BohemiAntipodean Samizdat

Monday, November 24, 2003

Who is to take credit for Velvet Revolution?

A stroll through central Prague on the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution reveals a city that has embraced capitalism with gusto.
Though John Lennon never visited Prague, he was a hero of the underground rock subculture and a symbol for the city's youth in their pacifistic revolt that brought down the Communist state.
December 8, 1980
John Winston Lennon shot dead in front of his apartment in New York. Shortly after his death, anonymous Prague rock fans create a mock grave for Lennon at a garden wall in a part of the city called "Mala Strana." Flowers, candles and graffiti reappear daily despite the efforts of Communist authorities to keep the area clean. The John Lennon Peace Wall quickly becomes ; a venue for complaints against Communist authorities and remains so until Vaclav Havel leads the non-violent "Velvet Revolution" of 1989 that brings an end to Communism in the country.

· Nezna Revolucia [BBC]
· Communists' downfall [Radio CityNov 2003]
· Havel Is Amnesty's First 'Ambassador Of Conscience' [RERl ]

Choice and the bench

Choice and the bench
Justice Michael Kirby is wrong on one crucial point. He is right to avoid the odious literalism of Sir Garfield Barwick. He is, however, wrong to specify that the interpretive posture should involve the people's wishes, the common good, or, especially, some godlike, elitist view of the infinite wisdom of the judiciary.
The only proper interpretive line involves trying to decipher the rubbish that at times emanates from parliament. Has the judiciary ever referred a point of law back to the drafters of that law? Has it ever seen bad law and asked for a clarification before it becomes a problem?
Peter Lander, Neutral Bay, November 23 (SMH)

I fought the law ...
Ironically, my role covering these stories presented my greatest challenge as a journalist. Some of those, especially those associated with the ALP, broke off contact with me, apparently believing that I had betrayed them and their causes. I found this more personally upsetting than not being admitted to practise law. It also confirmed my view that most lawyers, journalists and other professionals tend to hide abuse in their own ranks.
· Greatest Lovers in the World [SMH]

Driving Sales with Purpose
As many began to suspect yesterday afternoon, the release about A PURPOSE-DRIVEN LIFE shipping 10 million copies was way off base. Actually, according to Zondervan president and CEO Bruce Ryskamp, they've shipped 10.8 million copies so far. (On top of that, the Spanish-language edition has sold 200,000 copies here, ranking as the top title in the country.) So aside from Harry Potter's record-breaking summer, pastor Rick Warren's book has outpaced all others-exponentially. But where's the press you see for books by Hillary Clinton, Madonna, Jessica Lynch and others? Ryskamp says: We've asked ourselves that question, over and over again. It's not for lack of effort. We haven't solved this puzzle yet. Another puzzle is ...
· Extraordinary Image of Australian Church [Sunday Wendt]
· Age of Merryness [NY Times]

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Using rewards to catch white collar criminals

In this report Bruce Chapman (Centre for Economic Policy Research, ANU) and Richard Denniss (The Australia Institute) outline a new approach both to detecting and punishing the crimes of insider trading and collusion. They propose that financial incentives be offered to individuals or firms participating in illegal activity in return for the provision of evidence against other participants. In order to ensure that attractive incentives can be offered, and large fines levied, it is also proposed that a revenue contingent payment mechanism be utilised to extract both incentive payments and fines from firms and individuals convicted of these offences. The use of a revenue contingent penalty payment increases the certainty of collecting penalties while reducing the incentive for recourse to bankruptcy.
· Incentive payments and fines [(The Australia InstitutePDF file)]

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Sydney Wall(abies): The time for laughing is over
If our sporting rivalry is a bit of a joke, its deadly serious punchline comes tonight
· Wallabies' wet-weather game plan [RugbyHeaven SMH]

Rain: Like falling off a blog
The best of the crop - Simon Reynolds's Blissblog, a gateway for all others mentioned here), k-punk, Robin Carmody's House at Global's End, World's End, Philip Sherburne's Needledrops, Dave Stelfox's World of Stelfox - wear their learning lightly.
· There is not much to be said about the period except that most Bloggers do not reach it soon enough. [ Guardian(UK)]

More than just a roof

The reality of family homelessness is one of the major social tragedies confronting our society. As this research report argues, thousands of Queenslanders experience this unacceptable reality each year. Social policies which address educational, health and welfare needs all become secondary when finding somewhere secure to live is the critical and urgent need. The report's findings suggest that measures beyond the mere provision of housing are required to address the needs of family groups facing a housing crisis.
· Study of family homelessness in Queensland [(PDF file) ]
· Generation Xcluded: no kids, no house, no money! [(PDF file) ]
· The Hawke Policy Website

Time to Recognize the Politics of Suburban Sprawl

On the pages of nearly every newspaper in the nation, there are daily articles on suburban sprawl. Attempts to get sprawl under control started in the 1950s relatively soon after sprawl exploded after the end of World War II. They all failed. Even now, with a strong national “smart growth” movement, unless sprawl-haters understand sprawl politics and the power of the sprawl lobby, by mid-century with a population lunging toward 400 million, it will be too late to save so much of what so many Americans value, including public greenspaces, rural lifestyles, farmland and social capital.
· Caught in the poverty of wealth [ CommonDreams]

Prague Revisited

The evidence of an Iraq/al-Qaida connection hasn't gone away.
This month, I went to Prague to meet with Czech officials who had directly handled the pre-9/11 expulsion of a senior Iraqi diplomat, a case that would became known as the Prague Connection. Because it goes to the heart of the issue of whether Saddam Hussein might have played a role in the attack on the World Trade Center, this controversy has continued to rage, without any satisfying conclusion, for more than two years.

· Partners in crime? [ Slate]

Friday, November 21, 2003

Everyone's now a media critic ... But I'm glad about that ...there's so much media out there to critique, there's room for everyone. Yes, everybody is a media critic. And a food critic. But as Mike Kinsley once said, when you go into a restaurant, you don't want the guy who's sitting there talking about the food to cook. You want the chef. Seven media critics tell Glaser when they first got online, how the Net has changed their jobs, what's annoying about the Internet, and what sites they frequent.
· Real media critics agree that everyone's now a media critic [Online Journalism Review]

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Czechs and modern trends in politics

Whatever it is worth it this is an amazing analysis by one and only Eurosavant.
· Czechs politics in 2003 [Eurosavant]

While we have your attention, Mr President...
It's not often that we get the chance to speak directly to the most powerful man in the world. Those of you who missed The Guardian yesterday, here they are online - fifty letters to Mr President. And no, they're not all hostile. Everybody's there... Portillo, Burchill, Motion, Salam Pax. A must-read.
· Guardian (UK) [Letters to,]

Tuesday, November 18, 2003


Czeching our brains at the worplace door
Today we live in a < world that people feel so compelled to silence any view that differs from their own. This country is very divided right now as a result of the actions of one who called himself a "uniter". I wish it were not this way but it is, perhaps next November will give us a change and some hope for the future.
Given the current climate of intimidation, fear of antidemocratic God was put into me by Nick via Allan yesterday so I debated whether to bother posting this, since the main point of this mirrored editorial is pretty self evident, namely that Australians, Britons and Americans who are anti-Bush are not necessarily anti-American (even if Tony Blair and the Republicans would like to paint them as such.)
Today’s Canberra, London and Washington have a whiff of Soviet ways; suffocating internal discipline, resentment of even reasoned, moderate opposition, and a refusal to admit even the tiniest error

Recipe for Disaster
Asking the right Iran questions.
Is Iran producing nuclear weapons?
Tehran says: No.
Washington says: Yes
The European Union says: Maybe.

It is like a chef who brings in all that is needed for making a soup but does not actually start the cooking
· until he knows when the guests will be coming [NationalReview]
· Bush: the Crying Wolf [CNN ]
· CarBomb [BBC ]
· WHY WE FIGHT [Yahoo ]

Monday, November 17, 2003

Klown Klaus

Problems with integration of Gypsies? Pshaw! That's "such stupidity and such nonsense" that he doesn't even bother to respond.
Tim Sebastian: "...written by George Soros...."
Klaus, cutting him off: "Who?"
TS: "George Soros."
Klaus: "This is not my guru."
Ah. Well then nevermind. Ditto for Amnesty International and its allegations of Czech arms trafficking. Not an organization to be taken seriously, he says. Klaus seems to think that if you dismiss the source of the complaint, the facts will evaporate.

· Serious Blog Trafficker [Scottymac ]
It's a dark day indeed when you have to say "thank goodness for ODS". Karacters like Klaus are making Kommies the second most popular party in Czechia.
· Czech and Moravia [Nic Moc (Not Much)]

Sunday, November 16, 2003


I am always opened to new ideas and always value people over institutions. The most evil political systems have been created out of high but blind ideals. Better a politics that sees all of human nature, good, bad, and ugly...
An unphotogenic straw man gets inserted into office and a cabal of shadowy corporate advisers dictate policy and carry out the dirty work. It’s generally every Premier’s and PM’s world...
The truth is that however hard even Bob Carr tries he can't seem to persuade the average punter that he 'walks his talk,' ...Like many other Premiers who loved the political throne, he is finding it hard to reinvent himself as a corruption fighter. Are more criminals running Sydney institutions today than a decade ago? Are Parliamentary debates more meaningless than a decade ago? Why is the main media not answering these questions? John Hatton is only a phone call away and the only human being in NSW qualified to answer the deeper questions. John walked the talk and took more risks than any other politician I have ever known.

Carmen Lawrence our Real hope
Vaclav Havel in a skirt, Carmen Lawrence has just made history in the Labor Party — she's become the first female national president of the ALP and the first person to be elected to that post by the party members.
· Winner: Over 6000 votes [Wendt]

Australia needs a speaker who will encourage healthy debate
Mr Dennis Skinner (Bolsover): In view of the reviewed interest in crime figures, especially on the Tory Benches, will my Right Honourable friend consider whether back-stabbing should become a criminal offence?
We live in an era in which public confidence in parliament, and even democracy itself, has never been lower.
Robust debate – and witty or telling interjections – will help restore confidence, not further erode it. It need not degenerate into a rabble – but it needs to be recognised as a place of thrust and parry, and the sooner the better.

· Thrust [Online Opinion]

Sunday Sermon

It is not everyday I discover I am being quoted in a sermon (smile)

A Funeral for the Church
I'm 35 with a young family a long way from home. I love this Church, and yet hate so much of what it has stood for in the past. I believe it can and will change, and I want to be there to see it happen. I'm crazy enough to believe in resurrection, and for that reason have no regrets about saying to the church of my youth 'Rest in Peace'. I will remain at the edge, as only at the edge can I be faithful to the inspiration of my faith, Jesus who took risks, was always open to change and valued people over institutions.
Earth to earth. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. And then out of the ashes something new and exciting will emerge.

· The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do [St Matthews]

small dogs

Men with small dogs who own very tidy apartments...
I'm whistling! I'm whistling!
Little boys in grade school are suspended for playing cowboys and Indians, cops and crooks, and all the other familiar variations of good guy vs. bad guy that helped them learn, at an early age, what it was like to have decent men hunt you down, because you were a lawbreaker.
· The Pussification Of The Western Male [Kim Dutoit]

Blogging - The New Voyeurism?
Every morning over coffee I take a peak into the lives of 100 or so total strangers. The windows that I peep through are their blogs. Through them I see all kinds of things.
· Strangers let me glimpse a small part of their life [Living Room]
· Minister of Beer [SMH]
· Irony deficiency sweeps the nation [PHILLIP ADAMS]

Saturday, November 15, 2003


Literature now is in a dangerous river where there seems to be little separation between the private act of writing and the public performance demanded of writers. Does every writer in 21 st century need to make sounds like the Madonna who once equated blowjobs with fervent prayer?

Welcome to the writer's nightmare
What's worse - addressing a crowd of hundreds, or fronting up to an audience of none?
But even the best book tour can be an exercise in frustration, full of days where you shlep three hours to a bookstore in the middle of nowhere to sing for your supper in front of an audience consisting entirely of bookstore employees and ladies who lunch (but don't, they'll be happy to tell you, buy books in hardcover), or wannabe writers who'll pump you for every detail of the story of how you sold your first novel, up to and including your agent's social security number, and then leave without buying.
· Road Tour Too Much Trouble [Observer]
· The Power Of The Literary Drunk [The Globe & Mail (Canada) 11/04/03]

This weekend, the Guinness Book of World Records will sell its 100 millionth copy.

Digital library
So: e-books are handy when I'm concerned only with text, when I want to take a lot of text in a very compact way, and when I want to mark up heavily. The upshot for me of having a growing library of e-books is that I can take better care of my printed volumes and focus a bit more on buying print with an eye toward quality, since I've got this option for uses where aesthetics matter less.
· eBooks [AboutLastNight]
· Understanding Trees and Woods...

Books are fun and interesting to read, but the Sunday Book Review is neither... the review hardly ever helps you answer the key question: Should I spend $4.85 on 'Tis eBook?
· New York Times Sunday Book Review [Boston Globe 11/13/03]


Hornby Offers Peek at Novel-in-Progress
Reading from a novel tentatively titled Kings and Queens of Shambles, Hornby told the story of three people who meet when they’re all trying to kill themselves by jumping from the same roof.
“Out of the way, losers!” yells Jess, as she charges the other two characters already occupying the prime suicide spot.

· A funny tone about sad things [ Crimson]

Military Service

Like the younger George Bush, who evaded the 1960s Vietnam draft, Howard has never seen military service of any kind. Yet he lives out his fascination with memorials, military leadership and glorifying speeches in reverence of his father and grandfather, both of whom fought in World War I.
Remembrance drowned in rhetoric
W hen was the last time you heard a politician use words that rang with truth and meaning? The minister did very well today. Really, you have to admire the way he hides behind cliches and lies so sincerely.
· Cowardship [SMH]


Daring Dragons
My publisher is working long days as stories by Double Dragon have been listed with five more new eBook retailers:
Adobe Systems Incorporated ( Ltd )
Follett Higher Education Group

Cold River

G'day; Me Mates, Tom Gleisner and Rob Sitch are promoting Cold River... without fear but with lots of convict Humour! Thank yous. Meanwhile Hollywood filmmakers finished shooting the biggest movie in Romania -- Cold Mountain.

The tiny nation-state of Molvania may be among the lesser-known countries to emerge from the old Eastern Bloc, but it seems to share much in common with Slovakia, Belarus and Romania.
· Slaves [SMH ]

Mad red dust in every pore
And all Aussie writing has a tinge of 'make love, not war'.
· Pregnancy [SMH]
· Love's slow burn [SMH]

Friday, November 14, 2003

· RR: Rene [SMH ]
· FL: Frank [SMH ]


It is now six months since I walked away from politics, and barely a day goes by that someone doesn't ask me what it is like. Well, it's pretty good.
Sometimes I miss the ability to have real and positive influence in community life, but that is all. I do not miss the non-stop demands of public life, the invasion of privacy, the relentless grind of functions and events. It is wonderful to have flexibility in the working day, opportunities for walks and good coffee, a chance to read something other than official documents and briefing papers.
Politics is a hard business, and it's getting harder. This is cause for concern as down the track it will influence the type of person who puts up their hand for the job. There is a risk that the only ones who will contemplate political life will be those who are beyond caring about public opinion or those who have no past, no sensitivity, nothing worth protecting. Not a good prognosis for healthy robust politics.

· Jim Soorley [exMayor the man who introduced One Book for Brisbane the year Cold River was published: 2002]

The Chewing Obsession
Let's say that the books we read fall into one of four categories: those we don't bother to finish; those we finish because we believe for some reason we should; those we finish because we enjoy them; and those we are so consumed and overwhelmed and thrilled by that merely reading them feels inadequate—we have the impulse to inhale them, or perhaps to tear out the pages and chew them up. For me, Jozef Imrich's memoirs Cold River is such a book. (Wishful thinking)
· Sole Narrator [Atlantic ]

Thursday, November 13, 2003

The Decay of Public Language
The corporate world is awful at using language effectively, and we're all the poorer for it
· World Today [ABC ]

I normally like my opponents. I do not want them to beat me, but I have no problem about their right to express themselves and who they are. It is important that we accept that.
Margo Kingston Webdiary: 13 November 2003

There are many people in the community who have absolutely nothing in common with Pauline Hanson, who do not support her policies, who do not support One Nation and do not support what One Nation stands for but who still have questions regarding this entire process
· Processes [SMH]

Wednesday, November 12, 2003


In the Labor Party you are able to hate, even encouraged to hate. Gough only wanted to talk to people who were as intelligent as he was and given that there weren't any, he had no one to talk to.

There's no love lost
FORMER federal Labor minister
Graham Richardson
has pulled out of a big ALP fundraiser to avoid embarrassing NSW Premier Bob Carr.
I'll will get this bastard. I'll do whatever it takes, but I'll get him."
You can always tell who your friends are - they are the ones who vote for you when you're wrong.
Nobody holds a mortage on Labor's leadership. When the new messiah has arrived the incumbent should gracefully retire; if not,

· he should be dragged down [HeraldSun ]
· Fresh inquest [ SMH]

Chinese Dragon
New entry on a newish blob by former Australian Ambassador in Europe, Dr James Cumes, who elaborates on the economic and political role of China in 21st Century.
· Lakatoi [Blog By James Cumes]
· Articles devoted to Chinese government [OnlineOpinion ]

The Money Trap:
Soros and his Institute has a brilliant new website peppered with engaging ideas and stories.
This paper focuses on the undisclosed deals between multinational corporations and governments that help officials enrich themselves at the public’s expense. And it shows how even strong laws against corruption in established democracies can be riddled with loopholes to benefit wealthy groups that dominate the legislative process.

· Stopping the Spread of Corruption [OSI PDFformat]

Short Story Writer's Debut Explores Cold Rivers
Self-assured and passionate describe both the stories in How to Breathe Underwater and their author, 30-year-old Julie Orringer. This debut collection, published by Knopf in September, showcases the considerable talents of Orringer, a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop and Cornell University and a recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing at Stanford University, where she now teaches.
· How to Breathe Underwater [BookWeb ]

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

New York-based Charter 77: Donor diva

For 14 years foundation head has helped build Czech civil society.
On the eve of Vaclav Havel's first presidential inauguration, Wendy Luers and her husband, Bill, the U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1983 to 1986, were watching history unfold on the BBC -- and in the next room.
They were in Havel's Prague apartment, and the soon-to-be head of state was trying on Bill's neckties. Olga Havlova was donning Wendy's blouses.
I knew Olga for years, and I knew she had very few clothes, Wendy Luers recalls. Dissidents lived sparsely.
Luers had brought more to the country than selections from her stylish New York wardrobe. She carried a commitment of $25,000 in donations from Czech emigres eager to support the rebirth of democracy in their homeland. Money was needed for just about everything at that time.

· 1989 [Prague Post]

Amerikan Slovaks
History cannot be written by heart. Anything that is written must either be lived through or searched for.
A man should listen to a little music every day as music washes off the dust of life. Anything that is written must either be lived through or searched for.

· 1919 [A History of the Binghamton Slovaks]

Red Cross Nothing is Sacred
Red Cross, of all people, are pulling out of Baghdad and Basra, citing an extremely dangerous and volatile situation in Iraq. The Swiss-based agency reduced its international staff last month after two staff members and 10 other people were killed in an October 27 car bomb attack on its Baghdad offices
· 'Bring It On:' Exit [CNN]

As the situation in the Middle East gets more and more alarming, so does President Bush. Last Thursday, speaking to the National Endowment for Democracy, Bush linked his own speech to Woodrow Wilson's "Fourteen Points" speech in 1918, Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" in 1941, and Ronald Reagan's 1982 Westminster address...
· Freedom is worth fighting for, dying for, and standing for ... [SMH: Bush Speech in Fulltext]

Monday, November 10, 2003


Australian Idol
Best of the Australian Idol observations
· Australian Dreamers [Living Room]

What’s My Line?
The world is full of lovely people who like nothing better than sharing their pleasures.
· Lovely Idols [AboutLastNight ]

Sunday, November 09, 2003

I never had sex with that woman...Clinton; But

Living through Secret Affair with Hillary Bray Clinton
Martin Sikora reviewed my book back in August 2002 and publishers of Hillary Clinton pinched his idea and now some readers who use search engine download Cold River and Living History (smile)
Customer Rating: (4 stars)
Posted on 8/23/2002
Unless one went through it, experienced it, and lived it, one can’t ever really know. But a man known as Jozef Imrich lived through it and he tells his story of growing up in communist Czechoslovakia. But ‘Cold River’ is so much more than just a story, a riveting story of trial and escape, and of rebirth. It is, in its essence, a moving and dramatic tale of one man’s quest for freedom; not just in a physical sense, but an emotional one as well. This e-book literally sent chills up my spine. After you finish reading, you can't get certain images out of your head. Even as you are going along, reading it, there are parts where you can't believe you’re breathing. It might seem hard to believe, but there are no photos or maps in this book.

· Jozef [Bookbooters ]
· Hillary [Bookbooters]

As Plato says, it’s war, not peace, that is most likely the normal state of human affairs... More people are finding life is a vitriolish course...

This week is taking a toll on Peace Prizes
The hatred and vitriol she'd encountered from Australians she'd never experienced before, not even from the Israelis ...
· Hanan Ashraw [Sunday: Nine]

Pauline's life is like some bizarre moral barometer for Australia.

Pauline Hanson Singing a duet with a young Aboriginal singer
I was a person that had my opinion and, yes, I thought I knew everything as a member of Parliament to go and look through the prisons. You know nothing, and these politicians and bureaucrats that make the legislation have no idea. And yes, it's been a very daunting, distressing time. I could never explain what it's done to me, but in so many ways I've learnt so much from it ...
· Money, power and position bring justice; without it, you go to jail [Webdiary SMH]
· Federal-state law flaw keeps insider trader out of jail [SMH ]

Saturday, November 08, 2003


White House Puts Limits on Queries

The Bush White House, irritated by pesky questions from congressional Democrats about how the administration is using taxpayer money, has developed an efficient solution: It will not entertain any more questions from opposition lawmakers.
· Pesky Times [WashingtonPost]

I fell under the spell of extreme curiosity about what the hell Prince Chuck supposedly didn’t do...

Broadcasting secret weapons test by mistake
I have seen too many machiavellian mistakes in my life that somehow tend to accidentally happened on purpose ...
· Missssssile [Yahoo]
He's gone to be a soldier in the army of the lord
· Don't mention the dead [Guardian(UK)]

Last night I was working on my brain... Tonight I join brainy bloggers @ 3WM

Going for a pint could be good for the mind
Spending more time in the pub could be good for your brain.
· Mon(k)ey Brain [Avanova]

Friday, November 07, 2003

What's going on in your head?
Playwright Louis Nowra, in an interesting piece comparing Australian theatre to that of other nations, wrote that:
While other nations struggle with their sense of inferiority or guilt, or boast of their success, or, like America, remain proudly resplendent in self-absorption, we, as a nation, seem to have found contentment in hedonism and a lack of introspection.

· Spirit Within [Troppo::Wendy.James]


War &Peace: What's going on here?
Soon after I published the views of two Jewish Australians, Ian Cohen and Antony Loewenstein - Ian on the Brandis accusation that the Greens were Nazis, Antony on Hanan Ashwari - a reader rang my editor to demand the Webdiary entry be taken down immediately.
· Risks Taken for Peace [Webdiary(SMH)]
· Zero Tolerance: Zero Degree of Separation [SMH]

Thursday, November 06, 2003

A good publication is like a really good party
When he reads a magazine or newspaper, Reason editor-in-chief Nick Gillespie likes the feel of wandering around "and there's a lot of different rooms you can move in and out of and have a lot of different conversations, some are serious, some are funny, some are totally offbeat and weird. You get into a couple of arguments and start shouting and screaming at each other... I like publications that give me a sense of that, and The New York Observer is certainly one that pulls that off with real success.
· Born to Party []

Wednesday, November 05, 2003


Like Vaclav Havel, Harry Evans proves he's always the smartest person in the society.

The shadow opposition
Only one man seems capable of getting under the Howard Government's skin these days. Paul Keating wanted to sack him. John Howard, too, tried to remove him. But Harry Evans, self-appointed champion of parliamentary process against autocratic executive government, survives.
· Irritant values of the Clerk of Parliament [SMH]

Joke of the Antipodean Nation

People have been looking for ammunition they can throw back at Steve Irvin, but I don't think this does any harm to his reputation...

Expats unchain their krokodile hearts
Another depressing day in Canberra watching public servants under questioning by Senate estimates Committees - the people's chance to ask questions. A new boat and thousands of new islands excised from Australia, the Crocodile Man - 'I love John Howard' - paid $175,000 to do a government commercial, outsourced Prime Minister and Cabinet department's information technology sees its entire email back up tape thrown in the rubbish bin and lost, the same department and the PM fail to send Kylie Russell a video or photos of the wreath laying ceremony for her husband they forgot to invite her to.
· Krokodile Tears: $175,000 [SMH]

Tuesday, November 04, 2003


· World drowning in oceans of data [BBC ]

I did not care about glory, or money, or old age, because I was sure I was going to die very young, and in the pub.
My friend George

Attention Sydney Bloggers and Beer Accomplishers!
A hastily convened Blogger Booze Up has been called by Scott of Icon (SMH) Fame and by Ken of Troppoarmadillo Fame:
When: Saturday at 6:30 pm ...(8/11/03)
Where: Three Wise Mon(k)eys[3WM]
555 George Street, near Chinatown
Who: Wen & Whoever wants to show up...
Why: You have to ask? Come and Drown with Us
· Dragon Shouts: A Little Perspective on my royalty Cheque from Cold River [My Shout]
· Draft [Salon]

Dark Long queue at drive-in soup kitchen
George Bush's America, the wealthiest nation in history, faces a growing poverty crisis.
· Amerikan Winter [Guardian](UK)

Monday, November 03, 2003


Sometimes a big 100-watt goes off over my tired, saltier than peppered head and I see things in a whole new light...

The Truth About Pop Culture
Almost everyone, it seems, blames the mass media for the increasingly violent nature of American society. And for the corruption of our children. And for our rampant materialism and consumerism. And for the increasing sexualization of our culture,” writes David Shaw, media critic for the Los Angeles Times.
Karen Sternheimer is one of the few exceptions. The 34-year-old sociologist at USC has written a book, It's Not the Media: The Truth About Pop Culture's Influence on Children, and in it she argues that the even though the media are a "central force" in our society, "media culture is not the root cause of American social problems."
Though Shaw isn’t ready to let the media off the hook so easily and thinks Sternheimer overstates her case, he praises her central argument: “‘The most pressing crisis facing American children today is not media culture but poverty,’ she rightly says.
“In her view, the other ‘big bad wolves of childhood’ are family violence, child abuse and neglect, inadequate health care and the under-funding of education. But it's easier for politicians to blame the media than to budget the money -- and spend the political capital -- necessary to address these problems.”

· Her finger isn't pointed in the usual direction [LA Times]
· Daily Choice Turned Deadly: Children Left on Their Own [NY Times]

Sunday, November 02, 2003

According to today's Technorati [ ] we have ten in top hundred most influential links out of the net. Thanks to all our readers for putting us there. We are proud to be in the same vicinity as CNN, BBC and NY Times.

Chic mixed with Boho edge

The Christian Science Monitor celebrates the burgeoning local literary scene, and in particular the neighborhood around Skylight Books: The Skylight vicinity is also a sort of spiritual home to a group of underground writers and artists finding commonality.
I have no interest in writing conventionally, says Cooper, whose work tends to the dark and transgressive. It's really hard to get published when you do work like me.
I'm also not striving for the largest-dollar successful thing, Weissman says. Just writing the emotional thing. You know, what hits you.

· Tattoos, black tanks, chunky Mary-Janes, and ugly bags [CS Monitor]

Don’t assume that bad news is bad and good news is good. President Bush says that the violence in Iraq is a sign of progress. Seriously. Do you realize how bad things would really be if there were no suicide bombings, guerrilla attacks and anti-American violence in Iraq?

Bushocrats accepting the poisoned chalice
Apparently, according to a USA Today study , companies that received contracts for reconstruction in Iraq donated large amounts of money to the Bush election campaign.
· Contract with Evil Forces [USA Tomorrow]
· Labyrinthine [CBC ]

If war was eliminated as a prime-time Media plot device, a lot of writers would be out of work. Writers have lost the knack for -- or can no longer get paid for -- exploring mysteries of human behavior that don't involve war aggression.

War by Car Bomb
It is possible to win a counterguerrilla war. The British did so in Malaya in the 1950s. The United States may succeed in doing so in Iraq today. It is far more difficult, however, to defeat the car bomb. It is on the car bomb, therefore, that the Saddam Hussein loyalists' hope for victory rides.
The guerrilla war in Iraq is wearing and painful for Americans. The enemy plants the roadside bomb and succeeds with the occasional ambush. The losses are mounting. What makes success for the saboteurs still dubious, however, is that they do not represent a true guerrilla force. They are nothing like the successful Vietnamese, Chinese or Cuban guerrillas, who were, in Mao's famous phrase, "fish swimming in the sea of the people."

· The Saddam loyalists swim in a small lake [Washington Post]

Male Lit

Music, like the roaring sound of Morava River, has an enormous advantage: it can, without mentioning anything, say everything.
Ilya Ehrenburg, Liudi, gody, zhizn' (quoted in Solomon Volkov's Shostakovich and Stalin, forthcoming in April from Knopf)

Boot Kalokagathia: stream-of-consciousness
Here was not where I wanted to bring my manuscripts. I knew I would be bored. I asked myself then, as I sometimes do now: How long would Melville, Poe, Kafka, Emerson, or Dostoyevsky have survived in a soft-at-the-center course like this?
· Education without imagination [Chronicle ]
· Wo v Men[SMH via Wen of Troppo Fame]

Cold River, Just For Real Men: You don't have to feel left out !=)
Bloggers already dealt this year with so-called disenfranchised men whining that they need their own TV network. Now a British duo wants to take back book publishing?
There've been limited studies done indicating that roughly two-thirds of North American school libraries have not a single book in stacks of interest to boys. Imagine what that says about Cold River.
Men want a return to adventure stories where men are men and debauchery is welcomed along with daring escapes, smoking and drinking.

· Publishers fight for more 'male lit' [BBC]
· Cowardice Iraq [Newsday]


If there's anything one can say about many journalists, it's this: everyone wants to watch the bloody boxing but no one actually wants to be in the boxing ring. Most bloggers do not mind getting blood on their sweaty shirts.

I'm a little behind the 7 ball on Blogger Liablility
Bloggers are not liable for the content of comments posted by readers...But,
Upton charges that Atrios libeled Luskin by calling him a stalker.
Atrios got a letter from a lawyer named Jeffrey J. Upton in Massachussetts threatening to expose his identity and sue him over some of Atrios' posts --and reader comments to those posts-- about a NRO columnist named Donald Luskin.
· Libeled [Talk Left]
· Underground Tool: Validate and investigate email addresses, Investigate domains and IP addresses. [ ]

New Toys in Town
Be aware... Big Bad Bloogz is watching!
· Search Weblogs and RSS feeds in several languages including Czech... [ ]

Saturday, November 01, 2003

The protesters who rallied against the US president are often the truest ‘Americans’ of them all...
David Burchell

Learn to live with less democracy, oxygen, water...
If there are not open platforms for the expression of opposition to mainstream political life then it is wholly possible for violent political expression on the Australian political scene. One of our democratic strengths has been the ability to express political discontent - is it becoming illusory? Most parliamentarians believe they are wholly dependent upon their political leaders for electoral success, giving party leaders unprecendented power. The lack of open dissent within mainstream parties highlights the lack of an ongoing public dialogue, reinforced by the media's obsession with defining politics through a paradigm of conflict.
· Many crosscurrents in our political landscape [SMH Webdiary]
· Water restrictions will become a way of life: Vision Catching Up [SMH ]
· Get used to it: from 2004 no more snappy places, English gardens, lespian deep baritones...
· Irish are seen as the source of all criminality in Sydney

Yukos Oil
Évery so often the arrest of one man involves more than the charges he may face and his fate before the court. In these rare instances, the legal proceedings are a distraction from the larger moral and strategic implications, and so they are intended to be. The arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky by Russian secret services in Siberia over the weekend is one such arrest.

· The Failure of Putin's Russia [WashingtonPost ]

It's not illegal to hold an offshore account. It's only illegal if one doesn't declare the offshore income in one's annual tax return and pay tax at home.

Imfeld Antipodean Machiavellis: Israel v Switzerland
For some, the secret world of Swiss banking hasn't been all it's cracked up to be. It reopened old wounds.
It wasn't hard to imagine that half the population of Sydney's eastern suburbs were frantically ringing their offshore accountants and lawyers this week.
It appears that even one's financial activities in the world's great tax havens cannot be assured of absolute secrecy.

· Rene's Swiss connection: Key Links [SMH]
· Swiss and Taxes

The participants in the Offset Alpine affair are some of our best-known political, media and finance personalities. They are the men who stand up for one another in court, on talkback radio and in political circles. Taking leaves out of Trevor Kennedy's book? Like every business wants to controll the flow of currency, every government wants to control the news, and you don't have to shoot reporters or imprison them to do so.

Swiss Code of Secrecy Carr: A Master News Manipulator
We come to NSW where the state is in the hands of a master news manipulator, the Premier and former journalist, Bob Carr. Carr has worked assiduously to snuff out sources of bad news. To this end, he is bundling every independent watchdog agency which caused the slightest hint of trouble to his Government into the NSW Ombudsman's office. The Privacy Commissioner, the Inspector-General of Prisons and the Child Death Review team are being swallowed up by the monster agency.
· Watchdog lost its teeth, bark by new secrecy provisions, legalisms, and the exercise of discretion [SMH ]