Thursday, December 30, 2004

Best-Selling Books list reflects not only the blockbusters but also the rhythms of daily life. 9% of all USA Today bestsellers are diet books. Yet today the New England Journal of Medicine reports that two years after going on a diet, on average, people weigh more than when they started.
USATODAY.com - Our lives are an open book

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Back where I come from Icy Antarctic air chills Christmas All the Time
As if torrential rain and hail were not enough to dampen the summer, erratic weather patterns yesterday swept icy cold river air over the state and even brought light snowfall.

Noah John Rondeau (1883-1967) was known as the Adirondack hermit. He lived in a wilderness area of Cold River, New York, dubbing his hermitage Cold River City (population 1) and himself as mayor. Rondeau began staying in his hermitage even over the harsh winters after 1929. He was forced to move after a 1950 storm leveled much of the forest around his hermitage. Some details about Rondeau are offered on the "Adirondack Lives" web site: http://www.adirondackhistory.org/newadklives/ and at http://www.adirondack-park.net/history/noah.john.rondeau.html). The first link has good photos. There are also two books on Rondeau: Noah John Rondeau, Adirondack Hermit by Maitland C. DeSormo and Life With Noah: Stories and Adventures of Richard Smith with Noah John Rondeau as told to William J. O’Hern.

Adirondack hermit: Noah John Rondeau [Swim your way into my hermit-like 20% discounted pants ]
• · John Dugdale is amused by pomp, pretension and piffle in his annual awards Literary reputations on the line
• · · A Little Journal for Nearly Every Literary
• · · · Following my recent bent toward the pedantic and odd, I thought I'd share too much. Here goes: Pulling out a nosehair is one of the most bracing things I ever do.
I really should explain, because what I said isn't what I mean at all. By bracing, I don't mean 'jumping into a cold river' so much as 'brace yourself', and by 'pulling out a nosehair' I mean 'sitting there, with the end of the hair firmly pinned between my thumbnail and fingernail, all ready to pull, flesh willing, mind weak, with the neurons right on that verge of firing, asking my brain "now? now?" and hearing back "ye- I mean, just a sec, no. go. now! No. Ow! Doh." Feel free to reveal things to him that you would tell to no one else. Jozef understands. All the best secrets, here for the taking!
• · · · · We agreed too that the picking up of the fragments had been an extraordinary business; it being amazing that the human body should be blown into pieces which exploded along no anatomical lines, but rather divided as capriciously as the fragmentation in the burst of a high explosive shell The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway
• · · · · · One of the leading intellectual voices of the late 20th Century has been silenced. Author and social critic Susan Sontag, one of the strongest voices of intellectual opposition to US policies after the September 11 attacks, has died An almost lone voice of intellectual opposition to US policies

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Even though I had nothing to do with it, I figured that I would mention that we (well, Rich) rule the world. Didja notice? Forbes 400 Richest Publishers in 2004 Imrich Family: Good to the Last Drop

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Global Storming: Saving Journalism
Ed Driscoll recounts the blogosphere's top-10 media-related stories and achievements of 2004 The Year Of Blogging Dangerously
The only way to save journalism is to develop a new model that finds profit in truth, vigilance, and social responsibility. Saving Journalism would make a fine New Year's resolution, and Professor Philip Meyer in Chapel Hill has a few suggestions, based on years of research and experience

You have probably noticed by now that journalism is being phased out. Our once noble calling is increasingly difficult to distinguish from things that look like journalism but are primarily advertising, press agentry, or entertainment. The pure news audience is drifting away as old readers die and are replaced by young people hooked on popular culture and amusement. We used to think the young would pick up the habit and be more like us as they got older. They didn't.

How to nurse the good stuff until it pays; [Freewheeling bloggers can boost your product—or destroy it. Either way, they've become a force business can't afford to ignore (Dot Blog Boom? Well, a new blog gets created every 3 seconds) Why There's No Escaping the Blog ]
• · The Myth of National Victimhood - All Wrapped and Delivered for Christmas [Americans typically measure their freedom by looking backward or forward—backward to the early republic or forward to their ideal republic How well does America do in its pursuit of olympic freedom, when compared with other countries?
• · · The Most Overhyped and Underreported Media Stories of the Year Geov Parrish: 2004 Media Follies! (BTW, no relation to Ken Parish); Few pundits are as respected on both sides of the aisle as Michael Barone, and he picks up the theme in his latest syndicated essay: Once upon a time, liberals were the folks who wanted to change society. ]
• · · · Britain's new freedom of information law, going into effect Jan. 1. Wow. From schools to prisons, police authorities to government departments, (even Costa type) railway bodies to local councils, any public body must be prepared to release information on its files. The right to know: a guide to digging out the truth; [BUT Hundreds of thousands of government documents are destroyed in the great Freedom of Information Act scandal ]
• · · · · A single Blogger against the Parliamentary Press Gallery (smile) ; Czech out the Blogosphere Round Up with Cold Poem ;
• · · · · · Backpages: Buying and importing song birds ; [Another Christmas, and another grey hair. But don't blame it on the publisher or on stress. Going grey takes on a different hue ]

Saturday, December 25, 2004

As Krusty, the Klown, would say: ‘Have a Kooky Christmas, a Happy Hanukkha, a Crazy Kwanza, and a...very respectful Ramadan.'
In this holiday season, I love to hear the voices of bright, feeling people. I might not always agree but I enjoy the thinking. These "learnings" from Maya Angelou struck a chord:
-- I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
-- I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.
-- I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
-- I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.
-- I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
Kevin Salwen and Maya Angelou on Making a Difference

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Story Of Nick together with Scared of Santa photo gallery
Bishop, legend, saint, fairy story, retail therapist, and film star ... How did a pile of bones in an Italian basilica become the soft drink-swigging patron saint of brides, and our last remaining link with the original meaning of Christmas?

It is probably true to say that no human being in history has ever become so encrusted with layers of religious and secular iconography as St Nicholas. The pile of bones that has been crumbling away for nearly a thousand years in a basilica in the port of Bari on the heel of Italy has acquired a thick, inscrutable patina: bishop, legend, saint, fairy story, retail therapist, and film star

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!; [We loved the variety of expressions as each expression tells a horrifying story Images: Too much eggnog, Santa? (Foto number 7) ]
• · Mikulas, aka Santa, is a child's window to the world Check this list of the best Christmas films of all time
• · · Two economists say that regular sex brings people as much happiness as a $50,000-a-year raise--so no need to kiss up to your boss if kissing your partner is more fun
• · · · During my first year at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, a few of us were sitting around one afternoon when several of my male classmates announced -- with far less irony than you'd imagine, that they had become writers in order to attract women. You Can't Get a Man With a Pen
• · · · · In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen people... He explains that online sales show that the market size of stuff below the break even threshold for physical distribution is often larger than the market for the "hits" that make it into stores. The Long Tail of Double Dragon
• · · · · · We each view reality from our own unique perspective, only a community of minds can show us the truth; [Looking for a New Year's Eve date? Check under fiction at your local bookstore. Best Singles Scene: Barnes and Noble Bookstores Rated New York's Best Pickup Spot; Festivus began on "Seinfeld" and is catching on. Spreading Darkness Fooey to the World: Festivus Is Come]

THE SINGLE most important fact about the birth of Jesus, as recounted in the Gospels, is one that receives almost no emphasis in the American festival of Christmas. The child who was born in Bethlehem represented a drastic political challenge to the imperial power of Rome. The nativity story is told to make the point that Rome is the enemy of God, and in Jesus, Rome's day is over. The politics of the Christmas story
Speaking of Santa, have you heard of the patented Santa Detector (U.S. Patent 5,523,741)? For all of you non-believers, I guess this means that the U.S. government acknowledges the existence of Santa Claus. To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act: Anatole France

Eye on Politics, Peace & Christmas: Democracie are like fires. They go out when left unattended...
T here has been so much violence in Iraq that it's become hard to distinguish one senseless act from another. But there was a picture that ran on the front page of this newspaper on Monday that really got to me. It showed several Iraqi gunmen, in broad daylight and without masks, murdering two Iraqi election workers.

Opinion polls show a big majority of Poles want their troops out of Iraq and also want Europe to have a common defense policy, something Washington views as a possible threat to the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Washington's ebbing influence in this most pro-American swath of Europe reflects a broader phenomenon this series of articles has explored: Some of the largest challenges facing the U.S. now flow from the sources of its great power.
Its democratic domestic politics can leave it deaf to even its closest friends abroad. America's sheer size and might breed resentment and, in the geopolitical marketplace, stir competition. Its economic example spurs Europe to band together to compete. Its faith in elections prompts an effort, in Iraq and Afghanistan, to impose democracy through arms. For many abroad, America's goals inspire, but its actions often exasperate.

Why Does Lech Walesa Question Amerika? ; [Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune Democracy Stalls Around the Globe; New York Daily News editorial Darkest before dawn of freedom; China's Third Way could collapse if it goes wrong The snake and the hedgehog]
• · If Richard Face had still been a policeman, he might have been jailed. But arguably because he was a politician he got off with a $2500 fine and a three-year good behaviour bond for lying to the corruption watchdog. Richard Face, former father of the House
• · · Determining parliamentary parties: a real status symbol ; [Sharon Beder takes a look at the increasing use of ‘strategic lawsuits against public participation’, or SLAPPs, by corporations against individual citizens and groups for exercising their democratic rights. Democratic Audit of Australia, Australian National University (PDF file) ]
• · · · The Australian Democrats pride themselves on being a really democratic party. But can they continue to allow all rank and file members to influence policy-making? Policy-making in the Democrats: Time for a Chat ; [ Only the bold need apply ]
• · · · · A touch of madness could be a criterion for membership of the NSW Parliament. Anybody well versed in the tried-and-true maxims of politics accordinnnnng to Yes Minister will be puzzled by the hopes and curious expectations raised in this charmingly told story. Chika: Aiming for the top ; [The only weakness of this Moravian is that you are a hothead... Have you considered anger-management classes? If I couldn't control my temper, half of Prague's journalists would be running around without teeth Mirek Topolanek ]
• · · · · · Remember conspiracy: just because someone with a lot to lose if he's proven wrong says he isn't wrong, doesn't mean he isn't wrong. Uh-oh! I'm channeling Ex-Governor John G. Rowland; [Essential Reading: Provided by the United States Government ]

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Hallelejah! Another spam email from uncle Rupert in my inbox
Office of Rupert Murdoch ( Newscorp )
Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 10:07 AM
Subject: Holiday message from Rupert Murdoch
Importance: High

Dear Colleagues,

As children we were taught to count our blessings. But corporations also do well to count their blessings, and News Corporation has none greater than each of you: the men and women whose talents and hard work have made this Company what it is today.
2004 has been a banner year for us. Virtually all our divisions - from our satellite, broadcast and cable television operations to our film and print media assets - performed superbly in competitive markets and helped contribute to another year of record revenues and profits.
This year was also marked by the overwhelming support we received from our shareholders for our proposal to reincorporate in the United States. While this move has had little or no effect on the work you do or on our business operations, I am certain it will be remembered in years to come as a milestone in News Corporation's development as one of the world's truly great media companies.
The reincorporation puts us in an even better position to do what we do best - deliver quality news and entertainment to millions of people around the world every day of the year.
The coming year will present its own challenges. As successful as our company is, we operate in one of the most competitive industries on the planet and our competitors are constantly looking to knock us off our perch. But this company does not fear competition. It thrives on it.
The blessings that we share at News Corporation have been earned the old-fashioned way: through our sweat and effort. At this very special time of year, I want to thank you all for making this company what it is - and offer you and yours my wishes for a joyous and healthy Holiday and Christmas season.

All best wishes,
Rupert Murdoch
News Corporation chairman and chief executive

Kapitalism: He who dies with the most toys, wins.
Hari Krishna: He who plays with the most toys wins.
Judaism: He who buys toys at the lowest price wins.
Katholicism: He who denies himself the most toys wins.
Anglicanism: They were our toys first.
Greek Orthodox: No, they were OURS first.
Branch Davidians: He who dies playing with the biggest toys wins.
Atheism: There is no toy maker.
Objectivism: Toys are Toys.
Islam: You must force the world to play with this exact toy, other toys are forbidden.
Polytheism: There are many toy makers.
Evolutionism: The toys made themselves.
Socialism: You will have toys eventually.
Taoism: The doll is as important as the dumptruck.
Mormonism: Every boy may have as many toys as he wants.
Fascism: We have ways of making you play with your toys.
Libertarianism: You can do anything you like with your toys as long as its consensual.
New Labour: We have firm evidence that masses of toys do exist somewhere.
Voodoo: Let me borrow that doll for a second...
Jehovah's Witnesses: He who places the most toys door to door wins.
Pentecostalism: He whose toys can talk wins.
Existentialism: Toys are a figment of your imagination.
Confucianism: Once a toy is dipped in the cold river, it is no longer dry.
Buddhism: What is the sound of one toy playing with itself?
Bussorah of Wicked Thoughts Cracks the Toy World

It was a series of unfortunate events... A document released for the first time today by the American Civil Liberties Union suggests that President Bush issued an Executive Order authorizing the use of inhumane interrogation methods against detainees in Iraq. Some mysterious "Iraqi" men might be rebreaking your legs pretty soon Presidential Order [Doublespeak: It is difficult to determine from the second-hand description whether the technique in this e-mail (impersonating the FBI) was permissible or not.]

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The Real Reason Kofi Annan Must Go
Genocide, not oil money, is the proof of his failed leadership. The sooner Vaclav Havel takes over the better for one and all ... If you or your friends are still under the delustion that the United Nations is a force for world peace, read this column by a former UN peacekeeper.

A debate currently rages about whether Kofi Annan enjoys the moral authority to lead the United Nations because the Oil for Food scandal happened under his command. That debate is 10 years too late and addresses the wrong subject.

Because of Bosnia and Rwanda, at least as much as the UN's Blood-for-Oil program [Like popes, parliamentary clerks, professors and Penn State football coaches, Supreme Court justices tend to hold onto their jobs forever Politics, courts inseparable]
• · A couple of years ago, I was denied my rights in a Newark courtroom. What happened to me is a dirty little (open) secret of the American justice system. It happens hundreds of times every day during jury selections around the country. It's called a "peremptory challenge." One Angry Man
• · · FCC Chairman Michael Powell on indecency, innovation, consolidation, and competition
• · · · Strange Comparison of the Year Mairead Corrigan Maguire Nobel laureate compares Israeli nuclear arms to gas chambers
• · · · · In the long walk of history between man and dragon, the bark mitzvah could be seen as an unexpected pit stop Today He Is a Dragon; Actually, He Always Was ; [James Capozzola Assembling a List of Tenders of the Best Breed Ever]

Search engine Google has offered geeks and non-geeks alike an early present this Christmas. Launching Google Print, the company hopes to begin the long task of integration between searching offline content in the online world. Google Launches Print Service

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Tapping Reservoirs of Raw Emotions
Causes of failure are always more complicated and varied than are the reasons for success. Science teaches are that humans are more alike than different, with the primary differentiator being culture. A great writer is not made simply by his delivery, though superb story-telling is prerequisite. Rather, what sets a great writer apart is his ability to be different and to share that difference when he observes people in real life situations. The artful storyteller holds a unique mirror before our eyes; and we recognise truths, revealing truths, about ourselves.
Strangely, it is mostly Slavic writers who create a pulpable sense of energy and expectation. They teach me how to open my eyes and my mind. They know how I feel and exactly what I need. Boing Boing picked up yet another interesting/creepy angle on a slightly different story we all need ...

Boing Boing randomly happened to read Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code right when it came out. When he told my pal Vann Hall about the novel, he said the basis of the plot sounded like a non-fiction book from the early 1980s called Holy Blood, Holy Grail. A few months after Da Vinci Code hit it big, he noticed that Holy Blood, Holy Grail had also made it to the bestseller lists, more than twenty years after it was first published. Now it seems that the Holy Blood, Holy Grail authors are suing Dan Brown for ripping off their research.

Da Vinci (Legal) Code ; [Free eBooks for your PDA ; Looking for a rare read? Just Google it ; Juvenile Nonfiction: Cold River as Top 12 at Christmas 2004; River name: Morava; Street name: Imrychova (surburb of Prague called Kamk) named after Karel Imrich (1907-1944), a leader of an illegal group Meopta, Karel was killed during the WWII on 11.10.1944 at Draanech]
• · Apparently, publishing house Random House is thinking about jumping into the online retail business themselves , trying to sell books directly to the public. Cold Rivers Going Digital
• · · Oprah's impact on book sales bigger than expected
• · · · Exclusive: Google Apparently Considered Online Store
• · · · · New Matilda is a weekly newsletter of independent political commentary: Spoil Your Loved one or even Better Surprise Your Enemy Give them a gift to remember you by Want a different tune?
• · · · · · Fly Away: Cold River Causing Floods @ Amerikan Airports ; [Nothing attracts scrutiny so well as size and success, so welcome to the majors, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG). Much Ado About Google ]

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Every now and then super-search-engine Google changes the way they rank results. For quite a while now the system they had in place has worked in our favour: type in a book title and the author's name and, if we have the book under review, chances were very, very good our review-page would be one of the top few results. But last week things changed, and that is no longer the case. Google dance: There isn't actually a name for whats wrong with the steps [Same with Media Dragon - without being ranked highly by Google our kingdom is dead; Blogstreet is still ranking us highly, but without Google Media Dragon Is No More

The Blog, The Press, The Media: The ruthless old media dragon
Gallup finds journalists not trusted, but research indicates some highly developed moral reasoning.

The American public thinks journalists are ethically challenged, according to a Gallup Poll. Yet another study shows journalists have highly developed abilities when it comes to moral reasoning. What gives?
First the studies. The American public doesn't trust reporters. This according to Gallup's most recent poll rating of perceived honesty among certain professions. Less than 25 percent of the people who responded the survey rated reporters' ethical standards as high or very high.

Journalists: More Ethical than People Realize? [ Ten examples of bad journalism ]
• · John Jerome: Only writing secret I know - for shrinking a project to manageable size How do you eat a dragon?
• · · 10 Things We Learned About Blogs ; [If you're going to peddle opinions for a living, self-assurance is essential. If you don't have it, you need to bluff. People don't want to read a lot of - Oh dear, this is so terribly complicated, I just can't make up my poor little mind Many's the pundit who has retired on full disability after developing a tragic tendency to see both sides of the issue ]
• · · · Iraqi Bloggers, In the News And Critiquing It
• · · · · Puff the Media Dragon ; [Warhol’s 15 Minutes: has everything but Bela Lugosi declaiming Bevare! Bevare the media dragon! although De Niro is almost at the level of Lugosi these days: He pulls faces, he grimaces, he parrots his old schtick]
• · · · · · Popdex Citations Your BlogStreet or Mine: Who's in your Neighborhood?

Monday, December 20, 2004

Reality bites Bankrupt Santa needs the Ca$h

The Blog, The Press, The Media: The Pursuit of Knowledge, From Genesis to Google
Every morning brings us the news of the globe, and yet we are poor in newsworthy stories.

One warm afternoon in the late 19th century, two middle-aged office clerks met on the same bench of the Boulevard Bourdon in Paris and immediately became the best of friends. Bouvard and Pécuchet (the names Gustave Flaubert gave to his two comic heroes) discovered through their friendship a common purpose: the pursuit of universal knowledge. To achieve this ambitious goal, they attempted to read everything they could find on every branch of human endeavor and, from their readings, cull the most outstanding facts and ideas. Flaubert's death in 1880 put an end to their enterprise, which was in essence endless, but not before the two brave explorers had read their way through many learned volumes on agriculture, literature, animal husbandry, medicine, archeology and politics, always with disappointing results. What Flaubert's two clowns discovered is what we have always known but seldom believed: that the accumulation of knowledge isn't knowledge.
The desire to know everything on earth and in heaven is so ancient that one of the earliest accounts of this ambition is already a cautionary tale. According to the 11th chapter of Genesis, after the Flood, the people of the earth journeyed east, to the land of Shinar, and decided to build a city and a tower that would reach the heavens.

Google [Ex Google ]
• · As the people I hang out with on Freenode are painfully aware of by now, I’ve been on a blog platform testing binge. Stephanie reviews 13 free weblog-hosting platforms
• · · Jeffrey Rosen on blogging and privacy: One of the first sex scandals of the blogosphere ended, of course, in a book deal. In May, Ana Marie Cox, the Internet gossip whose Web log, Wonkette, focuses on Washington, published a link to another blogger who called herself the Washingtonienne Your Blog or Mine? The border between public and private; [A look at the Florida political bloggers who matter -- and one who broke news. ]
• · · · Apple's Steve Jobs was chosen a Person Who Mattered.
• · · · · Google Does it Again How fast this is... I type pretty fast, and it updates with every single keypress... Power of Suggestion
• · · · · · Jay Rosen is a press critic and writer whose primary focus is the media's role in a democracy. More Undercurrent: Action in Greensboro on Open Source Journalism

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Bill Moyers has always taken the high road, but it got a little lonely up there. In a country where political discourse grows ever more shrill, his voice was more and more easily drowned out. Last night, at the age of 70 and on the eve of his 50th wedding anniversary, Bill Moyers took the high road home. Bill Moyers Gets In the Last Word

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Road to Freedom via Unfriendly fire
Quote of the year for Tim Dunlop’s money:

This is a nation which has been tested in adversity, which has survived physical destruction and catastrophic loss of life. I do not underestimate the ability of fanatical groups of terrorists to kill and destroy, but they do not threaten the life of the nation. Whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive Al-Qaeda. The Spanish people have not said that what happened in Madrid, hideous crime as it was, threatened the life of their nation. Their legendary pride would not allow it. Terrorist violence, serious as it is, does not threaten our institutions of government or our existence as a civil community….
[S]uch a power in any form is not compatible with our constitution. The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these. That is the true measure of what terrorism may achieve. It is for Parliament to decide whether to give the terrorists such a victory.

Australia will survive al-Qa'ida as well. But we need to stop empowering the terrorists by abridging our liberties [Chemical Ali appears before Iraqi judge ]
• · Did Stanislav Petrov Save the World? Mark Mcdonald of Knight Ridder says, maybe so Petrov Affair 1983
• · ·
Duncan Campbell, a former Australian ambassador to Rome and Vienna and once a deputy head of the Foreign Affairs Department, says targeting and eliminating known terrorist operatives is more efficient and costs fewer lives than waging conventional war. Kill terror chiefs: ex-envoy ; [Laughing Dragon, Dancing Bear
• · · · Golkar selects Yudhoyono ally as new leader
• · · · · Freedom of Cold War and Dissent
• · · · · · Here's my plan to end the red-blue rift ; [The Orange Grove Revolutions 2004 AD Ukrainian Orange Revolution; This is the Age of I, I am rich revolution of iPods ]

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The Art of Culture War: Political Strategy Lessons from the 1990s Culture Vultures

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Vladimir Putin is an autocratic obstacle to change
Future generations will look back on this decade as a period of far-reaching and hotly debated leadership at all levels of the post KGB democratic absurdity

The drama playing out in the streets of Ukraine in recent weeks has been gripping in its own terms. But its bigger significance for the West lies north-east of Kiev, in Russia. As the tide moves towards a presidential election victory for the opposition leader, Victor Yushchenko, on December 26th, the efforts of Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, to thwart him have looked ever more cack-handed. But they have also depressed those who still hoped that Mr Putin's Russia might move, slowly and tortuously, on to a path leading to political liberalism—and that he might prove an ally not a foe of the West.

Putin takes on democracy, the West and all-comers [Doctors say Dioxin Poisoning Caused Yuschenko Illness]
• · In the aftermath—and there's no better word for it—of the election, Democrats all over the country fell into despair-ridden support-group-like conversations with their friends about what had happened and what to do next. A discussion on the way forward for the Democrats
• · · Diversity is in the melting pot So long as immigrants want to buy into the American Dream. Assimilation is good; [Many of the people in Haiti and Iraq have the truth but don't have the water. We have the water, but we don't have the truth. Burying Water ]
• · · · Feel-Good Politics The therapeutic activism of MoveOn.org
• · · · · Could Hillary become America's first woman president? If I Had Hillary Clinton's Ear...
• · · · · · Mark Kelly (Sydney): Racism, Nationalism, Biopolitics: Foucault's Society Must Be Defended; Warning PDF format Biopolitics: http://www.usyd.edu.au/contretemps/4september2004/Kelly.pdf

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Can one truly measure the return on investment on communities? I guess the answer is it depends. It depends on what the goals of the community are. This past month I had been tasked with return on investment proof for my community ROI

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Why women hate politics
When the chips and the toilet seats are down, alpha males still bestride the political stage. Politicians do not come much more nicer or friendly as the late Mrs Anne Symods who liked to share humorous stories about women at the Bear Pit, NSW Parliament. One tale relates to the physical arrangement of the Parliament which prevented equal access to all. A female Country Party Member during my service to Parliament, in the early 1980s, declared that 'all the lavatories in this building are labelled 'members' or 'ladies'. Unless you change it, I will be asserting my rights as a member.' Within weeks, the building manager, S. Bennett, made sure the lavatories were labelled 'ladies' and 'gentlemen.'

No government ever came to power with more commitment to feminising politics than did new Labour in 1997. More than seven years on, Westminster and Whitehall are as masculine in spirit as they ever were and, as research reported this month shows, many female MPs still feel that the Commons resembles a boys' public school or a gentleman's club, with the older male officials at the House among the worst offenders in assuming that a young woman is bound to be someone's secretary or researcher.

Ladies and Members [Caught jesting: Bob Carr, does not want much for Christmas - just a new state residence. Earlier in the week, Carr had been the butt of a goof tape at the press gallery's party, where he was edited into the TV program Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. As a tanned and upright Carr strode along in a sensible but unfashionable canvas hat, Carson Kressley remarked Ooh, he's got a great body ]
• · He insisted that it was not his function to point the finger, only to serve as midwife to the truth. The mandarin's verdict: No 10 is too hungry for headlines
• · · Monderman is one of the leaders of a new breed of traffic engineer - equal parts urban designer, social scientist, civil engineer, and psychologist. The approach is radically counterintuitive: Build roads that seem dangerous, and they'll be safer Surprise: No street signs. No crosswalks. No accidents.
• · · · Left-handers survive best in violent societies

Saturday, December 04, 2004

SHOW US YOUR --TS: Blogger Meryl Yourish obliges. Not because we asked her to show us her --ts. But because she felt like showing them to us Did you notice how many bloggers are linking to this side?

The Blog, The Press, The Media:
Like above a story about Represennntative Istook, Bob Novak is a very sorry columnist. Only he's never said he was sorry about the Plame episode, even though it was one of his sorriest. Now, before I get myself too tangled up in verbal gymnastics about how being Bob Novak means never having to say you're sorry
Amy Sullivan comes with garlic, sunlight, and a silver bullet at Bob Novak and his world of lackeys. It should be titled "Bob and His Bitches".Novak does not trade in witty prose or expansive theories, but instead offers a glimpse of Washington's innermost power dens. Novak provides the snack food—provocative bits of information from insiders that fill his columns and commentary.
He takes particular glee in inciting—or at least enabling—inter- and intra-party warfare ; [A first-rate cover story on old American-Czech writer Bob Novak; How Novak is constantly being used by his sources ; Fine Line between Source and Jounalist ]
• · Dear Cowards You all should know that the reporters over at the Ukraine state-run channel are braver than you are. Better journalists. Better citizens. You? You're just a bunch of rich hacks with teleprompters. You are unwatchable. You are a sickness spreading over our nation. You disgust me
• · · For a lesson in combating political apathy, this is the way Fast Internet Service for The People
• · · · And to think Amerikans used to make fun of countries that did things like this - asking the director of a filmed version of The Merchant of Venice to black out a background fresco painted by a 16th century artist NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION: Merchant of Venice distributor demands pound of flesh
• · · · · The ABC's director of television is often painted as a sort of Attila the Hun in designer clothes, routinely described as arrogant, tough, abrasive Sandra Levy

“Real news,” said Richard Reeves “is the news you and I need to keep our freedoms.” I am reminded of that line from the news photographer in Tom Stoppard’s play Night and Day : “People do terrible things to each other, but its worse in places where everybody is kept in the dark.”
"Something there is," wrote Robert Frost, "that doesn't love a wall."
The Wizard of Oz, Bert Lahr asks: "What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the ape in apricot? What have they got that I ain't got?" The answer, for Lahr's Cowardly Lion, is courage

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: How to Tell a Terrorist From a Freedom Fighter
The "rebels" or "freedom fighters" are part of a nationwide "resistance movement." While many of them are local, even tribal, and fight simply because they are outraged by the occupation of their country, hundreds of others among the "resistance fighters" – young Arabs -- are arriving from as far away as "Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Jordan," not to speak of Saudi Arabia and Algeria, to engage in jihad, ready as one of them puts it, to stay in the war "until I am martyred." Fighting for their "Islamic ideals," "they are inspired by a sense of moral outrage and a religious devotion heightened by frequent accounts of divine miracles in the war." They slip across the country's borders to fight the "invader" and the "puppet government" its officials have set up in the capital in their "own image. The invader's sway, however, "extends little beyond the major cities, and even there the….
Freedom fighters often hold sway by night and sometimes even by day ; [Orange, chestnut, rose, daisy, velvet, singing - peaceful, popular demonstrations in Eastern Europe get the best names. Popular demonstrations in Eastern Europe get the best names]
• · The republic, citizenship and the politics of culture
• · · Hot War Politicians split over revealing communist secret files after 15 year ; [ Slovakia remembers victims of communism and fascism ]
• · · · · Jump ship! Jump ship! with the Golden Parashute: Outgoing Telstra chief executive Ziggy Switkowski has revealed he was pushed out after a split with some board members Degree of death and inevitability that other heads will roll; [Pat Sajak is surprised at the nearly universal lack of outrage over the murder of Theo van Gogh]
• · · · · · The city's crippling train crisis and drastic service cuts under proposed timetable changes have prompted a group of civic and business leaders to demand an immediate start to A light-rail mass-transit network.

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