Monday, May 31, 2004

On the face of it, Alain de Botton: the people's philosopher, has very little cause to be anxious. The 34-year-old writer was enthusiastically received at the recent Sydney Writers Festival. His popularity stems from his ability to make sometimes weighty subjects attractive to the general reader. In it, he managed to unlock some of the mysteries in the work of the great literary master, for people who might otherwise be plain scared of tackling it

Feeding the Soul: Stellar novelist takes peace prize
Arundhati Roy, the lyrical Indian novelist, political activist and human rights campaigner, is the winner of the 2004 Sydney Peace Prize.
Roy rose to prominence as the author of The God of Small Things, which won the 1997 Booker Prize, but is just as well known today for her clashes with authority. She described her relationship with authority as "genetically adversarial".
Alan Cameron, chairman of the Sydney Peace Foundation, announced the winner last night.
The jury's citation reads: "Arundhati Roy has been recognised for her courage in campaigns for human rights and for her advocacy of non-violence, as expressed in her demands for justice for the poor, for the victims of communal violence, for the millions displaced by the Narmada dam projects and for her opposition to nuclear weapons."
Roy said from New Delhi: "Today, in a world convulsed by violence and unbelievable brutality the lines between 'us' and 'the terrorists' have been completely blurred. We don't have to choose between imperialism and terrorism; we have to choose what form of resistance will rid us of both.
"What shall we choose? Violence or non-violence? We have to choose knowing that when we are violent to our enemies, we do violence to ourselves. When we brutalise others, we brutalise ourselves. And eventually we run the risk of becoming our oppressors."
Roy follows the 2003 winner, the Palestinian academic and human rights campaigner Hanan Ashrawi. The selection of Dr Ashrawi drew controversy and hostility from sections of the Jewish community.
Arundhati Roy is not expected to generate such heat, although her choice will meet with some debate.
The director of the Sydney Peace Foundation, Professor Stuart Rees, said: "Arundhati Roy is a distinguished world citizen. She is an outstanding communicator who writes with great clarity and grace.
"At a time of terrible disregard for human life, we need to hear from citizens like Arundhati Roy."
Roy is often accused of anti-Americanism, but replies: "My writing is not really about nations and histories, it's about power. About the paranoia and ruthlessness of power."
She predicts: "Soviet-style communism failed, not because it was intrinsically evil, but because it was flawed. It allowed too few people to usurp too much power. Twenty-first century market capitalism, American-style, will fail for the same reasons. Both are edifices constructed by human intelligence, undone by human nature."
She has argued that Osama bin Laden is "America's family secret", the monstrous offspring of its support for the mujahideen after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. "He has been sculpted from the spare rib of a world laid waste by America's foreign policy."
The bombs raining down, she says, are "blowing up whole warehouses of suppressed fury" and will inevitably spawn more terrorism.

· The Peace of Small Things [Link Poached from God, The Devil, and Darwin: There are no atheists in foxholes ]
· See Also The little films that could: small stories of Escape no longer lost to free market
· See Also Science & Escapes & Jazz: Creativity And The Working City
· See Also Why sex is better than the alternatives
· See Also Pope Worries About Soulless' U.S. Life

Sunday, May 30, 2004

If the individual, as in the past generation, neglects politics - except as a means of obtaining some selfish end - then the people will at times of crisis be dumb and impotent, and despotic rulers will make war
Rediscovering our moral compass through Menzies

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: SuperDome: Going once, going twice
The dangerous distance between the private and the commons:
It was a cool autumn evening and Craig Knowles was in his ministerial car on the way home from Lithgow when his mobile phone rang. On the other end was Gerry Gleeson, probably one of the most feared and powerful public servants in NSW. Gleeson, nicknamed "The Cardinal" during his long tenure as Neville Wran's omnipotent department head, was making a courtesy call only, to say the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, the government body he chairs, was poised to make an extraordinary multimillion-dollar bid for the beleaguered SuperDome.
· Cardinal Foreshores [ via Ryle Jopson: Investigative Team]
· Real political agent's dream
· See Also Waterfall: You are very clever with words and very clever at dissecting what the question is
· See Also Why have an election if we already know the result?
· See Also Talking politics as a common part of everyday life
· See Also No Such Thing as Paranoia: the culture of conspiracism
· See Also Principal Executive Officers (PEOs): Tax Sacrifices
· See Also Upside of zero privacy
· See Also Think Again: Human Rights
· See Also How Ahmed Chalabi used NYT's reporter Judith Miller to make the case for invasion
· See Also Letter of Torture
· See Also Libyan nuclear equipment 'missing'
· See Also Alleged terrorist of Lakemba Cell
· See Also Eddie must be Obeid in Lebanon

I see a small stain on your shirt and I deduce from that there are all kinds of possible reasons for the stain, until I have a story...
Tolstoy tried to mix domesticity and family life, but he would come downstairs after writing and see his family playing and his eyes would well up. He would say, 'You are joking around down here and upstairs Prince Andrei is dying

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Solitude is bliss
Are we introverts saying that people who need people are not the luckiest people in the world? Are we suggesting that a desire for company denotes neediness and insecurity? Do we loners want to turn the world into a grim, mirthless place where neighbours never nod hello and travel agents specialise in holidays for one?
· Dancers should burn up the floor & social co-ordinators should continue to organise picnics and trivia nights [link first seen at ]
· See Also How to tell the story of your life? How to weave the details into a pattern that is coherent, truthful and entertaining?
· See Also Most beautiful book in the world, and the most unreadable
· See Also The last battleground of the Cold War is bizarre indeed
· See Also Messengers betrayed a secret but helped keep a promise
· See Also Ginny Good in Guardian
· See Also Robert Birnbaum has had the tables turned on him, as he is interviewed
· See Also Getting Inside Your Reading A new interactive reading device expands the experience of reading
· See Also Book Club Bests: Publishers gear up for sales bonanza

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Rising Tide Till Debt Do Us Part

Invisible Hands & Markets: Losing Moral Compass: Socialism meets free markets?
Many people believe the collapse of the Soviet Union 12 years ago proves that free market capitalism is the only viable socio-economic model for modern countries to follow. But David Schweickart, the speaker at the Big Problems lecture, “After Capitalism: How about Democracy?” would disagree that the fall of the Soviet Union means the end of socialism.
Schweickart, a professor of philosophy at Loyola University in Chicago, described to students and faculty on Monday how alternatives to free-market enterprise could incorporate many aspects of socialism while still being capitalist. The lecture, part of the Big Problems Curriculum series hosted by the New Collegiate Division, incorporated many of the ideas in his book, After Capitalism, which posits a coherent vision of an alternative to globalizing capitalism that Schweickart termed “economic democracy.”

· After Capitalism: How about Democracy? [ Times like this, It seems like we could use a few more rational anarchists ][ via Casual employment: trends and characteristics (PDF)]
· See Also The ATO has made it abundantly clear that it is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to tax evasion
· See Also The Letter D We Had To Have: Housing boom may finally be coming to an end
· See Also Can we apply economic theory to suicide bombers? Yes (PDF) [From the Philippines a lack of economic opportunities fuels exodus of brightest prospects ]

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Perl and its motto: There's More Than One Way To Do It.

Tracking Policies & Investigative Stories: The Supreme "What If"... Economic benefits of Highway spending
To political analysts, the highway bill is a popular program that has fallen prey to partisan, and intraparty, bickering. Lost in the dispute is the economic question: What are we getting for our money?
· High Bill
· See Also This Web site features multilingual health education information in written, audio, and video formats
· See Also Full text of Human Rights Record of the US in 2003
· See Also The Holocaust: A Learning Site for Students [link first seen at The Warsaw Ghetto Today ]
· See Also Antipodean site generates material that allows users to compare countries based on many different statistics
· See Also Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Society
· See Also Paradox of Choices
· See Also Secrecy: A Russian scientist at a former Soviet biological weapons laboratory in Siberia has died after accidentally sticking herself with a needle laced with Ebola
· See Also Greece: Threat of Terrorism and Security of the Olympics (PDF)
· See Also Australia: Less tax or more social spending: twenty years of opinion polling (PDF)
· See Also Internet users are increasingly turning to e-government sites to carry out their business with government

#10: Another fine mess you've got us into, Governor Getting us where no "Media Watch" dares to go, but Blogjam goes on!

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Bloggers and books: Today I went to the cleaners
Are bloggers a gold mine for literary agents or can few write more than a lengthy posting?
· There are more than a million blogs, and very few of them will ever get the attention of Kate Lee [ attention of #19,578: The thing about Amazon is, anyone with the ability to type can review your book. Some are quite thoughtful, others just like the sound of their anger ]
· See Also Grant Henninger: How strange it is that we feel close to those that we interact with on the Internet
· See Also Google: A proposal to help fight deceptive Internet software
· See Also Why you should never put your picture on the Internet
· See Also Andy Kaufman's National Starbucks and Wal-Mart Tour: Some will always have their doubts. I don't care about those people anymore[ courtesy of Snopes]
· See Also Comparison of various blog software packages

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

When Advocates Become Regulators

Invisible Hands & Markets: Egalitarianism has been great lie of past two centuries
HISTORY is the biography of mankind. So it is unsurprising that such an ambitious project should attract so many aspiring authors. As is the way with biography, there are as many varied interpretations of the subject as there are students. We live in an era when history has expanded in its potential scope, literally, to cosmic dimensions; when there is unprecedented amateur interest in the subject; and when, paradoxically, it is being downgraded in schools and academe, as well as being manipulated for political purposes.
· The end of history was proclaimed 12 years ago; but somehow it trundles on [link first seen at Amerikan Aristokracy: Call it the revenge of the rentier class ]
· See Also The Political Stock Market
· See Also Impact of the 2004 federal budget tax changes

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Google: Dirty business of war profiteering gets dirtier

Invisible Hands & Markets: Corruption stench as company loses Iraq contract
One of Australia's largest postwar contracts in Iraq has collapsed, with the partners embroiled in a multi-million-dollar legal battle and allegations of corruption in the awarding of contracts by a leading Pentagon supplier.
Morris Corporation, a Queensland catering company that has delivered meals to the armed forces in hot-spots from Somalia to Cambodia, was dumped last year by the giant US military contractor Halliburton, losing a $100 million contract to supply meals to US troops in Iraq.

· Corruption stench as company loses Iraq contract [link first seen at Halliburton: Hell's kitchen]
· See Also Goodbye to the over-40 hour working week
· See Also A self-sufficient hero says to heck with all those nitpicky, clock-punching bureaucrats
· See Also Ben Stein on the tale of the toaster, or how trade deficits are good (doc file)
· See Also Contrabassist and the CEO: Moral Judgment and Collective Identity

Friday, May 21, 2004

Rather than trading on new discoveries the social sciences specialize in erecting new fads, disposing of them in a few decades, and then going on to even newer fads:instincts (reptilian), feelings (mammalian), and thoughts (neocortex)

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Irony inc: former detainee to travel to Iraq for Dad's funeral
Three years ago the then Minister Philip Ruddock refused Ahmed Alzalimi permission to visit his wife Sondous Ismail Ibrahim in Indonesia after their three children drowned in the Siev X disaster.
When they argue a man who has lost three children is not a sufficiently serious situation to warrant the minister exercising his discretion and here we have a situation where, yes there is a real tragedy involved but because of the political connections the visa is offered very promptly there is a significant inconsistency

· Why hell was invented.... [ via Webdiary ]
· See Also For a change, here's some good news from Iraq that you might have missed (I don't know how that could have happened[ courtesy of The Most Ancient Enemy They have no faces...]
· See Also Why We Fight: The corruption of man is followed by the corruption of language
· See Also Horst Köhler: Germany girds for an unknown president
· See Also For a 'New Imperialism: The A-to-Z rule set on processing politically bankrupt regimes

Think more money will yield greater happiness? Great minds of the past - and present-day psychological experts - proclaim otherwise Look up, laugh loud, talk big, keep the colour in your cheek and the fire in your eye, adorn your person, maintain your health, your beauty and your animal spirits...

Feeding the Soul: I'm here to light your fire... Commencement Address: The class of 2004 of Hobart
I've got good news for all of you this morning: I talk fast.
So as King Henry the VIII of England said to each of his seven wives: I won't keep you long.
I've come here today with five bits of advice on how to get where you want to get, follow your dreams, keep your values and make good on the best hunch you ever had about yourself. William Butler Yeats once said: Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.
I'm here to light your fire.
Rule One: Get yourself in the game.
Ever watch a little kid standing along courtside while the big kids play basketball? When a ball goes out of bounds, he or she runs for it and passes it back in. As time goes on, when an older kid has to get home for dinner, somebody yells: Hey! Wanna play?
That's it, the heart of it really: the first rule of building a life and a career. Whatever your ambitions, whatever the field you want to enter, if you want to play a game go to where it's played. If you want to be a lawyer, go to law school. If you can't get into the best law school, get into the best one you can. Name your dream; there's a place people are pursuing it.

· See Also Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire
· The widow of the American reporter beheaded in 2002 by Pakistani militants told graduating journalists to never forget their ideals: Danny Pearl never did...
· See Also Frustration of Exile
· See Also This site promotes the positive influence that fathers can have on their daughters' lives
· See Also Down-to-earth perspectives on YA [young adult]: This site is intended to be a comfortable place for teen readers
· A worthy aspiration for most humans: To be like your own dog

Thursday, May 20, 2004

The good are always beautiful and the evil always misshapen and ugly... if success is a sign of heavenly favor, doesn’t big brother suggests that heaven favors citizens in birthday suits?

Invisible Hands & Markets: Why I’m not rich
This is one of those rude questions that is offensive because it contains so many other ugly and hidden questions. Social scientists call those hidden questions a subtext. The name isn’t important, but since I’m an underemployed historian, I’ll use subtext because these words are about all I have to show for my education.
The three most obvious subtexts to if you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?

· Bouncing Czechs & Nicknames [More at One-Third of US Children Live in Poverty; May 04]
· See Also Murdoch's war on truth: it's NOT about oil
· See Also James Hardie's Dutch blues
· See Also How to be your own invisible career coach
· See Also Ground-down members of the underclass who lack the class consciousness for revolt.: Most Humanities PhDs go to school for 7 years and end up on food stamps

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Tracking Policies & Investigative Stories: Public relations: also known as corporate damage control
In an ideal world companies would have nothing to hide. Journalists would have no need to be pushy, intrusive and sceptical. Spin doctors and PR would be redundant or eking out a pittance. Instead both are big business, they work for big business and they make a motza. Usually their work is invisible to the public although journalists and politicians are often very aware they are being manipulated by professionals paid to shape the news.
· James Hardie's secret plan to spin the media and the politicians [link first seen at AFR ]
· See Also A Field Guide to Swing Voters
· See Also Illicit Drugs in Australia: Use, Harm and Policy Responses
· See Also World Migration 2003: Managing Migration - Challenges and Responses for People on the Move
· See Also Naked in the Gymnasium: Women as Agents of Social Change
· See Also Canadian Parliamentary Trivia

Given the fact that when they were in power Democrats had little use for the notion of ministerial responsibility, their sudden discovery of it over Abu Ghraib suggests that this has little to do with principle...
Washington Post, Krauthammer

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Bush and Blair speed up their exit strategy

· See Also New Technology Loosens Controls Over Images of War [ via The Needle in the Database: The Impact of Technology on Current Events and Freedom of Information ]
· See Also Bouncing Czechs and balances: The most defective part of the Federal Constitution, beyond all question, is that which relates to the executive department
· See Also A new American dream: On how Europe remains the society against which the US measures itself
· See Also Finding the words: Europe and the United States look at terrorism in different ways
· See Also Spheres of influence around Bush’s candidacy: top givers to GOP candidates and committees, and the laundry industry’s role in a regulatory action that saved it millions
· See Also Nigerian Nobel prize-winning author Wole Soyinka vows more protests after his arrest
· They Shoot Hawks, don’t they?
Sarin Nerve Agent Bomb Explodes in Iraq
· See Also Lucio - A Lover AND a Fighter: If only the United States had the suave sophistication and Constitutional plasticity of Ecuador, they could still have Bill Clinton as President! (Spannish)

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

And Julian Baggini on how That's a hypothetical question” has become a favored tool of evasion for politicians the world over

Strong Leaders Encourage Dissent The Buck Stops … Where? - Stop blaming your henchmen
Fred Kaplan in Slate focuses on the aspect of the White House culpability story that is being drowned out by the disgusting spectacles of Abu Ghraib and Nick Berg: the deliberate negligence of Zarqawi :It's a tossup which is more disturbing: a president who passes up the chance to kill a top-level enemy in the war on terrorism for the sake of pursuing a reckless diversion in Iraq?
· Collective Sigh: Reckless or Intentional Disregard? [link first seen at ]
· See Also Double standards with respect to the Geneva Convention; On my name day, March 19, 2004, President Bush asked: Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open?
· See Also The Gray Zone... Sy Hersh: (who also uncovered the My Lai massacre)
· See Also The government finds a new way to nail old tax evaders

The deluge of books about Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler apparently knows no end...
· See Also Jean Bethke Elshtain on why Hitler and the Nazis continue to fascinate

Monday, May 17, 2004

The story of Abdurahman Khadr and his journey from Osama bin Laden to the CIA provides insight into Al Qaeda, US intelligence and the hidden world inside Guantanamo Bay. “Al Qaeda Family” @ 8.30 pm Monday 17 May ABC TV

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Marco Polos: Microsoft-Sponsored Trips
Katherine M. Skiba and Jeff Nelson of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reviewed congressional travel records to find that Microsoft and affiliated firms have lavished $180,429 on members of Congress, their spouses and aides in the 16 months ending in April, the records show. Most trips were to Microsoft headquarters, records show. Some trips involved Microsoft product launches, while seven spouses accompanied lawmakers on trips since January 2003. Rep. H. James Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, along with his wife and staff, accepted trips worth $72,405.
· Pacific Islanders & Parliamentary Clerks [ via Scoop]
· See Also Havel says the obvious: Europe is lacking politicians capable of implementing their visions -- politicians who can stick to their beliefs despite fickle public opinion
· See Also Bill Clinton is back: The final sentence of his memoirs completed... & this time Clinton is getting personal about Bush
· See Also Berg Case Gets Even More Bizarre
· See Also Devika Hovell: Legal obligation or not, we must do more than express disgust
· See Also The Rule of Law and the Rules of War: Counsel to the President Alberto Gonzales says the United States is bound to observe the rules of war in the Geneva Conventions
· See Also Where is the outcry over these accounts of physical and mental harm in our detention camps?
· See Also Terrorism and International Law: A Catholic Perspective
· See Also Catholically Courageous Carr Casting the First Stone: Clubs Politics to Turn Extremely Personal [ Club Called Panthers ]

Sunday, May 16, 2004

According to Reuters, BMW drivers are more likely to lie to magazine surveys, and Porsche drivers really are trying to compensate for something.

Tracking Policies & Investigative Stories: The Politics of Petroleum
Ken Silverstein of the Los Angeles Times has a series on oil companies’ efforts in Kazakhstan and Angola, based on internal company documents and other records. In the first piece, Silverstein writes that a group of influential Americans, including a former Secretary of State and the former executive director of the Democratic National Committee, pressed for U.S. support of the authoritarian Kazakh government. The paper found dozens of former government officials “who have worked for the oil industry or for foreign governments with extensive energy reserves - and, almost invariably, poor human rights records.” The second story, on Angola, details how oil firms “have won favor with the Dos Santos regime by steering contracts to Angolan insiders and by giving millions of dollars to foundations controlled by the ruling family.”
· Other stories are forthcoming [link first seen at Scoop ]
· See Also Utility authorities fail to disclose and notify residents of toxic contamination of their drinking water
· See Also EU Council Plans to Scrap Parliamentary Vote without Discussion
· See Also Australia’s rules on political lobbying are loose and inadequate, according to Allan Fels
· See Also A political party whose predecessor, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, enforced censorship, says without a hint of irony that its draft law was inspired by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms
· See Also Municipal corruption has been a persistent problem since democracy dawned in the country in 1989
· See Also Same as the Old Boss: Agbar Technologies, the company that won the right to succeed Envirotest

Saturday, May 15, 2004

As long as there is a lower class, I am in it.
As long as there is a criminal element, I’m of it.
As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free.
It's too bad Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has stopped reading newspapers because he missed great journalism battle this week. Every day, the New York Times and the Washington Post tried to break the better story. It amounted to the journalistic equivalent of the Olympics...What makes Rummy run?

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Kurt Vonnegut: Cold (River) Turkey
Many years ago, I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of. We dreamed of such an America during the Great Depression, when there were no jobs. And then we fought and often died for that dream during the Second World War, when there was no peace.
But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America’s becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces.

· They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas [ Follow the link here It's not exactly every day that the Pentagon warns military personnel to stay away from Fox News]
· See Also We need a bigger Army. We got a bigger budget - but the money is going to CEOs, not to G.I. Joe [Link Poached from I'm probably the last person on earth to link this ]
· See Also Berg Beheading: Busy lulling themselves to sleep in their elitist coccoon of arrogance [Czech Out INDC Journal Interviews the Instapundit
· See Also Gandhi triumphs in India election
· See Also 1st Internet President Roh Returned to Power by the Constitutional Court in South Koreas

The risk of disliking a speaker is one many will take. Writers are popular speakers. Some challenge. Some reinforce. Some inspire. Some deflate. Some tap into dreams. Some sketch nightmares. Some illuminate paths, or warn of ways best not taken. Some explain feelings held, but not yet examined. Some examine feelings not widely held. All have something to say to someone, somewhere. This coming week is a chance for Sydney to hear them say it aloud.
William Faulkner nailed the self-absorption often shown by writers when he wrote: If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the Ode on a Grecian Urn is worth any number of old ladies.

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: I'm Not Making this Up
David Sedaris writes stories of personal disclosure as funny as they are strange. Competitive storytelling was a skill David Sedaris learned in a household of six children. Just as in the Imrich Familia, everyone wanted mother's attention...
When you write at home it doesn't really qualify as work. It doesn't engage you with the world. The days are much better if you do something you don't want to do.

· Sedaris will read from his work at the Sydney Writers' Festival, at 8.30pm on May 21 [link digged up after reading Editorial II Sydney Writers' Festival: A Week of Words]
· See Also Tough world, tiny market for NZ books
· See Also Are Big Publishers Bribing Bookstores For Better Shelf Placement? Sweetener trips for the retail chains
· See Also How to write your doctoral thesis: Loved ones will forgive you, since they will be deluded into believing that after the process is complete, you will have a sense of achievement, and more earning potential. They are wrong...
· See Also Getting behind my flesh and blood meme: I have a coat that has six arms. I Inherited this coat from Gregor Samsa

Friday, May 14, 2004

It really gets me when the critics say I haven't done enough for the economy. Look what I've done for the book publishing industry.
-President George Bush at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner

To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle.
-George Orwell

Invisible Hands & Markets: The Meritocracy Myth
But we're not failures. In a lot of ways, we're the ones who keep things humming by doing the jobs that have to be done but nobody else wants to do. We keep your office clean and cook and serve your food, we stock the shelves so you'll have things to buy when you go to the store (think a manager's going to lower himself to do that every day?), we plow your streets and rake your leaves and take care of you when you're sick, we teach your kids and watch them when you're at work and empty your septic tank and pick your vegetables and staple your recliner so you won't fall through it when you sit down.
· We're a lot more important than you think. [link first seen at FromTheTrenches ]
· See Also The Neoconomists of Revolution: elbowing each other
· For Hollywood, news biz is turning into showbiz: Doubts whether viewers would buy the idea of journalists as noble knights tilting at the windmills of corruption and social inequality... one reason the emphasis now is on journalism as comedy
· See Also Frogtown Crime
· See Also How the slot machine was remade, and how it's remaking America
· See Also Visible Officials Hold Fake Degrees

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Australian government official urges couples to have more children Yahoo For the country

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Polish relations with Amerika
Adam Michnik, a leading force in the Solidarity trade union movement, and the founder and editor of the largest Polish daily newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, was an outspoken supporter of the war in Iraq. In this interview, which occurred in Warsaw on January 15, 2004, Michnik clarifies his position on the war and discusses the responses of other European intellectuals.
· Dissent Magazine - Anti-totalitarianism as a Vocation An Interview with Adam Michnik [ via Dissent ]
· See Also No evidence found of complicity in leadership--just incompetence
· The government is pushing hard for secrecy. We must push back equally hard for openness. I think it's time to consider establishment of a focused lobbying effort in Washington [ via Tim Porter]
· See Also Mohammad Atta’s Decisive Meeting: Prague Revisited
· See Also Burned Alive: A Victim of the Law of Men

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Weak Dollar Makes for Strong Amazon, As Intl. Sales Drive Profit and Sales Growth
Amazon reported sales of $1.53 billion for their first quarter, up 41 percent from a year ago, and net income of $111 million, buoyed considerably by the weak dollar and growing international sales. (North America comprised $847 million of sales.)

Invisible Hands & Markets: The Chain of Numbers: The mother of all spending sprees
Families will win enormous tax, superannuation and maternity benefits, delivering up to $117 a week in the biggest-spending budget ever, which the Treasurer, Peter Costello, hopes will encourage them to have more children.
"If you can have children it's a good thing to do - you should have one for the father, one for the mother and one for the country, if you want to fix the ageing demographic," Mr Costello said last night.

· The centrepiece of the budget is John Howard's long-awaited "barbecue stopper" work and family measures [Link Poached from THE BUDGET AND YOU: Economic reality mother of reinvention ]
· See Also Taxes only high by our low standards? [Link Poached from JohnQuiggin]
· See Also Ken Parish: Taxing times...

Trends Great & Small: Is Non-Fiction Getting Sexy?
Non-fiction is finally triumphing over its traditionally sexier cousin, fiction, evident yesterday when non-fiction books swept the Trillium Book Awards, Ontario's pre-eminent literary honours. In the English-language category, Thomas King's series of Massey Lectures, The Truth About Stories, beat fiction favourites such as M. G. Vassanji's Giller Prize-winner The In-Between World of Vikram Lall and Barbara Gowdy's The Romantic, which made the long-list for last year's Man Booker Prize.
· The Truth About Stories [link first seen at The Globe & Mail (Canada)]
· See Also Intelliseek Launches BlogPulse.com to Track Trends, Issues, ... [link first seen at Blogpulse.com ]
· See Also Cautionary tale for writers: 'literary agent from hell' Ten Percent of Nothing
· See Also Mega-bucks mean mega-misery to many workers trapped in jobs they hate
· Cold War emergency bunker to house original music and films will be stored in the vault
· See Also Perfect for the nuclear family: Lucas Heights may be next tourist hotspot
· See Also Ukranian uranium: two containers seized of cesium-137, radioactive material, seen as a likely ingredient for a "dirty bomb" [Link Poached from Tim Dunlop]

Monday, May 10, 2004

Chechen president Akhmad Kadyrov was killed when an explosion tore through a stadium where he was attending a Victory Day celebration

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Rumsfeld Accepts Blame and Offers Apology in Abuse
So to those Iraqis who were mistreated by members of the U.S. armed forces, I offer my deepest apology," Mr. Rumsfeld said as he began a marathon day of testimony on Capitol Hill, much of it televised live on all major networks. Lawmakers called back-to-back hearings to examine cases of detainee abuse that have ignited world outrage and brought Mr. Rumsfeld a personal scolding from President Bush.
· No ifs, ands or butts if there's a failure, it's me: The Worst Is Yet To Come [ via NYTimes (reg. req.)]
· See Also I had come to see Colin Powell because, for several weeks, his closest friends and colleagues had been telegraphing a story to me. Powell was finished, they'd said. Exhausted. Frustrated. Bitter... Unfortunately, the truth is scarier than the lie
· Karl Rove Tells Graduates Character Matters: America needs people who have the moral clarity and courage to do what's right, regardless of consequence, fashion or fad
· See Also Are there times when we have to accept torture?
· See Also How News Becomes News: Abu Ghraib: 1,000 Words
· See Also The Supreme Court Asks: Who Will Guard the Guardians?
· See Also The Seeds of Abu Ghraib were Sown in American Prisons
· See Also This is the New Gulag: Bush has Created a Global Network of Extra-legal and Secret US Prisons with Thousands of Inmates...
· See Also Physical and sexual abuse of prisoners, similar to what has been uncovered in Iraq, takes place in American prisons with little public knowledge or concern
· See Also Why the radio rorts go on, and on: David Flint is a problem, but his masters in government are the real villains of the piece
· See Also Japanese Political Pension Scandal
· See Also Redistricting allows politicians to choose their voters before the voters get to choose them

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Don Boudreaux writes about why even economists shouldn't (only) be in charge of the world's money

Santoso family
The waterfront Sutherland Shire mansion hid a secret. For four years, an Indonesian woman - brought in on a false passport by a wealthy Indonesian-Australian family - was a servant in first-world conditions earning third-world wages. Masri, who was 18 when she came to Australia with the Santoso family in 1995, was on duty 17 hours a day, seven days a week doing the house and yardwork, and helping to care for the couple's three children. During the four years she was paid a total of $5190. She sent half of that home to her family - subsistence farmers in a village.
· Sutherland Secrets
· See Also Ambiguous usage of the word "want."
· See Also The only thing that meaningfully separates Wal-Mart from its competitors is its incredible success
· See Also Who will be the new Fred at Fairfax? Professor Buynip(sic)?
· See Also Battle for the online billion-dollar monopoly dollar

Mum's the word:
On this glorious Lauren's Day I came across a blog entry about the Gender differences in online feedback: Research shows that women are interacting more with the celebrity on celebrity blogs than men...

Bloggal Animals: Luxuries are Becoming our Necessities
The most hated bloggerjournalist in Australia: Stephen Mayne is the man behind Crickey.com, the website that has a go at everyone...
I like the fact that he trades in gossip because I think a lot of us journalists dress up that idea and are just a little bit holier than thou about the fact we don't trade in gossip … we do, we just refine it a bit better and make a couple more calls and turn it into news, but it fundamentally is the talk of the traps … and that's interesting stuff, it’s what readers want.

· See Also Crikey.com
· See Also Spooks blink in hot light of digital future: It is claimed from time to time that we have been responsible for murdering individuals who have become "inconvenient" in some way [link first seen at Barista]
· GuruNet: Bookmark this site, librarians...that's an order! [link first seen at Blogcards ]
· See Also Half-wit reality house: Oh m'God, Oh m'God. This is, like, the kitchen. And this is, like, the dining room. And this is, oh m'God, this is, like, the toilet. Hi, I'm Bree. Oh m'God!
· See Also A virgin at 24, she discovers at 42 she is 19 weeks pregnant
· See Also Degrees of happiness
· See Also Law Lords: This is a very good day for lying, drug-abusing prima donnas who want to have their cake with the media, and the right to then shamelessly guzzle it with their Cristal champagne
· See Also Google is in answering certain questions, compared to a well-connected person on a phone and someone in a library

Saturday, May 08, 2004

It's no wonder that so many Americans are obsessed with the finale of the sitcom 'Friends' right now. They're the only friends we have, and even they're leaving.

We just want our friends to have a good time
For those of us born around 1965 or '70 it is almost impossible to imagine an earlier era when friends were the people who went by the wayside when you grew up and found a spouse—or when friends were subordinate not just to the nuclear family but to the extended family. A combination of forces and trends—the poor job environment of the early '90s, the delay of marriage, the new indispensability of graduate education for long-term employment—conspired to create for Gen Xers, when we arrived in it, a friend-centric "real world."
· Just Drop By - How Friends became palatable after the ironies of Seinfeld
· Unpalatable Truth: President and the Defense Secretary seemed to find out about this the same time we did
· See Also The irony that these abuses were taking place in Abu Ghraib, the most notorious prison during Saddam's regime
· See Also Kosovo::UN and Nato troops are using the trafficked women and girls for sex and some have been involved in trafficking itself
· See Also Bush apologizes for atrocities, war crimes, rapes, and murders commited under his command
· See Also Complete text of Article 15-6 Investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba
· See Also The Cost: White House Asks G.O.P. in Congress to Add $25 Billion

Reason: Fools for Communism: Still apologists after all these years
In 1983, or more likely in 1984, the Indiana University historian Robert F. Byrnes collected essays from 35 experts on the Soviet Union -- the cream of American academia -- in a book titled After Brezhnev. Their conclusion: Any U.S. thought of winning the Cold War was a pipe dream. "The Soviet Union is going to remain a stable state, with a very stable, conservative, immobile government," Byrnes said in an interview, summing up the book. "We don’t see any collapse or weakening of the Soviet system."
Barely six years later, the Soviet empire began falling apart. By 1991 it had vanished from the face of the earth. Did Professor Byrnes call a press conference to offer an apology for the collective stupidity of his colleagues, or for his part in recording it? Did he edit a new work titled Gosh, We Didn’t Know Our Ass From Our Elbow? Hardly. Being part of the American chattering class means never having to say you’re sorry.

· In Denial: Historians, Communism and Espionage, by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr [ courtesy of REASON ]
· See Also Prague's Liberation: Only years later would I learn that the western part of Czechoslovakia had been liberated by troops of the U.S. Third Army under the command of Gen. George S. Patton
· See Also European Union: Giving Good Soldier Svejk a needed break
· See Also BookWorldPrague is back, with an impressive literary flourish

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Here malice, rapine, accident conspire,
And now a rabble rages, now a fire;
Their ambush here relentless ruffians lay,
And here the fell attorney prowls for prey;
Here falling houses thunder on your head,
And here a female atheist talks you dead.
Misquoted Samuel Johnson, "Sydney"

How Do We Sort Out Violence For Entertainment And Violence For Horror?
Rarely has the dissonance between the news and popular entertainment been so striking. One can react only with horror as Iraq descends into a chaotic bloodbath, Israel continues to be engulfed in a sickening cycle of revenge upon revenge and terrorism spreads to other countries. Some ABC-TV stations refused to carry Ted Koppel reading the names of killed American soldiers on Friday's "Nightline." Yet week after week we're offered supposedly cathartic stories of devastated families and bloodthirsty vengeance to consume.
· 53 Former Diplomats Attack Bush
[link first seen at It Looks as if Game is up for Americans in Iraq...]
· See Also Big Frankenstein to boost numbers and keep spies alert around the clock: ASIO's staffing levels are set to dwarf those of the Cold War
· See Also Rules of the Caucus Race in ''Alice in Wonderland'' apply: everybody has won, and all must have prizes
· See Also Human creativity is the ultimate source of economic growth. And to fully tap and harness that creativity we must be tolerant, diverse, and inclusive

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

A fast spreading nightmare called Sasser hit thousands of PCs within the last few days...
To see beyond their own little world and get a sense of what's really going on, journalists and readers need to get out of their pajamas!

Battlefield of Dreams
Few Americans would want to trade places with the people of Iraq," wrote the economist, Daniel Mitchell. "But come tax time next April, they may begin to wonder who's better off." Even when he wrote that, the insurgency in Iraq was visibly boiling over; by "tax time" last month, the situation was truly desperate.
· T Time [ via NYTimes.com ]
· See Also Instinct for bureaucratic self-protection: Cat's got his tongue about Abu Ghraib? [ via JohnQuiggin.com ]
· See Also Say hello to Media Matters, the new website headed up by former conservative journalist David Brock
· See Also The Next Velvet Revolution Will Not Be Blogged

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Green lights are ahead at the publishing intersection for Chris Masters' unauthorised biography of Alan Jones

Australian Love Letters: No wonder it's the book even the French are talking about
It all started on Monday night when the ABC's Media Watch revealed a leaked fan letter from the chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, Professor David Flint, to broadcaster Alan Jones. Even Jones admitted it might have tainted the public's perception of him. But rival broadcaster John Laws went further, telling listeners of his nationally syndicated programme that Jones had told him at a dinner party that Jones had gone to Kirribilli House, and instructed John Howard to re-appoint David Flint or he would not have the support of Alan Jones in the next election. Mr Jones denied the allegation, and so did the Prime Minister. While John Laws continued to repeat his allegation, the slanging match might have died a natural death, were it not for Veteran Affairs Minister Danna Vale.
· Jonestown: Stay brave and true [Link Poached from Keeping up with Jana Wendtses]
· See Also Resign or be sacked,Carr tells Flint 'Biased' ABA boss must go
· See Also Spiral of Silence: The Twilight of the Elites
· See Also France: Where The Press are a Pack of Poodles

Saturday, May 01, 2004

There is nothing about this story that doesn't make my memories of my days in the Czechoslovak Army alive...

Iron Curtains Ordered for Military in torture scandal
I'm not one who puts the UK press on a pedestal - I've lived enough to know that it too occasionally has an on-again off-again relationship with the truth. But, it is pretty sad that we have to turn to the Guardian to learn a key detail about the prison torture story. A military report into the Abu Ghraib case - parts of which were made available to the Guardian - makes it clear that private contractors were supervising interrogations in the prison, which was notorious for torture and executions under Saddam Hussein.
· Keep doing things that can only reinforce the perception around the world that America is a big bully [ via Atrios: acusados de obrigar iraquianos a simular actos sexuais e a fazer pirâmides humanas]
· See Also Photos show jail abuse by US troops
· See Also ...if proven, the Brittish perpetrators are not fit to wear the Queen's uniform and they have besmirched the Army's good name and conduct
· See Also Triumph turns to tragedy: More Agents Track MEdia Dragon Than Bin Laden
· See Also Listing of those killed in Iraq is now on the American ABC website

The past decade has been one of the most eventful in American political history, from the Republican takeover of Congress to the presidential impeachment, the resignation of two speakers of the House, the deadlocked presidential election, the 2001 terrorist attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more... (Insert another shameless plug for Technorati here!)

Why Books Are the Hot Medium
Former government officials have committed their recollections to books at least since 1934, when a former White House usher, Irwin Hood Hoover, published the memoir "Forty-Two Years in the White House"... But seldom, if ever, have as many volumes thick with inside details of an administration appeared as fast as they have during the presidency of George W. Bush.
· Memoirs [link first seen at NYTimes.com]
· See Also Insert another shameless plug for Cold Medium: I may not know what writting is but I know what I survived...
· See Also A man, a man's man, a manly man
· See Also The Jesus Factor in Amerikan Politics
· See Also Pledge to give power to the people takes centre stage
· See Also Machiavelli's philosophy: It is notoriously vile and his name has become an adjective for evil and two-faced-ness.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?