Sunday, July 31, 2005

Society is like a stew. If you don't keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top.
- Edward Abbey

Political-party memberships are sinking to new lows and the majority has become alienated from the political process.However there are signs of new grassroots activity in other forums. Power without people

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: ALP machine reasserts grip on power
Arrogant factionalism makes a joke of our democracy Money must talk if Iemma won't

Plucked from political obscurity, Morris Iemma will become the 40th premier of NSW on Tuesday after being handpicked by five general secretaries of the NSW ALP - Graham Richardson, Stephen Loosley, John Della Bosca, Eric Roozendaal and Mark Arbib. The only other premier to be shoe-horned into the job by the Sussex Street machine, Barrie Unsworth, led the Labor Party to a slaughter in 1988. There is another parallel: both Mr Unsworth and Mr Iemma were health minister before the factional chieftains elevated them into the premiership. At a stroke, Mr Carr's precious legacy of keeping Sussex Street out of Macquarie Street has ended and the influence of the ALP machine now overshadows the incoming administration.

• Extreme Measures: Cheerleaders, horses and jockeys [Knives are out as Iemma plans his cabinet revamp ; Premier-elect Morris Iemma's first executive decision after Tuesday's formal coronation by the Labor caucus will be to scrap the hated vendor tax on the sale of investment properties New premier to axe property tax ]
• · Douglas Rushkoff has an interesting yet disturbing take on suicide bombs and their coverage in today's mediasphere News of one suicide leads to another ; The Naked Eye of the Sun Herald fame notes: Walt Secord, Premier Bob Carr’s larger than life media minder, was in Beijing a week ago addressing the State Council Information centre as a guest of the Chinese Information Minister. It was attended by 200 budding spin doctors from the central administration and provinces. ‘We discussed dealing with the media in the lead up to the Olympic Games in 2008 and how to respond to crisis issues such as mad cow disease and the recent formaldelhyde-in-beer health scare,’ said Secord, who has spent the past 10 years wheeling ‘the truth trolley’ around the NSW Parliamentary press gallery dispensing press releases and informed leaks to the media. When Carr steps down on Wednesday, the genial Canadian-born (Indian) spinmeister will be moving to fresh pastures, but where? China? Putting a spin on the Olympics and Mad Cow
• · · A judge and a DPP: which one served the public interest? via Webdiary; If we could gather Australia's 25 dead and living PMs in this grand lecture theatre to muse on government and media, I’d specially want to hear from Alfred Deakin Grattan on gatekeepers and gatecrashers
• · · · Bob Carr woke at two o'clock yesterday morning. Even in the recent desert heat of Dubai, he had not perspired. But in the pre-dawn chill he sat up in a cold sweat. I have a sneaky way of entering people’s dreams or nightmares If you took the politics out of Bob Carr there would be nothing left ; Bob Carr returned to his grass roots on Friday night to thank his trade union "comrades" for a decade of power Praise for the workers and a parting shot
• · · · · Estate Tax Advocates Shift Moral Spotlight onto Unbridled Inheritance ; Document Release Excludes First Bush Administration White House To Withhold Nominee's Tax Returns ; A panel of 36 distinguished public policy experts and scholars—ranging from Nobel laureate Milton Friedman to Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly to former House Majority Leader Dick Armey—has selected the Internal Revenue Code as the No. 1 item on this year’s Human Events list of the Ten Most Harmful Government Programs. Ten Most Harmful Government Programs
• · · · · · Union threats to leave AFL-CIO generate waves, new possibilities Labor Split a Mixed Bag ; Female union members are gaining clout, but are still shut out of top labor positions Women’s Work ; Let's Put the Nature of Work on Labor's Agenda

Thursday, July 28, 2005

My eyes are still playing up on me and I owe my double vision a rather surreal day; I rarely visit doctors so I was shocked to be told how lucky I was to get an appointment with a local Doctor. I should be grateful as the consultation cost $90, but it is discounted if I paid today to 70 odd dollars. After waiting for almost an hour my consultation took less than 30 minutes and in that time another appointment was stiched up for me at noon seven surburbs away which gave me less an hour to get there. Never mind that I prefer not to drive while my eyes are in such a sorry state. I was advised by my local Doctor I could catch a taxi ... The next consultation with a specialist has put my life in perspective as I accrued an additional $210 bill. But there is more as by the time I came from another referral which was next door to the specialist, the Southern Cross Radiology, demanded another $250. I was supposed to be told that I must pay the $250 on a spot or otherwise I cannot have the scanned images. I owe the reality of living the sick life a lot - the reality sure knows how to bite you when you are most vulnerable ... Just as well that I am being headhunted for the top job at the MacBank (hard one-eye-irony intended ;-) Macquarie Bank has challenged criticism of the $10 million-plus pay packets handed to its top executives, saying it can't base remuneration policy on society's perceptions of what is right or wrong - Millionaire's Factory' defends $10m salaries The Hidden Hand

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Why I dumped tilt at Canberra: Carr
Bob Carr says he always thought he was destined for a career in federal politics but scrapped his Canberra ambitions when he started to enjoy his job as premier of NSW.

Mr Carr announced his resignation yesterday, effective next Wednesday, after more than 10 years in the job. I thought when I was Shanghaied into the party leadership in 1988 that it would be a short-term thing

A 'solid chapter' comes to an end: Aurelius wrote For Bob Carr everything's altered again, but this time it is his own doing: Observe, in short, how transient and trivial is all mortal life; yesterday a drop of semen, tomorrow a handful of spice or ashes. And: … mark how hollow are the echoes of applause … how puny the arena of human fame
• As recently as March Bob Carr was saying he would lead the party to the next state election in 2007, what changed? Reverie in sun put paid to staying on Political Musings [Right figures Eddie Obeid, Joe Tripodi and Eric Roozendaal are believed to be backing Mr Iemma over Mr Scully even though they all belong to the same subfaction, known as the Terrigals. Late yesterday, Mr Obeid and Mr Tripodi met Mr Scully in his office to tell him they were considering backing Mr Iemma. Mr Scully, it is understood, told them he would run regardless. The Right plots to deny Scully his chance; And that's about it, folks Premier shocks party by retiring ]
• ·
The Carr years will be remembered for monumental missed opportunity, writes Nick Greiner Premier skills, ordinary Premier ; Craig Knowles says he will not run for premier after Bob Carr's resignation Google on Carr
• · · Scully stands firm despite 'dirty tricks' ; Kerry O'brien; Bruce Hawker, Former Chief Of Staff; Andrew West, Biographer Bob Carr quits as premier
• · · · While the state was losing a premier yesterday, Helena Carr was retrieving her husband and a life without the pressures of public office. Regaining a husband and lazy weekends ; Former spy backs Chen
• · · · · Nepal: thousands of intellectuals and rights activists are arrested demanding restoration of human rights and rule of law ; Australia: a look at how The war on terror emboldens white supremacists - Drew Fraser
• · · · · · Educated beggars. Joseph Stiglitz on The end of the beginning of ending poverty ; Educated beggars. ; Cameras in Britain Record the Criminal and the Banal

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Nearly 20 years ago, Eco compared Apple's Macintosh and Microsoft DOS to Catholicism and Protestantism, respectively. How would he characterize today's Internet? We could say that the World Wide Web aspires to be God. In The Divine Comedy, Dante looks directly at God and sees a single volume containing all the sheets in the universe. God is for him the totality of wisdom and information. But the Internet, while being well-informed, may be too much informed. It can't distinguish good from evil So I'd say that if the Web is God, it would be a very stupid God!

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: One way to see reading
Howard Jacobson worries about the lack of irresponsibility in modern fiction

We read novels to be freed from solemnity, to wage merry war with the world. And as the list of things that must not be ridiculed grows, the value of literature recedes

• The Interpretation of Screams Mystic of Literature [Our celebrities are mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore Celebrity, John Updike wrote, is the mask that eats the face. Now it eats the brain. From Tom to Russell to Angelina to Courtney, our megastars are going megapsycho Celebrity and Its Discontents ; Arts funding, Tatt's tickets and the dole ; To be part of Operation Lifeblood and give blood please complete the registration form below. We will then contact you to arrange a convenient time and place for you to come in to give blood. Operation Lifeblood July 2005 Members of the Queensland Police Force showed their support for the Blood Service’s Operation Lifeblood campaign Red one Day Redder the Next ]
• · Epic, fantastic, dazzling, erotic - and coming soon to a stage near you. Jessica Duchen reports on the unlikely rise of Wagnermania as younger audiences revel in his power and magic The return of the original Ring lord ; Anger at size of Cannes 'junket' ; Our television production is at an all time low, with the ABC producing around 20% of the local drama it did ten years ago. A number of Australian officials chaperone a grand total of two Aussie films at Cannes - Doc Document Report July 2005 on Art by Rodney Hall
• · · Hard-to-follow French double cross From the Queen's English to the world's Globish … or not ; Lucy Sussex leads off this week's "Saturday Age" with a profile of Karen Joy Fowler New Matilda Round-Up #30
• · · · By 2004 there were 20,000 fewer men than women aged 30-something, a new report shows and this figure does not include not so straight guys ;-) Aussie man drought revealed ; We love Desperate Housewives far more than the Americans do
• · · · · In its 20th year, the Age Melbourne Writers' Festival continues to offer something for everyone Melbourne Writers' Festival; Fire your boss and find a job with even greater challenges and responsibilities Work should be fun, satisfying, and rewarding
• · · · · · Character is destiny, according to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. Brisbane pair Jess Schipper and Libby Lenton crushed the field in the 100m butterfly at the world swimming championships in Montreal. It was not only the manner of their gold-silver finish, but the times they clocked that has the Australian women's butterfly scene seriously humming Our newest golden girl ; The son of European Jews who moved to Australia to escape the Nazis, Peter Singer studied philosophy in Melbourne before moving to Oxford. George W Bush and Peter Singer were born on the same day - July 6 1946. But there the similarity ends Peter Singer Moral maze

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Australia's children are victims of the new economy that has turned increasing numbers of men into casual or part-time workers Men out of work - why families are falling apart

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Police gunned down innocent man
A man shot dead on a London Underground train by police hunting attempted suicide bombers in the city has been named as a 27-year-old Brazilian, Jean Charles de Menezes.

He was formally identified in a brief statement from London's Metropolitan Police, who again confirmed that he was not linked to the four blasts on public transport in the city on Thursday. "He was not connected to incidents in central London on 21 July, 2005 in which four explosive devices were partly detonated," the statement said. Terrified onlookers described seeing plainclothes officers pursue the man through Stockwell Underground station in south London on Friday morning before cornering him in a train carriage where they shot him five times in the head at point-blank range.

How Big Brother & Terrorists Won the War [Shoot to Kill Policy ; Unprecedented volumes of personal information on millions of ordinary Australians are being shared between federal government departments under dramatic extensions of a little-known "data matching" scheme Personal data 'being shared' ; Laws no real protection against malevolent acts ; Random-search powers studied]
• · When Kerry Packer was asked by close mate and business partner Warren Anderson to plough $50 million into struggling merchant bank Rothwells in March 1988, Australia's richest man spat back: "Tell them to f... off How the red Inc flowed in WA ; Read NSW Public Accounts Committee reports on Intrastructure dated 1996-2000 and cry Burst main causes flooding ; NSW, traditionally the engine room of the Australian economy, is spluttering. While its counterparts are firing, the Premier State is looking sickly. Sydney's in a place that it's never been in - behind the pack. No wonder the next political bear hunt will be in the economic forrest called GST E(l)ections have consequences: On shaky ground
• · · Alberstein confirmed the authenticity of the Cisco pamphlets promoting police surveillance equipment to the Chinese Public Security Bureau acquired by businessman and author Ethan Gutmann from a Chinese trade show. Technology Companies as Arms Suppliers ; John Howard can't forever ignore China's threat to his relationship with the US Riding the dragon
• · · · Lessons from the late boom: Sydney is suffering the consequences of a once-in-a-generation housing boom.Sydney is now paying the price for wasteful property speculation encouraged by federal tax policy. Capital Gains Tax and Sydney housing ; David Humphries: Like an ALP card to go with that, sir? ; New wages umpire strips holidays from contracts
• · · · · I have just seen the most horrible thing of my life Survivors tell of deadly crossing ; Tax Panel Wants to End Alternative Minimum Tax
• · · · · · Courier Mail. Page 14, 22/07/2005: I can see some merit in having a national identity card but I have almost no faith in the keepers of this information keeping it safe and not allowing it to be stolen by commercial or, worse, criminal elements. No matter how dedicated they are, I cannot see public servants on fairly modest salaries protecting my personal information in the way I would like it protected Fears of identity being stolen ; Ukrainian President Yuschchenko disbanded the national traffic police (DAI). The main reason – they are too corrupt and take too many bribes from drivers. Today is the first day of police free traffic extravaganza in Ukraine Traffic Police Corruption

Friday, July 22, 2005

Strangers always love us for what we've accomplished, ignoring the fact that, by definition, that very accomplishment no longer touches us
-Ned Rorem, letter to Glenway Wescott (August 31, 1967)

The NY publishing figure known as the blogger Mad Max Perkins of BookAngst 101
has followed through with long-hinted indications--he's hanging up his browser. "It's hard work, this, even when the feedback has both been so energizing and made it so clear how great a hunger there is for some sort of industry perspective, for some sense that people on the inside aren't wholly disconnected from those on the outside.... "If I had a particular goal when I started, it was to better understand how the machinery works, and to learn some new tricks of the trade--and I'm not sure how much we accomplished on that front, to be honest. The business is so f***ing hard now, and there's so much pressure on those working inside it, that either they don't have the time for (shall we say) pro bono discourse about (say) how to do some of the little things better; or they feel that giving away what few secrets they possess will put them at the sort of competitive disadvantage that might, soon, cost them their jobs. Maxed Out

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Not a blogger. Like Media Dragon Not anything really
Fascinating story by Paul Boutin in Wired, who met a homeless blogger in the street who turned out to be Jorn Barger.

Barger is universally known as the creator of the first Weblog, Robot Wisdom. When some of us noticed recently the blog was back after several months' hiatus, we didn't know Barger had lost his domain because he couldn't afford to renew it. Somehow he is back, though. Barger told Boutin he'd been carrying a sign that day:

"Coined the term 'weblog,' never made a dime" ; Robot Wisdom on the Street [ UN Pulse ; With the rise of blogs, how should "journalist" be defined? Shield Law for Reporters? ; What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Blog About Blogger Weekly ; Antony Loewenstein Our media asleep at the wheel ]
• · Scott Burgess, is making waves in the UK after revealing a trainee journalist at the Guardian newspaper is a member of one of England's most extreme Islamist organisations Deafening Silence from the Guardian ; The rise of the corporate blogger GUIDE TO BLOGGING; RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0, Compared
• · · Echo Chamber Australian labels win piracy case ; Australia's newest and most secretive current affairs magazine Investigate has been causing a bit of a stir since hitting news stands a few months ago Investigate: A strange accusation
• · · · The supermarket trolley is going hi-tech, with new scan-as-you-shop technology to cut checkout lines No queue and hey: it's the high-tech trolley ; Hidden Angle Blog Report; They don't feel a part of it. They don't feel like they can impact it and therefore they don't trust it. So I think we are trying to create a different kind of conversation: Get in here and be a part of it Citizen reporting is changing notions of news, news gathering
• · · · · via Blog Herald: Blog Count for July: 70 million blogs ; Topix Blog News
• · · · · · The Radar weblog is opening itself up to story pitches from readers What's next: Ping Radar a story ; If we want to do something risqué that editors clean up, we should push back Young NYT staffers told to be "rebellious" in their writing

Sunday, July 17, 2005

I wish you would touch me
I wish you'd leave me the hell alone
And oh, how I wish this crutch
Didn't leave such an imprint in my bone
All these half-assed wishes
Stretched across the stars
Lead to angry men in cocktail bars.
-René Marie, Wishes

First came the velvet revolution, then rose and orange. Now the Philippines, fighting public fatigue with the whole political process, is gearing up for the cyber revolution. Blogging Revolution

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Piracy: MP3 site, ISP breached copyright
It took almost two years but major record labels in Australia have finally won a legal battle against a Queensland man and his Internet Service Provider for alleged music ... Slashdot is hosting this discussion thread

Major record labels are celebrating in Sydney, Australia today. Amazingly, Stephen Cooper didn't even have to host the alleged pirated files. All he did (allegedly) was to hyperlink to a few sites that had infringing sound recordings. His ISP didn't escape either. Even the ISP's parent company got sued. No jail time but all parties will have to pay costs

• Federal Court Justice Brian Tamberlin Music industry claims big scalp in piracy case [Try to escape from work? Give up. There is no excuse to be disconnected An office in your pocket ; Anatomy of a Blog Site Front Page]
• · The Anatomy of a Blog Ten Things To Do Before You Blog ; Blog PageRank Wrath
• · · I feel blessed. Here is a second great interview for all of my readers. I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to get this, but here it is Interview with CSS Vault’s Jacob Gower ; Patrons of the café on eznická Street such as Radim and Alexandr are computer-literate despite adversity and stay in touch via the Internet. Surfing the Net is not exactly the first activity that most people associate with the homeless Café helps homeless get online
• · · · Psst, there is news about Google, but don't te ; Googlers are getting rich and screwing up the housing market John Battelle elaborates
• · · · · Yahoo Tailors Graphical Ads to Users' Search Queries ; Google Simplifies & Loosens Requirements for AdWords
• · · · · · Newspapers have been shut down, books banned, editors jailed, scholars threatened China Wages a New War on Academic Dissent ; If Newspapers Were Lattes - Get the little things right. The reason many Americans wouldn't mind if traditional news orgs went right down the tubes is right in front of us What newspapers can learn from Starbucks, Apple Computer

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Stick a fork in it. "Citizen Journalism," as the moniker describing John and Jane Q's ability to create their own media, is done. The shark has been jumped Shark Bites Citizen Journalism Czech out also Tim Porter’s Blogging the Beat series

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Living high on the blog
When Melburnian Darren Rowse began his first experiment in blogging a little over two-and-a-half years ago, he was part of a group starting a new church and merely wanted to keep a record of what was being done.

Today, he earns a nice round figure from his many blogs, enough to make it a full-time occupation that's catapulted him into the highest tax bracket. He advises companies that want to explore how blogging can enhance their products or services, speaks about blogging whenever he can and is part of an emerging Melbourne business network designed to support and resource micro-businesses in the inner-northern suburbs. Rowse started his first blog, the Living Room, in November 2002. "I quickly discovered nothing posted on the internet is private and that hundreds (and soon thousands) of people around the world were interested in what I was writing because they were thinking through similar issues," he said. "I discovered the power of blogging and quickly became addicted." After a year, Rowse started a digital photography blog, his biggest with daily visitors numbering between 11,000 and 16,000

Digital photography blog [ Amazing Apple Quarterly Results ; Amazingly Crazy Why I am the Youngest Richest Man Walking on the MacPlanet ; Challenges facing fledgling democracies in Russia and Eastern Europe]
• · Three newspapers lie unopened and unread on my kitchen table London Bombings: The Unread Newspaper ; Newspaper publishers are increasingly turning to readers to spruce up their copy: citizen journalism Hold the front page! Newspaper morphs into online town square; What does News Ltd want from the Federal Government for The Daily Telegraph to support censorship of free-to-air, but not pay TV television programs? The Daily Tele's censorship hypocrisy ; Journalism, at its core, is an uncomplicated concept: Reporters find things out and tell them to other people. In that sense, then, there are two parts to the journalism: Knowing and Communicating. Engaging in one without the other breaks the equation Journalism Weather Report: Cold Front Reaches Cleveland ; Toward Freedom: a progressive perspective on world
• · · Part big sister, part flight simulator, part video game and part world atlas Google's free 3-D service ; Could Google's quest for news quality leave alternative sources in the dust? Google's Bias for Bigness ; Today, you can find what you want from the comfort of your own home, and at a fraction of the cost of hiring a private investigator Locate Anyone
• · · · A forum for political discussion for Western Sydney and beyond Katoomba of Feminism ; With a green light to open a new casino in Britain and Betfair on the boil in Tasmania, everything is going right for the Antipodean punter Kerry Packer Packer gambles on Blair
• · · · · Why are kids' online antics seen as the key to reviving democracy? It is not young people that are disconnected from formal politics, but political institutions that are disconnected from young people Searching for citizenship ; Srdja Trifkovic, Chronicles’ foreign editor, is in serious danger of his life Chronicles Foreign Editor In Danger
• · · · · · Journalists are creating public awareness of an emerging class of people called The New Republicans ; If bloggers get the same press freedoms as traditional media, what will prevent corporations like Halliburton from using blogs to pour unregulated money into politics? Beware of the "Halli-bloggers"! ; RDF is a modern technology with an active and growing body of support from academia and the digital content production and distribution industrie New Classification for Web Page

Friday, July 15, 2005

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to skid across the line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, shouting Annnnimal faaaarrrmmm ;-) Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book:

You're Animal Farm!
by George Orwell
You are living proof that power corrupts and whoever leads you will become just as bad as the past leaders. You're quite conflicted about this emotionally and waver from hopelessly idealistic to tragically jaded. Ultimately, you know you can't trust pigs. Your best moments are when you're down on all fours.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Activist's bold take on a global struggle
Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein's documentary is as much protest as it is narrative

There he is, scurrying from clouds of tear gas and riot police at an uprising in Buenos Aires. And again, nodding his head in sympathetic disapproval as a group of unemployed Argentinian car-parts workers suffer yet another setback. Meet Avi Lewis, self-styled "activist journalist"

The key to an alternative economy [Pragersko A fresh surprise in Old Europe ; Slovenia: cloud and cuckoo land; For the first time in 2400 years philosophers and mathematicians will take a new approach to mathematics Go figure, philosophy gets real ]
• · Rumors were swirling, and the nation's anticipation was growing feverish via Gallery of the Absurd ; After a grim convergence of fiction and fact, a publisher has removed adverts for a novel about a fictional suicide bombing in London that hit the shelves the same day 52 people died in bomb attacks on the capital Publisher removes ads for novel after London bombs; Why Feminism turns off a lot of younger women
• · · With his porcelain-like complexion, bob haircut, and velvet eyes, Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka will never be confused with Gene Wilder's The 'Chocolate Factory' and Beyond ; Could Connery, Sean Connery, be striking some kind of publicity deal with retail giant Westfield? Spruiking Frank Lowy's shopping empire
• · · · About the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) ; The first humans to come to Australia almost 50,000 years ago caused havoc and destruction to our continent's ecosystem, killing almost 60 species of large mammals and birds Early Australians to Blame for Mass Extinctions
• · · · · Celebrating Independents: The arts, politics, books and fun, in combination, hold so much potential for community building and social change Making Your Store a Community Center ; Today in Literature
• · · · · · On stage he is the embodiment of operatic passion and fire. In real life Placido Domingo is the gentlest of men and driven by his art - to the world's greatest tenor, mañana is just another working day I must live up to what people expect; Writing and Publishing Made Smarter, NOT Harder; Welcome to BookConnector

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

In Anton Chekhov's story The Kiss, a low-ranking officer accidentally finds himself at a party in the dark with a beautiful woman. The woman has organised a rendezvous with her lover, but in the dark she mistakes the shy soldier who has accidentally taken a wrong turn for her intended, and she kisses him instead. The mistake is quickly discovered, but the soldier counts himself incredibly lucky. It is his first kiss, and it is so exquisite that he spends all the next day going over it in his mind. Above all, he can't wait to tell his fellow officers. The incident builds in his mind, taking on the proportions of an epic ("he imagined it would take until morning") The bottomless freedom of disappointment Masters of disguise Digging into our earliest disguised childhood memories Cracking Open Your Wallet,

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The Darville made me do it
A famous literary hoax has changed the way critics and publishers separate fact from fiction

Exactly 10 years since its author was unmasked as a daughter of English, rather than Ukrainian, immigrants, The Hand that Signed the Paper remains a central document of recent Australian literature. Its effects are still felt in how publishers conduct their business and in the lives of those affected by the scandal. Its merits are as hotly debated now as in 1995. And its own secret history, due to its author's evasions, continues to spark intrigue.

Fiona Kovalenko [Gleebooks takes on another goliath ; The story of the 'The War of the Worlds' that exploded onto movie screens last month was first published in England, in 1898 Presurfer Compiles an Amazing feast!; This is a blog to show just how much I love Katie, and just how much we both love living life together, and being awesome, and believing in Scientology! I'm Tom Cruise, And I'm In Love of Irony!!! ; Sydney has been named the world's best city by wealthy American globetrotters Sydney scores rich praise as travel destination ]
• · This combination photo shows two photographs taken less than one minute apart of the Australian tourist attraction known as the Twelve Apostles Eleven Apostles; Wall of Chinese Water ; Is the Game Industry Really Bigger than the Film Industry?
• · · Viewing Israel's response to Munich through the eyes of the men who were sent to avenge that tragedy adds a human dimension to a horrific episode that we usually think about only in political or military terms Bana, Rush in Spielberg's Munich Olympics film ; Hollywood's box office has hit the skids, and the entertainment media are in overdrive trying to explain why Box office blues stem from blue-state bigotry
• · · · Radio National presenter Sandy McCutcheon uncovers his family secrets. Missing link ; Lord What Women Bloggers Want ; What Does Every Author Want: His Own Trailer & Shed
• · · · · Short film makers take note: a bubble has been chosen as the signature item for the 2006 Sony Tropfest short film festival. Ideas set to bubble over ; Moscow goes to Hollywood

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Sad Day for London & Liberty
O THE sad day! A series of explosions ripped through London's underground system on Thursday morning. 6 Blasts Rock London, Killing at Least 30 ... At least 90 casualties in London explosions, subway closed Terrorist Explosions rock London
The world's most powerful leaders got down to talks in Gleneagles, Scotland, on Thursday on aid to Africa and climate change, but the summit was brutally overshadowed by a series of explosions that caused casualties and at least two deaths in London London blasts upstage G8 summit - Olympic bid team devastated by London blasts news
United States: September 11, 2001
Spain: March 11, 2004
England: July 7, 2005
Today, we are all Britons

Matters Arising from the Terrorist Bombing: After the joy of winning the Olympics, Evil came swiftly , however, How to verify a terrorist group's claim of responsibility

CODA: James Bond once said, ‘You only live twice.’ Once when you are born and again when you face death. He may well have been referring to my life ... My life, all of it, comes down to 7/7

God said to Abraham, "Leave your country, your family, your father's house, and walk inward to the land I will show you." This is what true spirituality demands: to leave everything we know; to relinquish everything we are...simply trusting that when we get "there..." we will know. Buddha did that. So did Lao Tzu, Jesus, and Mohammed. They all left home. But we do just the opposite. Worse! We take refuge in those who taught No Refuge. We imitate those who demanded No Imitation. We study each other's floor plans, and borrow each other's furniture, when what we really need is to leave home.
-Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro

Hello, and welcome to my miserable attempt at marking the day I began writing my obituary ... It is hard to believe that it was 25 years ago exactly ... Is the self that is conscious of being alive in the present meaningfully continuous with any version of the self in the past? I have journal entries from years ago, describing the exact feelings I face today. For a host of reasons the return of old feelings and reminders lurk on. Reminders aren't just tied to the calendar. They can be anywhere — in sights, sounds and smells, in the news or on television programs. And they can ambush you, suddenly flooding you with emotions when you drive by the restaurant your sister loved or when you hear a song your friend liked so much.

Since early morning I have spent quite a bit of time sitting here, trying to think how can I revisit my thoughts about a certain river incident, but I am failing miserably. I'd like to add something deep and meaningful here but I don't have the words, so I'll copy a paste my old attempt Strictly Iron Curtain: One Man Survives a Crossing

Beyond Grief: Politics is the art of the possible
When loved people die, they are agonizingly present – hyper-present – in our heads, and agonizingly absent everywhere else. All over the mind, like ink spilled on a table, cherry juice poured over ice cream, saturating everything – and nowhere at all, nowhere to be found, always always missing, gone, not there, absent – a hole, a blank, a negation, a continuous ever-renewed check, stopping, lack, gone-ness – in the real world.

Once there were three of us but now I am the only one. These were friends with whom I was certain I would grow old. We had known each other from school and ar,y days. We were one soul in three bodies. Some part of their death reached out to us all.

• So so so true. Life ebbs and flows Did I really crossed that? Destined for Immortality like a heavy axe in the distance chopping into a wet log [Ernest Hemingway, in a moment of drunken self-parody, once described world literature as a boxing circuit. The only matchups that scared him, he said, were against the traditional Russian heavyweights: Fyodor Dostoevsky and Leo Tolstoy. I've often seen that little acts of evil come together and form a bigger one – a theme in all Slavic literature – and the same is true of little acts of kindness Dream as if you'll Live Forever; and Live as if you'll Die Today ; No one, who could have heard my emotional screams and saw the look of terror on my face could doubt for a single minute that I was actually in a place called hell! Digging up the surreal mirrors of truth ]
• · After the Velvet Revolution, I Count Myself Lucky to be Living in the Age of Digital Revolution. I want to live among the broken, because I too am broken, and I believe it's only in our brokenness that we find freedom and hope. I want to remain a dreamer ;
• · · Indifference is not a beginning, it is an end. And, therefore, indifference is always the friend of the enemy, for it benefits the aggressor -- never his victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten In a way, to be indifferent to that suffering is what makes the human being inhuman ; The road to Gulags was built by hate but paved with indifference Cold River: Against all odds
• · · · No war, cold or hot, missed this tortured people ... As you all know, Czechoslovakia was then ruled by one of the most repressive regimes on earth. The conventional wisdom was that it would be the last of the Soviet satellites to undertake reform Prague's Second Spring ; The cause of Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution seems to be primarily shrouded in fog. Despite typical Western assertions, the primary building block for the Velvet Revolution appears to have been the revival of conscience and morality in Czechoslovakia A touch of velvet ; It is amazing that no person active in the cruel and murderous Communist regime in Slovakia or former Czechoslovakia was ever brought to justice. Everything is usually blamed on the "Totality". As if some abstract thing called "Totality" and not certain human beings tortured, imprisoned, deported and killed the many innocent citizens living in Slovakia from 1948 to 1989. There were a very few indictments and none resulted in a conviction Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death
• · · · · Back in September 1980, I was in Villawood, my Hollywood, when it was considered a place of hope ... In the Cornelia Rau case it looks like Immigration officials used the work of Alexander Solzhenitsyn as a guide, when they were not following Franz Kafka Cornelia Rau case a national disgrace Escape stories are not for the faint-hearted nor those who wish to remain deluded, but for everyone else political escape is a relief, like the collective popping of every helium balloon-headed star. I am way too bohemian to be razor-sharp wise, but hopefully my observations and links will cut apart why irony laced with caustic tone is sometimes necessary Where has all the water under the Cold River’s Bridge Gone? ; Like the cold there is no cure for grief. We may never be the same again. And this is an unwelcome reality Coping strategies
• · · · · · For Dvorák, the Stabat Mater was a work brought about by personal tragedy of almost incomprehensible proportions. He lost all three of his then living children: In the refrain of Just an Accident, the soprano sings: Life is fragile. Death is final. Any one of us can leave this hall, turn a corner and be no more. Dvorak Means Intense Harmony to Me; Not unlike acts of reading literature, acts of diagnostic listening enlist the listener's interior resources--memories, associations, curiosities, creativity, interpretive powers, allusions to other stories told by this teller and others--to identify meaning. 'What is wrong with me?' 'Why did this happen to me?' 'What will become of me?' This is where literary experiences come in. By partaking in the catharsis of the pity and fear of a great drama, we inevitably put our theatrical experience in relation to our emotional knowledge Through Hamlet to Narrative Escape ; How to be a perfect stranger ; Where would literature be without drowning if the remorseless deep had not closed over the head of Lycidas? or if Orpheus had not floated down the swift Hebrus, dismembered by the rout that made the hideous roar, but singing still. Rivers have received a great many things over the years as offerings - swords, flowers, blood, lamps, bullocks and girls in bridal costume Beyond Death's Door: Rivers compete in malice

Life is like a very short visit to a toyshop between birth and death.
-Desmond Morris

Monday, July 04, 2005

On America's celebration of its declaration of freedom from despotic rule, citizens should show their colors by an act of defiance. The fact that Thomas Jefferson, who penned the document, was a free man and that his illiterate slaves were his property shows that liberation is found in the inkwell. The paradox of Jeffersonian democracy is that it works well only when everyone is free to read, write, speak and think deeply. America's cities and towns are filled with parades, fireworks, and barbecues. They celebrate the Fourth of July, the 229th birthday of America. But one hopes that -- on this fourth post-September 11 Independence Day -- the speeches will contain fewer bromides and more attention to exactly what is being celebrated. Put the "Independence" Back in Independence Day

Happy Birthday Amerika: Fourth of July
They died for their country," read the white granite memorial in the Concord, Massachusetts town square, honoring local men who died in the Civil War ... Newer headstones mourned Concord men who gave their lives in other wars
Independence Day. Here in America, we know the power of such words ... The genius of America was its independence. For most, it's connotations include fireworks, semi-annual car sales, barbecues, beer, and a bocce game on the lawn. At least that's how I was raised.

At this point, it's a forgone conclusion that we spend our Fourth of July parties blending frozen margaritas and running around the pool to facilitate our meditation on the historical significance of America's independence from England. So naturally, I ask myself exactly how things would be had our country not extricated itself from those good chaps across the pond. Let's discuss founding fathers, Liberty Bells and Samuel Adams (the patriot, not the booze).

Declaration of 'Eccentricity' [Never forget great lessons of liberty Independence Day 2005: 'A new America' ; Google Add a freedom: To challenge status quo ]
• · Independence is an ongoing quest Why the 4th? ; Keeping alive the spirit of independence Land of the free and the home of the brave ; Troops start celebrating Fourth of July early in Iraq - ; How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of Negroes? Fourth Of July: A Cause For Celebration Or Mourning? ; This Fourth of July, while Americans are marching in parades and oohing and aahing at the fireworks, it would be a patriotic gesture to also spend some time thinking about what independence means today Celebrating Independence in the Era of Empire
• · · 4th July By Wiki ; Time to reflect on Declaration of Independence Independence Day 2005
• · · · Citizenship is the cornerstone of America's immigration success story Immigrants make us a better country ; What a way to kick off America's Independence Day: Nasa's big bang for Fourth of July Deep Impact Kicks Off Fourth of July With Deep Space Fireworks

Sunday, July 03, 2005

... raking through the detritus, I pick out bits of my life Bloggers who do real watchdog journalism will suffer now - Irony Alert: Killing the Office Blogger

I love the look of picturesque Find Forward and hope I see it used more widely by bloggers everywhere

The Blog, The Press, The Media: We are Technorati bloggers, hear us roar
Our friends at Technorati are working with the organizers of the Live 8 concerts to call attention to bloggers writing about the concerts and fundraising efforts.

The tagline on their special site for the event reads, “We don’t want your money, we want your voice!” Technorati is urging bloggers to write about Live 8 and tag their posts so Technorati can track the conversation.

Roundup: Africans on Live 8 [Too little imagination is being used... because it is at odds with the daily news cycle Are we getting the most out of FOI? ; SBS is now providing MP3 downloads and podcast feeds for some of its programs ; Is it wrong for a sports editor to cheer for the home team? But if they are battling for a title, what's wrong with hoping for victory? ; When will the network media and other "mainstream" outlets finally stop pretending to be balanced? Bias, what bias? ; Public TV is already sinking, so why not rock the boat? Public TV is already sinking, so why not rock the boat? Media: The PBS Paradox ]
• · Compassion overload not only affects the public but also the media that keep it informed, writes Mark Scott For a day, at least, the news of the world's greatest tragedy will be on page one Why you will never see a front page like this [Mark Scott is a former researcher for the skinny dipping Minister of Education, Terry Metherell, and now editor-in-chief, Metropolitan, Regional, Community Newspapers for John Fairfax]; Though the Washington Post doesn't acknowledge it in their own article, the newspaper continues to get beat on the Deep Throat story. USA Today Is First with SECRET MAN's Secrets - Woodward's 'Deep Throat' book surfaces ; Does Redford/Woodward meeting signal new Deep Throat movie? ; Musical: Stop ID Card and the Police State
• · · The big brother at BigPond sent me a series of frantic messages recently: I had to update my email program immediately on pain of exile Small fish, BigPond ; Debt relief and poverty reduction: an update by Brian Bahnisch
• · · · AFP raids home in net fraud investigation ; via Boynton - What’s a blog for?; John Podhoretz, New York Post THOUGH it has always been the fantasy of Americans that their highest court was truly a Solomonic body, only the foolish and the sentimental hew to that romantic vision of the U.S. Supreme Court these days Supremely Absurd
• · · · · Who Has Most Influence Online?; Every single day, 30,000 children die, needlessly, of extreme poverty." ~Bob Geldof Become one of 50 bloggers to go backstage at Live 8 ; Jana Wendt Live 8: Rock around the clock ; Here Is The Complete List Of Performers At All The Live 8 Concerts; ONE MILLION Americans are now a part of ONE; Bye bye anonymity and data security and welcome to the international club of Internet Nannies Austria joins international club of Internet Nannies ; Is German culture against blogging ?
• · · · · · Around the World in 15 Songs ; Sean Penn An American Reporter's Notebook ; Who's Lost Faith In Professional Journalists? Ink-Stained Retches ; Indymedia UK reports that servers hosted by Italian group Autistici have been hacked by police This story echoes another one

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