Tuesday, May 31, 2005

These are the children behind the detention debate. Their images appear in security mug shots, complete with a barcode Meet the barcode kids in detention

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: A New Paradigm: The Indigent Rich
Richard Werner has written a distinguished book on world economic policies, with special reference to Japan (where he was living until recently).

You will recall that, more than thirty years ago, I tried to have our government adopt more enlightened economic policies. I published The Indigent Rich in 1971 and other books later. To no avail, of course. Successive governments became enmeshed ever more deeply in policies that have led to what I have described in my message to Werner.
Our present government has done no better - and indeed thinks the Australian economy is in splendid shape and that the prospects are bright, while it may in fact, along with others, be on the edge of an economic, political and strategic abyss.

James Cumes in conversation with Richard Werner [The Rau family has completed its own investigation into the ordeal of Cornelia Rau and delivered a hefty 107-page report to the inquiry of the former police commissioner Mick Palmer Rau family verdict: there is another Australia, unrecognisable to most of us ; "Say sorry." The demand came softly but firmly from Ray Minniecon as the Prime Minister, John Howard, expounded his apology-free approach to national reconciliation leaders yeste No apology in PM's optimism for bridging the indigenous divide ]
• · "This is no time to pick fights with people over differences of opinion, instead it is a time to reflect upon the responsibility we hold as citizens of this country. These men and women gave their lives ; Were they missing, or just not found? Defence officials and the Labor senators questioning them at a Senate estimates hearing yesterday could not agree on how to describe the $28 million worth of equipment unaccounted for by a full stocktake of one of the department's biggest warehouses Your jet's not missing - I just can't find it, sir
• · · With that old crook Sir Joh barely cold in the grave, his successor Peter Beattie is already channelling his spirit. Last week restrictions to Freedom of Information legislation – only introduced in Queensland 13 years ago – were rammed through the state's single house parliament by Beattie's arrogant government Peter Banana vs. Orwell ; Australia has racked up its worst trade deficit on record, on a par with countries in eastern Europe - or more than $21,000 for every man, woman and child From bananas to Bulgaria: trade debt soars ; Any tax cut is good is a convenient mentality for the political right. It plays well in the electorate and keeps the political agenda free from pressures for greater spending. But evidence is amassing against the low tax model, and from some surprising quarters A little bit of Alabama: on Australia’s low tax consensus
• · · · The space needed to build a vital underground rail line through Sydney's CBD is poorly protected, obstructed by buildings and may end up costing the Government a premium. Railway lifeline dead on arrival ; Time is overdue for a long-term solution to the city's transport needs Can we afford not to build an effective public transport system? ; Richard Grant examines the recommendations of, and response to, the Uhrig Review The Uhrig Review and the future of statutory authorities
• · · · · Dylan Welch: Young people are struggling to find jobs in academia - and that could spell trouble for the nation University blues ; 'Politicians around the world can take all sorts of initial steps and abuses of power that resemble the sort of thing Hitler did in the early days. That ought to be pointed out!' The words 'Hitler' or 'Nazi' are so radiocative that it's rare that a reasonable debate can follow
• · · · · · First they came to get the dry liberals and I said nothing as I was one of the wet liberals. Then ... Rebel Libs leap from 5 to 9: Howard gets more talks ; Joo-Cheong Tham argues that recent government proposals to increase the threshold for disclosing the identity of political donors, and to raise the ceiling for tax-deductibility, would advantage wealthy political donors and further increase their political access vis à vis the less well off, reducing political equality. Political donation changes favour the rich and increase the risk of corruption ; United Kingdom election 2005

Monday, May 30, 2005

Order seems to come from searching for disorder, and awkwardness from searching for harmony or likeness, or the following of a system. The truest order is what you find already there, or that will be given if you don't try for it. When you arrange, you fail.
-Fairfield Porter, letter to Claire Nicholas White (April 13, 1972)

Blogging takes us back to the roots of newspapers: In the blogging world, says Washington Post Co. CEO Donald Graham, there's one person who's Ben Franklin and 100,000 people who think they're Ben Franklin. Wonkette's Ana Marie Cox says blogs that have served as watchdogs on the mainstream media now look more like that segment of the media themselves: They're cliqueish, they're arrogant, they get things wrong
Blog search engine One site does all the hard search work

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Web is Drowning Snobery

There is, writes Virginia Postrel in her column on Forbes.com, 'something about blogs [that] makes a lot of respectable journalists hyperventilate. News pros seem terribly threatened by online amateurs.'

As an illustration she quotes a Los Angeles Times columnist, David Shaw, an über-hack who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for his media criticism. Blogging, Shaw writes, is a 'solipsistic, self-aggrandising, journalist-wannabe genre'. Bloggers are 'practitioners of what is at best pseudo-journalism' and 'many bloggers ... don't seem to worry much about being accurate'.

Journalists must stop being in denial: bloggers are here to stay [Journalism is politics by another name ; via Hugh Martin Measuring the Impact of Blogs Requires More Than Counting ; Best, worst, and everything you wanted to know about ]
• · What Professional and Citizen Journalists Can Learn From Each Other - In America, many bloggers from the political right wing have turned MSM into an insult Evolution from the lecture model; How many entries does the average blog produce on a daily basis? Second, what is the size of those entries? Analyzing the A-list of the blog world
• · · Blogdigger Local new service will find blogs by geographic location; Why? On July 27, 2004, I began to Blog. I’ve had a ball. My “constituency” has had a ball I’ve had my Best Year in 20 Years!; This is the most secretive administration in recent memory, writes Eugene Robinson. If you say inconvenient things out loud, with your name attached, you get frozen out. Unnamed sources are a necessity. Journalists would rather have an on-the-record source than an anonymous one, he notes, but without unnamed sources, we -- and you -- would be less well-informed. To cite just one example, Watergate would be nothing more than the name of an expensive apartment building overlooking the Potomac. Unnamed sources are a necessity when covering Bush admin
• · · · Tim the Blogger of SBS fame Blastradius rocks ; There's a revolution underway in recruiting communications Seeking release
• · · · · The Amazing Rise of the Do-It-Yourself Economy ; Hacker Hunter
• · · · · · What is the least damaging way to tax the media and entertainment industry? But wait. Why not find the most damaging way? P.J. O’Rourke has some advice Here's a Tax We Can All Agree On ; You'll get burned playing the anonymous source game "I don't know how many more times the American press is going to put its hand on that stove before they say, 'It's hot, don't touch it,'" says newspaper consultant Tim Porter. U.S. News & World Report editor Brian Duffy adds: Everybody who's in the business and is drawing breath has realized it's gotten out of hand. Off the record, newspapers have a problem

Artist are cockroaches, you just can't kill us."
-Chris Latham

Sydneyrella is filled with cockroaches and creative minds. The city’s light, the Sydney Morning Herald, is the savviest newspaper the world is watching closely. On 30 May 2005 the Herald launched a campaign to fix, to heal, to mend, Sydney. A campaign to fix its water, air, urban development and transport. It is time for a boldness lacking for 50 years. Robert Whitehead

Art of Living in the City of Exiles: Power to the People
Sydney is in desperate shape. There are many signs, but you only have to look at the weather to see something is badly wrong.

By any account April was an extraordinary month in our Indian summer - hotter than March for the first time since records began. It was dry, too, with only 33 millimetres of rain, a quarter the monthly average.
Rain fell on just eight days; most of it uselessly went down the drains into the sea.
Dam levels have dipped below 40 per cent capacity for the first time, and there are fears Sydney's weather patterns will have far-reaching consequences for our water, food and gardens. People cannot control the weather, but there are things that are within their control.

Crowded, polluted and a mess – the fix list for Sydney [Cheeks of the Devil, Charms of an Angel City in Crisis ; Building liveable communities is vital to retain a creative workforce Do the myths: now is time to create the knowledge city ]
• · Car use forecasts put quality up in the air ; Keep writing those books, Bob, and the trains will fix themselves : Off the rails: the suburbs where the car rules
• · · Be mad if you will, but at yourself The south-west is wheezy, while the east breathes easy ; Fifty years ago the American economist John Kenneth Galbraith observed a paradox in advanced economies - how private wealth grows alongside public squalor. Frustrated commuters might think he was writing about Sydney in 2005. Despite unprecedented private riches, much of the city's public infrastructure is deteriorating. Once debt-ridden, now run down

Sunday, May 29, 2005

When I remember bygone days
I think how evening follows morn;
So many I loved were not yet dead,
So many I love were not yet born.
-Ogden Nash, The Middle

Some people are born creative.Others are born with drive. Others still have a entrepreneurial nose. At the Sydney Writers Festival one and all of these characters were there. Characters who do not know the meaning of boundaries. I was lucky to chat with Morry Schwartz as well as David Suzuki ... A river of opportunities runs thought these characters. Politics and the Novel session was one of the most impressive thanks to speakers who spoke in reverse alphabetical order - Christos Tsiolkas, Gillian Slovo, Eva Sallis, Caryl Phillips. As Christo noted: Artists need to create beauty to give moments of optimism and hope, but also think it is important that we be honest about nightmares. I think [nightmares] are just as important to art because that is part of human experience and part of human culture. This is a moment of darkness. It is dangerous, ugly time in Western Culture. Like Cold River, Dead Europe, does not want the postcard view of Europe.

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: A River Ran Through Sydney Writers Festival
Among the audience at the festival was a group of the world's leading publishers has descended on the Sydney Writers' Festival looking for authors to take to the international market

POWER to the people, sang John Lennon in the 1980s. If he were alive today he would see his dream coming true but not quite in the way he imagined. People are deserting established politics and resorting to social activism to get the changes they want in society. Almost every week brings new evidence. This week the Sydney Writers' Festival is sold out with people wanting to attend sessions and hear from overseas activists and polemicists such as Tariq Ali, David Suzuki and Jared Diamond. Explore international coversation:
CANADA - Iris Tupholme, V/P, Publisher, Editor-in-Chief, HarperCollins Canada
KOREA - Eric Yang, CEO, Eric Yang Agency
NETHERLANDS - Martijn David, Mouria (part of Veen, Bosch & Keuning)
UK - Marion Lloyd, Marion Lloyd Books, Scholastic UK
USA - Judith Curr, (not Lisa) Executive VP, Publisher, Atria Books, Simon & Schuster
USA - George Gibson, Publisher, Walker Books
USA - Sharyn November, Editorial Director, Firebird & Senior Editor, Puffin Books & Viking Children's Books, Penguin
Hat tip to the students at the UTS for making the coverage of the festival so colourful. As Anna Funder noted - Student talent isn't just the tip of the iceberg. Production of the daily newsletter, Festival News , radio program, video documentary and website for the Sydney Writers' Festival is an example of the many projects undertaken by UTS journalism students who are under the wing of Wendy Baker.

Catherine Rey credits two events in her life with making her an author -- being given away by her mother when she was a baby and moving from France to the fringes of the harsh Australian desert almost 40 years later.
Say you want a revolution: start with the silent warriors [Festival Club is a very intimate venue where Mandy Sayer showed a very special slide night of her family life. She not only took us into her family album for a night of pictures from the past but also tap dancing to a drum filled with her father’s ashes Mandy Sayer’s Pictures from Life ; The Saturday evening highlight .. wine and cheese on the Master and Commander type ship: Cockfighter's Ghost Wine Tasting with winemaker Patrick Auld - The wines of legend..... Behind every wine is a story - Cockfighter, the lead horse, became bogged in river quicksand and despite all efforts, drowned. A fateful night that gave birth to the legend of Cockfighter's Ghost.... Named after a ghostly steed, said to reside upon our vineyard, Cockfighter’s Ghost is unquestionably the best]
• · I missed a tribute to Czeslaw Milosz because it clashed with another session: A Certain Maritime Incident. Tony Kevin gave an extraordinary speech which he taped in case media attempts to twist his words around. He certainly gave audience an insight into the dealing with the press, defence, police and ministers. In October 2001, over 400 asylum-seekers departed from Indonesia in an overcrowded, unseaworthy boat bound for Australia. In the deep oceans between the two countries the boat sank and 353 people drowned. Tony Kevin asks what responsibility we have for the tragedy and exactly who knew what and when. Tony Kevin, author of the book A Certain Maritime Incident and well-known campaigner for a judicial inquiry into the SIEV X sinking, was awarded the Community Relations Award in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards, which are attached to the Sydney Writers Festival Story of Siev X : The longest applause went to Tony ; There were many other goodies, but I am too tired to detail so czech out the Big Pond streams at SWF
• · · According to Google: Free eBooks ; Lloyd Grove with the latest buzz
• · · · Note to You Liberal Weenies -- Yes, the Right Really Can Write; If you can't actually get to a writers' festival then the next best thing is for someone to bring it to you. And that's what BigPond have decided to do by providing a live streaming feed from the Sydney Writers' Festival this week. The Lovely Bones
• · · · · Head & Heart: Why don't we Muslims grow up?; There was a time when the big names in mystery writing turned a cold shoulder to romance
Chick lit heroines, humor give glam makeover to mysteries

• · · · · · If you are travelling to Blava czech out this website run by my naughty but nice cousins Bratislava also known as Pressburg or Pozsony ; Jobs in corporate social responsibility are growing as businesses try to do the right thing Debt to society

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Keep an eye on reaction to Corby’s case and million other subjects by using the thoughtful Hungarian-type search machine by the name of Mr Sapo [Conflict of interest - I liked the site on the first sight]

A drug smuggling case that has swept Australia like an out-of-control bush fire, and created almost as much heat and rage, came to a climax Friday when a 27-year-old Australian woman was found guilty of trying to carry nine pounds of marijuana into Bali inside her bodyboard bag Bushfire in the theatre of the Absurd

A theatrical system of law: Bali Determine to Stay on the Radar
Andrew Collis recently wrote about Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Marty Natalwgawa, who criticised Schapelle Corbys supporters for making her drugs trial into “theatre”, presumably by holding up placards calling for her acquittal. I watched Ms Corby make her impassioned plea for mercy on a television broadcast the other evening. One of the presiding judges was reading a book, while none of the judges were using interpreting services. Apparently the learned judges were handed a transcript of her plea at a later time.

Bear in mind, this is the same court that has tried many of the alleged Bali bombers. These individuals were brought into the body of the court, allowed to scream slogans of defiance, punch their fists into the air, acknowledge their supporters at the rear of the court and leer at the families who lost loved ones in the bombing. Was this not black theatre of the worst kind? To make matters worse, the chief judge in Ms Corbys trial, Linton Siriat, is quoted making public comment on the very trial that he is presiding over. Ms Corby would have every right to think that that was|“theatrical”, wouldnt she?
We in Australia can be thankful that although at times people complain about the “ills” of being colonised by the British, we were left with two great legacies, a system of law and a system of government, that for all their failings are still the envy of the world.

Anybody is is a somebody in the foreign policy sphere is well aware that Corby’s trail is part of a large picture. It is about national interests. There is no real friendship between Indonesian and Australian governments and even the nationals interests are part of the East Timor theatre of the absurd. As a blogger johnboy observed yesterday: Longer sentence than the bali bombers? That's your priorities for you.
• Can judges go against the government in a regime where the concept of the separation of power is at best misunderstood or ignored ... Furor down under over drugs case [Google Tearfully facing her bleak future; Google Corby's lawyers likely to accept QCs' help ]
• · Bali bombers and Editorial: Corby case not ours to decide ;
• · · Need to respect law of the land even if the law is ass? Then came the avalanche of terror and disbelief which Ms Corby had struggled in vain to control. There was pandemonium. Her family and friends screamed and it was almost too painful to watch. The tension rose by notches and when finally the verdict was delivered it was stretched like piano wire ; Google Labor asks for Corby pardon: Rudd
• · · · Corby case shades $4380 pay rise announcement; How the Corby case unfolded

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hugh Martin: Jozef Imrich is a prolific researcher. This kind of blog can become a trusted source of links; effectively he's editing the web for readers interested in the media - When are bloggers journalists?

People's No. 1 question is How do I find stuff? Most advertisers who survive know that - The advertising business is undergoing an upheaval, forcing marketers to try desperately to stay ahead of technological innovations Advertisers Want Something Different

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Always on Google

Kudos to Google for succeeding to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Integrated Media Systems Center [ A new sensation is piggy-backing on the phenomenon that is the iPod: podcasting Come One, Come All: The Rise of Podcasting ; Corporate blogs have become something of a norm Another twist in blogging's fate]
• · Blogebrity: A to C list ; Ali, Rafat ; Ace ; Chris Allen
• · · Blogs Are Just the Medium, not a Profession ; What makes a blogger a blogger?
Being a blogger is a bit like being an alcoholic: if you say you are one, you are
What makes a blog a blog?
• · · · BitTorrent Creator to Launch Search Engine ; How Old Media Can Survive In a New World
• · · · · Are Bloggers Setting the Agenda? It Depends on the Scandal ; Why is it worth having a debate about whether blogging is journalism? Because, for one thing, as James Packer points out today, online companies such as Google and Yahoo! have market valuations of $US55 billion ($A72 billion) to $US60 billion while "media behemoths" such as Viacom, News Corp and Disney are capitalised at $US50 billion-$US55 billion. The dollars will follow the eyeballs
• · · · · · 'All time Greatest Aussie Bloopers'; We are at the end of the beginning in terms of the internet Online the way to go - Packer

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

If a prisoner has gold teeth, he’s a drug dealer, if he’s reading Wittgenstein, he’s in for fraud. Now literary fraud is rather different... An imaginary “scandal”

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Bohemian Barista
Celebrating their visas to Australia, newlyweds Signor and Signora Bocconcini went for a last ride in the country of their ancestors. Just look at it carefully.

Who Says I Can't? Abandoned as a baby in Canada, Catherine DeVrye was adopted by loving parents. When she was twenty-one, they died of cancer, within a year of each other. An only child, Catherine packed her bags for a 3-month working holiday in Australia, arriving jobless and near penniless. If you’ve ever felt alone and hopeless, laugh and cry through Catherine’s story and become more empowered to turn your own stumbling blocks into stepping-stones.

Oy caramba [It’s brutal, the poetry world. Corruption, back stabbing, fraud – much of it exposed by a chipper and rather dangerous librarian How a Web site purporting to uncover fraud shook up the world of poetry contests ; Strange, wonderful, how we need to know why - In the end we, as human beings the world over and in our own way, love. We believe. We seek to eat, to have shelter and safe beds to sleep in. In all the tiny corners of the world, torn by war or party to it even if just by deed of our being human, we each head into sleep at night while within us somewhere deep or near the surface is the fundamental question we all ask. Why do we hurt, harm, kill? Why we ask...'why?' ]
• · I view life as a journey of initiation for death, Batya told a journalist a year ago: A person lives, suffers, dies. All the rest is grace. And love is grace. Writing is grace `Warm and wise' writer Batya Gur dies ; If we expect celebrities to be perfect, we are going to be continually disappointed Highs and lows for role models
• · · Snake River Brewing Company ; Human folly is often entertaining, but even its the most ardent connoisseurs have limits to their appetites. What biographers find in other people's mail ;
• · · · He was a strange and great human being Say it loud – it's Schiller and it's proud ; If Russia were ever to solve its problems, three groups would suffer most: corrupt traffic cops, oligarchs, and satirists... Adventures of a True Believer
• · · · · Microsoft & MEdia Dragon: 'There falls the Curtain that ruined my life.' There is not a lot more to say, except 'Thank You For Reading'; How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers, a book by Shel Israel and Robert Scoble: Naked Conversations: Naked Coincidences: Naked Ambitions ; Deep Blog: Creating passionate readers in every corner of this small, small, world - Cold River: a survivor's story Sex Degrees of Separation Surfaced on the Web; Did you know that if you type my surname Imrich in any version of the Word (a.k.a. Gates-Scoble Microsoft) the spell czecher (sic) suggests the word Embrace Be Different! Creative Teaching and Spilling
• · · · · · The circle rippled outward to include the police divers fishing the river and the complete strangers who volunteered to comb meadow and fen. Police helicopters flew low over outlying villages and countryside as far as the county borders, truck drivers were alerted to keep an eye out on the motorway, and the army was brought in to search the fens, but none of them -from Amelia screaming herself sick in the back garden to the Territorial Army recruits on their hands and knees in the rain on Midsummer Common -could find a single trace of Olivia, not a hair or a flake of skin, not a pink rabbit slipper nor a blue mouse Case Histories revolve around three family tragedies; If you want to know what’s coming next, the answer starts here Far too many titles slip passed me - this is why I'm especially happy that Case Histories surfaced

Sunday, May 22, 2005

What makes Desperate Housewives compelling, apart from the snappy dialogue, is that it is about where we live – the suburbs:
‘In the slums, I reflected, they had a fetish about keeping front door-knobs polished, but here in the 'good' respectable suburbs the fetish was applied to cars and to gardens, and there were fixed rituals about this, so that hedges were clipped and lawns trimmed and beds weeded, and the lobelia and the mignonette were tidy in their borders, and the people would see that these things were so no matter what desolation or anxiety or fear was in their hearts, or what spiritless endeavours or connubial treacheries were practised behind the blind neat concealment of their thin red-brick walls.’
The only skeletons in our closets are the ghosts of the suburban dead - A man can't be too careful in the choice of his surburban enemies; Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much - Oscar Wilde A Matter Of Shire Reputations

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Like the ‘surburban song’ says, I live in the Shire of Tactful Meyers
I have made only one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it.
- Voltaire
Winston Churchill said somewhere or other that there are few things in life more exhilarating than being shot at without effect. I thought of this utterly characteristic remark a few hours ago as I watched a wizard from Ms Mac Consulting wipe the hard drive of my iBook and reinstall the operating system, an experience which I imagine to be not unlike watching in a mirror as a neurosurgeon pokes around in your head with a scalpel.

“'There is no man,' he began, 'however wise, who has not at some period of his youth said things, or lived in a way the consciousness of which is so unpleasant to him in later life that he would gladly, if he could, expunge it from his memory. And yet he ought not entirely to regret it, because he cannot be certain that he has indeed become a wise man—so far as it is possible for any of us to be wise—unless he has passed through all the fatuous or unwholesome incarnations by which that ultimate stage must be preceded. I know that there are young fellows, the sons and grandsons of famous men, whose masters have instilled into them nobility of mind and moral refinement in their schooldays. They have, perhaps, when they look back upon their past lives, nothing to retract; they can, if they choose, publish a signed account of everything they have ever said or done; but they are poor creatures, feeble descendants of doctrinaires, and their wisdom is negative and sterile. We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can take for us, an effort which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world. The lives that you admire, the attitudes that seem noble to you are not the result of training at home, by a father, or by masters at school, they have sprung from beginnings of a very different order, by reaction from the influence of everything evil or commonplace that prevailed round about them. They represent a struggle and a victory. I can see that the picture of what we once were, in early youth, may not be recognisable and cannot, certainly, be pleasing to contemplate in later life. But we must not deny the truth of it, for it is evidence that we have really lived, that it is in accordance with the laws of life and of the mind that we have, from the common elements of life, of the life of studios, of artistic groups—assuming that one is a painter—extracted something that goes beyond them.'”
-Marcel Proust, A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs

No problem in literature, perhaps, is less instantly soluble than the question of reputations: the bewildering process by which, in the years after their deaths, one writer's stock soars while another's sinks into bankruptcy. The only real judge of a book, Martin Amis once remarked, is posterity
Undeservedly obscure [It takes some courage to back down and give your computer to Mac Doctors ;-) Ms Mac Consulting ; A book is a mirror; if an ass peers into it, you can't expect an apostle to look out -G. C. Lichtenberg Unlike Media Dragon, Ken Loach rarely does sex. He's English, after all, and there are some things a chap doesn't ask actors to do. But in bohemian ‘Ae Fond Kiss,’ his star-crossed romance set in Glasgow, the sex is dramatic, an act of truth True colour of love as cultures clash ]
• · As Australian companies compete for workers - paying for visa applications, raising perks and wages, increasing training - some German employers have begun auctioning jobs online to workers willing to accept the lowest pay: Jobs for sale, and bottom dollar wins; Rise in number of sick police leads to inquiry
• · · Just the name 'subversive literature' has a provocative, candle-under-the-bedcovers feel. In communist East Germany -- perhaps the most spied-on nation in history -- however, almost everything fell under that dicey rubric. Poetry about freedom? Anti-utopian sci-fi? Political satire? All blacklisted. Now, 16 years after the Soviet puppet state crumbled, two former citizens have unearthed the vanished nation's hidden literature and -- adamant that it no longer be submerged in anonymity -- are pushing to get it published The Bloody Scalp of Literature: Uncovering East Germany's Vanished Literature ; Everyone was amazed when Robert De Niro piled on the kilograms for Raging Bull. Imagine the willpower it must have required for Christian Bale to lose 28.6kg for The Machinist. Is he mad?Weight for just the right part; Frida Kahlo is the only artist who gave birth to herself, a friend of hers once said. The sentiment could almost seem literal Daughter of the revolution
• · · · Discount hotels in Prague ; Wran had an extraordinary ability to play both sides of the street: This is the third time I read Neville Wran’s biography; I hope good luck lies in odd numbers…. There is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death: When death becomes real, or when deep disillusionment with the possibilities of experience overtakes the being, then one can no longer avoid the confrontation with fundamental questions Why is there suffering? I had a very vivid nightmare last night that Neville passed away and as Russell Banks noted ‘Luck can't last a lifetime unless you die young’
• · · · · Sherlock Holmes has had one of the most enduring afterlifes in all of literature. Holmes has become a one-man entertainment complex. He has been the subject of at least 100 movies and nearly as many plays and radio dramas, and he has inspired an entire library's worth of books. There have been countless sequels and knockoffs... Holmes - The Case Of The Enduring Detective: We have met the enemy, and he is us ;-) ; Last year every publishing trend piece talked about nonfiction and political books. So this year it's fiction's turn Summer should provide plenty of stories ;
• · · · · · Remember, the greatest gift is not found in a store nor under a tree, but in the hearts of true friends - Cindy Lew Absinthe & Cookies (a little bit bitter, a little bit sweet); Book reviews should inspire reading. They should excite, stimulate, agitate and empower readers to discover new books and avoid bad ones. They should turn you on to undiscovered authors, prompt you into finally reading the writer you have never quite got round to, and make you wonder at the world of delights that remain unread. But let's be honest. They don't, do they? What's Wrong With The Modern Book Review ; What We Really Want In Books - Get Happy! Our hunger for happiness books is virtually unslakable. It seems to be an American phenomenon. We buy can-do books that teach us to fix our problems. It's like having your own personal life coach, and it's less expensive than seeing a shrink We are just so into how-to-be-happy books

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Forged letters, smear sheets and allegations of a secret cell running a phone campaign to discredit rival candidates. No, it's not the NSW ALP Right, but the NSW Liberal Party. Liberals at war show that dirty tricks are a universal political truth - [Rebel Rebel Tomorrow's leaders are already rocking the river ]

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The pursuit of happiness: Torture, anyone?
An innocent life is an innocent life irrespective of race, situation, colour or time.

G'day. It's a funny old world. As we face the fact that our government and its organs cannot be trusted to respect the rights, or even the humanity, of innocent Australian citizens, the same government and its organs are calling for the downgrading of citizen's protections agains abuse of power by the State with a view, perhaps, to the legalisation of state torture.

• Has the pendulum swung? A case for torture [Capitalism has usually had a bad press. Left and right have combined to denounce mass affluence and the Church has been hostile from the beginning. Even one of the quotations printed on the back cover of Rich is Beautiful says it is “the indefensible argued with vigour” Rich is Beautiful: A Very Personal Defence of Mass Affluence ; Government that’s rational and the market that’s dumb The New York Times begins a special series on social class in the US ; Top 10 Kerrys ... The richest 200 Australians increased their wealth by $11.9 billion to a record $83.4 billion in the past year, according to BRW magazine's annual rich listBillionaire Beauty Boom ; While last week's budget rewarded the wealthy, the poor got more stick:
John Kenneth Galbraith, a now deeply unfashionable economist, identified one of the great doctrines of our age as a belief that the rich don't work because they have too little money, while the poor don't work because they have too much. Or, as John Button once paraphrased it, the rich need more money as an incentive and the poor need less money as an incentive Treasurer's tax cut justification a bit rich ]
• · Ironically, the extent of US failure to control Iraq is masked by the fact that it is too dangerous for the foreign media to venture out of central Baghdad. Some have retreated to the supposed safety of the Green Zone. Mr Bush can claim that no news is good news, though in fact the precise opposite is true Iraq is a bloody no man's land. America has failed to win the war. But has it lost it?; Increasingly, business must weigh in on hot social issues -- and suffer interest groups' slings and arrows Culture Wars Hit Corporate America
• · · Tim Dunlop: Professor Bagaric said that one of the reasons that he and Mrs Clarke had submitted the paper to a American law journal was because they are more open to new ideas on human right Torture is Good for you: Professor Bagaric is a part-time member of the Government's Refugee Review Tribunal and Migration Review Tribunal ; How to be a Conservative Pundit in Three Easy Traits
• · · · A Quick Guide to the Second Annual Personal Democracy Forum, This Monday, May 16 Second annual Personal Democracy Forum ; The Wall around the West: Globalisation along rich-poor divides is less the swan song of state power Than its siren song
• · · · · Most disturbing sexual fantasies include sleeping with Michael Sandel Sexual Fantasies ; Torture produces misinformation rather than information, since victims of torture will confess to anything to make it stop When democracy is corrupted; Premier Bob Carr's two limousines were slapped with parking fines worth nearly $500 last year and taxpayers picked up the bill Bob's left us in a fine state; Melbourne: Weapons seized in police raids on bikie gang
• · · · · · Top spy bound for Washington: Wanted: New chief spy for Australia ; Torture advocate dismays colleagues, survivors : Moving from Voluntary Euthanasia to Non-Voluntary Euthanasia ... Right to die ; PDF version Goodbye Justice, Hello Happiness: Welcoming Positive Psychology to the Law

Monday, May 16, 2005

Stephanie Dowrick: ‘We will never achieve what we can’t imagine, so what are we hoping for?’

John Ralston Saul: ‘If we believe in Democracy you have to believe in the power of the citizen – there is no such thing as an abstract democracy.’

Alexis de Tocqueville:‘Individualism ... disposes each member of the community to sever himself from the mass of his fellows and to draw apart with his family and his friends, so that after he has thus formed a little circle of his own, he willingly leaves society at large to itself. ... Individualism, at first, only saps the virtues of public life; but, in the long-run, it attacks and destroys all others, and is at length absorbed in downright selfishness.’

Ghandi: ‘Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.’

Robert Menzies: ‘Sovereignty is the quality of kingship, and democracy brings it to the poor man’s door.’
Last week was a hectic one for Webdiary, with some fast-breaking stories bringing a lot of traffic, many debut commentors and a lot of intense and angry discussion. Sometimes nasty, too, which is why I announced my intention to conduct an experiment banning all personal abuse altogether Webdiary Discussion Guidelines

Sadness and Injustice Across Frontiers: Seeking volunteers for Webdiary's 'people's inquiry' into Alvarez
G’day. After a good night’s sleep, I woke up with an idea to focus the energy of Webdiarists determined to get the truth about Vivian Alvarez and bring those responsible to account.

This is what we face. The Alvarez scandal goes to the very legitimacy of a government which in our democracy is supposedly elected “by the people for the people”. It is difficult to imagine a more frightening scenario for Australians – the knowledge that an Australian citizen, through, as Vanstone admits, no fault of her own, can be deported by her own government and left to rot in another country. And the knowledge that once the mistake is discovered, nothing of substance is done to remedy the error. And the knowledge that, when the government finally admits what it has done, it is left to the media to find the victim. And the knowledge that the government wipes its hands of the affair, handing over responsibility to someone without legal powers to get the truth in private conversations with those in the frame for possible crimes.

People’s Inquiry [The impact of outsourcing in immigration detention ; J'accuse! An open letter to Cardinal Pell on mandatory detention ]
• · Citizen Jack: how a man with a computer and a passion for justice can make a difference in today's Australia ;
I am Melba Marginson, a Filipina-Australian citizen who married Simon Marginson. I have an 8-year old daughter. After the revelations of Vivian's case, I want to withdraw the citizenship advertisement about me which appears on the DIMIA website entitled Make Australia your home by becoming a citizen.

A letter to Webdiarists from Melba Marginson, a Filipina Australian
• · · Webdiarists help reveal Vanstone "mistake" on crucial Alvarez fact ; Google: Woman deported because of looks: lawyer
• · · · Google: No Alvarez royal commission yet says PM! Vanstone secure in job, says Howard ; The Department of Immigration refused to help the Australian Filipino community search for deportee Vivian Alvarez Solon when she was declared missing Call for ministers' scalps
• · · · · White Australia has had an appalling 2 century record of racism, violence and human rights abuse ranging from 19th century slavery in the Pacific Islands and genocide of indigenous peoples to continuing complicity in horrendous Coalition passive genocide in the Occupied Iraqi and Afghan Territories. White Australia actually achieved a Left-driven "window" of remarkable social decency in the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, but has seen an appalling resurgence of cowardly, nudge-nudge, wink-wink racism over the last decade. Racist White Australia Deports Brown Australian Citizen ; Calls for an inquiry are reaching fever pitch as more details are released about Ms Alvarez's case and that of another Australian resident, German-born Cornelia Rau, who was locked up in the Baxter detention centre for 10 months as an illegal immigrant System causes untold agony
• · · · · · That's no way to treat a lady ; A Belated Mother’s Day Appeal To Pm Howard

Sunday, May 15, 2005

After more than our share of public blood lettings in the blogsphere as a result of employee bloggers running afoul of their corporate parents, it is not surprising that companies are starting to issue blogging guidelines. Lawyers Take Hold Of Blogging

The Blog, The Press, The Media: How Can I Stay Unique?
Why do some people like me continually succeed and others seem to continually fail ;-? Is it their background, upbringing, socio-economic status, quality of friends and personal relationships, ability to interact with others, being an extrovert, being an introvert, pedigree of education, etc.? Could it be luck…good and bad?

Traditional blogs are being supplemented with new technologies every day. The original blogs didn’t even have pictures; now, even Michele of A Small Victory is supplementing her blog with random shots from her camera-phone. Rob Sama has been e-mailing camera-phone images to his blog for quite a while now. Kelley of Suburban Blight used to send in new posts from her Treo. Wizbang has gone to a three-author format – originally because Kevin Aylward’s wife gave birth and he was needed in real life – and enjoyed great success. But adding pictures and writers is easy. It’s breaking into completely new areas that’s hard.

A New Hope : "Main Entrance"! [Because The Blog from the Core simply can't cover everything Blogworthies LXV ; In the very beginning, blogging was a highly personal endeavor. The kind of people who wrote journals enjoyed the anonymity of blogging their private thoughts to a public audience. But then people started passing around news stories via e-mail and they realized, “hey, there’s all these websites out there that let you make your own journals for free; why don’t I just post the stuff there instead?” Is Blogging Reached Saturation? How Can I Stay Unique? ]
• · Welcome to the Blogosphere: Tax Foundation's Tax Policy Blog ; Is Business Blogging All It Is Cracked Up to Be?
• · · Given the rancour in the Australian Broadcasting Authority boardroom when David Flint was in the chair it is hardly surprising he has stirred up some former combatants with his recently released tome. Behind the boardroom doors ; David Flint
• · · · Henry Copeland of Blogads has a pretty compelling contrarian review of the recent Business Week article Blogs Will Change Your Business What if Blogs Don't Change Your Business? ; Useful Blog Tools for Market Intelligence

Monday, May 09, 2005

President George Bush has denounced the Soviet rule of eastern Europe during the Cold War as "one of the greatest wrongs of history" in a jab at Moscow just before massive celebrations in Russia of the 1945 victory over Hitler. He said the end of the war brought liberty from fascism for many in Germany but meant the "iron rule of another empire Exchanging One Brutalism for Another

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF VE DAY: Celebrating war's end
My parents paid a terrible price ... Details of those days are fading from memory. Sixty years ago today, World War II was over in Europe!

The original German title of Uwe Timm's memoir translates as "On the Example of My Brother." That captures its central concern rather more pointedly than "In My Brother's Shadow," for what he wrestles with here is whether the wartime experiences of his long-dead brother Karl-Heinz left an example that can be understood.
In any case, it is not Karl-Heinz's shadow that Timm seems to have been in most of his life, but that of his father, with whom he also does a bit of figurative wrestling. He says, "Writing about my brother means writing about my father, too."
Timm, a respected German novelist ("The Invention of Curried Sausage"), was 3 years old when his brother, 16 years older and a member of the Waffen SS, died in Ukraine in 1943 shortly after being wounded and having both his legs amputated. Timm tried several times to write about him, but couldn't while his mother, father and sister were still alive.

Shadow' examines Germans' attitudes over WW II [At the outset of the war there were those who believed that democracy was too soft to survive, especially against a Nazi Germany. They boasted the most professional, well-equipped and highly trained military forces in the world Mixed feelings as Moscow marks WWII anniversary ; Tax cuts to offset rising living costs ; Google: Thousands join in rallies to hail wartime heroism]
• · Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned last night "there can be no forgiveness" for his predecessor Joseph Stalin, who had created a "slaughter machine". Allies unite to honour heroes ; Dictator Stalin stirs nostalgia as Russians remember war
• · · Arnold Scott-Schlessinger, born a Slovak Jew who, was handed an opportunity to fight fascism. All but 10 of his 60-member Slovak family failed to survive World War II, but Scott-Schlessinger escaped to Britain and joined the Czechoslovak battalion of the British air force. The man who fought fascism - and won ; Auschwitz was a killing factory running at the pace of 12,000 lives a day Why didn't we bomb Auschwitz?
• · · · Google: Leaders pay tribute to WWII Russians; Bridges are all very well in times of peace when trade and communications can freely pass both ways. In times of trouble, bridges are the first things to be closed. In times of war, bridges get blown up Walker's World: Where does Europe stop?
• · · · · If Carr wants to talk business taxes, he calls Margy Osmond, a former National Party staff member who heads the State Chamber of Commerce. Businessman Nicholas Shehadie, who is also the husband of NSW Governor Marie Bashir, chairs Carr's Major Events Board Premiers' Kitchen Hands; Tax tinkering 'is not enough' ; Economic theory suggests that land tax is efficient (even perfect) ;
Bob Carr risked his leadership to back the creation of ICAC Bob Carr is the only Premier over the body's 16-year life who always supported i
• · · · · · Tax cuts to offset rising living costs ; Technorati on Tax

Sunday, May 08, 2005

In Charles Dickens's David Copperfield, Mr Micawber suggests that a humble sixpence may define the difference between happiness and misery: if your income is sixpence more than you spend, that's happiness; if it is a sixpence less, misery Interview - Peter Costello

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Beazley can't afford to buy a Sydney home
Labor leader Kim Beazley will rent a $625-a-week apartment in inner-city Pyrmont after stating he cannot afford to buy in Sydney.

Mr Beazley said the experience of trying to find a property had left him sympathetic towards Sydneysiders trying to enter the property market. I have a real understanding of how difficult it is for people in Sydney in finding affordable accommodation to rent or buy.

Unlike Prime Minister John Howard's stately residence in Kirribilli, Mr Beazley's future apartment is small and unassuming
As Opposition Leader, Mr Beazley earns $197,524 a year [Malcolm Fraser handed a pile of personal papers and documents from his prime ministerial years to Melbourne University last week: The provisions would well accord with old-fashioned Communist states with tyrannical dictatorships We all need to take a long, hard look at ourselves to see what our governments have executed in our name ; Bizarre as lack of breastfeeding is causing all kinds of problems for children in a long term yet women are encouraged to head for work as soon as they can. Many have no choice as the mortgage is like the hang man waiting ...Child-care incentive to entice sole parents to work ]
• · Ray Cooper, former head of operations for the AFP's internal investigations, told the Nine Network it was well known by the AFP that unwitting passengers were being used as `mules' to shift drugs between Australian domestic airports AFP involved in drug smuggling: ex-detective ; Gaps in Corby prosecution: drug squad chief
• · · In explosive allegations, this former senior AFP officer accuses the Australian Federal Police of shutting down his attempts to investigate such drug trafficking at Australian domestic airports. He explains how his investigations included intelligence suggesting that corrupt NSW and AFP officers were working in league with corrupt airport staff to smuggle drugs into and around Australia Schapelle Corby: A question of innocence; Bali Nine key members smuggled before
• · · · Police have confirmed that all 15 people on board a plane that crashed in far north Queensland are dead No survivors at plane crash site ; The NSW Labor Party has halted all recruitment of new party members in the electorate of Strathfield held by Virginia Judge, the former local mayor No Political Survivors at Strathfield 'stacking'
• · · · · Questions for Richard Florida: The level of immigrants speaks for itself. Sydney has become a hub of talent in the Asia Pacific (region). It has built up its universities and attracted foreign students. Sydney also scores highly on the Gay, Bohemian and Creative indexes. Lauren was born and bred in Sydney and it is amazing how the beat of the city could not be erased even though tropical Queensland was a four year break from the stress of the city. Life is an extreme of feast and famines if you have time you have no money and if you have money you have no time ;-) Why is Sydney attractive: Time-poor v, Time-rich; Folks risk the house for kids' mortgages
• · · · · · Opposition Leader John Brogden has criticised the State Chamber of Commerce for joining forces with the Carr Government in its brawl with the Federal Government over GST funding Brogden angry with chamber: Margy Osmond ; A judgement finds the Government guilty of systemic breaches of its duty of care to mentally ill asylum seekers in Baxter and condemns its outsourcing policy, which Labor promised to abolish at the last election Government policy deepened asylum seekers' mental illness

Writing is like making love. Don't worry about the orgasm, just concentrate on the process
-Isabel Allende

Six Degree of Separation in the Spirit of Sydney Writers Festival ... from the Literary Larrikin at Matilda; Georgina at Stack ; Zoe at Crazybrave

Passing the Baton: Island Life: May Day
Ach May is not only the month of my real birthday, but also a month when Sydney celebrates the birth of the written word SWF Book Lust Forever! As Zue noted 'memes aren't real so tell your friends’ and Gianna at She Sells Sanctuary passed this on to me this week.
[Most of the monographs and essays I had read in my teenagehood, and especially during my two year compulsory service in the Czechoslovak army, are listed at Eastern European Literature. (Naturally, I also read my essay)]

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be saved?

War and Peace - by Leo Tolstoy. In UK electors rattled cages, but Tony Blair can continue happily declare: ‘Don’t you worry about that Iraq War.’ History repeats itself, though no two readers agree quite how... I could not agree more with Tolstoy! In Russia's struggle with Napoleon, Tolstoy saw a tragedy that involved all mankind. Greater than a historical chronicle, War and Peace is an affirmation of life itself, as a reviewer put it, 'a complete picture of everything in which people find their happiness and greatness, their grief and humiliation'.

Epic historical novel: originally published as Voyna i mir in 1865-69

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

How long is a piece of Central European string? Czech out books by Milan Kundera in 1960s and books read by Jobs’ girlfriend ;-)

My girlfriend always laughs during sex - no matter what she's reading.
-Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computers
A popular oasis for the finest in original erotic fiction

The last book you bought was...?
With one stone I got two birds:
Dirt Cheap: Life at the Wrong End of the Australian Job Market by Elisabeth Wynhausen
The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing by Michael Mann

The last book you read was...?
Many Unhappy Returns: One Man's Quest To Turn Around The Most Unpopular Organization In America (Leadership for the Common Good) Charles O. Rossotti

What are you currently reading?
I am juggling trojka: I am reading Dr Russel Cope’s draft publication ‘No Continuing City, or the City To Come? Librarianship’s Dilemmas and Retreats'
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond
Knock Them Dead Job Interview Strategies by D.P. Roseberry

Five books you would take to a desert island...
If it can be reread many times I take it with my fotoalbum ...
- Haverleigh and other books by James Cumes
- Milan Kundera, Unbearable Lightness of Being
- 1984 by George Orwell
- SOPHIE'S CHOICE by William Styron
- A Fortunate Life by A. B. Facey
• Who are you passing this stick on to and why?
MJ Rose Buzz, Balls & Hype and Antony Loewenstein at Just what is "the whole truth"? 'Cause both love books and are prepared to risk it all in order to make a difference. [By the way, Boston Globe highlighted last week MJ Rose's blog (though apparently the paper will not print the word "balls" when it doesn't relate to sports, so they leave out the actual name "Buzz, Balls & Hype") as part of "finding effective ways for readers, authors, and books to link up." ;-]

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Some time ago, Kim Weatherall opined that “publishing on a blog … is not really something that I can get any recognition for, in academic-land”. I’d like to think there’s some prospect in this changing Blawging and scholarship

The Blog, The Press, The Media: How we built our home on the web
On April 25, 1995, The Sydney Morning Herald took its first steps onto the World Wide Web with the launch of Computers Online, an internet version of its weekly Computers & Communications section.

From 1995 to 2004: the web marks some key dates in The Sydney Morning Herald's life on the World Wide Web. The Sydney Morning Herald's first website was designed in a Glebe boatshed, home to pesky pigeons and the office of Thomas Ashelford, who explains all in an interview with Des Devlin

Nowadays it's much harder to get noticed
An experiment whose time has come [ Anti-Corby hackers attack website ; UK media wins web awards ]
• · Robert Scoble is meeting with the Target Corporation this morning and is asking the blogosphere for advice for the retail giant Blog Advice: Target Should Find, Listen, Engage And Empower ; Italian Wog Blog: Australian Soprano Defined: Moderno Benito Mussolini Amore Dim Blair; Marty: Behind the Blog
• · · Mike Malone, ABC's Silicon Insider, discusses Pajamas MEdia today in an interesting column: Blogs - the New Tech Boom, Zeitgeist of the Future? ; Strange, he never actually challenged Margo on anything of substance, it was usually her hair, her looks, a misplaced comma or semi-colon
• · · · Press freedom celebrated, but still a long way to go ; Traditional media are increasingly eyeing off Internet blogs as a way to increase profits and keep up to date with consumers, Yahoo News reports today Traditional media: blogs are the future
• · · · · Now and then we all run across things that make us think or say the equivalent to “Are you freaking kidding me?” -- like when one of those nanny shows “spun off” a new series about marriage counseling Now What: A daily blog on choice issues ; Google: Big media companies weigh blog marketing strategies ; PluggedIn: Big media companies weigh blog strategies
• · · · · · The blogosphere is growing at an estimated rate of 40,000 weblogs per day and, after 50 minutes of browsing rather aimlessly in search of food, I was beginning to suspect that most of them originate in New York Block by blog ; It seems like the fans of Google are taking its features to a whole new level. They are affecting everything from Gmail, to Blogger, to Google News. Here is a brief synopsis of what is happening throughout the world of Google Google Hacks (The Next Generation)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The relationship between government and the media has grown more distant and less trusting. A modern government operates like a powerful hose, designed to get the message out in a forceful, directed and managed way. Leaks are anathema, and the system is strongly reinforced to prevent them. When I arrived in Canberra in the 1970s, says Grattan, “it wasn't hard to get to know a lot of bureaucrats and obtain basic background.” Now, most bureaucrats “run a mile from the most innocuous media call.” The problem is not so much that the bureaucracy has been politicised, but that it's ”had the fear of God put into it”, turning many professionals “into mice, afraid of what should be a useful and non-controversial role in helping inform what the media convey.’ The answer? The media, she says, should push for more access to information and explain how the media operate. Watching the watchdogs

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Bloggers add spice to UK poll
Be it personal rant or party propaganda, blogging has taken its place in public debate in Britain's election campaign, forming a powerful internet forum that could help shape Thursday's polling outcome.

Some media observers have compared Britain's online debate to the mass blogging that emerged as one of the most dynamic elements in the US presidential race last November. A multitude of internet sites have also animated the political debate, and sometimes given a helpful shove to the undecided voters.

A chatty first-person "diary" of the campaign trail [They're masters of technology and innovation. They're global thinkers driven by strategic vision. They're nimbler than Martha Stewart's PR team. They're The Wired 40 The Wired 40 ; Doc Searls' closing keynote at Les Blogs, Paris, 25 April 2005 What blogs are vs. What they are not ]
• · "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one" —A. J. Liebling; Shel Israel and Robert Scoble Chapter 4—Direct Access - Huge Chapter 4 ; Access to and knowledge of the legislative process further enhances the development and respect for democracy Monitoring Congress: A Revolution in Access
• · · After years selling another baker's pastries, Wendi Chocholak thought her birthday and wedding cakes were good enough for her to start her own business and succeed. In this instant-communication world, buzz means business! And one of the greatest ways to get customers and potential customers buzzing about your business is with a Media Dragon of Google Fame How "search" is redefining the Web — and our lives ; Bill Ives: I Guess Its Still Okay to Blog
• · · · CzechInvest improves automated system for evaluating structural funds Digitally tracking eligibility ; Outside firm loses Time Warner employee data Information on 600,000 current, former Time Warner workers missing ;
• · · · · GOOGLE has plans that will dramatically improve the results of internet news searches, by ranking them according to quality rather than simply by their date and relevance to search terms Google searches for quality not quantity ; Like Google Feast your eyes on the visual display of Census data at Social Explorer (US)
• · · · · · In response to Carmen Lawrence’s call for members to get off their backsides - or words to that effect - and be pro-active when it comes to structural change, I would suggest it is time to get rid of meetings in classrooms with nobody present and replace them with conversations over the internet Labor's latest 'what's wrong with us' blather ; Webdiary on Leadership Struggle: Media and the PM & His Deputy

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Corporate privacy's shadow still falls over Detention Centers. Christine Rau travelled to Baxter detention centre for the first time yesterday to join authors Tom Keneally and Rosie Scott and launch an anthology of stories from behind the gates. When we read this collection we are entering another country - a shadowy, unfamiliar country with its own laws, languages and borders Asylum seekers tell their shadowy stories

Cambodian refugee tells her amazing story of survival in her second book, Lucky Child I was spared to tell my story

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: If Asylum Seekers ruled the world...
They have cornered the market in a range of industries, achieved perfect scores in university entrance exams and reinvented Australian notions of food, art and fashion. The second generation of Vietnamese Australians has come of age, and it is only the beginning.

When Thomas and Simon Tran arrived from France on holiday in 1999 it felt like the promised land. "In France you can be French or Vietnamese, but not both. But here you can be both Australian and Vietnamese," said Thomas, co-founder of Astracom, the $30 million-a-year business they run out of a garage in Hinchinbrook. The Trans bought call time from Telstra at wholesale rates and began retailing discount phone cards. They sold 400 million minutes of airtime last year and employ 28 people.

Thirty years after the fall of Saigon, the children of Vietnam's refugees embrace Australia as their own, but a candle still burns for the country their parents fled
After 30 years, success has a Vietnamese accent [A damaging rift between the Prime Minister and Treasurer has cracked open with John Howard's "provocative" and "arrogant" declaration that he was determined to stay leader indefinitely and beat Labor at the 2007 electio Howard digs in, Costello blows up ; The international extravaganza, which Prime Minister John Howard has said outranks the 2000 Olympics in significance and prestige, will cost at least $20 million in security alone. With the relationship between the Federal Government and NSW Premier Bob Carr already poisonous over GST payments, relations are set to nosedive further if NSW carries through a threat to invoice the Federal Government for its contribution Row over $20m tab for APEC conference ]
• · While some think a conspiracy ruined the Deputy Commissioner's career, the smart officers suspect a stuff-up Good cop, bad luck cop; Until last week, I believed that our hard-pressed policemen, despite the spin and dissembling of their leaders, continued to fight thuggery with vigour. When Tony Blair last month hailed the latest meaningless British Crime Survey statistics - which claimed a drop in violent crime last year - he again parroted what has become his Government's mantra on the subject: it is not crime that we should worry about but the fear of crime. How the police tolerate thuggery; Honesty and a freshness of approach are possibly the best attributes A Melbourne pub was the setting for a party rethink Lack of policy debate is making Labor irrelevant ; The announcement of a new cabinet in Iraq is not the end of the process - it's just the very beginning Elusive democracy; The Prime Minister Blair fooled only the foolish Regime change is illegal: end of debate
• · · Why am I taking the trouble to write about this? This is the politics of our generation. The current bad guys are dragging it up again to justify contemporary viciousness. And we won't let them get away with it, because we are joined with our children in opposing the current war Pissing on its own history; via Barista ; How I was ejected from the premier’s office. Geoffrey Barker recalls a short, eventful audience with the Queensland premier Joh Remembered ; The Schapelle Corby case appears to have made magistrates out of everyone
• · · · At a time when dissatisfaction with politicians is glaringly evident, the solution is not less democracy, of course; it is deeper democracy. And in deliberative experiments around the world, governments and NGOs are attempting to extend citizen participation beyond voting, lobbying, and protesting Citizens and Governments: Stroppy Adversaries or Partners in Deliberation? ; The Federal Government has expanded its inquiry into immigration detention centres after discovering it had deported an Australian citizen four years ago and also wrongly held several other Australians in detention. Immigration admits citizen deported
• · · · · Why cutting tax rates won't work ; Low-income earners could be forgiven for thinking that superannuation is a tax perk for the rich, but thanks to the Federal Government's super co-contribution, most Australians have a financial incentive to boost their retirement savings before June 30Give and you shall receive;
So are we out of the woods? Why we mustn't rouse the dragon of inflation

• · · · · · Fact Sheet: Protecting America's Critical Infrastructure--Chemical Security ; The State Government risks losing the expert it picked to lead its urban growth strategy, all because it doesn't seem to understand the man Professor Edward Blakely - a loping, soft-speaking American with more direct links to Australia than many of his critics realise

Sitting in our favourite cafe, sipping a latte while swapping emails, it's easy to see the merits of the new iBurst city-wide wireless internet service Be free
Reporters Without Borders says a student in Singapore was forced to shut down his blog this week for fear of a libel action by the head of a government body. Student shuts blog after libel threat

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Wish upon a web star
Web notoriety is made by a purely arbitrary decision. But nowhere is the old maxim that success has many Godfathers, while failure is an orphan even virtual mafia will not touch

Word spreads quickly by email or instant message if we, the internet public, deem the subject or site interesting enough to pass on to friend. The notable American essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said "fame is proof that people are gullible".

Kingston has some straightforward advice for those who want to achieve net celebrity: Quite simply, start a blog. It doesn't really matter if you are right or left, just as long as you have something to say. And you will get a decent readership when you start contributing to other people's websites. It's really such an empowering exercise.
The I Kiss You BohemiAntipodean phenomenon [There are plenty of resources for finding out about national geographies and histories Wealth of knowledge ; The Big Issues All Opinions, Parliamentarians and Candidates Voting - It is an additional window on the workings of parliament, it is a constructive use of modern technology for information and for insight into our democracy Dome Of Conscience : Parliament Of Australia ]
• · Times Online have uncovered the mystery of 'Alastair Campbell's' blog. It's run by 30-year-old Anna Corp who works in marketing for an online bookmakers - a lady with a natty way with (Alastair Campbell's) words Times unravels more blogger mischief ; Anna Corp
• · · James Russell smashes his virtual shingle ... Fotoblog by James to Appear Soon And we bid you good night ; Welcome to HuhCorp, a company that seems strangely familiar... They do stuff
• · · · Cheeky loo paper makes the most of the newspaper medium What a difference an 'ad' makes... ; Blogs on Economic Issues Offer Wealth of Opinions From Range of Perspectives Blogs offer economists' thinking on daily living
• · · · · Federal depository librarians remain frustrated by the Government Printing Office’s shift to electronic formats because it is a move that partly ignores their current roles Librarians worry important information is being lost ; Librarians air frustrations
• · · · · · Robin "Roblimo" Miller has published a thoroughly fascinating piece about a would-be Texas technology tycoon whose activities raised deep suspicions Journalism that Includes the Audience ; You can always kill yourself. That knowledge is like a door in your head. - Nick Hornsby - An Iraqi woman's postings gives insider's anti-war view Blog power: Fresh female voices rise from the Web

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