Monday, August 29, 2005

For all the talk of a "progressive" tax system, we all know that the clever rich find ways of avoiding the taxman in ways that the battlers simply can't Real tax reform ; A forum for political discussion for Western Sydney and beyond In the hope of provoking some discussion from across the political spectrum, the aim is simply to provide a forum for people to debate the issues of the day Marginal Rates

Eye on Politics & Taxes: History lessons, passed and failed
August, in eastern Europe, means anniversaries:

The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939 that divided the region into Nazi and Soviet spheres of influence; the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961; the Soviet-led invasion of 1968 that crushed Czechoslovakia's Prague Spring; the birth in 1980 of Solidarity, the Polish trade union which dealt a death-blow to communism; and the Soviet coup of 1991, where hardliners locked up Mikhail Gorbachev to preserve the Soviet Union, but ended up giving Boris Yeltsin the power to destroy it.

Remembering, and rewriting, the past [The Parable of Jesus and the Rubber Chicken: What if Christ spoke at a GOP fund-raiser? ; Martin Peretz on the philosophy of disengagement ; The London bombs expose the failure of Britain’s multicultural model, but also pose a challenge to Europe’s sense of identity Europe’s answer to Londonistan ]
• · The relations between philosophy and anthropology People Power ; Actors always tell us that that they prefer the role of a villain to that of a saint. Preachers, too, relish opportunities to denounce vice more than they do ones to laud virtue Humility: the enemy of philosophy
• · · There can be no sacred cows in philosophy Shaking Shibboleths ; Boynton who always draws attention to others defines The Perfect Husband: MEEEdia Dragon
• · · · Gary Sauer-Thompson Liberal democratic values; Tim Dunlop The wholly inappropriate Koran
• · · · · What do Jimmy Carter, Bill Weld, Saddam Hussein and Winston Churchill have in common? In Lying for a Living at OpinionJournal Daniel Akst has some fun with politicians who have tried their hand at fiction, including the man who apparently wants to have a go at being governor of every one of the United States: Lying for a Living ; Alex Rusli, 34, who goes under the aliases of Irwan Irwan and Edwin Sanjaya Jo, a restaurant owner of Waterloo Man charged over fake ID documents ; Though my “propensity to read High Court transcripts” is seemingly notorious, I’ve been slack recently High Court garage sales
• · · · · · John Brogden's future as state Opposition Leader is under a cloud after he was forced to apologise for an alcohol-fuelled night during which he pinched one journalist's bottom, propositioned another and referred to Bob Carr's wife as a "mail-order bride" My foolish, boozy night: Brogden tells The extraordinary confession My racist disgrace Grand old man of NSW politics" seem hollow and premature Toughest test awaits disorderly Brogden

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Commmodity companies are now as sexy as dotcoms used to be. Mining giant BHP Billiton may have announced an Australian record profit result, but that didn't stop its share price slipping as resources stocks were sold off BHP Billiton shares drop despite profit Whether the world economy is on the cusp of a super cycle that will eclipse the post-war boom led by Japan and Germany is a subject of keen debate in resources circles World's biggest digger issues growth alert

Eye on Politics & Taxes: Antony Loewenstein
As many of you know, I'm currently writing a book on Israel/Palestine for Melbourne University Publishing, due in May 2006.

The following letter appears in this week's Australian Jewish News. It's written by Federal Labor MP, Michael Danby. Its agenda is clear. Why is a member of parliament trying to stop the publication of my book? What is he afraid of? History doesn't look kindly on such attitudes. And we all know what other historical individuals favoured this behaviour

Censorship of Note [Tim Dunlop said it all: Michael Danby is entitled to his views. But if he has problem with Antony's book he should excercise his right to free speech and criticise it (preferably once it's, you know, written) and not try and Curtail Antony's. Undue influence ; Peter Botsman: The best way to get ahead in the NSW Labor Party is to become a friend, lover, wife or number-cruncher for the dominant right-wing faction known as the Terriga 'Arrogant, unelected brats' ruling ALP ]
• · David Hornik: Venture Blog ; Melbourne Writers Festival session for the keynote speaker John Ralston Saul, talking about the collapse of globalism, attracted 1800 readers. Craig Rowley of Webdiary fame captured the power of the huge ideas in the post entitled They devour their reason and scarce think: the globalists come to the island nation
The story of the last five years, as John Ralston Saul provocatively argues in the Collapse of Globalism is more its retreat than its advance. Kerry O'Brien of the 7:30 Report wondered last night what kind of democracy there might be in the XXIst century ... He also asked John Ralston Saul whether he believed the global pendulum would now swing back towards protectionism. ‘But as we all know nothing in its extreme is particularly good. Exchanging one brutalism for another is not the answer. ‘Listen, you know, the odds are with those who are conscious and who do not feel there are powers, forces at work that they cannot shape.’ Globalisation's decline 'calls for leadership' ; We all should learn from failure—but it's difficult to do so objectively. In this excerpt from "Failing to Learn and Learning to Fail The Hard Work of Failure Analysis ; tracks lobbying activities, 'revolving door' of politicians and lobbyists Congressional Revolving Doors
• · · The Australian Crime Commission has shrugged off court challenges to its investigation of offshore tax havens and will continue interrogations and the seizure of assets Tax hounds shrug off challenges ; The Prime Minister, John Howard, has flagged a further round of tax relief for high-income earners Top earners can expect more tax relief; The top marginal tax rate of 47 cents in the dollar cut to 35 cents and other rates reduced. Turnbull denies treading on Treasurer's toes
• · · · You can tell a thriving business by the tense of the conversations taking place—companies whose conversations focus on the future will be the more successful Poor Conversations Equal Disengaged, Dissatisfied Workforce ; More than 10 years after the landmark royal commission into NSW police, the same corrupt activity continues Judge to hunt down bad police
• · · · · Both lawmakers opted to rent or lease rather than seek reimbursement for using their personal vehicles Congressional Cars ; Farmland Tax Breaks ; John Howard once told Peter Doherty that if he wanted to influence politics, he needed to take his concerns public. Now, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist has done so - in spades Speak up, says PM: so hear this
• · · · · · Assassination As A Tool Of Foreign Policy: Against Foreign Assassination ; For Foreign Assassination ; After I give my evidence here today there's half a chance I'm going to get knocked I might be killed too, declares murderers' mate

Shel Israel and Robert Scoble point to Media Dragon in their acknowledgement - what an honour to be among the heavyweights: ‘I know your busy, but would suggest a new book for your reading list (coming out soon). "Naked Conversations : How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers" by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. Excellent read about blogging and its impacts’ Acknowledgement
The brilliantly daring Harry Heidelberg links to Media Dragon

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Shel Israel & Robert Scoble
Blogging Is Becoming Ruder Than Talk Radio, Despite Its Openness and Possibility

"If you've come to "Naked Conversations" expecting to find two middle-aged white guys talking in the nude, you're in the wrong space," is the lead of the soon-to-be-published book on corporate blogging, co-authored by Shel Israel and Microsoft blog evangelist Robert Scoble. Now, says Israel, "I just need to find an ending that's just as good.

Bloggers Secretly Want Love and Respect [Robert MacMillan says one of the more tiresome debates in the blogging community is what defines a blog. Why assign a definition? "It lets bloggers identify themselves as practitioners of a rigid format, which then, ironically, allows the corporate world to figure out how to use this amazing medium for ends that have little in common with the spirit of the first-generation bloggers." Defining blogs seems to accomplish two goals ; One in six Americans visit blogs ]
• · Fairfax appoints new heads ; Australian journalist Margo Kingston has relinquished her role as a webdiarist for the Sydney Morning Herald, online news provider Crikey reports. Margo Kingston gives SMH the flick ; Don Arthur compiles a variety of link. You know you've made it when someone creates a blog just to send you up! Margo Kingston's Webdiary
• · · Google gets in on instant messaging ; Political campaigning is moving with technological times with podcasting becoming the latest way to attract voters Podcasting hits the political trail ; Google sold itself on being anti-corporate but is becoming the opposite Search giant may outgrow its fans ; Perfect 10 claims that "under the guise of being a 'search engine,' Google is displaying, free of charge, thousands of copies of the best images from Perfect 10 Google sued over nude picture rights
• · · · Long viewed as the voice on high that lectures readers, the traditional editorial page typifies the old style of newspaper journalism. But in today's digitally networked, broadband era of media, a more conversational model is gaining ground Modernizing the Editorial Page ; Mark Jurkowitz recalls when media controversies stayed entombed inside the journalism world. Now, they instantly erupt into national scandals that bounce around the media echo chamber and often penetrate the broader public consciousness The Romenesko effect: How a media Web site is changing the face — and pace — of media culture
• · · · · I think they're all worried that they may have to become religious pamphlets in order to survive Berkeley Breathed On His 'Jailed Journo' Comic Strips ; Distribution is not king. Content is not king. Conversation is the kingdom. Who wants to own content? ; A call for an open-source ad tag
• · · · · · Duncan Riley at BlogHerald has already outlined three generations of bloggers spanning just seven years Blog Buzz Can Be Misleading ; Newsweek magazine's web site will work with blog search engine Technorati to provide links and integration of blog content into stories Newsweek Embraces Blogosphere; The Journal of Public Trust

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The state Labor Party's credentials committee was deliberating last night over the eligibility of 267 party members to vote in a preselection ballot on Saturday to decide who will succeed the former premier Bob Carr in the seat of Maroubra Labor's Maroubra rivals allege dirty tricks Whistleblower's poll run

Eye on Politics & Taxes: Paul Keating
After 20 years mastering the NSW Labor Party – the dirtiest political machine in Australia – Keating flicked the switch to double-breasted Italian suits, historic treaties with Indonesia and the touch of elan he so liked to talk about

Rejected by the voters, forsaken by his party, spurned by his wife, Paul Keating knows the taste of failure all too well. Now he faces perhaps his ultimate challenge - a battle with his personal demons. John Lyons presents a portrait of a leader who lost too much.

Dog days [The Centre for Independent Studies Study hints at future tax cuts ; The industrial changes might be a chance to pad the wallet, but at a price Money or a life, the choice was yours ; After 10 years, the people of NSW are overtaxed, over-regulated overburdened and over Labor Brogden's rules: slash jobs, cut tax]
• · The State Government will not say how much taxpayers will pay for a meeting of some of the world's richest business executives at the Opera House Rich list's hefty bill upsets police ; Market economics and globalization are lifting the bulk of humanity out of extreme poverty, but special measures are needed to help the poorest of the poor Can Extreme Poverty Be Eliminated?; The Future of Globalization
• · · Federal law enforcement agents sent invitations to a mock wedding on a yacht off Atlantic City to lure 42 people accused of being part of an Asian smuggling ring that brought counterfeit cash, drugs and cigarettes into the US Married to mob in name only as mock wedding turns into drugs raid ; "Big Peter" Milardovic told the court he was 195 centimetres tall and weighed 130 kilograms. At least he was until he got "pinched" for tax fraud Crime figure pleads ignorance ; NSW's top justice tells Michael Pelly that dealing with a tardy, snoozing or drunken judge is just part of the job The chief, Jim Spigelman, speaks
• · · · The summit with Islamic leaders hosted yesterday by the Prime Minister, John Howard, was a small, positive step Praise be - at the table the ice is finally broken ; Genuine dialogue must include debate's extremes Islamic summit ; Australia was built on mateship, not sir-ship, and Parliament House is where this should be celebrated Show some respect, be informal (Sir vs. Mate)
• · · · · A flat tax would unleash a stupendous economic boom One Simple Rate ; A month inside the house of horrors that is Congress Four Amendments & a Funeral ; The inaugural issue of the Journal of Global Ethics
• · · · · · The bad idea behind Amerika’s failed health-care system The Moral-Hazard Myth ; The victims of the 1945-89 era in global history include those felled by assassination, covert killing, state and judicial execution. Fred Halliday recalls the incidents that marked an era and resonate in the next Political killing in the cold war

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them ... Vatican singles out faithless Australia - The leader of the world's 1 billion Catholics will lead a mission to rejuvenate the faith in Australia as part of World Youth Day 2008 And Pope's winner is Syd-er-ney … youth festival on the way

Eye on Politics & Taxes: Crouching Tigers, Hidden Dragons
The balance of power will shift to the East as China and India evolve

It may not top the must-see list of many tourists. But to appreciate Shanghai's ambitious view of its future, there is no better place than the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, a glass-and-metal structure across from People's Square. The highlight is a scale model bigger than a basketball court of the entire metropolis -- every skyscraper, house, lane, factory ...

A New World Economy [Robert Corr Industrial relations legislation ; On line Opinion: Poverty: lazy louts or in need of aid? ; Political parties ignore Generation Y at their own peril; Selling the Australian Government: Politics and propaganda ]
• · The bubble we knew was coming back in 2000 - Home loan affordability remains at "scary" levels in Sydney even though property prices continue to fall across the city, and it will weigh heavily on the economy for years to come Run Away Train - A mortgage belting for Sydneysiders ; The American Dream Vs. the European Dream ; Ghosts from communist era come back to haunt judiciary Judging the past
• · · The Swift Boating of Cindy Sheehan ; But for the persistence of her ex-husband, Vivian Alvarez may never have been found The cover-up comes unstuck
• · · · Labor fears backlash but Libs holding fire ; Macquarie Fields byelection Riot-torn suburb at centre of poll clash ; Byelection Swings
• · · · · Had the test been real, all the passengers would probably be dead Rail evacuation drill revealed disastrous failings; eDemocracy or eBureaucracy
• · · · · · It is always interesting to see bigotry alive and active within minority communities Gays can be bigots too! ; Tim Dunlop Fear inflation

Friday, August 19, 2005

No famine has ever taken place in the history of the world in a functioning democracy.
-Nobel Prize winning Economist Amartya Sen

The Tax Office is combing through the transaction records of more than 3600 people suspected of using offshore credit cards to return money from tax havens, as part of a secret three-year investigation Tax Office to stamp out credit card rorts

Eye on Politics & Taxes: Corporate Corruption
Recently former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski was convicted for stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from the company.

It was his second go-round in court--the first one ended in a mistrial. You may remember Mr. Kozlowski from the original trial. A video of his lavish party on an Italian island, allegedly paid for with company funds, was last year's high profile corporate scandal. The retrial was a more low-key affair, but it served to remind us of how much business corruption there has been over the past few years.

• If You Have to Lie, Cheat, and Steal You're Just Not Doing it Right [Center for Democracy and Technology ; Making Sense of Disempowerment ; Parents without custody to be given bigger say ]
• · In Tom Wolfe's book, Bonfire of the Vanities, the wife of the central character tries to explain to her child what Daddy, a Wall Street bond trader, does: Just imagine that a bond is a slice of cake, and you didn't bake the cake, but every time you hand somebody a slice of the cake a tiny little bit comes off, like a little crumb, and you can keep that. If you pass around enough slices of cake, then pretty soon you have enough crumbs to make a gigantic cake Magpies get fat as pollies slice cake ; This is the model for the future Movement politics ; Political donations to candidates in council elections should be banned to ensure the community has confidence in local government Developers call for ban on donations
• · · Tim Bristow: It has all the ingredients of a uniquely Sydney soap opera: the dead underworld figure, his two lovers (one a glamorous tennis champion, the other a respected psychiatrist), a marriage of convenience, a love child who grew up to become an Olympic hopeful and a feud over an estate Trysts and turns of a Sydney identity ; Kerry Whelan Whelan nanny tells of Burrell visit
• · · · The Premier, Morris Iemma, has thrown out interstate parole arrangements, announcing that no convicted pedophiles from other states who are released on parole will be able to live in NSW Iemma's pedophile decree angers west ; Just how far can a good religious joke go?
• · · · · All the drama of housing prices boils down to a financial fantasy story Boom, crash: it's a property opera ; An open economy, a closed society
• · · · · · Grand rhetoric about democracy and freedom only resonates when it is supported by actual policy Why the US should ditch its tyrant friends ; A debt collection agency that caused people to be turned down for home loans because of old telephone bills that were in dispute, or not owed, will be made to reimburse consumers' legal costs and set up a complaint hotline Now debt collector may owe consumers

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The take-up rate has slowed as more people opt for privately operated sites that charge between $35 and $149 for a basic return E-tax gives ATO run for its money

Eye on Politics & Taxes: The Plot Thickens...
On power, corruption, lies... and his autobiography

Max Clifford's kiss-and-tell stories of politicians, pop stars and footballers are the lifeblood of many a tabloid newspaper. As he launches his own autobiography, the most powerful man in PR tells James Silver why it's not about settling scores

Max Clifford: The dirt-disher comes clean [Blunt political opportunism, not fancy libertarian ideas, is most of what's left of the '94 revolution The Gingrich Legacy ; George Monbiot Let the People Rule the World ; The World Parliament Experiment]
• · Many of the guards who have greater access to the most sensitive offices in Parliament House than the Prime Minister do not have security clearances and many are casual staff Parliament security fear as guards escape check ; The Helios Airlines' plane was due to land at Athens international airport at 12:20 pm for a stopover before flying to Prague or Brno - There were about 80 children - No Sign Of Survivors In Greek Jet Crash Cypriot Helios Airways jet carrying 121 crashes
• · · Sydney property is too expensive and young home buyers would be better served by going somewhere more affordable Flee Sydney, it's too dear: Reserve chief ; Australians are notorious gamblers, so our reputation goes. We'll bet on "two flies crawling up a wall" and down tools for a horse race. But when it comes to property and land speculation, all bets are off Punted on land and lost? Tough
• · · · Do Try This at Home: Assess Your Area's Real Estate Bubble
• · · · · Workplace essentials: sink sludge, pervs and the rings of ding-a-lings What makes a real Australian workplace? ; Scaremongering ; With campaigning for the two Queensland by-elections entering the final week, it's high time they were promoted up the August By-Election Gazette's batting order
• · · · · · When John Howard was elected he sparked fear and loathing in the bureaucracy by dumping a third of the public service chiefs he inherited from the previous Labor governmentPM's war cabinet his tightest ship ; Rum and revolution have been associated together for centuries. Rum is “the global spirit with its warm beating heart in the Caribbean The Revolutionary Spirit

Saturday, August 13, 2005

What Makes a Great Place? We can reach out to each other. We can love ourselves and each other. We can revere all life and the generations to come. And we can make the government our partner in this great effort Let us begin

Art of City Living: Is Everbody happy? Art in the Village
How did an impoverished North Philadelphia community transform abandoned lots into whimsical sculpture gardens? How did six-story murals sprout on the sides of crumbling buildings?

Walking through the streets today, neighbors proudly call to point out to you the once–forsaken lots—more than 120 of them—that today display colorful murals. One of the murals is based on a painting of flowers first done by neighborhood children and then painted three stories high on the side of a building. Nearby a parade of angels representing the world’s faiths—Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and others—guard a park and create a haven for performances.

Cities For All [Links Compliments to Radical Reference Librarians - An Interview with Angela Glover Blackwell Policies that fight sprawl ; Extreme Makeover: Neighborhood Edition ]
• · It can happen in your town: Streetscapes blooming with wildflowers, industrial waterfronts transformed into parks The New City Beautiful ; Two Crises; One Solution
• · · Resource Guide for Just, Green, Beautiful Communities Sustainable design tools ; Seven Great Ideas for Movement Builders
• · · · Eurozine Review ; Sign and Sight
• · · · · To Build a Library ; All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way A review of books on happiness
• · · · · · The good people at Forbes produce an estimate of how much money a family needs to live a "comfortably affluent" lifestyle The Comfortable Life ; New game-like computer software is empowering ordinary citizens to help design better cities. Can the professionals and the public learn to play well together? Sim civics

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Ethicist once aptly stated: Attraction is a feeling. Love is a choice...

To quote Staind: 'It's Been Awhile' since I have been given an opportunity to love a movie. Last night I watched a masterpiece. In About Schmidt we come across Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) who has arrived at several of life's crossroads all at the same time. Everything in his world was both under control and about to go madly wrong and fall apart. About Schmidt is nothing more or less than the opportunity to spend some time with the kind of man that we often meet in real life’s crossroads, in real pubs, in real chaos clubs, but rarely view on screens. If you're not deeply touched by this movie, check your pulse as this story gave me emotional whiplash. Jack uses his specific acting talent not just to entertain us but to open our mind for the possibly deep emptiness of people who call somewhere in their life and recognize that they aren't as rich as they are supposed to be. This strangely simple/complex character, Schmidt, tries to convince the audience that a full life should be the goal instead of just living without being aware of their own role. This can give a very positive motivation for every age.

During this darkly painful odyssey, Warren details his adventures and shares his observations with an unexpected new friend and confessor -- Ndugu Umbo, a six-year-old Tanzanian orphan whom he sponsors for $22 a month through an organization that advertises on TV. From these long letters filled with a lifetime of things unsaid, Warren begins -- perhaps for the first time -- to glimpse himself and the life he has lived. Inside the metaphorical forrest of ‘About Schmidt’ words seem magical and tragic. One moment we are in almost blinding sunlight, the next pitched under a dark blanket where the temperature is ten degrees cooler.

The script has very edgy material...
When I was a kid I used to think that maybe I was special, that somehow destiny had tapped me to be a great man - not like Churchill or Walt Disney or somebody like that. But somebody, you know, at least semi-important.

We see his melancholy through his exaggerated drunken state:
I can't get over you guys. No drinking, no carousing, no carrying on at all. I thought you college kids - let me tell you something, and I want you to listen very hard. That test tomorrow is meaningless. The senselessness of it all is going to hit you someday like a ton of bricks.

Live life to the point of tears.
-Albert Camus

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Looking back on how his generation covered up the crimes of communism in the 1930s, WH Auden explained that he and his friends weren't true communists but fellow travellers. At home they defended civil liberties and stood up for freedom of speech. Abroad, they tolerated atrocities precisely because they didn't impinge on them. The way the left made excuses for Stalin earlier with the way they now make excuses for islamofascists. I still fight oppression

Eye on Politics & Taxes: Blackmail attempt
Rob Kerin has asked one of his MPs to respond to allegations concerning sexual behaviour in his electorate office

MARK Brindal is the Liberal MP who claims to have been blackmailed over his sexual relationship with a 24-year-old man. Mr Brindal, 57, told his wife Pam and four adult children he was bisexual after his ex-lover's foster carer allegedly demanded money in return for not going public.

Extortion Claim Over Mp's Gay Liaison [Laurence Bernhard Marquet, 58 Parliamentary officer facing 55 charges ; Jawbreaker: a former CIA field commander who was on the ground at Tora Bora is confirming the strange thing, while trying to get the CIA to approve his forthcoming book - Newsweek reports that a CIA field commander says Osama bin Laden was allowed to get away at Tora Bora Exclusive: CIA Commander: We Let bin Laden Slip Away ]
• · Insider trading - some naive thoughts ; Reward your friends. Punish your enemies. Unify the party. Marginalize the opposition Republicans Run the Political Risk of Becoming Too Self-Reliant
• · · Robin Cook is dead; his warnings on Iraq will, if there is justice, haunt Bush, Blair and Howard ; Any hope of Labour returning to the Left died with Robin Cook ; But if one is being oneself, one needn't cultivate an image. If one is not being oneself, I suppose, then that's a different story Clinton Is Cultivating an Image as a Centrist ; Rich Liberals Vow to Fund Think Tanks
• · · · The most powerful backroom political job in NSW, chief of staff to the Premier, is to be split, as Morris Iemma is giving his current chief of staff, Tom Forrest, the job of senior policy and political adviser Premier set to split key advisory role ; Peter Anderson Frontline experience to count for more in police promotions
• · · · · CIA operative Valerie Plame Leak Investigation: An Oversight Issue? ; Who amongst us is unAustralian and why? What ARE are our shared values, Webdiarists?
• · · · · · Two of the Carr government's most significant planning decisions, on water supply and the location of Sydney's new suburbs and green belts, have unravelled as the new regime admits mistakes were made on where to build 160,000 homes Here come the burbs: Carr vision rendered ; Cherie Burton, Eric Roozendaal, Milton Orkopoulos: Three new faces as Iemma hails youth, experience

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Bureaucracy is a much-maligned feature of contemporary government. And yet the aftermath of September 11 has opened the door to a reassessment of the role of a skilled civil service in the survival and viability of democratic society Dismantling Democratic States 10 days that dismantled the Labor Party Bloodbath in Macquarie Street There were inklings of Bob Carr's resignation two months before the event, write a journalistic couple, Robert Wainwright and Paola Totaro, (czech out hard copy for an exclusive diary entry) Premier's silence gave game away

Eye on Politics & Taxes: Taxing Australian Federalism
The States, argues former Queensland Treasurer David Hamill, are in danger of becoming just another set of service providers to the Commonwealth as major changes continue to be wrought upon the nation's fiscal powers.

The Howard Government heralded its New Tax System (ANTS) and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as a major reform of Australia's taxation system that would also enhance the financial capacity of Australia's States and Territories to provide community services. It was claimed that these reforms would arrest the erosion of States' and Territories' fiscal capacity that had occurred with the Commonwealth expanding its role in the social and economic affairs of the nation over the course of the twentieth century. In reality, ANTS and the GST have done exactly the opposite

ANTS [One in 13 of the country's wealthiest individuals will soon be investigated by the Tax Office or locked in disputes with it - many for failing to disclose offshore assets or income Pay your dues, Tax Office tells wealthy; The death of the NSW property tax and end of vendor duty will speed fall in house prices Carr denies delaying vendor tax decision ; Web Porn to be Taxed, Filtered]
• · Health: Policy or Polyfilla? We need political leadership in Australia ; Information, e-government and opportunity: A public housing estate online
• · · Hurting family life and the working poor Pell and Jensen raise IR protest to critical mass; Labor needs some conviction politics Kim Beazley’s Tampa? ; John Quiggin doubts whether further privatisation of Telstra will benefit taxpayers T3 will be another disaster
• · · · Traudl Junge, the central character of the recent controversial movie Downfall, lived in Sydney with her younger sister The secret life of Hitler's secretary; Torture: The slippery slope to surrender to terror ; Bin Laden may not be capable of organising terror attacks directly, but then he does not need to Al-Qaida is now an idea, not an organisation
• · · · · Mushy middle? No way! A twelve-point creative-centrist agenda ; Ten best American political novels, 1945 - 2000 ; It's the perfume of the radical that gives him his edge Why Giorgio Agamben is so popular ; Government Regulation of Irrationality: Moral and Cognitive Hazards
• · · · · · The Real Aipac Spy Ring Story -- It Was All About Iran ; Before the War, CIA Reportedly Trained a Team of Iraqis to Aid U.S Scorpions ; Galloway says Blair and Bush Have blood on their hands

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Once a truth is universally acknowledged, some economists feel a duty to shoot it down. There are sound reasons for countries to incur debt In praise of debt ... Ach, What are Australia's big retailers up to?

Eye on Politics & Taxes: Winning Ways of a Loser
Czechs choose an eccentric genius with little luck as their greatest countryman of all time. The problem is, he never existe

He's a hapless genius, a self-taught gynecologist, an explorer, a mathematician, inventor of the "notorious triple hammer. He seems maddeningly real, but he is imagined, flitting like an elusive moth through stories and plays that have made him the people's choice for the greatest Czech of all time

August of Being Maddeningly real [Mikhail Gorbachev Perestroika 20 Years Later; A Leader Who Fostered Progress Even as He Held to Insular Traditions King Fahd, a man of maddening contradictions ]
• · Slovakian journal Kritika & Kontext A debate on the contemporary uses of liberalism ; Gerald Posner on the dramatic shakeup on the horizon in Saudi Arabia The Kingdom and the Power ; The Atlantic Monthly, Richard Clarke, imagines the future history of the war on terror War on terror 2011
• · · How conservatism leaves us vulnerable to nuclear terrorism. ; Experts differ over whether recent terror is driven by 'who we are' or 'what we do' Why jihadists target the West
• · · · Banality Of the Bombers ; An international democratic movement against terrorism emerged from the Madrid attacks of 2004 – it is time for world leaders to catch up Democracy’s early warning ; Constitutional law serves as a decisive battleground in the struggle over freedom’s moral and political meaning The Court, the Constitution, and the Culture of Freedom
• · · · · The NSW Opposition Leader, John Brogden, could not have asked for a more level playing field if he had been driving the grader himself The challenge for John Brogden ; We're in the red - Costa's bombshell ; More than half a million taxpayers will be told personally that the Tax Office is concerned about their work deductions, rental deductions or declared income, as the Tax Commissioner, Michael Carmody, broadens his focus from the big end of town to individual taxpayers Now tax chief takes aim at job expenses ; The Tax Commissioner, Michael Carmody has declared "it's no more mister nice guy" for those not paying their share of tax It's big brother time as the taxman gets tough on cheats
• · · · · · Why do Americans stand for Southerners idolizing the Confederacy, despite the evils of slavery and treason at its heart? What terrorists and Confederate heroes might have in common The Sin of Confederate Hero Worship ; Why Iranians don't think sex is sinful, the hypocrisy of American saber-rattling over Iran, and why George Bush and the mullahs are the same Sexual revolutionaries ; Police inquiry into Shaw out of order

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

It is not enough for a handful of experts to attempt the solution of a problem, to solve it and then to apply it. The restriction of knowledge to an elite group destroys the spirit of society and leads to its intellectual impoverishment.
- Albert Einstein

Major media companies are investing in blogs. Is this a new boom or just a bubble? Cashing in on Weblogs

To get the feel of Web logs and blogging, visit some of these economic sites Blogs 101: NY Times
Forbes also goes through a selection process: We don't matter Blog Power

The Blog, The Press, The Digital Economy: Working the Digital River to your advantage
One of my goals as a press observer is to explain how journalists do what they do

If you tell people about how you gather information and put together a story, you'll gain their confidence a lot faster than by keeping the process a mystery or by writing in stentorian tones to give the impression that you've just engraved gospel onto a stone tablet. In this vein, a friend recently suggested that I try—"try" is the key word—to suggest ways for people to navigate through today's information overload and become reasonably well-informed without making it a full-time job the way news addicts like myself do. So here goes...

• Sydney H. Schanberg Rx for Info Overload [Adult dosage: Take one or two or three three papers and a website daily - add grains of salt and stir the Digital Decade That Changed the World We Are All the Web]
• · Up to 70 journalists, artists and photographers employed by Fairfax Business Media went on strike indefinitely yesterday over job restructuring flowing from the closure of two magazines Fairfax plan spurs strike ; Jay Rosen has a thought provoking post at his Press Think site entitled: PressThink, Live from the BlogHer Conference ; Interactive Storytelling, Rethinking Journalism Check out the five finalists in the 2005 Batten Awards ; The Herald believes city officials are telling other news orgs what the tabloid is up to Boston Herald won't get City Hall comment on exclusives
• · · The writer, Dilpazier Aslam - Rathergate treatment: When The Guardian, one of England's most respected newspapers, printed an opinion piece in the aftermath of the London terrorist bombings this month, nothing seemed out of the ordinary Scott Burgess: N.O. expat scoops London's Guardian; Press Tour getting bogged down in blogs Newspapers have become "strangely enamored" of blogs
• · · · How the bias-spotting industry has turned news into mush ; Miami Herald executives defend decision to fire DeFede
• · · · · It's also led to the worst split in memory between two media giants -- Time Inc. and the New York Times -- in an area where news orgs usually present a united front grounded in the First Amendment, reports the Wall Street Journal Plame case presents biggest test of secret sources in years ; The media give the public what the public wants; Novak: I don't think I've ever talked to Rove on the record
• · · · · · Dean Baquet, the next Los Angeles Times editor, tells Tom Scocca: "The truth is, the great secret is, over the five years that John [Carroll] and I have run the paper, we have cut a lot, and I think the paper is better -- not because of the cutting …. Baquet wants to choke budget guys who say cutting is good ; Is McClellan serving the president well in press briefings?

Robot History: Robot is a word that is both a coinage by an individual person and a borrowing. It has been in English since 1923 when the Czech writer Karel apek's play R.U.R. was translated into English and presented in London and New York. R.U.R., published in 1921, is an abbreviation of Rossum's Universal Robots; robot itself comes from Czech robota, "servitude, forced labor," from rab, "slave." The Slavic root behind robota is orb-, from the Indo-European root *orbh-, referring to separation from one's group or passing out of one sphere of ownership into another. This seems to be the sense that binds together its somewhat diverse group of derivatives, which includes Greek orphanos, "orphan," Latin orbus, "orphaned," and German Erbe, "inheritance," in addition to the Slavic word for slave mentioned above. Czech robota is also similar to another German derivative of this root, namely Arbeit, "work" (its Middle High German form arabeit is even more like the Czech word). Arbeit may be descended from a word that meant "slave labor," and later generalized to just "labor."
Japanese scientists have unveiled the most human-looking robot yet - a female android named Repliee Q1Expo Jozefina Robotova: Will You marry MD?