Friday, April 30, 2004

Strange, but this debate over Doonesbury and the coffin photos brings to mind something that "Sopranos" creator David Chase has said: That his goal is to make people squirm, to make them uncomfortable. I think that's part of the media's job--to make people uncomfortable, to make them squirm, to make them feel sick if necessary. I don't mean shock for its own sake, but the shock of uncomfortable and painful realities that force us to challenge our assumptions.
Jonathan Potts

Off the Record
I mean no disrespect to The Times, but what discriminating citizen can really afford to rely on only one source of news? And can't all discriminating readers contextualize what their newspapers (or television stations or radio hosts or Web logs) tell them?
· Paper of Record? No Way, No Reason, No Thanks
[Link Poached from ]
· See Also Newspapers, especially, have a duty to show all aspects of a war, its ugly side as well as its public policy side
· See Also Critic: I know journos who want to write real press criticism

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Philadelphia... I just love the sound of the word.

One Store Fits All?
How is it that everyone on earth seems to be happy shopping at Walmart? Eight out of ten American households shop at Wal-Mart at least once a year. Worldwide, more than 100m customers visit Wal-Mart stores every week. Photographs circulated over the internet and purporting to come from the Exploration Rover show NASA's recent discovery of a Wal-Mart on Mars. The mathematics of big numbers suggests that Wal-Mart's growth must slow
· Amazingly, the opposite appears to be happening [ via The Economist 04/16/04 ]
· See Also Why I stole your dollar, and what's in it for you: Taxes & Welfare for Dummies
· See Also The IMF at 60: Reform Still a Long Way Off...

Arthur Sulzberger of the New York Times: We had a truly horrible year at the New York Times last year. ... "The scariest thing of all of last year for me... wasn't Jayson Blair.... The scariest part was that the people we lied about didn't bother to call because they just assumed that's the way newspapers worked. That's scary.
As Jeff Jarvis says: Amen and amen again

Burned by the Sunburnt Country of My Exile: Everything is Costed Nothing is Valued
ME and my big mouth… A reader has taken me to task for the items that appeared last month calling new Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore a crypto-communist.
· Hillary's Clover Moore challenge
· See Also Humans are herd animals. When we see other people trading up to better homes, we have an almost irresistible urge to join them
· See Also How much is Google worth? [Link Poached from ]

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Poverty is engulfing the people and unrest is rising... Whoever wins, the uprising will come.
Father Joe Dizon, 2004 (Neighbourhood priest of Philippines Phame)

Nobody Expects The Czech Inquisition! If China is Blind, Czech Memory is at Best Near-Sighted...
In China, President Klaus can act like a statesman from a country that remembers its communist past or like a pragmatic, silent technocrat.
Klaus cannot claim during his current visit, as he did before his 1994 trip as prime minister, that he does not know a single Chinese dissident. He now knows the stories of He Depu, Zheng Enchong, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Wang Wanxing and Yan Jun.

· 1,984 Reasons Orwell Was Only 20 Years Off: Choices in Beijing [Link Poached from Prague Post]
· See Also Mikhail Gorbachev: For A Global Glasnost...
· See Also A silent migration: Since the year 2000, between 234,000 and 350,000 Ecuadorians have set sail for Guatamala in illegal embarcations
· See Also THE SECOND round of Slovakia's presidential elections brought defeat to Meciar who was boxed out by his estranged ally, Ivan Gasparovic [Link Poached from Slovak Spectator]
· See Also Who is Gasparovic? Another lesser evil?
· See Also Eastern European Memories of Easter: Willow and water treats [Hockey Memories: 7 Months exactly after the Invasion You have tanks. We have goals! Cold as ice: The triumph in 1969 [Memories Poached from This is My P1S1: Tucked away in the folds of the ancient mountains that embrace the Kezmarok and Poprad valleys lay a royal town called Vrbov (a place with dual meanings: ‘willow’ and ‘boiling water’)]
· See Also Both the Old and New Testaments tell us that fathers who sacrifice their sons are good and sons who allow themselves to be sacrificed on the orders of their fathers become our saviors
· See Also Oprah of Poprad: Whirlpool brings new work culture and jobs to Slovakian town`
· See Also MEl Forgives Us for His Sins: You try to perform an act of love even for those who persecute you, and I think that's the message of the film

Monday, April 26, 2004

A crimson thread links Marcel Caux to Linda Baulch. It's a thread that hangs heavily with fame and with folly, with bright hopes and sorrowful endings. It's part of Australia's collective sentiment, deep in the heart's core. It's called Anzac...

ANZAC Memories
GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

· Away in far Gallipolli: As Ferguson points out to describe one of the great military disasters as 'dirty' is an absurd reduction [ via Barista ]
[ courtesy of Google: Tears for war tales; Societies reaffirm their collective sentiments from time to time, and Australians reaffirm theirs every Anzac Day]
· See Also Full Coverage: ANZAC
· See Also A top-secret Anzac Day visit: It's a small risk I take . . . Mr Howard with Australian troops during the Anzac Day dawn service at Baghdad
· See Also Pat Tillman, K.I.A. U.S. Army Ranger and Ex-NFL Player Pat Tillman Killed in Afghanistan
· See Also Are we feeling comfortable yet? Through the Wire: Their torment is carried out by our Government, in our names

Saturday, April 24, 2004

He had expected compliance, but not at the astounding rate of 65 per cent of subjects willing to deliver what they believed were lethal shocks.

Whatever you say, boss
An infamous experiment,threeyearsafterMEdiaDragonwasborn, showed how easily people could be led to kill.
In a post-Holocaust world, like in post-Cold War world, people were struggling to understand how scores of SS, and KGB officers, had shot, gassed and tortured millions of people to death, supposedly on orders from their commanders.

· Why even non partisan parliamentary officers will obey the deadliest orders

A sinister killer, a flight to Amsterdam, and hundreds of millions of dollars at stake . . . the asbestos saga reads like a novel
· ASBESTOS AFTERMATH: Hardie casts a long shadow

Friday, April 23, 2004

The key to transport planning: creating a clear way for community involvement
Governments need to abandon a top-down approach to transport planning and let communities decide what they want, a leading transport planner says.
· Nature Striptease (sic): Roots and Ideas of Ordinary Grass [ courtesy of smh ]

Celebrating a universal moment devoted to the culture of reading isn’t an easy thing at the moment, nor perhaps when MEn Dragons are Losing Our (sic) Edge? The mouse, Yoda, that roared & Yoedeled! Virgin mouse gives birth: In a First, Mice Are Made Without Fathers... Running naked through the jungle, which didn't matter until somebody released some dragons...

Friday April 23rd is World Book Day
Although many locales are concerned about their populations leaning away from books and towards mass media, on April 23, the world will once again celebrate World Book Day. The day was chosen due to a significant confluence of important author dates; it marks both the day of Shakespeare's birth and his death.
· My book cycle [Link Poached from Google by not so Virgin Mouse]
· See Also Librarian's Dramatic Past Life: Here's a librarian to abolish stereotypes ...
· See Also Librarians, Escapes & Politics sells books, left and right [Engaging Ordinary Readers Sole Survivor: Wait a second. What is my role? ]
· See Also Library e-books now on cell phones
· See Also Killing Us Poetically: Poets die young -- younger than novelists, playwrights and other writers

Hard core irony of window dressing? An exclusive Sydney club (not far away from Macquarie Street, Sydney, Australia) had a security policy that scanned law-abiding citizens with metal detectors but let "heavies" and bikies enter unchecked because of fears of violence.

It's hard to know what is more disturbing... The road and river map is not dead; iraq is free; the referendum is now good; and, as orwell might have added, war is peace... Revelation (9:14-15) maintains that four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates will be released to slay the third part of men... Madness Explained...

Putting Our Ideas up for Destiny
A small number of citizens whose ideas are regarded as exceptional, brilliant, and world changing. The bulk of our citizens accept the world as something they cannot change - and yet if only they knew the power of that idea about the world!
We are all born into the world as travellers on the (river) of life, down through the ages, none of us with absolute certainty about the (river) we are on, nor any (river) for that matter, except certainties we choose ourselves. As citizens of the world we've been given a free ticket to create it any way we want...

· Artist Robert Bosler: Beneath us is the oldest land in the world [ via ]
· See Also Keelty driven to brink of resigning
· See Also Vanunu: traitor or prisoner of conscience?
· See Also Killing Us Softly: Weblog coverage of families of American war victims in Iraq?
· See Also Oil-for-Terror? Oil-for-Food scandal: The corruption in this deal appears to have been one of the biggest in U.N. history
· See Also This is nothing short of the scariest article i've read in exile: 7 new Elite Russian Scientists Mysteriously Being Murdered

Thursday, April 22, 2004

The Farmer allows walkers to cross the paddock for free, but the bull charges!!!
[In this extraordinary time, first we had Man Bites Dog to Death--headline, Sydney Morning Herald, April 11; & today We Know We Left Those Scissors Somewhere... ]

Getting Linked While Everybody Else is Getting Read:
A Penny For...
Business Blog
TJ Cobi
Small Business Trends

Much Ado About Something: South Treasures Meet North
Three things succeed on the internet: shopping, as perfected by Amazon; searching, as perfected by Google; and blogging as perfected by thousands of creative fingers and linkers...
In keeping with the egalitarian nature of blogs, David Tiley of Barista fame is encouraging everyone to share small, but beautiful blogging treasures....
For my part, I suggested
[Lakatoi by James Cumes:
Cross-cultural observations and reflections by a former Australian Ambassador and High Commissioner, Dr James Cumes. James born and bred in Brissie is now based in Vienna where he devotes his time to charities, writing and leading Victory over Want]
[ (Southern Cross) Words;]
(Southern Cross) Words by Gregory Altreuter :: Cross-cultural observations and reflections by a former New Yorker on Sydney Australia, including philosophical musings, art, music, literature raves, political obtuseness, and anything else that comes to mind on the differences between life directed by the Pole Star and living beneath the Southern Cross.

· See Also The rise of Weblogging has been a cold shower for the complacent mass communication industries [Link Poached from Webdiary: Blogjam5]
· See Also Jeremy Zawodny on creative linking [link first seen at ]
· See Also Metadata librarian becoming cool: Was it due to Harriet Klausner, retired librarian and #1 Amazon book reviewer?

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The argument, in a nutshell, is that the contingency of natural endowments softens the hearts of the successful, taking some of the edge off meritocracy. Once our physical and mental capacities become a matter of choice, we enter a world in which people see themselves as deserving of all that they possess. It is a world of hyper-competition, and without charity.

Follow me, said the policymaker. And, tragically, we did
What's wrong with designer politicians, bionic athletes, and genetic engineering...Breakthroughs in genetics present us with a promise and a predicament. The promise is that we may soon be able to treat and prevent a host of debilitating diseases. The predicament is that our newfound genetic knowledge may also enable us to manipulate our own nature—to enhance our muscles, memories, and moods; to choose the sex, height, and other genetic traits of our children; to make ourselves better than well... It threatens to banish our appreciation of life as a gift, and to leave us with nothing to affirm or behold outside our own will
· The Case Against Perfection: Creative Destruction
· See Also But what of the press? Did newspapers ignore the lessons of history as well? As the public's watchdog, did we bark loud enough as Bush's plans took shape, or were we dozing?
· See Also Roadside drug tests are steering towards a legal minefield

While on my way to the airport, I saw an ad for Wild Turkey bourbon, which said Anything less is a waste of good ice. I had that uneasy feeling that something was wrong, but I couldn't quite say what. Then it struck me that the claim was logically equivalent to Any worse, and it would be undrinkable.
Turkeys by John Quiggin

This Season Our Economy Is Offering Debt and Casual Jobs
The United Nations has finally noticed that entrepreneurial economic activity is sweeping the globe. UN’s Commission on the Private Sector and Development issued its report, Unleashing Entrepreneurship: Making Business Work for the Poor, in which the primary recommendation is, you guessed it, break down barriers created by governmental bureaucracy and get out of the way.
· Entrepreneurship as an strategy to reduce poverty [Link Poached from Anita ]
· See Also Harry Heidelberg: Dreams becoming nightmares
· See Also Global Slumlords
· See Also Max Uechtritz: From the ABC to Nine and back [ via Crikey ]
· See Also Eastern Europe productivity: Czech Republic and Slovakia becoming a regional cluster for the auto industry

A Passion for Poetry (and Profits)
When John W. Barr was a teenager, he walked into his family's living room and announced that he had decided to become a poet.
His father replied: That's fine, but go to college so people will think you're an eccentric, not just a beach bum.

· Deciding how to make use of a gift worth more than $100 million.
· See Also A good nose for a business opportunity: Aroma Tours, an Australian company, organises holidays to nice-smelling places

David Tiley is standing in for Tim Dunlop for the next four weeks. He is a writer, script editor, teacher and occasional director who works in film and multimedia, particularly on documentaries, and has done his bit as an arts bureaucrat. His blog Barista tries to find humour in a deadly serious world... Nevermind the substantiated accussation of MEdia Dragon being the prince of the link...

NEXT TIME DON’T BLOG SO CLOSE: Faherty has a dirty, dirty, suggestion
Juile Faherty writes an article in today's New York Times about BloggerCon II. The article focuses on the business potential of blogs and advertising again rises to the number one position for revenue generation.
There is too much emphasis on advertising and blogs. I realize that Adwords and BlogAds have created the possibility of instant micropublishing. I realize that when mainstream media reports on our corner of the world that they are going to report from their perspective - newspapers and magazines create content and then sell advertising. I also realize that people are finding success and that makes a good story.

· ConBloggerII [ courtesy of A Penny For...]
· See Also Sadly, the last thing most bloggers (and not just guys) think about is their feet
· See Also The Zen of Blogging
· See Also Blogrunner

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

When I was a kid, I wanted a five-dollar watch, then a ten-dollar watch, then a hundred-dollar watch. When I made money, I wanted a Rolex, then a Patek-Philippe. Now I realize that the real luxury is not to know the time.
Jack Straus, quoted in A. Alvarez, The Biggest Game in Town

Casual spiral of the modern workplace
Unpredictable earnings and job insecurity have left the rising number of casual workers vulnerable to growing debt, less able to borrow money and unable to plan childcare
· Home >Was Casual Irony with author's surname intended? By Aban Contractor (Almost as gud as I'm rich)

Tax system is the most politicized law in the land. As a result, people with wealth and access to politicians have perverted the tax code to benefit themselves at the expense of all other Americans. For those of you making the "the top 50% pay 96% of federal taxes" argument you have it correct but you are lying due to an omission of fact. The income tax is only a portion of the government's revenues and that when all federal charges are considered as a whole the tax burden is (more and more) falling disproportionally on those with the least amount of money.
Bookslut: Dear I.R.S.: Please hurry with my refund check. I want to go comics shopping. I whimper outside the window of Chicago Comics. Hurry, you beaurocratic bastards

Perfectly Legal: Fair assessment of the most unfair tax system ever created
Most Americans would agree that they are duty bound as beneficiaries of our democracy to pay taxes, and the majority of us do pay—-exorbitantly. But what about those who do not pay their fair share? David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times, here reveals how fairness and equity have eroded from the American tax system. Johnston describes in shocking detail the loopholes our government provides the "super rich"--from private individuals to profitable corporations—-to hide their wealth, to defer or evade tax payments, and to pass the bill to law-abiding middle-class Americans. The loss in revenue "imposes a severe cost on honest taxpayers" through reduced services, increased federal debt, and a weight on the middle class that threatens to impede its ability to achieve upward social mobility.
· See Also Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich - and Cheat Everybody Else

The Lords of Bakersfield, an in-depth investigative series that exposed public and private corruption in its community over several decades. The paper carefully considered the many ethical issues involved in reporting and editing the series, insulated the newsroom from any real or perceived conflict of interest raised in reporting on the activities of former staff and members of the current publisher’s family, and withstood efforts by the local district attorney to discredit the series following publication...

Preventing the Next (Sydney) Scandal ...
Powerful gay men. Vulnerable teen-age boys. Murder. For years, some prominent local men who led secret lives were rumored to be protected. Whispers surrounding another important man's death prompt the question:
· Is there really a conspiracy??? [ courtesy of Payne Awards for Ethics Honor 2004 Winners]
· See Also Abusing Secrets: The no-right-to-know White House
· See Also The Cost of Doing Business' Sierra magazine's Marilyn Berlin Snell breaks the story of how Denver-based Echo Bay Mines secretly paid upwards of $2 million in protection money to al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in the Philippines
· See Also Amerikan ABC News: 'Blood Money, report on Echo Bay Mines
· See Also $4.5 Billion For Mercenaries In Iraq: NY Times has an extensive report on the scope, costs and problems of the military's use of mercenaries in Iraq

Monday, April 19, 2004

My Political Suicide Note: As a Candidate for President, There are Certain Things That John Kerry Can't Say. But I Can...

Who Really Pays Taxes in Amerika?
Recent news articles about skyrocketing tax fraud and corporate tax dodging have prompted a high level of public concern about the overall fairness and effectiveness of our current tax system...
· [Link Poached from Common Dreams]
· See Also Wealthy Taxpayers Bank on Bush: When it comes to federal taxes, though, Buffett pays about the same rate as his office receptionist

Sunday, April 18, 2004

To what extent might (bloggers) contribute to the spread of disinformation, and to tyrannies of misinformed majorities?
Rebecca MacKinnon

BloggerCon: On the lowered barrier of entry...
Jay Rosen is moderating a discussion at BloggerCon on Saturday of the questions, What is Journalism And What Can Weblogs Do About It? I am reading through his background essay and the associated comments to get a feel for what it will be like.
Right up front, Jay hits me over the head with insight in making sure that journalism is not defined as a profession, but an act...
Dave Winer: I think the best journalists around today are bloggers, not professionals, and I'm not saying that to be argumentative, I really believe it, and could and would debate it, except this is not the topic of this session.

· My advice to bloggers seeking traffic is to entirely ignore anything said by bubble-blowers [Link Poached from all you need are kisses to start a makeout party]
· See Also Michele Catalano Of A Small Victory Gives Up Political Blogging
· See Also Virtual Opinion
· See Also Fascinating article on domain names: Get Out of My Namespace
· See Also The perils of NexGen Librarian

Why do they do it, these whistleblowers? Why do they dare speak out? Whether in the private or public sector, often they lose their livelihoods, and the strain can damage their health, end their closest relationships and smash their friendships. Almost always they are smeared, threatened and put under intolerable psychological pressure... The balance of power is so stacked against the ethical individual that unless citizens do something to redress it, we'll run out of whistleblowers. We'll miss them when they're gone.

Axe Labor's Mates Boards: Brogden's committment to honesty blows Carr's out of the water
The NSW Opposition has promised to abolish more than 20 statutory boards including Landcom and Sydney Water, in an effort to save up to $5 million a year in directors' fees paid to Labor Mates.
In a speech to a business and Liberal Party forum at Parliament House yesterday, the Opposition Leader, John Brogden, accused the Government of "tossing aside" ministerial responsibility and relying on political spin to explain its policy failures.
Mr Brogden said that in 1997 the then auditor-general, Tony Harris, conducted an audit on public sector governance and tallied up the existence of 600 boards, excluding land trusts, local committees and tribunals.
He said Mr Harris had estimated the cost of the boards was about $73 million a year but there were no measures of their value and only 37 per cent of them had formal procedures for disclosure on transactions with firms in which a director held an interest.
"Of even more concern - 66 per cent of boards that responded had no performance agreements with the appropriate minister. To date the Carr Government has made no effort to respond to this report through public sector reform."
Mr Brogden said there were at present about 1000 boards and committees, with more than 5000 members, and most had become "cherished sinecures for old political mates or failed branch members who cannot win preselection."
"How can Bob Carr justify appointing [former premier] Barrie Unsworth to the Ambulance Board; [former transport minister] Brian Langton to the Transgrid Board; [former federal minister] Michael Lee to the Country Energy Board;
[former nurses union head] Sandra Moait to the Delta Electricity Board; and Mark Duffy [former chief of staff to the Treasurer, Michael Egan] to the First State Super Board?" he said.
Last year, the Auditor-General, Bob Sendt, undertook a review into the conduct, appointment and remuneration of board and committee members in NSW. Findings included that many did not have codes of conduct, often did not record attendance properly and needed to improve the disclosure of pecuniary interests.
Mr Brogden said StateRail and RailCorp failed the people of NSW, and Sydney Water had wasted $51 million on a failed billing system.
"If you are the minister for transport you should be responsible for our railways. If you are the minister for utilities you should be responsible for our water supply. If you are the minister for health you should be responsible for our hospitals. That is our philosophy. No ifs or buts."
A Liberal Government would disband unnecessary boards responsible for overseeing government businesses and agencies, he said, and re-establish direct ministerial responsibility for government services.
Those earmarked to go include RailCorp, State Transit, Sydney Water, Hunter Water, the 17 Area Health Service boards (which would be replaced by voluntary boards), Landcom, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and Workcover.
"We will consistently appoint directors on merit and expertise. Not old mates like Gerry Gleeson who chairs the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority," he said.
· Pork O Barrel: The truth hurts... especially in SusSex Street

The political practice of dipping into the public trough to finance projects that benefit only a single legislator is so firmly established that most people yawn when they see the words pork-barrel spending. Yet every so often a project comes along with such a grotesquely negative cost-benefit ratio that even the most cynical citizen snaps awake...
· See Also Pork, Sweet and Sour [ courtesy of Personally I think they've got it all arse-backwards. The real issue is not how do you stop idiots and lunatics from voting, but how do you stop them from running for government... ]
· See Also Wife Refuses To Disclose Tax Info: Kerry claimed a wealthy candidate must release returns to prove he pays a fair share in a tax system that isn't fair and lets the super-rich get off

Saturday, April 17, 2004

As seen somewhere on the Mittel Earth Web:Just can't be stopped from blogging, no matter how little financial reward they find in it...
This blog complies with a paperwork reduction act...

Off the Beaten Path: The Speech Nobody Heard
We lost forty years in the refrigerator of the Cold War, [which resulted in] the postponement of urgently needed reforms," he said. "The fall of communism did not assure the triumph of social justice.
The global economy, like Morava River, is there. It is not going to move; the question is how not to drown in it.

· Terra Nostra: (KISS Keep It Strong and Spanish) [ courtesy of The Cold War Book Nobody Read: tip of the iceberg of frozen memories]
· See Also Mexican author Carlos Fuentes
· Myth and Reality for Immigrants in New York and Amsterdam [link first seen at Szirine Magazine]

Since you left me at eight I have always been lonely
· I'll be damned, You're a poet. Welcome to hell

Civilize the Tax Collector
Many Americans filing their income taxes are appalled by the large amount of earnings taken by the government. The income tax is also appalling from a civil-liberties perspective, because of its inequity, complexity, and intrusiveness. While President Bush has cut taxes, the tax code remains a monument to social engineering run amok.
Help may be on the way, however, with some congressional leaders planning to move ahead with reforms next year to replace the income tax with a low-rate consumption-based tax. That would go a long way toward reducing the following civil liberties abuses administered by the current tax regime

· Inequalities: Here are ten reasons why it’s about time for an overhaul. [ courtesy of National Review ]
· See Also After the File: You’ve paid your taxes. Here’s where the money’s going

I am almost 61, live in Sydney, Australia and am retired from professional life. As I grow older, I grow more intolerant of bullshit, especially in political circles: The blog of John Boase

Blogs: Here to stay
They're hip. Influential. Out there. By one estimate, there are 2 million of them posted on the Internet around the world talking about everything from knitting patterns to the war in Iraq. But as blogs - or personal weblogs - move into the limelight, they're also coming under closer scrutiny. And the conclusions are in some ways sobering.
Take politics. David Winer says weblogs are going to play a huge role in politics. But all the buzz about politicians using them is overblown. The blog of Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean was just a "gimmick," says Mr. Winer, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and a pioneer blogger. And any blogs produced this year by President Bush or John Kerry will be "basically run by the ad agencies" - not the kind of honest, even intimate conversations that blogs can represent.
Here's his vision of how real "blogging" by a politician could work. A candidate for city council, for example, would write an ongoing blog to his potential constituents explaining his positions on issues. They could read his pitch and offer feedback, creating a kind of political dialogue that would be based on substance more than sound bites.

· Sound bites [ via CS Monitor]

Is Amazon a media site or a retailer? The answer is BOTH
Amazon's much discussed skunk works search project goes live this week, so we can finally write about it. On first blush it's a very, very good service, and an intriguing move by Amazon. It raises a clear question: How will Google - and more broadly, the entire search-driven world - react?
Like Google, Amazon understands audience management, user-contributed content, and user-driven recommendation systems better than any "media site" today. They're focused on knowing their audience, building that audience independently of traditional media, and delivering offers to that audience -- on behalf of other "partner" retailers as well as themselves.

· In essence, Amazon seems to be making a play for Google's customers [Link Poached from Battlemedia]
· See Also

Friday, April 16, 2004

According to thoughtful Alan of Southerly Buster fame, X is unthinkable is not an especially new strategy in politics or in war-making. May God have mercy on our souls...

A National ID Card Wouldn't Make Us Safer
As a security technologist, I regularly encounter people who say the United States should adopt a national ID card. How could such a program not make us more secure, they ask?
The suggestion, when it's made by a thoughtful civic-minded person like Nicholas Kristof (Star-Tribune, March 18), often takes on a tone that is regretful and ambivalent: Yes, indeed, the card would be a minor invasion of our privacy, and undoubtedly it would add to the growing list of interruptions and delays we encounter every day; but we live in dangerous times, we live in a new world ... .

· It all sounds so reasonable, but there's a lot to disagree with in such an attitude [ via Bruce Schneier is security guru: national ID card doesn't even belong on a scale]
· See Also SENATORS COLLINS, LIEBERMAN ASK Agency to Explain Why It Requested Sensitive Data From Airlines
· See Also Come on in, the water's fine: Why the temperature doesn't hold water [ via RoadToSurfdom]
· See Also Welcome to the inaugural (Virgin) issue of Econ Journal Watch: [Link Poached from Coming Soon; According to Jason]
· See Also Cyborg Democracy: Future Hi - Celebrating the Rebirth of Psychedelic Futurism; Agents of the Culture

I Thought the Reader Was Always Right
.-- but not in the news business: At a time when public distrust of the news media appears to be at a dangerously high level, there is evidence of a deep and fundamental disagreement between those who produce news and those who consume it.
· Public's cynicism about media has become a pressing concern

Baby dragons born in May are most likely to think themselves lucky, and October newborns the least...

Luckiest dragons in the world
We now come to one of my favorite times of year (in the United States at least), which is the federal income tax deadline. Why is this one of my favorite times? Well for one thing, a lot of people do receive tax returns at this time of year, which they immediately use to buy a lot of ebooks, which is what you should be doing with this years tax return.
By the same token, if youve had to pay (dont you hate that?), you probably wont want to go out and buy a big expensive paper book, when you can satisfy your reading addiction for a whole lot less by buying refreshing, entertaining, exceptional ebooks from Double Dragon.
If youre looking for another good reason to support Double Dragon, last year, when the IRS tried to collect taxes on my treasure hoard, I ate the auditor.
Not as tasty as a virgin, by any means, but it could be considerd a useful public service. One less tax collector to go around and I think my treasures are secure for the next year or two, though after that who can tell, for you humans have such short memories.

· We have added a bunch of new features to our DDP website: receive up to 50% off selected titles [ courtesy of Double Dragon]

Pulling that drainplug from the wish fountain while peeking at Tomorrow's Office

Know-How Dragon: 10 Rules for Corporate Blogs and Wikis
Time capsule of conventional wisdom...
Recognizing that this is an emerging area, here are 10 rules for using blogs and wikis to achieve your branding goals. Brands are about trust, and authenticity is the foundation of trust. Blogs should be written as if close friends were sharing observations over a Czech beer.
Note: In addition, there is a link to an excellent presentation (pdf, 52 pages and all free),

· 1. Be authentic [Link Poached from]
· See Also Gopher: Back in 1992, when yahoo was something cowboys yelled and ebay was just pig Latin...
· See Also Boing Boing add Technorati support
· See Also Lawish Hall-Of-Fame 2004: 60 Sites in 60 Minutes

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Oh... currently Iraq (Detailed Iraq Chronology 1980-2004) and Australia are listed among the top 10 searches on Daypop.
Is this chillingly prescient? As when seven years ago Russ Travers of the Defense Intelligence Agency wrote an article for Studies in Intelligence, a journal published by the CIA's Center about the ways intelligence analysis would become dangerously fragmented by 21st century... From the vantage point of 2001, intelligence failure is inevitable.
There's a hindsight article that is worth reading to help put the kerfuffle over pre-Sept. 11 intelligence into perspective. Blogger Gregg Easterbrook of the New Republic imagines an alternative history ...

Moments after being sworn in as the 44th president, Dick Cheney said that disgraced former national security adviser Condoleezza Rice would be turned over to the Hague for trial in the International Court of Justice as a war criminal. Cheney said Washington would "firmly resist" international demands that Bush be extradited for prosecution as well.
· Hague: This guy isn't exactly Winston Churchill, is he? [Link Poached from Will the 2004 Election Be Called Off? Buzzflash]
· See Also Three prominent Czech journalists have disappeared in Iraq
· See Also Lt Col Collins wrote to Prime Minister John Howard calling for the royal commission, outlining how Australia's spy agencies had failed Australia many times ... > [Link Poached from The code of silence]
· See Also First off, (Non nuclear) heads should roll: Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) chairs the House Committee on Government Reform's National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations Subcommittee

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Wooing The Dragon: Dazzling fortunes ... dismal failures ...
Are Australians hitching a ride on China's economic juggernaut? Dazzling fortunes ... dismal failures ... the highs and lows of doing business with the world’s emerging economic superpower, China. Australian businesspeople are flocking to China in search of the big deal.
· Lost in Translation [ courtesy of 4pCorners ]
· See Also Unasked questions: Special exemptions for Saudis to fly around in otherwise locked-down U.S. airspace on 9/13/01, and then out of the country

Everyone's Taxes Online
As a country goal for Chile, now comes the idea of getting all tax returns for 2004 (about 2.1 million) through the Internet. The director of Servicio de Impuestos Internos, Juan Toro, launched this ambitious initiative last week, explaining that 70 percent of all returns went online in 2003. To meet the 100% goal, there are national networks of agencies, cyber-cafes, and places where you can submit your return, which is then generated online by Surprisingly, there are no online ads to support this important event.
· Cyber-collectors

As for Mr Debnam's claim that he and Premier Bob Carr had been establishing a secret police state, Mr Watkins was equally dismissive. We don't have a secret police state, he said, we have a smart one. That is why Mr Debnam doesn't fit. As I have said if he doesn't like my answers, he should ask better questions.
(Sun Herald by John Kidman 11 April 2004 p 30)

Smart Sausage Making on All Sides
This is the United States in the 21st century where the power brokers have gone mad. They've deluded themselves into thinking they're royalty, not public servants charged with protecting the rights and interests of the people. Both recordings were erased. Only then was the reporters' property returned. When agents acting on behalf of a Supreme Court justice can just snatch and destroy information collected by reporters, we haven't just thumbed our nose at the Constitution, we've taken a very dangerous step in a very ugly direction.
· See Also Scalia forgets the public is his boss: The depot at the end of that dark road is totalitarianism [ courtesy of Philosophical Powers: Perfect... ]
· See Also Nothing that happens behind closed doors is genuinely in response to a populist concern. Otherwise, it wouldn't be necessary to go behind closed doors...
· See Also Commissioner Moroney agrees with the argument put by Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, one that's odds with the Government's own line – that Australia's involvement in the war in Iraq has made us more vulnerable to terrorism
· See Also Mexican Antipodian Police planting evidence
· See Also A Mexican governor suspended an entire state police force to shake up the force after senior officers were accused of cutting deals with powerful drug traffickers
· See Also Complex Web of Ethnic Monopoly on Crime Still Tangled

Tree of Truth: 'Why can't we show a tree telling lies?'
BULLDOZERS will move into The Domain this week to chop down all but one of the park's 150-year-old Moreton Bay figs.
"The Tree of Truth" will be spared due to its additional historical value.
In this case one individual tree has extra individual historic significance, it's been used as a tree for interviews for many years.
The state's politicians have been holding press conferences under the tree, directly behind Parliament House, for decades.
The tree gives them a friendlier outdoor backdrop for the evening TV news, with the convenience of being just outside their offices.
The most common phrase in the NSW parliament press gallery is: The minister, out the back under the tree, in five minutes.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

That's what happens to exiles; they are scattered to the four winds and then find it extremely difficult to get back together again.
Isabel Allende

My Surreal Vienna: Do I dare to disturb real pages in BERLIN, NY, AMSTERDAM?
On July 7, 1980, I became the enemy of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and was sentenced to life imprisonment. On July 8, a part of my parents died. On Radio Free Europe they listened to my obituary, five years after their daughter Aga had died. It turned their world inside out. My parents believed I was dead for over forty hours. They were the longest hours in my Mamka's life. When my cousin Tibo eventually informed them, that according to the latest reports on Radio Free Europe, I was alive, Mamka just cried.
On July 8, I stood before the mirror as if I were another person from the one I had been the previous morning. I experienced a rude awakening from the outside world, a dark liquid world.

· Real and surreal: Any survivor has more to say than all the historians combined about what happened [ via Szirine]
· See Also Beyond Cold (War) River [ courtesy of Amazon ]
· See Also How to write a blog-buster
· See Also In Amerika

Russia's latest incarnation underlines how the EU should be more active in neighbouring countries where political orientation remains in the balance. Meanwhile, in the lucky country almost a million Australian children live in poverty...

Government offers no escape route from poverty trap
People on modest incomes in Australia are said to be paying higher taxes than those in the high-income category. The highest tax rate is 48 per cent. People in this tax bracket pay the marginal tax rate on the last part of their incomes. People on modest incomes are said to be paying 61.5 per cent. The secretary to the Treasury, Ken Henry, argues that the high effective marginal tax rate (EMTR) could be a disincentive to work. Dr Henry, who prepared a paper for the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia, says correcting high EMTRs is a "balancing act". It remains to be seen whether tax cuts in the May 2004 Budget will reduce the "poverty traps" for low-income earners.
· Too-hard basket [ via By Ross Gittins: 03/04/2004; The Age, Page C4]
· Call to scrap tax breaks for rich
· See Also Corporate Risk of a Tax Audit Is Still Shrinking, I.R.S. Data Show
· See Also LeBovidge unabashedly dreams of a day when people won't even have to fill out their income tax forms...
· See Also Taxes, wrote Oliver Wendell Holmes, are what we pay for a civilized society: When coporations dodge taxes, the rest of us pick up the difference
· See Also US Game: Czech your returns: your taxes weren't cut, just shifted
· See Also IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson finds that he is the person everyone at cocktail parties wants to avoid: Growth in tax cheating can be contagious
· See Also Tax dodger, meet tax collector: Love and Taxes ...We had fun, especially in the early '90s, before Congress ruined everything and put all these inhibitions on the IRS. (laughter) We had a blast, and every day was different
· See Also On the pleasure scale, reading Confessions of a Tax Collector falls squarely between a full-fledged tax audit and a root canal
· See Also They even have a word for such stall tactics: "baby-sitting"
· See Also In 1950 only 86 cities in the world had a population over one million. Today there are 400, and by 2015, there will be more than 550. No one knows if that kind of growth will be biologically or politically sustainable

Monday, April 12, 2004

Patriotism, said Dr. Johnson, is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
Getting Us Out: Does anyone remember 1968? It's time for a reprise

1) A senior Australian defense adviser claims she was fired after refusing to write briefing notes that would exaggerate the threat posed by Iraq's weapons program. One clear inference can be drawn from Condoleezza Rice's testimony— She has been a bad national security adviser ...

2) Sadly, this [Bush] Administration has failed to live up to basic standards of open and candid debate. They repeatedly invent 'facts' to support their preconceived agenda. This pattern has prevailed since President Bush's earliest days in office. He has now created the largest credibility gap since Richard Nixon. He has broken the basic bond of trust with the American people.

Thoughtful new studies are now available online: Auditing the independence of the auditor-general
Independence of the auditor-general is now accepted as one of the important elements of accountability in democratic parliamentary systems like Australia. How well does the independence of Australia’s auditors-general measure up though? In this paper Ken Coghill assesses each Australian jurisdiction, focusing particularly on the Commonwealth and the Australian Capital Territory.
· [ PDF Format ]Who Audits the Auditors?: Tony Harrises of this world [ courtesy of The Centre for Democratic Institutions, Australian National University ]
· See Also Who Judges the Judges: Judge admits lifting '57 ProJo article for '93 Lincoln piece [ via Romenesko ]
· See Also Ben Reilly: the relationship between parties, ethnicity and democracy. (Political engineering of parties and party systems)
· See Also [ PDF Format ] For and against a bill of rights (Peter Bailey, Justice Michael Kirby and Michael Zander)
· See Also Stephen Sherlock: 2004 Indonesian elections: how the system works and what the parties stand for
· See Also Mr Paul Tovua: Rescuing democracy in Solomon Islands

Artmakers typically assemble funding from a variety of sources, creating a money tree which, like a delicate house of cards, can collapse if one of the key components is missing...

Grave New World
A lot of people are funny: they think there’s more money in science than in art, and they are right. It’s absolutely true. The catch is that what drives us is not our rational brain but our whole human arsenal of emotions and thought. And our only way of understanding that is through the arts.
· Atwood: Art Explains/Inspires Science [link first seen at Boston Phoenix 04/01/04]

Mary Magdalene was a prostitute who gave up her life of sin to follow Jesus. That's been the view of the Catholic Church for most of the past 2000 years. But some people believe Mary Magdalene actually played a much more significant role in the life of Jesus, as his wife, the mother of his child and the most important of his disciples. They believe the truth was suppressed by church leaders. There is a theory the truth about Mary was kept alive by a secret society known as the Priory of Sion, whose members included some of the greatest artists and thinkers of Western civilisation, including Leonardo Da Vinci.
· The Da Vinci code: Believer or not, let's just read along

Blood Diversity: Tracing the Deadly Path of the Ranking on Blogstreet: 1184 / 143768: AM I RICH YET? HOW ABOUT NOW?

One diversity for the price of two
An elite that is unwilling to make judgements about why any one cultural practice is better than another, to set universal standards about what role individuals should be expected to play across society, and to promote a distinct set of values that a society should agree upon, finds a useful tool in multiculturalism. This is why it has been so well-suited to Western societies in the past few decades, increasingly disorientated by the erosion of cultural and political certainties. Clearly, the official promotion of multicultural policy has not provided any solution to this disorientation - indeed, by actively encouraging expressions of difference and divisions between communities, it may well have fuelled the process of fragmentation
· Facing up to the M-word: Spike 1 [ courtesy of Spiked 2]

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon write on the topic in their book The Age of Sacred Terror (p.238):
Relations between the two government bureaucracies were historically poisonous. (The FBI chafed at the CIA's unwillingness to allow its intelligence to be used in court, and the CIA was irritated by the increasing number of legal attaches--FBI officers--in embassies. Unwittingly, the LEGATTs, as they are called, were recruiting CIA sources. Tony Lake ultimately had to sit Directors Woolsey (CIA) and Freeh (FBI) down for a reconciliation lunch to reduce infighting.)

E.'s Fourth Term: If You Think the Third Term is Brilliant...
The chickens are at last coming home to roost with Bob Carr, Michael Egan and all the rest.
It's not often that a state government manages to poke the Federal Government in the eye, but this is what NSW Treasurer Michael Egan has managed to achieve with this week's property tax.
· Small investors flat out paying new land tax as the dream turns nasty [ via · The Courage to Face Lions... Ten years easy Labor
· It's a window into the hell of hard-right corporate ideas

Saturday, April 10, 2004

It seems hard sometimes to say to someone don't make that mistake because I'm speaking now from pain, I'm speaking now from tears, I'm speaking from suffering, from joy, from love. Before I could only speak of what the future could be.
The only way to come up from low is to think high. That's what life is really about: up and down, in and out, over and under, night and day, dark and light, all right.
Solomon Burke

The original Greek meaning of PASSION is suffering
Which is your favourite ? An older book can become a new book again...
Only about 10 per cent of the commercial titles published each year are fiction, and fiction accounts for only about a quarter of retail sales. We talk about fiction incessantly -- the Man Booker Prize, for example, continues to bear far more prestige, and attract far more excitement, than its non-fiction equivalent, the Samuel Johnson -- but it is non-fiction, as a nation, that we are actually reading. There's a message too powerful to ignore Publishers love a sure-fire trend, but there is so much more to picking a bestseller:
Popular culture now hates high culture so much that it campaigns aggressively against it.

· The Real Read: a Recurring Sweet revenge part of the game of life [Link Poached from The Telegraph and Ottakar's launch The Real Read, a poll to find the country's best-loved work of non-fiction ]
· See Also Colm Toibin's a travelling Irishman, his subject is a dilettante American. Together they create a riveting portrait of obsession

Praise be to one Giant Confessional: it's like a one-on-one thing, and that's deeply intriguing
There is a voyeur in all of us. At some level, we are fascinated by other people's secrets, out of either prurience or a more fundamental need to affirm that we are not alone, that other people, too, have thought or done things of which they are not proud. Over the past decade, confessions have become a staple of culture... We have had bare-all books about everything from abusive childhoods to addiction, crime, obsession, failure and, of course, sex in all its myriad forms.
I think we've got this compulsive drive to feel that we belong, or that we're normal. The fascination with other people's messy lives is really about a sense of How do they deal with these things? And also, How do you place yourself on a spectrum of normality?
If Millet's book sold because it was so racy, perhaps Moody's is selling because it is so ordinary .....

· See Also For your eyes only: with innovations including reality television and web cameras, combined with a general loosening of social and moral taboos, we now have unprecedented access into other people's worlds

The latest human activity to be mastered by robots (robot comes from the Slavic root robota meaning work) was demonstrated recently when Sony’s QRIO bot successfully conducted an entire orchestra.
What next? Presiding over the Parliament? ...Then again, any robot would do a better job than what I witnessed via my vampirish eyes between circa 1995 and 2000 at the Bear, Dracula, Pit... (praise be to Sir James Russell, Blogger's supermarket royal.)

Blogging Golden Rules or nothing
Having trouble reading Golden Rule Jones? You're not alone. According to a handy tool that tests web sites for readability, this blog scores a 12.9 rating in the Fog Index.
· I don't know how much I trust this damn thing
· See Also Google: omnipresent, omniscient, on the heels of Microsoft
· I'll tell you right now, there's no chance in hell Big Bad would be developing prostate cancer .*wink wink nudge nudge*
· See Also A mash note to the blogosphere: bloggers know what you're thinking
· See Also Double or nothing
· See Also Vodka is the holy spirit in a performance swimming in symbolism

Friday, April 09, 2004

One of the troubles of our time is that we are all, I think, precocious as personalities and backward as characters.
W.H. Auden, letter to Louise Bogan, May 18, 1942

Down through the ages, the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus has been celebrated in writing, music, art and sculpture. Today...

The passion of Christ at Easter: Torah, Bible and Koran: Passover, Alas, not by me
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
One of the greatest gifts the internet might yet prove to bequeath Humanity is a realistic shot at fisking into permanent oblivion the sacrilegious trinity of Yahweh, Allah and God, an anti-Artistic Celebrity Triple Act which has stunk up the concrete human world for several Millennia now, proving along the way to be the most hateful, destructive, divisive and sub-human fictional triptych ever written by the hand of some genius guy (or, like I said, chick).
Is anyone else at Webdiary - or in the blogosphere for that matter - as bored as I am with constantly trying to have the ‘last word’ in these endless tit-for-tat cyber-battles? Trying to ‘out-ironise’ each new level of knowing irony?.
Art can’t be art without the audience’s willing suspension of disbelief on the medium’s intrinsic terms, so if your medium happens to be writing, the internet now makes art impossible, evidently. One single cyber-heckler can prick the bubble for every potential reader on the planet. One cynic can destroy a million idealists.
· Ironically, I suppose I’ll find out soon enough [ via Webdiary: Fisking Fatigue]
· See Also God is a 2-1 on chance, a favourite

· It's a window into the hell of hard-right American corporate ideas
· See Also Small investors flat out paying new land tax as the dream turns nasty [ via It's not often that a state government manages to poke the Federal Government in the eye, but this is what NSW Treasurer Michael Egan has managed to achieve with this week's property tax ]
· See Also Judge admits lifting '57 ProJo article for '93 Lincoln piece [ via Romenesko ]
· See Also A life lived for business purposes

Pork-O-Barrel Mateship: World Citizens Against Public Waste
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) document a record-breaking $22.9 billion spent on 10,656 pork-barrel projects. The 630 projects profiled in the Pig Book Summary will cost taxpayers more than $3.1 billion this year.
· Search the Pig Book [link first seen at News Knife]
· See Also The strange things people believe about history [Link Poached from International Thesaurus of Refugee Terminology ]
· See Also The security contractors killed in Fallujah represented a little known reality of the war in Iraq
· See Also Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has faced a steady exodus of counterterrorism officials, many disappointed by a preoccupation with Iraq they said undermined the U.S. fight against terrorism
· See Also Terrorised and Crying for Help: Left to die in a hospital toilet

Thursday, April 08, 2004

A woman was walking along one of the paths with a dog on a lead. She wore a grey tweed coat and transparent pink nylon gloves, and carried two books from the public library in a contraption of rubber straps. What is the use of noticing such details? Dulcie asked herself. It isn't as if I were a novelist or a private detective. Presumably such a faculty might be said to add to one' s enjoyment of life, but so often what one observed was neither amusing nor interesting, but just upsetting.
Barbara Pym, No Fond Return of Love

Reflections on the oldest professions
If whores, razzled by drugs and disease, with crumbling bones and wrinkled skin, must now be called sex workers, what are pimps? Sexual liaison co-ordinators?
· Lord of the Liaison [Link Poached from AlDaily ]

Every day the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman meets a small coterie of political journalists known as 'the lobby' for a topical chat, or 'briefing'.
Downing Street Says... is an unofficial site that lets you read summaries of these briefings and add your own comments. Want to know more or see what's new?
· See Also Only following orders?
· See Also Stop smiling -- this is meant to look serious! The spinners did a most unusual thing -- they allowed cameras in to tape a cabinet meeting, with sound and body language. But this wasn't a real cabinet meeting. The part the media saw was as phony as you'll find.
· See Also Rupert Murdoch: The James Bond comparison is not entirely unfair
· See Also Australia Day Committee (Victoria)
[ via Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an Internet civil liberties nonprofit organization ]

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Carr's property tax revolution
Up to a quarter of a million NSW property owners will be hit with land taxes for the first time, but stamp duty will be abolished for more than 30,000 first-home buyers each year.
· All holiday house owners will be taxed
· See Also Expect a rush to sell before July

Much is being written about Gmail, Google's new free webmail system. There's something deeper to learn about Google from this product than the initial reaction to the product features, however. Ignore for a moment the observations about Google leapfrogging their competitors with more user value and a new feature or two. Or Google diversifying away from search into other applications; they've been doing that for a while. Or the privacy red herring.
· The Secret Source of Google's Power
· See Also The Blogging of the President: 2004
· NONPARTISANS: GAO Says Army on Road to Ruin

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

We're More Productive, but Who Gets the Money?
It's like running on a treadmill that keeps increasing its speed. You have to go faster and faster just to stay in place. Or, as a factory worker said many years ago, You can work 'til you drop dead, but you won't get ahead.
· Treadmill
· See Also Name My Blog Contest - $250 Prize: Get the Money [ via RoadToSurfdom ]

Stymied by Politicians, Wal-Mart Turns to Voters
As Wal-Mart continues its march across the American landscape, this Los Angeles suburb of 112,000 people is the latest testing ground for the company's exercise of political and marketing muscle
Inglewood voters go to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether to turn over 60 acres of barren concrete adjacent to the Hollywood Park racetrack to Wal-Mart to create a megastore and a collection of chain shops and restaurants.

· Collection of Chains [Link Poached from Google ]
· See Also The Prime Minister has ignored criticism by Woolworths that his Government is protecting high medicine prices

Auction sales slump to unlucky 13-year low

The Way Bad Book That Sold Millions
A newspaper editor had an idea. In 1966, appalled by the best sellers of Jacqueline Susann and others, he challenged his colleagues at Newsday, where he was a distinguished editor and writer, to perpetrate a book so mindlessly crass it could not fail. 'There will be an unremitting emphasis on sex. Also, true excellence in writing will be quickly blue-penciled into oblivion'.
· The book went on to sell millions of copies, crack the New York Times bestseller list and earn its authors $1.25 million [ via Seattle Weekly 03/31/04 ]
· See Also No Cold River Book Left Behind
· See Also How America's Literary Culture Has Changed
· See Also Leipzig Is For Booklovers

Monday, April 05, 2004

Tall people get married sooner, get promoted quicker, and earn higher wages. Short people are unlucky in politics and in love

Investment Height matters...
Billionaire investment gurus, George Soros and Warren Buffett both last month took a swipe at President Bush's tax cutting predilection, arguing that the recently legislated cuts benefit the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the poorest.
Speaking at the University of California, Soros suggested that:
By restoring taxation of the rich, that is people with over $300,000 of income, you could reduce the deficit and that would give you more room for engaging in programs that create jobs.
Meanwhile, speaking to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, Buffett revealed that the firm's tax payment will almost certainly place it in the top ten US taxpayers this year.
We hope our taxes continue to rise - it will mean we are prospering - but we also hope that the rest of corporate America antes up along with us.

Today’s extensive cash economy is a comparatively recent phenomenon that dates only from the 1970s. The ‘50s and ‘60s were marked by an “almost sheep-like compliance” that mysteriously broke down in the next decade.
· Bring back tax fairness. By Geoffrey de Q. Walker. 31/03/2004. The Australian
· Forget illegal immigrants. A cosmopolitan class, young, mobile and restless, move from country to country as their grandparents might have moved from town to town. Do they end up as citizens of nowhere?
A tribute to Ana Marie Cox and Blo.
I think there are many extraordinary blogs and some bring an enormous amount of insight and understanding to the world. Few bloggers attain the same respect in their lifetime as is given to Daily Kos, How Appealing and wonkette. They have almost single-handedly put the blogs on the political and legal map. A number of factors have coalesced to fuel the young at heart generation's appetite for all things bloggish. Not least the fact that Rittenhouse Review: JAMES CAPOZZOLA and Political Fact Czechers are frequently viewed as more trend-savvy, right-on-the-voting-public and creative than the rather dreary mainstream observers.
Closer to my exile home, Ken Parish notes thar it's well over-time to acknowledge Tim Dunlop's spectacular blogging achievement in undertaking an in-depth, multiple part review of former White House counterterrorism official Richard Clarke's book Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror. Tim combines his book review with an ongoing analysis of current US political events involving Clarke, especially Bush Administration reactions to his Senate testimony, making for a compelling commentary on US political events in the run-up to November's Presidential election...
This is a series which exemplifies the potential that blogging has to achieve things to which conventional political journalism simply can't aspire, and a challenge to the rest of us who believe that blogging can fulfill an invaluable role in a genuinely liberal democratic society. Unfortunately it's a challenge to which I won't be rising in the immediate future due to pressure of other work (not to mention an all-consuming romantic obsession against which blogging takes a distant second place).

· Even barbarians like Tim Blair have virtual hearts as big as all outdoors [Link Poached from Ken Parish]
· See Also Buzz around D.C. is that everyone loves wonkette: She's fun and fresh and right on the money -- and is writing what others think but can't always write.... She can curse, for example
· See Also .....How to increase your readership, some useful thoughts from How to Save the World blog.
· Blogs: mercenary forces matter...
· Making big waves on theWeb
· See Also The official weblog of Noam Chomsky
· See Also Search engines summarised by BBC via Barista
· See Also Missing Men - Abandoning TV For Online
· See Also Old School Googlers Are REALLY REALLY Good Guys
· See Also Email cuts you off, in one way, and yet it also links us all up to chattering classes

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Friday, April 02, 2004

Fate takes Woniora Ground Floor: It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass . . .
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.
Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Great nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.
This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.
[ 'Walking,' written by Mr. Theodore Roethke]
· Imrich’s model: Data Mining Through Social Networking [ via Alex Pentland: workplace spoken conversations ]
· See Also Six degrees of separation? Chermside’s & Brisbane’s small world