Thursday, June 30, 2005

The tale is like something out of Orwell. With the help of companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and Juniper, China continues to be quite successful in censoring access to the Internet within its borders. In the last couple weeks, we learned that Microsoft was helping China censor bloggers on MSN:Spaces. Because of this cooperation, China does not block access to MSN:Spaces. Interestingly, China blocks entire domains like Blogger and Typepad. Why? My guess is that Google (owner of Blogger) and Six Apart (owner of Typepad) refuse to provide censorship services. The Sandbox of Geo-Political-Corporate Censorship

The Blog, The Press, The Media: A Bitter Defeat for the Press
The tale is like something out of Kafka: In 2003, George W. Bush accused Saddam Hussein of trying to buy uranium in Africa. A former U.S. ambassador, Joseph Wilson, revealed that the claim was false.

The Supreme Court's refusal to hear the Cooper-Miller case will do more than hurt two reporters -- it will erode the press's ability to cover sensitive stories. In an obvious attempt to punish Wilson (Smith), one of Bush's aides then disclosed the identity of Wilson's wife, an undercover CIA operative named Valerie Plame, to the conservative columnist Robert Novak, who printed the name.

Divulge Sources, 4 More Reporters Told The Fourth Estate lost another high-profile legal battle
And Strikes a Blow at a Strong Press: Reinforcing the Medieval Flame [Legend has it when Henry David Thoreau went to jail to protest an unjust law, his friend, the philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, visited him and asked, "Henry, what are you doing in here?" The great nature writer replied, "What are you doing out there?" It's time for Novak to write the column he owes his readers ; Minor players in leak saga face prison, but that won't benefit public Twilight zone for reporters; There is so much more at Romenesko: Jailing of reporters seems medieval in this info age ; Complete Coverage: Monday's Supreme Court Decisions ; A Supreme Court Conversation ]
• · Note to technology developers who want to market products that will help people share copyrighted files: Whatever you do, don't end your brand name with "-ster"! Supreme Court's unsound decision ; The attorney who argued the landmark eminent domain case surveys the blight in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision Never Mind the Kelo, Here's Scott Bullock
• · · Here's another example of how grassroots are using the internet to fight back. Just a Minor Threat ; Millions of former newspaper readers now get their news from the Web, but the majority remain loyal to their favorite print news outlets Newspaper Readers Turning to Web ; Washington has a simple solution to most governments it doesn't like: isolate them, slap sanctions on them and wait for their downfall How To Change Ugly Regimes
• · · · Media studies courses have for years been cruelly mocked by the industry. Can they survive a renewed assault? Mouse trap; US public more critical of press Online readership countering print losses
• · · · · Lessig: Wow - I said that?.; NYT endorses Bugmenot
• · · · · · Journos have sunk so low that even bosses are kicking them ; I think there were like two blips in the 20th century - Ernie Pyle in World War II, and Watergate-- that gave journalists a reputation that they in no way deserved, and don't usually have P.J. O'Rourke has consistently remained one of the funniest writers in America ; Don't Be a Blogger Manqué, Norman Mailer ; via Tim Dunlop: There are those who write good news blogs and pretend they are providing balance, and there are those who actually work in Iraq

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Dramatic new developments in information technology are exposing undemocratic regimes worldwide. These rapidly growing communication networks are weakening government control on information and besieging them. The blog is the latest incarnation of the digital revolution. A web log, or log, for short, represents the crowning achievement of modern technology, by adding a personal touch to news and information Blogs for Everyone
In an opinion piece about opinion pieces and other matters of media diversity by the greatest fact czecher of them all - Tim Dunlop: If you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail and as Australian richest technorati blogger, John Quiggin notes: Freedom of the press is great if you own one

Robert Scoble, whose blog i read with interest, reads more than a 1000 blogs a day. I used to think that was excessive - Turns out, it's not excessive at all

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Corporations enter brave new world of blogs
When General Motors Corp. wanted to stop speculation this spring that it might eliminate its Pontiac and Buick brands, Vice Chairman Bob Lutz took his case directly to dealers and customers who were up in arms about the possibility. He wrote about it on the company’s blog.

“The media coverage on the auto industry of late has done much to paint an ugly portrait of General Motors,” began Lutz’s entry on GM’s FastLane Blog, which the company launched in January.
The March 30 entry went on to say that widely reported remarks he made to analysts the week before had been “taken out of context” and that the automaker would not shed the brands. A growing number of companies are stepping softly into the blogosphere, following a path blazed by Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and others in the technology field. The Internet journal format, they find, lets businesses expand their reach, generate product buzz and encourage consumer loyalty — while bypassing traditional media.
“When we feel that we need to get a direct response out there, we’ve certainly got this bully pulpit to some extent,” said Michael Wiley, GM’s director of new media. “It’s a place where we can talk directly to people unfiltered.”

It's hard to quantify how many companies, executives and employees are blogging, but there are probably more than 100 official corporate blogs ... More companies finding blogs a good way to reach public
• The hallmark of companies that will find blogs useful is the company that cares about its perception ... and the integrity of its relationship with its customers Bad blogging can easily backfire [David Sifry, CEO of Technorati, is calling out Google and Yahoo to explain why their reported results are sometimes much larger than their viewable results Technorati, Google, Yahoo, Blogs and Accusations of Inflated Results ; Blog needs to be dedicated to a niche market -
"I'm beginning to see why one would want to write a blog." Make Money Blogging ; Concerns raised on disclosure For a fee, some blogs boost firms ; Journalists have a love-hate relationship with blogs - 51% of journalists read blogs on a regular basis Reporters Eye Blogs; Opinion is cheap. Facts rule, OK? ]
• · Rafael Behr: The press wants to get bloggers on its side, but a US experiment shows it may not be easy Internet's new wave proves hard to catch ; Many people have become obsessed with blogs The upsides and dangers of blogging; The doctor's blog: Examining rooms -- blogs are straight line into doc's heart
• · · At Glastonbury this year, one of the realities of weblogging became apparent: it's now easier to photo-blog than it is to post text Blogs from the field ; In a sure way to attract early adopters and specifically bloggers, Akimbo has given its users the ability to watch video blogs through their television Video blogs enter the home
• · · · So Steve Rubel gets up at Gnomedex and says something along the lines of, "Blogging is PR with candor." I wasn't there, but I've read the reports of people who were Another Call To Replace PR With Blogs ; Every day, stray thoughts, ideas and opinions pile up in Roger Baylor's head Bloggers let the world see their thoughts ; Blogs are no longer just outlets for cranky people but are increasingly being used by businesses to peddle products, communicate with employees, and project a corporate image to the world, Blogs Grow as Business Tools
• · · · · The seemingly boundless interest in blogging. . .the Horse's Ass blog. . .and why forced blogging doesn't work Blogging as a work duty rarely works ; Some civil libertarians fear blogophobic companies may adopt policies that stifle the free exchange that has made blogs so popular Expanding logosphere creates rift in workplace ; Once again, George Orwell must be smiling from his grave Journalists Go to Jail, Robert Novak Free: Why?
• · · · · · A brief case study of how BBC News Interactive approached the 2005 General Elections in the UK, from Pete Clifton, Editor, BBC News Interactive: Convergence and the Common Good Civic engagement and the BBC ; via Morph and Hugh Martin Mediablog: Full electoral speed ahead, but keep a light common touch

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Sometimes the reason I pick up something is completely random. I take a lot of chances with things. Lately I've been listening to a lot of history. This week John Fund has his own story on why failing to teach history is bad for democracy, Everyone agrees we aren't teaching history well, but the direction of reform is controversial The Amerikan-Antipodean Story - Operation Respect: Don’t Laugh at Media Dragon

You’ve heard these clichés many times, on both TV and radio. But, chances are, you never stopped to think about what they mean. If you did, you may have smiled (or even laughed) each time some politician (from either side) nonchalantly pulled one out of his hat and incorporated it in his speech Lesson # 1: 20 Over-Used Political Cliches

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Clearing muddy waters: Here lies Peter Cundall
If, like me, you feel as though you'll be paddling blissfully in clear, deep Sydneyrella Harbour till the end of your days, you will fold this rope right into all the significant exiled others:

By giving them power. By giving them absolute power over people. I suppose I see, today, the biggest problem in society is what we call the "control freaks" But they're people without a gone conscience and without any pity, and there is not many of them. But when you and I are fast asleep at night, they're lying awake, scheming, and they're hard to compete with, and I'm not joking. You know - anybody that's worked in an office or anything, there is always someone that wants to take control, right. The supreme example, of course, is people like Stalin and Hitler. Hitler, don't forget, almost his last days, when he was in the bunker, he was saying at one time that, "The SS have betrayed me," because they retreated, and he had all his commanders executed. And almost his last words was, "The German people have betrayed me," you know. I mean - and this is an example of a supreme form of pathological narcissism and you do get it. You get it in politics. They're the people who can't admit that they have made a mistake.

Three cheers for Peter Yarrow who aims to combat bullying by emphasizing the moral lessons of folk music ‘My name is Margalo,’ said the bird, softly, in a musical voice. ‘I come from fields once tall with wheat, from pastures deep in fern and thistle; I come from vales of meadowsweet, and I love to whistle!’ My folkloric teacher, Marta Chamillova, used to say If you want to set something afire, you must burn yourself, Jozef
• Making Your Life Richer No Bull****: A Suprising Journey [Media companies don't respect consumers -
And it's not just big companies which will benefit from online distribution. Partying Together ; Like many other readers of the Sydney Morning Herald and the New Republic, I look at all the cartoons before reading the articles. Is there anything people won't do to avoid having an ordinary job? Or to avoid working at a job that requires them to think about something or someone other than themselves? The desire of a lot of "artists" nowadays to become rich and famous makes their art incidental to the pursuit of their very concrete and practical goals Stupid Human Tricks "I've been affected. And I'm better for it." Supersize you ;-)]
• · Good reel tidings from Prague: Some people go for the films, others go for the parties - A guide to crashing the other half of the festival. World-class film fest for true bohemians ; Finding the best flicks is in knowing where to look
Film categories ; Czech cinema is in desperate need of a new mise-en-scne. - Government must enact policies to keep Czech cinema competitive Producing trouble
• · · The late John Gregory Dunne -- novelist, essayist, screenwriter -- was my friend. For a year or two around 1990, though, he wouldn't have anything to do with me. I found this out the hard way by inviting him to dinner. He wouldn't come, he said, and when he asked if I wanted to know why, he told me flat out: I was a hypocrite The Other Guy's Sacrifice ; This weekend, the Third World comes to Prague Showing respect ; Matilda Weekend Round-Up #26 ; Josh Mettee's business grew volumes from a stock of 25 books to a warehouse of 3,000 titles Valley's Legends & Legacies
• · · · Can most popular female singer avoid her communist past? She owed her success to communist-era "mafiosi Helena Vondráková; When it seems self-evident that commemoration averts recurrence of that being commemorated, it takes a psychoanalyst to point out that making people remember assumes that their responses to their memories can be calculated. An obsession with memory blinds us to the abuses of memory and to the uses of forgetting The forgetting museum; The debate in Germany on National Socialism, initially imposed on a reluctant German public by the Allies, was brought by the radical '68 generation into the mainstream, where it became a national mission Is the tide of German memory turning?
• · · · · Some studies are destined to set off controversy: Robyn May, Iain Campbell and John Burgess argue that the Coalition government’s next round of industrial relations reform will create further opportunities for employers to ‘casualise’ jobs. Centre for Applied Social Research, RMIT University - The rise and rise of casual work in Australia: who benefits, who loses?; When, in Washington, is outrage truly outrage? H. G. Wells's 1898 novel, "The War of the Worlds," has had several incarnations: I'm Shocked and Outraged
• · · · · · An anthropological debunking of the housing bubble. Economists have an irrational enthusiasm for a rational model of human economic behavior, and therefore they can coolly confuse apples with prickly pears and conclude that all asset classes are the same Basic Instinct ; In his recent book "The Universe in a Nutshell," Dr. Stephen W. Hawking wrote, "Even if it turns out that time travel is impossible, it is important that we understand why it is impossible." Remembrance of Things Future: The Mystery of Time ; Pioneers Are Taking Black Chick Lit Into Middle Age: Terry McMillan, Connie Briscoe and Benilde Little taking a black chick lit into middle age Writers Coming of Middle Age

WELCOME NUDE & SEMI NUDE PAJAMAHADEENS OF TECHNORATI FAME who have stumbled across the Media Dragon via top 100 Naked Conversations

Michael might be moving a house, but still he manages to blog forward about a few websites of note: Rant or BIF?
Pay it forward is all about a notion of transformation and what drives us to cross to all kinds of wise and thoughtful blogs. It is also an opportunity for us to explore less known blogs or give an extra link to blogs that deserve wider attention ...
Czech out a creative Barista David Tiley
Get swept off your feet by a kind legal eagle David Starkoff
Invade Alan at Southerly Buster
... An answer came directed in a writing unexpected Perry Middlemiss
Ach, New is a place for you to speak out about the Australia you want New Walzing Matilda

CODA: Shel Israel and Robert Scoble have moved to Chapter 9 and kindly quote Media Dragon ... We, of course, believe your decision not to blog will hurt your company in the long run. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant -- all great CEOs encourage transparency and openness as long as sensitive data is not leaked,” Cold River author Jozef Imrich told us Naked Thorns in the Roses

I am over the huge moon as the greatest bloggers of all times Terry Teachout tickled my email today and deep inside Jay’s thoughtful story is some of Terry’s wisdom: News judgment used to be king. If the press ruled against you, you just weren't news. But if you weren't news how would anyone know enough about you to contest the ruling? Today, the World Wide Web is the sovereign force, and journalists live and work according to its rule Why are the Downing Street memos news?
Around the World in 80 blogs: After the Jump

The Blog, The Press, The Media: We don't want your money, we want your voice
Come and add your voice - there has been no better opportunity for bloggers to be heard

'm proud to announce the launch of Blog Central for the Live 8 concerts, at We were asked by the Live 8 folks along with Joe Trippi and John Hinderaker to help achieve the vision of Live 8

Loud Live 8 [Happy-slap politics How journalism has triumphed over party politics ; A self-confessed spam king who faces the first court action taken under the Spam Act said it was "staggering" how many people responded to junk email Spam king says list was his right ; The digitisation of old music, manuscripts and newspapers is a national asset Australia's back catalogue has a revolution ]
• · Loic Le Meur’s wiki attempts unscientifically to estimate the size of the European blogosphere. Note that France with an estimated 3m bloggers has a big lead on the UK with an estimated 900,000. Poland with 1.1m and Russia with 800,000+ are countries to watch Size of European blogosphere ; "Tax and the Internet" (Title pinched from Peter Gerard Mitchell Title: "Look Ma, No Hands - Product Delivery Systems in the Information Economy"
• · · Your Democracy is committed to diversity Loosened cross-media ownership means more media bias – a tale from the 2004 election ; Mainstream media no longer produce news for the mainstream population-nor should we consider the media as plural. Instead it is more accurate to speak of big media in the US today as the corporate media and to use the term in the singular tense-as it refers to the singular monolithic top-down power structure of self-interested news giants Big Media Interlocks with Corporate America ; Trevor Cook a master of death sentences Tom Murphy of PR Opinions has taken the machete to Steve Rubel’s latest piece of fantasy : Blogs are the New Press Releases ; Sally Saville Hodge asks: Will Somebody Please Tell the Clients? The Press Release is Dead
• · · · Small online proprietors often spend lots of time and money trying to improve their search-engine rankings, getting only poor results for their effort Three Myths on Boosting Search-Engine Rankings ; Culture Vulture, a new Guardian blog ; Bayosphere of Media Dragon; Internet sales surge as teleshopping companies watch digital TV space Net profits
• · · · · Deep Blog IBM - Autonomic computing ; Googler insights into product and technology news and our culture - Google’s Blogger has announced that they are now offering users free image uploads Blogger Images ; How do I post pictures?
• · · · · · I believe any definition and general debate about media diversity in Australia [that] does not include an adequately funded ABC is either flawed or meaningless Probe into ABC money woes ; All to play for as Coonan puts reform cards on table ; AS we approach the time for reckoning the media's mid-year score card, it is apparent we have reached a State of Indecision. The nature and shape of media ownership reform remains undecided; the identity of the media's top regulator is undecided; and the future of digital radio isundecided Nervous nellies frustrate Coonan's reform proposals

Monday, June 27, 2005

I am such a complete atheist that I am afraid God will punish me. Such is the pithy wisdom of Jára Cimrman - Existence cannot not exist. Fictional Cimrman is so beloved because he is that most prickly of ironies: a Czech who was greater than all the world’s greats, but who for some hiccup of chance has never been recognized for his achievements. I like to think that the vote for Cimrman says something about the country’s rousing enthusiasm for blowing raspberries in the face of authority. Czech out the two things about the Czech nation: “that it is skeptical about those who are major figures and those who are supposedly ‘the greatest.’ And that the only certainty that has saved the nation many times throughout history is its humour.” When optimists should be shot: Jára Cimrman: the Greatest Czech of All Time

As in so many other countries and in so many other times, the rise of a newly educated intellectual class in the 19th century polarized the society with ethnic identity politics. All over Bohemia, the new Czech intelligentsia urged Czechs to think of themselves as Czechs, not Bohemians or Budweisers or anything else that would transcend their ethnic identity We Are All Budweisers [If only the grievances of past centuries had been left in the past! If only they had all remained Budweisers or Bohemians]

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Move Over, Boomers
Contributing Editor Adam Werbach asks if the baby boomers are to blame for the sad state of affairs. "What should these leaders do now?" he asks. "Die?"

Raised during the heyday of ecological activism and the rise of a post-industrial networked society, practivists are steeped in systems thinking. Having come of age during the fall of the Berlin Wall, they are suspicious of nationalism and artificial dualities, a mistrust further informed by academic and political training in deconstructing absolute identity categories like race or gender. Practivists prefer to emphasize similarities rather than dwell in the "silos" of various "isms."

The old era of political party identification is giving way to a disaggregated thunderdome of cause-based politics, distributed democracy, MoveOn house parties and do-it-yourself politics
MoveOn ; Stephen Matchett's article shows much more than the usual superficial understanding of Kokoda and the fascination it has for so many of us The Digger Legend: James Cumes ; [American political parties, as we have known them for two centuries, are disintegrating Are the Parties Over? ; Why do those who stand to gain the least from virtually every policy of George W. Bush, support him the most? Let Them Eat War; What else could war dollars buy? Six billion dollars a month can pay for a lot of stuff, and we've got the T-shirts, tickers and widgets to prove it. Tim Grieve, in Salon ; The scale of the theft indulged in over the last forty years by the Nigerian ruling-class is almost unbelievable £220bn stolen by Nigeria's corrupt rulers ; Bulgarians vote, seen ending reign of ex-king PM - Bulgaria's ex-communists claim election victory Bulgaria's election lottery ]
• · Scary Stuff: Revolutionary Communist Party, a statement on the battle for the future ; Cathy Young on the hypocrisy of Hollywood leftists Bolshywood Revisited
• · · The False Problem of Free Will and Determinism Getting the Fly Out of the Bottle; Ever since the first Jew arrived on American shores 350 years ago, one question has persistently been asked but never definitively answered The Great Jewish-American Synthesis
• · · · What follows is a blatant intrusion into private grief. Well, very nearly private grief. The Tory party has not quite diminished to a level of importance at which its affairs are of concern only to members of its dwindling associations. But it has certainly declined to a point that is dangerously close to effective disappearance The Tory party faces an unenviable choice of leadership candidates ; Regime Change and Its Limits ; Senator Norm Coleman, New York Tax Cheats at the Government Trough ; Christopher Hitchens, Slate The Da Vinci Code vs. The Downing Street Memo
• · · · · We need a serious book about Hillary Clinton. Ed Klein's isn't it Eine Kleine Biographie ; Kathleen Parker, Townhall There's Something (Else) About Hillary; Amity Shlaes, Financial Times Don't Ignore Blue Dog Wisdom
• · · · · · via Tim Dunlop: In George Orwell's classic novel '1984', a central theme was the absolute control of information through the Ministry of Truth - a misnomer, if ever there was one. In a contemporary reality twist, control of information has become an integral part of the response of Western Governments to the so-called war on terror. Sledgehammer Politics ; Lionel Tiger, WSJ
An Anthropological Debunking Of The "Housing Bubble"

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The stars and the moon looked closer this week. Are we all getting a step or two closer to heaven? The giant ball of yellow-white light made the Moon appear to linger for longer for the past few nights. Without any doubt the moon has appeared larger than many people have seen since they escaped from Iron Curtain of Czechoslovakia in 1980. Bigger Moon: Full moon's fever still lingers at lakes and rivers

With World War II fast passing from the land of living memory, perhaps we are at the beginning of the end of the Australian interest in our ancient wars. But don't bet on it. Interest in the national military achievement will strengthen for as long as Australians look to history for ideals to bind us together and to provide people to admire and values to respect. In fact, if anything, interest in matters military, from Anzac Day attendance to book sales, are on the up In the tracks of Kokoda

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Book on Line: Walkin', talkin' fiction
No time to read a good book? Why not listen to on

David Griggs has a good excuse to listen to his iPod: his doctor told him to. Well, not exactly, but he did say the 53-year-old had a high cholesterol level and was in desperate need of daily exercise.
So Griggs put his health and love of books together, added an iPod and began walking while listening to audio-books on the digital music player. He now walks six kilometres every morning and is mentally and physically better for it. "The books encouraged me to walk everyday," he says adding he will soon finish listening to Charles Dickens's Bleak House - a 25-hour epic.

“No one is a mere instrument, no one a serf,” said Friedrich Schiller. Freedom was his highest ideal, achieved not with violence, but with education
Listening to Cold River [I know you will not believe me, but I swear it's true: I'm not of this earth. I fled here years ago because my home planet was driving me crazy. Let me explain - many critics and enemies have questioned if my name is made up I am not of this earth ; Shattering many illusions ; Defined as distinctive and hence lend individuals an aura of superiority ... This painting was done by a chimpanzee ... yet an Oxford professor believes it is just as important a piece of art as the works of Michelangelo. Is he mad? ; The life of man has repeatedly proved that illusions are seductive. Mankind has constantly being swayed and crippled into idiocy, by waves of illusions, entertained as reality, by a cross section of her members Power and the illusions of omnipotence]
• · For years you've been able to buy their clothing lines, and perfume. Now you can buy a piece of their soul with celebrity CD compilations Their favourite things ; Ranking the 50 best magazines some of the best periodicals
• · · Anyone who becomes a war correspondent at 24 by simply marching off to Chechnya and living with guerrillas in the mountains is not like most people Woman in the wars ; Here are some lessons learned over a lunch buffet at the Heritage Free Markets and Free Sandwiches; The science behind female orgasm Female orgasm is hot these days
• · · · Jail is a savage place where rage and resentment fester. But there is more going on behind the high walls and razor wire. Prison unlocks a forgotten creative passion ; I don't like you, you don't like me, where is the problem? Hollywood fame and misfortune ; American consumers believe they are being spied on and manipulated, but they feel powerless to do anything about it. It's Suspiciously Cozy In the Cybermarket Windsor Boy: Have They Got a Deal For You
• · · · · Alex Scott was a little girl with big problems and big ideas A Short Life Inspires Many Others; Striking Back At The Empire Comedians throughout history have raged against the machine ; As a previous PhD student studying entrepreneurs (a person with a high need to achieve, demonstrates intermediate level risk taking, and can cope with failure), I realise most large organisations fail to benefit fully from these highly motivated risk takers. Organisations need individuals who challenge orthodoxy and the comfort zones of growing irrelevance, and thus release the creative forces that see organisations move to new levels. If we don’t move forward, we will descend into failure in the face of an ever-changing world. [Large organisations] face some grave risks to its future capability by developing a homogenised workforce which through selection processes places a higher value on written communication skills (answering selection criteria) than on intelligence and ability, whether technical or creative. Could our own society face its own demise through the domination of the legal fraternity arguing about words, rather than the creative and productive people deciding our fate? By AT Eccentrics and entrepreneurs
• · · · · · Mounted Police In UK Arrest Student For Calling Their Horse Gay ; Why bagels could hold the key to human behaviour A great example of how incentives can have unpredictable effects

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Cynicism aside, last night did witness one genuinely moving bipartisan moment. Margo reports that just before Irwin rose to speak to Parliament on the Migration Amendment (Detention Arrangements) Bill 2005, Bruce Baird scribbled her a quick note and despatched it via a PH attendant. After she'd read it the two shared a private smile across the chamber, as if to say: 'Tonight we're on the same side, comrade.' Not quite the Christmas Truce of 1914, but a reminder that politics doesn't always have to be a war. [Ach and her husband Geoff Irwin, a Member of the NSW Parliament (1984-1995) was one of the kindeness and finest man in the Bear Pit and even the opposition Members like Andrew Tink or Ray Chappell would second that ...] Julia Irwin: Welcome to the trenches, Johnny's come-latelies

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Truer words were never spoken
How democratic is parliament? A case study in auditing the performance of parliaments

In this discussion paper John Uhr ranks parliaments against four key values – political equality, popular control of government, civil liberties and human rights and public deliberation. The Senate emerges in a positive light, particularly in relation to proportional representation, scrutiny of legislation and the committee system. Uhr rates negatively the low number of private members’ bills, questions of ministerial responsibility, Question Time and the government’s political donation proposals, and points to the danger that the Howard government might use its majority in the Senate to reduce democracy within parliament.

The achievements of the civil rights movement stand witness to the power of hope, harnessed rightly, as an engine for positive social change. Hope enables individuals and communities to embark on the pursuit of difficult goals where success may be far from certain, and sustains their resolve through adversity or setbacks that might otherwise cause them to lose heart and give up. The Politics of Hope ) For some, hope is just wishful thinking that is frequently disappointed. But others see hope as the kind of positive emotion that can serve our most rational ends ...
Any democracy you want, as long as I am in charge? [Senator Brian Harradine's valedictory The Father of the House takes his leave ; John Howard made unexpected concessions last week to avert a backbench revolt in parliament. But why is crossing the floor seen as such a major step? Paul Rodan looks at the precedents Crossing the floor: a short history ; Over the course of the last six months, we've seen everybody's talents, we've seen where the match-ups take place Ferguson tipped to lose in Labor reshuffle ]
• · Behind the multicultural curtains Tanya Plibersek: a triumph of hope despite experience, Rebel 4? ; There are no judicial checks on Australia’s system of mandatory removal How Australia reversed the burden of proof ; Nearly 500,000 mentally ill men and women are now locked up in America's jails. That's 10 times the number who remain in its psychiatric hospitals The New Asylums
• · · One rate for all would boost investment, cut unemployment Hail, flat tax ; Charge ex-Strathfield mayors, says ICAC
• · · · Colorful former owner of Sparta Praha soccer club and ex-convict Petr Mach returned to the limelight this month - Millionaire ex-con says he gave a top deputy gifts, holidays, loans Police chief resigns after scandal ; WWII commentaries note the fate of former Czechoslovak citizens Rethinking the postwar expulsions ; The Australin Capital Territory is the first Australian jurisdiction to have a Bill of Rights Review of the first year of operation of the Human Rights Act 2004; John Fitzgerald argues that democracy matters in Australia’s dealings with China A lesson in diplomacy
• · · · · Robyn May, Iain Campbell and John Burgess : The rise and rise of casual work in Australia: who benefits, who loses? ; Lee Ridoutt, Chris Selby Smith, Kevin Hummel, Christina Cheang look at how employers value and use qualifications in their business decisions. Their research indicates that qualifications are considered more important for higher-level occupations and employers use them predominantly to recruit new employees and to ensure regulatory compliance. Employers regard qualifications as a signal of potential for future learning and skills acquisition, not as a signal of immediate competence What value do Australian employers give to qualifications?
• · · · · · Opposition presses NSW Govt over damning Cityrail report Question Time; Rail staff typically have no idea where trains are, how late they are running or when they will arrive. RailCorp's management and staff were "making a serious effort" to help passengers, but a "quantum leap" was needed to improve a communications system that often gave "inaccurate, incomprehensible or incomplete" information Trains lost in the twilight zone

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The insider insider travelling stories have captured the public's imagination and the carrtoonists covering ‘Yes Minister’ have been drawn into the unfolding drama. The transcripts are pinpoint accurate in their dissection of the best of all oossible political worlds. The task of responding to and resolving parliamentary inquiries should be outsourced. That way, the vendor will be paid only when the job is completed, according to the agreed requirements and timelines. This will also allow the government to get rid of those useless backbenchers, thus saving the country a heap of money. So Lisa Pryor and Gerard Ryle are the most talked about duo at the Parliamentary cafeteria and the grassy areas of the Botanic Garden. It is all about the competency of certain parliamentary committee managers and the ‘Yes Minister’ principle. The meeting in Brussels did not start well for the two state politicians who had travelled half way around the world to find out about genetically modified food. NSW Parliament can waste money on inquiries with the best of them Brian and Tony's excellent European adventure

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Pushing an Issue Under the Carpet
If only more of our senior public servants and department heads were so frank and fearless as Harry Evans... Most of us are often unaware about stories such as the one told by Avelyn Gogos so it seems like an absurd fiction ...

When Avelyn Gogos gave evidence at an inquiry into disability services, it was in the hope she might get her autistic son, Dean, into a group home. She didn't know what people inside the political system know - that calling a parliamentary inquiry is often a way of pushing an issue under the carpet and keeping backbenchers busy

At many levels, the processes of political processes are found to be sluggish and lacking impartiality. They are found also to be frequently incompetent.
Still waiting for peace of mind [World Travel [ ; Some parliamentary managers, Marco Polos, have been overseas twice or more during 2003-2004 period. The inquiry system in NSW is flawed, but it's a nice little earner for politicians MPs travel the world, inquiries go nowhere ; More than a year after NSW MLCs Tony Kelly and Brian Pezzutti returned from a European trip, they presented to Parliament hundreds of pages of transcripts of meetings entitled European and United Kingdom perspectives on agriculture, genetically modified food and rural development ; Perhaps you could repeat that?; Final report ; Marco Polos; A few ideas for the parliamentary suggestion box ; Unlucky timing - Tony Catanzariti ]]
• · British Prime Minister Tony Blair sees himself, not dissimlarly to NSW Premier Bob Carr, as an environmentally caring leader. The facts, of course, bring no such confidence, but our media prefers to play along with their delusional games Blair's (lack of) power; I’m too jaded and cynical to feel more than a brief pulse of anger at the news that Philip Cooney, the White House arachnid who dishonestly doctored US government reports on global warming, has followed his heart and joined Exxon Mobil. No, not even a whiff of corruption there…Monsieur Martin Pike has left Northcote Knob in suspended animation and taken to foreign policy via Barista
• · · The gang's all here ... last night, Senator Harradine, 70, the last Cold War warrior, unionist and father of 13, stood in the chamber that was his mainland citadel to bid farewell to national politics. Father of Senate says cheers for 30 years ; Phone-tap leak from chief's office: Brogden ; The demise of the Australian Democrats demonstrates what happens to politicians who decide the electorate owes them a living The Democrat party is all over
• · · · Jason Method and James W. Prado Roberts of the Asbury Park Press raised questions in the airplane death seven years ago of a pilot who was about to buy Marlboro Airport Accident or Sabotage? ; Jailed former HIH director Rodney Adler has not breached his corporate ban by getting reports on investments and business interests while in prison, Australia's business regulato Adler's jail mail cleared by watchdog
• · · · · There needs to be a balance of power - someone to make sure the company is running well and someone to make sure the board is checking up on what he's done Dual roles ; Damian Lataan asks, "What's happened to us?"
That's the thing, isn't it? Something HAS happened to us. We are not the nation we were five years ago. My observation is that we have allowed ourselves to become lazy and frightened. Whatever happened to the healthy Aussie skepticism? Whatever happened to famous Aussie antipathy for authority? Democracy, the God that Failed
• · · · · · City projects face value checks ; Carr unveils Sydney shake-up plan ; Campaign for Sydneyrella

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Perhaps no one at the Shire on any freezing day appreciates my daughters’ abilities to get up at 4 am in the morning to go swimming and their ability to laugh as they drink hot chocolate and put on their swimming gear on or to go for a run in the evening more than Media Dragon.

Not only do these kind of moments bring happy memories, they transport me to our teenagehood days of the High Tatra Mountains variety. The vivid deja vus are sweet because we (the royal we) recall those days running through the snow with Tono Zivcak and whoever else was brave enough to run to Kezmarok and Tvarozna and Poprad. The air was freezing, but we sweated like pigs. Strange how the freezing air can take you to skiing even though we have not seen the real snow in ages ;-) We had so much fun skiing all over, especially in the powder ... We didn’t really care about doing anything cool; we just wanted to have fun. We loved spreading eagles even though they were the hardest tricks especially if you do them right. We went as high as we could and spread our legs. Today we would break every bone in our bodies. I mean I have hardly ever been sick (When I left Parliament after 20 years I only took a few days off - Greg McGill the Financial Controller might be the only other guy who is rarely sick ) yet I fell of a bicycle in Brissie two years ago - surreally it happened at almost zero speed yet broke both arms and now I have a plate in a right arm. So security detectors have fun with Media Dragon wherever he goes ;-)
Maybe one of the reasons I never get sick (knock on J curve or Wood) is because I love what I do. I love research and sharing information and coming across new ideas, new ways of doing things, new ways of fighting curiosity... I can survive on five hours sleep or less. But I drink like a fish. Mostly water though with a twist of lime or lemon. A coffee a day in a company of colourful character(s) who know where most of the bodies of absurdity of life are buries - Whether one is at the snowy High Tatra Mountains or the beerholding Bondi Iceberg or the dry Thorpish Scarecrow Shire there is never a shortage of stories ...
From Cold Slavic Mountains with unashamed passion for entertaining stories

Geoff Berry of Queenscliff thought that ‘the purpose of Senate inquiries was to get the problem off the front pages - oops!’

Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. Robert Kennedy and Public Confidence in Democracy
Ach, Sorry, members and clerks only

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Elective Monarchy: 'King John' under fire
The Australian Parliament has deteriorated into a form of elective monarchy where the Prime Minister "rules all he surveys", says the most senior public servant in the Senate, Harry Evans [and Linda V.]

In remarkably frank reaction to Herald revelations that parliamentary inquiries are being ignored by the Government, Mr Evans, the Clerk of the Senate, says it is time the public insists on better representation. Writing in the Herald today, he argues: "We no longer have parliamentary government in any meaningful sense of the term." On radio yesterday, Mr Evans likened John Howard to a king and said people needed to be more sophisticated about what they expected from their elected representatives. "There is in Australia an enormous concentration of power in the Prime Minister," he told 2UE. "People don't realise this, that we really have a sort of elective monarchy where, you know, you elect the monarch and … [he] rules all he surveys."

It is not just Senate inquiries that are spurned by the Government - it has ignored 27 of its own committee inquiries. Many public inquiries have been replicated in the federal and state arenas over the past decade. And the two levels of government often duplicate something else, too: inaction once the inquiries are completed.
The NSW and federal parliaments carried out inquiries into the issues of salinity, genetically modified foods and the dangers of railway crossings.
Senate boss blasts PM's monarchy [Parliament should be a place of debate, not a rubber stamp for the prime minister A day spent in the public gallery would shock the founding fathers; Thatcher in trousers Backbenchers complicate a tricky stretch ]
• · Revealed: Thornley Planned Privately Owned Faction a Year Ago - "Thornley First" ; Lay off the cheap grog at NSW State Parly! In defence of cheap grog at State Parly; The Parliamentary Reds
• · · The "ayes", not to mention "musts" and "mays", have put paid to public participation in development issues New planning code: trust us, we're the experts ; The Left Bank's well of ideas runs dry
• · · · The hero of the day is now a product being ripened by a platoon of PR agents, managers, stylists and personal trainers. There's a buck to be made with this boy Doug's grateful, but armed forces must make way for market forces ; In December 2004, Australian MP Andrew Refshauge was backed into a corner. In the light of the poor academic performance of indigenous students, he could no longer insist that the ‘one size fits all’ approach to school curricula is the best model Parent Power
• · · · · Laurie Taylor championed the 1960s sexual revolution; now at last he can be uproariously honest about it Freaked out ; On a satirical act that would fit perfectly in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 or George Orwell's 1984 Killed in Iran, banned here
• · · · · · Barack Obama makes the best case for liberal politics in recent memory Barack Star ; Start with the prevailing disposition of power, trim your principles to fit, and you end up with an organization stood on its head The United Nations system: 60

Monday, June 20, 2005

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

Telling Others What to Think ... The phenomenon of blogging: why would anyone write a book on that?; and "are professors really that mercenary? Why Would Anyone Write a Book on That?
Why not Surreal Vienna? Blogger explains how "Cold River" probes the coldest resources of the human heart and soul. The river reflects our culture's dark side but also washes it away ... Another sad anniversary again, and I'm not dead yet, though I was having my doubts on Saturday night ... As a reader of Media Dragon, you can help to create a bohemian record by being that milestonish 50,000th visitor at Szirine on the 25th anniversary of the tragic Iron Curtain escape 7/7 2005 The most unlikely True Story you'll ever read

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Loose lips that launched the ship
[Wen Media Dragon was born,] journalism was not a popular profession. Bank managers seemed to have a better future and many business journalists saw newspapers as a quick stepping stone into stockbroking.

BHP and most leading companies looked down on reporters and would not talk to them. In the early 1960s, the Sydney press were not allowed into annual meetings, so I began turning up and requesting entry, threatening to return with a proxy. At one meeting, I was so irate at being rejected that I climbed into the roof of the stage and reported from there.

The past four decades have been a wonderful adventure. We have seen a series of brilliant entrepreneurs who inspired the business community: people like Rupert Murdoch, the Packers, Richard Pratt, Frank Lowy, retailer Gerry Harvey and transport magnate Lindsay Fox.
Robert Gottliebsen [via Hugh Martin Gotty says goodbye ; It is a little odd to see a man who is allergic to the press sitting on the board of one of the world's most prestigious media companies Dan Gillmor The Annals of Corporate Misbehavior ]
• · At the height of the 2004 presidential campaign, ABC’s “The Note” was the hot political Web site for the chattering class. The New Yorker anointed it as a “must read.” Best Political Blogs: DC Journalists Pick Their Favorites ;
Do You Know Your Rights? Think bigger than blogging, however. This is important for all people doing bottom-up media, of whatever sort For Freedom’s Sake ; The Dangers of Blogging
• · · Warren Bickford is an accredited business communicator based in Regina Canada: Perhaps it is time to shed some light into the darker corners of our profession. We have powerful tools in our hands and we know how to use them. As communicators, we make tough ethical decisions every day. Should we be burning our “spin” cards in the streets? The Dark Side: 10 list of trends and issues that communicators should be concerned about ; Las Vegas Review-Journal - Nor was it simply its status as an afternoon paper, the equivalent of the village blacksmith of daily journalism. The Sun faltered because it wasn't run well... It wasn't TV that drove the Las Vegas Sun out of business ; Let's hope the Los Angeles Times' interactive editorial leads directly to the interactive tax return
• · · · Henry Sidgwick spent his life on one of philosophy’s most difficult problems: how can we be happy and at the same time pursue fairness? Each [is] to count for one, and none for more than one ; Liberty and responsibility really do go together, says Virginia Postrel. The more freedom we have, the more virtue in learning to make responsible choices Consumer Vertigo ; The Web is learning new tricks every day ... Tracking useful sites By Sree Sreenivasan New to Media Dragon - DoubleTrust is based on the simple premise that trusting two authorities is better than one
• · · · · "Public Beta" is just a euphemism for: "We're just trying this out. Why RSS and Folksonomies Are Becoming So Big ; amNewYork editor out after using material from WP website Editor quits over story attributions
• · · · · · One of the benefits that ought to arise from the existence of the blogosphere is that of fact-checking. False claims can be refuted quickly, and, we might hope, not repeated thereafter. Sadly it doesn’t seem to work out that way, as the following examples show. Fact-czeching in the blogosphere ; Unlike when blogs first started, fact-checking is now receiving sustained attention in the mainstream press and at websites like
Some errors are innocent, uninnnnntentional while others ... How two incorrectly used punctuation marks can set off a firestorm of discussion and debate. Journalists versus bloggers: the difference is fact checking?; Don't worry, like cockroaches, one day bloggers will inherit the Earth Sincerely Flattered ; Fact-czeching verb and usage

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Every lazy Sunday lunch at nanny June's with Richard and Rosie hypnotizes Media Dragon as does the the trill of reading Sunday papers ;-)
The Sunday Terror reports that random drug testing of staff and sniffer dog patrols at Parliament House are being considered after traces of cocaine were detected outside the offices of senior Liberal and Labor MPs Sniffer Watchdog
On a totally different issue, David Draper, the food and beverage manager at Parliament House for the past 23 years, has been suspended on full pay pending the outcome of the investigation. His son, Justin, also was suspended reports Alex Mitchell inside the Naked Eye of the Sun Herald today. The Clerk of the peasant house, as Johno Johnson used to cheekily referred to the lower house chambers, Russell Grove and the Clerk of Parliament John Evans have hired a big legal gun to represent the Parliament in this dispute. David and his son were accused of bullying (as reported in the Daily Terror on 2 June 2005?) I have known David for many, many, years and he certainly struck me as one of those managers who always exceeded my expectations, especially in my role as the Clerk to the Public Accounts Committee. He was known as the can-do-manager. The drama around our first ever teleconference at the Strangers Dining Room (staged for the drawcard of our conference on infrastructure, Sir Alistair Morton, who spoke at London could fill a book or two ... Yet David accommodated us with a smile during the entire process). One can only go by ones own past experiences and mine were always pleasant whenever I dealt with characters like David Draper or Allan Beverstock or Stafford Bennett. As they say in the Czech lands, little fish gets always swallowed by a big fish...
Speaking of Czech Media Dragon dined in two places last night at the red light district. Ironically, both of the places run by Czechs are situated extremely close to the abodes of the former and the current Clerks of the Legislative Assembly. I gather that when Grahame Harris Cooksley is not based at Mcleay St then he is barring his soul at Newport ... while Russell David Grove is a stonethrow away from 29 Orwell Street bohemian beer cafe. Doma is a great place right on the corner of George Orwell and Homer Simpson Springfield Avenue. There is no absinth like Czech absinth they say: at Doma you will taste not only the best tatar but also Staroplzenecky Absinth (70%). Media Dragon spies report that Sydneysiders are partial to Czech feast and beer as well as other wicked liquids on tap.
Short walk from Orwell who started writing 1984 in 1942 is another world at 42 Kellet Street, here the classier restaurant offers a real Prague experience. People, places, party, faces this is the blood-life of Prague. So many great dishes and bread dumplings yet so little time ... rich pickings from duck pate Crepes Suzette Prague ;-) Fashion has become more and more entwined with celebrities and fashion reporters have become more and more entwined with stars, but the three savvy waiteresses had the nerve to be as tall as Media Dragon and dressed in that modern X factor fashion along with the drop dead smile ... Watch them pouring Green Fary Absinth that strange creation of the Bohemian dating back to 1538. You read it right - 1538! The idea of a funeral arrangements for Media Dragon after a few absinth start to sound frighteningly sensible ;-)
Ach, I have it on the highest authorities that Homer and Jerry pinched most of their lines from Good Soldier Svejk who was partial to beer and absinth

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Pitch Kings: A Long Way Up
Jaroslav Pelikan asks who owns the Good Book

Decades after his [Slavic-born] aunt stumped him with a casually posed question, Tall me, vot do you tink of Bible? Jaroslav Pelikan, PhD’46, has set out to answer his “dear Aunt Vanda.”
In Whose Bible Is It? A History of the Scriptures Through the Ages (Viking), Pelikan, Yale’s Sterling professor emeritus in history and a prolific author on historical Christianity, begins to address his title question by taking a look at the modern Bible. Its reader, whether Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, or otherwise, he writes, “has the right to expect ‘the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible.’” Yet, in addition to the proliferation of English translations, significant differences exist among sects and religions—Christians include the New Testament, for example, and Roman Catholics also add the Apocrypha.
John the Baptist, for example, exclaims, “Do not imagine you can say, ‘We have Abraham for our father.’ I tell you that God can make children for Abraham out of these stones” (Pelikan’s italics). “Interpreters of this passage,” he writes, “were often puzzled about what connection, if any, there is between ‘children’ and ‘stones.’” Retranslating the passage, however, reveals a play on words: in the original “children” is banim and “stones” ebanim.

Who can lay claim to the Bible? [Australian filmmakers tour the Danube to unlock the mysteries of one of the 20th century's most influential thinkers. By using the river as a theme, The Ister creates a visual palimpsest, a kind of cinematic hypertext to the questions raised by river, poem, and philosophers Time and the Cold River; At times I am sick of how tied to the bottom line my students are, how unimaginatively selfish they are, how often they ask that insulting question, "What's in it for me? So, What's in It for Media Dragon? ]
• · The season of clichés is upon us, with end-of-school speeches - perversely called Commencement: be alarmed ; That's what I felt as I walked the aisles of Book Expo America last weekend in New York City Paranoia and pity
• · · John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Reports Record Revenue, EPS and Cash Flow for Fiscal Year 2005 Wiley Rises ; There's old stereotypes, and then there's the newer old stereotypes: The hypnotic eye
• · · · Author and historian Rex Lipman reveals how one soldier hoodwinked the public over the role Britain played in the Battle of Waterloo 190 years ago. This has now been established because, many years after the publication of Siborne's history -- and his death -- his grandchildren, unaware that what they were doing would destroy their grandfather's credibility as a historian and expose his flagrant dishonesty, presented all his writings, notes and correspondence to what is now the British Library Wellington's win gets the boot ; New Dawn, a look at six great enigmas of ancient civilisations
• · · · · The topic Why Theatre? was apparently very good on 11 June at The Parade Theatre NIDA. While I was waiting for the end of the semester acting presentations today I was a fly on the steps at NIDA. Once a term parents are allowed to watch their teenage girls (mostly girls especially 14 - 15 vintage) Australia has many creative teachers! No teenage story has captured the imagination of actors than a fight with local government ;-) Addicted to theatre - A portrait of the artist as a young mess ; Paulo Coelho's admirers say he offers happiness to mankind, his critics that he writes New Age tosh
• · · · · · Who's Mentally Ill? Nick Pas? Scott? Watson? Deciding Is Often All in the Mind ; And you'd have to be crazy: Mental illness is the new normal You'd Have to Be Crazy

Friday, June 17, 2005

Money may make the world go around but recognition is also a valuable workplace currency. Good leaders create opportunities to provide rewards, recognition and thanks to staff members. In the words of the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics -- there are two things people want more than sex and money - recognition and praise.
In many ways, I consider myself to be one of the luckiest man on earth as my former mentors Patricia Azarias and Dr Russell Cope (1982-2000 AD) were the most generous encouragers. As the one thing great managers know is what is unique about each person and to capitalise on it.
The leading US management academic, Professor Dave Ulrich says results do not just come in the form of short term financial impact, but even more as a longer-term intangible benefit where investors gain confidence in the firm as a result of the quality of leadership and, as a result, generate a higher market value

How to overcome the corporate conspiracy that keeps you chained to your job. BY: SUSAN CRAMM
If you want your life to be more than a series of meetings, e-mails and business trips, you are not alone. My objective in nearly every coaching relationship is to help my client find a balance between work responsibilities and personal life. Former GE grand pooh-bah Jack Welch has said in recent articles and interviews that he believes great managers don't have work-life-balance issues because they have the necessary "systems" in place. This is a ridiculous comment, even for those with a stay-at-home spouse and legions of personal assistants. The only managers who don't have work-life-balance issues are those who have already given up their lives to the company.Have
Susan Cramm is founder and president of Valuedance, an executive coaching firm in San Clemente, Calif. E-mail feedback to Your Work or Your Life [For more reader questions and answers from Susan Cramm, visitThe Executive Coach Column]

Opportunity Knocks 17 June -18 June 2005 AD: The Sydney Morning Herald Careers and Employment Expo
The opportunities that await motivated and career minded individuals are outstanding. Australian and global businesses are increasingly looking to build relationships with Australia's top talent.

The Sydney Morning Herald Careers and Employment Expo provides these organisations a platform to reach the talent they seek today and in the future - You

17-18 June [As people try to figure out how to navigate today's tough work realities, career and motivation gurus have a receptive audience. So they look for easy-to-swallow maxims to preach - and in so doing, have let loose numerous myths about how to carve career success Ten myths of career success debunked ; Work Makes You Free? ]

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The memory of most men is an abandoned cemetery where lie, unsung and unhonored, the dead whom they have ceased to cherish. Any lasting grief is reproof to their forgetfulness.
- Marguerite Yourcenar, Memoirs of Hadrian

So cold the window has limped flowers, so cold that river is covered with snow, so cold that my breath looks like smoke, so cold that singles feel lonely feeling like the whole heart is frozen looking at kissing couples with jealousy the same time recalling the past beautiful moments and melts the frozen heart a little ... and then barking Lillie woke me up.

Yet as I picked up the copy of the Smiling Morning Herald a creepish deja vu embraced my presence. Has someone read my first letter to Czechoslovakia back in September 1980 the sentiment is almost word for word ;-) ‘Let's face it, Sydney rarely does winter well. Stark interiors that shine in summer become iceboxes when the temperature drops; fireplaces are harder to find than non-spill teapots at a yum cha restaurant... [even strange is a reference to our favourite pub] Score a seat by the embers at Woollahra's Lord Dudley Hotel, sit back with a glass of red or a pint of Boddingtons and rediscover the art of pointless yet spirit-soaring pub conversation‘ I know I said it many times before but being with Lo, makes me feel so at home wherever I am even the Shire Cold comforts: consistency of corrugated iron

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The Storytellers
Want to build a brand for the ages? Tell consumers a story they want to believe—even if it's not true ... Just tell me the facts, tell me a story instead. Be remarkable! Be consistent! Be authentic! Tell your story to people who are inclined to believe it. Marketing is powerful. Use it wisely. Live the lie.

Arthur Riolo is a world-class storyteller. Arthur sells real estate in my little town north of New York City. He sells a lot of real estate—more than all his competitors combined. That's because Arthur doesn't sell anything.
Anyone can tell you the specs of a house or talk to you about the taxes. But he doesn't. Instead, Arthur does something very different. He takes you and your spouse for a drive. You drive up and down the hills of a neighborhood as he points out house after house (houses that aren't for sale). He tells you who lives in that house and what they do and how they found the house and the name of their dog and what their kids are up to and how much they paid. He tells you a story about the different issues in town, the long-simmering rivalries between neighborhoods and the evolution and imminent demise of the Mother's Club. Then, and only then, does Arthur show you a house.
It might be because of Arthur's antique pickup truck or the fact that everyone in town knows him or the obvious pleasure he gets from the community, but sooner or later, you'll buy a house from Arthur. And not just because it's a good house. Because it's a good story:
Great stories make a promise.
Great stories are trusted.
Great stories are subtle.
Great stories happen fast.
Great stories are rarely aimed at everyone.
Great stories don't contradict themselves.
And most of all, great stories agree with our worldview.

Yes, all marketers are liars. But the successful ones are the ones that can honestly tell us a story we want to believe and share. A story that works, combined with authenticity and minimized side effects, builds a brand (and a business) for the ages
• By Seth Godin, CMO Magazine, June 2005 Know Your Power & Powerlessness [As if it were degrading to sell and market books and to stoop so low Acting as if the book were important ; Those who had been asleep woke up, and every boy rose to his feet as though surprised in his labours Bookworm on the Net ]
• · Throughout the whole Orange prize experience I was confronted with evidence that women are uncomfortable with naked ambition, trained to have low expectations, embarrassed by head-to-head competition, and virtually obliged to act abashed when they win. In contrast to a certain other sex that will go unmentioned Lionel Shriver On Ambition and Gender ;
• · · Figuratively, if not literally, the books that Serpent's Tail publishes in modest numbers (around 35 to 40 per year) aim to strike hard, cut deep and leave a lasting impression. Taboo-busters, rule-breakers, risk-takers, Jelinek and Shriver perfectly match the profile that the company founded by Pete Ayrton in 1986 has created and confirmed over almost two decades Serpent's Tail's Winning Ways ; The world's largest online encyclopedia of graphic symbols!
• · · · Major book publishers are preparing to boost their business by selling directly to consumers from their websites, a move that has booksellers spooked about being squeezed by their own suppliers Publishers Cut Out The Middleman; Is it about the classics or the cappuccino The Big-Box Bookstore Dilemma
• · · · · Fear. Isolation. Loneliness. Ah, the writer's life ... No More A group of freelancers in San Francisco believe they've found a way to help remedy writer's block, share advice, get feedback on a first draft and keep from driving their families crazy Writers Band Together For Sanity ; In The Independent Sarah Cassidy reports that Literature pushed out by media studies
• · · · · · This kind of prosumer doesn't necessarily earn money by making music, videos, or photos, but is still willing to invest in more serious hardware and software than the typical dabbler, and spend more time using it Are You A "Prosumer? -The word coined by the futurist Alvin Toffler; Chinese literature is overlooked in the west but a new English edition of a classic novel could change that Great leap forward

Monday, June 13, 2005

He opened the jar of pickles when no one else could. He was the only one in the house who wasn't afraid to into the basement by himself. He cut himself shaving, but no one kissed it or got excited about it. It was understood when it rained, he got the car and brought it around to the door. When anyone was sick, he went out to get the prescription filled. He took lots of pictures ... but he was never in them.
-Erma Bombeck, Family - The Ties That Bind... And Gag

More than 150 large temples, built between 4800BC and 4600BC, have been unearthed predating the pyramids in Egypt by about 2000 years. Archaeologists are now beginning to suspect that hundreds of these very early monumental religious centres, each up to 150 metres across, were constructed across a 400-mile swath of land in what is now Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and eastern Germany Every End is a Beginning: Laugh and stormy lines of Bohemian Slavs

Dozens of webdiary posts dot the net. Most lead somewhere on a daily basis but nowhere in the longer term. Then somewhere is often a political punch line. This one by Jack leads to existential moments as every end is a beginning ... No more satisfying deathbed utterance can be imagined for Thoreau than the reply to a question put gently to him by Parker Pillsbury a few days before his death. Pillsbury was an old abolitionist war-horse, a former minister who had left his church over the slavery issue, a man of principle and proven courage who...could not resist the impulse to peer into the future. You seem so near the brink of the dark river, Pillsbury said, that I almost wonder how the opposite shore may appear to you. Thoreau's answer summed up his life,One world at a time, he said. Do the lifestyle choices required to become an achiever in 2005 AD - a winner, a leader of society and a role model for younger men - mean that 'good fatherhood' takes second place on the Alpha Male list of things to do? Fatherhood and the Alpha male

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: One world at a time: Searching for Life's Signposts
The color of my hair dates me, as does the music I recall at existential moments in my own life. For those who follow the timeless One, time is meant to be a gift and an opportunity.

As the years progress, the pattern of the Catholic Liturgical Calendar has become so much more meaningful to me. Like everything about the Catholic Christian life, it is a deep mystery and gift that is to be unpacked, over time. I hope to share some reflections in this article that have come from my own participation in the liturgical cycle and my own aging. Human beings have always marked time by significant events. The real question is not whether we will mark time, but how we will do so. What events and what messages are we proclaiming in the process of our calendaring of time?

For the Christian, time is not meant to be a tyrant, somehow ruling over us. Rather, it is to be a teacher, instructing us and presenting us with opportunity. Rather than an enemy, it is a friend
• I'll be done learning when I'm dead Time: Tyrant or Teacher [World Square - which has World Tower at its heart - covered four city blocks alone. It had as many people working and living in its vicinity as Grafton on the NSW North Coast, while an estimated 35,000 workers and 16,800 residents use it SYdney BElow PArk; Got a £20m question you can't solve? Try child's play Second-guess an opponent ; When Robert Chalmers's novel failed to leap off the shelves, he resorted to giving it away in the streets. Or, at least, trying to... Rhodri Marsden joined him The Great Book Giveaway (Will You Read It Then?) ]
• · How to Recognize The Future When It Lands On You Television reloaded ; Every booklover should know about La Vie en Rose - a company they creates and sells book gift baskets: A Tisket, A Tasket, A Book In A Basket ; Who Counts In Chicago Publishing? Who really books in Chicago
• · · The distrust of appearances and official versions was further enhanced by the Watergate scandal in 1973-4 The Economics of Conspiracy Theories ; To be what the philosopher, David Hume, called a "mitigated", or moderate, sceptic is, in addition, deeply frustrating
To be a sceptic is a difficult and dangerous business

• · · · 'Missing link' between madness and genius Genius cannot exist without mental disorder ; Psychiatrist John Gartner embarked on a search for what makes Americans different and found his own manic tendencies at the core of the national character. Crazy Success ; A look at how the great and the good can be comprehensively wrong An Intelligent Person's Guide to Ethic
• · · · · A lesson with the art master What Good Are the Arts? ; We don't believe in horoscopes - so why do we read them? What if a story could change your life?
• · · · · · With my intimate friends after midnight, sometimes, we sang those songs, because it was our childhood. If we didn't become complete idiots, it's a miracleUmberto Eco: Miracles in Milan Alvin Toffler introduced the concept of future shock in the early eighties and it hasn't got much better Film: A Good Woman