Sunday, February 27, 2005

U.S. News & World Report reported last week that several senior Republican senators — upon hearing that "blogs" had uncovered the Dan Rather scandal, helped to defeat Tom Daschle and pushed for the resignation of CNN executive Eason Jordan — demanded that "blogs" be added to their official Web sites. Blogging ... Blah, Blah, Blah

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Google and God's Mind
The 2005 Business Blogging Awards have been announced. Top honors went to Media Guerilla as best P.R. blog, with JSLogan winning the best marketing entry

The awards were dreamed up by two bloggers who met after auctioning their Web logging services online. Jeremy Wright, a technology journalist, and another blogger, Darren Barefoot, noticed the attention they got and decided to launch a consulting firm, (I interviewed Wright and did a story about his self-auction on the Web and the radio.)

• Rappers and Bloggers Separated at birth! [ ; Free Speech Flight ]
• · Revenge of the Blog People! ; Code for Killing Google AutoLink
• · · Movies and Topless Viewing Traveling the public/private divide ; That Old, Tired Balancing Act Did the election kill objective campaign journalism?
• · · · Pajamanas It's hard to know who to root against in the bloggers vs. CNN controversy that led to the resignation of CNN's Eason Jordan, a twenty-three-year veteran of the network The Pajama Game ; On the latest initiative in Congress: Blogging The Latest Initiative in Congress: Blogging
• · · · · The William F-ing Buckley of stand-up; Hyakkimaru is one of the strangest heroes to grace the small screen Cyborg Dragon-samurai: Blood Will Tell
• · · · · · Category of one ... Janet Albrechtsen's background is all but unique in Australian journalism. John Howard likes her, Mark Latham certainly didn't Our ABC: Lightning rod for conservatism will make the sparks fly ; Blog of laws

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
- Theodore Rooseve

It might feel like a quagmire now but shortly the dust will start to settle on the state election, which up until now has been dominated by the great canal debate. Whatever the result, there's one certainty: Western Australians will get a new Opposition Leader
Voting has begun in Western Australia in the first test of Labor's hold on power at a state level since last year's federal election Like the old Amerikan western movie: the choice is between a lesser bully

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Spread of the Cancer of A Mates Club
Cancer terror wars: Looks at arguments over awarding of cancer research funds.

There's more to the resignation of Professor David Morris as director of surgery at St George Hospital we've discovered. He's quit saying it is ethically, if not criminally, wrong to force cancer patients to wait on surgery lists for up to six months. While these remarks caused a predictable political row this week, Professor Morris, the Australian pioneer of radical and apparently successful surgical procedures on certain types of cancers, has also blasted the Carr government's new Cancer Institute and its director Professor Jim Bishop. He's alleging there's a mates club operating behind the provision of desperately needed cancer research funds. As you are will see, the Cancer Institute rejects this saying funds are allocated after rigorous merit assessment

Political Incompetence and Corruption Worse than Terrorism [Cancer patients are unnecessarily losing out in the workplace Workplace failing cancer patients ]
• · Bush and Putin met in Bratislava on Thursday. And survived! US President Bush's love fest with Europe continued on Thursday in Bratislava. Sort of Could Bush Be Right? -- Take Two ; At Thursday's mini-summit at a castle in Slovakia, George Bush and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, called each other 'George' and 'Vladimir...' But their body language spoke volumes ... Google: Bush-Putin tensions palpable
• · · A new book argues John Curtin never received his due for courageous and enduring reforms to the Australian economy Behind the curtain ; Statutes in Australia Laws and Sausages
• · · · Prosecutors are following a new lead that might shed more light on last year's dioxin poisoning of the Ukrainian President, Viktor Yushchenko. The Prosecutor-General, Svyatoslav Piskun, has acquired audiotapes of what appeared to be a conversation between Russian secret service officials discussing the alleged role of a Moscow political analyst in Mr Yushchenko's poisoning, said Vyacheslav Astapov. The man at the centre of the allegation - Gleb Pavlovsky, the head of a pro-Kremlin Moscow think tank - denied the suggestion he had the idea of giving Mr Yushchenko the Mark of the beast ; There has always been a fine line between art and pornography, but now the family snaps have been dragged into the debate Paranoia of the Sand
• · · · · Strathfield's bad apples ripe for picking Big state thieves always hang the little local thieves ; Google: On Bush and Putin
• · · · · · Bush meeting with Putin; praises Slovaks for democracy, fighting in Fighting in freedom's cause ; [President Bush's European charm offen sive continues apace, yesterday leap ing a most difficult potential hurdle: Russian President Vladimir Putin. To be sure, differences between the two remain — as was obvious during their joint press conference in Bratislava: Putin doesn't like being reminded by Bush (and other western leaders) that Russia is backsliding on democracy Bushtin ; President Bush told thousands of people in Hviezdoslavovo Square on Thursday that they and the United States are "allies and friends and brothers in the cause of freedom." Bush trip ends, but not all Euros are won over ]

Friday, February 25, 2005

In any case, the condemned man looked so like a submissive dog that one might have thought he could be left to run free on the surrounding hills and would only need to be whistled for when the execution was due to begin.
- Franz Kafka, "The Penal Colony"

Nightmares don't last this long, so the tragic fluid of the melting ice must be real ... Shel Israel observes the real and surreal angles of the Slavic Cold River: Together, We Can Move Mountains, Rivers and Walls

While my Mamka, like the Pope, could not be there as she was in hospital with breathing problems the day after she celebrated her 88th birthday at home Petr was there!

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Summit: New Light Cast on Dark Matters
The US and Russian Presidents George Bush and Vladimir Putin met on the afternoon of February 24 in Bratislava castle, Slovakia. The talks started at around 15:30

Below is a list of topics expected to be discussed at the summit meeting
Democracy: The US and other western countries have expressed concerns that Russian is backing away from democratic principles.
Iran: Bush will try to persuade Putin that the Iranian nuclear programme is intended for the construction of a nuclear weapon. Russia is helping Iran to construct a nuclear power plant and believes Tehran's reassurances that it has no ambitions to create a nuclear bomb.
Nuclear safety: According to US administration sources, both leaders will announce agreements in the field of nuclear facilities' safety.
Neighbouring countries: Bush will express concerns over the problematic relationships that some former Soviet republics and now EU members (Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia) have with Moscow.
Chechnya: Although Bush is often under pressure to be stricter on Moscow's actions in Chechnya, he perceives the Russian operation as a fight against "international" terrorism.
WTO: Putin will try to acquire confirmation of US support for Russian efforts to become a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Bilateral relations: Disagreements over democracy, the war in Iraq or the Iranian nuclear programme should not hurt strong bilateral relationships.

Big issues on the summit menu [The summit takes place at an especially historic moment Cringing before the East ; Lyudmila Putina and Laura Bush ; Google: Bush, Putin: Constructive talks ]
• · Our ABC of Albrechtsen ; Webdiary commentariat
• · · I just had a very important and constructive dialogue with my friend. It was great to see -- I know Laura was pleased to see Lyudmila Putin as well Bush, Putin Address the Media ; Bush upbraids Putin for backsliding on democracy
• · · · Almost four years ago, when U.S. President George W. Bush first met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Slovenia, it seemed he'd found a kindred spirit when it came to democratic values Another look into Putin's soul? ; Bush may give Putin some advice on democracy, but the Russian president seems in no mood to hear it Google: Bush, Putin Agree on Biological Nukes, Not Democracy
• · · · · Outrage grows at a catalogue of obfuscation and evasion in answer to requests for truth. You may ask questions - but the Government still has the freedom not to answer them Senators go dredging for political dirt ;
• · · · · · All the main characters in the plot to unseat the former mayor of Strathfield should be charged with criminal offences Charge the main players, says ICAC

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Have we run out of ideas, that we have run aground, lost in a dry technocratic language of governance? There is something of an irresistible horror in such quick decay ... Spare a thought for lost souls employed by huge organisations!!! Organisations run by invisible hands whose heart is no longer clear and head is plotting the next office politics...
In his book, Where Have the Intellectuals Gone?, Frank Ferudi laments this reduction of intellectuals into clerks and technocrats, sucking idealism out of national life: "Whatever reservations one has about such idealism, it has inspired many to see creative possibilities beyond the sober realities of everyday life."
In his magisterial book on leadership, James MacGregor Burns describes the intellectual as someone concerned with "values, purposes and ends that transcend immediate needs". West captured this existential quest for historical memory beyond everyday anxieties in his book, Race Matters: "People, especially poor and degraded people, are also hungry for meaning, identity and self-worth."
Ayi Kwei Armah's writes:
How horribly rapid everything has been, from the days when men were not ashamed to talk of souls and of suffering and of hope, to these low days of smiles that will never again be sly enough to hide the knowledge of betrayal and deceit. There is something of an irresistible horror in such quick decay

What do Europeans want from the United States? Op-eds on reinvigorating trans-Atlantic relations Winning Back Europe's Heart

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Crossroads: Slovakia is at the Heart of Europe
Slovaks see Russian President Vladimir Putin as more of a guarantor of democracy in the world than President George Bush, a poll revealed today Brother v Cousin

There are four capitol cities that sit along the Danube River, Bratislave is one of them.
Small nations often suffer from an invisibility complex. They know what it means to be tiny spots on the map, remembered only if embroiled in a terrible conflict that turns the whole region into a nest of unrest.
Of course, there are small nations with immense historical heritages that centuries ago likely influenced the heartbeat of whole continents. There are small nations that successfully struggled through the ages to stay alive.

When historians go to record human history over the last century, the rise and fall of communism and the expansion of American and capitalistic ideals may well be the dominant theme
• Walking the tightrope between identity and political necessity Where does Slovakia stand? [REVOLUTION! Revolúcia! Let the cry ring out again, and again, and again. Attendant to the upcoming summit in Bratislava between US President George Bush and Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin is a protest titled "ani Putin ani Bush" - neither Putin nor Bush. What does the street roar? ; A serious moral-ideological-emotional bind Google: People, especially poor and degraded people, are also hungry for meaning, identity and self-worth ]
• · At the end of 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered a powerful "fireside chat," a fitting backdrop to the visit to Europe this week by his successor, George W. Bush. Arsenals of tyranny ; Russia bashing reaches limits ; Google on Blava Summit ; I wonder how many more of these are never known to the public Man Accused of Plotting to Assassinate Bush
• · · Investigating historical mysteries is, possibly, one the most fascinating and rewarding aspects of the work of a skeptical researcher. Mysteries that appear to have no possible solutions, that could certainly be termed “cold,” can, sometimes, become clearer thanks to a more careful investigation of the original sources and also to the advancements of science Facts and Fiction in the Kennedy Assassination ; According to Greek legend, Poseidon's son Theseus sailed to Crete to slay the monster Minotaur Soul of Science
• · · · Cathy Young on how the right has no monopoly on morals--or on Moral Bullying
• · · · · The People’s Business: One does not have to look far in Washington these days to find evidence that government policy is being crafted with America’s biggest corporations in mind Controlling corporations and restoring democracy ; A remedy for executive branch lies about budget item costs: Should Congress pass a Sarbanes-Oxley Act for the government?
• · · · · · The Persian Puzzle The State of Iraq: An Update ; Our Mission Remains Vital, BY KOFI A. ANNAN The U.N. needs to be reformed, but it still performs a crucial function.

How did the great rivers and seas gain dominion over the
hundred lesser streams? By being lower than they. - Lao Tzu
Just as professionals built the Titanic and amateurs built Noah's Ark, it seems amateurs are crossing the Digital Rivers ... Welcome Mat on the Morava River

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Snow Castle: Bush, Putin in Blava
Children look at a snow sculpture of the Bratislava castle with flags and portraits of Russian president Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. President George W. Bush are displayed in Bolesov village, about 140 kilometres north of Bratislava, Slovakia, on Monday Feb. 21, 2005

For a pretty small country, it's a pretty big deal.
This week's summit in Bratislava between President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin will showcase Slovakia, which shook off Soviet-era communism and has become a staunch U.S. ally with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Slovaks hope hosting the leaders will raise the profile of their tiny nation, which Bush once famously confused with Slovenia during the 2000 American presidential campaign.

Bush seeks to begin a thaw in a Europe still cool to him [Best of Google on Bratislava Talks ; Czechs hope U.S. leader will press Russia on democracy ]
• · Slovak success story holds lessons for Bush ; The intrepid Russian spy, saving the Motherland if not the world, has come in from the cold In Russia, a Pop Culture Coup for the KGB ; Google on Summit
• · · Putin said the road to democracy must be adapted to the realities of Russian life, traditions, and history Russia Will Pursue Democracy On Its Own ; Three security rings will be formed in the Slovakian capital during the Russian-US presidential summit Google: on Security & Biological Weapons
• · · · Opponents of Communism Seek Prohibition of Party and its Symbols The Big Ban; Whatever you do, do not think of an elephant. I’ve never found a student who is able to do this. Every word, like elephant, evokes a frame, which can be an image or other kinds of knowledge: Elephants are large, have floppy ears and a trunk, are associated with circuses, and so on. The word is defined relative to that frame. When we negate a frame, we evoke the frame Don't think of a dragon
• · · · · Those watching from the sidelines as the reputation of Prime Minister Stanislav Gross further implodes over his housing scandal have the right to be very confusedEveryone loves a scandal ; If this be the case (and I'm not sure that it is) for a Christian, is the basic issue whether it is more moral to kill or be killed, with numbers have nothing to do with it. And is it reasonable to raise the question of whether it is only an assumption that it is necessarily better staying alive, at any cost. From here the moral debate spirals. For me, the clear message from Christ is that dogma itself is the trap, and that the golden rule is that 'as you judge so shall you be judged' And boy, can I judge: It pays to be prudent on morality in world politics
• · · · · · A decade after the Royal Commission into the NSW Police Force: Bloodied room cleaned by police ; Businesses had a legal responsibility to provide enhanced security at workplaces to thwart terrorist attacks Terrorist targets warned on duty of care

We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He choose this as the way in which they should break, so be it.
-C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Be Who You Want To Be
Your child is on the blocks, ready to swim the 50-metre freestyle. You zoom in so close you can see her nerves, even behind those tinted goggles. Just be careful that you don't pan to the left or right to check out the competition.

Sharyn Brownlee, the NSW president of the Federation of Parents and Citizens' Associations, says parents should be forced to seek permission from schools to film and photograph their child - and only their child - at swimming carnivals, school plays and other events.

Even as teenagers, my girls spend hours sitting in the rumpus room going through the album of the photographs when they were little. They sit there and laugh for hours at the way they pulled faces ... did all the strange and wonderful things as babies and little girls. We treasure all those January swims every year which were run by the Department of Sport and Recreation. Each year they moved to the next level getting different colour ribbons and swimming caps. The program took them to many pools from Hefron pool to Scots College diving blocks Granbrook indoor pool is also in the photos. There are great memories of Wilston Friday club days, netball at Waverley Park and the ballet classes at the Bondi Pavillion or Bondi Road Art center. A lovely group shot of a sign created by Alex stating Sasha the Potato Masha ... Most of the photos were taken by me in order to keep their grandmother in Europe up to date with their changing faces; others were taken spontaneously by friends ... It is a sad generation which is driven to the stage of deciding the lesser of the evil that started to grow by the Wall of the Darlinghurst Road and spread to every corner of our suburbs :-(
Sign here to take that poolside snap [Deserted playgrounds, childhood obesity and spiralling diagnoses of behavioural disorders - these are the legacies of over-protective parenting which has spawned a generation of cottonwool kids At risk - children's wellbeing and school excursions ; Not everyone wants to know when that child or parent shows up Years after, a knock at the door ... ; Books @ Salon ]
• · Melting the Cold River

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must, wrote Thucydides 2500 years ago and, given the state of anarchy, distrust and chronic insecurity in which states continue to exist, that remains true today. Only the paranoid will survive! Andy Grove ;-)

Monday, February 21, 2005

As you should know by now, I’m easily amused... These resentniks have destroyed the canon yet Lifting Us Up To Do: Let a Thousand Harold Blooms Bloom
It is, alas, the way we love: we are always taking the names of the dead or past characters and applying them to others: I mean all human beings are like this. Sometimes one succeeds, sometimes one fails. But in the end, in the end one is alone. We are all of us alone... we all live at the heart of a solitude... we all have the consciousness of mortality... I've taught tens of thousands of students, and some of them occasionally come back or send me a letter and let me know that something was communicated to them, that something in their spirit is a touch less lonely

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Standing the Test of Time

Time was when Cahners Publishing was the king of trade publications, owning such titles as Publishers Weekly and Variety. No more. The company has been piecemealed to death into a shadow of its former self

The Cahners have left the building [If you were to believe the advertising agencies, sometimes it was egg-shaped, sometimes a cigar called Hamlet, while John Lennon assured us it was a warm gun. It is the thing we desire most, but it can’t be bought. We’re talking, of course, about that elusive concept known as happiness Happiness is no laughing matter ; It seems that the heart wants what the heart wants -- and it can figure it out fairly quickly Falling in Love in Three Minutes or Less ]
• · Single-child families are increasingly common - so why do parents who refuse to have that second baby arouse such hostility? The one and only ; What happened when the Girls Who Had It All became mothers? A new book explores why this generation feels so insane Mommy Madness ; If "50 is the new 30", as they say, with luck we may try for 80 becoming the new 60 Age of the silver surfers
• · · A writer friend once described the brief history of an advertising campaign she worked on that never got off the ground — and thank God, because it sounded so draconian it could have sprung from the loins of Joseph Goebbels himself Does counterculture = consumer culture? ; Some people get high on crack. Other people hyperventilate over vintage Deron Douglas covers Drinker with a Writing Problem ; What thrills us depends on our personal hopes, fears, loves and desires A Robot That Measures Cold Rivers
• · · · The Crikey Army Books that have been pulped for legal reasons ; In the end, it came down to two great offers from two great publishers We Have Our Publisher!
• · · · · Anthony Sher discusses adapting Primo Levi's If This Is a Man for the stage. Sher tentatively distilled If This Is a Man into a first draft without checking on the rights. He then discovered that the Primo Levi estate had decided never to allow anyone to film or stage the book: I respected them for their stance, because the blood does run cold to think of what Hollywood at its worst would make of that book ‘Iron Curtain ... Auschwitz? It's just lunacy ; Bruce Elder reviews a book by Don Chipp entitled Keep the Bastards Honest. The book opens with vintage Chipp berating all Australian politicians for their gutlessness and lack of moral fibre in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Chipp makes good, pragmatic points about the nature of politics. He reflects on the sheer awfulness of a politician’s life and realises that when it comes to truth in the life in modern politics, his boast to keep the basdards honest has very obviously failed. He is one of the rarest species on Earth. A popular politician
• · · · · · Ach, we all remember Red Dean Reed who was an American and the biggest rock star in the history of the Soviet Union. He was so famous his icons were sold alongside those of Josef Stalin. Reggie Nadelson first saw him in 1986 on a TV chat show. A rock star behind the Iron Curtain my friends knew. But few people in the West had ever heard of him. Six weeks later Reed was found dead in a lake in East Berlin. Was he murdered by the CIA? The KGB? A jealous husband? The Russians gave him a Lenin Prize. He was their American. Comrade Rockstar is not just the story of Dean Reed's progress from Hollywood starlet to Cold War Cowboy, but an account of the search that took Reggie Nadelson from Denver to Berlin, and from Hawaii to Moscow. As she travelled, the Berlin Wall was breached and Dean Reed became an increasingly alluring figure, his life an unrepeatable tale from the Cold War. Nadelson captures the seedy, often hilarious subculture of Soviet rock ’n’ roll. He was the embodiment of the whole Eastern Europe’s dream about Amerika ; Dean's death was not a shock for me. I think he committed suicide because that's what a hero must do. When a human really wants to become something, he does. It demands enormous strength. He died having absolutely ruined himself. Dean, in his way, became what he wanted. He did something. He was truly a tale from the cold war From the land of the drowned...

Sunday, February 20, 2005

In Clint Eastwood's 1985 Pale Rider, the unnamed preacher played by Eastwood says, "Yeah, well, the spirit ain't worth spit without a little exercise." The Observer looks at the "anthology orgy" following the success of The Bitch in the House, subcategorizing every aspect of the feminine (and the odd masculine) experience. They say a particular sort of female writer-one plugged into the appropriate social network, with multiple glossy magazine features on her C.V. and a few novels or a memoir in the can, is especially in demand for contributions. Collecting Anthologies

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Guns for Hire
Just how many liberties do biographical filmmakers take to strike the right balance between truth and engrossing cinema?

Somebody's spreading rumours in Los Angeles that J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, was a pedophile. The answer to why anyone in 2005 would bother telling unsubstantiated tales about a man who died 68 years ago is this: it's Oscar season.

Tall True Tales [Didn't think it would happen to you? Think again. A computer crash is just around the corner Unnatural disaster; Successful comedy is no laughing matter ]
• · Gone to the Dogs is a new British comedy film. It's a surreal comedy about the trials of canine metamorphosis. On this site you can find out more about the film but I wanted to point your attention to the 'What Dog Are You?' quiz. It's not only very well done but it's also very accurate. At least in my case it is What Bessie, dog, are you; Icy Hot Cold River Hotel
• · · Czechs at the Saloon ; No word yet what odds the bookies are giving Booker ; A mother who drowned her son when trying to commit suicide in the Parramatta River had "suffered a tragedy" and was not guilty of his murder Son's death tragedy enough, judge rules
• · · · As the Web keeps growing, tracking the latest information related to our jobs and interests gets harder every day. We need a butler to surf the Web for us, find the headlines we crave and hand them to us on a silver platter. That butler is RSS Art of rSS; As an editor I spend more time on an opening paragraph than any other. If it doesn’t grab readers, holding their attention and sparking their curiosity, a good percentage won’t continue. From a purely editorial perspective the first few sentences, and especially the first sentence, matter more than any other The art of the opening line ; First Lines
• · · · · Sometimes people send us links to the steady stream of Judith Regan placements on Page Six and the NYDN gossip columns; just for the record, we generally ignore these items, based on the fundamental judgment that Judith Regan appearing in a gossip column saying something incendiary is not news. Today's is a little more absurd than usual, though ... Nothing Says B.C. Like A Judith Regan Item; Could a book be called deadpan or button-down? Bob Newhart writing memoirs with stories and anecdotes from career
• · · · · · Louis Boussard has hired a professional to abduct his son. On a late evening in early March, Rick Strawn of Strawn Support Services flew from Atlanta to Tampa, Fla. WANT YOUR KID TO DISAPPEAR?; SMH reviews Kafka on the Shore

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A few days before the fall of the Berlin Wall, I found myself in the center of Dresden, standing in front of a pile of stones that formed a memorial, remnants of a city that was destroyed by British and American planes at the end of World War II. The passersby appeared to me like the city itself: gray and haunted by their past. A few East German policemen in black boots who looked like Nazis, very young and very blond, stood beside me, also gazing at the monument, and for a moment I thought of telling them that I am not to blame for what happened to their city; really I'm not. Because they belonged to a generation that was taught in communist schools that the city's demolition in February 1945 was one of the crimes of imperialism and capitalism - that is, crimes perpetrated by the world that was on the west side of that wall and anyone who came from there, myself included.
East Germany dealt with its Nazi past with relative ease: It is not us, the good, communist Germans, who are to blame for the regime's crimes, but them, over there in the west, the capitalist bastards. With the encouragement of the Soviet Union, East Germany created the theory that the Nazis, the British and the Americans as one were agents of evil: They built Buchenwald, they destroyed Dresden.

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Stones Cry Out

Imagine that mind reading were suddenly imposed on humanity automatically transmitting all our thoughts to those around us. Involuntary telepathy would destroy countless marriages as wives learned of their husbands perverse fantasies. Bosses would fire millions after they found out what their employees really thought of them. Police would be inundated with reports of ordinary citizens contemplating hideous crimes. But eventually we would realize that all humans harbor evil thoughts and an equilibrium would emerge in which we forgave bad thoughts that didn't lead to terrible deeds.

Will Blogs Produce a Chilling Effect? [Arthur Chrenkoff is an Australian Polish writer and reformed Soviet blogger: Like a four-year-old child, the media were so distracted by bright colours and loud noises that they missed the real story. The End of the Beginning ; Maryland's faux-family-values Governor Erlich had to fire his aide for getting caught spreading FALSE rumors about the family life of a potential opponent. Hey Mr. Erlich! ]
• · On first impression, the latest news about the Iraqi election returns has confirmed my most optimistic hopes. Granted, my expectations weren't very high, but things could have turned out a lot worse.... Successfully holding the election was itself a remarkable triumph (under the circumstances)... and the results give the Iraqis just about the best possible chance they could have gotten to put together a decently acceptable political future for the country - if they don't blow it, of course The election results in Iraq ; A tale of two Shiites ; - Michael Hirsh and John Barry, Newsweek Reason to Worry: Kim Jong Il
• · · Like a canary in a mine shaft, Mexico is beginning to exhibit signs of distress and we should take the warning on board and begin to address the challenge.... With the US preoccupied with the war on terrorism little attention has been paid to what once was a "war on drugs". It is time for policymakers to recognize that these wars are different sides of a security threat and that actions to address one threat can be used to address the other. A Terror War in Mexico? ; Check this post from Littlegreenfootballs. Bertrand Pecquerie, Director of the World Editors Forum, argues that [Eason] Jordan is the victim of a new “McCarthyism Provisional Epitaph for Easongate/It ain’t over ’til the tape rolls
• · · · Michael McGough, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Are 'Free Speech' Judges Liberal? ; A media release from St Vincent de Paul Society on the topic of parliament's consideration of tax cuts which will favour high income earners. Whatever happened to Robin Hood? - Vinnies
• · · · · Jack Robertson: The hands that signed the papers ; One of the more tiresome canards about liberal Democrats is that they're so angry, so bristling with righteous indigation and moral superiority, that they turn off moderates and fans of the mellow sounds of FM 106.7 From Some Lemons No Lemonade Can Be Made
• · · · · · Doug Arellanes Shaped Like Prague ; Stanislav Gross said his uncle lent him the cash for the flat deposit. An anti-corruption watchdog has asked Czech Prime Minister Stanislav Gross to explain how he paid for his luxury apartment in Prague five years ago Czech PM faces corruption claim ; Even if the money for the prime minister's apartment came from Hitler, it's nobody's business. That's what Stanislav Gross' Uncle Frantisek Vik is telling the press after being questioned for the umpteenth time about whether he loaned his charismatic nephew 2.5 million Kc ($108,225) to buy an apartment. Intimate Dinners with Stan (Meaning Tent) ; Toss another log onto the fire of current events. Nothing keeps pundits and newshounds warm in deepest winter like a red-hot political scandal. 'Apartmentgate' not likely to fade for Stanislav Gross ; Critics press for clearer answers over luxury flat; PM Gross says he has nothing to hide Under The Spotlights

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Thank you one and all for making me this week #440 on the Blogstreet and some high profile journos acknowledging my links at Technorati Blogs are like bras, a good one never lets you down!
Jay Rosen said it in Bloggers vs. Journalists is Over: "A blog, you see, is a little First Amendment machine."

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Absence of Malice
It is not hard to feel sympathetic toward Superior Court judge Ernest Murphy ...

The US Supreme Court, in its landmark 1964 New York Times v. Sullivan decision, raised the bar to an extraordinarily high level for any such person to sue for libel successfully. The court ruled that a public official must prove "actual malice" — a legal term that means Murphy must convince the 12-member jury that the Herald and its lead reporter, Dave Wedge, went to press with articles that they knew were false, or that they acted with "reckless disregard" for whether those articles were true or false. Such a standard, Justice William Brennan wrote in the Times decision, is necessary to ensure that "debate on public issues" remains "uninhibited, robust, and wide-open," even to the point of including "vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials."

• The Boston Phoenix explains the difference between a newspaper being wrong about a public figure and being libelous [Remembrances of Arthur Miller ; Add Your Name to the Tribute to Doug Engelbart ]
• · Scoop: Access to Public Records; Is there a legacy of which CNN's Eason Jordan and his counterparts should be proud?
• · · Salam Pax takes to the streets of war-ravaged Iraq Baghdad blogger switches to the camera
; How insane. It’s a world where, on the one hand, we drownourselves in tears of regret about a meaningless destruction of human communities (tsunami) while remaining a party to the deliberate destruction of others (Iraq War) Phillip Adams in the Magazine 12-13 February
• · · · A newspaper editor has become the third person to admit lying to the NSW watchdog's inquiry into corruption at Strathfield council. Surprise, surprise ...Editor lied over bribe tape he didn't think was a story ; A former media adviser to federal Liberal MP Barry Haase is seeking restraining orders against the member for Kalgoorlie and his wife. Mr Haase and his wife, Dallas, have been summonsed to appear in the Perth Magistrates Court on Monday to respond to applications for misconduct restraining orders lodged by Natasha Mutch Too Much Attention
• · · · · There is an element of irony when a so-called 'homeless hacker' is sentenced to home detention Doing time for cyber crime ; Rather than bringing users closer together, the increasing array of telecommunications available today may have made it harder to "get in touch Dating and dumping via email
• · · · · · Going into the 2004 election cycle, just about everyone said the Internet was going to change politics. But no one was sure how. Now we know Blogosphere politics; In a lengthy, wide-ranging interview with E&P today, former White House reporter Jeff Gannon, whose real name is James D. Guckert, revealed that, contrary to many media reports, he has not been subpoenaed in the Valerie Plame/CIA case. I haven't been this psyched since the sequel to Political Assassination on the Sussex Street

Saturday, February 12, 2005

A thing may be too sad to be believed or too wicked to be believed or too good to be believed; but it cannot be too absurd to be believed in this planet of frogs and elephants, of crocodiles and cuttle-fish.
- Maycock, The Man Who Was Orthodox

Over a Chinese New Year luncheon, which doubled as a farewell, one of the more colourful characters, often described as a cool father, a down to earth soccer coach, a trainer Frank Lowy would be proud to have in every soccer club, has an uncanny ability to illustrate how the comedy of man survives the tragedy of man. Bureaucracy, Chinese, Czech or Australian, equates with inefficiency, laziness, ... achieving results which end up in enlarging the size of the bureaucracy. A bureaucrat is someone who is more concerned with avoiding mistakes rather than making good decisions. ‘No-one ever got fired for buying IBM' was the public servant's slogan of the 1970s and '80s. Now as we download Window 2003 in 2005 'No-one ever gets fired for buying Microsoft.' Lets hope Open Access Linux will soon rock this kind of mentality ... On a lighter note GM uses a rather thought-provoking analogy for bureaucracies: Public service is like smoking dope the more you suck the higher you get ;-) ...
It’s not what you know ... It is not depth or breath of knowledge ... To succeed, you must never ask awkward questions, you have to agree not to rock the boat, most of all you need to keep an eye on anyone who might rock the river!
Frequently executives have very outdated, or even no real skills in the area they are working in. Their real skills are in playing politics, going to meetings, wandering around giving orders, self-justification and backstabbing. They are like paying taxes (or bribes), or having to employ feminists to meet an affirmative action target. They are corporate 'overhead'. In order to survive, he (or she) takes credit for anything that works out well, and passes the buck when something goes badly. Rarely, if ever, are these people asked "so what are your actual people skills?"

The individuals are administering laws whose legislatures have long term goals, but whose performance bonuses have short term goals - All long lived bureaucracies are fundamentally self serving and this is why you often hear self serving managers claiming that while they will do everything in the best interest of the organisation the evil ones are working against it (LOL) Acting in one's own interests, while claiming to act in the interests of the organisation. Bum covering is still the dominant paradigm: Moore's Laws of The Castle

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Closing Ranks: A Club Too Exclusive
Who cares if no one knows what will be in the Social Security reform package suggested by President Bush in concept but with no details? Not the club ...

The Republican Party rules the White House, as well as a majority in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, which means the party is flying so high that only Republicans can muck it up.
Enter the Club for Growth, a group of supply-side economists on a jihad to bury Republicans they don't deem to be pure enough. Given a choice between half a loaf and none, the club says: none.
So last week, the club's new president Rep. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., announced a campaign to send a "gentle message" to three Republicans -- Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., Rep. Joe Schwarz, R-Mich., and Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y. -- by airing ads in their districts telling voters to urge their lawmaker to support private savings accounts as part of a Social Security reform package.

Au contraire, only cowardice or stupidity could prompt a member to sign onto a reform package that doesn't exist [NSW political leaders today welcomed a proposed film about Sydney’s notorious gang rapes, saying it was a story that deserved to be told. Gang rape film wins political backing; More than 40,000 weapons were seized in major crackdowns across NSW, the state’s police commissioner Ken Moroney A Million to Go? ]
• · By his own admission, writer Frank Moorhouse has benefited from almost every kind of government patronage - grants, awards, soft diplomacy jaunts overseas, even an Order of Australia. So he might have been peeved to find the government meanwhile had ASIO watching him, checking who came to his barbecues, what campaigns he mounted, which motions he moved at fringe meetings - exploring whether he was an enemy of the state. Not so. What left him “gravely disappointed” as he leafed through the thick file during his research at the National Archives of Australia was that his youthful anarchist activities ultimately weren’t taken seriously enough to make him a grave security risk. Frank Moorhouse Lesser Threat; Come and enjoy pre and post show drinks at Munchero’s (dress: trenchcoat; code: Steps to the Pole Dance; Period: March to Fool’s day). While many comics claim to push the envelope, Austen Tayshus tears it to shreds in a blistering evening that leaves no stone unturned. David Callan is the only spook ever to leave the spying game for the comedy game. He used to perform at the Icebergs Bondi and now even CNNN considers him to be Bloody Funny! He knows his Stuff and Yours Too! Cracker: Funniest show in the Festival. A five star rating is not enough. David’s is a sixer! And Sexier too
• · · Shobhakar Parajuli is on the move. He has slept in six different houses in six nights as he adjusts to life as an underground political figure. Democracy goes underground as fear grips Nepal; Steve Cole: Traditional thinking, focused on governments, still dominates US weapons policy The fear that terrorism will go nuclear; What does the son of an infamous Libyan colonel do for entertainment in Sydney? Host a bash at my old swimming club which turned into the trendy Bondi hang-out Icebergs, of course. Accordingly, the football player and wannabe media magnate Al-Saadi Gaddafi has invited 60-odd members of the meat, rice and media industries to Icebergs for an intimate dinner on Friday night. Brother of a gun
• · · · Kim Beazley has promised his Opposition will concentrate on making the Government more accountable and yesterday he scored a political hit. The grant of money to flush a creek that was already flushed was served up by Beazley as a prime case of the unstoppable Coalition pork barrel. Round one to Beazley: At the mouth of the Tumbi Creek; Media Dragon has referred to this quote about politicians by Nikita Khrushchev in the past and today it came back freshly re-observed politicians seem to be the same all over the world: They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river. He would have loved question time yesterday, as the Government struggled to rebut claims it had allocated $1.5 million - before it had been requested - for the dredging of a creek which didn’t need dredging. Overflow of pork leaves ministers over a barrel
• · · · · Former Liberal premier and mental health campaigner Jeff Kennett has joined a growing chorus of demands for the Howard Government to hold a public, judicial inquiry into the Cornelia Rau affair. BeyondBlue depression initiative
• · · · · · Allan Fels: Services to support people with psychoses have been shamefully neglected Rau is only an extreme example - our prisons are full of mentally ill people; Out of a system designed to produce failure: About 10am on Tuesday, Christopher Dean Binse blinked in the sunlight as he emerged from a 13-year sentence in Goulburn’s forbidding super max prison. Badness ready to come good Do you know a unique Sydney story? email:

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Hey, Look Mamka What We Found a Priceless Rose I like Media Dragon
Jay Rosen . This cool observation of the greatest mentor in the world means more to this sole survivor (thorn) of the Iron Curtain than all the oil reserves in the world ;-)

The international Bloggie Awards turn five this year, as blogs, or web logs, become more prominent. These amateur web diaries have broken news around the world, most recently from inside occupied Iraq and in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami. But there are fears the form is being corrupted, especially in the wake of revelations that prominent bloggers were involved in a cash for comment scandal Some people have been reading for almost five years and feel like they know me, so they're always offering advice

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Blogs Break out & Hit the Big Time
Blogs used to be a minority interest, but technology expert Charles Arthur finds their appeal has grown massively. Cream of the crop

The next generation of search engines are all about getting us what we want, faster. Adam Turner reports on the entrenched players and the new entrants who are fighting to gain traction.

Finders' keepers [It’s 40 years since Winston Churchill died; he being the man who had mastered the art of the soundbite before the phrase was even coined. The Iron Curtain? His phrase. “Yes, I am drunk, but you are ugly and in the morning I shall be sober.” Him again. I'll call you on the Google; A lie is halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its boots on Sins of Omission ]
• · All that I can hope to make you understand / Is only events: not what has happened. / And people to whom nothing has ever happened / Cannot understand the unimportance of events. T.S. Eliot: This culture of 'closing ranks' coupled with hostile comments about the media from senior politicians and others, has led some in the media community (not necessarily Eason or myself) to believe the military are careless as to whether journalists are killed or not Collateral damage ; Most e-mailed NYT article is 2 months old; Using BlogMap you can geo-code your blog Blog Map Project
• · · Joi Ito Good News All Around: Wikinews meets the bloggers ; Coping when everything is digital: Digital documents and issues in document retention
• · · · Dual loyalties: When love and work collide ; A Melbourne principal filmed a teacher, then used the footage to back his claim she was incompetent, before sacking her Spy-cam used in classroom
• · · · · Maybe it's time for media criticism to take off the training wheels
• · · · · · To reporters and writers, the term's an insult, a barb aimed at mercenary keyboards-for-hire, those burnt-out cases lacking in talent and scruples Writing Hacks ; RUSSIAN CROSSROADS: Toward the New Millennium ; Last week, in a fascinating coup for Cold War buffs, historic documents from the institute were handed over to the Russian State Archive Out of Sight: A CIA puppet or a serious research facility? The jury is still out on the Munich Institute

Monday, February 07, 2005

Joe Posnanski said recently that “there are wonderful books out there. Books that will reach inside you and make your heart soar and change you like only a good book can. You just have to look for them. Go deep into the bookstore. Find a book that strikes you. Read a few pages. Nothing worthwhile is easy. You have to think for yourself. Because in this world, if you don't want to think for yourself, you can be sure that someone will think for you.”

I’ve been drunk on books for most of my life. From the early days when I opted for the library over the playground, to 13 years as a bookseller, to my current job as a book rep, it sometimes seems as if books are all I’ve truly cared about ... When a book makes a best-seller list it is instantly less interesting to me We are awash in great books, more than we could possibly read

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Voices from Chernobyl
Many families in Eastern Europe are haunted by the disaster. Three years after the blast the Velvet Revolution took place. However, no one can help my nephew, Tomas, 18, who will never recover from Chernobyl disaster. He cannot communicate, read, even walk properly ...

n April 26, 1986, at 1:23:58 a. m., a series of explosions destroyed the reactor in the building that housed Energy Block #4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station. The catastrophe at Chernobyl became the largest technical disaster of the twentieth century. . . . For tiny Belarus (population: ten million), it was a national disaster. . . . Today, one out of every five Belarussians lives on contaminated land. This amounts to 2.1 million people, of whom seven hundred thousand are children. In the Gomel and Mogilev regions, which suffered the most from Chernobyl, mortality rates exceed birthrates by twenty percent.

Svetlana Alexievich's oral history of Chernobyl
• · Louis de Bernieres famously once likened "the pressure of trying to write a second bestseller to standing in Trafalgar Square and being told to get an erection in the rush hour". First Draft, Complete
• · · Didn't think it was possible for the left to be anymore splintered? Welcome to the world of biopolitics, a fledgling political movement that promises to make mortal enemies out of one-time allies -- such as back-to-nature environmentalists and technophile lefties -- and close friends of traditional foes, such as anti-GMO activists and evangelicals. How biopolitics could reshape our understanding of left and right
• · · · Life's a Gift? Quick. Exchange It; The notion of the gentleman has been out of fashion for some time, especially because of its connection to boorish, Victorian-era stoicism The Warrior, the Lover and the Monk;
• · · · · Folks, we’re probably going to see one of these things enacted every couple of years. Senator Feinstein may pretend to be a liberal, but all politics is local, and corporate Hollywood has her in their pocket. Indeed, there wasn’t one single senator who felt big business didn’t deserve these latest new protections. That’s good for those of us making a living in this industry
• · · · · · David Steinberger, a former senior executive at HarperCollins who helped create parts of Publishing Plus, says communicating directly to readers is important because most publishers cannot afford to compete directly with film, television and other media for their attention. Michael Crichton? He's Just the Author ; John Kremer's Book Marketing Blog (Our favorite on this topic); Book Marketing Works - Booklets and consulting for authors who want to sell into "non-traditional" markets; How to Get Happily Published -- Info on Judith Applebaum's book which is widely hailed as best-in-class ; Authors: How to Get Your Business Book Published -- a special report by MarketingSherpa's staff

Sunday, February 06, 2005

How do they do it? Working mothers spend as much time playing with and reading to their children as mothers who are not in paid jobs. And, according to a new study, they manage it by doing less housework, sacrificing their leisure, spending less time on their appearance, and putting the children to bed later. Indeed, I admire Lauren as she manages to do so much in terms of working full time and also spending all her free time with the girls. Life was tough, but it is getting even tougher for the young families. The incredible working mum's time warp
As if working long hours and juggling different contracts was not bad enough, to actually leave your children in a care of reckless childcare centers is heart wrenching. Real, fullsome, democracy is supposed to be about choices, about freedom and all that, but even back in 1990s is was difficult to establish good centres in many areas despite demand. The land cost skyrocketted and parents were held to bizarre randsom like hostages by the culture called child care centers. The story is long, too long, however, only after we took our daughter second time to the hospital did we, as parents, take her out our girls from a certain awful place.... By the time Alex was four years she underwent two general anasthetics at the hospital due to the falls inside the childcare at Five Ways Paddington. To me 33 Heeley double up to an evil place. It was St Stephens Anglican Church at Bellevue Hill that gave us safer environment for our two girls. St Stephen's Child Care Centre was the best gift to us as were child carers. The Interest rates were looming at 17% and the Paddington child care even ruthlessly demanded that we pay the child care fees for Alex for the time while she was in hospital. There seemed to be amazingly heartless characters in that industry ... Same week when we left another mother took her boy out when he was found wondering along the busy intersection of Five Ways.
I read the following story and all those memories of powerlessness came back. Child-care centre death

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The Drama, a Tragedy or Farce

Sean Maher, an American marine, was due home from Iraq on Friday. He died in an ambush on Wednesday, the 687th day of the US-British occupation. Maher was shot driving a Humvee near Falluja, in Iraq's north. He was 19. He was the 1442nd American soldier killed in Iraq and the 1613th to die among all forces, cajoled or coerced, of what politicians in Washington, London and Canberra insist on parroting as the coalition of the willing, like some April Fool's Day joke.
The additional dead since the invasion 22 months ago, according to Pentagon figures, are 86 Brits and 85 "others" from 14 countries, among them 20 Italians, 17 Ukrainians, 16 Poles, 11 Spaniards, seven Bulgarians and three Slovaks. Other client countries with troop deaths are Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Kazakhstan, El Salvador and Thailand.

The one death that made us sit up [Alleged underworld figure Carl Williams was charged this week with the murder of the Melbourne drug dealer Mark Moran Last woman standing ; Philip Ruddock continues to accuse Mamdouh Habib of terrorist crimes despite these charges being tainted by torture allegations; What you have got here is a classic case of a federal-state stuff-up Missing persons mistake; The two lives of an undercover policeman blurred into one wretched existence Just shoot me ]
• · The Government's plan to allow transcript evidence to be used in pack rape retrials did not go far enough. But, Mr Tink said that on May 11 last year Mr Debus refused to adopt the Opposition's proposal to use video evidence for sexual assault victims in retrials, saying it was legally unworkable. Sex retrial video vital says Andrew Tink; A wave of gang rapes perpetrated on young Sydney women is prompting at least one recent victim to seek counselling every week Party rape - the rise of a disturbing new trend ; Opposition police spokesman Peter Debnam said there had been 208 knife attacks and robberies in metropolitan areas in the past six months and a 40 per cent increase in 10 years in armed robberies not involving guns. Bloody knife fight in city Bear Pit series: Premier of NSW Bob Carr usually practices his German with Roger Wilkins, the bow-tie chief of the Cabinet and his long time partner Sue Cato. This weekend the Premier is practicing his second language on the harbour of heavenly views with Joschka (my Mamka called me Joschko when I was good once:-) Fischer, the highest ranking German visitor to Australia for almost a decade. Are the German Greens here to sell more Mercedes busses? Mark Duffy, the Director General of NSW Department of Transport, is confident that a buyer could be found for Westbus, which went into voluntary liquidation last week.
• · · Britain surfed a wave created by Tony Blair's politics of choice. But now, after a tough year and with an election imminent, he takes his cues from how history will judge him Their School Master's Choice ; Critics of modern education often ask what's the matter with kids today They would be better off asking children what's the matter with schools
• · · · Webdiary has a regional rorts reporter, Craig Rowley: Patron Country MLCs, Patron Saints and Patron Senators ... Bigger than all of us': our last chance to lift the regional rorts veil ; Taxpayers pay Hilary Penfold $192,000 a year, plus add-ons (car, a 20 per cent superannuation loading, etc), to head up the 975 bureaucrats (769 full-time, 206 part-time) employed solely to keep the nation's Parliament House functioning as an agreeable workplace for our 226 federal politicians A destructive refurbishment
• · · · · Britain's attempt to forge a new international accord on Third World poverty relief began in earnest yesterday with the aid of the former South African president, Nelson Mandela. Mandela urges a generation to fight poverty ; First they organised 25 new cots, 20 nurses and a fleet of cars. Then, in a convoy with the police, they drove to a big cream-coloured house in Jakarta where, upstairs, the babies were kept Indonesia is mismanaging its abandoned and homeless ; Love and altruism, not money, drives people to commit the ultimate act of devotion - the donation of a kidney to save a partner or relative from a lifetime of dialysis Love - not money - drives people to donate their organs
• · · · · · At the height of the Cold War the United States was flexing its muscles and the Menzies cabinet was nervous Once more, dear friends ; Australia's most famous seaside suburb, Bondi, may soon have a ban slapped on the expansion of fast-food shops, cafes and restaurants - all in the name of preserving the local corner store. Bondi set to protect its charm ; A stylish dresser known as "Designer Don" and accused of involvement in a bloody Mafia war that has left 50 dead in the port of Naples has become an unlikely teenage heart-throb Mafia accused wins hearts of the mob

I translated this mother's sad farewell and sent it to my Mamka. The universal love of mothers expressed ever so deeply ... The eulogy Claudette Clausen will read at the funeral of her only daughter, Klara. There is nothing as hard as burying your own child. It's not the way it's meant to be. It's not the natural order of things. It's just not right... The day has lost a special light

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Doing It For Love
Clair Scobie meets some talented Australians who know you can’t put a dollar value on success. They may be at the top of their field - in writing, sport, fashion and acting - but they wouldn’t want to be doing it for the money.

Despite the success Pert author Brett D’Arcy, along with most of his fellow authors, is struggling at the low-income end of town: “Last year at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, I remember being on the stage with three others and looking at the sole of the shoes of one of them, a successful Sydney writer. Just like my own shoe, it had a hole in it. Afterwards I said to him, ‘Do you stuff it with newspaper or what?’”
Life is tough at the top. According to a study commissioned by the Australia Council in 1000-2001 just 26% of Australian actors earn more than $50,000 that year. Authors routinely earn $10,000 a book. Passion, talent and genuine desire to make a difference inspire many but on the consumerist merry-go-round some of us ride, success is often equated with a fat pay cheque. “Society makes money a measurement for success. It is obvious thing to do,” says celebrated fashion designer Akira Isogawa. “How much you earn - to me is absurd if you measure success by that ... The Question I have: am I passionate about it? And if I’m not, even if money comes, I do not thin it is worthwhile.”
Actor Nicholas Hope, who last year turned into his years on a fringees of stardom - he won an AFI for Bubby - into an amusing memoir, Brushing the Top Tip of Fame. “I have dealt with the [financial strains] through high blood pressure ... Suddenly, I think, ‘I’m 45, I’ve lost the chance of building up a pension and I only have enough money for the next six months.”
Unpredictability goes with the territory. “Risk is part of the actor’s existence,” says Michael Gow, 49, whose 1986 award-winning play Away is studied as a set text in schools... Then, he points out “I may not have a BMW, but I’ve inspired a whole generation of schoolkids.” In Australia there is ‘one millionaire playwright - David Willimason - and a huge gap between him and the rest of us struggling for scraps’ “The whole thing of the struggling artist is becoming a more respectable idea,” says Nicholas Hope. “Australia has always liked the idea of the rebel, the battler.” Brett D’Arcy is less convinced. “People are embarrassed by the sort of remuneration writers get ... you take a vow of silence as well as a vow of poverty.” (Indeed, many renowned Australians approached for this story were reluctant to talk about it)

Media Dragon is of an opinion that if you cannot take it to the coffin what is the point of owning it? People might be smart enough to accumulate amazing quantity of power and riches, but they also must be dummies enough if in the process they end up with a soul so empty that charity becomes a foreign word in their world ...
• Not on line It won’t make you rich but ... [credits: Complete strangers often approach Mitch Albom and ask whether they can give him a hug. His presence can trigger grateful tears from middle-aged men, while Oprah simply adores him The Five People you Meet in Heaven ; Raising the dead: Brave voice of the silent witnesses. Koff belongs among these modern mercenaries of the human rights and humanitarian world. Like them, she exudes restlessness, a sense of pleasure in risk, a need for this kind of adrenalin, as well as an obvious enjoyment in the camaraderie of working friendships as colleagues, befriended in Rwanda, are encountered again in Bosnia and Croatia. Like them, she is drawn back, again and again, by a feeling that it is still possible in the world to do something worthwhile and by a belief that witnessing is all that keeps the world from sinking into barbarity. She is part of what Michael Ignatieff has called the "expanding moral imagination" of our times. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I don’t have a poker face ; Not only do these people want to make you rich, but they can do it in record-breaking time. And they will make it so easy that you won't even have to do any real work. Why Are There So Many People Eager To Make You, like me, Rich? ]
• · It is award time in America. In all the precincts of intellectual and cultural endeavor, the hubbub begins. One book fewer given to literature; A Post-Pulitzer Coogler
• · · Chicago-based Jessa Crispin launched her literary webzine and daily blog hoping publishers would send free books. Three years on, she is a minor celebrity. We asked her to keep a diary Strange meetings ; The agony and the ecstasy of a reading life Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs ; Bookslut
• · · · I went on a date a while back and met one of the founding members of the "for Dummies" series. His thoughts on publishing were simple. Figure out a way to get rid of the writer. Money, money, money: Big thieving monkeys always hang the little thieving dummies!!! Always!!! ;
• · · · · Sandra Lee: THE State Government is gearing up to celebrate 150 years of responsible government in 2006 by shelling out almost $2 million in grants for a string of back-slapping congratulatory books on the politics, politicians and those who cover them. In 2002 Premier Bob Carr set up a bipartisan trust charged with dishing out money to a series of authors commissioned to produce riveting titles including A History of Politics of the 1850s ($50,000 grant) and the Book on Premiers of NSW 1856 to 2005 ($60,000). Other projects included $27,500 to a political journalist to write The History of the NSW Press Gallery (potential readership, 25), and another on the sporting prowess of politicians throughout the years. Seriously! Interestingly, one committee member who signed off on the project is the newly trim deputy Opposition leader Barry O'Farrell, who once endured the cheeky nickname, Fatty O'Barrell. Your money hard at work. Literary follies of our pollies; First he was on radio hamming it up and promising a law to ban people from wishing others a belated Happy New Year. This week the funster Premier played actor (is there any difference?) at the official opening of the Sydney Film School. During a mock Oscars ceremony, Carr was awarded a green zucchini for his film, "Million Dollar Maybe" (geddit?). Ever the showman, he brandished the award in good grace, a la Clint Eastwood at the recent and real Golden Globe Awards. Is Premier Bob Carr auditioning for life outside of politics?
• · · · · · There's an affliction called mirror-face which strikes many women. When we catch sight of ourselves in a reflective surface, the following instinctively happens: we suck in our cheeks, tilt our jaws upwards and sideways, and bug our eyes out in what's supposed to be a startled-fawn expression. I could write a thesis on the reasons for this phenomenon, but in short, I believe we assume mirror-face so our external image matches our fragile internal one.First Daughter ; It's often said that motherhood is a thankless task, but being the mother of a writer is much, much worse than that Granta 88: Mothers

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Mrs Robertson had a son Jack who might have come from the Spis region of Slovakia or Poland (smile) To me Webdiary is a wonder. I knew it from day one and know it more than ever today. Webdiary and Margo rock. Then again, you know this! I love Crikey as well. It has served all Australians well. What can I say? You know what I am thinking. I got the Crikey mail that they were selling. Not selling out, but selling. I had a warm feeling but a tinge of sadness. As you know, I like business. Its a promising sign Jack... Making money out of being fearless and independent is pretty bloody cool. Maybe it shows that in the end some money will follow integrity. People actually like being told the truth. Some will tell you they don't but I know in my heart they do. Crikey! Shorely shome mishtake, Shteve?

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Don't look for Pants to drop anytime soon
O'Harrow was very animated in replying to the question:

What can one journalist do? Here are some excerpts from my choppy notes:
Independence: What did Rachel Carson do? Set your own journalistic agenda. … We're advocates for openness of government and accountability … That's what we should be advocates for. … Go off on your own and within those journalistic constraints tell the story. … Where is the lack of accountability? Show that and lay it out for the reader.
Persistence: Take the heat when people say, 'Who gave you the right to write about this?' Say, Well the Constitution gave me the right. … Do the digging and take the pain. Be righteous form a journalistic perspective.
Focus: You can only do one thing at a time. … Just do that and then do the next thing.
Dream: You have one life, one career, you might as well shoot for the stars." Maintain the traditional values of journalism but give in to the voice that says, I want to be romantic here.

Quality journalism requires passion and persistence. These are characteristics that can't be downsized.
Be dogged, follow truth, think big [Credits: Tim Porter ; Dan Gillmore: British Blogging 'Empire' Forming?]
• · Gothamist does not approve of anonymous blogging: We believe all bloggers should stand behind their posts with their real names. If you can't do that, you shouldn't be blogging. Ghost of Iron Curtain; [The most important week in TV this year: I know people will argue it's only a week or a night, but as in so many things in life momentum, when it is matched with skill, cleverness and some tenacity, changes the dynamics in business, sport and politics. So too in TV, especially commercial television in Australia. Desperately Lost Suits]
• · · Jay Rosen David Akin of CTV in Canada: It's Not the Blog. It's the Net. ; David Akin Working notes by a Canadian politics reporter
• · · · With a website for almost every cause, the internet could well be the world's largest rally - except protesters don't have to march or hoist a placard. Cyber warriors ; No worse than a bad cold Chalk unOutfoxed
• · · · · To legions of internet geeks she's the "International Librarian of Mystery". Natalie is smart, sexy and cool. A librarian with a wild streak and toast of the net. Natalie Bizgirl, who is is really James Guthrie Seeing isn't believing ; Biz girl
• · · · · · A first-person account is, after all, a confession; and the one who has something to confess has something to conceal. And the one who has the word I at his or her disposal has the quickest device for concealing himself. Stanley Cavell, Disowning Knowledge: In Six Plays of Shakespeare: Terry Teacher is one of the reasons I enjoy blogging as to read and then to share with others one of his priceless thoughts is like sharing my blood at the Red Cross. He has been a life saver to many artistic productions, careers and literatury ventures. If you’re expecting me to segue deftly into an announcement to the effect that I won’t be posting as regularly in the future as I have in the past, I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint you. I love “About Last Night,” and I intend to keep on writing it pretty much the way I have all along Terry points us in the right direction, then gives us a push; Ranking high on a Google search is advantageous for businesses, but how much is it really worth? Depends on who's tailoring the results. Commentary by Adam L. Penenberg Googling the Bottom Line ;

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

After almost five years of operation, yesterday afternoon Stephen Mayne and Paula Piccinini signed binding contracts for the $1 million sale of Crikey. The buyers are Eric Beecher and Di Gribble from Private Media Partners (PMP).
Our political correspondent Christian Kerr has been with us since day one, originally under the guise of Hillary Bray, and has done a superb job building our reputation in political circles with an enormous amount of consistently good copy.
All the other paid staff and contributors have also been vital to the success of Crikey and they include, in alphabetical order, Mark Cornwall, Glenn Dyer, Kate Jackson, Hugo Kelly, Charles Richardson, Ben Shearman and Ross Stapleton.
Then you have the various unpaid contributors such as Noel Turnbull's Miscellany column, Dan McNutt in Sydney, Cameron Weston in Japan and our Finnish correspondent Therese Catanzaritia.
There have also been literally hundreds of other unpaid anonymous contributors who have helped us produce the huge body of work which now numbers more than 10 million words. Thalia Meyerhold, JF Smith, Boilermaker Bill, Outside Centre, Delia Delegate and Wendy West are just some of the stage names that spring to mind.
Well, it has certainly been bedlam today since we emailed our 5300 subscribers at 9.30 this morning announcing the sale of Crikey.
Even sworn enemy Neil Mitchell lifted his 5 year ban and had Crikey on for a 5 minute chat just after 10am this morning. Naturally he described Crikey as scurrilous and said "95% of what you've said about me was wrong" but it was actually a pretty friendly and light-hearted exchange compared to past rumbles.
Proud new owner Eric Beecher also chatted about his purchase with ABC Melbourne’s Jon Faine this morning as part of Faine’s regular Wednesday media segment. Mayne sells Crikey for $1m; Crikey, the rumour is Mayne refuses $1m ; Crikey! Mayne sells for $1m ; I think this is big news because, as far as I know, it's the first time anybody has paid real money (rather than shares) Stephen Mayne,; to acquire an independent online publication in Australia

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Crikey! We all Fear Change Mightily
There is at least one American liberal left who actually possesses some degree of broad-mindedness and capacity for self-reflection:

Maybe you're like me and have opposed the Iraq war since before the shooting started — not to the point of joining any peace protests, but at least letting people know where you stood.

What if Bush has been right about Iraq all along? [I sometimes feel that it takes a tainted mind to understand - to really understand - the threat of Communism. To really understand Communism is to have touched pitch: one's view of man is forever defiled. To understand Communism means to understand the terrible capacity of man for violence and treachery, an apprehension of which leaves one forever tainted. André Malraux read Chambers's work and wrote to him, "You are one of those who did not return from hell with empty hands." Stepping Out of the Tar Pit; Regardless of its flaws and how it came about, Iraq's first free election in half a century is a historic event. Among other things, it has given quite a boost to a liberation process underway in the greater Middle East, sending tremors through both ruled and rulers. New kind of awe in the Mideast ]
• · Webdiary - Margo Kingston: G'day. The Iraqis, some of them anyway, have voted to elect people to then elect a Prime Minister and draw up a Constitution to put to the people at the end of the year. A few readers have asked me to dash off a comment piece on the election's success Desperate Iraq
• · · Election insides at Boris Johnson
• · · · Mr Carr said he wanted Mr Tripodi to be a warrior for public housing tenants ; Anyone who is lucky to be surrounded by a nice Catholic mother like Joe has cannot be as bad as the editorial suggests Joe Tripodi is not so much accident-prone as wilfully provocative; Joe Tripodi has many reasons to smile ; Desperate Google
• · · · · The daily business of Sydney's courts provided a ready source of human drama and gossip for the colony's newspapers. They could be insulting and contemptuous, but judges put a high value on the freedom of the press in the fledgling days of democracy. The governor was the absolute authority in Sydney - its media and the Supreme Court were the only institutions that threatened his dominance. Power and pain in wild Sydney; [Bob Carr was today sporting a scar above his top lip after a weekend excursion to the beach went wrong. Five people drowned in rough seas along the NSW coast at the weekend. When the NSW Premier arrives at a press conference with a split lip, it's a fair call to expect a bit of speculation about how he got it. So it came as no surprise yesterday that Bob Carr took the bull by the horns to explain his split lip to the gathering of salivating reporters hoping for a salacious yarn. Sadly, Carr's version of events was rather dull compared to what the conspiracy theorists were busy dreaming up. In truth, it happened when he went swimming at the beach at the weekend. "About the scar ... I was hit by an oar trying to get into the waves on a surf ski", he explained. "It was unwise [given the size of the waves] but I don't want anyone to speculate about an angry voter assaulting the premier." Carr among rough sea victims: Bob gets some fat lip]
• · · · · · Iraq election: Police prepare for more violence after shots fired in Sydney