BohemiAntipodean Samizdat

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

When Did We Become so Polarized That We Lost Our Ability to Have a Civilized Discussion About Complex Issues?
Ken Parish continues to examine the price of an opinion and the logic behind election (playboyish smile)
While Don Arthur elaborates How politicians can change your vote without changing you

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: DO I REPEAT MYSELF, Electorate's mood hard to gauge
The rule in politics is repetition, repetition, repetition. Not just any words, but THE words - the ones which have been market tested and convey a subliminal message.
German filmmaker Fritz Kippler, one of Goebbels' most effective propagandists, once said that two steps were necessary to promote a Big Lie so the majority of the people in a nation would believe it. The first was to reduce an issue to a simple black-and-white choice that "even the most feebleminded could understand." The second was to repeat the oversimplification over and over. If these two steps were followed, people would always come to believe the Big Lie.
Malcolm Mackerras, one of the most respectable Nostradamus who comes from the land Down Under thinks that John Winston Howard has a better chance to win a fourth term in Australia
than George Walker Bush has to win a second term in the US.
A six week campaign, the longest since Orwell’s 1984. Australia is a bit more like the Spanish case, where you do have one party saying get out and another party staying the course, and the party in power is the one wanting to stay the course ...

[John Howard and Mark Latham are accusing each other of lying, and each has something of a case Porn Diary 39 days to Come]
• · · · As the federal election campaign heats up, blogger Antony Loewenstein counter-spins the news ; [As for invoking Harry Evans in the whole raising the GST rate 12.5% or 15% debate, I'm sure the fastidiously anti-political Evans would be JUST thrilled to have his name dragged into SLI's hate campaign; New Matilda]
• · · · · At the fag end of a Government more than 10 years old: There’ll be plenty more time to provide running commentary on the Federal Election. God knows that there’ll be plenty of opportunities for the Boilermaker to tap into the popular mood at rail stations at 6 in the morning; [Factory Outlets of Grove Lowy pact to block cinema: site owner]
• · · · · · Oedipus wrecks Graeme Wedderburn, chief of staff for the NSW Premier, Bob Carr, and Matthew Strassberg... The Hardie inquiry: The spirit of Oedipus Rex, of turning a blind eye to the bleeding obvious, lurks behind every corporate and organisational disaster

The Web, Internet, is in the fifth year of dirty thirties...

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Unfit for Publication
Has anyone ever trashed his reputation as a journalist more thoroughly than Robert Novak? It turns out that his son is the publicist for Regnery , publisher of Unfit For Command, but that was information Novak didn't find relevant enough to mention when he scored an exclusive interview with the ghostly Admiral Schachte --- you know, the guy who nobody remembers being the fourth guy in a three...
Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, the best-selling book ; [What's the Olympic Village like? Is it nerve racking before competing? The latest media trend at the Games are athletes' blogs ; Blogger celebrates Olympic's last-place losers]
• · ABC finds $2m and children's channel flies again
• · · Big Media the Real Elephant in the Garden ; [The media is worried the bell is beginning to toll for them, and they're right ]
• · · · Hey Big Media, Connect the Dots - Nine Impolite Questions for Big Media ; [Modern Studies: A Degree in Bullying and Self-interest? No Thanks ]
• · · · · Checking out the web sights [Googlicious - Post IPO Google Expansion ]
• · · · · · Net's naked truth about public service; [What Would Machiavelli Do? The Big Lie Lives On ; Watch how CNN, et al. try to Spin this one The blogger who triggered yesterday’s resignation of Rep. Ed Schrock (R-Va.) by spreading rumors that he is gay promised there’s more to come ]

Monday, August 30, 2004

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on.
Robert Frost, American poet (1874-1963)

JOHN Howard has signalled the mother of all scare campaigns over Labor's ability to run the economy and keep interest rates low and another John, John Quiggin, analyses the Beatups! In the red corner a brash young upstart takes on the wily older campaigner, the man of steelx versus the rough diamond

Eye on Elections 2004: E(l)ection We Had To Have: Punters Hunger for Hung Parliament
Australia's most successful Olympic team ever will be welcomed home on Wednesday by Prime Minister John Howard and Labor leader Mark Latham.
AN international betting agency expects the federal election to pull in more money than both the Olympics, NRL and AFL grand finals combined.
Centrebet analyst Gerard Daffy predicts punters will pour more than $2 million into the October 9 election outcome - money into the clowns with the masks of mirth. Prime Minister John Howard's Coalition is the early $1.55 favourite, while Mark Latham's Labor is the $2.30 underdog ...
Mr Harry Evans, Clerk of the Parliament, said The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Neil Andrew's actions were most unusual. I don't know where the Speaker gets the power to stop the House of Representatives sitting.
Mr Andrew said he had consulted the Clerk of the House, Ian Harris, who advised that it did not sit...

Running Porkies: No silver or bronze in fight for the Lodge; [The Whole World is Watching: First Spain and now Prime Minister John Howard will become the first of three allied leaders who launched the US-led invasion of Iraq to face voters ; Truth is multi-coloured and we may prefer the rose-tinted shades to black and white ... Values versus bribes: Margo Kingston ]
• · From Road To Surfdom to King versus Bull; [ALP's cynics fear a victory: Although no one will admit it, many in the State Government fear a federal Labor win might be worse than a loss
• · · Southerly Buster: Starting Gun
Why parliament gets 19 guns and the governor-general gets 21 is not immediately obvious
• · · · Orwell and Wizards of Oz practicing Election Speak: Tax or levy: Latham lost on difference
• · · · · ; Second Amerikan blogger, John Adams: The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger public liberty: Seriously Polling ; This the Only Issues You Need to Know about E(l)ections and the state of the shocking state of the Princes Highway
• · · · · · · Pendulum Professor: Malcolm Mackerras ; [ At this election, candidates or parties that win more than 4 per cent of the vote will earn $1.94 for each vote; Antony Green's E(l)ection Guide: Comic views on the nation's 150 electorates ]
(ELSEWHERE: How Long Can the Country Stay Scared? ; Abolish the Electoral College ... The best argument the staff at the NYTimes can come up with for dumping the electorial college )

'What's one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?'
'I don't know,' said Alice. 'I lost count.'
'She can't do Addition,' the Red Queen interrupted.
Lewis Carroll, Author (1832 - 1898)

Invisible Hands & Markets: The Magic Mountains and Rivers are flooding bookstores
Everyone in publishing agrees it is getting harder to sell a new novel, even by a distinguished name, in this country; book buyers seem interested only in non-fiction
She hit the same spot aimed at by those adverts beginning 'Ashamed of your English?' by encouraging people to think they could turn this knowledge to their advantage.
Imrich, therefore I am published [ For every occupation, there is a catalog of secrets only its employees are aware of Proofreadering Australian rechtub klat: If you’re reading too fast, your brain can “correct” typos, preventing you from catching them. That’s why it’s sometimes a good idea to read a page upside-down ; Three magic verbs: “weighs,” “mulls,” or “considers” ]
• · Gas can be frozen into liquid form near its source, shipped to market in refrigerated tankers, warmed back into gaseous form on foreign shores and injected into the local pipeline system. Thanks to this technological advance, gas has the potential to be a fungible, global commodity like oil
• · · Guy Kawasaki's - Art of the Start manifesto (PDF version)Mantra" instead of mission for the enterprise.In his own inimitable way,he expands this with some real examples. Nike -"Authentic Athletic Experience", Disney -"Fun, Family and Entertainment", Starbucks - "Rewarding Everyday Moments"
• · · · Germany, the country is united, but Easterners are dissatisfied ; [123]
• · · · · ACH, IS immigration a danger or a ray of hope?
• · · · · · As far as I can tell, the first recorded thinking on the "six degrees of separation" theory started in Budapest around 1929. That's when Frigyes Karinthy wrote a short story entitled "Chains" in which he postulated that one billion people had only five degrees of separation. He was not a mathematician, scientist or engineer but a poet and writer, so where the number five came from remains unclear. There is absolutely nothing amazing about the six degrees of separation theory

'What's one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?'
'I don't know,' said Alice. 'I lost count.'
'She can't do Addition,' the Red Queen interrupted.
Lewis Carroll, Author (1832 - 1898)

Invisible Hands & Markets: The Magic Mountains and Rivers are flooding bookstores
Everyone in publishing agrees it is getting harder to sell a new novel, even by a distinguished name, in this country; book buyers seem interested only in non-fiction
She hit the same spot aimed at by those adverts beginning 'Ashamed of your English?' by encouraging people to think they could turn this knowledge to their advantage.
Imrich, therefore I am published [ For every occupation, there is a catalog of secrets only its employees are aware of Proofreadering Australian rechtub klat: If you’re reading too fast, your brain can “correct” typos, preventing you from catching them. That’s why it’s sometimes a good idea to read a page upside-down ; Three magic verbs: “weighs,” “mulls,” or “considers” ]
• · Gas can be frozen into liquid form near its source, shipped to market in refrigerated tankers, warmed back into gaseous form on foreign shores and injected into the local pipeline system. Thanks to this technological advance, gas has the potential to be a fungible, global commodity like oil
• · · Guy Kawasaki's - Art of the Start manifesto (PDF version)Mantra" instead of mission for the enterprise.In his own inimitable way,he expands this with some real examples. Nike -"Authentic Athletic Experience", Disney -"Fun, Family and Entertainment", Starbucks - "Rewarding Everyday Moments"
• · · · Germany, the country is united, but Easterners are dissatisfied ; [123]
• · · · · ACH, IS immigration a danger or a ray of hope?
• · · · · · As far as I can tell, the first recorded thinking on the "six degrees of separation" theory started in Budapest around 1929. That's when Frigyes Karinthy wrote a short story entitled "Chains" in which he postulated that one billion people had only five degrees of separation. He was not a mathematician, scientist or engineer but a poet and writer, so where the number five came from remains unclear. There is absolutely nothing amazing about the six degrees of separation theory

Sunday, August 29, 2004

The day is coming when a single media dragon, freshly observed, will set off a revolution .
Paul Cezanne, French painter (1839-1906)

Bush like a rock or a car only dumber. His supposed intellectual failings are the butt of countless jokes, but so far the question is why is a political village missing its idiot?

Eye on E(l)ection 2004 AD: Overboard But Treading: Just as a culture of trust is contagious, so is one of courage
Howard: election to be about trust.
As predicted by the Media Dragon in June the Prime Minister, John Howard, announced an October 9 election date today saying the six-week campaign would be one fought on the issue of trust.

I'd rather vote for something I want and not get it than vote for something I don't want, and get it; [Nation needs new leadership, says Latham; PM: I'll stay as long as party wants me; Howard in losing mode: Brown; Labor win could see boost in women Mps; Labor to subpoena ministers' staff; Michelle Grattan: Howard's vulnerable whatever the timing; Comment: How angry voters forced the PM's hand
• From Little Things Big Things Grow MPs call for full disclosure over Orange Grove; Grove Going, Going, Going Overboard ; [ via 27 August 2004 Stateline (Coming, Coming, in the fullness of the public diservice time) Everything we do is futile, but we must do it anyway despite people like Quentin Dempster or the e(l)ection pebble Tonko Green (smile) ]
• · The Politics Of Bullying Democracy requires dissent, right or wrong
• · · What's love got to do with it? Governments promise economic growth and prosperity in exchange for their overbearing embrace ... Less love and more words
• · · · Slavoj Zizek Reviews Timothy Garton Ash's Free World
• · · · · Bob Dole caught on camera when he thought he wouldn't be saying McCain was right about Bush's tactics
• · · · · · · Nathan Vass Guttman Israeli spy said operating in the Pentagon; [The Pentagon analyst who officials said is under suspicion was one of two department officials who traveled to Paris for a secret meeting with Manucher Ghorbanifar, Iranian arms dealer who had been a central figure in the Iran-contra affair]

Thursday, August 26, 2004

First the bully hits you, then he yells to get everybody's attention so you can't hit him back:
It looks like the worst suspicions may be gr(o)vely true...

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Why E(l)ections are a Lousy Way to Run a Country
The main result of the [Canadian] federal election has been to illustrate again the illusion of democracy. Paul Martin’s party obtained 37 per cent of the 60 per cent of registered voters; that is, at most, 22 per cent of the electorate. And he says, I do believe we have a mandate from the people to act on the issues that we set out and we obviously intend to fulfil that mandate.
Perhaps something like the Venetian custom described by economist Mancur Olson should be implemented here: In Venice, after a doge who attempted to make himself autocrat was beheaded for his offense, subsequent doges were followed in official processions by a sword-bearing symbolic executioner as a reminder of the punishment intended for any leader who attempted to assume dictatorial power.

Hung Parliament & Beyond [ Lauding the larrikin - Hawke-style ; If we can't get a new PM, we can at least rediscover our values]
• · Why is voting system so corrupt? It's a rhetorical question. Even Slate doesn't know why. Instead the article explains the problems, and there are many [Unpolitical Animal, Louis Menand, on how political science understands voters]
• · · Jonathan Rauch introduces the Senate candidate of the future ; [Dragged into the digital age Parliamentary representation in the Internet age]
• · · · Divorce - the word that dare not speak its name in Liberal Party literature; [For better or worse, election years lure many members of the ivory tower into the real world]
• · · · · Wife of Peter Ryan Swearing row: Ryan apologises; [Mike Scrafton inside the mind of a whistleblower]
• · · · · · · The new Czech government has passed its first major test Mr Gross and his coalition narrowly survived the confidence vote - scraping though a vote of confidence in parliament; [In Hungary, however, Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy steps down

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

One of the more significant marks of an authoritarian society is its willingness to distort the truth while simultaneously suppressing dissent.
Henry Giroux on double speak and the politics of dissent
From Trotsky to puppets: Other Velvet Revolutions are possible

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Sex and the Price of Politics
In late 1998, Crisis magazine, which I have the honor to publish, ran a series of articles on "the Catholic vote" which unexpectedly led to my involvement in politics. The articles caught the attention of the nascent Bush presidential campaign and I was asked, and agreed, to be part of the team advising on their outreach to Catholic voters.
Our basic advice, as reflected in our articles, was to target Mass-attending Catholic voters, not the larger group of self-identified Catholics, because Mass attendance is the best indication of a commitment to kind of values taught by the Church and represented by then candidate Governor George W. Bush.
This strategy, meshing perfectly with the theme of "compassionate conservatism," paid off and the candidate's message connected with Catholic voters: Governor Bush received ten percent more of the Catholic vote than Senator Dole had in 1996.

• Deal W. Hudson is publisher of Crisis magazine The campaign of 2004 presents a significantly different environment than 2000 ; [Iraq Major political groups jockeying for power ]
• · Extra Extraordinaire Dox Barista, David Tiley, Serves a Dossier on How Senior public servants help the Government sidestep parliamentary scrutiny, a measure one deemed Kennett-style arrogance [ This unlovely face of the Victorian ALP in government has been spotlighted by the Age ]
• · · Accountability overboard WashMinster Sir Humphrey [Politics has become increasingly the plaything of obsessives. And what obsessives bring to politics...]
• · · · Imre: The Australian hoped to secure a comment from Hawke last night, but none of our reporters were prepared to go near him for fear of ending up with a pain in the gut [link first seen at Backpages]
• · · · · Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete [Human Events Exclusive: A Swift Boat Vets Joined by POWs in Criticism of Kerry]
• · · · · · · Memory and Manipulation The trials of Elizabeth Loftus, defender of the wrongly accused

The Blog Debate between Eric Muller and Michelle Malkin continues with this latest installment from Muller.

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Voter tracking software: the dark side of technology and democracy
The potential benefits and pitfalls of electronic democracy are already on display in the use of voter tracking software by Australia’s major political parties, argue Peter van Onselen and Wayne Errington in this paper from the CPP’s Australian Electronic Governance Conference. The use of such technologies, which contain a host of information about voters and their policy preferences, are a potentially useful conduit between citizens and their elected representatives. Instead, their development has been veiled in secrecy, and their operation puts vast public resources to use for partisan ends, invades the privacy of constituents seeking help from their member of parliament, and tilts electoral politics towards the minority of swinging voters.
Electoral databases; [ Do Not Reflect the Community, Be the Community ; Public antipathy Lack of civic introspection in the American character ]
• · Circulation numbers of political magazines
• · · Government That Works Online Get online, not in line
• · · · Buddy was an unflinching, old-school perfectionist who absolutely believed that government, regardless of its partisan affiliation, required a large dose of skepticism, and that it was an essential duty of journalists to point out its failings and hypocrises: H.G. “Buddy” Davis Jr., the Gainesville Sun’s only Pulitzer Prize winner and a longtime University of Florida journalism professor, died
• · · · · The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow Australian author Thea Astley, who won the Miles Franklin Award a stunning four times, has passed away
• · · · · · You're Athletes, Not Journalists Olympians largely barred from blogging [Polished Olympic Site: Adam Michnik editing Otylia Jedrzejczak's gold-medal performance in the women's 200-meter butterfly]

Monday, August 23, 2004

Snippets from the Aussie Fin Review Magazine: According to highly placed Liberal insider: It is easier to see the Howard battlers voting for Howard and Carr than for Latham and for Carr.
Bob Carr says that he cut himself shaving in the morning listening to Allan Jones. So turn the bloody thing off. Helena Carr says he can not. That is power.

Snippets from the SMH magazine James Reyne Singer, actor, poet:
Politics: The higher that monkey climbs that tree, the more of his fat arse you will see.
Power: Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.

Between politicians and Hollywood, there are a lot of people trying to scare us. Is this the scariest summer ever?

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Lowy's key man faces Orange Grove probe
Alex Mitchell, State Political Editor:
Mark Ryan, the former Keating adviser and now high-powered wheeler and dealer for Frank Lowy's Westfield empire, will front the Orange Grove parliamentary committee on Wednesday.

• The opposition leader of the early 90’s may Barely recognise the Premier of today [Bargains galore amid heartache; ICAC blunder shows the premier has lost it; Carr stands firm on commission]
• · Two rail workers who made corruption complaints to the ICAC have been shut out of their offices and forced to undergo psychological evaluation: Rail workers banned after rort reports; [Veteran Labor politician Pat Rogan has announced that he is stepping down as the president of ClubsNSW and blasted Premier Bob Carr, accusing him of "arrogance": Departing club boss hits Carr over tax]
• · · Able Seaman Laura Whittle, who helped rescue asylumn seekers from a sinking boat in 2001, gave a human angle to the Children Overboard controversy ... The man was wanting to get the child into the inflatable boat and to safety. The asylumn seeker who held a child over the water was simply begging for the child to be rescued! What Matters?: Refugee children are what matters to winner Haydon: When Human Advance does not mean Political Dance!; [When the annals of infamy are compiled, let a double-page spread be reserved for the transients of the SIEV IV, whose selfish refusal to throw their children overboard resulted in the humiliation of the prime minister: Refugee kids missing out on health care]
• · · · Are You Talking To Me? A bit rich: Despite the moral pronouncements of its politicians, Australia has become a selfish global citizen
• · · · · Max got very angry ... Devil takes the hindmost In 2000 Mike Scrafton, the whistleblower who has refloated the "children overboard" issue, helped his boss "roll" Max Moore-Wilton, who headed John Howard's department [Tax system needs surgery ]
• · · · · · · Watering the dry Island Australia can overcome the tyranny of water shortage - but it will need inspired leadership

Sunday, August 22, 2004

How did a QC from the conservative end of a conservative profession become the public voice of Australia’s voiceless refugees. For Julian Burnside it came down to a sudden realisation for which he has been preparing all his life. When delivering the Sir Ninian Stephen Lecture, The Practice of Law: Justice or Just a Job?, Julian observed:
Taking a stand is not without its cost. But as Arundhati Roy has said: A thing, once seen, cannot be unseesn, and when you have seen a great moral crime, to remain silent is as much a political act as is to speak against it.
Julian shares with Czechoslovak born Tom Stoppard the view that we are all born with an instinct for justice. In Professional Foul, one of his characters tells of the child who in the playground cries “It’s not fair” and thus gives voice to ‘an impulse which precedes utterance’. Our perception of justice may be blunted by exposure to its processes. At the start of a career as a law student, we see law and justice as synonymous; later we fall into cynicism or despair as clients complain that Law and Justice seem unrelated. We might remember the observation of Bismarck, in a different context, saying “He who likes sausages or law should not see them in the making” be it in the NSW Parliamentary Library or the Public Accounts Committee.
Thomas Keneally wrote his latest book, The Tyrant’s Novel, after his visits to the Villawood Detention Centre Once Upon a Time, in 1980 AD certain Central Europeans referred fondly to the piece of soil in Villawood as their Australian Hollywood

Tracking Trends Great & Small: Final shot at the top
Big Brother went to work quickly when a Dubbo-based water efficiency use adviser, Terrance Loughlin, sent out a last goodbye via email to staffers in the NSW Department of Primary Industries last Friday.
With Politicisation of the public service in the subject line, Loughlin expressed his disappointment about the way that the old NSW Agriculture, now part of DPI, and other rural agencies were being "totally gutted by the NSW Labour government.
In eras past this would not have happened because the executives of these rural agencies would have had the gumption to stand up to opportunistic politicians and their snivelling advisers.
The email was quickly removed and Loughlin was politely informed he should remove himself quick smart.
Shortly afterwards another email went out from the big boss, Barry Buffier, DPI's director-general. He said Loughlin's message "cannot be mistaken for anything other than a political stunt on his last day of duty".
Given that Loughlin is the Greens-endorsed candidate for Parkes, Buffier might have a point, although Loughlin reckons it was a "stunt" but not a political one. By Monday morning DPI staff had an edict in their in-boxes. Thanks to Loughlin no one can send a broadcast email unless Buffier, one of his deputies, or an executive director approves it.

Politicisation of the public service
• · The typical Australian is educated, suburban, from a migrant background and working in a service industry. Donald Horne explores how we've changed in the 40 years since he wrote The Lucky Country We should be so lucky
• · · Methuselah Mouse Prize Named after Methuselah, the Biblical figure who was supposedly the longest-lived human ever, surviving 969 years.
• · · · The worst locust plague to hit NSW in 25 years is looming,: threatening to wreak economic and natural devastation
• · · · · Experts warn of Ross River fever sting
• · · · · · Survivor: Men vs. Women, Again? Really? Where Popular and Political Cultures Meet

Like democracy, culture is not an exclusive game played by experts such as artists and their admirers; it is an ongoing conversation within and between communities. It is a meeting place for different arguments and perspectives, an arena in which large and small problems are ventilated. Is cultural conversation becoming a monologue?

Even in a culture of winners take all, a book's power lies in its ability to erase us, to expand or contract without limit, to circle inside itself without beginning or end, to defy our imaginary timetables and lay us bare to a more basic ticking. The pages we read are a nowhen, unfolding far outside the public arena. As long as we remain in them, now reveals itself to be the baldest of inventions.
- Richard Powers

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Four poker faces: Esoteric Gem
The novel written after a smashing debut is supposed to be a writer's combat zone, but for Sydney writer and high school teacher Melina Marchetta it was smoother the second time round.
James Thurber combatly stated: All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why.

Top prize for second book [Artist finds truth in literary hoax ]
• · Her literary hoax was bad, but Norma Khouri's frauds against loved ones reached $1 million: How Norma made a dishonourable killing; [ Hoax author's twisted tale]
• · · wood s lot [One Stop Book Review ]
• · · · Making a Web Search Feel Like a Stroll in the Library Many students use the Internet as their library [ Law library still relies on hard copy in time of Google ; Italy's Senate library is getting tough on forgetful lawmakers demanding they return books ]
• · · · · From Morava River to digital river, forever ... I have been told by the Digital Media that book lovers live in every time zone, not just Sydney or Vrbov or River to Surfdom There is something deeply satisfaying about having readers in every time zone ...The slovo is spreading! My emailbag is full!
• · · · · · Let me count the ways Sydneysiders would line up for the priceless seats in order to eye outstanding Cate Blanchett who plays the leading role in the Sydney Theatre Company’s Hedda Gabler (Henrik Ibsen's play by the same name) Cate gave him some consoling pats on the knee, thereby further endearing herself to the audience ... How much do we love this woman?

PS: Ach, Maria Vandamme, the founder of the Melba Foundation, managed to bypass the government’s arts funding white elephant, the Australia Council, to appeal directly to the federal government. In May 2004 Maria was rewarded with a $5 Million grant, over 5 years, to assist her in the production of 35 Cds for the Melba Recordings which produces high-quality classical Cds of Australian musicians for international distribution.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive.

Tracking Policies & Investigative Stories: Corruption watchdogs have a bad habit of biting the hand that establishes them
The corruption commission has rejected a last-minute public apology from the Premier, Bob Carr, ordering him to appear before the inquiry over a possible contempt.
The former NSW premier Nick Greiner, who set up the Independent Commission Against Corruption in a flurry of corruption-busting fervour 16 years ago, found himself its victim and was eventually forced to resign.
Greiner's National Party deputy, Wal Murray, narrowly avoided being found in contempt of the commission after he likened its proceedings to the Spanish inquisition.
And it was the Premier, Bob Carr - then leader of the Opposition - who tried to sool the commission's head, Ian Temby, on to Murray and cite him for contempt.
Labor's Neville Wran had been forced to stand aside as premier during a royal commission in the early 1980s over allegations he had improperly interfered in a court hearing.

Sunlight is Dangerous to Political Parties [Outspoken nurse fired, inquiry told; Carr's lawyers may be sorry for delay of simple apology; Analysis: Fear of watchdogs who can bite at will]
• · Fear feeds cover-ups: Scrafton; [From axe to cash: Howard loosens purse strings for public service]
• · · Villawood and Beyond: Refugees and asylum seekers: a guide to key resources and recent developments
• · · · Will we go to war over Taiwan?; [Young feel remote from decision-makers; The Great Moravian Empire by the Magyars in 906 Slovakia and the Slovaks (unlike the Czech Slavs to the west of the river Morava, which currently forms part of the border with Austria and the Czech Republic) were an integral part of the Kingdom of Hungary ]
• · · · · Sex trade uncovered in London
• · · · · · Peter Hartcher: What lies beneath; Truth dead in the parliamentary water The hard sell of Grove; Short-sheeted all round [Panthers boss insists he's no fat cat]

Blogging about blogging and Blog Your Own Spiritual Blog

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Playboy Interview: Google Guys
Just five years ago a googol was an obscure, unimaginable concept: the number one followed by 100 zeros. Now respelled and capitalized, Google is an essential part of online life. From American cities to remote Chinese villages, more than 65 million people use the Internet search engine each day. It helps them find everything from the arcane to the essential, and Google has become a verb, as in, I Googled your name on the Internet and, uh, no thanks, I’m not interested in going out Friday night.
Google founders discuss libraries with Playboy [ courtesy of Sergey Brin and Larry Page on Libraries]
• · Who's afraid of context?: On the differences between American and European media
• · · The mantra at TechSoup; Every media's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness On the value of weblogs for non-profit organizations
• · · · Who Cares? The number of humanitarian crises in the world is greater than ever before but most go unreported in Western media
• · · · · Unruly Lot: How do computer hackers "get inside" a computer? [In a bold move Google Performs Another Marketing Miracle Google's Blog*Spot Loses Ads, Gains Media Dragon Navbar]
• · · · · · Eric Alterman How PBS adds insult to injury [What a terrorist attack would mean for the election: Jack Germond, crack political reporter ]

Friday, August 20, 2004

Two Thumbs Up. By some strange coincidence, or some tricky luck, or some googlish pressure, the hole on the Princes Highway which was mentioned yesterday morning has been sealed last night. Better late than never ...

Elections are due soon in the United States, Afghanistan, Iraq and Indonesia. Democracy, the creation of the Greeks, remains the least bad political system. But it has to work properly: it must remain accountable to ordinary people and not suborn power.
- José Saramago

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Exploding the myth of Prague Spring
The 1968 reform movement never denounced communism, so were freedom and democracy ever really on the table?
When people today watch the dramatic footage of Prague streets in August 1968, filled with crowds gathering around the Soviet tanks trying to explain to the puzzled soldiers that there must have been some kind of a terrible misunderstanding, they are often overcome by emotion. That emotion is an understandable response to a classical example of the clash between good and evil, between the peaceful crowds and the heavily armed occupants. This response, however, might be an obstacle to deeper, more rational analysis of the true nature and hypothetical prospects of the "Resurgent Process," as the Prague Spring was called in the contemporary functionaries' newspeak. The fundamental question is: Was the hope of the Prague Spring really a hope for democracy, and was it ever likely to be fulfilled?
They started a dangerous game and they lost. The situation both at home and abroad got out of their control, which was the end of the "Resurgent Process" and the beginning of yet another character test for the country's long-suffering inhabitants. The 1970s was a period of extreme frustration and despair; the consequences are still present today. This time, however, it was not the Germans, as in World War II, or the Soviets, as in 1968, but the Czechs and Slovaks themselves who oppressed their fellow citizens.

Prague Spring Myth 1968 [ Fine Line Between Myth & Reality Sydney Spring Myth 2008 vision of good governance and the role of the state]
• · Carr Blowing up the village to save the villagers Contempt charge hangs over Carr; [Sydney is Just a Village; Carr's angry words spark commission showdown; I'll take a lie test, but only when they work: Premier; I'm not guilty - but my brain is]
• · · Spidla's dreams of Sweden Vladimir Spidla told me he wanted the Czech Republic to be like Sweden
• · · · Roberto Buonamano (UT-Sydney in PDF version): Humanity and Inhumanity: State Power and the Force of Law in the Prescription of Juridical Norms
• · · · · USA We Have How Many Troops in Europe?
• · · · · · · Jose Saramago Reinventing democracy; [EVERY day we spend $2.2bn on killing each other: Superducks and underducks]

Thursday, August 19, 2004

If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.
-Karl Popper

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Carr's adviser reveals the Westfield link
Bob Carr's closest adviser has contradicted his repeated denial that he was involved in a decision that closed the Liverpool factory outlet being opposed by retail giant Westfield.
The Premier's chief of staff, Graeme Wedderburn, yesterday revealed to a parliamentary committee that Mr Carr told him to "appropriately advise" the minister responsible for deciding the Orange Grove centre's future, Diane Beamer, to stick to the rules.

All rules I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen
• · Down Under and Overboard What PM's man knew about photos [John Quiggin Fingers on the Blogoshere pulse ]
• · · Iranian Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani warned that Iran might launch a preemptive strike against US forces in the region to prevent an attack on its nuclear facilities [The Peace That Never Was, The Terrorism Funnel, A Billion for Bin Laden, Are Terrorists Courageous?]
• · · · Value of rituals in politics
• · · · · See Also Gangs have been a fixture of urban life in the United States for more than 150 years
• · · · · · · See Also Apartheid without Borders: The New Globalism and its Enemies

The count begins. How long does it take to repair a huge hole, the size of Skase variety (Spanish) suitcase, on the major highway? Take care just before you turn to the Rawson Street from the Princes Highway, heading towards the SLC AquaDot Swimming Pool, as for almost three days carr and trruck drivers of all accents have been blaming the local, state and federal authorities for the unexpected Luna, Prater, Disney, Park experience. Ach, day three!

The history of human civilization has basically been the efforts of a small minority to get the majority to do things they wouldn't otherwise do, like pay taxes and fight against strangers. There is nothing intrinsically evil or oppressive in this tendency. In order to perform all of the complicated and diversified tasks involved in building a civilization, the efforts of large groups of people need to be coordinated and directed. It's just that it seems inevitable that the group of people giving the orders soon come to see themselves as inherently superior, deserving of special treatment, and feel an almost genetic drive to accumulate wealth and power to insure the reproductive success of their offspring. Ach, Power corrupts whether you fight for your existence under kommunist Czechoslovakia or some place Down Under or Up Over...

Tracking Policies & Investigative Stories: Corruption and Democracy in Australia
In this detailed study, Barry Hindess from the Democratic Audit Team argues that corruption is a more substantial problem than Australia’s impressive performance on conventional international measures would seem to indicate
Democratic Audit of Australia, Australian National University (PDF file); [Not happy, John - Prime Minister John Howard is also the subject of a stinging attack in a Sunday feature this week, from the man who first engineered his ascent to the Liberal leadership in the mid-1980s — former party president John Valder. JOHN VALDER; About 20 will be happy because it says exactly what they think. Another group will be luke warm. A large group will want to chop my head off ; Margo Will be Based in Canberra]
• · Victory has suddenly many fathers: In the shadow of the corporate veil: James Hardie and asbestos compensation
• · · National land transport plan: The AusLink White Paper: an overview ; [ Energy White Paper: fuel excise grants reform]
• · · · Allan Fels: The problem of poorer countries not having access to knowledge can be remedied... How to bring knowledge to the entire planet
• · · · · George Williams The people need a say in selecting governors and the governor-general Troppical Ken Parish is currently being technocratied to every corner of the world with his latest salvos on so many gutsy political topics that you have to set aside plenty of time to digest them. For example, Ken reports how the mainstream media has now picked up Rob Corr's revelation that Howard said on ABC Four Corners way back in February 2002 that he spoke with Scrafton about the photos as well as the video (thus contradicting Howard's claim of only yesterday that they only spoke about the video). It's taken the journalists less than 24 hours to catch up with the blogosphere. Ach, do czech out why the Hungarian Professor Bunyip, a.k.a. Imre, tends to spin right out of control...
• · · · · · Trendy Ned Kelly of Blogging, John Quiggin, pinches an article from the WashPost Op-Ed piece by Pradeep Chhibber and Ken Kollman, claiming that the failure of third parties to do well in the US is due, not to plurality voting or other institutional factors but to excessive political centralisation. [Original story from WashPost Op-Ed piece by Pradeep Chhibber and Ken Kollman

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Amerika is a country of children. The New Yorkers are a little more grown up, but not much. Once some friend of mine put me on a ferry to Coney Island. This, Tsutsik, I wish you could see. It is a city in which everything is for play—shooting at tin ducklings, visiting a museum where they show a girl with two heads, letting an astrologer plot your horoscope and a medium call up the soul of your grandfather in the beyond. No place lacks vulgarity, but the vulgarity of Coney Island is of a special kind, friendly, with a tolerance that says, ‘I play my game and you play your game.’ As I walked around there and ate a hot dog—this is what they call a sausage—it occurred to me that I was seeing the future of mankind. You can even call it the time of the Messiah. One day all people will realize there is not a single idea that can really be called true—that everything is a game—nationalism, internationalism, religion, atheism, spiritualism, materialism, even suicide.
Isaac Bashevis Singer, Shosha
Ken Parish has a knack for tracking Red Necks children and Red Interior ...

Tracking Trends Great & Small: E(l)ections Fever Around the World
In this electronic brief Adrienne Blunt provides links to websites of various countries that have national elections in 2004. Elections may be presidential or legislative. Information will be current for six months prior to and six months after the election date.
November 2004: Australia and United States of America [link first seen at ]
• · At Slate Jack Shafer wonders why some prominent newspapers haven't told their readers who the 'Anonymous' is who recently published the best-selling Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terrorism
• · · See Also Meet five soul searchers who've taken the descent into darkness
• · · · Accents & Dialects: New Amerikan English 2104 AD
• · · · · Robert Schiller: on the electronic money revolution
• · · · · · Olympic trends Buying the Games

The Trademarks of a Real Champion Our Ian, the Magical Story of the Sutherland Shire
Moment of Poetic Truth: Ian Thorpe touches ahead of defending Olympic champion Pieter van den Hoogenband and American Michael Phelps in the 200m freestyleWow, he makes a big wave.
Thorpe will fly out of Athens as Australia's greatest Olympian with five gold - one more than Dawn Fraser, Murray Rose and Betty Cuthbert.
However, it is not only gold medals that make Ian Thorpe an admirable sporting champion. Grace in victory sets the Paddington born, AquaDot based, Ian Thorpe apart

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Point of no return: All in the Dances
I have been feeling rather strange about All in the Dances in recent weeks, and especially since I started working on the galleys last month. I spent a full decade at work on The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken, and by the end of that time, it had become an oppressive, inescapable presence in my life, not unlike the "heavy bear who goes with me" of Delmore Schwartz’s once-familiar poem. I wanted nothing more than to be rid of it. All in the Dances, by contrast, took me just three months to write, and throughout that period I was simultaneously preoccupied with the imminent publication of A Terry Teachout Reader. Before I knew it, one book was written, another in the stores, and within weeks I'd embarked on the lengthy process of seeing the first one into print. As a result, the experience of writing All in the Dances now seems unreal, almost dreamlike to me. Did I really write it this past winter? Could it possibly be ready to ship off to the printer?...
How lucky to be Alive at the Point of Time When All About Last Night is Live Too? ; [More much more at Terry Teachout ]
• · See Also In trying to make art, success can be as damaging as failure
• · · What chances has the Cold River have of getting into their hot hands? A review of books by book reviewers
• · · · See Also Where does book criticism go from here ?
• · · · · Son of Krakov: Tribute to the Rough Polish Poet with two Christian Names, Czeslaw Milosz
• · · · · · See Also If aliens exist, we'll know in 20 years

Monday, August 16, 2004

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Majority of Citizens Face a Bridge with a Toll Too High to Pay
With their connection to civil society, I firmly believe that sociologists can assist this process of discerning new and imaginative ways that governments, corporations and international financial institutions can be held accountable for achieving the goals and fulfilling their human-rights obligations. The majority of citizens in our world face a bridge with a toll too high to pay. The wide discrepancies they face can seem insurmountable, and many no longer believe in global equity or global social justice, backed by concrete and consistent actions by all.
Fifty-five years ago, when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted, Eleanor Roosevelt reminded us that if human rights are to matter at all, they must matter "in small places close to home." That is the challenge for sociologists and for human-rights activists. If we fail, we have no excuse, because we are better equipped than ever.

Former Irish President Mary Robinson on sociology and human rights [ Soros A Cry for Human Rights and the Law: A Review of Unpopular Cases for Lawyers ]
• · A bombshell is buried deep within a biography Parliamentary Inquiry into Grove Premier 'screwed' shopping centre [He's being a bad, bad boy: It makes little difference that as governor I am gay... Politicians shocked by announcement laud gov's McGreevey honesty ; Jim O'Rourke: Rare Honest Liberal Ross Cameron ]
• · · Why the Olympics are not interesting anymore: No Cold War enemies
• · · · The Transhumans are coming! And they're promoting mito flushes, sousveillance, cyberglogging, and genetic virtue
• · · · · See Also Calvin Trillin’s political doggerel is far more engaging than most journalism
• · · · · · · Buried Secrets of Biowarfare

The perfect one-line response to the Marxian maxim, From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs.
What better incentive does someone need to minimize his abilities and maximize his needs?
Slogans that helped topple communism are now used to defend the welfare system...

Invisible Hands & Markets: The Invisible Hand Bites Its Nails
You know what's efficient? private companies. Much more efficient than the government. That's why we farm everything out to them, because they can do it better, cheaper and more efficiently than the government. And the nice thing is that the unions haven't made them all unaccountable and stuff.
Can't fire people in the government, they're unaccountable.
• · New Statesman An unequal society is an unhealthy society
• · · PDF version States and Markets in an Era of Globalization [I'm going to become rich and famous after i invent a device that allows you to stab people in the face over the internet]
• · · · Brotherhood of St Laurence (PDF file) 2004 federal election: call to the parties
• · · · · Invisible Education Why there is no substitute to knowing your stuff Let's remind ourselves here that the UK government's response to a fall off of 21 per cent in the take up of A-level maths was the proposal to make the course easier!
• · · · · · No to moral imperialism - and moral defeatism

He could run away, leaving to their fate the others who cannot flee or have nowhere to go. He could also stand and whine, sit and level accusations. Or he could fill the teaspoon in his hand with water, time and time again, and pour it on the flames.
These days any person of peace must draw water, in his teaspoon at least, and pour it on the fire: he must raise his voice, demonstrate, argue, work for a rational compromise. The teaspoon in the simple man's hands is very small and the fire is very big. Nonetheless...
Amos Oz, The Order of the Teaspoon, Yedioth Ahronoth (April 2002)

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Transparency Begets Trust in the Ever-Expanding Blogosphere
>Tim Porter is the god’s gift to the MEdia Dragon world:
The openness of Weblogs could help explain why many readers find them more credible than traditional media. Can mainstream journalists learn from their cutting-edge cousins? Why do many readers find Media Dragons more believable than mainstream news organizations?
Where I had seen dismissive skepticism of this blogging thing at similar gatherings in the past, here I found eager curiosity. And I was impressed with the desire, in varying degrees, by everyone in this group to enhance the transparency of our business, journalism," with the goal of building and rebuilding readers' trust.

I have learned to trust the voice and judgment of my fellow citizens [NYT's Miller subpoenaed by CIA leak case prosecutor; Isn't it amazing what a raft of federal subpoenas will do to concentrate the media mind?; Journos, judges should stop staging 1st Amendment dramas; Boehlert: It seems the case is months away from completion ]
• · Ultimate Metaphor: Whoever Wins We Lose: Saturday Blog Tour [Bloglines Marks Search Milestone of 100 Million Blog and News Feed Articles; Is unsubstantiated gossip nothing more than entertaining but ultimately harmless puff... Are some contemporary popular knowledges'powerful enough to change the course of history? ]
• · · Super Maud Newton: Where do you connect with the human condition when you were chosen and everyone else is born? [Review of Real Note
• · · · Instapundit on Newspapers still requiring online registration; [Ken Parish on Tropical Topic: Just because you're paranoid.... ...doesn't mean they're not coming to get you or stereotype your blog!; Antipodean Classification Scandal ]
• · · · · C-SPAN cancels Booknotes: Finding the words; [World according to Milosz;The seamy underbelly of reviewing I remember fake Amazon book reviews going back to 1998; even today, most books get so few reviews that it pays to throw in a few fake reviews from friends of the author]
• · · · · · We're kind of that friend of yours that always knows what's happening in the city: the New York-based blog; [The library where pub rock is a part of history It's the best collection of South Australiana in the world]

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Requiem for a Great Slavic Poet, the Polish emigre writer who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980, in part for a powerful pre-mortem dissection of communism, in part for observing that the defection from the homeland would not be easy, but that it would be worth it! Czeslaw Milosz will be burried in Krakov 77 km from Vrbov.
Like Czeslaw, Czech exile Milan Kundera believes that reading and storytelling have historically functioned as the most dependable form of nourishing our moral compass.
Ach, before we cast the first stone at Khouri, we should examine what kind of pressure the reality of the publishing industry places on migrants in order to see their bloody stories in ink. I am not sure whether Norma is a good or a bad woman, but one thing I know is that everyone has her/his Amerikan/Jordanian/Bohemian story (real or imagined) of the way he became to live a life of a surreal stranger. For what is a stranger, if she is not a wondering creator of post cards who dreams of being a gypsy? Everything inside the world of a gypsy is preordained by mysterious and implacable forces. It is a world without history or geography. In such a world even raw and powerful human-interest stories of rootless migrants are helpless. Rarely someone can help invented or true stories to see the light of the day. Back in 1999 on the 1st Floor of 20 Alfred St Milsons Point I was advised by Jane Palfreyman of Random House fame that my story was evocative enough, but too risky even for the esteemed power house of the publishing industry. When a great publisher admits such a reality, it is a blow that shatters our whole image of the world.
Shakespeare suggests to speak what we feel, not what we ought to say. Images that to others seem simple or even banal become a raging and screaming truth. Without any doubt, the act of writing stories of survival threatens the storyteller with dual curses: that the stories will be overdone, that the tragedies will be understated ...

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Publisher pulls Khouri book
The Australian publisher of Norma Khouri's book Forbidden Love has withdrawn it from sale permanently after she could not prove her life story was true.
Earlier this week Ms Khouri submitted documents to Random House to demonstrate the book was a factual account of her life in Jordan.

Bribery (sic) Island (Most of the time the publishing PR experts provide the tools to develop a complete public relations strategy, win media favor and deliver any message effectively); [Money plunges modern literature into chaos Are lovers of literature a dying breed in Russia?]
• · After lucky 13 years of experimenting, veteran Net publisher Adam Engst has finally stumbled on a good business model -- fast-turnaround e-books
• · · The openness of Weblogs could help explain why many readers find them more credible than traditional media. Can mainstream journalists learn from their cutting-edge cousins? Transparency Begets Trust in the Ever-Expanding Blogosphere
• · · · Arna's Children won the Best Film award at Prague's One World Film Festival in April 2004. Days later, it received the Best First Documentary award at the Canadian International Documentary Festival. The following month, it was named Best Documentary at New York's Tribeca Film Festival. Sadly, by the time Arna's Children received this international recognition, all but one of the movie's leading characters were already dead We are losing the good film habit; [Multicultural Literature Recommends Vibrant Suggestions How to Up your sex life
• · · · · Orhan Pamuk: I Was Not A Political Person... Turkey is a somewhat surreal country, where secular nationalists and theocrats compete to impose what seem to be equally dubious ideas of how to force people to be free ; [ Real reading, real writers, real issues; [Colin Friels: We are so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget that the inner value, the rapture, that is associated with being alive, is what it’s all about ... I want to try to tell our own stories in our own place]
• · · · · · Literature and Sociology Unbound: It is like a bone-deep memory that binds us deeply to each other

Friday, August 13, 2004

We are all Olympians in the eyes of God: While My Favourite Paper tracks Exclusive Olympic Stories, Robert Scheer types at all hours at his Summer Olympics blog

OLYMPIC GAMES With the countdown entering its final phase high hopes enter our hearts: On Your Marks
Finally, someone else gets to host an Olympics and Sydney is relegated to the role of married older sibling watching with patronising amusement as a younger brother or sister prepares for the big day.
First thing first, Czech Out the official home for Athens 2004 Greece will make history once again, as it did in 1896 with the revival of the Games.
The graphics are eerily familiar and much of the information reflects all those issues we were so concerned about four years ago: tickets, transport, volunteers, etc. There is an impressive interactive schedule of every session of every sport. So if you simply have to see the Preliminary Duet Free Routine of the synchronised swimming, you'd better keep the morning of August 24 (Australian-time) free.
The other big "official" Olympics site belongs to the IOC, where you are left in no doubt that the international sporting fest is a Very Important Thing Indeed. This dry effort is short of anything resembling fun or excitement.
Here, for example, is the bizarre entry under a section entitled Passion: Over and above sporting exploits, Olympism is a source of multiple passions which unite the worlds of sport, art, culture and collections. Olympism is a state of mind and the Olympic Museum is its symbol. Glad we got that straight.

ATHENS OLYMPICS ON LINE [A hit of escape, the suggestion of Olympic stamina, balanced with a surreal experience: If I could get every teenager to memorise it, the future world would not be peppered with bullies]
•· · Olympians barred from blogging? No blogging from Olympic village [ Making the case for Milo of Croton, winner of 6 consecutive Olympic wrestling titles before 500BC, to be named as greatest Olympic champion of all time]

•· · Great Aussie hopes for gold All that glitters is gold, they say. See who amongst the Australian team is most likely to reach glittering glory in Athens
•· · · PVRBlog: Tips and thoughts and comments; [ The idea doesn't have to be Olympic. It just has to change the world]
•· · · Will Athens win a gold for security? [ GREEK SECURITY TEAM FAILS TO NOTICE GIANT HORSE ; Security Czech and Slovak Style anti-chemical warfare specialists to help guard the Olympics: The country's specialised troops were the only ones to detect traces of nerve gas in the Saudi Arabian desert during the 1991 Gulf War]

Margo Kingston is the Liberal with the small l and the Down Under alternative to Vaclav Havel!
For webdiarist of all political colours who already know how partionate and egalitarian Margo happens to be this speech might mean doubling up of her caring ideas about democracy, but for people just introduced to the legend of the Webdiary, this speech to the Sydney Institute is a neat introductory package of the best pearls of wisdom. Margo’s passionate speech should serve as an ominous wakeup call and siren warning about the dangers of capitalism without human face.
Reflections of a Webdiarist: Ode To the True Liberals i.e. Robert Menzies ... For all its faults, and there are many, I believe the election of a Labor Government and a strong Senate will give the people a breathing space to mobilise to make the health of our democracy a crucial issue during the term of the next government and at the next election.< In a speech last year, the author Norman Mailer described democracy as 'a state of grace that is attained only by those countries which have a host of individuals not only ready to enjoy freedom but to undergo the heavy labour of maintaining it'.
PS: The Menzies Foundation needs to get its act together and match the skills of people like Chris Sheil of Evatt Foundation fame if it wants to be a serious player in the battle of ideas. During her time as the head of the Menzies Foundation, the late Dr Marlene Goldsmith planted many breathtaking flowers at the Foundation, however, for the last five years the garden has been locked and the keys thrown away. So lets hope someone soon opens the gate and shows us around the garden of liberty and ideas.

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Blogging for Business
With readers flocking to their Web postings, execs are finding blogs useful for plugging not just their products but their points of view
Jonathan Schwartz, president and chief operating officer of server maker Sun Microsystems (SUNW ), first suspected that his blog was a success when his salespeople began reporting that customers were reading his posts and sealing deals faster. Then, the blog started getting a surge of traffic from users with e-mail addresses ending in "" and "" -- folks who work for Sun's rivals. Schwartz saw that as irrefutable proof that his blog, started on June 28, was a gold mine.

Blog Mine High-profile people don't have the freedom to speak with authenticity [ courtesy of Jonathan Schwartz ]
• · The dead hand of modern democracy: Extreme Democracy blog
• · · Weblog Tools Market
• · · · Kozoru It's always exciting to read about new efforts in search
• · · · · Jan Amos Comenius, the first blogger ever: Bohemian in Amsterdam
• · · · · · For many young people, caring about the world's problems can be both too painful and seemingly futile

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Minority government for Canada 2004 The Canadian election of 28 June saw the election of a hung Parliament, with the Liberal Government remaining in power with the likely support of the NDP

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Conspiracy Realities
The Internet and talk radio abound with ridiculous rumors and falsehoods dealing with conspiracy. Yet, there are many examples of the real thing.
According to New Age guru and spiritualist David Icke, our world is run by (and has been for thousands of years) a secret society of extra-terrestrial reptilians known as the Anunnaki. Mr. Icke, a former national spokesman for Britain’s radical Green Party, is a prolific author, whose books, videos and articles propagate a bizarre revisionist history of ancient civilizations, religions, world events, dynasties and famous people.

Getting the Facts Straight [Whose Constitution Is It, Anyway? Judicial review has its limits ]
• · See Also Slovakia: The absence of a truly liberal party; [Liberal Amerika The Polarized Presidential Electorate ; The Press and Presidential Politics]
• · · The Brookings Institution: The State of Iraq
• · · · Globalist: The history of Western domination in the Middle East
• · · · · Decembrists ...What October Surprise?
Ten surprises the Bush administration proved remarkably unprepared for
• · · · · · · There are no short cuts in history. Using force to try to accelerate social progress and political change before its time will fail Pondering all the failed revolutions throughout the Third World over the last 50 years ... No shortcuts to the End of History

2004 UK defence cuts: possible Australian implictions In mid July 2004 the UK Ministry of Defence outlined potential cuts of up to 25 per cent in existing UK combat systems and 20 per cent in UK personnel numbers within four years.

Tracking Policies & Investigative Stories: An End to Poverty?
A wealth of ideas about an age-old problem...
The poor have, proverbially, always been with us, even if ideas about who they are, what poverty is, and why it exists, keep changing. It's less clear how far back the notion of abolishing poverty goes. Probably, as Gareth Stedman Jones suggests, utopian dreams of a world without want are age-old. It was only in the late 18th century, though, that serious debates first emerged.

By Gareth Stedman Jones [FTA Amerika and Australia Agree to Disagree ]
• · John Quiggin the election of a non-partisan President Major parties have been increasingly willing to replace party nominees with Independents, for offices including MPs, Lord Mayors ... [for legal aspect see Ken Parish ]
• · · Public V Private Schools: Go private? Not even if it were free, say loyal parents
• · · · Scott McMillan: Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, al-Qa'ida operative
• · · · · Chernobyl II Accident at Japan nuclear plant
• · · · · · Partisan Rhetoric (PDF version) David Bennett on The 2004 Election: A Watershed Moment

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

HE is a man who has lied and dissembled, and a man who has crawled. He knows the taste of boot-polish. He has suffered kicks in the tonneau of his pantaloons. He has taken orders from his superiors in knavery and he has wooed and flattered his inferiors in sense. His public life is an endless series of evasions and false pretenses. He is willing to embrace any issue, however idiotic, that will get him votes, and he is willing to sacrifice any principle, however sound, that will lose them for him. I do not describe the democratic politician at his inordinate worst; I describe him as he is encountered in the full sunshine of normalcy. He may be, on the one hand, a cross-roads idler striving to get into the State Legislature by grace of the local mortgage-sharks and evangelical clergy, or he may be, on the other, the President of the United States. It is almost an axiom that no man may make a career in politics in the Republic without stooping to such ignobility: it is as necessary as a loud voice.
H.L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: An End to Election-rigging in the State that Gave Gerrymander to the English language
We tell ourselves that we live in the world's greatest democracy, one whose government derives its powers from the consent of the governed. In fact we live in nothing of the sort, at least as far as our national legislature is concerned. Thanks to modern gerrymandering, most congressional districts have been turned into a Democratic or Republican monopolies -- constituencies meticulously mapped to lock in one-party supermajorities and guarantee election results long before voters go to the polls.
The Gerrymandering scandal in American politics [ PDF version: Presidential Selection: Electoral Fallacies ]
• · That losing elitist feeling Are Most of Us Destined to Join Life's Losers? [Great Britain of Timothy Ash: Many think intellectuals begin at Calais. But we have them and need them in Britain; Lesser Amerika of Mark Schmitt: On Barbara Ehrenreich and Elites; Elitists repeat that France is in crisis: Even conferences on French national identity outnumber the striptease shows in Paris]
• · · Europe's youngest leader: Czech Prime Minister Stanislav Gross's government took office on 4 August 2004.
• · · · It was a winter's night in Iowa, round about midnight: John Kerry should have been wrapping up a town meeting, but he had decided to go into his I will answer every question mode
• · · · · EVEN as parliament workers moved into the new building at Holyrood last week, the message running round the world is how angry the Scots are about the escalating price, up from £40 to £431 million Almost 11 times the initial estimate; the Sydney Opera House cost only 10 times its original budget. Scottish Parliament: Was it worth it?
• · · · · · · Bear Pit Laboratory: Psychologists try to learn how to spot a liar