Friday, April 29, 2005

The May edition of the Sydney Magazine that work of art insert inside the SMH this week is peppered with fascinating stories: ‘How Do I get One of Those?’ - The wizard, Mark Bouris, streches his answer over 7 pages. The famous poet and painter, John Hatton, and his wife Vera must be pleased with the apolitical Herald story as on page 120 Bonnie Malkin is on the husking at Huskinsson. The best kept secret is described as a place you do not want to leave in the hurry. For two decades in 1980s and 1990s my in-laws provided us with a cosy Batehaven weekender to travel to places like the Husky Pub - from dolphin watching to memorable walks along the white beaches.
In another master images Natalie Boog unveils Cronulla in her eagle eye lenses. Anneli Kinght deserves to be knighted for her suggestion that Cronulla is in the midst of a Velvet ‘(peaceful) Revolution, slowly blending a cosmopolitan cafe culture with its image as a lazy surfside locale ... a lifestyle that was immortalised by the 1981 Australian coming-of-exile (age) film Puberty Blues’ While Cronulla remains permanently soaked in a holiday feel the Grind expresso is in the honeymoon fever ... Richard gets a out of this world write up - ‘Grind, a tiny street-side cafe, wears its cult status on its walls in the form of hundreds of photographs of patrons at tourist spots across the world holding placards scribbled with I’d rather be at Grind.' Creative Spaces

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Reel of Seed Funds
Officials looking over filmmakers' shoulders is unlikely to improve Australian films

The Film Finance Corporation's new requirement for active involvement in the production of films that receive funding has been greeted with concern by the artistic classes. Some see further evidence of the Howard Government's crushing of dissent. Less paranoid filmmakers fear an intrusive corporation will impede their work and compromise artistic integrity.

Less government help may be better for the box office ; [Lord knows I was frustrated enough to kill someone. Joshilyn Jackson's Backstory for gods in Alabama ; Have you seen It's a Whole New Internet; New libraries turn tide of decline Who Knew? Great Libraries Draw Readers ]
• · Did Michael Chabon invent a personal Holocasut history to "fashion his previously banal suburban persona into a more complex Jewish identity? Anatomy of a hoax ; Calling upon writers to do more of their own promotional The Hype Debate ; An Argument for Writers' Taking Charge ; Today's corporate weather-makers hate "book-lovers", as they sneeringly refer to them.Against Good Books
• · · Slavoj Zizek's rock-star status brings out adoring fans. The intellectual giant ; Samuel Taylor Pooter at your service. High as a kite and mad as a goose. Emerson and Coleridge: never meet your heroes
• · · · Yeah, but who makes more money? ; Gimme A Pound Of The Roast Beef, And One Of Those Tom Clancy Things Attention, Shoppers: Sale on Fresh Books in Aisle 3; Even well-established writers with great reviews are having difficulty getting their books sold these days He's a Literary Darling Looking for Dear Readers
• · · · · While in Australia Book Chain Collins Booksellers Goes Bankrupt - in the Us independent bookstore's last chapter Another Indie Bookstore Gives Up The Ghost: Bound To Be Read ; Getting Foreign Lit A Place At The Table Found in Translation ; For the first time, print-on-demand companies are successfully positioning themselves as respectable alternatives to mainstream publishing and erasing the stigma of the old-fashioned vanity press Self-Publishing Finds Its Legs
• · · · · · E-books have yet to crack the publishing industry Books Get Wired (As A Plot Device) ; Word Associations: The wicked allure of lit blogs - Blogging The Written Word ; From coast to coast, budget strains and tax pressures are forcing cities to make hard choices about how to spend limited money, and libraries, much to many residents' dismay, are taking the hit. The Endangered American Libraries

Monday, April 25, 2005

My writing is outsider's writing - and all of a sudden it becomes a kind of trend or mainstream My characters are always the one who gets kicked in the chair [Until you're 70 you're a young writer ;-) ]

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Stream of consciousness in full spate
Consciousness is very isolating for Virginia Woolf, but her fiction always works towards making connections - between people, and across time. This may be the reason why her novels so often focus upon hostesses, such as Mrs Ramsay or Clarissa Dalloway, for the hostess is a person who specialises in bringing people together. Perhaps they reminded Woolf of the kind of role she herself wanted to play - that of the discreet enabler, who helps establish connections between strangers ...
In May 1929, at the peak of her literary career, and having already published eight novels to critical acclaim, Virginia Woolf made the following note in her diary about a new idea for a novel:

Now about this book, The Moths [later to become The Waves]. How am I to begin it? And what is it to be? I feel no great impulse; no fever; only a great pressure of difficulty. Why write it then? Why write at all?

Virginia Woolf didn’t believe in biography. A bastard, an impure art she called it, in which the truth of the inner life - the only life we have - was always being strangled by the fungoid growth of external facts. The biographer cannot extract the atom, he gives us the husk. And so Woolf remained deeply suspicious of conventional biography, always more interested in what slipped through its net - the unrepresented, the unfixed, the fine-grained, the feminine.
• It is true that biography tends to see everything back-to-front Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life [With online shopping comes a new chapter in the secondhand business, and shops morph to survive Creative destruction: Used-book sellers span digital ; Marina Krakovsky: Making Books Love, lust and literary life ]
• · Who can forget the day Oprah came to Literaryville? She blazed into town like a carpetbagger preaching glory, unpacking her Book Club to the awe and unease of the locals, who whispered about her behind her back. She was sanctified and vilified and, finally, she was hounded right out of town - well, metaphorically speaking Thorn: Author covers prose, cons of Oprah's club ; A novelist is an imaginative historian who is able to get closer to contemporary facts than social scientists possibly can Novelist par excellence: Praise from the best
• · · Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned... I did a bad thing today. No, really. I know it's hard for you to believe. Arrggghhhh...I guess I'll have to fill you in. Super-volcano, robotic rebellion or JI (Jozef Imrich)? Kate Ravilious asks 10 scientists to name the biggest danger to Earth and assesses the chances of it happening What a way to go ; The Fire Sermon: The more criticism attempts to tame this wildness the more it must ultimately have recourse to adjectives like ineffable, unspeakable, unutterable Shelf Life: Literary Essays and Reviews of Waste Land
• · · · It's not always interesting, but it's my life ... My husband and I were sitting in the kitchen, the edited manuscript of my first book in my hands, the galleys in his. I always read aloud, he always proofreads -- that's our system. That was the first time, though, and we didn't really have a system yet. It was just the two of us, trying to figure out how to review galleys The I in Sociology ; Research and Markets: Teenagers Hold Power Over Advertising and Marketing World ; If you walk into the library with an axe and start surfing Internet porn sites, you're bound to cause a stir Library rethinks ‘porn' policy
• · · · · Maurice Yacowar is right that The Sopranos bears the critical analysis routinely accorded good literature, drama, and films When America opened the floodgates and let all us Italians in, what do you think they were doing it for? ; Believing in Yourself" as Classroom Culture (Special Edition - Issue) : It has become part of the conventional wisdom that a decidedly left-wing slant influences what students are taught at elite colleges and universities in America, chiefly at Ivy League institutions. Critics of the academy have lambasted faculty doves. History shows that academia has roosted a flock of hawks The Academic Elite Goes to Washington, and to War
• · · · · · Rural schools often lack a library. This means that there is no place for children to get their hands on a great book to encourage more learning or to gain a new skill like computers Reading Room ; During Auschwitz: Adorno, Hegel, and the "Unhappy Consciousness" of Critique

Sunday, April 24, 2005

If enjoying 15 minutes of fame is wrong, I don't want to be right ;-:

As at Sunday 24 April 2005 AD at 7:07 AM, there is something for everyone on the Blogstreet . Want a proof? Look no further than all the content they have managed to squeeze into the top 50 (Fifty) political bloggers, the virtual movers and shakers ;-D Media Dragon is on a list (#40 or #430 in the whole wide world context) and who can blame us for making hay while the sunshine is smiling at us. We realise how fleeting the Warhol’s metaphor of15 minutes of fame really is. We also know that Blogger is under ruthless attack from the Microsoft which has created 7 Million blogs (as of Friday) and it is growing by 100,000 every week. The only sad news is that many blogs tend to fade and die within a month or so. Anyway if you decide to take a walk down the Blogstreet Boulevarde (sic) I can assure you that you can find something to suit whatever political mood you are in today. Scared of Dragons? Try Eschaton as Atrios is #1 Like conservative way of betting? Czech out the Soprano, also known as Instapundit, as Glen Reynolds is #2. How about daily political fights or rants on the state of the nation (US bias), as there is only MEdia Dragon and another antipodean Angry Bear on the loathed and loved Blogstreet ranking system. Turn to Daily Kos is at #5 (whole world wide web has him at #7). If you are a riverbend fan of war and peace, czech out Baghdad Burning at #12 (or overall #35) Do not forget that the smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. The Smallest Minority with cold dead heands is #49 (or #575 on www)

The Blog, The Press, The Media: CEOs & Followers - Tail or Heads
The yogurt-maker's CEO Gary Hirshberg and Chief Blogger Christine Halverson on how the Web journals connect them to customers

Stonyfield Farm, 85%-owned by France's Groupe Danone, is the largest organic yogurt company in the world. Based in Londonderry, N.H., Stonyfield took to blogging in a big way last year -- and even hired its own blogger, Christine Halverson. A former journalist and almanac writer, she landed the job a year ago in March and now authors five blogs for Stonyfield, including Strong Women Daily News and The Bovine Bugle

The Hot Breath of the Web [BusinessWeek Blog: Blogspotting, Where the worlds of business, media and blogs collide ; Adam Groves says he's "sure Bill Hobbs is feeling his age and trying to keep up with all the grassroots political reporting that blogs are accomplishing now statewide for different demographics with different biases." If my dream for the Tennessee blogosphere was realized, there would be a slew of Tennessee bloggers reporting ]
• · Headlines from Australian political blogs Blogdiggers ; Capture: Tim Dunlop on the way to catch the waves The Surfer is Back
• · · You Know the Internet Has Come of Age... When the two highest paid CEOs in business are Barry Diller (IAC) and Terry Semel (Yahoo) Semel, Diller are top dogs; Vertical Engine Lures IT Marketers
• · · · On a worldwide basis, Google employed 3,482 full time employees as of March 31, 2005 GOOGle Earnings are In: Big. Big. Big. ; This is a purely snobby elitist bad-ass-A-list-bloggers exclusive event BEFORE the dinner which is open to all EXCLUSIVE: Defining the A-List at BloggerCon
• · · · · Our media environment is very noisy, abundant, even polluted. Columbia journalism professor Todd Gitlin calls it “media unlimited,” while writer David Shenk calls it “data smog” Too Much Media ; These folks that, that sat in front of me today are the most remarkable, efficient producers we've ever known on the face of the earth. And they produce and produce, and we need to figure out a way to get their product sold A Bumper Crop of Government-Produced News
• · · · · · The future of journalism Yesterday's papers ; You can't afford to miss this wave -- and even more important, you can't afford to do it wrong Six Tips for Corporate Bloggers ; I've just been reading the drafts of the four interviews that Shel Israel posted in the past few days ... Why Every Company Should Blog

Friday, April 22, 2005

There are tributes from every corner of NSW for the Mayor of the Greater Hume Shire, Ian Glachan, who died in hospital on Wednesday. I met Ian Glachan and his wife Helen even before he became a Member of Parliament in 1988. Yes, Ian was a much admired Member of Parliament. But oh, there was so much more. Everything he tackled, he gave 300 percent. Ian was one of those special people, who it was a privilege to know and a pleasure to work with. I recall fondly the thousand and one meetings Ian organised around the NSW rural communities during the inquiry into the Rural Assistance Scheme.
NSW Liberal Leader Mr John Brogden led the tributes, noting Mr Glachan had served the people of Albury with distinction for 15 years before retiring in 2003.

Eye on Politics & Law Lords:
Mr Glachan was a humble man who thrived on hard work.

He was proud of his service as a marine engineer who became a farmer, then a businessman and above all, a great servant of the people of this area. Mr Glachans achievements in his first few years were impressive: a new base hospital, a new police headquarters, a new school for Jindera and the Borella Rd bridge on the Riverina Highway.
Among his important State appointments was acting Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. Ian Glachan was a true gentleman, Mr Brogden said.
Member for Albury Mr Greg Aplin said he would miss Mr Glachans voice of reason. “Ian was a great rock, a magnificent community member, a mentor and friend to me,” Mr Aplin said.
The Anglican Bishop of Wangaratta, the Rt Rev David Farrer said Mr Glachan had been a significant figure for St Pauls Church at Jindera, the Northern Albury parish and Trinity Anglican College.
Former trade minister Mr Tim Fischer said Mr Glachan never knew when to stop giving to the community locally, State-wide and nationally.

Mr Glachan is survived by his wife for 47 years, Helen, three daughters, and several grandchildren.
He will be sadly missed [When I was a child I lived fairly close to the Sydney Cricket Ground, In the summer.. my mother would give us some lunch you know to go to the cricket ground, and if we had no money we would just hang around the gate, and the old fellows on the turn styles would say what are you kids doing and we would say we haven't got any money, and they would say come on sneak in you'll be right. In we would go and we would watch whoever was playing.. "I saw Bradman a number of times and I saw Keith Miller too...Mr Ian Glachan had a vivid memory of Keith Miller on the cricket pitch ; Mr Glachan (courtesy of Google) ]
• · We are who we are because of our stories British Election Update, II: Understanding Ideology ; The magistrate, Paul Falzon, acknowledged Mr Knowles's regret, but noted that he had lost 49 points on his licence and had 14 speeding offences since 1980. "It's not a good driving record, it really isn't Drink-driver Knowles steered straight into a ban
• · · Theologian and minister, physician, musician, philanthropist and humanitarian, Nobel Prize winner, genius and saint; if there ever was a greater man alive in my lifetime, or perhaps any time, I don’t know who it could be Reverence For Life ; "Let's be clear about something -- there is not a single federal judge, there is not a single ACLU lawyer, there is not a single "liberal interest group" that wants to deprive anybody of any heritage or religious freedom. Religious Differences
• · · · Centrists Under Siege ; We had thousands of people from all over America come to Florida to knock on doors. But the Republicans had thousands of people all over Florida knock on their neighbors' doors, and that's more effective. - Howard Dean, on the recipe for the GOP's success. Quote of the Day: Howard Dean
• · · · · That bastion of Liberal values, the Utah Legislature, voted to ignore parts of the Feds "No Child Left Behind" program that conflict with state goals or are unfunded mandates that the state would have to make up. Good for them! Everyone, regardless of race or ability, deserves the best education possible;
• · · · · · Chris Ahmelman, a former member of the Australian Army working as a private security guard in Iraq, was among three foreigners killed in a roadside attack in Baghdad. Australian killed in Baghdad ; The 21-year-old alleged godfather of the Bali heroin syndicate told his Australian smugglers to follow his orders or he would kill their families. ‘If we dob them in, they kill our family, and we're dead anyway’ Godfather threatened us, claim smugglers ; Schapelle Corby waited until she was deep inside the holding cells at the back of the Denpasar District Court before she unleashed the wail that has been building inside her for months. This is the end of my life'

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Vatican uses electronic voting machines.... ...and Bush is elected Pope!
Catholics in America are getting quite an introduction in agenda journalism today, as report after report sells the liberal line about the new pope. Is it not possible that dissent on that single teaching is the exception that proves the rule of fidelity to the Church's teaching and leadership rather than compelling proof of a "liberal" laity disappointed by Tradition Church doctrine?

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Strong Reaction to His Holiness: Is the Smoke Really Black and White . . .
The new pope will not be a clone of the old. I've spoken to him several times over the last 40 years, and he is a much shyer man, quieter, more like a country pastor or a scholar than like an actor striding across all history as his stage. When one approaches him, he seems to back up an inch or two in diffidence. His voice is much softer than one expects.

THE election of Cardinal Josef Ratzinger as pope was John Paul II's last gift to the Roman Catholic Church. No cardinal was closer to John Paul II, or talked at length with him more often. In his sermon at the memorial for the late pope, Cardinal Ratzinger, with perfect pitch, praised his predecessor's gifts in poetry, drama and art, and the sweep of his vision and accomplishments. The sermon was interrupted many times by hearty applause, especially from the young.

The best man for the job: The Papacy is the oldest and most successful institution in the world. Asking the Pope to abandon or water down Catholic doctrine would be like asking him to abolish his own office. Joseph Ratzinger has been the most powerful figure in the Church after John Paul II for the past two decades. It is entirely right that he should have the opportunity to serve the Church in the capacity for which he is so obviously head and shoulders above the rest. Among so many eminences, he was pre-eminent.
Rome's Radical Conservative [Marla Ruzicka, bohemian by temperament and genes, was actually in Iraq doing practical work and saving lives. Our Heart and Conscience: Practical Poppess ; via Tim Dunlop ]
• · A Pope For The Grown-Ups: A pope who likes Acton, Madison and de Tocqueville. Works for me. The Hard Line on Ratzinger ; For the past 25 years, a meeting took place each week which defied the history of the 20th century. A Pole and a German met in peace to discuss the will of God. Every Friday, Pope John Paul II, the Pole, sat with Josef Ratzinger, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, alone. Now the Pole is dead, and the German is Pope. Pope Benedict has a sense of history
• · · After a tense day and a half of waiting, the tell-tale white smoke poured from the chimney and the faithful streamed toward St. Peter's Square as bells pealed the news that a new pope had been chosen. Waving crosses, cheering "We have a pope!" and staring expectantly up at the balcony above St. Peter's, the thousands gathered to watch the first appearance of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the 265th pope Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger Named 265th Pope ; Joseph Ratzinger Chosen as New Pope ; Tests for an Unbending Pope Smoke In The Air: Habemus Papam Following John Paul II, only two popes remain in the prophecy. The next motto is Gloria Olivae, the glory of the olive. This motto has led to speculation that the next pontiff will be from the Order of Saint Benedict or will at least choose Benedict as his papal name Lets Crucify him: Penultimate Pope
• · · · [ Arguments Against Joseph Ratzinger] Ken Parish said: How depressing Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI; Antony Loewenstein said: Personally, I salute the choice of Ratzinger, if for no other reason than the church's inherent bigotry and misogyny will finally be clear for all to see Ratzinger; Andrew Sullivan predicts civil war within Catholicism: How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking
• · · · · [Arguments for Joseph Ratzinger] E. J. Dionne Jr. said: The modern world, Ratzinger insisted, has jumped "from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, up to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism and on and on. Cardinal Ratzinger's Challenge: A Society which Exchanges One Brutalism for Another ; Hugh Hewitt said: Neither of the two liberal columnists or the liberal Los Angeles Times tackles the central issue. Each in turn bumps and runs, refusing the challenge and instead veering off into comfortable canards or wrestling with straw men. ; Professor Bainbridge sez: I realize that calling Sullivan is an ass is not very charitable, but sometimes you just have to state harsh truths. Andrew Sullivan is an Ass
• · · · · · Robert Dreyfuss: The problem with holding elections under hostile occupation has finally reared its hoary head. Can civil war be avoided? Iraq's Catch-22; Bob Herbert Freedom From Want ; The business press, as always, reassures passengers that they are headed for a "soft landing," a slowdown rather than a crash, but even a mild jolt may be sufficient to end the current anemic recovery and throw all the dollar-pegged economies into recession Protection Racket: Riding the Real Estate Tsunami; George Soros told a carefully vetted gathering of 70 likeminded millionaires and billionaires last weekend that they must be patient if they want to realize long-term political and ideological yields from an expected massive investment in “startup” progressive think tanks Soros says be patient

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Don't be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin.
-Grace Hansen
From world-leading authors to emerging young talent, these writers entertain and educate, delighting our minds and enriching our lives. Whether it's pulp fiction or highbrow literary masterpiece each author comes with a 20% discount. Dymocks Dragon: Celebrating Reading and Writing

The Sydney Writers' Festival: 23-29 May Spread the Word: One Week of Swimming Words
One of Sydney's key cultural events, the 2005 Sydney Writers' Festival, is around the corner (23 to 29 May 2005). Sydney has a rich literary tradition and this is reflected on the Harbour every May. This festival highlight the diversity and excellence of both Antipodean and international writers.This year the festival somehow managed to stich up more international drawcards from all four corners of the globe than ever before, making this year’s festival a truly international event even Kate’s sister Judith Curr is invading Sydney. Judith first question at the editorial meeting is How will we get the word out? She sure knows how to force publishers to focus on the reality of the market. The tradition and the muscle of Simon & Schuster has given a birth to a few colourful trials and tribulations which have provided a surprising but useful opportunity for booksellers Down Under. Judith was a member of the original literary heavyweight team that founded Transworld Pty in 1981, the Australian subsidiary of Bantam Doubleday Dell, and was initially responsible for publicity and marketing. Throughout her career, she resisted the temptation to enter politics and now Australia has a voice in one of the publishing powerhouses in New York.

Thumbs up to the impressive official program which was distributed on April 16 inside the Spectrum magazine of the Sydney Morning Herald and on the link below has all the events listed in a chronological order. You can even use a search facility.
How they manage it year after year is a mystery, but over 200 world-leading literary, social and political writers as well as distinctive new talents from home and abroad will engage with an estimated 50,000 visitors at more than 240 events stretching from the heart of Sydney to the Blue Mountains. There is something for everyone as Alan Hollinghurst (UK), winner of the 2004 prize will be among the speakers. The remarkably talented Michael Winter (Canada) will be on our shores as well as Nancy Pearl (USA), the celebrity librarian extraordinaire, who will recommend reading for every mood, moment and reason. Nancy is a legend!
Why not become a member of our much-valued group of Friends and take advantage of some of these privileges?

It is said that in bigger cities like Sydney, there are a lot of options, which nobody takes advantage of. In smaller cities like Adelaide and Brissie, there are limited options, which people take advantage of.
“The story of SWF has become a kind of natural resource — not only for writers but also for filmmakers, musicians and artists of all kinds. The story about bookworms under the spell of words has been casting its own spell on readers for eight years.
Come hell or high water bookworms revel in the joys of the written word: Sydney Theatre 22 Hickson Rd Walsh Bay
• Another Chapter Opens ‘stopping people being scared of literature:’ SWF Book Lust Forever! [How to find stuff - by date - by category - by writer - by search: Who and What is on Where and When ; Writers of fiction, nonfiction, screenplays and poetry Liquid Lunches ]
• · Caro Llewellyn: Big Names at the Festival ; Sydney Talks All The Time
• · · Are Writers' Festivals a Waste of Time? Bruce Elder, "agrees", and Susan
Wyndham, "disagrees"
; The Rise of Literary Festivals We are who we are because of our stories: Making Conversation
• · · · Listen to colourful stories while staring at autumn leaves floating in the Sydney harbour. The challenge for writers' festivals today is to give audiences liberal helpings of real, gritty substance Authors with attitude ; Oh My God, I’m A Real Writer! An Interview with Kirsty Brooks By Kate Cuthbert Word Smitten
• · · · · Now I dare that bookseller to rephrase her story but make it about flower people ;-D A Bookseller's Perspective ; Literary Bloggers hope to stoke interest in overlooked books ; 101 Best Web Sites
• · · · · · You can't judge a book by its cover, but librarian Nancy Pearl thinks the first line can tell you a lot. Pearl shares some of her favorite literary opening Famous First Words ; Sydney PEN, one of 133 PEN centres worldwide, conducts campaigns and holds events supporting literature, fostering international understanding and defending freedom of expression Katherine Thomson: Sydney PEN Centre

Monday, April 18, 2005

Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.
- Thomas Jefferson

Because debate between the parties usually dominates public discussion, it is often difficult for the backbench to make a mark. But at the moment, because the party contest is limping along without much fire in its belly, there has been plenty of attention given to the activities of government backbenchers. Some of them have become media stars or at least starlets. Howard’s backbenchers make their mark by being back in the spotlight

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Federalism
Federalism needs to be reinvented to end buck passing and duplication. Federalism seems to be dysfunctional and as George Williams noted: ‘we need to develop a new deal for Australian federalism. Aaron Timms has a strong metaphor: If federalism were a hospital patient, we’d be debating whether to switch off its life support...

AUSTRALIAN federalism has been dysfunctional for a long time. Recent disputes over GST revenue, a national industrial relations law and state referrals of power are just the latest examples of deep-seated problems. These can be traced back to when the Constitution came into force in 1901. At the time, Alfred Deakin, one of Australia’s first prime ministers, predicted that the states would find themselves ‘legally free, but financially bound to the chariot wheels of the Central Government’.

Time for long-term solutions [via Bespacific: After decades of official secrecy, periods of serious corruption and instances of political abuse, the Internal Revenue Service in the mid-1970s turned a corner and began providing the American people with information that allowed them to better judge what the agency was doing Denial of FOIA Request for Portions of IRS Manual Results in Lawsuit ; Jason Method of the Asbury Park Press reports that a construction official charged in an FBI bribery sting also is under investigation by a state agency for failing to detect several potentially deadly defects at a townhouse complex, such as inadequate fire walls. Construction Woes: Deficient fire walls ]
• · Many commentators assume that sometime before the 1980s and the emergence of economic rationalism, neo-liberalism and finance-driven capitalism was a golden age during which most people had permanent full time jobs, manageable workloads, viable communities and family life. Well, not exactly all of us, says Suzanne Franzway. Work and family life: what we’ve forgotten ; At a time when dissatisfaction with politicians is glaringly evident, the solution is not less democracy, of course; it is deeper democracy. And in deliberative experiments around the world, goverments and NGOs are attempting to extend citizen participation beyond voting, lobbying, and protesting. Lyn Carson assesses these experiments. Citizens and governments: stroppy adversaries or partners in deliberation? ; Peter Saunders analyses how the welfare state might be transformed to give ordinary people more control over key areas of their lives which are currently managed for them by the government The $85 billion tax/welfare churn ; In debates about changes in our tax laws, politicians have mostly hidden the real problems that threaten our future. They focus on the ideological class-warfare struggle that pits the poor against the rich and gets everyone screaming about unfair redistribution of wealth. Sharing the Tax Burden
• · · Bruce Kent surveys the chequered history of post-war reconstruction from the Treaty of Versailles to the present The great powers and post-war reconstruction, from Versailles to nation-building lite ; The state uses millions in tax dollars to help certain companies create jobs. But does that strategy pay off for taxpayers? Risky business ; Better to fix Telstra’s problems now, not later, argues John Quiggin Creating a risky and messy monopoly
• · · · With control of the Senate, the Coalition government will move further down the path of labour market deregulation The Australian labour market since the federal election ; The preservation of the apprenticeship system in the Australian construction industry contrasts with its collapse in Britain over the last three decades Construction industry apprenticeships in Australia and the United Kingdom: a tale of two systems ; The solution to skill shortages is intelligent planning The fear factor
• · · · · via Scoop: Attacks on vehicles have accounted for as many as 40 percent of the 1,037 deaths of soldiers attributed to hostile action. Iraq: Waiting for Armor ; The past fifteen years have seen a rapid growth in private sector firms supporting military operations. More recently, the ADF has employed the private sector to varying degrees in East Timor, Bougainville, Afghanistan and Iraq War and profit: doing business on the battlefield
• · · · · · Larry Margasak and Sharon Theimer of the Associated Press reviewed federal campaign. Similarly, Richard Simon, Chuck Neubauer and Rone Tempest of the Los Angeles Times Congressional Family Payrolls ; Tim Smith of the Greenville News used state records to show that relatives of two South Carolina Department of Transportation commissioners have been hired at the agency Highway commissioners' relatives hired at DOT ; Yahoo news in the new Beta version Taxing Times in America

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
-Margaret Mead

In the interest of objectivity, since I complained about the horrible April weather in Sydney when I first invaded Cronulla a year or so ago, I think I ought to admit that this weekend is just sensational ...
To boot, the People of Cronulla have embraced the warm and comfortable Grind as well as its Barista Richard with full arms. Nobody makes an expresso for your blood stream as good as Richard brews. Nobody understands better the desperate need amongst the locals to belong, that strange bohemian hunger, which can only be sated by cool and perceptive publicans and baristas ;-D While Richard has a knack for enriching the lives of everyone who enters the kofi shrine there is one gal who not only likes his manners or his passion for expresso, but who loves the creator so much she is willing to risk it all and say ‘till death do us part.’ I understand the wedding is in June and the honeymoon destination is London and beyond. I remember well our honeymoon in London back in June 1984 it was great to explore the Great Britain ans especially to meet all those Rossiters and Reids. The smallest hole in the wall espresso bar with the biggest following

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Tossing a Pebble
I love reading that untamed writer Emily Maquire who from time to time spills her soul inside the pages of the Sydney Morning Herald. Like this weekend she asks Me - a middle-class writer and teacher - a hippie? I could not find a link, but go to page 12 of the Spectrum and digest the entire story entitled Hippie hippie shakedown: The ideas that ordinary people ... can and do make a difference ... The challenge is the same one that Walt Whitman issued 150 years ago: ... hate tyrants ... re-examine all you have been told at school and church or in any book, dismiss whatever isults your soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem.
Another freelance writer I enjoy reading is Alison Cameron and on page 14 of the Spectrum she negotiates the steely factions of the schoolyards in Sydney. Ach and how much truth is poured in the jest ;-D. As digital immigrants who have lived uprooted and undomesticated lives with our two bambinos in East Sydney, inner Prague, inner Adelaide, Brissie’s Wilson Hills and Scarborough and now the SHIRE we identify with the deep sense of humour of the coffee mums of the gated communities ;-)

My Grand Obsession with the Mad Master: Most of the people who are willing to be interviewed are not worth interviewing. The uninterviewed are the ones you really want - the recluses, the crackpots who disappeared from public view decades ago and retain an aura of inaccessibility, perverseness, danger even. Forget Hello! Think Goodbye.

When I become self-critical I always ask myself, Who are you to be perfect? Too much of our time is spent worrying about what others are thinking when most people are not thinking about us at all.
Creative streaks [ I believe in a world that does not exist but by believing it, I create it. - Nikos Kazantzaka Ah, You're Such A Romantic (Just Don't Admit It) ; Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold. -Leo Tolstoy Miracles materialise when mateship really matters ]
• · There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. - Henry David Thore : The word root of the European race and the word ‘ slav ’ stands for a stranger or a barbarian - in most dictionaries the root usually ends with an E Get more profit out of the third world: Got Slaves? ; Dan Hart of Brisbane has self-published the story of his life culled from over 70 years of diary entries. If nothing else it shows a degree of dedication most of us would envy Mountain of memories makes for the story of a lifetime
• · · As Paul Moravec explained in an interview earlier this year with the San Francisco Chronicle, he has been suicidal, hospitalized twice for clinical depression and, 10 years ago, was treated with electroshock therapy. Fortunately, Paul not only survived but prevailed, and even managed to compose a remarkable piece of music, Mood Swings, that was directly inspired by his illness. “What we need,” he added, “is a different word for clinical depression—a new word. One that has the same emotional impact as, say, leukemia.” Like melancholy prince of his musical 'Fantasy,' Moravec used imagination to overcome despair ; Exclusive for under 40 and people who have a life Thorpe defects to Foxtel
• · · · Another best-selling book relating a victim's story from the Arab world has been questioned, with an Australian academic challenging the Palestinian memoir Burned Alive by Souad. Historian challenges Palestinian bestseller ; Robert Adamson was a hopeless thief. He never expected to get caught and he was always caught. He stole odd things: a bird from a zoo, a Gestetner copier from his school, farmed trout, milk money, petrol and Customline cars. Inside Out: An autobiography; Rise and Rise of Area - Zone 51: Terence West: Best Selling book by Double Dragon Fallen Angels ; Surreal Vienna
• · · · · Ever since the Belle de Jour blog won the best written category in the Guardian Unlimited weblog awards back in 2003, media speculation over the identity of its author has been rife. Will the real Belle de Jour please stand up? ; Belle de Jour ; Having a few problems with the translation? You know, rosebuds? As in flowers
• · · · · · Some are single through choice; others have it thrust upon them Back to square one ; #1 Most viewed articles this weekend! Revenge of the Nature: Some want physical closeness but not intercourse, and they may not be the rarity the rest of the community thinks. For those who identify themselves as asexual, there's nothing quite as dull as the pleasures of the flesh. Some people are outing themselves as asexual, preferring to go to bed with a good book, like Freezing River, than someone else When sex isn't on the menu: No sex please, I'm not into it

Friday, April 15, 2005

Truth comes from triangulating many different points of view. Truth doesn't come from the authorized knowers.
-Jay Rosen It seems like old times again so what's extraordinary is that Rupert Murdoch is beginning to sing from the blogger's hymnbook: Blogs' Latest Champion: Rupert Murdoch

We linked to the speech by Rupert Murdoch yesterday and today The esteemed Editor & Publisher magazine has a fearless headline Murdoch: Newspapers Must Stop Fearing Web. The story throws a hook to the digital surfers and immigrants on the Net: "I didn't do as much as I should have after all the [Internet] excitement of the late 1990s. I thought this thing called the digital revolution would just limp along. Well, it hasn't. It is a fast-developing reality that we should grasp to improve our journalism and expand our reach."
Murdoch tells editors to embrace Media Dragons (Microsoft spell check suggestion for ‘Imrich’ is ‘embrace’ ;-) and the bloggers Rupert Wants Online--Again

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Let Us Prey? Media Dragon v.Yahoo 'Hybrid'
The Freedom Blog awards, which celebrate blogs worldwide that have campaigned against censorship, are rolling into action Voting opens for the Freedom Blog awards
Trying to understand the complex relationship between bloggers and search engines has become my own personal Waterloo.

In a contest between man and machine, traditional news Web sites are facing competition from online challengers that employ computers as editors -- Google Inc. being the prime example.
But challenging them all is the news site of Yahoo Inc., a hybrid that pairs human oversight with automation and serves up news from multiple sources. In six of the past 14 months, Yahoo's news site has drawn more unique visitors than any rival, displacing longtime news leader, according to research firm Nielsen/NetRatings.

We ignore blogs at our peril ... Stealing some of newspapers' role in the community? One commentator, Jeff Jarvis, puts it this way: give the people control of media, they will use it. Don't give people control of media, and you will lose them.
Making News: information wants to be free [; It can be tough to train journalists how to be bloggers ; Google: on Uncle Rupert ]
• · Although George W Bush is just months into his second term, politicians have already launched their campaigns on the internet for next year's mid-term elections. US politicians embrace podcasts ; The A.P. is using photographers who have relationships with the terrorists Blogs Incensed Over Pulitzer Photo Award
• · · How often we recall, with regret, that Napoleon once shot at a magazine editor and missed him and killed a publisher. But we remember with charity, that his intentions were good- Mark Twain; The challenges of the online world by Rupert Murdoch: Speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Washington DC, April 13, 2005
Deep, deep local news. Relevant national and international news. Commentary and Debate. Gossip and humor. But our internet site will have to do still more to be competitive ; 2002 AD Blogworld
• · · · Google vs. News Inc. ; It's a journalist's job to ask questions, but they're usually aimed at outsiders Blog-o-mania Hits Newspapers
• · · · · Who said I like Media Dragon? The kind and generous stranger, Jay Rosen, author of "What Are Journalists For?" and founder of the public journalism movement will be speaking at the 2005 Alfred Deakin Innovation Lectures from 29 April to 12 May. My old Professors who awarded me with the BA back in 1991 scored this great scorcard. Ach, if only the multitalented Patricia Azarias was still the Director of the PAC you would be able to meet some of the speakers in Sydney. Anyway Melbourne is a winner with its series entitled Innovation: Everyone, Everyday, Everywhere Lecture Series To Explore The Big Issues Of Our Time ; Warning PDF version ahead Shawn Callahan in the paper below discusses how blogging can help sales support people provide better assistance to the sales force and customers. Using content to create connections among people - courtesy of Patti Anklam Distinctions in the domain of complexity - via one and only Bill Ives; Google's Blogger is home to some eight million blogs, more than any other hosting service, reports MarketWatch The Blogging Geyser: Blogger Top Blog Host
• · · · · · Blog Report Report: Giants Among Men ; Criminals create a blog on a legitimate host site, post viruses or keylogging software to the page, and attract traffic to the blog by sending a link through spam or instant messaging (IM) to a large number of recipients. In other cases, the blog can be used as a storage mechanism which keeps malicious code that can be accessed by a Trojan horse that has already been hidden on the user's computer Don't you know your blog's toxic?

Water flows through literature. There is the recurring motif of yearning for rain as the farmer looks at his sun-baked field and his hungry family. There is the intimate relationship of an individual or a community with a particular river or sea. But water in literature is also as a persona larger than a single entity. There is the beneficent life-giver, the nurturing mother-river in stories of fishing villages, and people who live off the sea or river as others live off the forest. To them, the water body that is an intimate part of their lives is not only the wise and generous mother, but also a goddess — complete with unpredictable whims and tantrums. She has to be propitiated with ritual, prayer, respect, fear, sometimes a life or two. But she also receives, without complaint, the burden of human imagination and the words and actions that spring out of it. Whether it is the water-myths peopled by both benevolent and malignant creatures, or the waterside ambience of human love (the season of amorous behaviour always rainy), or the ashes of a human body, water is big enough, and complex enough, to take it all in its flow. Lives in myth and literature emerge half-formed or fully formed from water. They also, at the end of their lives, often cross a body of water to the afterlife.
- Second Thoughts Githa Hariharan

Dragon slaying no longer has to be interrupted by blogging ... A dragon at their feet, an iron castle in their sight What elemental dragon are you?

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Book clubs discuss more than literature
The book is about the launching of homemade rockets by poor West Virginia boys in the 1960s. But like any story about the human experience, it's also a basis for conversation about larger issues. In Hickam's case, a central theme involves the father-son relationship.

I sometimes tell our children that if they go through life expecting certain actions on the part of others, they'll set themselves up for disappointment; it's not possible for us to control how others behave. However, we do have control over our own actions. Through his example, Hickam taught that lesson as well as anybody.

The image of water is at both beginning and end of the lifecycle in the universal memory. The sea means water, the giver of life and livelihood, as well as the end of life, and the world, as we know it. The sea takes away a life or an age ...
Rocket Boys, on which the film October Sky is based [I’ve gotten several questions about how to get into the technical book writing business based on my posting from March 9th. This ended up being a bigger discussion than I expected. So I thought I’d blog it in the next three entries. The Book Writing Business, part 1 ; What is the meaning of the rise in popularity of philosophy? Julian Baggini thinks he has the answers The big issues ]
• · A large number of publishers will be heading to the offices of Trident Media Group over the next few days for confidential reads of a 56-page book proposal from Sharon Rocha, the late Laci Peterson's mother. According to a source familiar with proposal, it includes personal information between a mother and daughter that hasn't been revealed before. New Peterson Deal in the Making--And More ; Book Trade UK Honors Itself
• · · Only Stalin, Hitler, and Kirkus Reviews could hate a book this good The Blurb Project; The story of Frankenstein, with its enduring questions of science and religion still relevant Learning from literature
• · · · The LA Times files a long piece of Walter Mosley as the city prepares to begin its One Book One City program featuring his LITTLE SCARLET Easy writer: Like his protagonist Rawlins, Mosley is wary of labels; Shouldn't You Know What Publisher Liquid Lunch Knows? Subsequent to our initial report based on Franklin Electronic Publishing's disclosure to the SEC of the sale of their stock in e-reading software company Mobipocket to Amazon, Lunch has confirmed via Amazon spokesperson Patty Smith that the company has acquired Mobipocket outright. As to what Amazon might do with the technology and its potential relationship to their purchase of BookSurge, Smith noted the company is "maddeningly consistent" in "never speculating on what might happen." Confirmed: Mobi Is In Amazon's Pocket
• · · · · Fiction Blog Leads to Book Contract ;Self-Styled Teacher Doing It for the Love of Literature
• · · · · · Good books help make a civil society, however, what happens when good books dry up? Poetry is at the heart of literature and an understanding of poetry will help us understand how other literary forms work Why literature matters ; How a welter of stories emerges from a metaphor of water The Shores Of Literature

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Philosopher-Pope, Jan Pawel II: His love for life made him an unflinching upholder of Catholic teaching. Ask Me Anything: Love Means Having to Say You're Sorry

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Focus on a Brutal Past: Never far from a Mirror
The past looms large at this year's German Film Festival, with World War II and its divisive aftermath serving as prominent reference points.

A coming-of-age story with a difference, the superb Napola (2004, 115 minutes) is mostly set in picturesque Allenstein, at one of the 40 National-Political Institutes of Learning established to lay the foundations for the future of the Third Reich.
The elements are familiar enough: the teenager who yearns to rise above his class, the disapproving father, the stern headmaster, the various types of students one routinely encounters in boys' boarding-school films (from Goodbye Mr Chips through Dead Poets Society to Les Choristes).
But this time, everything revolves around the ruthless destruction of innocence. Young Friedrich (Max Riemelt), invited to the school because of his boxing prowess, is introduced to a new way of thinking about the sport.
"You have to forget your humanity, your learned pity and false modesty," he's told

A Chronicle of Endings & Beginnings [I wish my name was Smith right about now ;-P One of the world's most popular pastimes is investigating family history so we tend to share many stories; some about our metaphorical blood being in the water: Our Surreal Viennas: : Short story. We're talking elevator blurb here ; Sacha Lolitorisz has story (hard copy only) in Travel section of the SMH on Saturday entitled Off the Wall. “East Berliners used to risk their lives trying to escape to the west. Now the former communist stamping ground is fun and funky.” While Helen Bradle on line is surprised what you can dig up when creating a family tree Minimum wage for a literary author ;-D It's all relatives ]
• · Why haven't I finished yet? Why does it always take me so long? What's wrong with me? I must be stupid or lazy. Maybe I just don't have any talent. Sound familiar? The Long and Winding Cold River; The Internationale is the hymn of the Fourth International Communist Party and it is in copyright - filmmaker fined French filmmaker has just been fined for letting a character in one of his films whistle the tune
• · · Yes, now the story can be told. Authors have shouldered the burden of rejection for so long that it has come to seem a mythic, Sisyphean component of the basic job description. To be rejected again and again, in the faint hope of one day being accepted, is a sign of nobility rather than futility. "Be patient," authors are told. "Never give up." Publishers Hate Rejection, Too ; Marketing Books and Sepulculture ofVintage Technology Call Me Martin Luther: More than a literature, less than a god ; I have no problems with D. Parvas’s disdain for “wasted youth” memoirs (Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood, Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid, Rolling Away: My Agony With Ecstasy) Introverts Unite! ; D. Anthony Storm's very fine Kierkegaard site
• · · · 'A Land of Ghosts': Across the River and Into the Trees ; I realized, with his passing, that he was a hero of mine. That I felt better and safer about the world because he was in it, and I feel that we are just a little worse off, in a little more danger, because he's gone. Why I Miss Karol Wojtyla
• · · · · There is more and more to say about Guy Debord; one can scarcely walk through the bohemian district of the bookstore without toppling a stack of biographies and gossip. Perhaps it's an apology for not noticing in a timely fashion how incisive was his description of daily life, political domination, and their entwined fate Tall Poetics and Drunken Stumbling in '50s Paris ; People are happiest in their 40s
• · · · · · I was away from the blogosphere yesterday, because I just dove (sic?) right into Erin Hart's second novel, Lake of Sorrows, and I didn't want to come up for air! I love it when that happens -- pure flow... Lake of Sorrows ; The specter of a bookseller signing exclusive deals to publish bestselling authors is either thrilling or worrisome, depending on where you sit. And now it may be a reality. Amazon is seeking rookies Amazon House? New Program Would Commission Work, Sell it like iTunes ; Litblog Co-Op

Sunday, April 10, 2005

without courage, there cannot be truth,
and without truth there can be no other virtue
-Sir Walter Scott

Michael Walzer: The experts have apparently agreed that it wasn't values that lost us the last election. It was passion, and above all, it was the passion of fear. But maybe frightened people look for strong leaders, whose strength is revealed in their firm commitment to a set of values. Fear politics and value politics may turn out to be closely related. So what is wrong with the liberal-left? Do we really look weak, uncommitted, value-free-tacking to the wind, whichever way it blows? And is this just a matter of appearance, a failure of public relations; so that what we need is a little rhetorical uplift, cosmetic surgery, some improvement in our posture? Stand straighter! Talk tough! All God's Children Got Values

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The Papal Legacy: The strategy of faking civil activity
As a young boy in the 1930s, my father attended public school in Snina, a town in eastern Czechoslovakia. Twice a week, a Catholic priest would come in to teach the catechism, during which the few children who were Jewish would wait outside. As they left the classroom, my father recalls, the priest invariably made some insulting remark about the Jewish people.

For Jews in the Europe of my father's youth, such Christian contempt was a fact of life. Its origins lay in the church's ancient claim that God had rejected the Jews when they rejected Jesus and that his covenant with Israel had been superseded by a new covenant with the Christian church. This ''teaching of contempt" fed an often virulent anti-Semitism, which created the climate for Europe's long history of persecuting Jews. Sixty-five years ago that history culminated in the Holocaust.

Perhaps the most beautiful achievement of political life in the late twentieth century was the international movement for democracy that brought down several dozen dictatorships of every possible description - authoritarian, communist, fascist, military. It happened on all continents, and it happened peacefully.
The pope who turned anti-Semitism aside ; When Facts Collide With Beliefs . . . Papal Legacy: Questioning Capitalism [via Memeorandum The Pope and the Jews ; Labor's stacking crisis worsens ; Like the Mafia code of Omerta the 'made-men' who control the upper echelons of the Victorian ALP, who manipulate the membership base and who look after their cronies, are very careful to keep up appearances Corruption City ; Peter Brown, Orlando: Some issues, especially those that even tangentially involve race, become so one-sided there is no respectable opposition. But sometimes shifting political sands make it acceptable in polite company to oppose what was once a motherhood cause Is the Tide Turning on Dealing With Vote Fraud? ]
• · via Paula Rizzuto blog Enough: A Plan for Radical Reform of the ALP ; The careers of two state ministers are on the line after a damning submission to the corruption watchdog on their behaviour in the Orange Grove affair Carr's ministers savaged over Orange Grove affair ; The myths and truths World War II. By Adam Krzeminski - Europeans will go on living with competing memories and competing myths for a long time to come How there can be no single version of World War II
• · · An average of one passenger a day complains to Qantas about baggage interference but it took an outrageous mishandling stunt caught on film at Sydney Airport for the airline to concede it had any security problem at all The camel, croc and flying kangaroo: costume drama ends with sacking ; Security of luggage at airports Message from a pantomime camel ; Some people won't let a bad conspiracy theory go The Berger File
• · · · More than 100 patients released from mental units in NSW had committed suicide within 28 days of discharge and 36 were involved in murders over a five-year period Suicide rate high after mental unit discharge ; More drivers than ever before will lose their licences this year as a result of higher demerit points penalties introduced this week for low-level speeding offences Gone in a flash: your licence
• · · · · Hospital infection a $150m trauma case ; A story of hope Country health care a poor cousin; Trial by jury: recent developments
• · · · · · Timothy Garton Ash writes on The Orange Revolution ;William Galston on how liberals ignore and conservatives misunderstand America's guiding value: freedom; and on liberal pluralism and constitutional democracy. Taking Liberty ;
Introduction to the Special Issue: Confronting Memories: European "Bitter Experiences" and the Constitutionalization Process

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Take more risks, film industry urged. Encouraging filmmakers to learn their craft is the best way to do it rather than saying we're only going to fund this kind of movie or movies that could possibly sell to the United States ... or really arty movies Spit the Security Blanket
Jeanette Winterson is like a guerilla poet who hijacks her readers and forces them to experience pleasure. The novelist as poet

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Making The World Safe For Literary Fiction
What would happen if a bunch of your favorite literary blogs got together four times a year and picked a book from obscurity, an overlooked literary gem that we'd get behind as a group and bring to your attention, flogging it ceaselessly both here and on our respective individual blogs?

Would it make any difference to you? Would it make any difference to the author and the publisher of the book?
Would it widen a dialogue about literary fiction involving writers, bloggers, editors, journalists and - most importantly - you, the reader?
We think it will. And so, on May 15, 2005, the LITBLOG CO-OP (that's us folks over in the lefthand column) will announce its first READ THIS! selection - and will follow it up with all sorts of interesting posts and discussions, here and elsewhere.

We're Here To Help [Publishing for success: Argyle Nines ; With so many people contributing twists, this dark fiction is as wild as anything on daytime television ... We all know by now that "reporter" Jeff Gannon is also the sexy sexy James D. Guckert. But is he also... Johnny Gosch? ; The latest Guardian quiz: Catholics in Literature ]
• · The Interpreter isn't essentially about the UN. It's about two people who get caught up in its labyrinthine politics and have to make contact across a gulf of personal strife and cultural difference. In that sense, the UN becomes a kind of metaphor for the personal drama that unfolds and perhaps for the wider human story as well Film: The Interpreter ; I cannot exceed what I see. I am bound ... as the historian is bound by the period he writes about, by the situation I live in Saul Bellow, Writer, 1915-2005 ; Suicidal Japanese are finding like-minded souls online, often with a grim outcome His is the face of suicide in Japan
• · · Putting people in the picture? The role of the arts in social inclusion Arts-based initiatives in alleviating poverty through building social inclusion ; 77 North Washington Street The Atlantic Monthly Cuts Back on Fiction ; The difference between steroids and tequila is alcohol is legal Wallpaper ; A new book by Milan Kundera is now out -- albeit only in French Kundera, l'avis est un roman
• · · · Tim Dunlop: Canberrian Confessions I'm an atheist, thank God ; How to conduct an author tour when the author is, well, not exactly available The Scientist Is Gone, but Not His Book Tour
• · · · · Plagiarizing professors face a variety of punishments Just Deserts?; In a scientific era, is it still possible to believe in God and such events as the Easter miracle of Jesus' Resurrection? Can a rational person see God as both all-powerful and benevolent despite horrendous suffering in disasters like the Asian tsunami? Not just the best Christian philosopher of his time ... (but) the most important philosopher of any stripe Notre Dame's Alvin Plantinga the best Christian philosopher:
• · · · · · Why is it suddenly hot for the crossing of the Cold River to be cool? The Power of Szirine Journal: Slavic Tale about those who swim with death (Help us to reach 40,000 pairs of eyes by May ;-D ; Frank Conroy Dies at 69; Led Noted Writers' Workshop Stop-Time

Friday, April 08, 2005

What could be the world's biggest-ever funeral was held in St Peter's Square today as millions crammed the streets around the Vatican and an unprecedented number of monarchs and leaders prayed for the soul of Pope John Paul II. Cypress, zinc and walnut

Lolek - John Paul the Great: Unprecedented Funeral
Pope John Paul II is said to be the most recognized person in the world and the images coming from Sky News and Channel 9 confirmed the observation. Believer and non-believer, rich and poor, world leaders and pilgrims alike come together in the Basilica of St Peter in Rome this morning for the funeral of Pope John Paul II. He stands as one of the greatest popes of all time and to boot he was a Slav. Slavs are good at suffering and they are good at giving the other cheek as we gave the word slave the very meaning ...

`I do not know whether I can express myself in your - in our - Italian language,'' he said. The skeptical crowd began to warm to him. ``If I make mistakes,'' he added, bursting into a smile that was his trademark until his last agony, ``you will correct me.'' The applause turned into a tumult.
This ability to reach out was only just beginning. He traveled tirelessly, to 129 countries on every continent, though China and Russia were the two outstanding places he longed to go but failed because their governments forbade it - which says something of the fearfulness of leaders of both places in their confrontation with an undoubted man of peace. He refused to be confined by protocol or by security minders. Typically, the first thing he did when visiting a country was to kneel and kiss the ground as his mark of respect. Then he would be off reaching out into the crowd anxious to meet and greet and touch and share and sing with them if possible.

Politically, the pope stood for freedom that neither communist societies nor full-blooded capitalism could offer. His encyclical letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (On social concerns) written in 1988 lamented over the ills both of ``liberal capitalism'' and ``Marxist collectivism'' and painted the horrors of a lopsided global world in which intense poverty persisted in poor countries and in pockets of rich nations. Later encyclicals also condemned the ``idolatry of the market'' and the ``quasi-servitude'' of poor nations to rich ones.
• Cypress, zinc and walnut - Text of the homily at pope's funeral Karol Jozef (Lolek) WOJTYLA hanging out in Heaven with God [Google: World mourns for Pope at funeral; Poland Mourns Loss of Pope John Paul II Google: Poles bid Pope emotional farewell - Celebrating 'unbridled love'; Pope dubbed 'priest to last' - Funeral homily celebrates Pope's earlier life
Google: Ratzinger leads world's tribute to Pope John Paul II]
• · The passing of a giant ; They're silent on names, but cardinals have given hints about the pope they want Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
• · · Standing by his convictions ; Pilgrims Flock To Mourn Pope Stared down communism
• · · · Pope John Paul's decision to mention a Jew in his will was a sign to his successor to continue and improve his record of opening to Judaism Pope's Will Points to Future Ties with Jews-Rabbi; Ron Lichtman is a conservative Jew and a worshiper at Temple Beth El in West Palm Beach. Whatever your faith, you could learn from John Paul II's bravery
• · · · · As The Third Millennium Draws Near John Paul Ii: Prophet Of Freedom ; Click here to reflect on Pope John Paul II's life in pictures
• · · · · · Pope John Paul II commemorative set ; Life Changing Site

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The criminal justice system is overburdened not by the demands of actual trials but by the enormous preparation required for phantom trials, that is, those that get to the starting gates but not out of them Dealing the hard reality of justice
But sometimes the road to justice is a long one. Korematsu's case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which sided with the government in a 6-3 decision. Ordinary man, extraordinary courage

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: John Paul’s Duality: Neither Left nor Right
John Paul II, born Karol Joseph Wojtyla, was an authentic, formidable, brilliant man who lived in direct and energetic engagement with the world’s people.

To him, this seems to have been the essence of his calling as leader of the "universal church." The Holy Father of the Catholics was not embarrassed to present himself as the brother of every human being, without regard to religious persuasion or ethnic origin. So as he is laid to rest, many outside the church feel impelled to try to assess him with the rigor, candor and compassion that shaped his charismatic persona.

But it is wiser not to pretend to comprehend him too quickly. Although deeply involved in the political struggles of his time, he wasn’t a politician who could be easily categorized in simple monochromatic terms. Behind the images of the warm pastor and the global celebrity were the intellectual and the mystic. In struggling to both adapt and defend an ancient faith, he was complicated and sometimes contradictory.
Joe Conason, New York Observer [Big Elections in Britain and France - Cragg Hines, Houston Chronicle Over there: head-banging treats for electorally needy ; Public transport pulled over to the slow lane ]
• · Poker machine king Len Ainsworth believes the NSW police licensing unit waged a "vendetta" against him for decades, including writing a letter from a retired policeman which implied that he was not fit to hold a gaming licence. Police out to get me, says pokie king ; Councillor tried to persuade accused to change his tune Andrew Smyrnis tried to convince fellow councillor Adam McCormick to roll over to ICAC
• · · Air quality is under threat because the NSW Government is failing to shift people out of their cars and onto public transport, the Auditor-General has warned. Auditor-general pulls veil on Sydney's dirty air ; The federal and state governments are headed for a fight over the Howard Government's plans to change the way the nation's health system operates. Carr and Abbott trade blows over health
• · · · The Federal Government was so sure Zaky Mallah planned a suicide attack on its offices in Sydney he was the first man in NSW charged under new counter-terrorism laws. Yesterday, he was the first acquitted. Not a terrorist, just an angry loner starved of attention ; A major security scare at Parliament House: Plot to execute Premier uncovered - A former staffer of the Opposition Leader charged with making death threats against the Premier was previously suspected by police of making phone threats to his former Liberal Party boss and a NSW Democrats official. These suspicions were contained in an intelligence report compiled by Special Crime Unit detectives on Julian Evans, 21, who worked for nine months first as a volunteer and then as a paid researcher for the Liberal leader, John Brogden, between 2003 and early last year. Man threatened to slash Carr with dagger, court told ; Google: Threat to slash Carr at 3.06pm
• · · · · Arshad and Samina Ladha have spent six years working seven days a week. What has driven them to work so hard was the dream of owning two investment properties in Sydney. Sell, sell, sell: why one family is getting out of property ; Their biggest fans may only be toddlers, but The Wiggles are proof the children's entertainment business is a lucrative one Wiggles outgun Kidman
• · · · · · There's a certain ambivalence about the Czech Republic's plans to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II - Germans not invited, Red Army honored and state goes low-key Uneasy politics surround WWII anniversary ; Joe Stiglitz questions whether Bush can spread democracy abroad when he undermines it at home. When all is said and done, George Kennan was right: America’s most powerful tool in international affairs is our example Democracy Starts At Home