BohemiAntipodean Samizdat

Monday, January 31, 2005

A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.
- G. K. Chesterton Everlasting Man, 1925

The bells of freedom are ringing: How do you begin to contain the emotion of contributing to freedom for the very first time in over 50 years. And for many - the first time ever in their life? How do you contain the emotion of seeing a day arrive that you have dreamed of for many tortured, horrible, murderous nights...
Some assorted quotes from Iraqis on the eve of elections

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Great Freedom: Just Another Word?
Polls open in country's first free vote in a half-century. Bush's freedom had better be more than a song. Over-civilization and barbarism are within an inch of each other...

A string of suicide bombings and mortar attacks, some targeting lines of Iraqi voters waiting to cast their ballots in the first free elections in half a century, have killed at least 16 people and wounded at least 52 more.

Like most Americans, I've never had to be brave to vote. I just show up at the polls, negotiate the ballot, grab an "I voted" sticker and drive home satisfied that the world will continue to turn on its axis in the usual way. We're not the kind of people that kneel to terror & the sights of blood & beheadings.The people have accepted the challenge; democracy & elections are not a luxury for Iraqis, it's an issue of life or death.
Historical Times [The election in Iraq is without precedent. Never, not even in the dying days of Weimar Germany, when Nazis and Communists brawled in the streets, has there been such a concerted attempt to destroy an election through violence - with candidates unable to appear in public, election workers driven into hiding, foreign monitors forced to 'observe' from a nearby country, actual voting a gamble with death, and the only people voting safely the fortunate expatriates and exiles abroad. ; Iraq's election takes place in extraordinary circumstances, and it poses extraordinary difficulties For the Triumph of Evil' ; Election in pictures; via cigar in sand ]
• · When you read that Jordan’s King Abdullah is taking steps to organize new elections in his country, with regional election districts that look a lot like Iraq’s, you realize just how wrong my friend Peggy Noonan is when she writes that President Bush’s inaugural speech “forgot context.” Freedom Over Cynicism; [The Long Road to a Vote ]
• · · Winston Churchill was born in the grandest private house ever bought with public money... In the great drama, he was the greatest of them all Why the world is still in the shadow of Churchill ; [I've only come to realise recently that Thailand is very much a fledgling democracy itself ]
• · · · Democrats agonizing over finding their way back from their 2004 presidential defeat got a lesson in how not to do it in the Senate vote to confirm Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state. Searching for a spine: A second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience; [There was a death in Washington recently that received far less attention than it deserved: the New Democrat philosophy of Bill Clinton is dead. This is a truly extraordinary development; one that should not be allowed to pass so quietly. The Strange Death That No One Cares About]
• · · · · Anthony Wilmo writes that everyone in NSW from the Premier down is gambling with their lives stepping on to a train in Sydney. Taking us back to the good old days when the NSW Government was handing out steel contracts to BHP; G. K. Chesterton: It is terrible to contemplete how few politicians are hanged: Christian Berthelsen, Jim Herron Zamora and Todd Wallack of the San Francisco Chronicle used state campaign finance records to show that four political consultants have benefited from their association with state Sen. Don Perata: “they have collectively grossed $1.4 million from campaigns and political funds associated with Perata over the last 10 years Influence, family and political favors
• · · · · · G. K. Chesterton: When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale. Sean O’Neill of the The Times of London used Britain’s new Freedom of Information law to obtain records showing that “almost £900,000 has been spent by police to steward illegal street meetings by the radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri and his followers British Police Protection

A special investigation by The Sunday Telegraph shows small businesses, the building industry and backyard operators are key players in thousands of hidden transactions each year. four years after the introduction of the GST, which promised to stamp out Australia's black economy, undeclared cash payments amount to at least $4.6 billion. The complexity remains, families are paying more tax than ever, and the cash economy thrives

Invisible Hands & Markets: Death and Taxes: Fantasy coffins
Think it's crazy to shell out anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000 for a casket?

Isaac Adjetey Sowah's showroom in a suburb of Accra, has some of the most colourful coffins to be found anywhere.
The Bible coffin is one of his more conventional designs. The snail in the background has been ordered by a snail seller.

• Click through the pictures: you don't want to miss the beer bottle coffin.
The Bible coffin is one of his more conventional designs [Credits: make-up - If every parent in the world has a blog, then maybe it really will be about the child rather than the parent ; manicure - My topic today sounds humorous but unfortunately I am serious. Aliens Cause Global Warming: A lecture by Michael Crichton]
• · 'If you don't take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits'
• · · Amid accusations of animal cruelty and blackmail, the Australian wool industry faces a global animal rights group in court next month. Catharine Munro reports on a billion-dollar battle. Eyebrows were raised when Australia's ambassador to Italy arrived at Benetton's ancient villa-turned-headquarters outside Venice. The clothing giant's senior executives had not expected their letter to wool suppliers in Australia would prompt such a serious response. Pulling the wool
• · · · We paid for jobs, then they left: For years, the company now called JPMorgan Chase & Co. has received millions in public money to help create jobs in Tampa. But many of those jobs are gone. Tax Breaks for Jobs ; [IT recruiter sees staff shortages looming]
• · · · · Sydney family guilty of $15m tax fraud Ida Ronen, 71, and her sons Nitzan and Izhar
• · · · · · List a real rags to riches tale

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Bob: Minister are you lying the foundations for a police state?
Jim: You know, I'm glad you asked that question.
Bob: Well Minister could we have the answer?
Jim: Well yes, of course, I was just about to give it to you, if I may. Yes as I said I'm glad you asked me that question because it's a question that a lot of people are asking, and quite so, because a lot of people want to know the answer to it. And let's be quite clear about this without beating about the bush the plain fact of the matter is that it is a very important question indeed and people have a right to know.
Bob: Minister, we haven't yet had the answer.
Jim: I'm sorry, what was the question?
- Big Brother (Yes Minister / PM series)

The first day of a new emergency calls system in NSW had been beset by problem Police calls redirected in triple-0 bungle

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It
Sir Humphrey: The police have suffered an acute personnel establishment shortfall.
Jim: They what?
Sir Humphrey: They're short staffed.
- The Death List

State MPs who rort their parliamentary allowances will no longer have to face the Independent Commission Against Corruption under far-reaching changes recommended to Premier Bob Carr. In the Sun Herald editorail (not available on line) Philip McLean writers that the concept may have taken a battering over the past few years - with, for example, untruths told about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq-but trust and integrity in public life should still matter to the Australian people. That is why we view with concern a proposal to partially exempt NSW politicians from the purview of the state’s anti-corruption watchdog. While it remains just a proposal, it is disturbing to think that our politicians would even contemplate a change to allow them to live by a different set of rules.

One Law to Govern the public service - Mps included [The Bush administration "spent $250 million on public relations contracts during its first term, compared with $128 million spent for President Clinton between 1997 and 2000," including $88 million in fiscal year 2004 How to Win through Spin ; Public relations firms; Mercy Buckets Sorce Watch ]
• · In all of Iraq, Jumana Hanna was the bravest witness to the horror of Saddam's regime ; [Election Under the Shadow of Violence; Fighting broke out yesterday at Sydney polling booths where expatriate Iraqis cast their votes for today's historic election in the strife-torn country. Police cordoned-off Queen St, Auburn; When I look at the ink on my finger -- this is a mark of freedom Iraqis in Australia cast first votes in election ; Iraqi exiles cast first votes in election ]
• · · The Labor whip Roger Price broke tradition to ban TV and print camera people from filming caucus members going in and out. He even tried to ban reporters gathering in the usual place on the way to the Caucus room. Huh? They stood their ground, and on the way in to rubber stamp Beazley (Price is a Rudd supporter) he barked, "No cameras. And no approaching anyone." (He did allow filming, by one shooter on behalf of all, of Beazley and Macklin arriving. Burial or praise of Labor's new Caesar? No comment ; [Who Do You Trust? ]
• · · · Alex Mitchell and Kerry-Anne Walsh, in their Naked (Mirror) Eye on 30 January 2005, ask readers to meet Mutt ‘n’ Jeff. Jim Maher, former press secretary to just exited NSW Treasurer Michael Egan, will not be going to Kabul as agent-general as suggested by the Sun Herald last week. He is joining Nathan Vass, whose position as communications director at Egan’s Department of State Development ended abruptly last December, to form a corporate communications partnership called Maher & Vass. Already it is being affectionately nicknamed Mutt ‘n’ Jeff. [New Hampshire judge suspended for groping five women quits Dumbest move ever ; NSW Treasurer Andrew Refshauge has signalled tax relief for families while hinting at greater spending on the State's beleaguered rail network. Treasurer signals tax relief; Underdog takes on Tripodi for place in Carr's cabinet ; Scully risks all in power play for his faction mate ]
• · · · · Families sending their child off to start school this week can expect to spend up to $150,000 on that child's education over the next 13 years Parents hit by mounting education bills; [The student-to-staff ratio in our state schools is 15 to 1, higher than any other state or territory and above the national average of 14.6 to 1. NSW pupil ratios the 'worst in Australia' ; Between 1995 and 2002, 634 people were charged with murder in NSW. About two-thirds (422 people) were refused bail. Of those, 83 people who pleaded not guilty won their cases. And despite spending more than a year in custody for a crime they did not commit, the former inmates are entitled to neither compensation nor counselling. One in five prisoners charged with murder and refused bail will later be cleared of all charges and released. ]
• · · · · · NSW would do what it could to help the Federal Government keep an eye on Mamdouh Habib, Premier Bob Carr said today. It's a matter for police and their counter terrorism unit. We will cooperate with commonwealth police but it is not a matter that I will direct or give a public account of; Mr Habib has some chronic medical conditions as a result of his incarceration that we're going to get taken care of, or at least have specialists take a look at Mr Habib's legal team today painted a picture of a broken man trying to reclaim his life

The average adult has about five liters of blood living inside of their body, coursing through their vessels, delivering essential elements, and removing harmful wastes. Without blood, the human body would stop working.
Blood is the fluid of life, transporting oxygen from the lungs to body tissue and carbon dioxide from body tissue to the lungs. It’s as hard to find a universal blood donors as it is to find a great espresso. According to Karl Landsteiner, my blood type, type O blood, is said to be a universal donor. (smile)
One of the reasons my blood at the Red Cross Bank has a consistently good level of hemoglobin is because I tend to discover great baristas not only in the virtual world, but also in the real world. Robust, fragrant, and surprisingly versatile, espresso is more than simply the world's favorite beverage, it is hearty and distinctive ingredient in its own right, enhancing the flavors of everything from cakes and cookies to candies, ice creams, and sauces. Without any doubt, Richard Calabro is one of Australia's finest Baristas. Every drop of his espresso shows a burning passion and the photo mosaics on the walls ooze out with smiles and exotic atmosphere from every single shot. At summer time, Richard surrounds himself with bohemian artists who are part of the furniture at his cafe Grind down on Cronulla Beach. On Saturday and Sunday, it is there that coffee lovers congregate from all over Sydney to go and experience his charm, charisma and of course his famous blend of coffee, all garnished with latte art! In Richard's words "It's like Mona Lisa in a cup" If you are lucky, he may even play you a song on the guitar... Robust espresso props go out to this amazing Barista who is a true testament to his craft!
At the Nulla Grind, Richard treats coffee addiction with respect. In fact, he will show you how to elevate your coffee drinking habit to a higher level of sophistication. During the week Richard explains what it takes to become a world class barista... Well, it takes a great passion for espresso, dedication, technical skill and a way of making people feel relaxed and welcome. Behind the cool facade of a great barista serving cup after cup of perfection lies years of practice and dedication. It is not something that is learned simply by reading a book or watching a instructional video, even though they might be a good source of inspiration :) First of all, to make a perfect cappuccino you first have to start by making a perfect espresso.
I am happy to say that if you really want to stand out from the Coffee Crowd Richard will show you how to create your very own signature drink. This is an opportunity of a lifetime to learn the rich skills and useful techniques from the man who not only practices, but also preaches. Email Richard at or ring him on 0403 844 533 to book your spot at his espresso of mona lisa classes. Ach, in April 2005 you could find yourself sleepless at the World Barista Championship
[I'd Rather Be At Grind Espresso Bar - Base of Royal Rydges Hotel 20-6 Kings Way; Cronulla NSW 2230]

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Red Cross Calling: Royal Blood Transfusions
This year marks the 90th anniversary year of the Red Cross on Australian shores - 90 years of Australians helping Australians.
Australian Red Cross proudly announces the attendance of their Royal Highnesses, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark at the Australian Red Cross 90th Anniversary Gala Event to be held on 2 March 2005.
In June 1859 Dunant, a Swiss national, witnessed the horrifying aftermath of the Battle of Solferino - a fierce and bloody conflict in Northern Italy between 300,000 soldiers, among them ten thousand Czechs and Slovaks, from Imperial Austria and the Franco-Sardinian Alliance. Convinced that the power of humanity could be engaged to alleviate suffering and distress on a global scale, Dunant founded the International Committee of the Red Cross in October 1863.

Typically, each donated unit of blood - referred to as whole blood - is separated into multiple components, such as red blood cells, plasma, platelets, and cryoprecipatitated AHF (antihemophilic factor). Each component can be transfused to different individuals with different needs. Therefore, each donation can be used to help save as many as three lives.

In a quirky twist the agency and crew behind the Australian Red Cross’ new TVC also star in the ad ...
Do as we do: BMF art director Andrew Ostrom gives blood in the new Red Cross ad ; [credits: Red Cross ; One enchanted evening... ; To purchase tables please contact Robyn Dinners on 02 9699 2000,, or visit and click on 'One Enchanted Royal Evening'. ; There may be no greater act of bravery for someone with a fear of needles than to donate blood. Of course, it's this kind of giving that is so important to maintaining the Red Cross's life-saving stocks. In many ways giving blood is like blogging. I assume that is why not many politicians give blood or blog on a regular basis ... Icon links to Red Cross ]
• · Brett Sheehy can be proud of his four years in the Sydney Festival director's seat Thanks for the memories
• · · He is the all-time giant of Russian literature, who shaped the literary heritage of the world’s biggest country. But now Alexander Pushkin’s legacy is in danger of being tainted by an argument over whether some of his early work is pornographic, and whether his ‘adult verses’ even came from the pen of the ‘National Poet’. Russian literary giant Pushkin labelled as a peddler of porn
• · · · Christopher MacLehose warns, 'Publishers are sheep. They think: something is going on in Japan. They're right. But there has always been something going on in Japan. Lonely pleasures of fiction from Toky
• · · · · Claudia Karvan is considering a leading role in Footy Legends, the feature film that is expected to propel director Khoa Do towards mainstream success. Do, who was celebrating his award as Young Australian of the Year last week, has pulled together a promising potential cast for his new movie - the follow-up to his critically acclaimed independent film The Finished People. Footy Legends
• · · · · · For a rather long time now -- approximately, since the Berlin Wall came down, the name Durs Grünbein (b. 1962) has been the answer to the question: who's the leading young poet in Germany ? From The burning issue in The Guardian by James Fenton

Friday, January 28, 2005

It can happen, and it can happen everywhere. I do not intend to nor can I say that it will is not very probable that all the factors that unleashed the Nazi madness will again occur simultaneously but precursory signs loom before us...It only awaits its new buffoon (there is no dearth of candidates) to organize it, legalize it, declare it necessary and mandatory, and so contaminate the world.
-Primo Levi Drowned, pp. 199-200
What is Levi's main point here about memory?

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The Gray Zone: Wal-Mart's Telling 'Statement'
As you may know, Wal-Mart makes an exception to its anti-union stance in that bastion of freedom, China.

BBC story provides the basic facts. (The Chinese "union" is controlled by the government, and "represents" workers accordingly.) Then read Harold Myerson's Washington Post column (reg req) to understand the meaning of it all, which I summarize with this apt quote: When a company such as Wal-Mart is so plainly comfortable with authoritarianism abroad, it tells you something about that company's values at home.

If in Rome do as Chinese do [Gillmor; A former Mr Fixit who moved in a shadowy world between crooks, police and politicians, Fayez (Frank) Hakim has died aged 74. Hakim: Death of a one-time godfather ]
• · Young Australian adults want to have children but job and relationship insecurities are holding them back, says a major Federal Government-funded study of the country's low fertility rate. Only 8 per cent say they never want children
• · · A brief truce within the federal ALP broke down dramatically last night, with senior frontbenchers accusing one another of plotting to bring down deputy leader Jenny Macklin. ALP united - in the spirit of bickering
• · · · I grew up on tales from concentration camps. My parents remembered Gulags and Ukraine of Stalin. They remembered Holocaust of Hitler. Holocaust literature must be sampled, interspersed with other reading. If you dive into it for several months at a time, you wind up wanting to kill yourself Remembering the end of horror that was Auschwitz ; Survivors and their children and their children's children continue in their private and largely silent struggle None of it is over. I doubt the alphabet will ever end
• · · · · No more secrecy as Sydney investigates how open it has been Town Hall Lord Mayor, Clover Moore ; Orange Grove inquiry told of Trojan horse warning

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The Milton Keynes Partnership in UK, a local development consortium, is set to become the first public body to use a 'blog' - a type of online diary - to engage local people with its work, E-Government Bulletin has learned.
The local Labour MP Brian White has proposed the blog to involve residents in shaping the long-term development of Milton Keynes.
This could set new standards for the way public sector bodies communicate with the public," White told E-Government Bulletin. More traditional methods of citizen consultation, such as publishing press releases and leaflets, have left the public feeling isolated from the decision-making process, he said. "People grow frustrated because they feel powerless without an effective voice. It can seem pointless to get involved. A blog could help reconnect people.
The Milton Keynes Partnership was launched earlier this year, drawing together representatives of local government, the voluntary sector, the business community, and the health service
A blog could also form part of a permanent record of the discussions and decisions that will shape the future of the city, White said. "All public sector organisations need to recognise that that they provide the historical archives of the future. A blog could be a valuable record of what people thought at the time. Plan to Use Blog for Public Consultation, E-Government Bulletin, Issue 176, 13 December 2004

Eye on Politics & Law Lords:
The lives of seven people could have been spared if the NSW Government had heeded earlier warnings that the rail system was unsafe, a coronial inquest has found.

John Raymond Burt, Marie Genevieve Goder, Mark Hudson, Andrew Ludmon, James Ritchie, Yi Zhang and driver Herman Zeides died when a train derailed 2km south of Waterfall railway station, south of Sydney on January 31, 2003.
Handing down his findings today, Justice Peter McInerney said the lives could have been spared if the government had heeded warnings from his earlier inquiry into the 1999 Glenbrook train crash that the rail system was unsafe.
Mr Carr said his government had already responded to recommendations from the Glenbrook report. "We've given a full account of that.

Waterfall [Google: Lives lost through 'government inaction; Mr Roozendaal, who had the support of the Premier, Bob Carr, withdrew his candidacy after it became clear Mr Tripodi had secured more votes in caucus Tripodi to get ministry]
• · Harry Heidelberg on Leadership: Who do you exclude today, who will you include tomorrow? Bob Carr has no kids, he doesn't drink, he doesn't care for sport and he doesn't have a drivers license. Did anyone say these things mattered to his ability to lead? No. We are most interested in how he runs the state. We started caring when the trains stopped working. The same standards should be applied to all. Hell, we have plenty of those be it gender, religion, sexual orientation, race, national origin, marital status, age, and it goes on
• · · Boy's club mentality of the party Gillard: Susan Ryan: Boys' club left back in the '50s; [He acts like an old-time Baptist minister. But his revival meetings feature not hellfire and brimstone but sermons about racism and the horrible failings of American society The intellectual capacity of women ]
• · · · The New Math: 28 + 35 = 43 The only thing we have to fear is fear itself ; [Dependent on the Kindness of Strangers ; A FIVE-month-old baby was patted down by police in front of startled shoppers after a store owner complained a $5 toy gun had been stolen from his shelves Outrage as cops frisk babies]
• · · · · Arnaud de Borchgrave: For three years, we have been reminded we are a country at war — first against al Qaeda and its global affiliates, then against Iraq's bloody tyranny that was an integral part of transnational terrorism. Almost 1,400 American servicemen and women have given their lives in a war President Bush deliberately avoided mentioning in his Inaugural address. It was a classic case of censorship by omission. But why? Revolutionary idea . . . on bridge too far? ; [Fire and freedom captured the headlines of the president's stirring inaugural address, but it was a handful of words toward the end of the speech that are likely to have the most profound impact on the daily lives of millions of Americans. After a nod to landmark legislation like the Homestead Act, the Social Security Act, and the GI Bill of Rights, the president said, "And now we will extend this vision by reforming great institutions to serve the needs of our time. . . . We will . . . build an ownership society." A 'cure' worse than the cold river ; Tod Lindberg: Bush's complex personality confounds experts ]
• · · · · · Freedom by its nature must be chosen and defended by citizens and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities The New Bush Doctrine, by George Soros ; [A one page tax return, one day: Taxpayers may one day fill in a single-page tax return instead of a book-sized TaxPack, Assistant Treasurer Mal Brough said yesterday. "That is a distinct possibility - that people who have simple tax affairs like PAYG workers will have the opportunity to use a single-page tax return," Mr Brough said. Reforms ; A bank robber has been allowed to claim the cost of a pistol used in a hold-up as a legitimate business expense ]

Some of the sharpest minds on Wall Street are betting that you'll make more money in metals than Microsoft the next few years. The new bull market is in stuff, not stocks, they say. We're talking about land and oil and gold None Dare Call It Conspiracy: Real assets create real riches

Invisible Hands & Markets: Europe vs. America: It is a Marketing Miracle
Consider a mug of American coffee. It is found everywhere. It can be made by anyone.

It is cheap—and refills are free. Being largely without flavor it can be diluted to taste. What it lacks in allure it makes up in size. It is the most democratic method ever devised for introducing caffeine into human beings. Now take a cup of Italian espresso. It requires expensive equipment. Price-to-volume ratio is outrageous, suggesting indifference to the consumer and ignorance of the market. The aesthetic satisfaction accessory to the beverage far outweighs its metabolic impact. It is not a drink; it is an artifact

To a growing number of Europeans it is America that is in trouble and the "American way of life" that cannot be sustained
The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy [Credits: John Quiggin ; manicure - The centrality of coffee ]
• · The Connected Get More Connected Seeking buzz, companies will funnel free new products to Silicon Valley’s elite; Gillmor Gang
• · · Hot on the heels of recent Herald discussions regarding the recycling of Soviet-era insignia in fashion, at Manuka on the weekend I spotted two hammer-and-sickle T-shirts at a cafe. No doubt the Manuka chapter of the Communist Party of Australia was discussing the merits of materialism and empirio-criticism versus dialectical and historical materialism. I did not feel the faintest whiff of irony emanating from these blokes as they advertised the dictatorship of the proletariat while quaffing $7 imported beers. Letter SHM 24 January by Chris Killick-Moran, Scullin (ACT) Capitalism tastes better: Ross Turnbull's excesses were his undoing
• · · · You cannot be a sweeter cucumber in a vinegar barrel: It's not the bad apples, it's the bad barrels that corrupt good people; [All told, our politicos have done just the right things to put Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh at the top of the pile in red tape and taxation and at the bottom of the pile in economic growth and job creation. Dishwasher economics ]
• · · · · Throwing myself to the wolve: Climate change: report warns point of no return may be reached in 10 years, leading to droughts, agricultural failure and water shortages Countdown to global catastrophe
• · · · · · Bank official tells us what we already knew Taxes draining us ; $5K for a new transporter?

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

We are the ALP, we are the alternative government of Australia, and frankly, right now, we are in a God-awful shambles.We need to patch this up straight away in order to lift ourselves out of the muck and become a viable alternative government for this country. This country deserves better than we are currently delivering.
Leadership aspirant and shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd didn't need a psychic to tell him this was not his time

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Tsunami Toll passes 280,000
Brat Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, get tons more coverage than the anonymous victims of tsunami these days ...

The tsunami that erased dozens of coastal communities in Aceh, Indonesia, killing more than 228,000 people in the country, may have taken a toll on another group that has dogged security officials in the region for years

Ghosts stalk Thai tsunami survivors. At such times religion is very important because there is nothing else ...
Toll of Biblical Proportion [We can do nothing to ward off the spirits Tsunami Tragedy ; A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic. Josef Stalin said callously For us, that's a tragedy. The rest is news]
• · Amid the media din about the tsunami, Dan Rather's implosion, and the usual grim news from Iraq, an amazing story has been unfolding - but has received scant appreciation from the chattering classes. Democracy is on the march. I would rather live in an undemocratic country with constitutional rights, fair courts, and a government that upholds the rule of law than live in a democratic country without those things. I'd also rather live in a republic where democracy is tempered and cooled through deliberation and debate. After all, direct democracy is little more than the rule of the mob with ballots instead of torches. Democracy has to be good -- not perfect; Lack of transparency in party funding, and the troublesome issue of internal party democracy. Australian political parties in the spotlight
• · · The Nation, here's a list of the Bush Administration's Ten Most Outrageous Scandals thus far uncovered by government investigators Annals of Outrage ; [Open parties? A map of 21st century democracy. The traditional political party is dying Can it reinvent itself in a way that matches transformations of society, technology, and personal identity?; Soros should revive the old liberalism]
• · · · Has America morphed into a nation of Tony Maneros, collectively dismissing the future? Nation is behaving as if the end is near
• · · · · Tim Dunlop is Not Happy: Suggests that in Politics You cannot be Partially Pregnant especially when it comes to Leadership Ironic, isn't it? Mark Latham is criticised for saying too little too late and Kim Beazley for saying too much too soon. How is your sense of timing, Kevin? (Letter to SMH 24 January 2005 by Peter Williams, Epping); Britain's struggling Conservative opposition struck new difficulties yesterday when it was reported that even its new campaign director, the Australian Liberal mastermind Lynton Crosby, believed the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to be unbeatable. Lynton Crosby ... helped engineer Australian Liberals' win ; How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Faceless Omnipotent Oppressors: I’m sure a psychiatrist would have a field day analysing the relationship between Premier Carr and public sector infrastructure. Or maybe it should be a marriage guidance counselor. Carr slams school funding report I've seen very silly arguments from time to time but that's the silliest one ]
• · · · · · A state-of-the art particle accelerator switched on at Lucas Heights yesterday by the federal Science Minister, Brendan Nelson, will play a vital role in the worldwide detection of clandestine nuclear testing. Minister aglow over new reactor ; [The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that in making a routine traffic stop, the police can permit a trained dog to sniff the car for drugs without the need for any particular reason to suspect the driver of a narcotics violation. I assume the judge susspects that if you are a successfull drug runner you are unlikely to be catching public transport ;-)]

Flourish a sprig of wattle. Bone up on the lyrics of the national anthem ...

One of us wants to write, one of us wants to sing, one of us wants to get exceptionally fit. One of us wants find enduring love in another. One of us wants to draw and paint and sculpt and take photographs. One of us wants to do absolutely nothing... Link of Medlow Bath fame: the divided River of US

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: We Are All New Australians
As one of the Czech mates once said, after a few glasses of Becherovka, You know we are all Australian some new some old, but some of us were just born in wrong places.

The Governor-General, Major-General Michael Jeffery, has called for school children to be taught Aboriginal culture to better understand Australian history.
He flagged the idea yesterday during a dawn ceremony at Uluru to kick off the week's Australia Day celebrations. He said it was important all Australians learned more about Aboriginal culture and urged education authorities to introduce a uniform indigenous culture curriculum. Major-General Jeffery said he had a strong desire to see the best aspects of Aboriginal culture being enshrined in our education system.

My city of exiles, Sydney, is a place of multiple identities, where one in four residents were born in wrong places and more than 140 languages are spoken, no matter how tragically. The Museum of Sydney, corner of Phillip and Bridge street, a stone throw away from the Circular Quay brought all the questions what this dynamoic city ultimately will mean to our children and each of us alive and dead. Czech it out...
Australia did not rise from the ashes of revolution or civil war. Aside from Anzac Day, which carries a solemn significance unsuited to a day of celebration, there is no momentous event that serves to galvanise national pride. January 26 commemorates the day Governor Arthur Phillip sailed into Sydney Cove in 1788 with a fleet of convict ships and colonised the fifth continent in the name of a British monarch.
Of greater import is the fact that the founding of our first city entailed the subjugation of the indigenous population by a European civilisation. For Aboriginal Australians, January 26 is not, and will never be, a day of celebration.
Many cultures and Australia Day [Goggle of Uluru; Australia Day was an opportunity to acknowledge the country's generosity of spirit in response to the Asian tsunami disaster Australia Day about friendship ]
• · Boy, was I wrong. Or more precisely, ignorant about how to tell the world that the book is out! When writers and would-be writers asked him to read and comment on their work, William Faulkner used to tell them that he only read the bible—a lie finer by far than those of which blurbs are made Blurbs for Goops: It Happened One Night Cold River Came Out ; [A review of books on copyright ; Many things in the world have not been named; and many things, even if they have been named, have never been catalogued. For book lovers: Readerware: because Cataloguing and Reading Is Sexy; -) ]
• · · Police believe the Sydney home of Nicole Kidman may have been bugged following the discovery of a listening device opposite her Bugging Nicki Darling Point mansion bugged; [Monk used in net sex sting; Moviegoers can thank Austin Powers for killing off the martini-quaffing sexoholic The silly spy whose mojo overpowered James Bond; New device to treat chronic pain also brings pleasure to his female patients Freud of Orgasmatron ]
• · · · A new documentary hitting video store shelves this year may explain why Cold River is No Longer An Oprah Favorite. I get paid for being myself on television, and that connects to a lot of people because people see themselves in me All About Oprah Inc. ; Who tells Oprah "no"?
• · · · · Prof John Sutherland Booker chairman `gags himself ' until winner is named ; As longtime readers know, we're not only interested in what's happening every day, but in how traditional news organizations decide what to cover. Ooooh Index of controversiality by Comrade Mikhail Gronas
• · · · · · Publishing ideas come and go in such fleeting fashion ... New York publisher faces fierce opposition to al-Qa'eda tome ; Pick up a Penguin? Not easy these days. But with walk-in bookshops doomed, soon it will be hard to pick up anything. Penguin books were scarcer than Penguin's teeth. No more bookshop idyll ]

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Inauguration Blog Images 2005 Majestic, Austrio-Hungarian, Roman Empire Scenes

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Bos(to)nians Not Outraged by NYT Co.-Metro Deal
Boston Globe Globe ombud Christine Chinlund says she's received just seven e-mails and one phone call about the New York Times Co.'s plan to buy part of Boston Metro.

Maybe the racial slurs used by Metro execs were an aberration -- but maybe not, she writes. The Globe and its Times Co. parent need to find out before they buy in to the operation, she adds. "If they find something systemically rotten, the deal should be canceled. If there are no new revelations, and a clear promise to do better, there may still be an argument for getting out -- but perhaps a better one for staying in

Okrent: Circ story could have been more candid re NYT's practices (NYT); Seattle Times editor: We're forced to make painful cuts in content (ST); TV section cutbacks anger some Akron Beacon Journal readers (ABJ); Getler says WP did the right thing in re-reporting Hanna story (WP); Clark says the ethics code is taken seriously at the Times-Union (FT-U); Oregonian's '04 errors included misreporting first publisher's name (O); Some papers have databases that track and categorize errors (SacBee); San Diego Union-Tribune offers survey on controversial photos (SDU-T) [Credits: still life - Romenesko ]
• · If you're reading this, I have already looked upon the face of God. And I pray that he has nodded his head in a positive way. In my last days, cancer changed me. I believe it made me a better man. It brought me closer to my wife and daughter. It made me more compassionate to mankind Lifelong dream ends in final column But maybe I can hear a few prayers coming my way, writes ; John Whiteside, who died over the weekend Words on the Whiteside of Life ; [Reading their stories on rather regular basis, I feel I knew these writers Ex-Boston Globe columnist Nyhan dies after shoveling snow ]
• · · No Place to Hide: America's New Surveillance Society: New Brave Digital World; [Beheading the Messenger... ; Photoblog: Student's provocative pictures of dorm life lead to his eviction and fuel discussion over a photojournalist's rights and responsibilities]
• · · · Johnny Carson and An Era Remembered ; [via Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism, Etc. ]
• · · · · Why am I bidding Op-Ed readers farewell today after more than 3,000 columns? Two bits of counsel might help explain the path I'm now taking A Columnist’s Farewell; [At last I am at liberty to vouchsafe to you the dozen rules in reading a political column: Beware the pundit's device of using a quotation from a liberal opposition figure to make a conservative case, and vice versa... Never look for the story in the lede... Do not be taken in by insiderisms: Where they lede, do not follow]
• · · · · · Blogging pioneers unite in online journal boom ; Bill Ives Searches High and Low on the Blogging Ground ; [Rather than competing for audience, the increasing synergies between movies and games are delivering big returns Joining Forces]

Ministers of course have a whole range of dazzling qualities including ... um ... well, including an enviable intellectual suppleness and moral manoeuvrability.
- Sir Humphrey, The Death List (Yes Minister / PM series)

The real power of Jazz... is that a group of people can come together and create... improvised art and negotiate their agendas... and that negotiation is the art
- Wynton Marsalis from 'Jazz, a film by Ken Burns.'

If you gotta ask what kind of jazz and blogging Backpages is passionate about you just have to open the pages of the Sydney Morning Herald or Wrong Side of Death...
When Alice Walker was eight, growing up in Georgia, her brother shot her in the eye while playing with a pellet gun. A passing white motorist in the Jim Crow South refused to stop, and by the time she reached a doctor, her right eye was blind. Yet she came to see the wound as a gift. On a spiritual level it's as though with my sighted eye I see what's before me, and with my unsighted eye I see what's hidden. It's illuminated life more than darkened it. Redemption songs
You really don't understand the internet until you understand blogging craze for folklore music. Once you do, then you should have a conference on blogging ... William Hung has met his match and the unstoppable NumaNumania continues as even the Japanese get into the game. This is something from Vychodna Folkloric Festival held each year in July. Words like 'Dragostea din tei' or 'Love in the lime-tree' and nu m iei 'you don't take me away with you' rock Wanna sing??? Dragostea Din Tei (Romanian Macarena Gypsy song on the lips all over the world: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference especially if they make you laugh!)

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The Double Dragon: Someone Had to Sing it
You know a dream is like a river, ever changing as it flows.

And a dreamer's just a vessel that must follow where it goes.
Trying to learn from what's behind you and never knowing what's in store
makes each day a constant battle just to stay between the shores.
And I will sail my vessel 'til the river runs dry.
Like a bird upon the wind, these waters are my sky.
I'll never reach my destination if I never try,
So I will sail my vessel 'til the river runs dry.

Choose to chance the rapids and dare to dance the tides. [credits: write locally; publish globally I'll never reach my destination if I never try; Hornby's love of reading, flair for writing There's bound to be rough waters, and I know I'll take some falls ]
• · Man reduced to nothing, to being a mere survivor, is not tragic but comic, since he has no fate. Imre Kertész’s bleak vision Beyond Good and Evil ; [Love for Sale: A Global History of Prostitution For the words of the prophets were written on the Iron walls ...]
• · · Here it is again, that great Aussie trumpet blown so powerfully that the rest of the world drowns in the spittle. Australia stops our feet from getting wet. That's it [ The Sundance Film Festival Independents turn in the sun, and Hollywood takes note ; At a nation's heart: Dance as if no one's watching. Love as if you'll never get hurt. Sing as if no one's listening. And live like heaven on earth. Mexico's best-known painters did more than create great works of art - they helped define a nation Walls of fame]
• · · · A previously unknown 1892 novel by McCullogh, which tells the tale of a man who sleeps until 2000... [is titled] 'Golf in the Year 2000, or What We Are Coming To,' and predicted the advent of both golf carts and golf professionals... Other ideas were the digital watch, high-speed bullet trains, working women who dressed like men and a large glass screen that plays images, much like a television. Book of Predictions 1892; Northern Tanganyika 1953, the year Aga was born The Lesson is We can All Be Subhuman
• · · · · A study into the case of a statue of the Madonna reported to have shed tears of blood a decade ago near Rome concluded the event has no human explanation. There's the hand of G-d here Tears 'beyond human explanation' ; [Gloria Steinem surprised the world when, at 66, she signed up for an institution she had spent previous decades attacking: marriage 'Feminism? It's hardly begun ]
• · · · · · A Czech man is being taken to court after he hid in a restaurant bathroom until the employees had left and then hooked up beer kegs directly to his mouth. This is almost as good as winning the race number 13 during the Bondi Iceberg season. Your handicap is your strength or weakness. A tall man with a glass eye who holds a record by drowning 256 beer in a week was known around the Iceberg Club as Lofty. Being fit is not always an advantage ;-) Only in Moravia: Man from Morava River hides out to scull kegs; [Over a year, a family of four spends around $4,135 on alcohol, guzzling on average 44 slabs of beer, 14 bottles of spirits and 77 bottles of wine]

Monday, January 24, 2005

We Interrupt Our Usual Broadcast...
And then there were none: Mr Rudd will not stand against Mr Beazley.
... to confirm our suspicions that once they were sticks and stones we feared would break our bones today it is the Sitting Premiers' Call Center Trade Union breathing down the phones
• Raising of the white flag? Google realises, in its digital bones, the news from the leadership invades the air like factionalistic fallout
• • ALP a 'G-d awful shambles': Rudd pulls out

PS: The necessary emotional fever for fighting a factional war cannot be turned off like a water tap. Enemies must continue to be found. Media Dragon Scoop: Transcripts of Factional Proceedings - Premiers Telephone Conversation 14 to 24 January 2005 (security password required)

Left: 'Determined bastard' widens support?

Like John Quiggin, Chris Sheil thinks Mark Latham was shabbily treated, but that's now bye the bye. Before us, we already have a decision that may turn the next election.

Kim Beazley has started a hot favourite, but Back Pages is endorsing Kevin Rudd. If the deputy position is spilled, Julia Gillard would be added to Back Pages’ ticket...

I've never seen a nasty streak, but ice water does run in his veins. No more Mr Nice Guy

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Pining for loss and stability, Labor backs Beazley
Tight-lipped Rudd rallies faithful, but Kevin Rudd will end speculation today on whether he will run for the party's top job

Solid Kim Beazley has a predictable lead in public opinion as preferred successor to the mercurial Mark Latham, although it's interesting that the combined vote of the two "new generation" candidates is bigger than Beazley's.
Beazley is getting the benefit of being the best known of the possibles. As he's the only one of the three who's much in the public mind, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard are polling quite well with voters in the circumstances.
One could also see the result as a metaphor for the thinking of caucus members: they might like generational change but don't trust it just now.

But it's academic. Beazley is headed to victory. The question is whether Rudd and Gillard decide it's worth making a fight of it. Rudd, who will announce his decision today, faces that issue most acutely. Gillard has ensured he has to make his decision before she makes hers. He also has more to lose.
Conundrum for the challengers [ Beazley's home state is Howard's strongest base ]
• · Matthew Parris, Times of London America's Might is Draining Away; [David Brooks, New York Times: If you want to understand America, I hope you were in Washington on Thursday. I hope you heard the high ideals of President Bush's inaugural address, and also saw the stretch Hummer limos heading to the balls in the evening. Ideals and Reality ; 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2004 ; When Pentagon officials were killed on 9-11, their families got an average $1.5 million in death benefits from a special fund. When GIs are killed overseas fighting terrorists, their families get $12,420. That's right, barely enough to cover funeral costs. What's wrong with this picture? Everything ]
• · · As The Guardian's James Meek reminds us, Bush's rhetorical flourish owes its existence to a quote from a Russian novel. One of the models of American leadership is that of Moses, leading God's chosen people - then the Jews, now the Americans - towards a promised land, following a pillar of fire. At one point, according to the Bible, Moses was shown a sign: "Behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. But the key fire passage in the Burning Bush speech - We have lit a fire as well; a fire in the minds of men" - actually has its origins in a novel by the 19th century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, ; The Devils, about a group of terrorists' ineffectual struggle to bring down the tyrannical Tsarist regime. Ach, I once knew a dog Bessie named after the American Hollywood icon Bessie and the Russian Devil: Besy, 1872 (The Devil/The Possessed]
• · · · Kim Beazley's race for the Labor leadership was all but cemented last night as senior right-wing officials urged his chief rival, Kevin Rudd, to withdraw from the ballot for the sake of party stability. ; Factions? Knock me down with a feather, but we don't have factions in our part. "It's really faded," insisted a straight-faced Premier Bob Carr Ministrial Pool from factional heaven swon in ; [Drug abuse by any other name MI6 ordered LSD tests on servicemen, Guardian ; The National Interest is invariably rivetting, but on Sunday 23 January 2005 it was even more so Terry Lane: Always Pointing Out the Most Important Issues of the Day: Politicians use increasingly sophisticated techniques to win our hearts and minds. Is political advertising a threat to the quality of Australia's democratic system? The art of political persuasion [credits: Political parties are using the electoral roll to build up detailed data banks on the interests and concerns of voters but the files are exempt from both the Privacy Act and Freedom of Information legislation. Keeping track of voters ; (Thanks Dr Cope]
• · · · · Online Interview With Author of New Book on Surveillance Society: As a follow-up to Bespacific January 19 posting, Washington Post Examines Data Aggregator ChoicePoint, again from the Post, an online interview with Robert O'Harrow Jr., author of No Place to Hide: Behind the Scenes of Our Emerging Surveillance Society; North Korea is the most secretive country in the world today, with its main railway lined with walls so high that its foreign passengers can't see the countryside ]
• · · · · · The swirling political rumour though is that the Parrot is prepared to support Frank Sartor for Premier. All he needs to do is build a new water supply dam for Sydney and name it after the Parrot. The Egan Diaries - a retirement reflection ; [When a lawyer blows a whistle; The case of an attorney who was fired includes questions about ethical behavior and legal technicalities ]

Earlier this month, according to Iraqi officials, $300 million in American bills was taken out of Iraq's Central Bank, put into boxes and quietly put on a charter jet bound for Lebanon. Dirty Tricks

Invisible Hands & Markets: Business love affair with crooks and fleas continues
Danding Cojuangco is closing in on National Foods. But in his homeland a corruption buster has moved onto his board and is after his shares

In Mudgee, the locals don't routinely refer to Cojuangco as Danding - unlike in his bustling hometown of Quezon City, in the north of greater Manila with its 11 million people. But then in Mudgee for the past 2 decades he's mostly been recognised as a genial thoroughbred racehorse breeder with sheep, cattle and vineyard interests rather than the fifth most powerful - and arguably the richest - man in the Philippines.
But a window into Cojuangco's private existence opened on December 30, when the one-time Philippine presidential candidate and crony of the late Ferdinand Marcos waved $1.78 billion under the nose of the board of the big Australian dairy company, National Foods - which handles such household brands as Yoplait, Pura milk and King Island cheeses.
At the local Mudgee pub, he may be seen as just one of the boys when he leaves his plush homestead for a steak, but life is not necessarily as simple on his home soil.
In the oligarchic Philippines, where, as one long-time Australian businessman in Manila puts it, "the top 10 talk to each other", politics and business are cross-hatched. Cojuangco has played both astutely.
He became extraordinarily wealthy during the Marcos regime, then fled on the same private jet as Marcos to Hawaii in 1986 amid the People Power Revolution and the new-broom attitude taken by Marcos's successor, Corazon Aquino. In his absence, the Soriano family took over the management of the company.
Unlike Marcos, Cojuangco wound his way back to the top when the time was right. After returning from exile in 1989, he ran in the 1992 presidential elections with former actor Joseph Estrada. Fidel Ramos beat Cojuangco resoundingly to the presidency, taking over from Aquino, but Estrada won the vice-presidency. In 1998, Estrada went the whole way, taking Cojuangco with him.

Barbarian Behind the Gate [James Cumes shares with blogosphere correspondence of note: It is strange that we can be so wrong about so many things for so long We seem to be guilty of recurrent economic idiocy. Not just a small idiocy, but idiocy on a grand scale]
• · Martha Stewart is in prison. Richard Scrushy, former chief executive of HealthSouth, is sitting through jury selection at his fraud trial. This week, lawyers for and against Bernard Ebbers, former head of WorldCom, were in a Manhattan court pending jury selection. And former Tyco chief Dennis Kozlowski is being retried on grand larceny charges. US yearns for old ways as frauds come to court
• · · Investors, regulators, legislators - and even companies - are demanding that those who commit financial misdeeds, or fail to stop them, pay significant penalties, often with their own money. People were jumping out of windows ; Don't Buy American Why Europeans hate American Express and Wal-Mart, but like MasterCard and Colgate
• · · · $1 million treasure hunt hidden in pages of fairy tale
• · · · · Juraj Janosik was a Gural a Robin Hood character: Bush’s guralation: Lifestyles of the Rich and Heartless
• · · · · · Female bank employees in Nigeria are being forced to prostitute themselves to potential customers to meet demands put on their banks by recent economic reforms

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Surviving the Death of the Universe: A neat extreme futurist piece considers the last days of the universe: So on some day in the far future, the last star will cease to shine, and the universe will be littered with nuclear debris, dead neutron stars and black holes. Intelligent civilisations, like homeless people in rags huddled next to dying campfires, will gather around the last flickering embers of black holes emitting a faint Hawking radiation Escape from Universe of Dirty Tricks
The political universe is out of control, in a runaway acceleration Why has the unpopular Michael Egan suddenly resigned as NSW Treasurer, to be replaced by the affable Andrew Refshauge?

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: History will Judge Us Kindly?
Torture thrives when those who make the policy are convinced that they possess a moral superiority that should not be constrained by regulation. From Argentina to Iran and Central America, Isabel Hilton excavates the logic as well as the gruesome precedents of America’s moral collapse at Abu Ghraib

As Iraq gears up for elections on 30 January, torture of Iraqis by Coalition troops hits the headlines again. In the USA the first contested trial over the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib results in a ten-year sentence for US Army specialist Charles Graner. Meanwhile in Germany, at a trial of British servicemen, photographs are shown apparently revealing another torture scandal in Iraq. How could such things be allowed to happen? Is this the work of 'a few bad apples' or evidence of a policy? What can we do?
At times like this we need cool analysis, reasoned argument and a sense of perspective. We want to remind you that openDemocracy has provided in-depth coverage of the Abu Ghraib scandal and the larger issues of torture in our debate 'After Image: the meanings of Abu Ghraib'.

Torture: who gives the orders [Arab Mirror; After image: the meanings of Abu Ghraib ]
• · Young Labor does one function - it teaches people how to hate other members of the Labor Party: Nick Grimm spoke to Rodney Cavalier, a former New South Wales education minister, who these days is a Labor Party historian and commentator: Well, what we're witnessing is something seriously bad in the history of any political party, and that's an intersection of the collapse of belief and the collapse in organisation. But as belief has disappeared as a crucible, careers and jobs and the prospects of the glittering lights have replaced them. And so people are lining up in terms of where they nail their colours to the mast – not in terms of what they believe, but in terms of what opportunities they perceive will fall their way, in terms of what faction they join. Labor leadership outcome remains uncertain; History will be kind to me for I intend to write it: In 2006 New South Wales will celebrate 150 years of irresponsible government]
• · · Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal Liberty Bell Ringer: A Case of Mission Inebriation? ; [ Five steps for defeating terrorism ]
• · · · Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Jerusalem Post Saudi Arabia's 'Democracy'; [From Saudi Arabia, Islamic pilgrims bring cosmopolitan air to unlikely city Mecca: The Cultural Capital of Islam]
• · · · · Best and Worst Inaugural Speeches An interesting feature in the Post today rates the best and worst Presidential inaugural speeches of all time. Inaugural: High and low of Gural Dance ; President Bush's speech was impressive, and also frightening to those who suspect that he really meant it. Imperial Roman: No Country Left Behind; No Barbarian Left Behind; [Whether by amending the language regarding covert action or by adopting new language specifically tailored to special forces, Congress should ensure that covert military operations be held to at least the same standard of accountability as the CIA's covert actions. The risks inherent in the types of missions that the Pentagon envisions for its special forces are at least as serious as those arising from the CIA covert operations that prompted the restrictions now in place. The rules, therefore, should be just as strict. The Rise and Rise of Shadow Barbarians and Warriors ]
• · · · · · David Marr with Aban Contractor and Tony Stephens: The extraordinary public assault on Latham by Bob Carr, Queensland's Peter Beattie and the WA premier's proxy, Attorney-General Jim McGinty, was mounted knowing Latham had made up his mind to leave - sometime. They were using the media to pressure him to do what he had already decided to do, but do it quickly ; Premier Bob Carr has ordered his new cabinet to become proactive in solving problems with the public in a major push to bounce back in the opinion polls; [History of Us ]

Friday, January 21, 2005

Jozef Banas supplied information to the secret police on the movements of foreign journalists when he was employed in the press division of the foreign ministry. At Media Dragon, we were hardly surprised to read last year that Jozef Banas was unhappy with the decision of the Memory of the Nation Institute to publish the files.
Last week a Slovakian secretary of state, Jan Hurny, a member of the same party, resigned following allegations about his past as an StB agent. Jozef Banas is to address a parliamentary session this week with respect to his listing on the Stb files. While in Poland Jozef Oleksy resigned after being found guilty of lying about collaborating with Communist secret services Blood Sucking Fleas

A western Sydney schoolboy has received a back-to-school cheque addressed to "Mrs Passed Away", 15 months after his mother died. I'm not in a position to make a personal apology because it wasn't an envelope that I addressed. Fair go; Bob Carr Ministry has Business and AAA on Side

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Gillard, Rudd canvass colleagues
A Three-Horse race for Labor's federal leadership seems likely. As we all know, a week is a long time in politics ... Labor faces an excruciating dilemma. It is running scared, scarred from its experiment with generational change and paying the price for a decade or more of not replenishing its talent pool. It has reached the point where only a handful of caucus members have any employment experience outside politics or the union movement It is a party with few choices and those that it has are flawed

KIM Beazley is holding on to the votes of many of the caucus members who backed him at his last failed leadership attempt, but support was last night building for Kevin Rudd.
The former opposition leader flew to Sydney yesterday to continue lobbying for votes, breaking with his tactics of 2003 by calling caucus colleagues directly rather than relying on close factional allies to do the work for him.
But while he remains the frontrunner, the race is tightening, with Mr Rudd's supporters last night claiming they already had about 30 of the 44 caucus votes he would need to scrape through and win.

I wouldn't have blamed him for either, or both, of two highly personal reactions: psychic depression, or Get Stuffed. As the leader of the Labor Party, Mark Latham can't afford either. He has to summon his courage and grit out the next three, and possibly six, years. It will be the toughest time of his life: tougher than his testicular cancer, tougher than pancreatitis, tougher than losing the 2004 election. Whatever, Latham was the victim
Numbers All Over The Floor [Google links to leadership challengers; Gillard is game as contest gets ugly; The Australian federal election of 2004 is a long way distant from the 1840s of Karl Marx, but his arguments still resonate. Many in the Labor Party and on the Left have blamed the 'selfishness' of families with mortgages who overwhelmingly voted for the Coalition and who supported John Howard because they believed that the Coalition was more likely than the ALP to keep interest rates lower The collapse of communism and the failure of socialist states around the world revealed the Left's vision to be unattainable ]
• · Bush begins 2nd term today amid stiff security; Bush Avoids Iraq in Inaugural Speech George Bush aka Orwell launches term with vow to spread freedom; [ The anchor of King's dream; The anchor of Economic dream]
• · · The Pentagon has hit back at claims by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh that US commandos have been carrying out covert operations inside Iran. There is plausible deniability - of course they [the Bush administration] don't want it known- Seymour Hersh Intelligence coup: Until the Government Denies it; [Being a 007 can be glamorous and boring all in the same day As a city police officer, never try to arrest the mayor; A political artist on trial A professor facing possible charges of bio-terrorism speaks in Toronto]
• · · · This blogger holds many bitterweet memories of the Czechoslovak army: Compulsory military service was introduced by Emperor Franz Jozef in 1868 when the Czech lands were part of Austria-Hungary The last conscripts have left the Czech army ; There is never a shortage of idiots, but, War and Principal Vidmar takes the cake! Idiot of the Year
• · · · · - Wave of suicide blasts kills at least 25
• · · · · · The identity of Australians could be subjected to unprecedented scrutiny under the biggest security protection plan since the failed Australia Card; Authorities are scouring Boston for four Chinese nationals and two Iraqi men who may pose a nuclear threat to the city Two Iraqi; via Czech Amerikan: Four Chinese nationals sought in terror probe
[I am going to be sleeping in my bed in Massachusetts tonight and I feel perfectly safe doing so
-Mitt Romney; Massachusetts governor]

[Professional politicians] don't mind if price controls cause shortages of health care. In fact, they welcome the prospect, because then they can impose rationing; they can impose priorities, and tell everyone how much of what kind of medical care they can have. And besides, ... there's that deeply satisfying rush of power.
- Murray N. Rothbard
Taxman can no longer give artists the brush-off; ATO rules on business and pleasure

Invisible Hands & Markets: The Chastened Hopes of the Economic and Civil Rights Movement
On Doing Kindnesses - De Beneficiis ... Men are, one and all, actors, some of kindness, the more so the more civilized they are. They put on a show of affection, respect for others, modesty and disinterest without deceiving anyone, since it is generally understood that they are not sincere about it.

Forty years after the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and decades after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. made strides in racial equality, America remains split along racial lines - divided by the color green.
Economic equality has become the paramount civil rights issue of the 21st century, civil rights advocates said as they prepared to celebrate King's birthday on Monday.
Fewer blacks than whites own their houses, get fair loans, invest in the stock market or sit on corporate boards, or have any real control over much of the trillions of dollars flowing in mutual funds, pension plans and the financial markets, they said.
Very real gains have been made on some parts of the economic front and the education front and most particularly on the job front. (But) those gains are being reversed through widening racial wealth gaps.

The anchor of Economic dream [Credits: make-up - Why should the State finance a football ground, a library, a theatre or a nursery and not pay a centime towards society’s religious needs ]
• · Sydney leads the way as job market booms
• · · As the re-trial of L. Dennis Kozlowski, former Tyco chief executive, and Mark H. Swartz, Tyco's former chief financial officer, is about to begin (18 January 2005) the New York Times reports that Kozlowski says "'I firmly believe that I never did or intended to do anything wrong.'" The NYTimes reports that "Kozlowski wants to be clear: the $6,000 shower curtain wasn't his idea Kozlowski: What Will the Jury Say? ; there was "overwhelming evidence" that the two, Anthony Elgindy and Jeffrey A. Royer, were working together to commit securities fraud and not to expose corporate crime: Trial Say Profit Was True Motive Elgindy Securities Fraud Trial Coming to a Close; [ via White Collar Crime in a Nutshell]
• · · · Some people have suggested that our tax laws should be simplified so that the taxpayers could actually understand them. How could this be done? My friend John Dorschner proposes this system: Every year, on April 15, all members of Congress would be placed in individual prison cells with the necessary tax forms and a copy of the Tax Code. They would remain locked in the cells, without food or water, until they had completed their tax returns and successfully undergone a full IRS audit. Of course this system would probably result in a severe shortage of congresspersons. But there might also be some drawbacks. -Dave Barry
Battle Plans for the Tax Shelter Wars: Dealing with Government Losses What are the cures?
• · · · · Stealth tax increases always fascinate me. There are at least two types of stealth tax increases. One is the increase that is hidden so deeply in the fine print, masked by assertions of tax neutrality, that it takes a while before taxpayers realized they've been had. The other type is of particular interest at the moment. It occurs when a legislature raises a tax, and makes it obvious in the legislation that it is doing so. Stealth Tax, Type Two; [courtesy John Maul ]
• · · · · · Ringtones drown out CD singles Ringtones drown out CD singles