I didn't do it and that's the problem ]
• · Noontime links ; This is what happens when too many criminal minds get together
• · · Celebrity bios for authors Toronto authors festival showcases rising stars ; Bulletin showcases Antony Lowenstein: Losing race ; When it comes to philanthropy artist Margaret Olley is a shining light The philanthropic gold among the tin-rattlers
• · · · While there are a few literary fiction writers who are rewarded with huge book deals, most are lucky if they receive a small advance and are able supplement their income teaching Do Writing Workshops Kill Good Writing?; Scott Pack: Do Book Review Sections Still Matter? 'They should inspire reading. They should excite, stimulate, agitate and empower readers to discover new books.' But they're not Selling out ; Sin City was a stylish and violent comic-book series with a cult following. Now a film that copies it has become the most visually original Hollywood movie of the year More black than white
• · · · · Going back to the list of then things not to do, here's an example of doing it right.Book Touring by Kevin Smokler This Works ; It's do it yourself or face the uppity maid ; Who shares wins in the battle of the sexes
• · · · · · Google Watchers Get Library Contract ; They came to index but stayed in our souls A New Page in Google's Books Fight ; If you’re curious just what libraries have agreed to with their Google Print arrangements, here’s one contract [pdf] ; Snow shots Cold weather transforms parts of the state into a winter wonderland Snow Time in NSoW