Sunday, January 30, 2011

AT FIRST glance Matthew Chesher's drug bust appears to be an act of sheer stupidity by a 44-year-old father who should know better. This latest episode is another reminder that there's something rotten at the heart of the government of NSW. Consider the case of Scott Gartrell, the man who replaced Chesher as Carmel Tebbutt's main adviser. Until last week Gartrell was chief of staff to Tebbutt. Instead of sticking around to steer his boss (and fellow warrior of the Left) through what is likely to be her last election campaign, Gartrell chose to up and run A rotting government, as if voters needed reminding
NSW Roads Minister David Borger covered the ALP logos on campaign posters in his electoral office in Sydney's west - because he thought he was sticking to the rules NSW minister 'sticking to rules' ; After the arrest on Friday night of Matthew Chesher - a longtime Labor staffer and husband of Education Minister Verity Firth - over the purchase of an ecstasy tablet, Ms Keneally said today she was "furious" over the new crisis. Keneally fed-up with 'self-indulgent behaviour' Mr Chesher's arrest is another in a series of tawdry episodes for the Keneally government. In September, Ports Minister Paul McLeay quit cabinet admitting to viewing online porn and gambling sites from a parliamentary computer. Former Roads Minister David Campbell resigned after being filmed leaving a gay sauna, while Ian Macdonald was forced to resign after charging airfares to the taxpayer without permission. Former Labor MPs Karyn Paluzzano and Angela D'Amore were both punted from the party for rorting parliamentary expenses

Like Media Dragons Super Rich The Rise of the New Global Elite
F. Scott Fitzgerald was right when he declared the rich different from you and me. But today’s super-rich are also different from yesterday’s: more hardworking and meritocratic, but less connected to the nations that granted them opportunity—and the countrymen they are leaving ever further behind

In a plutonomy there is no such animal as “the U.S. consumer” or “the UK consumer”, or indeed the “Russian consumer”. There are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take. There are the rest, the “non-rich”, the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie.

• Transglobal community of peers who have more in Common with one another than with their countrymen back home; Business blog [THEY are the Macquarie Street globetrotters. Labor premiers and ministers spent 428 days and almost $2 million on taxpayer-funded trips overseas since the 2007 election. The pollies' grand world tour ; Commercial-property broker CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. (CBG) said Tuesday that employees in China made payments to local government officials in violation of company policy and possibly U.S. foreign bribery laws CB Richard Ellis has zero tolerance for illicit or unethical activity in any form]
• · Tommy Sheridan - latest in a distinguished line of pollies to be jailed for perjury in a libel case ; The Darwin Awareness Engine™ helps users track Web and Enterprise 2.0 events, uncover emerging trends and gain faster understanding of complex issues. To demonstrate the value of this new way to present time-sensitive and contextual information, we have dedicated a Darwin Edition to information relating to Wikileaks, the organization that shares controversial information and one of the hot topics in today’s news Media Dragons of Darwin Awareness
• · · Saatchi & Saatchi Prague brilliantly tapped a cultural phenomenon in a new campaign for T-Mobile that swept across the Czech Republic over the holidays Czech out a Czech Christmas custom; Czech dabing parody, part II, Hooligans
• · · · It's been an exciting time for The King's Speech star Geoffrey Rush. He garnered a standing ovation for his performance in The Diary of a Madman at Belvoir St Theater, then rushed over to a local Sydney station where he watched The King's Speech lead the pack at the Oscar nominations. The British monarchy saga earned 12 nods, including best picture and acting honours for Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and a best supporting actor nomination for Rush. "I've been texting people in between interviews and there's a lot of excitement going on across the globe from our team," says Rush. "It's really wonderful. It's sort of like Ben-Hur proportions. It all seems a bit crazy, you know? " Love's locks lost for brushes with lunacy ; Nikolai Gogol's Diary of a Madman ; King's Speech: bbb-but what about Geoffrey Rush?
• · · · · John Malkovich was brilliant playing Casanova, although sometimes the switches between characters were hard to follow. IN HIS 57 years, John Malkovich has gained an important insight into the art of seduction: women hold the real power ; Martin Haselbock, who conducted the Sydney Symphony in the sellout production starring John Malkovich, rejected claims that the work was ''laughed off the stage'' when it premiered in Vienna earlier this month. However my highest accolade goes to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra; they covered several operas in one night (it seemed) and did so memorably." So remember, arts lovers: go early, go often John Malkovich being Casanova John Malkovich: 'I don't need to be liked' ''All five Vienna performances had extremely positive reactions with cheers, bravos and standing ovations,'' Haselbock said. ''We are booked to do five more performances in the same theatre next year.'' Hollywood icon John Malkovich
• · · · · · AMONG the speakers at this week's funeral of former NSW Liberal upper house member Frank Calabro, the first Italian-born representative elected to an Australian parliament, was former NSW premier Nick Greiner. Greiner recalled going to see Calabro in the early 1980s to seek his support for a tilt at the NSW Liberal leadership. Calabro told the Hungarian-born Greiner he would, as he saw in the younger man talent and energy. Greiner said Calabro went on to add the crucial clause: Us wogs have to stick together. Fitting tribute ; The whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks is the extension of a Facebook culture that reflects our prurient appetites for status updates and a constant drip of minutiae about everything from what we are eating to international intelligence. Next up: secrecy.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

David Clune is the NSW Parliament’s Historian and an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Government at the University of Sydney. He has written widely about NSW politics and history David Henry CLUNE

David Clune OAM with his wife Rosalind

David Clune OAM with his wife Rosalind

THINK NSW politics is colourful now? The antics of Kristina Keneally and co pale in comparison to some of the political anecdotes stored in the memory of NSW parliamentary historian Dr David Clune. Like the duel fought by the first NSW Premier Stuart Donaldson with his Surveyor-General Thomas Mitchell in 1851.
“They both shot and they had near misses, and then, like good British gentlemen, they shook hands and forgot about the whole thing,” he said.
Clune recalls political colour

Another Blast from the Parliamentary Library past Jennifer Liney ALAA, BA, MLitt(Plant Biol), Moruya has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her service to conservation and the environment - Moruya's Jennifer Liney

The Worldly Art of Politics is informative and highly readable, for the most part,
thanks to some well-known contributors. Art and Politics: Carrying the dreams of another

It is better to learn from the mistakes of others than to repeat their mistakes ourselves. For politicians this is certainly a truism. How to Succeed in a Hung Parliament

Andrew TINK: “Four T’s” of time, talent, touch and treasure Nation built on second chances
On January 22, 1788, governor Arthur Phillip christened Sydney Cove after Britain's home secretary. Most people aboard the First Fleet, which arrived four days later, believed the governor's gesture was to honour his political master.

But Phillip had two political masters - the home secretary, Lord Sydney, and the first lord of the admiralty, Lord Howe, both of whom were cabinet ministers. As governor, Phillip was responsible to Sydney but, as a senior naval officer, he answered to Admiral Howe. So why did Phillip, who had spent his entire working life in the navy, choose to name the cove, around which the settlement was to be built, after a career politician? And why was the name of the renowned fighting admiral relegated to a speck of an island in the South Pacific? It was Sydney, rather than Howe, who had chosen Phillip as governor. Although talented, Phillip had always been on the outer in the Royal Navy. But Sydney had come to respect Phillip's abilities when he worked part time as a spy for the secret service, run in those days from the Home Office.

• Andrew Tink, a former NSW MP, is the author of the award-winning William Charles Wentworth: Australia's Greatest Native Son, and biographer of Lord Sydney. Best Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee ever ; My time in Australia will be for heart touching, heart moving delight Aust Day is about mateship [ Best in Blogosphere ; Top 100 Australian Blogs ]
• · KRISTINA Keneally's chances of leading Labor in NSW beyond the March election have narrowed dramatically after a summer of strategic blunders that have further eroded the state government's voter support. Keneally done for as rout looms ; Labor headed for NSW electoral oblivion
• · · I cannot recall a single instance in the past 10 years when a government minister or backbencher from Labor or the Coalition has criticised the police. Because they can do no wrong and have an immunity from criticism, a minority element treat politicians, Parliament and ultimately the public with a kind of contempt. Politicians still dancing to the beat of the blue light disco; In terms of blogs, look at things like Slate Magazine, which is basically a political blog, and many other blogs and Web sites have stepped into the mainstream in terms of journalism and news reporting. Students can get real world experience doing this Can Blogging Make a Difference?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

American Border Collie Has Largest Known Dog Vocabulary NYT: Chaser, a border collie who lives in Spartanburg, S.C., has the largest vocabulary of any known dog. She knows 1,022 nouns, a record that displays unexpected depths of the canine mind and may help explain how children acquire language. Chaser belongs to John W. Pilley, a psychologist who taught for 30 years at Wofford College, a liberal arts institution in Spartanburg. In 2004, after he had retired, he read a report in Science about Rico, a border collie whose German owners had taught him to recognize 200 items, mostly toys and balls. Dr. Pilley decided to repeat the experiment using a technique he had developed for teaching dogs, and he describes his findings in the current issue of the journal Behavioural Processes. He bought Chaser as a puppy in 2004 from a local breeder and started to train her for four to five hours a day. He would show her an object, say its name up to 40 times, then hide it and ask her to find it, while repeating the name all the time. She was taught one or two new names a day, with monthly revisions and reinforcement for any names she had forgotten. Border collies are working dogs. They have a reputation for smartness, and they are highly motivated. They are bred to herd sheep indefatigably all day long. Absent that task, they must be given something else to do or they go stir crazy. Chaser proved to be a diligent student. Unlike human children, she seems to love her drills and tests and is always asking for more. “She still demands four to five hours a day,” Dr. Pilley said I’m 82, and I have to go to bed to get away from her ; Sit. Stay. Parse. Good Girl! New York Time

Where will you be in 3011? The little red book that swept France
Just as he "cried out" against Nazism in the 1940s, he said, young people today should "cry out against the complicity between politicians and economic and financial powers" and "defend our democratic rights acquired over two centuries. The latest call to (non-violent) arms has turned a 93-year-old war hero into a publishing phenomenon

Take a book of just 13 pages, written by a relatively obscure 93-year-old man, which contains no sex, no jokes, no fine writing and no startlingly original message. A publishing disaster? No, a publishing phenomenon. Indignez vous! (Cry out!), a slim pamphlet by a wartime French resistance hero, Stéphane Hessel, is smashing all publishing records in France. The book urges the French, and everyone else, to recapture the wartime spirit of resistance to the Nazis by rejecting the "insolent, selfish" power of money and markets and by defending the social "values of modern democracy". The book, which costs €3, has sold 600,000 copies in three months and another 200,000 have just been printed. Its original print run was 8,000. In the run-up to Christmas, Mr Hessel's call for a "peaceful insurrection" not only topped the French bestsellers list, it sold eight times more copies than the second most popular book. Mr Hessel, who survived Nazi concentration camps to become a French diplomat, said he was "profoundly touched" by the success of his book. Just as he "cried out" against Nazism in the 1940s, he said, young people today should "cry out against the complicity between politicians and economic and financial powers" and "defend our democratic rights acquired over two centuries".

Missing More than A Finger – Please Help ; [ ; ]
• · The Bell Principles, new guidelines for candidates and elected representatives, have been adopted by the Independent Network (IN). Martin Bell, the former Independent MP and supporter of the Independent Network tabled an initial draft of his principles as guidelines for Independent candidates at the IN’s strategy meeting on 25th September 2009 We have a former politician coming out of retirement to espouse the Bell's principles here in Australia. Good luck John Hatton,you have my support ; John KayeNSW Parliament Bitter Pills To Swallow?
• · · The government has withheld details so it is impossible to do an analysis write Bob Walker and Betty Con Walker Flailing in the dark for answers on electricity sale ; Why isn't the NSW Opposition Leader filling the airwaves with the Government's failures? Andrew Elder takes a closer look at Barry O'Farrell and his unusual media strategy A Gentle Reminder From Barry O'Farrell; Journalists share an uneasy yet cosy relationship with the politicians they use as sources with both sides using available media for their own ends, neither of which usually serve the public good. Journalists and politicians: A double danger to democracy ; If he wins, O'Farrell can pull the plug - on his own term; David Shoebridge
• · · · The erosion of the ALP’s long grip on the working-class vote in NSW has been spectacular NSW Labor – Degeneration versus resilience; NSW The Developer’s State = Some might say that the Greens have not stepped up to the plate and sold themselves as a credible alternative to both Labor and Liberal. Hatton hot to trot ; Parra Mattas covers business and economic activity in the capital of Western Sydney, Parramata, and around a region which accounts for about 40 per cent of the economy of metropolitan Sydney - Australia's global city. Parra Mattas Parliament's poor porn probe exposed
• · · · · A case for voting Labor in NSW?; Mike Carlton At last, a policy from Barry O'Farrell! Nothing to set the world aflame, mind you, not a clarion call to the ballot box policy-free zone ; Mike Carlton ; THE state opposition has allowed the mining industry to rewrite parts of its regional land use policy, deleting commitments to toughen regulatory compliance on miners, leaked documents reveal. Coalition lets miners write lands policy
• · · · · · Public forum - NSW electricity privatisation; The public-relations nightmare is likely to continue next Monday, with eight former power directors refusing to attend hearings because of doubts about their legality, despite being summonsed by the committee. Power sell-off worsens for Keneally ; Poor Kristina Keneally doesn’t seem to be having much luck lately. Keneally insults everyone and is running out of luck.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Heartbreaking scenes in Queensland as search for bodies continues The death toll in Queensland’s flood crisis has risen to 18 with the discovery of the body of a middle-aged man in the Helidon/Withcott area. Death toll from floods, landslides rises to 18 ; A particularly strong La Niña currently observed is the underlying reason for the heavy rains causing devastating floods in Australia La Nina

There's worse to come

As Brisbane mops up, Australian flood spreads Story Bridge of Brisbane …
Much of what we think we know about politics or capitalism or even communism is wrong

I was once, too, a lighter of lamps. Street lamps. In the city of Providence. I was once a seller of lemons in High Tatra. I was a greenhorn seeing from the deck of a ship for the first time the lights of Sydney. I was a beggar. I was a deserter. Once upon a time I absconded from the Army of the Soviet Union. Once upon a time, I was a soldier. A draftee. I was a Slav, a Catholic. A brother. A son.

ONE STORY [That's my passion. Hemingway, Fante, Imrich, Bukowski. Their problematic issues with alcohol - oh wow A Hardy passion for drunken MEDIA DRAGONS; Life is not a game. Neither is economy. But sometimes nit makes sense to model the economy as it were a game - by great author - John Authoers ; Nicolas Berggruen, the homeless billionaire, flies from hotel to hotel, his essentials in a paper bag. If you want to fix something, I say, why not start with Germany? If I went to Germany and said, ‘Listen, I’ve got a bag of reforms for you,’ they would throw me out. They would say, ‘We’re Germans, we’re wonderful, we’re perfect,’ he says. But here [in the US] there is a very different attitude. The system is broken, people realise it’s very broken. In California they’re all unhappy ; Lunch with the FT is a weekly interview in the Life & Arts section with leading cultural and business figures ]
• · · · Sir, The power shift away from politics towards the media that John Lloyd so well documents (“Power struggle”, Life & Arts, January 8-9) seems to me less a factor of journalistic skill than of political ineptitude, combined with administrative incompetence across government and profound public impatience with the latter in particular. Power shift is the result of political ineptitude ; First, few journalists make the distinction between what people know and what they think. Finding out what our politicians actually know might provide better guidance about their behaviour than knowing what they “think”. Some years ago, a journalist asked a leading political spokesman on the Middle East to name the countries that bordered Iraq. After attempts to evade the question, several countries were named, none of which bordered Iraq. I found this helpful in judging the reliability of what this person thought would constitute sound policy for the Middle East. Second, journalists tend to report what people say rather than what they do. It is my experience that it is important to know what someone does. For example, in the case of UK business secretary Vince Cable, it would be helpful to know by what means he is conducting his “war" with Rupert Murdoch. Useful distinctions for journalists to make
• · While ''Electric Eric'', a former NSW general secretary for the party, is the machine's pin-up boy it is a bold move to brand the upper house campaign with his controversial profile. REVERSE SPIN ; Carmel Tebbutt's most senior adviser has jumped ship to become chief executive of the consortium in charge of the billion-dollar redevelopment of Royal North Shore Hospital Tebbutt chief aide bales out ; Naked Eye on SPEECHWITERS
• · · There was a time when the official policy of the NSW Labor Party was to abolish the Legislative Council - the upper house - when it was an outdated, undemocratic bastion of privilege. Now it is a rest home for party hacks in which almost everyone wins a prize. ; Classic Alex Mitchell ; Opinions by Alex
• · · · · Former premier Morris Iemma said Mr Tripodi (pictured) - his ports minister at the time the contract was signed in 2007 - should have ''insulated himself'' against allegations of favouritism by revealing his family connection to Baulderstone from the outset Tripodi brother link in $550m port contract ; WHEN Karryn Paluzzano, the former Penrith MP, rolled over to the Independent Commission Against Corruption back in May, admitting she had fiddled parliamentary expenses, Labor was in trouble and it knew it. Cronyism just won't save a desperate Labor
• · · · · · By the way, Heath Aston is a Sydney journalist working in London. Before moving to the UK he worked as a senior reporter on The Daily Telegraph and at AAP. It’s well known there is a direct relationship between the number of beers Heath has consumed and the number of buttons undone on his shirt - the reason for his nick name in media circles: Buttons aka Reverse Spin ; I liked Walter Secord, with his pink tie & an armfull of papers; Premier Bob Carr’s former spinmeister Walt Secord returned to state politics today as chief of staff to the NSW Treasurer Eric Roozendaal Can Walt Secord help NSW Labor regain direction?

Election Intellectuals Intellectual dishonesty is pure poison… ( observed Edward Lazarus) pollbludger; Tallyroom Pollytics; Tony Green ; Psephos

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The British novelist Graham Greene called the necessary distance a writer must have from his or her material "a sliver of ice in the heart of the writer."

T oday, someone like you can tell the truth that you know, with the click of a button. The hyperlocal blog presents a unique opportunity to highlight serious local concerns, but what place does muckraking have in this new world? Imagine being the reporter from Anniston, Alabama who realized that a local chemical plant was pouring chemicals into your town's water source, creating a rash of cancer, deaths and eventually, a ghost town. How would you report on something like that? Obviously, my hope is that your town isn't facing something as tragic as this, but when you start digging into local issues anywhere, you are almost guaranteed to start turning up some very dirty stuff and some very unhappy local people. It's going to take a special blogger to cover this type of story with a cool head, a keen mind and a powerful voice. Is it a good idea or not to have a powerful voice?

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way Why you think you have nothing to say

E very Tom Russell song has something to say about the human heart. In each voice he invokes there are universal echoes of love, doubt, weakness, fear, restlessness and faith.

Here is what I like to think happens when we die: first, we float. Alone in boundless blackness, we are conscious only of absence. Then, all around us, faint pinpoints of light brighten slowly, imperceptibly, so we don’t notice until we’re surrounded. A luminous map of stars pulses into focus, accompanied by a swelling of strings from an invisible orchestra. We can make out far-off planets and hula hoops of debris around them. Purplish clouds of galactic dust yawn in the distance. Then, all at once, we’re flying, everything a blur of blue and orange and black, and the brass section kicks in with spirit, crescendoes, louder, more trumpet there, and we are hurtling through space faster and faster, and then, then, just when our teeth begin to grind with anxiety, an Earth-like oversized marble of a planet grows huge in front of us, and with a jolt we stop.

Politics, love, doubt, weakness, fear, restlessness and faith [The reason telling someone to “think out of the box” is so stupid is because it really means “I hate all your ideas” or “I can’t think out of the box myself, so I need you to.” In any case, it’s lame to say. We are all creative. The only thing we really have in this world is the ability to craft a life. One day your life will be over, and we are largely unsure what happens next, but during the time we’re alive, we get to choose what we do. We create a life. We are all creative. ; Soon after Barack Obama was elected president, we started to see racist comments posted on our website that included the "N word." It wasn't just us; online news sites had to scramble to keep ahead of the racist posters by deleting and blocking their comments. We still occasionally get some, but have a better system of notification, so they are removed quickly. Some news sites, though, gave up and stopped allowing comments altogether. Twain's use of 'N word' doesn't justify journalists using it today]
• · You may have known him as “that guy,” or “Kobayashi,” or “Father Laurence,” but you almost certainly recognize his face. Pete Postlethwaite, whose rugged features and bright, preternaturally piercing eyes made his face unforgettable, has died at 64 after a long battle with cancer. The prolific actor made three films last year (including potential Oscar nominees The Town and Inception) and will have one postmortem release in 2011. He had a sense that acting was a vocation 。。。
Five years ago I googled the words "Pete Postlethwaite" in search of a best actor for my daughter's Gabriella's work assignment for the Scarbough Redcliffe school in Brissie, where, believe it or not, our place was built on flood plains. Gabriella was able to quote the fact that filmmaker Steven Spielberg once described Pete Postlethwaite, as "the best actor in the world”. He looked indestructible. Tough as hell. I hope Gabbie will be like him. Postlethwaite will be missed by all who knew him, and by all who have loved British and American movies in the last thirty-five years. As the newspaper editor in “The Shipping News." I will never forget the line:
“If I had wanted War and Peace, I would have hired William Bloody Shakespeare!” ; Back then in Brissie Media Dragon was literary produced daily as daily dust Memoir entitled A Spectacle of Dust submitted before the actor's death earlier this month
• · · JOHN HATTON, the former independent MP who campaigned for establishment of the royal commission into corruption in NSW Police, is on the campaign trail again. On the road again ; A finger-pointing row erupted last night between former independent state MP
John Hatton and Newcastle lord mayor John Tate. John Tate ; Winners and Losers: Honest v corrupt WinTV
• · · · "I would support three-year fixed terms, yes," Hatton, who is heading up an independents' Upper House ticket in March, said this week."I was one of the architects of the four-year term because what was happening in NSW [was] they were running to the polls on average every 2 1/2 years." Fixed Democracy? ; Standing for Integrity ; I am standing for the seat of Heathcote at the March 2011 NSW State election as an Independent with the support of former South Coast parliamentarian and legendary corruption fighter, John Hatton. Heathcote and Transport - Greg Petty for a BIG difference!; Transportation
• · · · · Illawarra; Former Independent MP John Hatton, the politician responsible for launching the 1990s royal commission into corruption in the NSW police, toured the Tweed Shire last week to relaunch his political career in the Upper - Case - House
• · · · · · John Hatton in action; Hohn Hatton speaking

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wikipedia celebrates its tenth birthday on Saturday 15 January. Wikipedia crawled from the smoldering crater of the crash exactly one decade ago, a not-for-profit, communal effort to collect, refine and publish the sum of all human knowledge, and make it available for free to anyone with an Internet connection. Wikipedia turns 10 with plans to diversify like Media Dragon
Wikipedia is the most widely used reference work in the world. That statement is both ordinary and astonishing: it's a simple reflection of its enormous readership; and yet, by any traditional view about how the world work Wikipedia – an unplanned miracle: The people's encyclopedia

Friday, January 14, 2011

Amazon now lets you “lend” your ebooks to other readers for a period of 14 days. And, in an interesting touch that adds a physical limitation to a digital product, you can’t read a book you’ve lent to someone while they’re borrowing it. River of Babylon ; Up Front: Why Criticism Matters We live in the age of opinion — offered instantly, effusively and in increasingly strident tones

Bubble Bubble, Boil and Trouble: No, In Fact, We Haven't Seen This Movie Before
N othing new under the disinfectant sun … Seems talk of another tech bubble occurring in the stock market has been making the rounds of numerous media dragons

Thanks to monster private financings from Groupon and Facebook, as well as the promise of major IPOs from Demand, LinkedIn, Zynga and others, the predictable "watch out, here we go again" buzz is rising up in the press. This article from Ad Age, subtitled "With Billion-Dollar Dot-com Valuations Back in a Big Way, It's Time for Alarm Bells to Start Ringing," is typical of the bunch. With a "we've seen this movie before" tone, it points out that most of the successful companies of today had models that were tried ten years ago, and in the main they failed.

Big Way: Facebook facing bubble; [Speculation that Google plans on creating an electronic book reader were given more fuel with the company's acquisition of eBook Technologies - a company that specializes in both hardware and content distribution for electronic readers. ; Last week, the YouTube Blog buried its lead. Midway through a post that proclaimed "Music videos now on YouTube app for Android," was the really important news for marketers: "YouTube now exceeds 200 million views a day on mobile, a 3x increase in 2010." Watch dog of search engines]
• · I sense how hard we’ve all worked… It’s not easy. Even a not-so-good translation is not easy to produce. How Edith Grossman and Lydia Davis manage not to get lost in translation. When Done Right, Little Gets Lost In Translation; How much do Bruce Guthrie and Julian Assange have in common?
• · · Crime does not pay; Yuli Margolin spent six years in a gulag. His 1949 memoir, with its gimlet eye for literary detail, should have appeared in English decades ago
• · · · History repeats itself in Agora ; The incredible shrinking sound biteIt’s true, our politics has been reduced to sound bites It's not just a modern problem — and may not be such a bad thing after all
• · · · · Labor's disintegration decades in the making ; News about John Hatton
• · · · · · Mr Hatton said the attacks on Mr Assange leading to his arrest showed governments were determined to enforce the privacy of immature conversations and decision-making, and the spats that occurred between world leaders John on Assange; Border city “the forgotten corner of NSW” John on Albury

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The past beats inside me like a second heart
— J.B. in his Booker Prize winning novel, The Sea, 2005

Recall parliament, say John Hatton, NSW Libs and Greens

KRISTINA KENEALLY has bowed to criticism of her repeated claim that an inquiry into the controversial $5.3 billion power sale is illegal and will try to expedite the legal advice her department is seeking from the Crown Solicitor. Ian Knight

Barristers of the utmost fame are beetling back from Whale Beach to pore over constitutional texts and judicial reasoning. The power of the NSW Legislative Council to cause a bit of merry hell for the legless Keneally regime is in contention. What the Premier is clinging to, like a log in the ocean, is advice from the Crown Solicitor, Ian Knight, penned in 1994. Knight, who is a servant of the government, considered that standing committees could not function while Parliament was prorogued, unless some act of parliament specially said so. The committee is a creature of the house of parliament that created it, and if Parliament is out of action, so too are its offspring - Odgers said the death of committees on the prorogation of parliament was an outmoded convention. Standing orders are now designed to allow committees to sit during a recess. The offspring of Odgers, Lynn Lovelock, rather than Mark Swinson, the clerk of the NSW Legislative Council, has said in an authoritative tome, which should have been in every MLC's Christmas stocking, that the crown solicitor's 1994 advice ''was based on an extremely restrictive view of the powers of the council''. Two years after the crown solicitor's advice the NSW Court of Appeal found in favour of the Legislative Council's power to call for documents from the executive. That was Egan v Willis. The then treasurer, Michael Egan, objected to the release of information about the closure of veterinary laboratories and the Biological and Chemical Research Institute at Rydalmere. Knight did not think that this was relevant to NSW

Bottom of the harbour: Packer wasn't meant to be the Goanna Criminal underbelly right under our noses
THERE were so many bodies being found and stories about drugs and corruption in circulation that royal commissions galore started up as Australia turned into an early real life draft of Underbelly.

The tone was set early in the year when the report of Justice Philip Woodward's NSW royal commission into drug trafficking - looking in part at the murder of the Griffith businessman Donald Mackay - was criticised by the colourful former Whitlam minister Al Grassby as ''ethnic slander''.
Meanwhile, the tide came in when Justice Edward Williams's royal commission into drugs identified Sydney as the centre of a $59 million heroin trade.

• The Nugan Hand bank was linked with money laundering and drugs We catch and kill our own; The goanna ran up trees, just like a squirrel, and the goanna was purely Australian Costigan code-named Packer the Squirrel [HE senior barrister who assisted the Costigan royal commission has revealed that a brief for prosecution was prepared against Kerry Packer for tax evasion Kerry Packer 'wasn't cleared' on taxes ; ]
• · John Hatton Persons and Performances seared into the memory; Former NSW Independent MP, corruption fighter, John Hatton
• · · · Fraud and corruption : lessons from the NSW experience ; Former Independent MP John Hatton is demanding a Royal Commission to clear the issue of property corruption in New South Wales
• · · Perhaps the most consistent irony about our mass media is that it’s curated, edited, customized, or otherwise filtered to such a degree that it is not mass at all. We hear only the news that is meant for us, and we scarcely stop to think about the news we’re not hearing. The recent mid-term elections seemed to me to be basically about different news being created for the benefit of different communities. It’s tempting to think of this as a thoroughly modern phenomenon, a by-product of the speed with which news circulates these days. But my recent foray into old travelogues and historical fiction has really shown me that the way we receive and interpret the news hasn’t changed very much. Take Beloved, for instance. (I’ll be using this book in one of my classes next quarter, which is why it came to mind.) Late in the novel, Toni Morrison writes about how two different racial communities in nineteenth-century Cincinnati perceive and interpret a very specific piece of news. The scene takes place about two-thirds of the way into the novel, when Paul D., a former slave, finds out a secret about Sethe, the woman he loves. Stamp Paid is the man who brings the press clipping (with this secret) to Paul: ; Dungeons & Dragons is not a game. The French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss notes that “Games… appear to have a disjunctive effect: they end in the establishment of a difference between individual players or teams where originally there was no indication of inequality. And at the end of the game they are distinguished into winners and losers.” Which is, as noted above, not true of D&D: “there is neither an end to the game nor any winner.” But if D&D isn’t a game, then what is it, exactly? One theorist of fantasy role-playing games proposes, following Lévi-Strauss, that D&D is, in the strict sense of the term, a ritual. “Ritual, on the other hand,” this is Lévi-Strauss again, is the exact inverse: it conjoins, for it brings about a union... or in any case an organic relation between two initially separate groups….
• · · · · Why? I wanted to ask the filmmakers. Why? You have a terrific cast and the wit to start out well. Why surrender and sell out? Isn’t it a better bet, and even better for your careers, to make a whole movie that’s smart and funny, instead of showing off for 15 minutes and then descending into cynicism and stupidity? Why not make a movie you can show to the friends you admire, instead of to a test audience scraped from the bottom of the IQ barrel? Roger Ebert Speaks Truth to Stupidity ; Last year, we told you How Timothy Ferriss Hit the Amazon Bestseller List in a practical interview about book publicity. Now we have a new title to add to the post. The timing couldn’t be better
• · · · · · I am embarrassed to say that I have forgotten your name. You came into my life one torrid night while talking to the abrupt, but helpful customer service rep from Blue Host. I remember it clearly. I hope this letter reaches you. Is it too forward to say how I love the way you look after my name? Please write back. I am sending this out in a bottle, posting it in the classified ads. We would could be so happy together, crashing the shores of our meaning against each other, forever. I know nothing about you, I don’t know what you do? Why do you exist? I just want to know you - Personal ads offer really an opportunity for more reflection and more thought Love in the personals; Political memoirs have been hot property this year Whom does the critic serve?; No book worth its salt is meant to put you to sleep - People twitter away like magpies and don’t really care. Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This … Today Barnes & Noble reported that December 23, 2010 was the largest retail sales day ever in the company’s nearly 40-year history. FORTY YEAR history

BUSINESS and politics are full of surprises—and a near certainty. Whether they are politicians, bankers or trade-union leaders, men nearly always meet other men in suits. The uniform of capitalism has conquered more of the globe than capitalism itself. When Barack Obama first visited Hu Jintao, paramount leader of the People’s Republic of China, the men were clad in near-identical dark blue suits, white shirts and red spotted ties dRESS Rolling Stone's July 8 Lady Gaga cover was the top-selling issue of the year for the magazine - Lady Gaga was a newsstand hit in 2010, while Central and eastern Europe Bombed

A Little Good, a Little Evil, a Lot of Ritual Still on the Road
Jesse Baker says Nick Denton's observation -- made on "Morning Edition" (audio and transcript available) -- shows that even the bad boy of online snark is starting to sound suspiciously grown up. The Gawker Media founder wants his sites to show the full range of content, from scurrilous and sensationalist through to beautiful and uplifting.

British Journalist Nick Denton is giving his Gawker media empire a facelift and unveiling it later this month. His family of websites has helped make snark a defining feature of the blogosphere. Denton says there will still be plenty of "nasty" left on his blog but he says readers want more than just brief caustic postings

Gawker boss: ‘People can’t live on snark and vicious gossip alone’ ; We've only had photographs for about 170 years and we're more reliant upon the camera to confirm our existence than at any other time in human history. We must have our memory in the raw with an intermediary Memory in the Raw [Books we love: Like many bookworms, once or twice a year I am struck down with reading doldrums. Then the stash of paperbacks on my bedside table seems less a collection of future delights than a useless repository of dust. Nothing pleases. ; Boredom Enthusiasts Discover the Pleasures of Understimulation
Brace yourself for five piping-hot minutes of inertia: learning the true meaning of farce]
• · 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Technology Technology; Some areas of the brain, if not stimulated, will atrophy and die This Year, Change Your Mind
• · · Every day, Norman Mailer wrote in his small, stifling attic. Amy Rowland tried to write in the same place, but failed. It’s hard to write in another writer’s house... Attic; Resentment is not a zero-sum game because there is an infinite supply of it. A billionaire can resent just as well as a pauper: and, of course, vice versa... Pauper
• · · · Does he admire his characters or pity them? It’s never obvious. And that dark irony, that pitiless gaze that make him truly our contemporary Anton Chekhov is a mystery; There aren't an infinite number of ways a 19-year-old Brown University student can get a book contract. Going undercover as a student at the largest evangelical college in America is one. Roose spent a full semester at Liberty University in Virginia, founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, making friends with Bible-toting students, singing in the choir and getting an evangelical education — foreign territory indeed for a representative from one of the most fastidiously liberal schools in the nation. He even had an opportunity to interview Falwell himself, shortly before the pastor's death. Roose brought a secular perspective to the experience, which he said he undertook to help understand the evangelical movement. Of course, Becoming a published author before you graduate college is nice too
• · · · · X erotic interest was not lurid, voyeuristic, or morbid, but human: alert to desire, joy, longing, torment, and despair... Ruben is six foot three, 225 pounds, neck like a waist. You can hire him: $1,000 for every bone he breaks in his victim’s face ; A city compounds many worlds in one place. Rebecca Solnit’s poetic atlas of San Francisco isn’t a guide, so much as it’s a provocation Infinite City
• · · · · · Is this the year of the small press or what? The Pulitzer Prize went to Paul Harding’s Tinkers, published by Bellevue Literary Press (yes, as in the Bellevue Hospital), which also publishes one of my favorite journals, Bellevue Hill 2023 Literary Review ; To me, the sign of a good book is one that you want to give to everyone you like! Someone Knows My Rich Name
• · · · · · · Whether a person can escape Iron Curtain, even after crossing it, is arguable … Yes, what can a book review do for a book? ; I’m tired of my life, my clothes, the things I say. I’m hacking away at the surface, as at some kind of gray ice, trying to break through to what is underneath or I am dead. I can feel the surface trembling—it seems ready to give but it never does. I am uninterested in current events. How can I justify this? How can I explain it? I don’t want to have the same vocabulary I’ve always had. I want something richer, broader, more penetrating and powerful. If I could only forget myself and work! That’s how things are. More Saltier Cold River Bits

Saturday, January 01, 2011

I wish for all of you the happiest and most hopeful of new years. May you laugh often, cry only when you want to, and never be bored in MMXI! Happiness seems an unintended side effect, like hives or a dry cough, the occasional byproduct of right living ;-)

Selections of quotes and seasonal musings:
And men go about to wonder at the heights of the mountains, and the mighty waves of the sea, and the wide sweep of rivers, and the circuit of the ocean, and the revolution of the stars, but themselves they consider not…

Is happiness ever unmixed, a pure state like pain or terror? And doesn’t it tend to evaporate as we become conscious of its presence? It’s not synonymous with pleasure, though like some pleasures it seems dependent on self-forgetting. Aquinas says happiness is rooted in "goods of the soul." Davis’ idea that being in a Haydn symphony may constitute uncomplicated happiness is suggestive. Being in implies not passive hearing but engaged listening – but listening to what? Music that is elegant, ordered, intelligent and spirited, with an impression of unlikely inevitability. Davis’ friend Edgar Bowers put it like this in From J. Haydn to Constanze Mozart (1791):
I carry one small memory of his form
Aslant at his clavier, with careful ease,
To bring one last enigma to the norm,
Intelligence perfecting the mute keys.
Many ideas we once thought were true turned out to be hard to unlearn...
History should never be used to inculcate virtuous citizenship. Yet it offers the richest imaginable source of moral examples – The essence of great fiction, drama, and life itself

The old year passeth Earlier the roadside dust was sweet. The fermented fruit, the brandy, is sweeter still, carried into the world on the walker’s boot
This has been quite a year for Mrs. MD and me, in some ways challenging, in others gratifying.

We've seen a hundred movies, dozen of plays, read every Vanity Fair magazine (the Spectator or the Financial Times if time permitted,) taken a full-fledged vacation, driven up to Kings Canyon and Uluru, spent a wonderful month in the red center reading books and more books ....
What Mrs. MD and I won't do is take our good fortune for granted, starting with the astonishing fact of our being together. It is, I suspect, exceedingly rare for two people in the middle of life to make a marriage as close as this one has become. When you survive Iron Curtain, every day is a surprise and a blessing. Like Theodore Dalrymple we have never been a one-book reader, devoting attention to a single volume at a time:
Often I read more than one book at a time. When I tire of one I fly to another. This is because the world has always seemed to me so various and so interesting in all its aspects that I have not been able to confine my mind to a single subject or object for very long; therefore I am not, never have been, and never will be the scholar of anything. My mind is magpie-like, attracted by what shines for a moment; I try to persuade myself that this quality of superficiality has its compensations, in breadth of interest, for example
Like Dalrymple, we are no scholars of anything but enjoy learning something about almost everything. Shakespeare was the keenest of cullers, and in that we also recognize ourselves. To cull is to select with discernment, whether the sweetest blueberry or the tartest book.
No one doubts that an ordinary man can get on with this world: but we demand not strength enough to get on with it, but strength enough to get it on. Can he hate it enough to change it, and yet love it enough to think it worth changing? Can he look up at its colossal good without once feeling acquiescence? Can he look up at its colossal evil without once feeling despair? Can he, in short, be at once not only a pessimist and an optimist, but a fanatical pessimist and a fanatical optimist?
-G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (May John Hatton Movement rocks in 2011)

... Turn the clock to zero, honey [How AK-47, more than A-bomb, changed history: If somebody were to tell you that the long tragedy of human warfare entered a new and deadly phase in the fifth decade of the 20th century, the historically literate mind almost certainly would jump to the invention of the atomic bomb, which ushered in an age of anxiety and the long balance of terror between the United States and the Soviet Union. Avtomat Kalashnikova - How the rifle I used in Czech Army change the history of the world ; The man of science, like the man of letters, is too apt to view mankind only in the abstract, selecting in his consideration only a single side of our complex and many-sided being. Hopes for 2011]
• · Father Dionigi recognized in his charge’s spirit a state similar to that of St. Augustine in his youth. He gave Petrarch a pocket copy of the Confessions, which the poet had not read. The book was Petrarch’s cherished companion for forty years. It journeyed with him to a mountain top, and once, in its owner’s pocket, it was near drowning with him in the sea. The Nativity of Our Common Adam; As Much as Can Be Made of Life Here’s a profound hole, yet no deeper than a coffin
• · · “To light a fire is the instinctive and resistant act of men when, at the winter ingress, the curfew is sounded throughout nature. It indicates a spontaneous, Promethean rebelliousness against the fiat that this recurrent season shall bring foul times, cold darkness, misery and death. Black chaos comes, and the fettered gods of the earth say, ‘Let there be light.’” Voltaire possessed an endless appetite for putting himself in harm’s way: duels, insults to nobility ; We would be worse than we are without the good books we have read, more conformist, not as restless, more submissive, and the critical spirit, the engine of progress, would not even exist. Like writing, reading is a protest against the insufficiencies of life. When we look in fiction for what is missing in life, we are saying, with no need to say it or even to know it, that life as it is does not satisfy our thirst for the absolute -- the foundation of the human condition -- and should be better. What makes music sad
• · · · Art as Empathy,” David Foster Wallace noted in the margins of a Tolstoy essay. Wallace’s archive shows he was not such an abstruse postmodernist…While many children are capable of conjuring imaginative tales, the grade-school Wallace has an unusual empathy for the adult double-bind of finding purpose in a job that also brings misery Art as Empathy ; On the eve of a pivotal academic year in Vishal Singh’s life, he faces a stark choice on his bedroom desk: book or computer? Cold River or computer?
• · · · · With Amazon, publishing is now beholden to one profit-obsessed company. What happens when you sell a book like it’s a can of soup?...Where once a publisher had to worry about competing for shelf space, now its entire list of books could be available to customers. Amazon; Depressing Russian Literature
• · · · · · Describing the paintings in words risks sentimentality or banality, which they never possess And thus abstract art is brought to shame, Even if we do not deserve any other; Ever dream of quitting your job and moving to a farm? This book will make you rethink that dream. The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love