BohemiAntipodean Samizdat

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Hope by name & temperament

Bob Hope Have Tux, Will Travel

Hope had larceny in his soul. As a teen-ager, he was jailed briefly for stealing tennis balls and racquets from a sporting-goods shop, according to Lawrence J. Quirk’s recent biography. “Like most kids today or any day, I had to make my choice,” Hope joked about his criminal record in a monologue for the Boys’ Club, in 1967. “Was I going to go out and get a job and earn a living, or was I going to spend the rest of my life stealing? I decided to forget the job and stay with show business.” To Hope, who referred to comedy as a “scam,” laughter was another way of getting away with something. When he first began making good money on Rudy Vallee’s “Fleischmann Yeast Hour,” in 1930, Hope recalled, “I used to get the money and run around the corner and count it. . . . Like I was stealing it. And with my act I think mostly of theft.”
· An art of Non-friction: It’s no coincidence that Bob Hope’s name consists of two verbs [NuYorker(sic) ]

It is All Wogs Fault


Today is a good day to list your faults:
Why? Because ... faults need cool, fresh air to breathe. Otherwise, they suffocate, panic, and turn over the big rock, and the next thing you know, you're doing life without parole for the murder of the woman in front of you in line at the Coffee Bean who kept flipping her ponytail in your face.
Your faults can be your friends! Who knows you better than they do? They see you at your weakest moments, but they still love you for who... well, they stick around, at least, waiting for their next moment to shine.
I do like garlic. That's also a fault.

· Another fault is that I like linking to [Naughty Rabbit with Czeeky URL]


On worrying: the lost art of the well-administered national cuddle

Ghassan Hage explores the culture of 'worrying' amidst the rise of paranoid nationalism of the last 15 years or so. Nowhere has this generalised culture been as intense as in Australia in light of the Tampa and detention centres.
· Tampa [Borderlands e-journal, University of Adelaide]


This blog will present a wog perspective on matters. And this wog will decide what matters. This meaningful and touching piece matters whether you are a wog or convict or aboriginal or all three...Trust me read it!

WHAT AM I THINKING ABOUT? Francesco Paolo "Gino" Santomaggio

Now is the time to dream. To be strong and not to think of bad times, but let Gino speak softly in spirit and keep us all feeling good ...
· From Wog [Wogblog ]


Estimating the causal effect of income on health: evidence from post reunification East Germany

In this paper the authors investigate if there was a causal effect of changes in current and 'permanent' income on the health of East Germans in the years following reunification. Reunification was completely unanticipated and therefore can be seen as providing some exogenous variation, which resulted in a substantial increase in average household incomes for East Germans.
· East Germans [Centre for Economic Policy Research, Australian National University (PDF file)]

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Velvet Revolution

The day will come when after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire. - Pierre Teihard de Chardin (1881-1955, French paleontologist and Jesuit priest)

Making Music as a Political Act::or how the Velvet Underground Influenced the Velvet Revolution

Dedicated to the Memory of Mejla Hlavsa
In Thirteen ways of Looking at America
In we showed the various ways in which American culture got simulated by the indigenous population of the Czech lands and how these adopted cultural ways merged with the domestic ones, often creating curious hybridizations. This paper in a sense represents an extension of this project; the fourteenth way of looking at America in the Czech lands. In it I will discuss some unexpected transatlantic correspondences in the realm of underground music: how the music of The Velvet Underground - via its Czech mediators The Plastic People of the Universe - contributed to the coming into existence of the "Velvet Revolution."

· The Plastic People of the Universe [Angram ]

Secret Lives of Women in My Double Life

Happy last July's Day to my friends and to all the good women everywhere, especially mine...

Jozef’s Harem Hunting for Bambi: Loverboy Down Under

Though Lord knows for certain we are telling the truth to our readers, we didn't expect anything to make the earth quiver beneath our feet today, certainly not an article in the Australian about Australians. We (it is a royal we) have a long proud history as a man on sex finding missions and therefore a totalitarian authority to link to this timely topic... serial monogamy:

In Australia, 5.8 per cent of women hope to have multiple partners and garlic ice creams in the next 30 days, compared with the relatively prudish East Asians (2.6 per cent) and the most active – but hardly adventurous – East Europeans (7.1 per cent)
· Oddly, marriage may be an unexpected aphrodisiac [Australian 7.1%]
· Is the Mainstreaming of Porn the End of Civilization as We Know It? [ Secret Lives of Women in My Double Life: Serious Virus Warning! (Klik at Your Own Peril)]

The Underdog's Filmmaker

The Underdog's Filmmaker

John Schlesinger was once quoted as saying, 'What interests me is not the hero but the coward... not the success, but the failure.' That sense of empathy and melancholy pervaded the director's best films, which will be remembered as compelling portraits, not just of their particular times and places, but of characters at their most vulnerable and damaged.
· Failure [Washington Post 07/26/03]

Secret Service

Secret Service guy & prankster

Los Angeles Times cartoonist Michael Ramirez says the Secret Service agent who called last week to talk about his Bush cartoon "was very nice, but it was so casual and laid back (that) I really assumed it was a crank call." Ramirez tells Brooke Gladstone: "He said, 'I'd like to meet with you somewhere and talk to you. I'm with the Secret Service.' And I said ... 'How do I know you're with the Secret Service?' And he said 'Well, I've got a black suit and black sunglasses and credentials!'" The agent never got to see the cartoonist, though.
· Cartoonist Draws Attention [WNYC ]

Deja view(sic)

Your view
Janet Albrechtsen and her clan seem to think that the Right has done something to deserve its popular support, whilst ignoring the fact that they are popular because they serve up such a simplistic and reassuring worldview in circumstances of global uncertainty. Remember slavery, lynchings, witch-burnings? All were popular in their time.
Damien Flattery
Gippsland, Vic
The Australian: 30 JULY 2003

Monday, July 28, 2003

Good King Wenclas

Literary UnderWorld

I want a door to be opened, opened wide, and I prefer the back one. Let's see if some fresh air breezes in. While style triumphs over substance in mainstream fiction; substance is the driving force behind underground writing.
· Underground writing [LiteraryRevolution ]
· Karol [King Wenclas ]

Sunday, July 27, 2003


Washminster POWER PLAY

Great wealth was to be gained through monopoly, through using the State for private ends; it was axiomatic therefore that businessmen should run the government and run it for personal profit...

Washington Post's cover story (sorry about the annoying registration screen) by that title makes the case that the Republican leadership in the House is just as bad as that of the Democrats of years past:

Nearly 10 years after winning control of the House by vowing a fairer and more open Congress, Republicans have tossed aside many of the institutional reforms they promised, increasingly employing hard-nosed tactics they decried a decade ago, according to numerous lawmakers and scholars.
Among the reforms championed by an earlier generation of House Republicans, and subsequently dropped or weakened: term limits for rank-and-file members as well as committee chairmen; stricter ethics laws; and greater power for individual members and the minority party.
Republicans have instead consolidated power in the hands of a few leaders, most notably Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (Ill.) and Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Tex.). In the process, the authority of committee chairmen and the influence of rank-and-file members have waned.

This isn't surprising, given how hunger for political power can consume some party members. No political party seems to have a monopoly on abuse of power, the desire to acquire unlimited power haunts governments of all colours. As a theoretical matter, each of the 435 Representatives should be equal, as they all represent a single Congressional District. In reality, I saw what happened to Czechoslovak communist theory in practice during the Prague Spring of 1968.
There were more surprises in store for me after the 1995 NSW election as I watched how the reforms implemented during the hung parliament under John Hatton and Kevin Rozzoli leadership began to dissappear into a dust bin of parliamentary history. The bureaucrats cannot be blamed solely for not standing up to bullies like Bob Carr as most parliamentary clerks are family men and families must be fed. Some blame must be directed at the media for failing to expose the abuses of executive powers. It is the role of our unbiased ABC and other media sources to shed more light in places where disinfectant is desperately needed. Some of the best former journalists seem to be working for the government in power and who can blame them for placing fresh bread on the table each day? It is time for the public and private media outlets to face the reality and be prepared to match the salaries of investigative journaliststs to remuneration packages enjoyed by spinmeiters slaving for executive branches. (It is 3 a.m. on Sunday morning so I better wake up and stop dreaming the impossible dreams: I am better now I just had a cold shower.)
· Goal of Reforms in House Gives Way To Tough Tactics Party Once Criticized [WashingtonPost ]

Cold (War) River

What I'm saying is that you're doomed to write what you write. And you're doomed to either commercial success or artistic success. You can't say you're going to write well and going to have survival value. No one can guarantee survival value.
-William Eastlake

Cold (War) River Online editing

Jozef Imrich published his book Cold River as an e-book last year, but wasn't satisfied with the results -- admitting that the book could use considerable editing.
He's taking an interesting approach to getting that done, publishing the book online (at where he's soliciting outside help to fix things up (join in !) -- as well as in this way allowing readers to track the progress and changes of this work-in-progress

· Work-in-Progress [Saloon: Mr Michael Orthofer, Managing Editor, at the Complete Review ]

Saturday, July 26, 2003


Navel-Gazing: Not Just For American Writers Anymore

If every generation has a hallmark literary style, Generation X has certainly laid claim to the autobiographical essay. But the all-about-me style is not just an American phenomenon. A new generation of German writers are making a name for themselves with a similar style. World War II and the Holocaust are no longer the dominant themes in these existential tales by the young writers. Instead, they are writing about the role of the artist after the fall of the wall, the life of the immigrant and, obsessively it seems, about the elusive nature of happiness.
· For Young German Writers, All Is Ich [The New York Times 07/24/03 via] (You may have to register for free to access the review::Username: ajreader ::Password: access)

Art opens people up and delves deep

Art opens people up and delves deep. Anyone who's ever poured out his passion on a dance floor, sung John Mayer in the shower or felt rapture at Swan Lake knows it.

The Woman Who Danced Away Her Cancer

It may be a bit new-ageish for some, but more and more people are becoming convinced that art has some profound healing powers. One of the leaders of the art-as-medicine movement is California choreographer Anna Halprin. For more than 30 years, Halprin has been working out the dynamic of art's multidimensional power to heal mind and body, which many believe in but few have experienced in such a visceral, immediate way. Halprin claims to have beaten cancer with an intensive program of painting and dance, and while the medical community isn't about to give a lot of credence to that particular claim, doctors admit that art does appear to have some sort of as-yet-unexplained benefits to human health.
· As-yet-unexplained benefits to human health [San Francisco Chronicle 07/24/03]


Of all the insights literature shares in her medium, I like best those given to us by the sculptor Henry Moore, expressed at age 80: The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for your whole life. And the most important thing is - it must be something you cannot possibly do!

Reading Room Snooping on Readers

OOn the whole, I wouldn't choose to go fishing in a library or a bookstore. The library is a bit dusty, and while the local bookstore may be the final resting place of a forest or two, it's water-challenged.

Nevertheless, the same phrase keeps coming up again and again. As worriers describe the government's ability to search through the records of readers, they label it a ''fishing expedition.'' They define it as part of John Ashcroft's all-terrain venture to catch-and-not-release terrorists.

This fish tale began in the anxious weeks after 9/11 when Congress passed the Patriot Act with hardly a dissent. The Patriot Act became the perfect example of the revised adage: Legislate in haste, and repent at leisure.

Deep in the troubled waters of the 340-page law is Section 215, a provision that gives the feds the right to inspect or seize the records of any reader, Web surfer, book buyer, or book borrower. The government can simply get approval from a secret court without showing probable cause. Moreover, a gag provision means the librarian or bookseller can't tell a customer that the government is reading over his or her shoulder.
This expedition resembles ocean dragging more than fly-fishing.

· 'The True Patriot Act Account [CommonDreams]

Czex: Bohemian Freelancers

Writers The Key to a Successful Freelance Career

The key to a successful freelance career is routine. Give yourself a strict schedule, just like any job. People may complain about the inconvenience of the workforce – getting out of bed at an early hour, dealing with the boss and the co-workers – but that keeps us honest and productive. Without such czex and balances, some of us fall to pieces.
· A Diary [TheMorningNews ]

Friday, July 25, 2003


Our living and dead history An Excursion through Bohemian History in English

Chech it Out:
· 888 [History ]

Current Cuba Cubans try to 'drive' over Florida Straits

Cuban migrants using a 1950s-era flatbed truck turned into a raft attempt cross the Florida Straits on July 16, 2003. GREGORY WALD/COAST GUARD STATION KEY WEST
Over the past four decades, Cubans desperate to reach the United States have crossed the perilous Florida Straits in just about anything that floats: Surfboards. Inner tubes. Homemade rafts. But it's hard to top the latest entrant in the maritime scramble:

· A 1951 Chevy flatbed truck [Miami ]

Thursday, July 24, 2003


Hollywood Keeping Immigrant Stories At Arm's Length

When this nation of immigrants began flocking to the movies, they went to see stories about themselves. From 1905, when nickelodeons first appeared, to the end of the 1920s, when Hollywood began to create a star system, innumerable romances, comedies and melodramas featured immigrants and working-class laborers as their central characters... [But] in recent years, Hollywood has shied away from exploring the immigrant experience, in part because it's become such a political hot potato, in part because well-heeled studio executives find it hard to identify with the subject.
· Immigrants [Los Angeles Times 07/22/03]


Where there were castles, there were slaves. My very own Vrbov was at different times slave to lords in the watchtowers of Kezmarok, Levoca and Poprad.
Theodore Zeldin’s research published in the last decade of the 20th century sums up the story of Slavs:
‘Before twelve million Africans were kidnapped to be slaves in the New World, the main victims were the Slavs, who gave their name to slavery. Hunted by Romans, Christians, Muslims, Vikings and Tartars, they were exported all over the world. Slav came to mean foreigner; most religions taught that it was acceptable to enslave foreigners; British children who were exported as slaves - the girls fattened up to fetch a higher price - ended up as Slavs.

Slave Music Fujara

A traditional Slovak wind instrument enters the twenty-first century...
Inspired by the number of web sites offering information about the Australian aboriginal wind instrument - the didgeridoo, he created, a web site devoted to the fujara, in English.
Why in English? If a Slovak wants to, he or she can easily find out about the fujara, there are many possibilities.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003


It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.
- Voltaire, philosopher

Dizzy with spinmeisters

G'Day. Today your say and your recommended reading on the dangers of spin and how to counter it.
· Jean-Jacques Rousseau was right to warn us that democracy is the hardest form of government to maintain [Webdiary ]


If you want to set something afire, you must burn yourself

Prague Winter On Wenceslas Square

In 1969 Jan Palach set himself alight in Wenceslas Square in Prague and ignited a protest movement against the Communist Government of Czechoslovakia. This year in the Czech Republic there has been a spate of copy cat suicides by self-immolation. Encounter this week recalls the death of Jan Palach and considers the ethical tradition in Czech political philosophy.
· Carry out your literary dream, no matter how unlikely it may seem [Encounter: Our ABC]


Marietta, as she was familiarly called, reminds young people of the third millennium that true happiness calls for courage and a spirit of sacrifice, the rejection of any compromise with evil, and readiness to pay in person, including with death, for one's faithfulness to God and his commandments.

Holy See Pope recruits online guardians

It appears that the Pope is in need of something more than celestial assistance to protect his website. The Vatican has hired security experts to thwart hackers and fend off viruses aimed at infecting its website: is subjected to around 10,000 viruses a month and at least 30 hack attacks every day. Perhaps they want to make the site even more holy!

Not only virtual, but also real life of Pope John Paul II has been obscured by sheer numbers — creating more saints than any other pope (473), preaching to the biggest crowd in history (5 million in the Philippines in 1995) and travelling more than any other pontiff (at least 126 countries).

In September Slovaks, and particularly my cousin Andrej, will be third time lucky by entertaining Pope under the High Tatra Mountains.
I understand that Pope is partial to my Mamka's pyrosky. (Those potato pyrozky are the best in the world and hundreds of strangers agree with this statement. To survive as a cook at the local school for twenty odd years was not a small achievement especially in a kitchen without a running water. Maybe the sweat and blisters made so many boys to fall in love with Mamka's cooking. Mamka's cooking is what I miss the most in exile.)
· The loss of Europe's Christian memory and heritage [Jesus Journal]

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

The Devil Made Me Do It

Law The Devil Made Me Do It

Mayo v. Satan and His Staff is an intriguing classic. Plaintiff filed a civil rights action alleging that Satan and his employees “on numerous occasions caused plaintiff misery and unwarranted threats, against the will of plaintiff” and “placed deliberate obstacles in his path and caused plaintiff's downfall.” Plaintiff asserted these transgressions violated his constitutional rights. He sought the court’s permission to proceed in forma pauperis.
· Strange Judicial Opinions [Lawhaha]

Solawyer If

If a builder builds and a baker bakes, it could follow that a solicitor solicits. Strike that from the record, because legal eagles won't have a bar of it.
· Lawyer [SMH ]

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Existentialism: Ozzie Adamism

Black Hole Game of Cosmic Snooker, of Celestial Billiards

In life, you finish up having, at best, a few thousand truly meaningful hours. So, for pity’s sake, don’t waste them. But waste them is what most people do. They fail to realise that it is beyond miraculous that they exist in the first place. The chances of us being here together today are in the billions upon billions upon billions to one. It required the universe - this incarnation of the universe - to come into being through some awesome and incomprehensible process.
· 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' [Phil Adams]

Kirov & Kelly

In 1934 Sergei Kirov was mysteriously murdered. Stalin took charge of the murder investigation and built it into the exposure of a major political conspiracy against the state. This was the origin of the mass terror which culminated in the huge show trials of 1936-38. Stalin eliminated all his main political rivals and surrounded himself with yes-men. Stalin's court was not unlike that of Ivan the Terrible. Stalin was a voracious reader of history books and he consciously modelled himself on the 16th-century Tsar. He built up his own elite of henchmen - not unlike Ivan's oprichnina - to undermine the old political establishment. He gave them flats and dachas, cars and chauffeurs, to buy their gratitude. And every year he murdered some of them to keep the others on their toes.

The Wages of Spin is Death: Kelly didn't stand a chance against the frenzy of No 10

There are secondary players in this sordid game. The BBC's and Gilligan's performance on the question of the source has been shifty. No doubt they had to be careful. Confidentiality is a sacred and essential rule. But when Kelly first appeared, they said the real source was in a different department, implying an intelligence official rather than a defence consultant.

Later they refused even to confirm or deny anything. This left the impression with some people that Kelly might indeed have been the source. Kelly himself, a man unaccustomed to the limelight, may have had the same sense that he was being fingered. If so, the BBC did its bit to add to the hideous pressure a delicate man was already feeling as the source Campbell/Blair needed and were imposing maximum pressure to unearth.

· Doctoring dossier [Guardian ]
· Doctoring death [Independent ]

Only Paranoid People Survive

Dead Man Reading FBI is Here

Two FBI agents became interested in journalist and bookstore employee Marc Schultz after he was seen in an Atlanta coffeeshop reading a print-out of a story titled "Weapons of Mass Stupidity." (It's a piece on Fox News and Rupert Murdoch.) Schultz, who was grilled by the agents, writes: "My co-worker, Craig, says that we should probably be thankful the FBI takes these things seriously; I say it seems like a dark day when an American citizen regards reading as a threat, and downright pitch-black when the federal government agrees.
· Agents [ Atlanta]
· Dangerous CIA [Sunday Nine]

Dead Man Sexing it Up Weapons adviser named as possible source for BBC story disappears

Isn't it amazing how many people who have dodgy secrets about their government often go missing or are mysteriously found dead? There are those who would dismiss conspiracy theorists as nutters, but that's a convenient badge isn't it? The latest suspicious death concerns the man who was thought to be the 'mole' who informed the BBC that the dossier on Iraq was sexed up to promote the idea of going to war. If this body does turn out to be his, I wonder what story will be concocted...
· Never mind that Only Paranoid People Survive [BBC ]

Hearty Voices

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
--Walt Whitman

Bohemian Gypsies Rednecks: Exiled poets share Pauline Hansonite experiences

Hundreds of exiled poets and writers are gathering in New Zealand for a conference exploring the link between exile and creativity.
· Part of what makes exiles unique is that creativity arises from this shared set of multitudes [ ]

Friday, July 18, 2003

Media Czinese Wall between editorial and advertising

Czech media watchers, take note. Just about the only drama to speak of at Karlovy Vary had zilch to do with films. There has been hell to pay in the Mlada fronta Dnes newsroom over an intervention on the part of the paper's publisher with regards to an article calling attention to all the free perks (such as luxury hotel suites) that the festival's sponsors lavish on politicians. The paper decided to hold the article until Monday, after the festival was over, and it was played down big time when it was finally published.
· Media sponsorship [Scottymac.blogspot]


Government Information Challenges Emerge As Government Documents Increasingly Go Digital

Library Journal: As government documents librarians incorporate more digital materials, they are finding that the very shape of their libraries is transformed...
Like other documents librarians, Carolyn Kohler (government publications librarian at the University of Iowa) has found herself unexpectedly at the forefront of technological change and momentous political issues: the public's right to know vs. legitimate security concerns; public accountability for government actions vs. government secrecy; permanent public access vs. instantaneous (but maybe temporary) electronic access.

· Documents and Resources on EU E-Government [ Europa]
· National eGovernment sites [ Europa]

Thursday, July 17, 2003


Australian Treasurer Do no harm

There are non-monetary things that add to the wealth of a society. Civic engagement and the values which it promotes like trust and tolerance are some of those things. You can call them social capital if that is conceptually easier. It might help with the idea of building them up, running them down, adding to our wealth, or detracting from it. But a society which has these things should be careful not to let them run down. Once they are gone it takes a lot of effort to get them back again.
· Trust [Sydney Institute(viaMargo)]

Turning its czeech on history

Turning its cheek on history A chain of lovers: Erotic exiles

A courtesan was a woman who fell from respectability and then rose to great heights in an alternative realm. She was an exile.
· Love is one thing and sex is...well, sex [ Guardian]

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Andrej & I: Bishop v Bohemian

You can't ignore a history and family connection like this...

The mammoth ruin at Spisˇ

Spisˇ Castle lords over the village of Spisˇské Podhradie, 29 kilometres northeast of Spisˇská Nová Ves. From the village, follow the yellow trail for almost half an hour up to the castle(
The Large ruins of Spisˇ Castle, which sit on a bare limestone cliff 643 metres above sea level in eastern Slovakia, are visible from a distance.
Spread out over more than four hectares, the castle is one of the largest ruins in Europe. At the time of its greatest fame, there were five courtyards and 135 rooms. In the past, the rising castle represented state power, while Spisˇ Theological Centre represented the power of the church. The castle and the centre were the focus of political and social life in the Spisˇ region.

· The Castle & Andrej Imrich [SlovakSpectator]

Monday, July 14, 2003


Corruption Corporate Corruption - legalized robbery!

How is it possible for corporations to get away with things that would have been illegal a few decades ago? This is easy when the guys who are supposed to be their "watchdogs" are them (the same guys). Most people in high level government positions today are intimately connected with big business. Many of them are former CEOs themselves. Many of the decision makers at the FDA (for example) are former high level employees of the drug companies. (Is this what the industries mean by "self-regulation"?) It's democracy of the rich, enslavement of the rest!
As for the corporations, the CEOs are absolute dictators! That's not the way it is supposed to be. Corporate boards of directors are supposed to be "overseeing" the work of the CEOs. Experts in corporate governance say a director should spend a minimum of four hours per week executing his duties for the board, which includes auditing the companies finances.* It's more likely they (the board) will meet a couple of times a year for an hour or two. They probably meet to determine the CEOs (and his staff's) compensation packages. Then this CEO travels to the corporations where members of his boards are themselves CEOs and sits on their board of directors to determine that CEOs compensation!

· It's a nice tight group across the corporate spectrum! [ ThePeople]

End of Secrecy

End of Secrecy Orwell's list of 'crypto-communists' to be released

The government has agreed to strip the final shred of secrecy from the leftwing author George Orwell's famous 54-year-old list of "crypto-communists" and put it in the public domain.
The Foreign Office is expected shortly to disgorge its copy of the document - until now held back as too sensitive. The public record office in Kew hopes to make the file openly available this summer.

· Timothy Garton Ash [Guardian of His Story

Old Order

Secrecy The Anti-information Administration

The Bush, Carr, Putin, you name it, administrations have a thing about secrecy; it can't get enough of it. Bit by bit, the administration have laid out policies curtailing the flow of information regarding fundamental activities of government.
· Alphabetical Order [ TomPaine]

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Bloggers ;)

Truth is Out Truth, Advocacy, & Scholarship

I care more about the truth than I do about what side I am on. So I frequently criticize arguments offered in support of positions I agree with. I guess that is why I am a scholar and not a lawyer or political activist.
· Truth [Isolum ]

Randiest People

Horny: Bloggers on the other hand are some of the randiest people you will never meet. This is where the medium offers built in protection. If you did meet some of them, your hard-won virtue would be instantly up for grabs -- and I don't mean that metaphorically. Women bloggers who have received one-too-many penis enlargement spams are particularly dangerous in this regard. And the guys, forget it. They were already pervs or they wouldn't be blogging.
· Undressed [RageBoy ]

Traditional publishing is about putting on a show; building a network of weblogs is like hosting a party.
Simon Waldman in the Economist

Underestimate their power at your peril. Just ask former New York Times executive editor Howell Raines... Expect more scalps to follow.
The Guardian cites the generic blogger as one of the 100 most influential voices in media in the UK

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Informed We Understand; Misled We Wage Wars

Infomaniacs of this rather fragile world, sadly peppered with liars & bullies, Unite!

Government Open Government Information Awareness

MIT just opened its Open Government Information Awareness site. The site offers a remarkable amount of information about all three branches of the federal government. The amount of information now at your fingertips is simply daunting. By way of example (and certainly not in limitation), the site gives a list of contributors to the campaigns of members of Congress, a detailed listing of the expenditures of those members, and their financial disclosure filings.
Well designed sites such as this raise any number of questions. For instance, given the proliferation of bloggers of all stripes (both in topic choice and political viewpoint) and the ready accessibility of information, the market for commercial alternatives, newspapers for instance, would seem to be seriously eroding.

· The implications are huge [OpenGovernment ]

Right to Know

The premise of GIA is that individual citizens have the right to know details about government, while government has the power to know details about citizens. Our goal is to develop a technology which empowers citizens to form a sort of intelligence agency; gathering, sorting, and acting on information they gather about the government. Only by employing such technologies can we hope to have a government 'by the people, and for the people.'

McKinley noted wanted to "seed" the site with such information to give people a sense of what was possible.

McKinley built two clever features into the system to help keep the information as accurate as possible. The first one enables users to rank the credibility of other contributors. The second feature automatically notifies the subject of a submission -- whether individual or organization -- and asks it to respond. They can confirm or deny the submission -- and denials are noted, though the submissions are not purged.

For instance, say a scandal breaks, but the politician in question is later exonerated because of a specific fact.
Users can poll the system to see if that fact was logged, and find out who contributed that fact, and when they did, without knowing their real name. They can then rank the credibility of that contributor, and ask the system to notify them if he or she makes further contributions in the future. Thus, they can learn whether they trust or mistrust a contributor, while the contributor still retains anonymity.

As more information gets added to the site over time -- from databases and from individuals -- the Open Government Information Awareness site has the potential to be a great source of ideas and data for journalists.

· I, for one, hope it catches on [ WashingtonPost]

Wednesday, July 09, 2003


Media Journalists Only Look Dead

As E.J. Dionne wrote in his 1996 book, They Only Look Dead, the press operates under a number of conflicting diktats: be neutral yet investigative; be disengaged but have an impact; be fair-minded but have an edge. Therein lies the nut of our tortured relationship with objectivity. Few would argue that complete objectivity is possible, yet we bristle when someone suggests we aren't being objective - or fair, or balanced - as if everyone agrees on what they all mean.
· Re-thinking objectivity fascinating article in Review [Columbia Journalism Via Infomaniac]

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Hall of Slate

Media Weisberg Leads Slate to a Higher Place

Replacing Michael Kinsley would have been a daunting task for anyone, but the online magazine's veteran political correspondent has led it up the mountain to profitability and greater recognition from its peers
· Michael Kinsley [OJR ]

A Series of Corruption Investigations: Czech Journalist

Media Journalist murder plot rocks Czechs

The Czech Republic has been shaken recently by perhaps the most bizarre political and criminal scandal since the fall of communism.
It centres around a plot to kill one of the country's leading investigative journalists, allegedly organised by a former official at the Foreign Ministry.
The scandal has also led to a series of corruption investigations at the ministry.
And President Vaclav Havel has called for the former Foreign Minister, Jan Kavan, to resign from his new position as President of the United Nations General Assembly.

· It is the first time anything like it has happened here... [ BBC]

Symbols of Power 21st Century AD

We must keep the lines of communication open if we want to continue passing legislation that will benefit your industry, I think that your leadership on this project will provide the perfect bridge between the RNC and the health care industry.

Symbols of Power Trading In Favors: Soft money documents imply quid pro quo between donors and politicians

Legislative favors, increased access to federal lawmakers and instructions on how to use loopholes to evade federal contribution limits--these are just some of the arrangements discussed in recently released documents relating to judicial challenges of a new soft money law, a Center for Public Integrity study has found.
· Team 100 is an exclusive group of people who are responsible for raising at least $100,000 each for the Republican Party [Center for Public Integrity ]

Ethics czar probes letter on Sens tax deal
· "Chinese wall" of Lobbying [ ]
· Dante's Inferno: Visa for Cash Scandal by Dante Tan [Australia.Jana Wendt]

A Bohemian Boxing a Kangaroo of the Past

Madness is something rare in individuals – but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule.
This quote is from Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche (published in 1866)

Czechoslovak Socialist Republic Prosecutions of communists stall

Every once and again it happens. I read an article and I am attracted to what a writer has to say on a complex topic...
· Judicial system, lack of witnesses and societal indifference blamed [PraguePost]

Born in Slavery, I became Free

Not How I Crossed It, But That I Crossed It At All...

Most people outside Czech and Slovak Republics have no clue who Bessie was, and there's no reason they should. Yet Bessie has her own niche in the political history of the Iron Curtain. She is the only dog to receive a Political Asylumn.

This book is like having an old itch finally scratched.

COLD RIVER - A Survivor’s Story: A MEMOIR
By Jozef Imrich with countless soulmates
Publication Date: July 2002
Double Dragon Publishing
eBook Price: $ 4.99
Hardcover Price: $ to be advised on request
Available in: Adobe Acrobat, eBook Reader, Gemstar eBook, Microsoft Reader, Palm Reader.
ISBN: 1-894841-06-9
· Cold War River: Crossing of Memories

23 year old Memories of Escape

I remember 7 of July 1980.
· One Man Survives the Iron Curtain Crossing

Bohemian youth mixed with a desire for freedom defies even the unbreakable barriers such as the Iron Curtain. A daring escape which almost left none to tell the story.

James Bond once said, ‘You only live twice.’ Once when you are born and again when you face death. He may well have been referring to my life on 16 May 1958 and 7 July 1980

My life, all of it, comes down to 7 July 1980.

This story is everybody's story, for the capacity and desire for freedom are engraved right into our genes. Let me begin with a story I read about in the paper, in the train, on my way to work. I read it and I could not believe it, and I read it again. Then perhaps I just stared at it, at the newsprint spelling out the story of Andrea ... of Houston who killed all five of her children.

Not in a burst of gunfire, but by methodically drowning them in the bathtub. Anyone who's tried to give an unwanted hair-wash to a kid will appreciate the effort involved in holding five struggling youngsters under water. The oldest, seven-year-old Noah, was the last to die. He ran, for his life. But she caught him and dragged him back to the bathroom, and forced him under, legs kicking, arms flailing. He was old enough to know, as he looked up and fought against the weight of her hands, that his own mother was killing him.

Back in July 1980, two burial vaults awaited the caskets of my two drowned friends. Our mother country Czechoslovakia forced them under, legs kicking, arms flailing.

Jozef Imrich was born in Czechoslovakia in 1958 and escaped to Austria in 1980. Jozef has lived and worked in Australia for 20 years, for almost 18 years of which he worked as a reference officer and a researcher at the NSW Parliament. Indeed, life doesn't get much stranger than that. Jozef was the youngest boy in the family of six and therefore, statistically, the person most likely to seize upon the rebellion culture, the child to keep the family awake at night. Everyone is born with some special talent, and Jozef discovered early on that he had two: a good sense of where to hide samizdat magazines and sound research skills. Jozef is, above all things, every dictator’s & every power hungry bully’s worst nightmare.

Double Dragon, Publisher Who Gave Cold War River A Voice

Digital publishing industry is not like just any other industry. It’s a pioneering business, sure. It’s a profession, absolutely. But it is more than a business and a profession. Storytelling is a craft. It is a way of life.

The agonies of the creative process as well as the ecstasies are more likely to be located in digital waters. Digital writers do what they do because they have a passion for the truth and a noble desire to selflessly slay dragons for the greater good.

Storytelling is a passion. It is a passion for explaining a complex world. It is a passion for the power of the written word.

And, most importantly publishing is a “calling.” A calling, a habit of the heart.

For a cynic like myself, someone who has earned the moniker Darkside among his Antipodean, Bohemian and Canadian friends, I am frighteningly optimistic about epublishing ...
· Overnight Success takes 20 something years for survivor-writer [Dual Loyalty]