Saturday, February 28, 2004

A contempt for the aboriginal culture

Bulldogs: two girls to every guy in Coffs
Political parties, academia and gangs in general attract people who are finding it difficult to be understood, they are involved in some sort of initiation ceremony and exhibit anti-social behaviour. "They say 'up you' to the rest of the world, they believe the rules don't apply to them and taken to extreme, sexual assault by many of a group is showing gang mentality."
One barman claims a young footballer, thrown out of the hotel, said: "Don't you know who I am?"
Most footballers don't say that. Big-headedness is a crime in rugby league. The code's Darwinian winnowing forbids it. But "chop ups", as group sex with a willing woman is known among players, is not.

· Then, under a fierce sun, they performed every reality show
· See Also What dogs do
· See Also What Woolves do
· Cavalier style led to water chief's fall

A reputation, it is said, is one of a person's most precious assets... Some reputations (animals) are more equal than others

The World's Richest Families
I didn't need blog to build an empire. My rise to the top of the publishing ranks has mouths flapping...
· Mouth of Ironies [ courtesy of Fire-breathing survivor ]
· Larry Page and Sergey Brin are worth $1bn each: Google Founders
· See Also BlogRolling.com is a 'best-of-breed-banking' service

Those on the senior management side say, ‘Why didn't you sack him,' and on the low rankin officer level, they said, 'Why didn’t you hug him.' But the vast majority said they learned a lot by watching office culture at work.

Bunch of losers stroll along towards jobs for the boys
They're all going for the same position, but when they get it James Bone smells a rat.
· The world is divided into ...

Law grinds the poor, and rich men rule the law.
-- Oliver Goldsmith

Rich the most eager to grab welfare
Ronald Reagan memorably complained about welfare queens, but he never told us that the biggest welfare queens are the already wealthy. Their lobbyists fawn over politicians, giving them little bits of money -- campaign contributions, plane trips, dinners, golf outings -- in exchange for huge chunks of taxpayers’ money. Millionaires who own your favorite sports teams get subsidies, as do millionaire farmers, corporations, and well-connected plutocrats of every variety. Even successful, wealthy TV journalists.
That’s right, I got some of your money too.

· Confessions of a Welfare Queen

The benefits of a world economy are bypassing those who most need them, writes Charlotte Denny.
· Winners and losers of globalisation

Friday, February 27, 2004

In the 17th century MPs quoted the Bible, in the 18th and 19th centuries the classics, in the 20th century nothing...

Cross your fingers and hope for the best Dictatorship
It's funny what the Hansard parliamentary reporters hear and what they miss. At a committee hearing last week, the Greens MP Ian Cohen was grilling the head of Sydney Water, Greg Robinson, about sewerage outfalls.
"I have been down to the outfalls . . . faeces the size of a man could get through the filtration processors at Malabar and I went down there with my surfboard one day," Cohen said sternly.
Other people in the room then heard One Nation MP David Oldfield say to Cohen: "Are you saying you are a piece of faeces the size of a man?", and the groans that followed. Which is odd, because the Hansard reporters record only Oldfield's more sensible comments about depth and distance from shore and such. Censorship on the grounds of good taste perhaps?

· Rough mouth: Fine line Censorship
· Parliament’s back: Sage PIC Commissioner

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

There are some journalists who have not adjusted to pop journalism. They have not adjusted to soundbite, ratings journalism. Jeff is of that tradition. And so we thank him for his service...
A little solidarity on behalf of the truth, please. My favorite. It’s time for journalists to get mad, to unify against restrictions on the press and the flow of public information, and to openly resist – with words and actions – those who would redefine the First Amendment for their personal or political interests.

Going after Key Political Stories
If journalists demonstrated the kind of tenacity in going after key political stories that they did during that brief shining moment, well, America will have an election worthy of the world's oldest democracy, and reporters and editors alike will be able to speak proudly of the charge given to them by its oldest written constitution: to protect and defend the public's right to know its leaders -- and to choose them wisely
· Facts Fashions [ via Why Journalists Should Blog]
· Ana Menendez has the kind of face and coloring that allow her to slip easily into a number of cultures
· See Also Telegraph editor admits morale problem

Monday, February 23, 2004

Give me back the Berlin Wall
give me Stalin and St. Paul
I've seen the future, brother:
it is murder.
Leonard Cohen, The Future, 1992

Empires and the Modern Premiers
The great scandal of Lenin was that he taught realpolitik to the lower classes and backward peoples. If the working class was ever to become a ruling class it had better start thinking like one, and for a ruling class there are no rules. There is only the struggle to get and keep power. This is not to say that the Leninists and the imperialists are without moral feelings. Individually they are for the most part perfectly normal. Their compassion for their enemies' victims is absolutely genuine. So is their outrage at their enemies' moral failings and blind spots. In the 1980s I found it very difficult to regard supporters of the Chinese Communists' consistently anti-Soviet international policies as anything but scoundrels and scabs; but they were merely applying the same criteria as I was, to a different analysis of the world; and their indignation at my callous calculations and selective sympathies was just as real. I had the same sort of arguments with Trotskyists who supported the muj.
'How can you ...?' 'How can you ...?'
Morality has very little to do with choosing sides. It can tell us that a given act is dreadful, but it can't tell us whether to say, 'This is dreadful, therefore ...' or 'This is dreadful, but ...' We still often believe that we oppose our enemies because of their crimes, and support our allies despite their crimes. I wouldn't be surprised if Margaret Thatcher was quite sincere in condemning ZAPU as a terrorist organization because it shot down a civilian airliner, and in supporting one of the mujahedin factions, despite the fact that it had deliberately blown up a civilian airliner. Sometimes our moral justifications can blunt our moral sense. Think of the incendiary bombings of Germany and Japan. Suppose they were a military necessity. If so, better to accept that what 'our side' is doing is wrong and do it anyway than to persuade ourselves it is right because it is in a just cause.

· How can you ...? How can you ...?

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Ministerial spinners have Sydney and world mesmerised right now... (see also The Sun Herald 22 February 2004 AD offline only (My Career Section p 17:)
Walt Secord spins in a different stadium: the bear pit of the NSW Government, as director of communication for Premier Bob Carr.
Secord has been taking care of Carrs media image for nine years (the average career span for a press secretary is 18 months) and has at various times been described by the media as fat talking Canadian with a penchant for tabloid style headlines, a consummate political dirt digger and a larger than life old style spinner....

You're Either Spinning With Me Or Against Me: Soviet style Bullet Proofing
The force's most senior public servant has been replaced and the futures of several others are in limbo after a $65 million hole appeared in the police force books. The revelation, coming as the Government is still dealing with the political fallout from the train chaos and the hospital crisis, is bound to embarrass the Carr Government
The daughter of former prime minister Gough Whitlam has resigned from the NSW Parole Board, complaining of political interference from the Carr Government.
· Political Interference

Redfern Riot
As the far north-west NSW town of Walgett gears up for the funeral of Thomas "TJ" Hickey in predicted 40-degree-plus heat, Aboriginal leaders are furious about the round of arrests of black youths which will follow.
Busloads of TJ's relatives and friends, the international media and police reinforcements will converge on the town on Tuesday.

· Black fears as town prepares for funeral [ See Also No Go Zone: Police meet in secret to ban Block patrols]
· Roseburry Riot
· Road Rage

There are basically two kinds of censorship, but most people only notice the harmless kind that involves trying to hide naughty words or pictures once they’re already out there in plain sight. This kind of censorship is what brought down the Soviets. It just doesn’t work, and ain’t worth the trouble of trying. It just ends up as a joke.
The other sort of censorship is harder to spot and much more cruel. It’s a matter of which stories get told or noticed in the first place, rather than fussing about the language in which they get told. Put it this way: how many things happened yesterday? and how many of those things made the nightly news? For starters, you probably didn’t. Yup, if you’re reading the eXile, it’s a good bet that nothing you did or ever will do made the news.
Your story is just too depressing. To make the news, your story has to be one of the consoling lies that a culture, any culture, tells itself to make the ordinary suckers’ lives seem bearable to them. If your bike is rearended at a stoplight and you spend the rest of your life tetraplegic, it’s not going to be on the news. It’s a big story to you, and it’s the kind of story total strangers enjoy hearing, if only out of morbid curiosity, but it won’t make the news. It’s too true. It’s not an exception.
Try keeping track of the stories you see featuring 'ordinary people' and you’ll discover that they’re all lies: Illiterate nobodies get rich. Terminal cancer case is spontaneously cured. Parakeet and cat become best friends. Behind all these like the breath of the grave whisper the simple, censored facts: the poor stay poor. Millions of terminal cancer patients die on schedule. The cat grabs the parakeet first chance it gets, and kills it slowly, torturing it with great pleasure.
When a culture really wants to censor the horrible truth, it takes these stories and puts them together into an 'inspirational' movie. And that movie is called Forrest Gump.

· Poet Hugh MacDiarmid famously and foolishly said he would kill a million men for one glorious lyric [link first seen at Ken McLeod]

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Senior and middle managers - the dedicated men and women whose job is to keep the trains on time, the nurses in work, the police on the beat, the water flowing, the teachers in classrooms, the power utilities in tip-top service and children safe from domestic abuse - have been made scapegoats and humiliated by ministers and their minders on so many occasions that they no longer care.
· They are fed up with being made pawns in the day's media cycle as ministers scramble to grab headlines or shift blame

Moments before Thomas "TJ" Hickey was fatally impaled on a metal fence, a female charity worker claims to have seen the teenager being chased on his bike by police in a caged truck.
· Caged truck
· Randwick bus crash injures eight children
The use of tragedy, deaths in hospitals, for political purposes is absolutely shameful...
· Who do I blame? I don't know who to blame.
· Lee Glendinning report: In cold blood

Just for once let me be your alleged bouncing Czech parliamentary spy (warning long sentence ahead): I gather that the alleged powerful troika which is supposedly on the path to heading parliamentary departments, (consisting of ex parliamentary library and current library staffers, Greig Tillotson, Rhonda Miller (this is not the stuntwoman of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Fame,) and Warren Cahill,) (Last century LC parliamentary attendants used to assume that Warren rather than Lauren was on the phone for me, and had a crash on the Bohemian poet :=) is likely to add another secret report on their CVs. This time even the auction houses around the world might find the content of the minutes of meetings and the report of interest...However, it is unlikely that even the ultimate insiders, such as the first Maltese Speaker, John Aquilina, will read the report before the Mardi Grass of 2004.
· Move over, God, it's time to make room for a real power

Telstra leaks, just like a government
When Telstra's Bob Mansfield sat down on his sofa on Tuesday night, turned on the TV and was confronted with the 6 o'clock news that The Bulletin magazine had uncovered a plan hatched by him and chief executive Ziggy Switkowski to take over John Fairfax his otherwise routine day was turned on its head.
The Prime Minister is, of course, correct. A partially privatised Telstra is an "absurdity" ("Telstra board knocks back takeover bid for Fairfax", Herald, February 18), like being partially pregnant. (Letter by H.E. Hayward, Turramurra, February 18.)

· Decorum doesn't allow me to quote Mansfield's self-admitted description of his initial response [ See Also Sexed Up? I was source: intelligence chief]
· If this alleged report ever sees the light of the public day, Google will add the wisdom into its archives

Trends: Seven Year Itch
· Mouthing off at the office can be good for your health - and disastrous for your career

Australian dollar burst through the landmark US80c level last night for the first time in seven years and there are predictions it could surge to US90c and even towards parity with the American greenback.
· Dollar punches through US80c [See Also Black Moroccan halter-neck to the sequinned and beaded silk georgette]

Are you a challenger?
Move over yuppies a new tribe is born -- they are the Challengers, and they're not going to take it any more...

· New Tribe: Antipodian Trendsetters
· How happiness can be bought: Doing things, not buying stuff, has proved to be a superior pathway to pleasure in life

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Public servants speaking publicly: the Bennett case
What should a public servant be able to say publicly about government matters? In August 2001, both civilian and military arms of Defence issued new instructions severely restricting staff contact with the media. Even tighter restrictions were imposed on Operation Relex, which interdicted people-smuggling operations on Australia’s northern borders. Concern was expressed at the time that the new restrictions were not appropriate in a liberal democracy.They were relaxed in February 2002, to the apparent relief of some within the defence forces, as well as more broadly.
· Operation Relex
· To death and taxes, add lies
· The Australian Senate [ courtesy of Information and Research Services, Department of the Parliamentary Library ]

An article in the Guardian about authors writing glowing anonymous reviews for their own books at Amazon.com. This only further confirms my feeling one shouldn't evaluate books on reader reviews alone.First of all, we have Harriet Klausner who typically rates books no less than One Star Reviews :=) Just one star thrills Jozef Imrich His Star, Lucy, is a diamond in the sky
Apparently I'm only a second-rate cynic. How about you? A cynic is someone who habitually questions the motives of others, believing them to be selfish by nature.

The law of diminishing monopoly: Amazon reviewers brought to book
The five-star review on Amazon, one of the world's biggest online booksellers, was attributed only to 'a reader from Chicago'.
· Stars [link first seen at ]
· Another long look at life in the age of Google.

Shorter Washington Post editorial page
Senate Democrats are bad people who have strategies and constituencies and stuff, but the Republicans shouldnt have stolen a really lot of their files like that (just a few would have been OK), although the people the bad thief lawyer guy worked for clearly knew nothing about it at the time and really the Republicans are the heroes of this story for not stonewalling after they were publicly busted by the Sergeant at Arms.
[ via Thief Memo]

Sunday, February 15, 2004

NAO to investigate whisky fraud claims, Accountancy Age, 6 February 2004.
The National Audit Office is to take a close look at whisky fraud after the chancellor said the Treasury misses out on duty on one in every six bottles.

Buyers under the hammer
A Tax Office review is hunting for gaps between declared income and the prices paid for antiques and fine art. Peter Fish reports. Bought or sold any art work lately? If so you could be in for a shock.
Sydney Morning Herald 14/02/2004 (hard copy only)

Kerry Packer: Fine That Dare Not Speed Its Name
Police gave a record $216,900 speeding ticket to a millionaire under a system in which traffic fines are linked to an offender's income. The Iltalehti tabloid reported that millionaire Jussi Salonoja zoomed through the city center last weekend in a 25 mph zone and police handed him a ticket of $216,900. It didn't say what his speed was. [...] Two years ago, Anssi Vanjoki, then executive vice president of Nokia's mobile phones division, landed a $148,000 ticket after being caught doing 46 mph in a 31 mph zone on a motorcycle. [...] Other hefty speeding tickets have included a $71,000 one for a professional hockey player and one for $190,000 given to one of Finland's wealthiest people.
· Finnish Police Give Record Speeding Fine [link first seen at Skoda: Harm]
· The US legislature is spending a great deal of time scrutinizing the tax revenues and the state budget proposals.

In an interview with the businessman sought after for his views on the economy, he stressed that democracy doesn't mean very much, in real terms, if "the bottom group," meaning the most impoverished, is hungry...
· Economic freedom first, then political freedom
· Charlie Thompson saw a big mess and decided to clean it up
· 2003 Comparative Tax Study
· The British Dream: Why I am an Angry Young Man

Secrets and Spies
Two stories of emigration to Australia from behind the Iron Curtain have highlighted a diverse shortlist for this year's National Biography Award.
· Tales of the dark side vie for award

Access Denied
Chris Davis and Matthew Doig of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune joined colleagues from 29 other Florida newspapers to test the availability of public records in 62 of the state's 67 counties. The results: "Overall, 57 percent of the agencies audited complied with the public records law. The rest made unlawful demands or simply refused to turn over the records. Public officials lied to, harassed and even threatened volunteers who were using a law designed to give citizens the power to watch over their government. In six counties, volunteers were erroneously told that the documents they wanted didn't exist. One volunteer was almost arrested." The best results came from city managers, while county administrators handed over e-mail records only half the time. The stories are accompanied by an explainer about how the audit was done and a database of journals kept by reporters.
· Databases [ via Scoop ]
· Constituents Customers

Saturday, February 14, 2004

My grand philosophical conclusion at the end of the day is that humanity does not divide into the rich and the poor, the privileged and the unprivileged, the clever and the stupid, the lucky and the unlucky or even into the happy and the unhappy. It divides into the nasty and the nice. Nasty people are humourless, bitter, self-pitying, resentful and mean. They are also, of course, invariably miserable. Saints may worry about them and even try to turn their sour natures, but those who do not aspire to saintliness are best advised to avoid them whenever possible, and give their aggression a good run for its money whenever it becomes unavoidable.
Auberon Waugh, Will This Do?

How CityRail became Labor's multibillion-dollar fiasco
Daniel Pearson took four hours and 40 minutes to get from his work at Chatswood to his home at Cronulla. He spent 45 minutes stuck in a train 500 metres from Chatswood station and another 30 minutes outside Artamon station. Feeling like a sheep on the Cormo Express, he quit the train at St Leonards and paid $15 for a taxi to the city, where he waited another 40 minutes at Martin Place.
· Mapping farting Tangara

Ever the hard-nosed administrator, he can crack the whip at recalcitrant singers and settle with the unions and placate his board and terrorize his underlings and prevent the centrifugal force of a thousand egos from spinning the Met out of control. His pleasure in his position is always evident and endearing. But can he plan repertory and oversee casting and productions with the requisite, insightful sophistication and taste? X is a tough guy, even (say many) a bully. So logic might dictate a smoother, tonier, more soft-spoken manager, more in line with patrician Met tradition. And maybe one with greater sophistication about the musical and dramatic side of opera.
[ Irony of Railing Opera]

Monday, February 09, 2004

We stood for the dignity of the working man
We were, of course, of the left. We were socialist. We stood for the dignity of the working man. We stood for the dignity of distress. We stood for the dignity of our island, the dignity of our indignity. Borrowed phrases! Left-wing, right-wing: did it matter? Did we believe in the abolition of private property? Was it relevant to the violation which was our subject? We spoke as honest men. But we used borrowed phrases which were part of the escape from thought, from that reality we wanted people to see but could ourselves now scarcely face. We enthroned indignity and distress. We went no further.
I am not sure that the wild men of our party did not speak more honestly than we did. They promised to abolish poverty in twelve months. They promised to abolish bicycle licences. They promised to discipline the police. They promised intermarriage. They promised farmers higher prices for sugar and copra and cocoa. They promised to renegotiate the bauxite royalties and to nationalize every foreign-owned estate. They promised to kick the whites into the sea and send the Asiatics back to Asia. They promised; they promised; and they generated the frenzy of the street-corner preacher who thrills his hearers with a vision of the unattainable rich world going up in a ball of fire. We disapproved, of course. But what could we do?"
V.S. Naipaul, The Mimic Men

· Troppoarmadillo [link first seen at An absence of months and Ken Parish still can't tell the difference between left and right, or perhaps simply prefers not to bother: Roadtosurfdom ]

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Extraordinary how potent cheap transcript is.
Noël Coward, Private Lives
You are lying to me, you are being cute, you have rubbed my nose in the dirt, I will have no credibility, I cannot save the city. This Government is very powerful. They will destroy you, they will destroy the city and it will be on your head.

Helping out a Friend: Australian Italian Way
Right now (pun intended) Sydney too is going through an Orwellian moment. Trying to rewrite boundaries, to explain away greed and embarrassments...90% of Sydneysiders are more concerned about their own survival so why also worry about politics?
· Five-minute tirade but Sartor says he was just helping out a friend
· Transcript
· It's about political donations from developers

Whistleblower nurse slams Carr
Her colleagues have christened her Erin Brockovich after the legal rights activist made famous by Hollywood - and now Bob Carr knows why.
Whistleblower nurse Nola Fraser has written a scathing eight-page letter to the Premier, demanding a private meeting and a royal commission into the NSW health system.
Ms Fraser described the Government's response to the hospitals crisis as inadequate and ineffective.
NSW has never had so many administrators, independent boards, independent commissions and independent investigative bodies and yet the health system has never been so purulent and terminally diseased. You have taken a good, competent health system, which I was proud to be part of, and in just seven years managed to turn it into something that horror movies are made of.
Ms Fraser described in graphic detail the death of three patients at Campbelltown Hospital. She provides a first-hand account of the treatment the women received, the subject of damning investigations by the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC).

· Sydney Erin Brockovich

My four years of sun, sand, and Scaborough Swimming ended! How unfair... PayCzech dragon wins!
While everyone else may have started 2004 a bit sooner, the official starting time for the courts was on Monday, which allowed the system to build up a good head of steam.

Now it's Generation T for time
Time or money? It is always a big issue for working parents. But now Australia's children have had their say on this dilemma of modern life.
[See Also Imrichs 2000 2004: Four Years in Subtropical Lands: Time with Children]
· Now it's Generation ID: Everywhere, it seems, someone is checking IDs

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Small esoteric note that probably isn't worth reading:
The thing that tears people apart is money. The reason they are unhappy is money. The boss is so important in people's lives. He's more important than your spouse because he's the one who provides your PayCzech. Compared to that, love is just about procreation... How can you complain about things when you know that the life span in Botswana is 32 years old? Life can be really hard, and almost anyone's life in America is pretty easy.

The End of Happy Endings: Cold Reality
Happy endings are presumed to belong to the realm of fantasy. In real life, after all, even a thumping electoral victory is generally more a first act than a last; what ensues, much too often, is disappointment, broken promises and even murmurs of a recall. When the believer, in any faith, tells us that the reward for bloody sacrifice is eternal joy, the nonbeliever is often tempted to think that the believer is merely trying to justify the ways of God to man. On earth at least, the end of life is death.
America, though, is the spiritual home of new beginnings, which may be why it has always had a soft spot, a special gift, for happy endings. We speak brightly of ''closure,'' as if the most difficult things in life could be wrapped up as neatly as a gift package; we speak of people ''passing on,'' as if the end of life were just a passing phase. America, in fact, could almost be defined as the place that chose not to root itself in the tragic cycles of the Greeks and others from the Old World (even Shakespeare, after all, in his early comedy Love's Labour's Lost, ensures that we leave the theater with the memory of a sudden death uppermost in our minds, and the central courting couples failing to pair off as comic convention decrees).

· Love's Labour's Lost [link first seen at Cold River]

Friday, February 06, 2004

The Australian and American senates: a comparison
Notwithstanding the differences, the Australian and American Senates are comparable in being among the very strongest upper houses in the world, and in demonstrating the value of bicameralism in democratic governance. US political scientist Stanley Bach analyses the major differences between the Australian and US upper houses.
· Upper Houses (PDF file) [ via APO ]
· Australia–US Free Trade Agreement: overview of potential legal issues (PDF file)

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Chilling stuff
Remote-operated cameras hidden in hollowed-out logs, school satchels and watering cans. Glass jars containing personal-ID body swabs, to be used by groin-sniffer dogs. Kombi-style Barkas B1000 prisoner transport vehicles with net curtains over the windows. Letter-opening machines. Wire-tapping devices. Bulky "microbugs". More hidden cameras
All five floors of Ruschestrasse 103 are filled with spooky surveillance equipment. Until 14 years ago, this austere, archetypically modernist building, hidden among similar anonymous boxes in the eastern suburb of Lichtenberg, was one of the most feared in Berlin. Which is really saying something.
It was the headquarters of the Ministry for State Security, otherwise known as the Stasi, the secret police force, which during its 40-year existence amassed files on some six million people, imprisoned more than 250,000 and arranged for the disappearance of countless others.

· Ministry for State Security [ courtesy of NicMoc: What remains true, as the region embarks on it present transition, is that it is still an endlessly fascinating place, caught bristling in its own tensions between the possibilities of the future and the shackles of the past]

3077 Amazon Ranking Reasons to Actually Read Virtual COLD RIVER: Literature of Secrecy

To Get Literary, Lay Low
The literary world is agog. Joanna Trollope has refused to do any press for her new novel, Brother and Sister. She wants the writing to speak for itself. Can this really be the same woman who posed upside down in a feather boa in the Daily Mail?
A guest columnist in the Sunday Observer says the new key to literary cache is laying low: "If you want to be taken seriously by the critics, secrecy is everything. Out goes Richard and Judy and Hay-on-Wye. In comes enforced literary purdah." A primary case in point is Joanna Trollope. "By taking a vow of silence, Trollope has elevated herself to the pantheon of authors who never do interviews. Welcome to the recluse club."
· The recluse club

The blogging community is terribly incestuous
This site exists to point out the hypocrisy of people taking out drama on the Internet and then whining when people notice:
Last night I cheated on my boyfriend, don't tell!

· Randomly Ever After

The threat to modern journalism is real, but it comes not just from without but also from within. It comes not just from the manipulations, favouritism and half-truths of the discredited, and partially abandoned, Labour spin culture, but also from the media's disrespect for facts, the avoidable failure to be fair, the want of explanation and the persistent desire for melodrama that are spin's flip side!
· We are paid to be cynical

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Wild Bike Ride
Don’t try to pee and ride a bicycle at the same time, even if Warren can do it. Not that you were watching or anything.
Try not to get too depressed. There’s always something to look forward to. Keep alert, and sooner or later you’ll see someone slip and hurt themselves.
Here’s a helpful tip for job interviews: try not to stab your future boss in the arm with a freshly sharpened pencil. If you must stab someone with a pencil, have the common sense to dull the point to a state where you can be sure it won’t easily break the skin.
[See Also Good advice, presumably learned from the School of Hard Knocks]

Monday, February 02, 2004

Revealed: the gas chamber horror of North Korea's gulag
A series of shocking personal testimonies is now shedding light on Camp 22 - one of the country's most horrific secrets ...
The parents were vomiting and dying, but till the very last moment they tried to save kids by doing mouth-to-mouth breathing.

· CAMP 22

Justice at Risk
Manny Garcia and Jason Grotto of the Miami Herald have a four-part series on the judicial practice of setting aside felony convictions in Florida.
· Justice Withheld
· Justice accused of plagiarizing published work of colleagues

The Kerry biography: He's risen without trace
Mark Steyn, the insider's insider, once again. He attacks Kerry for being a weathervane politician who has who's risen without trace, from lieutenant governor to senator and maybe to president, with no accomplishment to show for it other than his own advance in status.
· Unauthorised Biography
Hitler too was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1936... Besides LOL, what else can one say?
· Bush, Blair nominated for Nobel Peace Prize, by apparatchicks at Australia Day Council?

Evidence that extreme partisanship didn't begin with blogs or 24/7 cable news:
Those who either attack or defend a minister in such a government as ours, where the utmost liberty is allowed, always carry matters to an extreme, and exaggerate his merit or demerit with regard to the public. His enemies are sure to charge him with the greatest enormities, both in domestic and foreign management; and there is no meanness or crime, of which, in their account, he is not capable. Unnecessary wars, scandalous treaties, profusion of public treasure, oppressive taxes, every kind of mal-administration is ascribed to him. To aggravate the charge, his pernicious conduct, it is said, will extend its baleful influence even to posterity, by undermining the best constitution in the world, and disordering that wise system of laws, institutions, and customs, by which our ancestors, during so many centuries, have been so happily governed. He is not only a wicked minister in himself, but has removed every security provided against wicked ministers for the future. [ via SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE, NEVER CHANGE ]

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Click here to find out why.

BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies has resigned, as has BBC Director General Greg Dyke. Rest assured that this won't be enough for some people. As hard as it may be to believe, there are already people calling for the complete dismantling of the British Broadcasting Corporation because Lord Hutton has ruled that one aspect of it was flawed in one instance.
The man who is sure to lead the angry mob will be the media magnate Rupert Murdoch. He has made no secret of his hatred for the BBC, and his plans for the void its absence, under-funding or effective castration would create should be obvious.
Through his newspaper The Times and 'news' paper The Sun, Murdoch's minions will no doubt reach millions with a barrage of negative messages intended to bring about the under-funding, over-regulation or complete destruction of a the most vital public institution in this country.
The BBC not only serves to inform us, educate us and entertain us; by its very existence it also serves to protect us from a level of commercial saturation that would destroy much of what we currently take for granted. If you've ever watched television anywhere else in the world, you'll know what I'm talking about...
In the face of what is sure to be a bitter and concerted attack (no doubt including claims of bias from people with a very clear agenda of their own), I'm proposing a simple show of solidarity and support that is also meant to spread valuable information to those who may not know exactly who is behind this attack and what their motives are.
To show your support:

· Simply copy and paste the code from Bloggerheads site to show this button on your website or weblog

Fat Road Safety Officers Danger in Taxing Regulatory Environment
Fat motorists may be even more dangerous than those who have been drinking, a sleep expert has warned.
Dr Lee Dowson said growing obesity is fuelling a rise in the disorder sleep apnoea, which causes sufferers to wake as many as 1,000 times a night and is blamed for daytime drowsiness.
He says it is probably already causing many road deaths, with lorry drivers particularly likely to be affected. Thousands of sufferers do not realise they have the condition, while others are afraid to seek treatment in case they lose their licences.
They are dangerous on the road. If you put them on a driving simulator they do worse than people who are intoxicated with alcohol.
He said risk factors included being male and having a thick neck - fat there puts extra pressure on the airways ...

· This is a timebomb. If somebody falls asleep at the wheel the consequences are horrendous
· Enforced safety? Spare me

I told you so! Imrich Beach Party will introduce a bill to Parliament in order to put an end to the current slavery (smile)
Can you believe this - 120 executives have paid $7,500 each to attend the ALP conference and I gather some Antipodean writers and pseudoauthors are considering joining ALP to make their books part of the Big Brother Reading List... To avoid administrative nightmares, my party will put more books in the libraries as a priority!

1984 - 2004 Cradle to Grave Pledges: One day high bandwidth might mean on top of a community relations mountain
Liberating office workers from their desks could make them more productive.
Two-thirds of those questioned in BT's survey said they would be happier and more relaxed if they could choose where they did their work.
The most popular alternative workplace was the beach with 37% of respondents.

· Office workers want to break free [link first seen at BBC ]
· Your Working Enemies Are Behind You...
[link first seen at All parents should know where their children are at night ]

2004 Australian Blog Awards - The winners are...
The winner in the categories of - Best Overall Australian Blog

Best NSW, Sydney Blog
She Sells Sanctuary
Once again, Tim Blair is forced to play the bridesmaid thanks to is poor showing in the distribution of preferences.
Well done Gianna and best of luck with the baby.
Best Victorian Blog
This time denying John Howard Blog the award.
Best Tasmanian Blog
Best Queensland Blog
85 George Street
Best West Australian Blog
Yobbo's View
Best South Australian Blog
Best Northern Territory Blog
Troppo Armadillo
Best Australian Capital Territory Blog
The spin starts here darl

Now to the travellers and expats... The winner in the categories of-
Best Overseas Australian Blog
Road To Surfdom AND Anthony Hicks
Best Humourous Australian Blog
The spin starts here darl
Best Australian Personal Blog
The spin starts here darl; Paperback Writer
Best Australian Political Blog
Some may argue that there is no winner here. Others will argue a case for one or the other... personally, while I have a view, I'm just going to put it in the "too hard" basket, publish the results and let you argue amongst yourselves as to who the winner should be. So, what is the situation we have?
Tim Blair; The spin starts here darl; Road to Surfdom
Best Australian Tech Blog
Anthony Hicks

· Vlado of New Fatherhood Fame & Kekoc Blogosphere

Spending to Save
Well, the community centers that will be built as a result of Joan Kroc will not do social services like feeding or housing. Rather, they are for educational and recreational activities, for character building. We provide activities that relate to the holistic person -- body, mind, soul and spirit.
· Feeding Souls

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