Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Read, every day, something no one else is reading (such as Cold River - smile). Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity.
-Christopher Morley, American Novelist, Journalist, Poet (1890-1957)

What better spirit of Christmas than to continue giving year-round? That's part of the idea of the richest 31-year-old in history, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, as he gives away $10 billion dollars Christmas Gifts Year-Round

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Kiev is a magestic city; it certainly made a long lasting impressions on this blogger when he was seventeen. I can still taste the vodka layered caramel icecream and the glorious views from the boat on the Dnipro River (smile).
Behind the scenes - A very informative piece in the Guardian from Ian Traynor looking at Ukrainian Pora youth movement and Milosevic of Serbia repeating history in Kiev
Are we sure that shouldn't be 'rigged elections and topple regimes unsavoury to Bu$hCo'? Thanksgiving in Kiev

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Vaclav Havel to replace Kofi Annan at the UN
UN: When Even the Good News is Bad... One of the next big chapters in the United Nations oil-for-food scandal will involve the family of the secretary-general, Kofi Annan whose son turns out to have been receiving payments as recently As early this year from a key contractor in the oil-for-food program ... Is there any reason whatsoever to suffer the continued presence of Kofi Annan at the United Nations?
(Also czech out David and his useful links to Kiev’s events also November entries of Scott )
Somehow today it seems all too easy to take moral characters like Havel for granted...
Is there any way to get Havel to come out of retirement to succeed Kofi Annan as head of the UN, please? I mean, if ever there were a guy with the guts and moral clarity to insist that the UN live up to its ideals, it's Havel
Kofi out, Havel in. It's an idea whose time has come [28 November 2004 - Poll invalid, says Ukraine parliament Havel Sends Message to Ukrainian People ]
• · Talking about feelings has never been the fashion in this country. We would rather medicate them or drown them in alcohol. We are not taught how to care for the emotional needs of others Unbearable Sadness of Others' Pain
• · · 20th Anniversary of Bhopal Trespass Against Us
• · · · Where governments enjoy large majorities in a unicameral parliament, or effective majorities in both houses of a bicameral parliament, the role of the courts in protecting minority rights becomes more important Justice Michael Kirby
• · · · · Sydney's the train system is at a standstill, the buses crawl at horse-and-buggy pace through the CBD, and the transport duo, Costa and Scully, are implacably opposed to light rail Carr's transport strategy goes off the rails ; [Sydney’s patron saint of the train traveller, Rebecca Turner, has reached another international fame. This time Singaporean Straits Times features Rebecca on the front page.]
• · · · · · The waterfront set loses its privacy ; [(PDF) The High Court and indefinite detention: towards a national bill of rights?]

Friday, November 26, 2004

In the fallout over Charles' controversial memo on ambition and opportunity, onlookers have debated just how meritocratic society really is. Unfortunately, in crowds it is stupidity and not mother wit that is accumulated. For a group to be smart, it should be autonomous, decentralized and diverse and the same applies for royalty and politicians. Politicians are responsible for the leaders they choose. Their choices reflect their moral values ... In terms of moral values, this is where the rubber meets the road. The rules you apply to yourself are the true test of your moral values. Hypocrisy at the highest levels of government is toxic to the moral fiber that holds our communities together ...
In this context, Slovakia publishes the names of former secret police officers, causing mild shock in a country that has made little effort to bar communists from public posts Slavic Pandora

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Why Mark Latham must be in it for the long haul
Our hit-list on schools reminded me of what Joe Chamberlain said to me about state aid for Catholic schools in 1963: For every vote we lose from the Catholics who want state aid, we will gain votes from the Protestants who oppose state aid.
• Czech-grown Westfield Mallers and the Maller from the Bribery (sic) Island The Labor Party should remember Whitlam and think long term, writes Graham Freudenberg ; [Recommended Reading Your Shout and the New Matilda ]
• · Sydney at the post election railway crossing All stations to frustration; [Everybody knows the federal election was decided on federal issues ; NSW Premier Bob Carr has rejected claims by Federal ALP leader Mark Latham that state issues contributed to Labor`s Federal election lossThere`s no Labor Party polling that says state issues intruded even to the slightest extent in NSW or in other states... economic management, and particularly interest rates, were the dominating issues]
• · · A new report [nicknamed Work til you Drop] say that Australia`s ageing population will cost taxpayers $2.2 trillion and will cut economic growth in half over the next 20 years Huge cost of going grey: My saltish hair is getting less and less of that peppery look
• · · · Looking back, we may also one day see 2004 as the year when a new iron curtain descended across Europe, dividing the continent not through the center of Germany but along the eastern Polish border. The New Iron Curtain ; [Speech by Premier Ladislav Adamec at the extraordinary session of the Czechoslovak Communist Party Central Committee, 24 November 1989 This remarkable previously secret transcript shows the party elites choosing against violent repression of the mass protests in Wenceslas Square]
• · · · · Political and Economic Armageddon predicted
• · · · · · A billboard recently put up in Orlando bearing a smiling photograph of President Bush with the words Our Leader is raising eyebrows among progressives who feel the poster is akin to that of propaganda used by tyrannical regimes. Our Misleader ; [The election is over. The fight is not Elections are only one part of democracy ]

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

(Real) political science blogs

Eye on Politics & Law Lords:
Margo maintains her view that an independent public inquiry is needed. The honour of six people is under a cloud. The integrity of our democracy is under question in the seat of New England. Fat chance, Kingston. You're dreaming. Noone cares about that crap anymore. Least of all the media.
Your right to know? Silly you - trust the AFP [ Untangling the Windsor knot]
• · The Americans are Sowing Dragons' Teeth in Iraq
• · · Invisible Dissent
• · · · Could the peaceful triumph of Czechs and Slovaks over communism fifteen years ago offer A model of democratic revolution to religious fundamentalists today?
• · · · · Why Central Europe’s young are dancing, dressing, and drinking as their parents did before 1989
• · · · · · Raper: Carr has a rail Mr Fixit ... and his name isn't Costa ; [A philosopher produces ideas, a poet poems, a clergyman sermons, a professor compendia and so on. A criminal produces crimes The Sopranos, Capitalism And Organized Crime

Monday, November 22, 2004

We weren't born yesterday, we didn't come down with the first snow ... Charles prefers that serfs remain serfs

My thoughts are probably similar to the Janosik's prayer on being chased up a tree by a huge grizzly bear in High Tatra Mountains:-
Lord you did deliver Daniel from the Lion's Den,
And Lord you did deliver Jonah from the belly of the whale
And then three Hebrew children from the fiery furnace, the Good Book do declare.
So Lord, if you can't help me, for goodness sake don't help that bear

I am part of the Lost Generation of ‘68 and ‘89. Like the Slavic serf Janosik I know what being a disobedient servant means.
This year is the 15th anniversary of the Czech people's overthrow of 41 years of communist rule ... If democracy is emptied of values and reduced to a competition of political parties that have `guaranteed' solutions to everything, it can be quite undemocratic!
15 years ago, exactly, (smile) my first daughter of the Velvet Revolution was conceived in Sydney Long Live Havel
Slovakia will become the first post-communist country to make documentation of repressive state organs in the Communist and Nazi era accessible to all ...Long Live the Memory of the Nation

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: In Falluja, Young Marines Saw the Savagery of an Urban War
Some great war reporting... ...by Dexter Filkins of the New York Times, who provides us with an emotional inside glimpse of Marines in action in Fallujah
Eight days after the Americans entered the city on foot, a pair of marines wound their way up the darkened innards of a minaret, shot through with holes by an American tank.
As the marines inched upward, a burst of gunfire rang down, fired by an insurgent hiding in the top of the tower. The bullets hit the first marine in the face, his blood spattering the marine behind him. The marine in the rear tumbled backward down the stairwell, while Lance Cpl. William Miller, age 22, lay in silence halfway up, mortally wounded... Nothing in the combat I saw even remotely resembled the scenes regularly flashed across movie screens; even so, they often seemed no more real.

Focus on the bravery and sacrifice of the Marines
• · · Mike France and Stephanie Anderson Forest What Cheney did at Halliburton

Ach, my computer was mysteriously fixed by the Apple Mac doctors!
A girl by the name of Rebecca has had more emails --angrycommuter@hotmail.com - in the last three weeks than I have had in 3 years. How she managed to keep up with her daily secretary’s job as well as a night position as a supermarket packer will remain a mystery...
We may not enjoy the luxury of a functional rail system in Sydney at the moment but thank God for people like Rebecca Turner who remind us that we still live in one of the greatest democracies in the world.

Today Momentum Gathered for a Grassroots Protest
Hold onto your bootstraps folks! If you liked Erin Brockovich, you’ll be thoroughly intrigued with the adventures of this Sydneysider, , and her knack for civil disobedience.
· Free trains on Monday: Carr, grandson and son of a traindriver, caves in [ via British Rail News Global News ]
· Commuters got a fare-free day

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