Sunday, July 31, 2005

Society is like a stew. If you don't keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top.
- Edward Abbey

Political-party memberships are sinking to new lows and the majority has become alienated from the political process.However there are signs of new grassroots activity in other forums. Power without people

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: ALP machine reasserts grip on power
Arrogant factionalism makes a joke of our democracy Money must talk if Iemma won't

Plucked from political obscurity, Morris Iemma will become the 40th premier of NSW on Tuesday after being handpicked by five general secretaries of the NSW ALP - Graham Richardson, Stephen Loosley, John Della Bosca, Eric Roozendaal and Mark Arbib. The only other premier to be shoe-horned into the job by the Sussex Street machine, Barrie Unsworth, led the Labor Party to a slaughter in 1988. There is another parallel: both Mr Unsworth and Mr Iemma were health minister before the factional chieftains elevated them into the premiership. At a stroke, Mr Carr's precious legacy of keeping Sussex Street out of Macquarie Street has ended and the influence of the ALP machine now overshadows the incoming administration.

• Extreme Measures: Cheerleaders, horses and jockeys [Knives are out as Iemma plans his cabinet revamp ; Premier-elect Morris Iemma's first executive decision after Tuesday's formal coronation by the Labor caucus will be to scrap the hated vendor tax on the sale of investment properties New premier to axe property tax ]
• · Douglas Rushkoff has an interesting yet disturbing take on suicide bombs and their coverage in today's mediasphere News of one suicide leads to another ; The Naked Eye of the Sun Herald fame notes: Walt Secord, Premier Bob Carr’s larger than life media minder, was in Beijing a week ago addressing the State Council Information centre as a guest of the Chinese Information Minister. It was attended by 200 budding spin doctors from the central administration and provinces. ‘We discussed dealing with the media in the lead up to the Olympic Games in 2008 and how to respond to crisis issues such as mad cow disease and the recent formaldelhyde-in-beer health scare,’ said Secord, who has spent the past 10 years wheeling ‘the truth trolley’ around the NSW Parliamentary press gallery dispensing press releases and informed leaks to the media. When Carr steps down on Wednesday, the genial Canadian-born (Indian) spinmeister will be moving to fresh pastures, but where? China? Putting a spin on the Olympics and Mad Cow
• · · A judge and a DPP: which one served the public interest? via Webdiary; If we could gather Australia's 25 dead and living PMs in this grand lecture theatre to muse on government and media, I’d specially want to hear from Alfred Deakin Grattan on gatekeepers and gatecrashers
• · · · Bob Carr woke at two o'clock yesterday morning. Even in the recent desert heat of Dubai, he had not perspired. But in the pre-dawn chill he sat up in a cold sweat. I have a sneaky way of entering people’s dreams or nightmares If you took the politics out of Bob Carr there would be nothing left ; Bob Carr returned to his grass roots on Friday night to thank his trade union "comrades" for a decade of power Praise for the workers and a parting shot
• · · · · Estate Tax Advocates Shift Moral Spotlight onto Unbridled Inheritance ; Document Release Excludes First Bush Administration White House To Withhold Nominee's Tax Returns ; A panel of 36 distinguished public policy experts and scholars—ranging from Nobel laureate Milton Friedman to Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly to former House Majority Leader Dick Armey—has selected the Internal Revenue Code as the No. 1 item on this year’s Human Events list of the Ten Most Harmful Government Programs. Ten Most Harmful Government Programs
• · · · · · Union threats to leave AFL-CIO generate waves, new possibilities Labor Split a Mixed Bag ; Female union members are gaining clout, but are still shut out of top labor positions Women’s Work ; Let's Put the Nature of Work on Labor's Agenda

Here's what Media Dragon looks like after the Googlesque website has had its way with our character string. As they say it is not what you know it is who you know ;-) (thanks Mark) Google as Media Dragon

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Bye, Dad
Lachlan Murdoch, heir apparent to the world's most powerful media company, has quit his executive role at News Corporation to come back to Australia

I look forward to returning home to Australia with my wife, Sarah, and son, Kalan, in the very near future. I would like especially to thank my father for all he has taught me in business and in life. It is now time for me to apply those lessons to the next phase of my career

Lachlan walks out on Rupert [Blogging is supposed to be democratizing the world of information, empowering the individual The feminine blogstique; Technorati Trends]
• · Jeni O'Dowd: Newspapers offer facts as their defining characteristic - and celebrity journalism is not exempt. Over the years Cindy Martin painted an image of life in the fast lane to colleagues, where she rubbed shoulders with the eastern suburbs' finest Between the lines ; What happens when you open up media platforms to bloggers, amateur critics, self-educated experts, passionate commenters, and independent reviewers? Garage Influentials
• · · Very Big Ad shows why we still call Carlton a beer ; A Comparison of How Some Blog Aggregation and RSS Search Tools Work for Keyword Search
• · · · Smart way to shop Price Comparison Center ; Scott Burgess' conservative/libertarian blog The Daily Ablution specializes in monitoring and commenting on some of the loonier aspects of Britain's leftist press Blog Bites Man; Blog Search Will Soon Be Extinct Blog sites boosted by increase in visitor numbers
• · · · · Encyclopaedia Britannica's challenge to Google, Yahoo and Wikipedia. ; Doing Business in Australia
• · · · · · Cyber criminals have found a new doorway into our hard drives, this time under the guise of seemingly friendly community sites, blogs and freebies Danger lurking on web freebies ;Help Discover Which Printers Spy on Users - Investigating Machine Identification Code Technology in Color Laser Printers

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Morris Iemma, NSW's low-key Health Minister, will become the state's 40th premier after his sole rival, Carl Scully, pulled out of the bitter inter-factional battle, saying he did not have the numbers. The 44-year-old son of Italian migrants is expected to be elected unopposed Introducing your new Antipodean-Italian Machiavelli For one so shy, Morris Iemma is about to taste the limelight like never before The machine has spoken

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Cold War
Less than 24 hours after announcing his retirement, the knives are out as many of Australia's most influential commentators set about trashing his legacy.

“As premier of NSW,” says the Fin Review, "Carr made a good intellectual." As for fundamental economic reform, he was an "absolute failure," says John Durie, also in the Fin. He lacked the political ticker to take on the unions, he basked in the Olympic-reflected glory without harnessing its potential long-term benefits, and he presided over never-ending hospital waiting lists.
He was the "master of the black arts of state politics" who presided with "splendid effrontery over what has almost certainly been the worst government in the history of NSW," says Peter Coleman in the Fin Review, and he goes on to list the failures: schools, suburban riots, drugs.
Even depression-expert Jeff Kennett hops in to Carr in the The Australian, – while "I like Bob, don't get me wrong," he spent ten years failing to "deliver on some basic issues."
The prime minister was just as critical: "NSW should be doing better, and the reason NSW is not doing better is largely the result of a number of bad decisions, such as property taxes, that have been taken by the Carr Government over the past few years," said John Howard. Carr conducted his third term wafting in "drift and detachment," says The Daily Telegraph. And Peter Ruehl caps it off with the most damning legacy for any premier. "In the end, Bob couldn't make the trains run on time," he says in the Fin Review. "Or the buses."

• Crikey Inside Edition -Stomping on Carr's grave liberals With malice for none, with charity to all [The short goodbye ; Bob Carr broke the political mould but toed the party line Portrait of a quirky conservative ; He may have held the top job for a long time, but history will quickly show it didn't amount to much Much ado about nothing; During the early days of Carr's career it was also part of the culture of the NSW Labor Right to identify heavily with the anti-communist American Democrats of the Cold War era All the obscure president's men ]
• · Helena said some of the 1000 people on her staff were "quite frightened of me" At the family home in Taiping, one of Helena's brothers, Ivan, lent across and whispered to her in Chinese: "I see you've brought home a kangaroo." The "kangaroo", at the time, was an ABC radio journalist, soon to become president of Australian Young Labor, then Helena's husband after a ceremony at The Swifts in Darling Point, where Bob, a nominal Presbyterian, never christened, married the Catholic Helena, looking as devout as her namesake, St Helena Major supporting act ; It has been a life of learning for the Premier, writes Kris Neill: My memories of the man for whom I worked for 12 years are of his support for, and loyalty to, staff and his sense of humour, which sustained us through the grinding lows of political life Even a U-boat commander has his doubts
• · · What does Roberts's Harvard history thesis tell us about him? ; You won't find two Polish towns more different than Nowa Huta and Krakow Watching Over Poland's Ghosts, in a Spirit of Renewal
• · · · The Federal Government has released all children from Villawood detention centre and moved to empty the immigration prison on Christmas Island, as it implemented the political deal struck last month between the Prime Minister and moderate Coalition MPs Cry freedom as families let go; Howard moves to calm IR law nerves ; via Polly Bush Watching Loyal Opposition
• · · · · Abe's on a roll Abe Saffron: Sin is fine, but don't mention the underworld; Agents report terror 'chatter' about Australia ; Car fumes driving us to early grave
• · · · · · Swings and roundabouts with Australia's exports ; Three of Australia's six Collins-class submarines have suffered potentially "catastrophic" fires, floods or equipment faults at sea Submarine fleet riddled with risks ; Navy secrecy threatens sub culture

My eyes are hour hands extended, the lashes flat, half-lidded. The LA Times highlights Michael Silverblatt's recent 10-part series Escaping the Cage: Identity, Multiculturalism and Writing. It's an ambitious effort to engage some of the nation's leading writers - and a few emerging writers Exploring typecast writers - Exploring Real Marketing Opportunities

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The Happiness of Others
Is there any necessary connection between our actions and the happiness of others?

Disregarding for a moment the murkiness of the definitions of "actions" in philosophical literature - two types of answers were hitherto provided. Sentient Beings (referred to, in this essay, as "Humans" or "persons") seem either to limit each other - or to enhance each other's actions. Mutual limitation is, for instance, evident in game theory. It deals with decision outcomes when all the rational "players" are fully aware of both the outcomes of their actions and of what they prefer these outcomes to be.

the Utilitarian variety [There is a discernible group of people whose notions of marriage have changed from 'death do us part' to 'until further notice I do, I do, I do: the three-wedding ; Bridget Jones may be a better spiritual model than saints of old The Tao of Bridget ; Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie On Their Platonic Relationship ]
• · Corporate Consolidation in Book Publishing and Selling and the Decline of Diversity: Let's get straight to it. Publishing is a tough business, a dog eat dog business. An interesting article by William Petrocelli takes an in-depth look at the situation in publishing today, but the basics are this: today, fewer books are sold to adult readers (could the Internet have something to do with this?), mid-lists (where the quality stuff is) are shrinking, and the growth of chain book stores has doubled the space available for book sales Book-Busters ; PDF version: This report predicts growth in the number of books sold to an aging population that enjoys reading
• · · Writers want to see their work published and available for distribution to others. With so many options, reaching this goal is very obtainable Publishing – Many Options, Many Decisions ; News 1,001 Reasons to Read This Blurb: Are Writers Number Crunchers? ; Tripple Vision
• · · · The Day After: Reviewing The Conference ; Writers Markets; Gained in translation
• · · · · How the Sun King 'invented' style and shaped an image of chic for his country for centuries to come Le fashion, c'est Louis XIV ; Think you know everything about your best friend’s sex life? Not hardly Mating On the Sly
• · · · · · Like sex, Mafia and politics were not to be mentioned in front of the children The fear lives on ; The secret of Harry Potter's phenomenal success lies in the continuing allure of magic and fantasy in a secular society A hero for our time ; The 50 Most Beautiful Number 1: Kate Michael

Friday, July 29, 2005

The thing about nerves is that they can creep up on you. It hit me this week that some nerves can snap inside your head as you go about your well deserved good night sleep ... My experience at the Sydney Eye Hospital made my nerves calmer again after a week of surreal medical experiences. How can one thank the army of dedicated professional staff who survive on shoestring budget and yet manage to accommodate any situation that props up. The place was like a post office where mail never stops as one Doctor described the situation. Words fail me, but I thank one and all for being such a considered bunch with all patients. Jacqueline Maley, a Medical Reporter with the Sydney Morning Herald, who researched her story on Friday noted how ‘people who suffer strokes affecting the right side of the brain may be going undiagnosed, leaving them vulnerable to bigger, more catastrophic strokes later on’ When it comes to strokes, patients tend to the left and neglect the right

Thursday, July 28, 2005

My eyes are still playing up on me and I owe my double vision a rather surreal day; I rarely visit doctors so I was shocked to be told how lucky I was to get an appointment with a local Doctor. I should be grateful as the consultation cost $90, but it is discounted if I paid today to 70 odd dollars. After waiting for almost an hour my consultation took less than 30 minutes and in that time another appointment was stiched up for me at noon seven surburbs away which gave me less an hour to get there. Never mind that I prefer not to drive while my eyes are in such a sorry state. I was advised by my local Doctor I could catch a taxi ... The next consultation with a specialist has put my life in perspective as I accrued an additional $210 bill. But there is more as by the time I came from another referral which was next door to the specialist, the Southern Cross Radiology, demanded another $250. I was supposed to be told that I must pay the $250 on a spot or otherwise I cannot have the scanned images. I owe the reality of living the sick life a lot - the reality sure knows how to bite you when you are most vulnerable ... Just as well that I am being headhunted for the top job at the MacBank (hard one-eye-irony intended ;-) Macquarie Bank has challenged criticism of the $10 million-plus pay packets handed to its top executives, saying it can't base remuneration policy on society's perceptions of what is right or wrong - Millionaire's Factory' defends $10m salaries The Hidden Hand

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Why I dumped tilt at Canberra: Carr
Bob Carr says he always thought he was destined for a career in federal politics but scrapped his Canberra ambitions when he started to enjoy his job as premier of NSW.

Mr Carr announced his resignation yesterday, effective next Wednesday, after more than 10 years in the job. I thought when I was Shanghaied into the party leadership in 1988 that it would be a short-term thing

A 'solid chapter' comes to an end: Aurelius wrote For Bob Carr everything's altered again, but this time it is his own doing: Observe, in short, how transient and trivial is all mortal life; yesterday a drop of semen, tomorrow a handful of spice or ashes. And: … mark how hollow are the echoes of applause … how puny the arena of human fame
• As recently as March Bob Carr was saying he would lead the party to the next state election in 2007, what changed? Reverie in sun put paid to staying on Musing of Ifs [Right figures Eddie Obeid, Joe Tripodi and Eric Roozendaal are believed to be backing Mr Iemma over Mr Scully even though they all belong to the same subfaction, known as the Terrigals. Late yesterday, Mr Obeid and Mr Tripodi met Mr Scully in his office to tell him they were considering backing Mr Iemma. Mr Scully, it is understood, told them he would run regardless. The Right plots to deny Scully his chance; And that's about it, folks Premier shocks party by retiring ]
• · The Carr years will be remembered for monumental missed opportunity, writes Nick Greiner Premier skills, ordinary Premier ; Craig Knowles says he will not run for premier after Bob Carr's resignation Google on Carr
• · · Scully stands firm despite 'dirty tricks' ; Kerry O'brien; Bruce Hawker, Former Chief Of Staff; Andrew West, Biographer Bob Carr quits as premier
• · · · While the state was losing a premier yesterday, Helena Carr was retrieving her husband and a life without the pressures of public office. Regaining a husband and lazy weekends ; Former spy backs Chen
• · · · · Nepal: thousands of intellectuals and rights activists are arrested demanding restoration of human rights and rule of law ; Australia: a look at how The war on terror emboldens white supremacists - Drew Fraser
• · · · · · Educated beggars. Joseph Stiglitz on The end of the beginning of ending poverty ; Educated beggars. ; Cameras in Britain Record the Criminal and the Banal

We all go through fallow periods. We must let the soil prepare for new growth. A blogger never questions his right to experience everything the world has to offer How come the world is full of passionate people? The world is both bigger and smaller than I’d ever imagined

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Understanding links, their value and structure
For many blogging has become about links, links in, link out, links from famous sites or links from other sites.

Whilst we all know that blogging is more than links, links still play a vital role in building traffic and gaining exposure for your blog, because without links, chances are that your readership will never be more than a small number of people. Understanding how links work in relation to the blogosphere is important in understanding both where your blog sits, and in creating a vision for where you want it to go

• The future is text-based Good mouthing links: Links are a new form of currency [via Blog Herald: Jeremy Wright of fame is looking for bloggers for blogs Bloggers Needed ; Today, there are what seem to be thousands and thousands of bloggers who spend most of their time writing about what other bloggers blog How many bloggers love me… let me count the ways ]
• · A certain kind of shameless The Kindness of Being Antipodean Barista ; Technorati's Top Search Exploit Googlesque
• · · Deep Throat comes out—Revisiting Watergate ; Blogs definitely should come with the caveat, "Let the buyer beware." In this case, the reader should beware - of anything a blogger states as fact Reader beware of the truthfulness in blogs
• · · · New Communications Blogzine ; Nadine Haobsh Blogging blunder costs fashion editor her job
• · · · · Hatched, matched and dispatched … Joyce Ryerson at work on the Ryerson Index The Ryerson Index is celebrating its millionth entry ; Congress Report: TSA Broke Privacy Laws ; via Ubercitizen Journalist Dan Gillmor Military Making Up Quotes? I'm Shocked, Shocked
• · · · · · Free speech or fighting words - it's a fine line ; Why bosses blog - and why it's cheesy ; Catherine the Great: The Parliamentary Library has won the 2005 Australian Government Libraries Information Network (AGLIN) National Innovation Award for the Electronic Media Monitoring (EMMS) system. The EMMS system allows Senators and Members to browse, search and view TV and radio news and current affairs on desktop Pcs Parliamentary Library Wins National Innovation Award

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

While as a man Bob Carr has always come across as intelligent, thoughtful and well-meaning as a captain of the NSW-ship his key achievement appears to be his uncanny ability to move the spinning chairs on the Titanic of state infrastructure. As Nifty wisely noted, 'Bob Carr's greatest achievement was to keep winning elections.' No mention of a move to Canberra However, keep a close eye on further mills of rumours at xxx lulu

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The Reluctant Quitter
Bob Carr will resign as NSW Premier and as the member for Maroubra next Wednesday after 10 years in the job

From a 'democratic socialist' to harbouring plans to become foreign minister, Bob Carr has had quite a career. He made the announcement this morning, saying he made the decision over a bottle of chardonnay at the weekend after he and wife Helena had decided his time had come to move on. He said he did not intend to go to Canberra and had no job offers. Neither would he endorse a successor, saying that was up to his parliamentary colleagues. Police minister Carl Scully and Health minister Morris Iemma would be the most likely replacements as Premier - with sources saying Mr Iemma could have the numbers to win a vote.

Bob Carr quits as Premier [Bob Carr: a Self Made Man Robert John Carr grew up in his electorate of Maroubra ; Google Carr service comes to an end ; NSW Premier Bob Carr quits ]
• · The head of the New South Wales Government, Bob Carr, meet with London 2012 Chairman Sebastian Coe Offers on the Olympic tables ; Greg Paramor yesterday called on the Carr Government to shake off its fear of debt and embrace long term policies that upgrade Sydney's deteriorating infrastructure: Sydney's infrastructure is creaking and extremely inefficient Be a builder, Bob

Nearly 20 years ago, Eco compared Apple's Macintosh and Microsoft DOS to Catholicism and Protestantism, respectively. How would he characterize today's Internet? We could say that the World Wide Web aspires to be God. In The Divine Comedy, Dante looks directly at God and sees a single volume containing all the sheets in the universe. God is for him the totality of wisdom and information. But the Internet, while being well-informed, may be too much informed. It can't distinguish good from evil So I'd say that if the Web is God, it would be a very stupid God!

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: One way to see reading
Howard Jacobson worries about the lack of irresponsibility in modern fiction

We read novels to be freed from solemnity, to wage merry war with the world. And as the list of things that must not be ridiculed grows, the value of literature recedes

• The Interpretation of Screams Mystic of Literature [Our celebrities are mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore Celebrity, John Updike wrote, is the mask that eats the face. Now it eats the brain. From Tom to Russell to Angelina to Courtney, our megastars are going megapsycho Celebrity and Its Discontents ; Arts funding, Tatt's tickets and the dole ; To be part of Operation Lifeblood and give blood please complete the registration form below. We will then contact you to arrange a convenient time and place for you to come in to give blood. Operation Lifeblood July 2005 Members of the Queensland Police Force showed their support for the Blood Service’s Operation Lifeblood campaign Red one Day Redder the Next ]
• · Epic, fantastic, dazzling, erotic - and coming soon to a stage near you. Jessica Duchen reports on the unlikely rise of Wagnermania as younger audiences revel in his power and magic The return of the original Ring lord ; Anger at size of Cannes 'junket' ; Our television production is at an all time low, with the ABC producing around 20% of the local drama it did ten years ago. A number of Australian officials chaperone a grand total of two Aussie films at Cannes - Doc Document Report July 2005 on Art by Rodney Hall
• · · Hard-to-follow French double cross From the Queen's English to the world's Globish … or not ; Lucy Sussex leads off this week's "Saturday Age" with a profile of Karen Joy Fowler New Matilda Round-Up #30
• · · · By 2004 there were 20,000 fewer men than women aged 30-something, a new report shows and this figure does not include not so straight guys ;-) Aussie man drought revealed ; We love Desperate Housewives far more than the Americans do
• · · · · In its 20th year, the Age Melbourne Writers' Festival continues to offer something for everyone Melbourne Writers' Festival; Fire your boss and find a job with even greater challenges and responsibilities Work should be fun, satisfying, and rewarding
• · · · · · Character is destiny, according to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. Brisbane pair Jess Schipper and Libby Lenton crushed the field in the 100m butterfly at the world swimming championships in Montreal. It was not only the manner of their gold-silver finish, but the times they clocked that has the Australian women's butterfly scene seriously humming Our newest golden girl ; The son of European Jews who moved to Australia to escape the Nazis, Peter Singer studied philosophy in Melbourne before moving to Oxford. George W Bush and Peter Singer were born on the same day - July 6 1946. But there the similarity ends Peter Singer Moral maze

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I must be getting old as last weekend I had a tripple vision and I only had a glass of wine. Ach, even Dr Yau Yang Koh thinks I am as strong as an ox despite my inability to read or type with both of my eyes wide opened. So I have to wear a pirate's patch to read or type... Visual impairment is an important health issue facing the present and future generations of older Australians because it can affect physical, functional, emotional and social wellbeing, and reduce quality of life Vision Problems in Older Australians

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: What is happening to Australian democracy?
In this discussion paper, Fred Argy looks at the issue of incumbency advantages in government by examining the use of taxpayers’ money for political advertising campaigns

The paper has a particular focus on the federal government’s current industrial relations campaign, and argues that public money should not be used for ‘proposed and unlegislated’ policy changes

• PDF version: Democracy Overtaken by Executive Solutions [Prime Minister John Howard has personally thanked Australian troops in southern Iraq, during a surprise visit, for their work in helping reconstruct the war-torn country PM to Aussie troops: we're staying in Iraq ; Sydney's 43 councils would be scrapped, dramatically restructured and carved up into 12 separate authorities, with paid elected officials and popularly elected mayors Labor designs on council carve-up]
• · With the world once again recovering from Pottermania, Sunday turns fiction into fact with a series of real-life encounters with wizards, witches, goblins and elves. They're part of an extraordinary cast of characters that spring to life in our cover story on paganism in Australia The wizards of Oz ; Alcohol, George Bernard Shaw wrote, enables parliament to do things at 11 at night that no sane person would do at 11 in the morning Dries call time on chambers keg
• · · London terror: deja vu ; An investigation into claims by a former Chinese diplomat that the Chinese government abducted a Victorian man involved only one interview Police check Chen story with one source
• · · · The rise and fall of Steve Vizard;
Vizard's bookkeeper pleads guilty to false accounting
; Somehow, sports stars such as Kostya Tszyu, John Farnham's manager, Glenn Wheatley, and establishment law firms such as Deacons, Gadens and Dibbs Barker Gosling have found themselves linked to an investigation into the most serious offences that can be committed without violence Flurry of big names ensures case will run and run
• · · · · Bitter outpouring at Carr's water plan; Team Beattie hit hard Filling the hole left by Treasurer Terry Mackenroth's sudden resignation
• · · · · · via Web Diarists : Beijing’s top leaders all know of you The thought crimes of Jennifer Zeng ; Canberra’s latest campaign underlines the need for controls over government advertising Public relations one; industrial relations nil

A trend is something that appears to be happening but is in fact an illusion. All we know is what has happened; what will happen is mere speculation. Even what is happening is shrouded in mystery because it takes time to record and interpret observations. This doesn’t present a problem if history is what you are interested in, but trends are used mostly to pronounce on current affairs or to predict future ones Trends in high places

The Blog, The Press, The Media: I Need My Blogging Fix
Publishers are starting to take notice of bloggers, the art of keeping an online Web log.

Blogs are being both packaged up into books as well as getting bloggers noticed in the publishing world.Some publishers say the more a blogger gets noticed on the Web, the more they want to publish their works. An associate editor at Riverhead Books says blogging can really help writers find their voice, a key element in a saleable book.

Bloggers Getting Publishing Attention [ Stephanie Klein's To Blog Or Not To Blog ; We're All In The Same Gang Your blog is like a pedestrian walkway: no traffic ]
• · IT'S addictive. There's compassion. There's want. There's misery. Ms. Balossini, 28, an executive secretary from Prospect Park, N.J., wasn't describing a hot summer beach read but a blog about the trysts, triumphs and heartaches of a young New York City woman named Stephanie Klein Reader, I Dated Him ; Greek tragedy
• · · Ashes blog: First and Final Tests ; Almost every person in Melbourne is caught on surveillance cameras at least 100 times a day. Pretty soon, cameras will be like smoke detectors: They'll be everywhere State of Surveillance
• · · · MY|Blog for Pocket PC ; Internet phenomena. Memes Top 10 Web fads
• · · · · Journalist fired for sexy blog ; James Snell is Experimenting with Atom feeds ; A blog is much better at tearing things down people, careers, brands than it is at building them up A Blogging Revolution? 'Give Me a Break'
• · · · · · In the era of homeland security, public safety, and sediments of lessened privacy, more and more public video surveillance and public web cameras are appearing on our street corners. They are protecting us, they are monitoring us, some cameras around Parliament Houses entertain us Cities opening more video surveillance eyes ; Video surveillance questioned

Monday, July 25, 2005

A Lieutenant Colonel was advised by the government to keep quiet about criticisms he made about Australia's intelligence system I was bullied and told to keep quiet ; I will fall on my sword over this: when something is so important an officer will take a stand Interview with Lance Collins

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Howard backs more security cameras
Closed-circuit television surveillance is expected to be boosted as part of tighter security arrangements to combat terrorism.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, was so impressed by the CCTV capacity used to identify four men believed responsible for 56 deaths on London transport that he wants Australian systems enhanced. "The biggest thing that I have learnt by a country mile out of my visit, particularly to Britain, is the extraordinary value of surveillance cameras," he said in London yesterday.

CCTV David Humphries [ Tax blitz widens to drugs, bribery ; The Smartest Guys in the Room Enron unmasked, but not comprehended ]
• · So many people dislike capitalism, it's a wonder it exists at all Stakeholder Capitalism One More Bind On Smith's Invisible Hand ; Environmental impact of consumption
• · · Recognising child workers: dilemmas of abolishing child labour ; Elba has something to teach us about tyrants and how they finish Tiny tyrants ; The Truth About Jihad
• · · · Premier Bob Carr today said Australia needed to have a "searching look" at its counter-terrorism laws after the second bomb attack on London in a fortnight. Can Western civilisation be glorified as the one true way, particularly when those who talk in this fashion usually sweep things like respect for liberties such as freedom of speech and freedom from fear conveniently under the carpet when it suits them? Strip citizenship: Carr terror plan ; As Australians, we tell ourselves many stories that stimulate our sense of self-righteousness and moral superiority; most societies do this sort of thing fairly regularly. Our myth-making is powerful - and very comforting - in a world of violence and destabilisation. Is this Islam? No. Is it "acceptable"? No. Is it caused by multiculturalism? No. A policy of assimilation would not solve any of this. The only "solution" in such a model is the forced baptism of the majority and the expulsion in boats of the remainder. A matter of respect
• · · · · Will intellectuals step forward when our political leaders fail us? ; Taxonomy of Political Conflict In Central and Eastern Europe
• · · · · · Bianca Jagger on sleeping with the enemy: Why she doesn't trust Bono, Bush, Brown, Bob and Blair on social justice Bedfellows; One drink does not a summer make Live 8 and Aristotle ; What can terrorists teach us?
It's Not Who We Are, It's What We Do

A lot of people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidences and things. They don't realize that there's this like lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. I'll give you an example, show you what I mean. Suppose you're thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly somebody will say like "plate" or "shrimp" or "plate of shrimp" out of the blue, no explanation. No point in looking for one either. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness.
PLATE OF SHRIMP [Courtesy Alex Cox REPO MAN, circa 1984]

Somehow hearing abstractly about 6 million killed just does not make the same emotional connection as reading the full story of one little girl and her family. The fact that there were millions of such stories, mostly untold and unknown is very sad Anne Frank

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Types of Stories My Mother Tells
Have I ever told you about the first time you ever ate pineapple?

As it begins, you’re pretty sure you’ve heard this one before. Wait, no, maybe this time it’s different. Maybe this time it’ll have an extra nugget of sage advice. Maybe? A catalog of favorite themes.

The Trojan Moral [Whole Foods Market Don't Get Fresh With Me! ; United We Blog! ...for a Peaceful & Democratic Nepal ]
• · Cast off the bourgeois chains, you've nothing to lose but your job ; Julian Beever is an English artist who is famous for his art on the pavements of England, France, Germany, USA, Australia and Belgium Virtual Street Reality
• · · Find Your Island on ; Look at these people! They suck each other! They eat each other's saliva and dirt! A kiss is never just a kiss
• · · · The days when the prime minister collected clocks and the GST was just a political joke are being revived in Keating! with its 'loony left-leaning light libretto' The return of Placido Domingo ; The 50 films you should see by the age of 14
• · · · · Businesses may b falling down on one of th fundamentals o leadershi Australian bosses get big thumbs-down ; Saying one thing, lobbying for another ; With the exception of the atrocities against the Jews during the Second World War, there is no evil that has been as condemned by the entire world as apartheid Reductio ad Hitlerum
• · · · · · Miracle Foundation Awards $100,000 To Dr. Michael Wigler For Breakthrough Cancer Research ; Before students can come to postmodern literature they need to know a lot of literature and A lot of philosophy

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Australia's children are victims of the new economy that has turned increasing numbers of men into casual or part-time workers Men out of work - why families are falling apart

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Police gunned down innocent man
A man shot dead on a London Underground train by police hunting attempted suicide bombers in the city has been named as a 27-year-old Brazilian, Jean Charles de Menezes.

He was formally identified in a brief statement from London's Metropolitan Police, who again confirmed that he was not linked to the four blasts on public transport in the city on Thursday. "He was not connected to incidents in central London on 21 July, 2005 in which four explosive devices were partly detonated," the statement said. Terrified onlookers described seeing plainclothes officers pursue the man through Stockwell Underground station in south London on Friday morning before cornering him in a train carriage where they shot him five times in the head at point-blank range.

How Big Brother & Terrorists Won the War [Shoot to Kill Policy ; Unprecedented volumes of personal information on millions of ordinary Australians are being shared between federal government departments under dramatic extensions of a little-known "data matching" scheme Personal data 'being shared' ; Laws no real protection against malevolent acts ; Random-search powers studied]
• · When Kerry Packer was asked by close mate and business partner Warren Anderson to plough $50 million into struggling merchant bank Rothwells in March 1988, Australia's richest man spat back: "Tell them to f... off How the red Inc flowed in WA ; Read NSW Public Accounts Committee reports on Intrastructure dated 1996-2000 and cry Burst main causes flooding ; NSW, traditionally the engine room of the Australian economy, is spluttering. While its counterparts are firing, the Premier State is looking sickly. Sydney's in a place that it's never been in - behind the pack. No wonder the next political bear hunt will be in the economic forrest called GST E(l)ections have consequences: On shaky ground
• · · Alberstein confirmed the authenticity of the Cisco pamphlets promoting police surveillance equipment to the Chinese Public Security Bureau acquired by businessman and author Ethan Gutmann from a Chinese trade show. Technology Companies as Arms Suppliers ; John Howard can't forever ignore China's threat to his relationship with the US Riding the dragon
• · · · Lessons from the late boom: Sydney is suffering the consequences of a once-in-a-generation housing boom.Sydney is now paying the price for wasteful property speculation encouraged by federal tax policy. Capital Gains Tax and Sydney housing ; David Humphries: Like an ALP card to go with that, sir? ; New wages umpire strips holidays from contracts
• · · · · I have just seen the most horrible thing of my life Survivors tell of deadly crossing ; Tax Panel Wants to End Alternative Minimum Tax
• · · · · · Courier Mail. Page 14, 22/07/2005: I can see some merit in having a national identity card but I have almost no faith in the keepers of this information keeping it safe and not allowing it to be stolen by commercial or, worse, criminal elements. No matter how dedicated they are, I cannot see public servants on fairly modest salaries protecting my personal information in the way I would like it protected Fears of identity being stolen ; Ukrainian President Yuschchenko disbanded the national traffic police (DAI). The main reason – they are too corrupt and take too many bribes from drivers. Today is the first day of police free traffic extravaganza in Ukraine Traffic Police Corruption

Opening Australia to foreign investment, particularly from Japan, will not imperil the flower of Australian democracy,The notion that it should be protected by those great standard bearers of democracy - Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Packer - is past. There is no risk at all with foreign ownership and some of Japan's big dailies are interested in expanding their market place ... Tony O'Reilly

The Blog, The Press, The Media: From Velvet to Digital Revolution
The Digital Revolution is a term describing the effects of the rapid drop in cost and rapid expansion of power of digital devices such as computers and telecommunications.

The underlying technology was invented in the last half of the 20th century and became economical for widespread adoption after the invention of the PC. The digital revolution transformed technology that previously was analog into a binary representation of ones and zeros. By doing this, it became possible to make multiple generation copies that were as faithful as the original. In digital communications, for example, repeating hardware was able to amplify the digital signal and pass it on with no loss of information in the signal.

New age of mass surveillance [20 Technology Skills Every Librarian Should Have Web Navigation Skills ; Blog people ]
• · domain sells for $750,000; Director of New Media Tells What's Changed Behind the Curtain
• · · The Power of Blog Promotion – Active Words - Scoble vs. USA Today ; A pretentious way of saying text editor Blog Language ; Andrew Gowers: 'Newspapers Have to Change'
• · · · A maverick in business and sport, Tony O'Reilly is tipping an upset or two in the looming clash of the titans Media mogul's shock horror scoop ; The Value of Diversity in a Global, Collaborative World
• · · · · The email written before the birth of her child was blunt: "We better get this straight. Your involvement will be no more or no less than any male who gets a complete stranger pregnant Cyberspace custody battle gets shut down ; If there was ever a good reason for buying groceries online, surely it is to avoid the nightmare of the supermarket queue, where surly checkout operators, other people's whining kids and endless price checks can send even the sanest among us screaming to the door Deliver us from supermarkets
• · · · · · Internet to halve cost of phone calls ; Xanga has 40 million users: report

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Claude Simon ( 1913-2005 ) once wrote: For me, the big chore is always the same: how to begin a sentence, how to continue it, how to complete it

I have heard that one of the rites of passage for undergraduates at Harvard University is to have sex in stacks of the vast, labyrinthine Widener Library. It's sort of an academic version of joining the "Mile-High Club" ... Many students who enter university come from nearly book-free homes. Many have not read a single book all the way through Stacks' Appeal

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Let's face it, most books do stink.
Reading books is definitely more fun than writing them. They say everyone has a book in them. As if to prove this truism, almost everyone I know is writing one:

I used to think writers didn't like talking about their works-in-progress because they were afraid people would steal their brilliant ideas. Now I know the truth. Writers hate talking about their books because they're sick to death of them. That and the fact that, on any given day, they secretly suspect that their books might stink

How's your book going? [I have always thought of Australia as a very sort of progressive, sophisticated, cosmopolitan place. So to run into this roadblock is surprising Some Australian conservatives are trying to ban the film ; Heim's Australian fans ]
• · Lewis Libby, Richard Perle, Lynn Cheney: neocons, D.C. insiders, and novelists. What does their fiction tell us about the reality of life and power in Washington? Tory Stories: Neo-Con Novels ; This independent publisher is true to its word in bringing us works that just do not seem to sit pretty on the shelves of our highstreet book stores. In this world of mainstream, conglomerate-led, dumbed-down publishing it is always a pleasure to stumble upon a dedicated group who strive to bring you the book that others either daren't or can't. So, for a start get your hungry taste buds around the litle morsel below: Reaching the reader on multiple levels A common interest unites us; it is one world, one life
• · · Random UK is hoping for better results than Simon & Schuster's memoir contest promotion with Good Morning America earlier this year, in an agreement with the influential show Richard & Judy UK Tries TV Memoir Contest ; Peter Spiegelman "socked away millions" when his employer, a Wall Street software company, was bought--which gave him the freedom to write crime novels The Case of the Writer Who Left Wall Street
• · · · What’s missing in many people’s beliefs about success is the fact that the more challenging the goal, the more frequent and difficult setbacks will be How to learn from your mistakes; A law firm that spent decades winning lawsuits against huge corporations is now in the cross hairs of a government investigation Robin Hoods or Legal Hoods?
• · · · · Why are the movies so bad? Hollywood's Phantom Menace; For your typical young British writer/intellectual it’s deeply shameful to confess that you love Starbucks Starbucks: The daily grind
• · · · · · When a man lands a big fish, the tale is told of fight and peril, exhaustion and triumph. The beast is weighed, the record inscribed, the photo taken, bragging rights secured. And that is where the story usually ends The Fish That Came With a Catch ; Nabakov caught in the act of Kissing Media Dragon Deadly at After Grog Hammer Time

Friday, July 22, 2005

We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves.
-James Joyce, Ulysse

Commuters must become "the eyes and ears" of the city's trains and buses says NSW Premier Bob Carr Carr launches $200,000 anti-terror campaign ... are we fighting an organization or an idea Why nobodies are the real terrorist threat

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Bretton Woods and American Power
James Cumes has a thoughtful exchange on currency at his blog, Lakatoi:

The "Bretton Woods II" currency arrangement, under which China, Japan and other nations are fixing their currencies at undervalued levels relative to the dollar by funding the U.S. current account deficit, will be a key topic at PIMCO's upcoming 2005 Secular Forum.
For some insight into the investment implications of Bretton Woods II and the issues PIMCO will be discussing at the Secular Forum, we spoke to PIMCO Managing Director Chris Dialynas. See his paper Trouble Ahead-Trouble Behind for a more detailed analysis of his opinions on these topics.

Bretton Woods II Currency Regime [Sir Edward "Ted" Heath, British prime minister, 1916-2005 Trailblazer lived to be disappointed ; Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement in the House of Commons in the G8 Summit ; Qld Speaker Hollis quits ]
• · Businesses would have greater opportunities in the next few years to get a share of the $500 million being spent by Australia's intelligence agencies Psst! Want to buy into the spy business?; Government Has Amassed Thousands of Pages on National Peace and Civil Rights Organizations: FBI Acknowledges Monitoring Websites of Range of Advocacy Groups ; How a risk-averse West has inflamed the terrorism it fears Creating the enemy; The enemy within
• · · A family released last night from Villawood detention centre after being locked up for four months had not been illegally in Australia Locked up family held illegally ; The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has called on the Federal Government to respect the confidentiality of asylum applications after the alleged mishandling of the case of the Chinese defector Chen Yonglin Revealing cases puts asylum seekers in danger
• · · · Govt $1b ad bill a national tragedy ; Murdoch lauds Howard over US ties
• · · · · How Appealing of Howard Bashman fame is peppered with links this week on Roberts - In one of the numberless conversations in this city about whom George W. Bush might nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court, a conservative lawyer noted that some on the right were uneasy about John G. Roberts Jr., despite Roberts' conservative pedigree John Roberts: Appealing to both sides ; Bloggers, on your mark Next job for bloggers: Examining Bush's Supreme Court pick
• · · · · · As the greatest contest in cricket begins today, Cahal Milmo investigates just what contributions the former British colony Down Under has made to the sum of human happiness What's so great about Australia? ; The religious right wants to include moral values in the debate over how our taxes are spent? Bring it on The Immoral Majority ; Bring on Britain's terrorism law: Carr ; The death toll from the suicide bombings in London stands at 56. In Iraq, more than 150 people were killed in 19 suicide attacks over three days, and the attacks are continuing Suicide bombs

Strangers always love us for what we've accomplished, ignoring the fact that, by definition, that very accomplishment no longer touches us
-Ned Rorem, letter to Glenway Wescott (August 31, 1967)

The NY publishing figure known as the blogger Mad Max Perkins of BookAngst 101 has followed through with long-hinted indications--he's hanging up his browser. "It's hard work, this, even when the feedback has both been so energizing and made it so clear how great a hunger there is for some sort of industry perspective, for some sense that people on the inside aren't wholly disconnected from those on the outside.... "If I had a particular goal when I started, it was to better understand how the machinery works, and to learn some new tricks of the trade--and I'm not sure how much we accomplished on that front, to be honest. The business is so f***ing hard now, and there's so much pressure on those working inside it, that either they don't have the time for (shall we say) pro bono discourse about (say) how to do some of the little things better; or they feel that giving away what few secrets they possess will put them at the sort of competitive disadvantage that might, soon, cost them their jobs. Maxed Out

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Not a blogger. Like Media Dragon Not anything really
Fascinating story by Paul Boutin in Wired, who met a homeless blogger in the street who turned out to be Jorn Barger.

Barger is universally known as the creator of the first Weblog, Robot Wisdom. When some of us noticed recently the blog was back after several months' hiatus, we didn't know Barger had lost his domain because he couldn't afford to renew it. Somehow he is back, though. Barger told Boutin he'd been carrying a sign that day:

"Coined the term 'weblog,' never made a dime" ; Robot Wisdom on the Street [ UN Pulse ; With the rise of blogs, how should "journalist" be defined? Shield Law for Reporters? ; What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Blog About Blogger Weekly ; Antony Loewenstein Our media asleep at the wheel ]
• · Scott Burgess, is making waves in the UK after revealing a trainee journalist at the Guardian newspaper is a member of one of England's most extreme Islamist organisations Deafening Silence from the Guardian ; The rise of the corporate blogger GUIDE TO BLOGGING; RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0, Compared
• · · Echo Chamber Australian labels win piracy case ; Australia's newest and most secretive current affairs magazine Investigate has been causing a bit of a stir since hitting news stands a few months ago Investigate: A strange accusation
• · · · The supermarket trolley is going hi-tech, with new scan-as-you-shop technology to cut checkout lines No queue and hey: it's the high-tech trolley ; Hidden Angle Blog Report; They don't feel a part of it. They don't feel like they can impact it and therefore they don't trust it. So I think we are trying to create a different kind of conversation: Get in here and be a part of it Citizen reporting is changing notions of news, news gathering
• · · · · via Blog Herald: Blog Count for July: 70 million blogs ; Topix Blog News
• · · · · · The Radar weblog is opening itself up to story pitches from readers What's next: Ping Radar a story ; If we want to do something risqué that editors clean up, we should push back Young NYT staffers told to be "rebellious" in their writing

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Politicians are like vacuum cleaners: you need them, but you rarely enjoy using them After Armageddon, wages monster rises

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Jeepers creepers
Few things unite the nation - rich and poor, male and female, young and old - like the belief that we pay too much tax.

The Australian taxation system is in need of drastic reform. The changes to income tax brackets introduced by the Australian Government in 2005 have merely distracted taxpayers from the real problems. While the Federal Government would like to claim that Australians are not highly taxed, the reality is that they are among the highest-taxed in the developed world. The Australian taxation system is complicated, and poorly structured. It unfairly taxes low income workers, and actively encourages high income workers to minimise their tax obligations. Bracket creep is another major problem, as unlike Great Britain, Australian tax rates are not set to rise in line with inflation

Bracket creep [Will Melburnian poker champ Joseph Hachem have to hand over half his winnings to the taxman? Or can “professional” poker players keep the cash? Tax issues for $10m poker champ ; Tax compliance costs: Cut or hidden? ; Taxman deals in on poker bounty ; Half of all borrowers using "low doc" loans have failed to lodge tax returns for an average of three years running Tax chief cracks down on loans that hide big income ]
• · Anika Gauja, University of Sydney Keeping the party under control: The legal regulation of Australia’s political parties ; Low doc loans
• · · The annual allowance for senators and members; In a paper delivered to the Fair Go or Anything Goes? conference this week in Sydney, George Williams argues that the federal government’s constitutional powers are not sufficient to enact a comprehensive national industrial relations scheme Federal powers not sufficient
• · · · Refugees and regional settlement: win-win? ; Australian Regulatory Review
• · · · · The G8: Hot air and high ground at Gleneagles ; Live8 ;
Nicolas Sarkozy has become the most popular French politician by diving headfirst into the country’s most explosive political issues. If he has his way, this hyperactive, pro-American, Gaullist, free marketer will transform French politics for good Solutions for Grandeur In the US Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas takes a wait-and-see approach, whereas MyDD's prolific Chris Bowers immediately deems him unacceptable. Moulitsas is not alone: many are resigned to the inevitability of Justice Roberts -- but they don't like it. Several admit that Roberts doesn't strike them as an extremist (although "partisan hack" quickly emerges as an epithet of choice) while others state the obvious explanation for their SCOTUS passivity: they want the focus to stay on WH dep. CoS Karl Rove (about which plenty more in the other Blogometer section) Divided Attention: Thinking Positively Negative About Roberts Confirmation
• · · · · · There can be no such thing as Catholic fundamentalism Relativism, Fundamentalism, Integrationism: Umberto Eco ; Europe’s Failure: A View From Germany

The cliché about coffeehouses in Los Angeles being filled with writers is no truer than the cliché about humans needing oxygen Meet People in Coffeehouses While You're Writing

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Esposito
The internet appears to be changing everything ...

In an age where more poetry, novels, and short stories are being published than at any time in history, it is a bitter irony that a good bookish conversation can be hard to come by. “Reading at Risk,” a study performed by The National Endowment for the Arts, reported that the overall number of readers in America is in decline, and those that do read seem to only be interested in the latest Oprah pick or the new work by Stephen King. Many periodicals still provide strong literary coverage, but waiting month after month for the drip drip drip of substantial articles and news is both frustrating and unsatisfying. It is no wonder that in a 1990s lecture on the decline of literature (republished in The Gutenberg Elegies), Sven Birkerts said that reading had become a “dead-end proposition.”

Litblogs Provide a New Alternative for Readers [Houses got bigger, average family sizes got smaller, and yet we still need to tack on a billion-plus square feet to store our stuff Americans are storing more stuff than ever; The ‘Blood Donation Challenge’ commenced on 1st July 2005 and will run through until 30th November. Employees in each state will compete to determine which state can make the highest number of blood or plasma donations Blood donation challenge ]
• · The Truth About Book Sales ; Jewish history is one cautionary tale after another Jews and power ; Let me offer some free advice to those who would scorn the letter writers about the gentle art of offering opinion Offering opinions is a noble act
• · · Our former nanny, a 26-year-old former teacher with excellent references, liked to touch her breasts while reading The New Yorker and often woke her lovers in the night by biting them. She took sleeping pills, joked about offbeat erotic fantasies involving Tucker Carlson and determined she'd had more female sexual partners than her boyfriend Objectionable on so many levels ; more via Sarah Weinman This is just wrong, wrong, wrong
• · · · An Editor's Move to the Dark Side The Secret Lives of Editors, Pt 2: Why Agents Are Pond Scum ; Modern science is being battered by people with differing agendas about what matters mosThe reality of 'absolute' truth
• · · · · His first play made his fortune but still he keeps writing. Sir Tom Stoppard, new president of the London Library, talks about his Jewish roots and why he's quite keen on working in hotels Shelf stocker ; Trailers of Historically Significant Films: Digital History
• · · · · · Workmates can be so predictable Who works next to you?; Predicting the future might be tricky, but author David Bodanis is on to a winner Better than fiction

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Recent controversies in Queensland and Canberra have seen the 'parliamentary clerk' appearing more regularly in the news. Martin Leet looks at the role of clerks in our democratic processes Parliament and its clerk
This is how the Soviet bureaucracy worked. It is not the way the Westminster system worked or was ever supposed to work – we were supposed to have checks and balances. But we no longer have that system. We have a Soviet-style nomenclature, where the roles of politicians and administrators are indistinguishable, and blind loyalty is the performance criterion that matters above all else Soviet-style nomenclature

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Survey: Amerika
America is an extraordinarily dynamic country, says John Parker. But its very mobility may now be drawing people apart

On CHRISTMAS DAY 2004, Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback church in southern California, got a telephone call from Thailand. The caller, a pastor whom Mr Warren had trained, said a tsunami had just been reported and many people would need help. Before the tsunami had even struck Sri Lanka, Mr Warren was calling a vast network of churches in South-East Asia who got parishioners to safety, and e-mailing an even vaster network of clubs in southern California. Thousands of volunteers went into action overnight. Within a day, food and medicine worth millions of dollars were winging their way from a single church to the disaster-hit regions. This was American civic volunteerism in action, updated for the 21st century

By connecting people to their neighbours and to the wider world, argued de Tocqueville, civic associations made Americans better informed, safer, richer and better able to govern themselves and create a just and stable society
Degrees of separation [If domestic mobility is a centrifuge, immigration is a melting pot The Amerikano dream ; The glue of society ]
• · Despite the privacy advocates’ claims, public spaces are public—fortunately Cameras and Counterterrorism ; Terrorism can only be defeated by political compromise and negotiation Talking with the jihadists
• · · We were planning to survey our Slovak situation, where liberalism lacks tradition, and is often rather freely or superficially interpreted both by the admirers and the critics Public disagreement: The greatest contribution of liberal politics ; TaxAlmanac: The free online tax research resource and community; IMHO, ID card gives everyone a false sense of security, but again ID card help the Soviet block countries to disolve into the annals of history. Is it the right time for capitalism to turn to ashes? What kind of movement will replace current regimes? Identity cards can be forged, says Costello ; The Chinese defector Chen Yonglin flew out of Australia yesterday to give evidence to a US congressional human rights committee, in a move that threatens to exacerbate tensions between Australia and China. If half of Chen’ stories are true our current intelligence gathering mechanisms are set for a very rough ride Chen's pitch to Congress may fuel row with China
• · · · Boston and New York: Each city plays political hardball, but each in its own way - In Boston, some fathers still tell their sons how New Yorkers didn't want to go to war in 1776 because there was too much money at stake The Geopolitics of Two Cities in a Peanutshell ; The Counterterrorism Blog is following news and leads Political Crisis and the War on Terror
• · · · · From Counterpunch, a special report on The Making of Halliburton: Sticky fingers; Carr's wasteful water spending
• · · · · · But to describe plausible remedies is to explain why none are likely. The webs of mutual interests connecting government, corporate boardrooms and Wall Street are too deeply woven, as are habits of thought among policy makers and politicians. So I do not expect anything fundamental will be altered in time. We are going to find out if the dissenters are right Globalisation of Disaster ; Good background material, including info on the possible London bombing suspect at Terrorism Knowledge Base