BohemiAntipodean Samizdat

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Deciding to remember, and what to remember, is how we describe who we are
-Robert Pinsky

Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. ..
As Baha'u'llah knows this MEdia Dragons is nothing more and nothing less except a blog dedicated to the daily bulldust consisting of news and links. Antony Loewenstein of Counterspin Fame links today to the Age article frontish page about Dusty Bloggers .
I don't consider myself very left-wing at all,says Christopher Shiel. But if you write anything half normal online, you'll be immediately tagged left-wing. The web's swarming with extreme right-wingers waiting to kick the shit out of you.

Eye on Politics & Leadership: Back to the Future, 1997 AD ... Nick Greiner: Dry and Warm
Feeling childhood and leadership nostalgia today so I retyped that 7 years and 7 months old conversation with an Antipodean leader whose roots are Bohemian. When I asked Nick Greiner about his leadership branches and style this is what he shared with me all those years ago when I still walked the corridors of power at the NSW Parliament:
Well, my leadership style was in many ways what the academics call heroic. It was based on intellectual and personal strength. It was not what is now so fashionable: leading from behind and talking to everyone. It really was leading from the front. In many ways I think that to achieve significant systemic change in the public sector in particular, it is almost the only leadership style that works. This is so if you consider leaders who have produced what you might call radical change. The only way to do that is by heroic leadership. Without not intending the word heroic to sound grandiose, I think that this is what leading from the front means.
JI: Is the opposite of heroic sometimes viewed as suicidal?
NG. No. I do not know about the opposite, but some might say it is the same, or perhaps some might say the other side of the same coin. There are other people, for example Mr Howard at the moment, Mr Carr and Mr Fahey, when he was here, who have more of a consultative style, a team style, a ‘do not run ahead of public opinion style’ than I had.
All of that is politically much more successful. However, it is also much less successful at achieving results.

The constituency for change that is you and me and everybody else who wants a car, it is not on our radar screen. It is not an issue for us. And that is the problem repeated many times [she’ll be right on the night’ Nick Greiner ]
• · Mark Latham Unless We Change Now Launch Digesting Golden Medicare Miracle Boy and the spontaneous: Love you, Babe
• · · Laurie Oakes, father of the Press Gallery There is no question about it. John Howard is going ; [Dorothy Dixers Jon Faine has a simple but effective method for dispatching talkback callers he suspects of being political stooges: he'll pull the plug on a switchboard full of calls and take the next lot]
• · · · Newcomers struggle to close wage gap Imrichation and the fears of an underclass
• · · · · US Electoral Vote Predictor Pulse taken Seriously
• · · · · · The Progress Of Counterrevolution: Alienation, Culture, and Labor; [On the Radical Middle: They're pragmatic. They're idealistic. And they're reshaping the future of American politic]

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Never in a pink fit would I have thought that Google would play such a huge part in the Australian election. Well the Queensland Premier Peter Beattie urged the audience to search Google for John Howard non core promises, noting there are 33,000 results. [ There is no result if one places the sentence with quotation marks, just imagine if the surname used happened to be John Wilston Smith ...]
My message today comes straight from the (Google and ) people of Australia. Latham's campaign launch speech :
Fairfax Digital Analysis ;
Fox The Omnipresent Decision Makers So Help Me God

Eye on Local & Global Political Issues: Reality is Back in Political Fashion
A specter is haunting America – the specter of anti-Americanism. All the powers of patriotic America have entered into a corporate alliance to exorcise this specter: draft-deferrers and women-gropers, grammar-challenged and duel-challengers, oil diggers and grave diggers. It is the duty of all upstanding American citizens to fully understand and identify the leading symptoms of anti-Americanism, so that our homes, homeless shelters, reading chambers, torture chambers, chocolate refineries, weapons factories, and places of worship, such as churches, temples, and Wall Street, are completely free from the poison of anti-war sentiment. The patriotic American must save both himself and others from becoming an anti-American American by learning to be an active, honorable, anti-anti-American American. It is with this pressing obligation in mind that the following signs of anti-Americanism have been compiled and exposed.
How to Avoid Becoming an Anti-American ; [Daniel Ellsberg Leaks and truths worth telling; The proliferation of political rights and dilution of corresponding duties United States has a long, sad history of sanctioning murder and torture ; Lawfulness of Interrogation Techniques under the Geneva Conventions ; He Says Jozef, You Say Yusuf, I Say Youssouf ]
• · Matt Liddy's Poll Vault Weblog There are people - quite a few number crunchers, actually, - who want to believe the absolute best and worst about the election night If all stories were written like science fiction stories: How Antony Green votes; Bryan Palmer at Oz Politics is tracking the election odds Scatterplot of Bellwether seats which the apparatchicks do not want you to see
• · · Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts accused President Bush on Monday of making the world a far more dangerous place, calling his handing of the war in Iraq a toxic mix of ignorance, arrogance and stubborn ideology. A mushroom cloud over any American city is the ultimate nightmare, and the risk is all too real
• · · · Leave it to the Washington Post's Dana Milbank to discover that Allawi's rhetoric was not only similar to Bush's, at times it seemed to have been written by the same person. I guess the White House speechwriters are getting a little lazy
• · · · · Robert Goodin: (PDF version) Representing Diversity
• · · · · · Indonesian Susilo Bambang Yudhoyona and the End of Euphoria A number of major tests and taxing times ahead for the next president in his first 100 days of office;
[Tragedy marked the closing of the Paralympics in Athens, when seven Greek schoolchildren were killed in a car accident on their way to the competition.]

Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams.
-Mary Ellen Kelly

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: What They Are Saying About MEdia Dragon: Pre-Emptive Election Launches
Harry S Truman once observed, When you have an efficient government, you have a dictatorship...
First, the exclusive interview: Howard and Latham talk to Crikey. Next, a story about A New South Wales punter who wagered a record $200,000 on John Howard to win a fourth term as prime minister after reading the election analysis by Crikey’s Electioneering Pebble. The betting agency Centrebet advised it was the biggest election bet it had taken, easily eclipsing a $90,000 wager on a Coalition win in 2001.

• Margo Kingston Latham to launch campaign: Will Latham attack on the second front at last? ; [Gregory Altreuter, the blog with great attitude Some Votes Are More Equal than Others]
• · Anything to escape another policy launch: Land of Hope, Return to Sender, Coincidences, Gloria and Policies: Liberal Party Policies; Labour Party Policies Policies ; Democrats Policies ; Greens Policies
• · · Yesterday, the Brissie Courier Monopoly gave Mark Latham the full treatment Dr Ivan Molloy: Candidate Jumping at the Gun Shadows
• · · · Andrew Leigh examines what impact factors such as surname i.e. Imrich, sex, age, income and country of birth have on voting patterns (PDF version) For richer, for poorer ; [For better or for worse Alan (Angry) Anderson , Strict Follower of Fox News and much more begins New Right Wing Blog on the SMH site: The Razor
• · · · · Shine Disinfectant Shine: Road to Surdom Leading Us into Political Temptation Again; [Also note Tim Dunlop writing guest column for Counterspin links to article in The Wall Street Journal (Reg. Req.): All in all, this is one Aussie election that the world will be watching
• · · · · · Michael Beschloss Choosing the most revealing books about the American election process; [Is Voting Worth the Trouble?]
(The moral, if there is one, is to vote out of duty, not self-interest. Why duty? For the simple reason that the more people who vote, the greater the chance of a happy result -- provided that each person is more likely to vote for the superior candidate.)

Another confirmation of a trend Guardian Unlimited has signed up two of the leading political bloggers to each write a weekly column in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election. Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit (a Republican) and Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos (a Democrat) will be added to Guardian Unlimited's coverage of the election
Blogger Talent Moves Up the Media Food Chain

The Blog, The Press, The Media: This Wolf (Dragon) is Real, and Nobody's Listening
In the first clear victory for the blogosphere over the legacy media, the New York Times decides to spend ten pages talking about... Daily Kos, Josh Marshall, and Wonkette. It reads like a blog about bloggers blogging on the
Bloggers Now With More Nudity; Scary thought Journos and bloggers can't live without each other; [Tara Calishain Tells it All: Seven Ways to Save Time Searching How to Peel the Imperfect Onions ; Catalogablog]
• · Democratic political strategist Mike Lux has had it up to here with the media's recent campaign coverage Enough Already
• · · We don't yet know who will win the 2004 election, but we know who has lost it. The American news media have been clobbered The Media, Losing Their Way [ Greg Ransom Sometimes I wonder if we can find our way back ;
Joe Gandelman
• · · · Patti Anklam writes that Reading blogs about blogging by people who are reading blogs about blogging can be a very dizzying exercise Phil Wolff's learning curve progression of the average blogger; (via KM: Ives William [Aussie Cab / Taxi Blogger If I get a little bit of media exposure, it will go off the wall [Broken Link Breakthrough]
• · · · · Anni Dugdale reports on E-governance: democracy in transition ; [14 Steps To Your Business Blog]
• · · · · · I appreciate your courageous pursuit of the facts and I think you are doing important work. My question is this: Have you lost your mind? Iraq War and Journalists: Have you lost your mind? ; [ We need to make room on the bench and give the bloggers a place at the dinner table; The question remains: who's for dinner? Bush's Passion for Secrecy ]

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

What shall we do with the drunken sailor? Laura Tingle observed in yesterday's Australian Financial Review:
Bucketload after bucketload of money came pouring out of the Prime Minister in Brisbane yesterday. [John Howard] started spending at 12.12 pm, and stopped spending at 12.42pm, setting a new land spending record of about $200 million a minute.

Eye on The Eleven Drunken Nights & Sailors Is Something Fishy in the Global Sea?
Court Rules a Horse, or a Whale, Is Not a Vehicle: The state Supreme Court ruled that Pennsylvania's drunken driving law can not be enforced against people on horseback, a decision that inspired the dissenting justice to wax poetic.
Labor is wrong to say John Howard is spending money like a drunken sailor.
No drunk, sailor or otherwise, has ever spent money in such a targeted and calculated way as John Howard has done since the May Budget. He has gone after value for money, real dollars that make a significant difference to selected recipients, and not modest tax cuts that are so easily spent and forgotten, or derided as a sandwich and milkshake.
Sunday's campaign launch in Brisbane was audacious but not profligate. It's not reckless to spend $12 billion if the money exists. And even less so if you plan to raise $17 billion more than you intend to spend over the next four years, over and above the election giveaways. That's Treasury's estimate based on current economic growth rates continuing into the future.

PM a Cunning Captain, not a Drunken Sailor; [Counterspin: They are working the system because they think they own the system; Family First set to put Labor last S(i)x Billion Ways - How to Make Love to Voting Cards ]
• · Much as Rather sacrificed journalism to politics, Larry Tribe may have sacrificed scholarship to politics God Save This Honorable Court
• · · Tobacco industry lawyer Robert Northrip I helped tobacco firm destroy documents: lawyer ; [via The best appellate blogger in the world Howard Bashman of How Appealing Fame By the way, How Appealing has a sponsor: LexisNexis (This is the librarian talking ... No one can get better sponsors than Howard; and from now on history will be kind not only to Howard but also the spinoff - Media Dragon - smile)]
• · · · Next week Newsweek Blogged Yesterday They Dress to Express: Political T shirts--on the right and the left--pit teenagers against their school administrators ; [Having caught the scent of a juicy story from the MSM (mainstream media) to bite into, the bloggers were waiting to pounce like a pack of hounds behind the butcher shop The Bloggers: How to knock down a story ]
• · · · · Henry Kisor On one page, nine naked (full frontal naked!) Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court
• · · · · · Justice Is Blind: A Reader's Guide to the Vanity Fair Article Underneath Their Robes: Legitimacy of the 2000 election and the Court's credibility

Excessive secrecy cripples everyone's ability to act by hiding government mistakes and corruption. Hence public knowledge is not inimical to national security, but integral to it.
-Nick Schwellenbach

Tracking Trends Great & Small: Secrets
Whistleblowers have become a fact of life - a seeming necessity - in our democracy. The most famous of them, Daniel Ellsberg, is touring Oregon this week to speak on behalf of what he feels is a vital part of the democratic conscience.
Ellsberg gained fame, as well as criminal charges that could have placed him in prison for 115 years, for making public in 1971 the Pentagon Papers, which awakened the nation to the illegality of the war in Vietnam.
I've gained insights into the psyche and courage of whistleblowers through correspondence with Ellsberg the past year.

Greatest Whistleblower's Message Still Rings True; [Secrecy is expensive. Over the same period the amount of taxpayer dollars spent on classification increased nearly $2 billion, to $6.5 billion annually Government Secrecy Grows out of Control]
• · The Unforeseen Fruits of Hope Proud to be a Dead Armadillo: There's nothing in the middle of the road but a yellow line and dead armadillos; [Charles Krauthammer: The Art Of Losing Armadillos: Of all our allies in the world, which is the only one to have joined the United States in the foxhole in every war in the past 100 years? Not Britain, not Canada, certainly not France... [ The answer is Australia ]
• · · If the United States can produce the best scientists, the most gold medal winning athletes, the greatest business minds and the hottest rock and roll, there is no reason we shouldn't have the best world class killers, ninjas, wet work specialists and dedicated sociopaths as well This is the essence of cold revenge, terror against terror, but 100% targeted and, when performed professionally, absolutely safe for innocent bystanders; [Hamas Official Killed in Syria ]
• · · · Around eighty papers are available online. Topics range from waterfront developments, public transport and telecommunications to spatial inequality, parklands and sustainability State of Australian cities; [Australian Oral Health Alliance Call for action: oral teething problems ]
• · · · · Vivendi Universal (France), Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux (France), Bouygues-Saur (France), RWE-Thames (Germany) and Bechtel-United Utilities (US) have become the water barons who are taking over public utilities Just as we fought wars over oil, so will we fight wars over water by The Awakened Women
• · · · · · Both Parties See a Big Increase in New Voters ; [Swiss authorities have hailed as a success what they say is the world's first binding internet vote in a national referendum ]

Monday, September 27, 2004

Every saucy rumour spread by a certain teasing governor at the NSW Parliamentary Library would always carry a preamble: I deny I told you this story ... (smile) Blogjams, Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans ... is almost a decade young and is aimed at the youngest at heart. It is a thoughtful work of Malcolm Farnsworth, a secondary school teacher from Loreto Mandeville Hall in Melbourne, Australia Hall of Political Education
On Saturday, 9 October, more than 400 000 newly-enrolled young Australians will exercise their democratic right to vote for the very first time. One enterprising student - voting for the first time in the seat of Melbourne, and wanting to make the most informed choice possible - decided to invite all the local candidates to speak at a student-led forum

Eye on Who Sits In Whose Seat: Litmus, Bellwether, Beltways etc...
Litmus seat. There’s a sense of excitement to those words. Not only do they imply a vote-magnifying pull - an electorate in the balance - but they also suggest the tantalising possibility of foreseeing our political future. A Damoclean sword hangs suspended over the sleepy burgh of Eden-Monaro… but its victim is yet to be decided. Since 1972, the party that has held this seat has also wound up in government.
• Only in Quantum Politics: Spinning While Standing Still The litmus seat of Eden-Monaro [Election at the Margins Pendulum Gallery]
• · Australia's forgotten people: Ever since Bob Hawke’s ‘no child living in poverty’ gaffe, Australian politicians have zealously avoided mentioning or making commitments to reduce poverty Rebuilding the Ladder of Opportunity or Financial Hardship; [We cannot get southern politicians to take us more seriously than a Big Wet Dream Old-fashioned democracy and the Big Wet Dream ]
• · · There, in the basement of her dreams Natasha Cica found the G Spot ; [America's reputation as spot of the free is looking increasingly tarnished]
• · · · Political Lessons Malcolm Mackerras on the Senate, always required reading; [Bloody Obvious Award Every politician cries that their political enemies play dirty ]
• · · · · Life of the party Mark Latham has reshaped Labor and its policies in line with his own image and vision
• · · · · · Counterpunch, Jeffrey St. Clair on Life and Crimes of George W. Bush (series); [Christopher Hill: (PDF version) Superstate or Superpower? The future of the European Union in world politics ; The end of the Russian Federation?; The butcher of Beslan How did the Chechens and Russians come to despise each other? ]

Next 12 Days on the Political Cartoons Trail
Masquerade parties and the trickery of branding political parties
As Paul Keating once remarked, if there's a horse in the race called self-interest, back it because you know it will go flat out...(from the Webdiary commentariat)
Acording to Margo Kingston of Webdiary fame it's the Coalition by almost 12
The new-era heros and battlers defined by the Prime Minister. Now $6 billion for Howard's heroes: Australia should never be a nation defined by class or envy, but rather a nation united by mateship and achievement 12000,000,000 divided by 2 = 6000,000,000

Eye on Shakespeare's 12th Night and the Asterois Toutatis (Watch) Dressing down the Donkey: Kith and kin rather than Kath and Kim
First thing first, the observant Guido of Rank and Vile fame says everything we want to say about politics and donkeys
Don't say who told you, but the bellwether seats will be the real climax of this election...
Although Eden-Monaro is Australia’s best-known bellwether seat, the NSW electorate of Macarthur has acted as a bellwether for much longer – back to 1949, when it was first created. David Burchell visits Macarthur and finds an electorate that seems relaxed and comfortable about another three years of Coalition government...
Election Sound Bites Counter Spinned: Less Than Fortnight To Go [Many of Shakespeare’s plays analyse the chaotic and brutal politics of his times by looking at historical parallels, but he also analyses human relationships, giving people a guide to living with each other during a period of history when many traditional values had been overturned Love Lessons in 12th Night; Astonishing amount of untruths The Conventions of Shakespearean Political Comedy ]
• · Landslide, cliffhanger or oblivion - the polls can't decide [More than 12 out of 12? ; Fearless Robert Corr]
• · · Last but not least Poll Vault Post by Nadia ]
• · · · Judith Brett teaches politics at La Trobe University and is the author of Australian Liberals and the Moral Middle Class The Liberal Party should not be surprised that at 11th Hour 12th doctors' wives are turning against it; [Australian Prospect Corruption of the polis ]
• · · · · Greens on the Wild Side Creative energies are being ploughed into a plethora of new websites as the anti-Howard campaign gathers steam ahead of the October 9 federal election
• · · · · · The bellwether electorates APO REPORTS AND ARTICLES ON ELECTION ISSUES [Arts Policy Multidimentional Perspective Just Alive or Dead? ]

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Janka Wendt and the X factor among the Swinging Voters; On a light note Inspirational Election Message for the Younger Voters
As always, I am going out on a limb and predicting an extra two independents (including minor parties) in the Senate; House of the People will consist of 6 independents (including minor parties); Coalition 74 and ALP 70.

Eye on the Lucky Country and Its 13 Days Ahead: Taking a Shot at Both Parties
Lned me your ear: The publishing industry is in high gear this election season, with piles of political books for sale
Readers of MauledAgain know that I don't hesitate to criticize politicians, no matter their party, and that I consider the traits of the politician to be far more important in evaluating a vote than the politician's party affiliation. For me, We must elect more [Democrats/Republicans/whatever] is a distraction from the questions that need to be asked.
Complex Simplicity and Simple Complexity ; [Prof Maul ]
• · All that gloom and doom may explain why the political satire is suddenly hot again in the literary world, and several new offerings from well-known authors are testing the limits of dark comedy concerning world events Laughing To Keep From Crying: The Banality of the Spinners
• · · The Road to the Police State An overhaul of traffic infringements - more than tripling some fines and increasing demerit points - Roads Minister, Carl Scully, introducing a fairer system
• · · · The Rocky Love Love boat allegations ripple among MPs ; Penny Wise: Frank Lowy
• · · · · The Cost of Big Greek Wedding Soviet Style Sussex Street Affair
• · · · · · The Price of Political Divorce Michael Coutts-Trotter's new commercial gig

Friday, September 24, 2004

The remarkable thing about television is that it permits several million people to laugh at the same joke and still feel lonely.
- T.S. Elliot.

Some writers so capture the soul and spirit of a people that they are identified with them forever after. In England, it was Charles Dickens, in the United States, it was Mark Twain. In Australia it was Patrick White. For the Slavic nations, and to some extent for all Central Europeans, it is the Czech writer, Jaroslav Hasek. Hasek - a drunk, a roustabout, a wanderer, and at times a full and eager accomplice of Gypsy con artistries - set his comedic odyssey in the midst of the First World War. His odyssey functions as a satire of the war, the leaders, and the army. Hasek delivers a knock-out blow against the System, the Powers-That-Be, hypocrisy and military service written as serials so that Hasek could milk more money from them. Hasek died 81 years ago, at the early age of 39, so every imagination can dictate the end!

His novel was christened as the Bad Bohemian Beer Lover, but now is better known as the Good Soldier Jozef Svejk (Not many languages create Sh sound with S and a simple the hook Sˇ. As a result, there are many versions of the title: Josef Schweik, Schwejk, Shveik, or Shveyk)
. Svejk is pronounced like Shvake and rhymes with shake; (Shake with the inserted v for Vrbov) and they say, So, now you're ready to Svejk and shake!
My childhood outdoor dunny, behind the Catholic church in Vrbov, was plastered with images of the Good Soldier Jozef Svejk. However, most observant tourists are bombarded with Jozef’s omnipresent face on beermats in almost every pub in Prague.
Svejkovat, to svejk has since become a common Czech word. Svejking is the method for surviving svejkarna, which is a situation or institution of systemic absurdity requiring the employment of svejking for one to survive and remain untouched by it.

The good soldier Svejk is anything but; a genial ne'er-do-well, Svejk does any and all he can to avoid actually arriving at the front, missing trains, deliberately misunderstanding orders, dodging blockhead officers, anything at all to keep himself safe and undermine as much as possible the equally blockheaded war efforts. At the time, the Czech peoples were under the rule of the Habsburg Empire, had little to no urge to fight for their gilded masters in Vienna, and Svejkism became a kind of term for the Czech's passive-aggressive resistance. Svejk is a common footsoldier - an everyman - who frankly would rather have a beer than fight.
Like the Good Soldier Jozef Svejk, Homer Simpson is a simple little man, ill-equipped to be thrown into the front line of large historical, commercial and political events.
Like the Amerikan Homer, Jozef was a man who never lived, yet who went further in defining the Czechs in the 20th century than perhaps anyone else.

So dip into Svejk at and soak the story for a long time by placing the book conveniently somewhere in the bathroom. Reread and laugh out loud ... Study closely the way the most famous of Czech literary character effectively talks himself into being arrested by a secret policeman, and is later sent to the war front.

In the world dominated by power, Svejk is an underdog, the object of manipulation and coercion by inimical social forces that constantly threaten his very existence. Yet, despite the tremendous odds against him, he passes through all the dangers unharmed. Svejk's mythical invincibiliity makes him a modern "epic hero" with whom his compatriots identify and of whose exploits they talk because they see in him "a modem Saint George, the hero of a saga of a single mind's triumph over the hydra of Authority, Regime, and System-of the mind disguised as feeblemindedness in the war with Absurdity in the guise of Wisdom and Dignity-the sense of Nonsense against the nonsense of Sense. And though, to an outsider, next to the spectacular stunts of ancient heroes Svejk's feat-his survival achieved through his own doing, without any embarrassing compromises with those in power-might seem rather trifling, the historical experience of a small nation sandwiched between Germany and Russia suggests to a Czech reader that it also might be an absolute miracle.

Svejk is found to be perfectly fit to serve - revealing the representatives of the system to be even more hare-brained than Svejk pretends to be. Thus, the irony and paradox. It is precisely that sort of scene that generations of Czechs have come to adore: subversive humour and a quiet thumbing of one's nose at authority behind its back. Many would say that it is a typical Czech characteristic, retained after suffering centuries of imposed rule under the Austrians.

And so they've killed our Ferdinand ," says Svejk's charwoman, in the famous line that opens the novel, describing the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo, 1914. Svejk, busy massaging his knees for rheumatism responds: "Which Ferdinand, Mrs Muller? I know two. One is a messenger at Prusa's, the chemist's, who once drank a bottle of hair oil there by mistake. And the other is Ferdinand Kokoska who collects dog manure. Neither of them is any loss."

That, in a nutshell, is Svejk: good-humouredly going about his business, oblivious to the gravity of matters at hand. Instead he tells us absurd stories about characters in ridiculous situations, forcing us right away to question his intelligence ...
Last year, in 2003 AD, at Prague's NATO summit a man dressed as the Good Soldier and using Svejk's typical crutches to support himself, appeared at an anti-alliance protest, shouting at the top of his voice: To Baghdad, Mrs Muller, to Baghdad..., showing just how deep the character is etched on the common psyche in Prague.

Svejk is a Czechoslovakian Miracle...a masterpiece about a hero who has not the reputation of Alexander the Great or Napoleon...but somehow surpasses all the famous historical personalities ... In doing the bare minimum to be considered competent, we see the nature of Czech resistance to Austro-Hungarian (and later, Soviet) authority - as Havel put it some fifty years later, it is the power of the powerless - subverting authority from within while seemingly going along with the grandious designs of the ruling elite.

Svejk represents one of the most unique and successful survival strategies ever conceived by man. He helped me to survive the Czechoslovak Kommunist Army, the Iron Curtain crossing, and the Bear Pit of the NSW Parliament and irony is part of my taxing time as the Media Dragon.

Joseph Heller, confessed on his deathbed that if it weren’t for his having read The Good Soldier Svejk he would never had written his American novel Catch 22...
Today in Amerika Homer Simpson is one of the most credible portraits in any art form of an ordinary man, your average Joe Sixpack, not undeserving of comparison with Hasek's Good Soldier Schweik.

Homer is gross - obese, obtuse, lazy, thick-headed, beer loving and close to illiterate. He has a voracious craving for junk food (mostly doughnuts, pork rinds and cheeseburgers) and even junkier television. (I wanna shake of the dust of this one-horse town. I wanna explore the world. I wanna watch TV in a different time zone.) he is a bad neighbour, a sore loser and an atrocious parent. (Lisa, if the Bible has taught us nothing else - and it hasn't - it's that girls should stick to girls' sports like hot-oil wrestling and foxy boxing and such and such.)
He is not just a controversial moral logician (Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen) but a creature deficient in anything remotely resembling a social conscience. (When Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the Indian-born and illegally resident operator of the Kwik-E-Mart convenience store, risks being deported in the wake of a new anti-immigration law, Homer attempts to console him: Oh my God. I got so swept up in the scapegoating and fun of Proposition 24, I never stopped to think it might affect someone I cared about. You know what, Apu, I am really, really gonna miss you.) it has even been hinted that he is afflicted with appalling BO.

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Simpsons Generation: The third generation of the Good Soldier Schweik
They know that you cannot trust any one source. They know that you cannot trust a particular interview. Rather what they want to know is what’s the story behind the story. So they’re looking for truth and they’re looking for it in irreverent means.
The beauty of The Simpsons, and it’s unique, The Simpsons, because it’s been the most popular show for the last ten years or so, is that it reveals the truth behind society. It tells things as they are, and these people are clever enough to be able to work with those layers of sophistication.

Alternative path to political media; [ The Chaser Decides ]
• · Mr Latham must start to see personal questions for what they are, not hand grenades but pieces of trivia. He needs to rise above it all, because the media never will. Latham in danger of developing persecution complex
• · · Poll Vault Pollies cashed up as costings row erupts
• · · · Ariadne Vromen & Nick Turnbull Where do the Greens fit in Election 2004?
• · · · · Nature: A personality trait has been identified that seems to predict whether people will vote or engage in politics
• · · · · · Getting out the vote: One professor insists upon it [ What kind of **** would fire an employee for driving to work in a car with a John Kerry bumper sticker?]

Thursday, September 23, 2004

According to Roy and HG, the electoral hopes of the Liberal party have been revived this week, after the perennially unreliable analyst forecasted a victory for the Labour party. In 2001 certain forcasts of the Howard Government's death were a little premature ...
A Tale of two Election Pebbles: the public servant with the ABC, Antony Green, predicts Labour to Win , while the academic with the Defence Academy, Professor Malcolm Mackerras, crystal-balls Coalition victory. Ach, I came across a rather mischievious, yet colourful election, observation by Malcolm Mackerras, who suspects that on a national scale the pink vote has absolutely no significance at all ...
[As with everything election-related, the Mackerras pendulum page draws everyone to the roots of all the good old meanings and evil definitions: psepho-, pseph- (Greek > Latin: pebble/pebbles, stone/stones; election; magical vote)]

Eye on the Date with Destiny 9 October: Commentariat: Psephologist, Media Tragons and Election Night Munchkins (Magicians)
Political analysts and commentators come out of the woodwork during elections so Crikey is going to list every single one of them that pops up on a semi-regular basis over the coming six weeks. You have journalists, pollsters, academics, former staffers, former pollies and the like all clamouring to give their point of view.
Tracking the Commentariat as they finish with their pants up
• · Ross Gittins It is impossible to predict how any opposition would govern the country
• · · David Starkoff’s blog Poor Man's Antony Green: No sign of landslides
• · · · Explosive found in Sydney jet: report; [American blogger of Simply Apalling fame posts long story A Tale of Two Hostages: Act I, II, and III ]
• · · · · NSW Premier Bob Carr escapes by skin of his teeth but commission has done its job ; Bob Carr takes aim at Hardie's ; The man is a political genius: That's a matter for the Party Secretariat
• · · · · · I lived only a pebble throw away from the Wilston railway station for couple of years Queensland - corrupt one day, not much better the next. Or 20 years later. The old nexus between politicians, coppers and the meeja in the Sunshine State may have changed since Tony Fitzgerald shone his torch into some of its darker corners, but it still works in much the same way

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Olivers education takes centre stage

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Only time will tell where the pendulum will finally rest
‘once upon a time, Election Day was the most significant communal occasion in American life.
According to Curtis Gans, director of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, the data are "unequivocal" in showing that easy absentee voting doesn't boost turnout. It isn't lack of time that keeps so many Americans from voting. It's lack of interest. Citizens who care about elections will always find a way to vote. Citizens who don't care aren't likely to vote no matter how much they are coaxed and begged to do so. It's time to stop the coaxing and begging, and to restore the significance that Election Day used to have.

• Jeff Jacoby: Declining importance of Election Day [Burning Bushes A reader's juicy guide to Kitty Kelley's The Family; Putin Car Tied To Bomb Plot Linked To Chechen: Suspect Beaten to Death]
• · Election 2004: To Catch a Thief Everybody hit the streets!; [ John Kerry Must (Again) Make Love, Not War]
• · · Bush Team Knows How To Play the Media in Spy Crime Cover-Up
• · · · Alyosha from The Brothers Karamozov. Problem is, he wears a dress. A monk’s robe, really, but it’s still a little over the top in a president. And he’s very emotional Of all the fictional characters you know, which one is made of solid, presidential stock?
• · · · · The ideology and politics of the Australian Greens
• · · · · · Great Britain Look who's on a real roll now Liberal Democrats are doing better than at any time in 20 years

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Fifteen years after the Wall came down, there are still two Germanies.
Governor of Australia glues the nation with his colourful Election blogam Are we there yet?

Eye on Politics & Election Stacking: Claims and counter-claims envelop defence debate
The defence policies of both political parties are attracting attention both locally and overseas.
Labor released its defence policy and has promised to increase the size of the Australian Army.
The Government unveiled a plan to step up the fight against terrorism in the region, using specialist teams of Australian Federal Police (AFP) that could be sent to work in neighbouring countries and John Howard has reiterated his view that as prime minister he would launch an attack in a neighbouring country against terrorist groups.

Defensive Policies [As seen at Poll Vault ]
• · So God said: go to NSW and create poll floods [PDF version of the Australian Electoral Commission Group Preferences for Senate and Nile]
• · · Tony Windsor offered a diplomatic posting if he agreed not to stand again and the cleaning contractor for the closed Orange Grove factory outlet and Labor operative, Sam Bargshoon I branchstacked for Latham says ALP heavy
• · · · A new politics and the culture of fear Christopher Selth
• · · · · One and Only Pauline Hansome Rope
• · · · · · Papa McGuinness Left-leaning Pisa hacks sprayed

Selling off family photo albums and silver Data obtained by The Daily Telegraph under Freedom of Information shows 82 individual sales of school and TAFE propertiesData obtained by The Daily Telegraph under Freedom of Information shows 82 individual sales of school and TAFE properties and other assets owned by the Education Department

Tracking Policies & Investigative Stories: Run For Your Life
Quique is one of an estimated nine million people who have embarked on an epic and illicit journey, leaving behind homes and families in Central America for an uncertain future 5000 kilometres away, in a place they call "El Norte".
With just $100 between them, Quique and his three friends will join one of history’s greatest migrations ... the human wave seeking a better life in the United States.
In order to depict this river of humanity, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation follows Quique and his friends with a film crew and light weight cameras ... not to assist them but simply to record these young men running for their lives.
To reach their goal, Quique and his friends must travel "el tren de la muerte" (the train of death), survive murderous gangs and evade corrupt Mexican police. They must then pay unscrupulous people smugglers to enable them to cross the almost impenetrable border into the United States ... a border that many have died attempting to cross.

I accepted so that people can see how much we suffer on the road ... To take this road is not good because many fall. Many die there [Swimming for your life ]
• · Find out Who were the Fallen in Iraq?
• · · Four Corners Beating the Black Dog
• · · · Merchants of Passion One housewife at a time
• · · · · Putting Putin in Perspective via Prague-born-’n-bred Pazderka: Beslam is not Bethleham according to Czech View
• · · · · · Tax Break Bringing Businesses, and Fraud, to the Virgin Islands

Monday, September 20, 2004

Australian history is almost always picturesque; indeed, it is also so curious and strange, that it is itself the chiefest novelty the country has to offer and so it pushes the other novelties into second and third place. It does not read like history, but like the most beautiful lies; and all of a fresh new sort, no mouldy old stale ones. It is full of surprises and adventures, the incongruities, and contradictions, and incredibilities; but they are all true, they all happened.
Mark Twain, More Tramps Abroad, London, 1897
Leaders Debate: How Australian? ; After the debate rivers of gold flow in the battle for the city of exiles

Eye on October Revolutionary Election, Now Less than Half C(h)ampaign Full When politicians lie: reflections on truth, politics and patriotism
In this essay for the GR’s Addicted to Celebrity edition, Raimond Gaita argues that the “cynical expectation that politicians will lie to protect their party or their own careers” reveals “how impoverished our life with the language of politics has become”. The consequences of this debasement are profound and stir intense feelings.
Raimond Gaita in Griffith REVIEW ; [An address to the Special Operations Command Senior Leadership Group on 8 September 2004, by Aldo Borgu Future directions in terrorism: implications for Australia; Indonesia’s struggle is also our challenge, argues Greg Barton, author of a new book on Jemaah Islamiyah ]
• · Capital Ls Liberal's attacks on Latham's Liverpool council record ; [ Mark Latham A stranger unto himself; Bernard Slattery on easing the squeeze ]
• · · Priest with Guts: The fact that Sydney's west has again become a political battleground is good news for residents who can look forward to having Detective Sergeant Tim Priest back on the beat ; [The specter of Grove I believe the answer is contained in the material that I have tabled; Orange Grove of Gazal]
• · · · Federal election: minor political parties in the centre - Armadillos ; [ The pundits say the Coalition will win. Rod Tiffen isn’t so sure]
• · · · · How Many Electooral Scandals Are Enough?
• · · · · · Welcome to the World of E-Voting Internet starting to scare the horses Ready or Not (and Maybe Not), Electronic Voting Goes National ; [Flogging a dead horse Pauline Hanson is history – but it’s a history worth remembering, says David Burchell]

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Byelection at Dubbo Death of an Independent MP, Tony McGrane;

Elections: Rubber can be mightier than the pencil: Pen Is, in fact, Mighty!
A concern that has been regularly raised by political parties, members, Senators and candidates is the level of mail returned unclaimed from mailings to electors.
Significant levels of returned mail from mailings, if generated from the most recent AEC-provided enrolment data, is rightly of concern. Alleged levels of mail returned unclaimed from mailings to electors prior to the election have also been subject to some public comment as indicative of gross inaccuracies in the roll used for the election or of possible attempts to place significant numbers of fraudulently enrolled persons on the roll for particular target Divisions. One wonders what is the percentage in 2004 of the mail returned unclaimed category. I had a brief contractual affair with the AEC in mid 90s and I must admit I was impressed by the Australian electoral system. The vote early and often method is almost impossible to put into practice and the regular knocking on doors (even drug dens) in order to verify the current occupancy was rather thorough. I also worked on the election day at the Bellevue Hill booths and I gathered that chances of anyone fiddling with the ballot papers were minimal. Still, my recommendation was that a pen rather than a pencil be used. (Ach, that recommendation did not go down too well). Still if a professional locksmith, or a cleaning contractor or the real estate agent (landlord) of the building wanted to be mischevious the opportunities are there for the seal of the electoral boxes to be broken. I doubt that anyone less paranoid than a good old Eastern European would actually detect anything unusual.
Political Party Rubber might be be mightier than the electoral pencil or unclaimed mail

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Street Fighting Men: Delving Into Democracy's Shadows
The sociologist Michael Mann took a detour from his epic study of power in human history. It led him straight to the horrors at the center of modern life.
In Fascists, Mr. Mann contends that the rise of right-wing authoritarian movements between the world wars can best be understood as, in effect, nation-statism forging not a cage but a concentration camp.
The culprit in genocide is not democracy, but a form of politics that uses words similar to [those employed by] democrats, but in a different semantic sense.

The Grid and the Cage [Everywhere the S-word wreaks havoc. Iraqi terrorists kill hundreds of Americans and Iraqis to protest infringement of sovereignty by the Great Satan. Africans massacre other Africans because European-imposed "sovereign" borders clash with tribal allegiances. Violating 'Sovereignty': Questioning a Concept's Long Reign ]
• · Canterbury tales: Young Howard travelled to Kommunist Poland in sexy sixties where he had an interlude with a young Catholic woman in Warsaw Stubborn, methodical and always strategic, there would only ever be one career for John Howard ; [ Some of the juicier election snippets courtesy of Crikey]
• · · Sunday with Janka Wendt: Interview: Mark Latham ; [ Webdiary: Future shock: the ideology of Mark Latham ]
• · · · Sunday continues: Swinging voters: week 3
• · · · · Carr's history-making date with ICAC ; Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers Mr Merritt, who has been seen behind the wheel of a Rolls-Royce bearing the number plates THANKU, formerly ran Merritt Madden printing in Alexandria before retiring to the high life of the Southern Highlands. That company is now managed by the wife of the NSW Premier, Bob Carr, who by all accounts prefers to be known as Helena
[Members were given back-of-the-envelope calculations Belmont Golf Club and the developer, Terrace Tower ]
• · · · · ·
The first is our history. Czechs have always been subjects of a larger multinational structure, be it the Roman, Habsburg, Nazi or communist empires. The fact that we have always been subjugated meant that we never learned the art of self-rule. Furthermore, when we did try to strike out on our own (as in 1938 and 1968), the world looked the other way and we paid a heavy price. That's why in 1989 we chose the easy way out. Instead of confronting the past, our dissidents drafted a compromise with the ruling communists, in which the latter merely transformed themselves into a capitalist mafia without relinquishing control. There was no true revolution, since freedom doesn't equal true democracy. This simple but ignored fact explains comments such as Nothing has really changed.
Czech Kommunism Revisited: In the wisecracking words of comedian Jay Leno, politics is just show business for ugly people: Gross’ Political Advertising and Gross' dubious sex appeal; [Gross’ Police in new scandal as anti-mob officer accused of gang links ]

Egan creating constitutional crisis: The federation is at risk because of unfair cuts to state grants
The way Peter Costello was talking about the GST, it has been transformed from tax pariah to godsend

Invisible Hands & Markets: Young entrepreneurs not afraid of risk
If ever there were an archetypal successful young entrepreneur, make-up artist Napoleon Perdis would have to be it.
Passionate? Check. Lateral thinker? Check. Cowboy? Czech!
This week, Perdis made BRW's Young Rich List - a showcase of nearly 100 of Australia's self-made entrepreneurs aged 40 and under. But unlike many more established multimillionaires, Perdis, 34, did not amass his $20 million through property, media, mining or industry. Instead, he saw a gap in the market for women's cosmetics, waved goodbye to his parents' fish and chip shop and started selling Napoleon Perdis lipstick, mascara and eyeshadow.

• BHP Billiton did not start in somebody's garage At the end of the day I started with nothing, so if I end up with nothing it doesn't matter
• · Justice Hill v Greg Ward Not earth-shattering, but certainly rare, and worth reading Millionaire Factory vs the tax man
• · · Monkeys v Gorillas: Exec salaries: it's all about not looking cheap

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Deal or not Deal ... Deeeeaaal!
Ach, the Undecideds as well as Decided Ladies and Gentlemen, The Australian Electoral Commission proudly presents Candidates and Parties by state
While the ABC provides an alphabetical list of candidates
[Please note details for the Division of Gellibrand are not available at present due to an injunction in the Federal court]
The Greens are expected to win somewhere close to 6-7 per cent, but to fall short of victory because Labor and the Liberals/Nationals will not allocate them preferences. The Democrats' vote will plummet - so even if they do receive the preferences of the major parties they may not be able to hold John Cherry's seat This means Hanson, (One Nation Senator Len) Harris and the Nationals' Barnaby Joyce will be vying for the final position; Czech out the colourful politics of the most joked about town: Gympie

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: An Exegesis of the Media Dragon
behold, a great red dragon.
Revelation 12:3

The media dragon is not the problem.
The dragon appeared over our City one day, like a medieval apparition. The photos and newsreels of the dragon’s initial devastation have been widely disseminated: two entire boroughs in ruins, balls of napalm flaming down, a jagged skyline of charred teeth, ashy outlines of human remains. What the photos cannot convey is the visceral terror, the sense of irrevocable rupture, a miasma of charred flesh like a greasy fog.
We believe the authorities have manipulated fear of the dragon into a climate of hysteria. The threat has been wildly exaggerated. In point of fact, it is still possible to stroll unmolested in many neighborhoods, free of the odor of cinders and without fear of imminent incineration. That the dragon has been relatively quiescent of late is evidence the authorities have vastly overstated the danger...
All of the authorities’ statements about the dragon are suspect. They say the dragon is evil, but we prefer to interpret the dragon through the reigning dialectic, which is more subtle and takes a long time. The dragon does not share our values, and is simply doing what dragons do.

True, it is given to overwrought statements of its intent to lay waste the entire City, to cauterize our souls and winnow the money-lenders and initiate a millennium of fire; the dragon suffers from an acute lack of irony [A bottom-pinching Dragoness]
• · Bible-based Ballot Family First: Launched in South Australia two years ago, they already have an upper house member in that state; [Devout Catholic writer, Mike Steketee: Fretful candidates feeling a bit Green
• · · You toss true believers enough red meat, they start acting like predators How vulnerable are we to electoral rorting?
• · · · Kicking 'em While They're Down
• · · · · Vladimir Putin, the aspiring dictator of Russia, has forced President Bush to reveal how committed he really is to the cause of democracy around the world KGB agent at heart, Vladimir (Iljich) Putin is cynically using the horrific terrorist attack in Beslan as his excuse
• · · · · · Iraq war allies rebuff UN chief Key states who joined the US-led invasion of Iraq have rejected claims by the United Nations secretary general that the war was illegal

Friday, September 17, 2004

Political Sorrow
Sorrow comes in great waves—no one can know that better than you—but it rolls over us, and though it may almost smother us it leaves us on the spot, and we know that if it is strong we are stronger, inasmuch as it passes and we remain. It wears us, uses us, but we wear it and use it in return; and it is blind, whereas we after a manner see.
Henry James, letter to Grace Norton, July 28, 1883

It was the Slavic sorrow which created characters like Vaclav Havel. May sorrow show us the way on the web. So go directly to Ken Parish who compiled another list of Election Blogs ; Maiden, Hansard, study of Political Sorrows

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Urban Magicians
Have you ever wondered what makes us cling so tenaciously to our beliefs - not just religious beliefs or belief in a political ideology but any little insignificant belief, such as belief in urban legends or the belief in the superiority of one brand over others of equal or better quality? We hold on to beliefs as if they were cherished possessions, like trinkets that have sentimental value but no practical use.
Seeing people climb on George Washington's nose and hang from the eyebrows of Teddy Roosevelt formed my eternal image of America, with all of its grandeur and illusion ...

My American dream [Nowadays, in a choice historical irony, they are under assault from the cultural left Undercuting appeals to prejudice, hierarchy and custom ]
• · Vaclav Havel was always close to my heart @ Eastern Europe we get even closer (smile) My Austrio-Australian Dream (Kafka, Klima and mmmmmwwwwwaaaa; thanks Mr Havel); The good, the bad and the ugly, in order!
• · · JIM DICKINS and LINDA SILMALIS Carr's unbeatable jackpot: NSW Government is earning hundreds of millions of dollars through the state's hotel gambling industry in property leases, taxes and even a direct percentage of the takings from poker machines (Elsewhere: Premier Bob Carr said his government would introduce legislation forcing politicians' staff members to reveal all their income sources.
• · · · MI6 A TEAM of undercover security guards are patrolling Sydney's railway network dressed as surfies, businessmen and office workers to target political troublemakers ...
• · · · · Political Blogging
• · · · · · Antony Loewenstein keeps Kounter-Spinning the Electoral Mews

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Australian Greens tax and revenue policy
The Australian Greens say they aim to use taxation to achieve social equity and environmental sustainability.
The exact make-up of the next Federal Parliament could have a strong bearing on taxation

Eye on Politics & Media Bias: Media bias

A Roy Morgan poll released today provides insightful results on people's perception of media bias.
The press release reads:
Australians are very critical of the media being often biased, with 86% of Australians saying Newspaper journalists are often biased, 75% of Australians said Talk-back radio announcers were often biased and 73% TV reporters and journalists, a special Morgan Poll finds.
Of Newspaper journalists, Andrew Bolt (3.5%) was most often mentioned by Australians as being often biased, followed by Piers Akerman (3%) and Miranda Devine (1.5%). Ray Martin (6%) and Kerry O'Brien (4.5%) were the most frequently mentioned TV reporters or journalists who were often biased, along with Laurie Oakes (2%) and Richard Carlton (1%).
Talk-back 'giants' John Laws and Alan Jones topped the list, mentioned by 28.5% (37% in NSW) and 26% (41.5% in NSW) of Australians respectively. The results also record a significant drop in trust for politicians. Only 9% believe that Federal MPs are trust-worthy.
A number of questions remain, however. Do people mind that their media commentators are biased if they're simply reinforcing existing prejudice? What exactly can be defined as objective journalism? And perhaps most importantly, how much election material interpreted by journalists is even vaguely believed by the reading public?

Counter Spin (15 September 2004) [We all know that magicians trick us by distracting us -- shift our attention in one direction while they work their magic in the other. Is that the case in these American and Australian elections? ]
• · See Also Obsession with economic track record and bowls of spaghetti: Magicians at work
• · · School Policy from the Age and Young Bloggers Greg Hywood in today's Age. [Rob Corr; Ken Parish; Chris Sheil]
• · · · Literary Gem, Gianna Should we talk elections? Come to Mama and much more...
• · · · · Latham Cut the greed, Latham warns top executives: 66.6 per cent pay rise for Qantas directors
• · · · · · Liverpool Live: Tragic Comedy Land sale not linked to site approval: Gazal

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

An Australian logistics team has left for Iraq to assist efforts to secure the release of two Australian hostages

Yet another thoughtful counter spin and marginal sidewalk along the Bloggeauvard of Dementia
Also this request from Anton and Tim who are gathering questions we would like our leaders to answer. We'll get a collection of the best and send them off shortly. Please send me the questions you'd like answered by Latham and Howard. We can surely do better than the assembled media hacks on Sunday night.

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: MANY OPINION POLLS
A closer look at the Newspoll shows the Coalition's primary vote up one point to a very healthy 46 per cent, while the Greens have faded two points from last week's spike to record a more typical 6 per cent.
The following table provides recent results from three sources. On Saturday the Gold Coast Weekend Bulletin produced surveys of the outer Brisbane seat of Rankin, held by Labor front-bencher Craig Emerson, and the New South Wales north coast seat of Richmond, held by National Party minister Larry Anthony. The sample in each case was about 450. Then follows results from all five Tasmanian seats from the EMRS poll in Sunday's Launceston Examiner, which have less impressive samples of around 200. Lastly is a poll of the fairly safe Liberal Adelaide seat of Boothby which appears in today's Adelaide Advertiser.
• William Bowe Strictly polling [Strictly Newscasting: PLAYGIRL Announces Winners of Sexiest Newscaster Election ]
• · · · Poll Vault by Nadia: The classic 'litmus test' seat, Eden-Monaro has fallen to the party that has won government at every election since 1972 - that's 13 elections in total
• · · · Bloggers have discredited CBS News Whoa! That's what Newsday says: Sept. 9, 2004, will be remembered as a paradigm-shifting day in media history...
• · · · · Election Results Competitions [ At that stage, the Coalition were $1.28, with Labor at $3.25, but in recent months, not a lot has gone right for Labor. Add to that the woes of the Carr Govt in New South Wales (Labor), and all of a sudden there is a gap opening up again in the betting ]
• · · · · · Barista Film, Radion and Broadcasting Funding
• · · · · · · Southerly Buster Lessons from the Jakarta blast

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Howard after the 66.6% debate said, Oh I'm glad the worm doesn't have a vote. Ach, Media Dragon is glad the webdiarists is casting over 400 solid observations not just on the election lottery, but days after the elections.

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Who Left the Wormish Door Open? The 'great' debate
In which John Howard and Mark Latham trade blows on terrorism, the economy health, education, truth in government and the PM's future plans. And in which Channel Nine's 'worm' awards victory to Latham by 66.6 per cent to 33.3 per cent, though many saw it as a tighter bout.
The 66.6-33.3 split is apparently the exact same score by which the 'worm' awarded Kim Beazley a win over Howard in 2001.

• Poll Vault searched high and low and concluded with a question ... Better the devil you know? [A View From Nadia Farha Matt Liddy ]
• · One Life to Live
• · · Robert Corr writes: Okay, I expected the "green hair = rigged audience" nonsense from Tim Blair's gaggle of goons, but not from Andrew Norton. As someone pointed out elsewhere, the number of elderly ladies in the audience far outweighed the one guy who dyed his hair. So even if you're going to make absurd generalisations about voting intentions, you'd have to conclude that the audience was stacked in Howard's favour
• · · · Antony of Counter Spin Fame introduces us to writers and bloggers using all his senses and that rare additional sixth sense.

Monday, September 13, 2004

At the Widening of a War
Everyone was frightened of the sky.
Each night, Mars emerged at the zenith.
A bleb of pure rage tore off the sun.
For days, the living and the dead
hung in the air like dust
whirled aloft from tired roads.
The fuselage of a lobster lay abandoned.
The Isles of the Blest were receding
to their sailing distances
and the gunfire of tourist shoes was stilled.
Sports stadiums and crowds loomed from another age.
The blow struck now
would be weaker than the blow withheld.
Les Murray via Southerly Buster
Margo Kingston Latham puts Iraq on the election table (with 113 comments and more flooding in) Ach, Victorian Barista serves one observation which will go down into the annals of the election history (wooden smile)

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Bombers planned to kill minister
Indonesia's police chief has revealed that the same group that bombed the Australian embassy planned to assassinate President Megawati Soekarnoputri and Australian dignitaries three days before Indonesia's first-round presidential election last July.
General Da'i Bachtiar said the group intended to kill Australian Justice Minister Chris Ellison, Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty and other foreign guests.

• Matthew Moore Bali bomber Ali Imron: What we have to do now is to determine how and when
• · David Burchell, there are two kinds of pragmatism: House to House Fighting through the Institutions
• · · To achieve political goals, you control people's actions. And in the process, you not only fail to achieve your goals, but you make the people worse off than they were before. The Sims as Political Metaphor ; [Don Arthur: Gary the Rat: As animated comedy it's a bit stale but as allegory it's as irresistible as hot melted cheese ]
• · · · Christoph Reuter My Life is a Weapon Suicide Bombers: Weapons of Mass Terror ; [One of the salutary lessons of the Cold War was that ordinary people coped with the threat of global nuclear annihilation by getting on with their lives: There may be a lesson in that for us A huge explosion reportedly rocked North Korea's Ryanggang province on Friday, triggering a mushroom-shaped cloud near the country's secret underground military base]
• · · · · Jonah Goldberg What's wrong with you people?

Sunday, September 12, 2004

The worm returns
To whom do we tell what happened on the
Earth, for whom do we place everywhere huge
Mirrors in the hope that they will be filled up
And will stay so?
This is, charmingly enough, from Czeslaw Milosz's poem Annalena

Kafka’s creature opens whole new can of worms, an animated illustration of audience reaction to both leaders' statements during the hour-long debate, gave the contest to Mr Latham with 67 per cent to Mr Howard's 33.Latham wins battle of the worm

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Terrorists target Australia
Outside the bomb-damaged Australian embassy in Jakarta, mourners left bouquets of flowers for the victims of Thursday's terrorist attack. One bouquet read: Today Indonesia is crying, another said: Curse the terrorists. And it was with a mixture of sadness and anger that Indonesians reacted to the bombing of the embassy, which killed at least nine locals and injured at least 180 others. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, who made a quick visit to Jakarta to survey the scene, said it was a miracle no one in the embassy was killed in the blast. Jemaah Islamiah, the Asian terror group with links to al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility on an Islamic Internet site, saying the bomb was designed to punish Australia for supporting the war in Iraq. JI has also been blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, and the Marriott Hotel bombing last year in Jakarta, only a few blocks from the embassy, which killed 12 people. The timing was crucial, with the bombing coming a month before the Australian election, 11 days before the final round of Indonesia's presidential election, and two days before the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
• Curse the terrorists Today Indonesia is crying [link first seen at ]
• · Sunday with Janka Wendt Swinging voters: week 2
• · · Campbell Reid the armchair warrior with the Daily Terror Declared WW3 and bodly predicting a win for the good guys; [The Hack, Iain Lygo ]
• · · · An urban myth that when Whitlam was told by a taxi driver that Kennedy had been shot, he responded by speculating on who might now host "In Melbourne Tonight") Boilermaker Bill's Jakarta jottings
• · · · · A vote for the Greens is double-value Blogging Revolution 2004 AD ; It’s foolish to fight people who want death; that’s what they are looking for Inner-city poster battle ; [ Minister Craig Knowles's top aide, Sarah Taylor, a former Westfield executive, to face inquiry]
• · · · · · Christopher Hitchens writes about Czeslaw Milosz's politics for Slate When my book appeared in 1953, it displeased practically everybody. The admirers of Soviet Communism found it insulting, while anti-Communists accused it of lacking a clear-cut political stance and suspected that its author was a Marxist at heart

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Truth or scare It's election time so it's on for young and more mature. Sydney Evening Herald, Nick Galvin, provides a political rainbow of websites he also delves into the dirt and decency

Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook. Human with the magic cislo (number) 55 consider yourselves lucky. You are reliable workers. You tend not to go out partying and clubbing till 2am Treasury upgrade fuels election war chest, Horse trading, More rebates and Offsets

Jakarta bombing story is unravelling and it breaks my heart. This little girl will have a deep effect on the election campaign. Well, she already has ... For four years, David Norman fought immigration authorities to enable his daughter and her Indonesian mother to live in Australia... Caught in the blast as they stood in a queue at the embassy's main gate, 27-year-old Maria Eva Kumalawati was among the nine people killed, while her daughter Elisabeth was shockingly injured

Mark Morford: Who The Hell Is Undecided? And Why do so Many Election Polls leave you Angry and Stupefied and Drunk?
Polls are the genital warts of election year. They are the swarming gnats in your Jell-O salad, the dead escalator in your shopping mall, the sour milk in your coffee.
These polls are designed solely to mangle your head and confound your synapses and elate you and titillate you and then plunge you into instant despair and then yank you back out at the last second like some sort of "Fear Factor" death-plunge moronism.

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Election campaign and party financing in Canada
Anthony M. Sayers and Lisa Young take a comparative look at political party funding in Canada and Australia. Among other things, they find that the lack of restrictions on contributions to Australian parties means that the large parties in particular do much better than their Canadian counterparts and limits the impact of public funding.
• [Democratic Audit of Australia, Australian National University (PDF file) ] Web of Influence: Political Party Funding in Canada and Australia; [He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat - Napoleon: Woo the Swing Voters, Screw the Base: Lose the Election?]
• · Security law on the books Freedom of speech is central to our democracy. The Howard government has sought too much legal control over what people say
• · · Bill Moyers and his colleagues say it was not the system that failed on 9/11. It was our leaders who failed America Circle Of Accountability
• · · · Alan Ramsey Independent spirits have the right attitude; Bad Spirit: Staff depart as old row returns to haunt Turnbull
• · · · · Paul Rogat Loeb Shut Up and Color: The Politics of Bullying ; History lover, Bob Carr admits to ICAC of acting 'inappropriately’; The Nerve of Carr
• · · · · · Judd Legum and David Sirota gather the evidence of the administration's manipulation of fear Vote For Bush Or Die ... Cheney's bald remarks this week were just the latest in a long pattern of deception; The Brave Posturing of Armchair Warriors ... Terror Is No Answer for Chechen Terror by Bernard-Henri Lévy ; There is no war against terrorism. There can be no such thing against an enemy that remains dormant most of the time and is almost never visible It's simply another of life's inevitable troubles, and all we can do as we continue to combat it is repeat Cervantes's famous phrase "Paciencia y barajar": "Have patience, and keep shuffling the cards”