Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Adam Michnik, co-founder of the Polish trade union Solidarnosc, looks back on its founding 25 years ago, and forward to today's turmoiled times In search of lost sense: Dad, please don't beat me

Eye on Politics & Taxes: Why the states matter in industrial relations
Since the federal election of 2004, and particularly since the Coalition gained outright control of the Senate from July this year, industrial relations policy has been centre stage.

The key shift is the transition of ideology and practice from traditional liberalism—where the competing objectives of employers and employees, manifested through trade unions and other third parties, are both legitimate—to ‘neo-liberalism’—where, in the name of market efficiency, the objectives of management are paramount, with little or no room for other interests.

The States: Difference And Fragmentation [Webdiary: Mark just like Darren Rowse is well aware that lists are popular O’nya Mark ;-) Ten reasons why young idealistic people should forget about organised politics ; Mark Latham followed his controversial book with a provocative lecture Organised politics is bad for your ideals, Latham tells students ; Slavoj Zizek: Against Human Rights (New Left Review 34, July-Augus ]
• · What makes people more democratic, anyway? ; Police could lock down an entire suburb and carry out unfettered searches on homes, vehicles and individual Labor terrorism laws give police free hand
• · · It is a highly addictive drug, but governments everywhere encourage its use Gerin oil (or Geriniol to give it its scientific name) is a powerful drug which acts directly on the central nervous system to produce a range of characteristic symptoms, often of an antisocial or self- damaging nature Opiate of the masses ; In the Heart of Europe: Social Models and Geopolitics
• · · · Those who live in their own homes emerge as winners from the tangled web of taxes and concessions imposed on properties, a study says. Such people have an overall subsidy of $2000 a year. There's an inequality or tax concession here: on exactly the same property, one landlord's paying tax and one isn't Home owners net $2000 a year bonus ; Cash transfers, with strings attached, are a better way of helping the poor than many previous social programmes New thinking about an old problem
• · · · · Social programmes that are good for democracy as well as for the fight against poverty Not always with us ; Mike Berry summarises the housing affordability picture and the forces driving the recent housing boom Show me the money: financing more affordable housing
• · · · · · Rachel Gibson from the ACSPRI Centre for Social Research and Ian McAllister frm the Political Science Program show that web campaigning is associated primarily with the political attitudes and outlook of candidates (being left-wing and young) rather than the amount of campaign resources available. Does cyber campaigning win votes? Online communication in the 2004 Australian election ; It was a collision of cultures made for a novel by Tom Wolfe, who as it happened was there. On Saturday, if you got out of the Washington Metro at the Smithsonian stop, cheery volunteers pointed the crowd in opposite directions. "The book festival is to your left and the march is to your right," the volunteers chanted. Coverage in the NYT focuses on which authors attended a White House breakfast and which ones declined for political reasons On the Mall, 2 Events Speak Volumes

Monday, September 26, 2005

There is a saying that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Left and Right simultaneously will not solve any problems, says Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht on the eve of the German election Indulging a penchant for paradox

Given the fact that the Bush administration is a criminal organization, it is naïve and ignorant to expect it to behave in a humanitarian fashion. For any reason. Ever. On the other hand, it is predictable that it would seize every opportunity, and take advantage of every moment of chaos, vulnerability and inattention, to sink its poisonous fangs deeper into the carcass of American democracy The more you ask, the more you shall receive

Eye on Politics & Taxes: Equal Exchange
So, you have a democratically run coop in the states that partners exclusively with Fair Trade coffee cooperatives around the globe. So… how’s the coffee?

Equal Exchange is an unusual company. It’s not simply an employee-owned business (a growing number of companies are, for a given value of employee owned) but is instead a worker-owned cooperative... which is a very interesting and balanced thing to be when one deals with a great many worker-owned coffee cooperatives. There’s kind of a Zen thing at play there.

Tasting: Equal Exchange Mind, Body & Soul [ Happy ever after with no effort? Tell 'em they're dreamin' ; How forensic science TV is helping the real crims ]
• · The Flight of the Creative Class - Beacons for the world’s brightest Creative Capital: The Key to Prosperity ; There is perhaps no more popular guessing game for pundits and prognosticators than predicting which nation will threaten the United States as the next great power - Creative diaspora The Greatest Competitive Threat of Our Time
• · · Case Against Inheritance Tax Is Bogus ; The best laid plans usually go awry
• · · · A sadly entertaining peek at some of the bills Congressmen have proposed this year The circus is back in town ; Simon Zadek, chief executive of AccountAbility, introduces a new debate on openDemocracy that explores a new generation of accountability mechanisms focussed on the horizontal, not the hierarchical Reinventing Accountability for the 21st Century
• · · · · Finnish-born feminist academic Tiina Rosenberg is involved in setting up a new party Tiina Rosenberg wants to shake up Swedish politics; Why politics matters and why British politics matters
• · · · · · Sydneysiders have found a way into the property market - buying houses with friends Through the side door ; The 18-year-old Hurstville man jumped onto the train tracks from platform five at Town Hall station while trying to flee the transit officers Teen loses thumb in Town Hall train drama; Gee, lucky all those cameras were in place. They obviously really helped

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Beyond Right and Left by David McKnight: The New Capitalism induces families and communities to mimic its values. Thus parents outsource their needs and commodify care; they emotionally downsize, telling themselves they can get by with less intimate personal contact; civic life becomes lean and mean and self-interest displaces a common good. Life resembles a work-spend treadmill which leaves little time for unhurried, non-market relations between people. Yet these kinds of activities create personal and community bonds which are quite different from market relations Ironies of the New Capitalism
Silly me. Here I am thinking that the lesson of Katrina is that - finally - people in politics and government are going to have a "Come to Jesus" moment about infrastructure spending and how putting off for tomorrow what you need to do today is a bad, short-sighted idea that's just beginning to affect this country's economic well-being Pork Barrel Politics

Eye on Politics & Taxes: Agencies are embracing podcasting as a low-cost way to deliver audio content to citizens
It started as a hobbyist technology and recently found a foothold at forward-thinking federal agencies.

The White House uses it to distribute the president’s weekly radio address. The State Department’s Voice of America exploits it for broadcasts. And hold onto your hats, because House Republicans and Democrats agree on something. In this case it’s that podcasting—a popular new method of publishing audio programs online—provides an efficient avenue for expressing their views via the Internet.
Last month, NASA delivered the first-ever podcast from space. On the day before the space shuttle Columbia returned to earth, crewmember Steve Robinson transmitted an audio file explaining how he’d repaired the craft’s damaged tiles and reflecting on his opportunity to “watch the sun come up over the bottom of the space shuttle.”

• Early adopters Not just an Apple thing [Marilou Johanek: New Orleans revealed an elitist-driven culture out of touch with a big slice of America that lives paycheck to paycheck Poor Off the Radar of Rich, Powerful ; David Sirota was the chief spokesman for the U.S. House Appropriations Committee Democrats The Deafening - and Dangerous - Silence on Taxes ; Ralph Nader If Corporations Could Laugh ]
• · Iraq Invasion Radicalized Saudi Fighters: Report ; One billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq's defence ministry in one of the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country's army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons; As federal agencies fumble, ordinary people rise to the task and carry on
What has Happened to Iraq's Missing $1 Billion?
; Falling waters, rising troubles
• · · The growing medicalisation of our lives has become so complete The inevitability of death and taxes ; Female judge appointed to High Court; Experiences of crime in two selected migrant communities
• · · · Do Australians have equal protection against hate speech?; Iemma refuses to sack MP over racial slur; Europeans are among the most sceptical about people in power Europeans 'are biggest sceptics'
• · · · · A Picture of Australia’s Children presents the latest available data on key national indicators of health, development and wellbeing of Australian children aged 0–14 years A Picture of Australia’s Children ; Recent developments in refugee and immigration law 2005
• · · · · · Govt scraps fuel tax plan ; Support the St. Patrick's Day Four ; I'm shocked...shocked to learn of obstruction of justice within this administration. I'm shocked to learn of shading dealings Former GSA Official Charged with Making False Statements, Obstructing Federal Investigation

Monday, September 19, 2005

One winter night during one of the many German air raids on Moscow in World War II, a distinguished Soviet professor of statistics showed up in his local air-raid shelter. He had never appeared there before. 'There are seven million people in Moscow,' he used to say. 'Why should I expect them to hit me?' His friends were astonished to see him and asked what had happened to change his mind. 'Look,' he explained, 'there are seven million people in Moscow and one elephant. Last night they got the elephant.'
This change of mind and heart (and perception of risk) - from Peter L Bernstein's astounding work Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk, has many lessons for us ...

Taxing Times: 20 year anniversary of the Reform of the Australian Tax System
The Reform of the Australian Taxation System (RATS) has achieved many of its aims in attempting to make the tax system more equitable and efficient

The biggest ever shake up of Australia’s taxation system announced by the former Treasurer, the Hon. Paul Keating on 19 September 1985, has paid dividends to families 20 years on; however, companies have not faired as well, according to National Managing Partner of KPMG’s Tax Practice, Ross Doherty.

Grand tax plan pays off for taxpayers [Keating reforms led us from tax wilderness ; Louise McBride: A taxation system that would leave everyone better off ; Let's scrap these Kafkaesque tax laws and start again ]

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
-Russell C. Taylor

Labor's worst result was in Macquarie Fields where its candidate, Steven Chaytor, was forced to go to preferences to win the seat which former cabinet minister Craig Knowles held by a thumping 23.5 per cent margin Iemma gets a bloody nose

Eye on Politics & Taxes: State Greens show their muscle
The New South Wales Greens have shown they are a force to be reckoned with at the polling booths this weekend

The Greens achieved an unprecedented swing in by-elections at Maroubra and Marrickville, and cracked the 30 per cent barrier on primary votes for the first time in Australian electoral history.
Marrickville candidate Sam Byrne got 40 per cent of the primary vote, with a swing of 12 per cent, forcing Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt to rely on preferences to secure the seat.

Triple MaMaMas [Saturday, September 17, 2005 The Poll Bludger Triple M By-Elections Live ; Gay mum set to liven stuffy upper house ]
• · Questions dog foundation formed to aid local children Betrayal of trust?; JG report on foundation sparks state investigation
• · · Gwinnett County Commission spent $150 million since 2000 Long trail of secret land buys ; Bill Bowman and Paul D’Ambrosio of Gannett New Jersey newspapers navigated the details of school district contracts to show that “in districts around the state, it is not uncommon for boards of education to grant tens of thousands of dollars in extra pay to their chief administrators through complex contract deals that keep the true cost of compensation from the taxpayers Perks pad school superintendents' pay
• · · · ASIO bugged embassies, not MPs: ex-chief ; Mary Beth Tinker looks like an ordinary, middle-aged woman. Nothing about her subdued clothing, hairstyle or mannered demeanor suggests she's an answer on law school exams. Except for the black armband Wearing the Right to Free Speech on Her Sleeve
• · · · · Latham 'rapt' with response to book ; In Houston, Scott Parkin lived a mostly inconspicuous life as a part-time history teacher and peace activist. But in Australia, he has become a media sensation, a symbol of dissent and a topic of fervent Australian senate debate. Houstonian stirs a ruckus in Australia ; Google Presents: Big brother keeps an active watch
• · · · · · Iraq Invasion Radicalized Saudi Fighters: Report ; Tim Collins told his troops this was a war of liberation, not conquest. Now he says that he was naive to believe it This is a Mess of Our Own Making

Sunday, September 18, 2005

To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.
- Kurt Vonnegut

The creative stakes are high in a time of publishing deadlines and revisions. Media Dragon was selected to review gurus, evangelists, of Shel Israel’s and Robert Scoble’s ilk Galley Reviewers At Large selected:

Blogs offer businesses something that has long been lacking in their communication with customers–meaningful dialogue. Devoid of corporate-speak and empty promises, business blogs can humanize communication, bringing companies and their constituencies together in a way that improves both image and bottom line. With a foreword by Tom Peters, author of such business bibles as In Search of Excellence, this book uses more than fifty case histories to explain why blogging is an efficient and infinitely more credible method of business communication. Blogs are easily linked, allowing information to spread rapidly, and blog readers are active, not passive, participants in the communication. Business and marketing decision-makers will find themselves excited about the possibilities after just a few pages.

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Democratic Audit of Australia
Expanding on the issue of protection of journalists’ sources, Helen Ester looks at a range of factors affecting the Press Gallery’s role in public accountability

These include not only government pursuit of whistleblowers but also a weak freedom of information regime making journalists overly dependent on leaks, and a hollowing out of the press gallery, meaning many gallery journalists are relatively inexperienced.

Whistleblowing and the media: transparency the biggest casualty [PDF version of the Whistleblowing and the media report ; Jay Rosen: The Net Knows More Than You: An Open Letter to the People of CBS News ; Blogging is unquestionably a medium for personal journaling Blogging for the Soul, Not the Bottom Line ; AOL Survey Says: People Blog as Therapy ]
• · James Torio Thesis On Blogging ; Blogging and Academia ; Global Trends Collaborative
• · · The Internet, immense, global and changeable, seemed to be uncontrollable. We can not control everyone who surfs freely the world wide web. But this is not necessary. There is enough with capturing a fish now and then to frighten the rest or making them change their habits. Censorship and control expand through regulations and repression throughout the world Freedom in the Web? ; Dennis Kennedy has made available his notes on technology disaster recovery Technology Disaster Recovery ; Blog Search is Google search technology focused on blogs. Google is a strong believer in the self-publishing phenomenon represented by blogging, and we hope Blog Search will help our users to explore the blogging universe more effectively, and perhaps inspire many to join the revolution themselves Blog Search
• · · · Barry Eagar: Australian patent blog ; 20 Creative Uses for Podcasts ; If you've heard about the unbelievable rates you can get by using your internet connection to make phone calls, it's time to set the record straight - it's all true Why talk is cheap
• · · · · A home office? ; 8 Reasons Why Lists are Good for Getting Traffic to your Blog
• · · · · · Welcome to probably the most exciting story and poetry site in the world - Right now, I have 22 stories in 4 collections on the site ABCTales Member for: 5 years 37 weeks ; Google muscles into blogosphere, introduces Google Blog Search

Saturday, September 17, 2005

When a law enforcement officer looks at a company, one of the first questions he or she asks him or herself will be: Are these people good guys or bad guys?

Eye on Politics & Taxes: We're So Good We'll Be Fine
Can you ever think too much about leadership? Not in my book.

But then, I'm firmly in the camp of people make history rather than history makes people. EBay also did one thing Mr. Omidyar was not thinking about 10 years ago: it proved that even in these daunting times, one person with a good idea can still change the world.
In law-firm-land, think of what Marty Lipton built at Wachtel, the development of the Socratic/case method of instruction by Christopher Columbus Langdell at Harvard Law in the 1800's, or even the invention of the "Cravath model" here in the early 1900's. Do individuals make a difference? You bet

And Other Fairy Tales [Maybe we are crazy. Maybe we will change the world; Morris Iemma and Peter Debnam face their first electoral test as Premier and Opposition Leader Tripple MaMaMa byelections. It is all about the state of the State economy, stupid - Bread and the Ballot: Byelections test mettle of leaders You cannot go past the poll bludger for a comprehensive coverage of the triple-M by-election seats NSW by-elections ; The annual allowance for senators and members Recent Parliamentary Library papers ;]
• · They might not know it, but the politicians of NSW have some new neighbours... Just near the Parliament building, a small community of homeless men has sprung up, drawn by the protection it offers from swirling winds. Out of Mind ; Mind games: Without shame, we thrash out marriage difficulties before relationship therapists. Parents pack their teenagers off to psychotherapy when exam pressure threatens to overwhelm. Trauma counsellors swarm over crime scenes as naturally as police From the couch to the bedroom
• · · Proposed laws on strikes and lockouts tip the playing field further against employees Secret ballot or secret war? ; Betting & Polls
• · · · Anti-money laundering update ; Scott Parkin Our very own political prisoner ; Murdoch fears Latham gets more than enough rope
• · · · · The eloquence of America's politicians. My uncle, Richard Podrasky. Representing the cousins, my cousin, Jeannie Podrasky Polished Pollies ; Beyond Right and Left
• · · · · · An eastern German report card 16 years after reunification The Price of a Failed Reunification ; Here comes the rent rise, and it may top 30%

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Leaders are people who leave their footprints in their areas of passion.
-Jonathan Byrnes

There should be a continued discussion well beyond the trivialities of parliamentary question time and the revolving news cycles. I hope this book will help concentration on what might really be going wrong with Australia and how, as it turned out after the mid-sixties and the mid-seventies, we might again get the chance to set things right. Looking for Leadership: Have Australians become more conservative over the past decade? Australia in the Howard years

Eye on Politics & Taxes:
Australia is one of the easiest countries in which to start and run a business, a new World Bank report has found.

The Doing Business report ranks Australia as the sixth most business-friendly country of the 155 studied, based on assessments of a range of regulatory benchmarks related to business operations, including start-up, paying taxes and access to credit.

World Bank says Australia a top place to run a business [Doing Business ; Mobile phone retailer John Ilhan of Crazy John's still heads Australia's wealthiest young entrepreneurs, entertainers and sports people, with a fortune of $300 million What's it like to be crazy rich? ; Maybe we are crazy. Maybe we will change the world You are Different. So is Jozef Imrich ]
• · In a hot summer's night in December 1964 I was about to write the last chapter of a book on Australia. The opening sentence of this last chapter was: 'Australia is a lucky country, run by second-rate people who share its luck.' The great irony: How ironic then that Horne's irony was totally overlooked! ; Horne's irony was lost on Australia
• · · Tim Dunlop: The biggest signal of an extremist government isn't the policies they put forward, it's the way that they try to implement them. Sunrise, sunset ; When John Howard speaks from the Australian heartland - rather than to it - the competition finds it hard to get a word in edgewise Relaxed and comfortable ; Should housing provide a tax haven or a haven for people? The real purpose of housing
• · · · The Premier, Morris Iemma, has refused to rule out raising taxes to help rid the State Government of its growing budget deficit Deficit rings the tax rise alarm ; Do we have the technology to build a better legal system?; John Braithwaite Markets in Vice, Markets in Virtue Sydney: Too much talk about tax reform in Australia focuses on just one small headline-grabbing aspect: the cutting of personal tax rates. What about the on-going and increasingly abusive tax avoidance and evasion that is undermining of the integrity of the tax system Avoiding the issue: countering the termites in the Australian tax system
• · · · · A dirty joke inside the government The Aristobureaucrats ; Just Following the Law ; The organisational culture within Australia’s Department of Immigration appears to have little regard for human rights. Tom Davis, an ex-insider, says it didn't have to be that way Why I quit the department
• · · · · · Former Labor leader Mark Latham says he doesn't plan to ever speak again to his political mentor Gough Whitlam Enough Rope ; Mark Latham's habit of projecting his own bad motives onto others is about to unfold spectacularly Mark Latham: Bitter loser or brave tell-all?; A case for political maturity

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

John Allen Paulos, professor of mathematics at Temple University, argues that life is too complex for evolution to explain, say supporters of intelligent design. Yet they insist market forces will suffice for the economy The mousetrap

Eye on Politics & Taxes: How the Free Market Killed New Orleans
The free market played a crucial role in the destruction of New Orleans and the death of thousands of its residents.

Forewarned that a momentous (force 5) hurricane was going to hit that city and surrounding areas, what did officials do? They played the free market. They announced that everyone should evacuate. Everyone was expected to devise their own way out of the disaster area by private means, just like people do when disaster hits free-market Third World countries.
It is a beautiful thing this free market in which every individual pursues his or her own personal interests and thereby effects an optimal outcome for the entire society. Thus does the invisible hand work its wonders in mysterious ways.

• Bush is trying to save the world when he can’t even Take care of his own people here at home [Book Relief and a Curious Coincidence ; Remove the elementary staples of organised, civilised life - food, shelter, drinkable water, minimal personal security - and we go back within hours to a Hobbesian state of nature, a war of all against all Decivilisation is not as far away as we like to think ; Tom Engelhardt on the parallels between the Iraq War and the Katrina crisis At the Front of Nowhere at All ]
• · David Rieff on why the ideological battle against Islamists is nothing like the struggle against communism Their Hearts and Minds? ; Why German writers should speak their minds in the current election campaign. Writers! Break free of your routine!
• · · The era of small government is over. Sept. 11 challenged it. Katrina killed it. Small-Government Rhetoric Gets Filed Away; Why judicial philosophies matter The Real World
• · · · The Conservatives toy with a politically risky idea A dip in the middle: The flat tax ; Scrapping tax breaks for company cars, increasing the cost of four-wheel-drives, boosting bicycle use and topping up the first home buyers' grant for people who buy greener homes must be considered to make cities liveable Tax drivers and reward green homes
• · · · · Mr Brogden's staff argue a three-month redundancy package was made available to staff of the previous leader Kerry Chikarovski Liberals to fund Brogden staff payouts ; Iemma and Debnam face off in Parliament
• · · · · · Telecommunications problems, power outages, and slowness to update the department Web site contributed to delays getting aid to people who needed it Homeland Security's CTO Says Katrina Was A 'Failure' Of Incident Response ; Iemma and Debnam both need an impressive start in Parliament A new game of follow the leader but the knives remain sharpened

Friday, September 09, 2005

Bush and Blair - and Howard! - are spreading "freedom" everywhere, they're making the savage and the heathen in the darker continents familiar with our brand "democracy" and they're fighting a war against "terror" at home and abroad that will enable a great many of their people to live on the edge of misery - and on the edge of "terror" about what the future might hold James Cumes

Eye on Politics & Taxes: Pollies and their journo friends
Everybody's getting their quid's worth in the wake of John Brogden's travails this week

The media loves nothing more than self-analysis and it will no doubt begin in earnest following John Brogden's downfall and subsequent sad suicide attempt this week, Mark Latham's former press secretary Glenn Byers writes in The Australian today. Byers has a particular beef with how the meeja reported the story about his old boss and that video

Never trust a journalist [Gross domestic product calculations put too much spin on society's progress A measure, not of wellbeing ; Wasn't it Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky who said you shouldn't skate to where the puck is but to where the puck will be? A true idiot will miss the metaphor ]
• · Catholic World Youth Day Politics and religion in Australia; Wouldn’t recommend this Telco to my mum! You're a disgrace, PM tells Telstra
• · · Have civil liberties in Queensland slunk back to the dark old days? Are Queensland's police out of control? ; The Liberal Party is a broad church, it's got a lot of views … David Clarke Hockey kicks along Libs' rolling brawl ; Dancing on the graves of the moderates; Lateline of political life line
• · · · Mum v Mum: the new custody battle ; 'Born bad' NZ millionaire jailed indefinitely
• · · · · A debate about the role of the state in light of these tragic events Thoughts On New Orleans And What It Means ; Beyond New Orleans, Katrina Destroys Music History Too
• · · · · · What to do when the boss is a jerk? According to Forbes, managing a stupid boss is about idiot engineering When the boss is an idiot ; My boss follows me around the building if I am out of my chair for more than ten minutes. The funny thing is, he thinks I don't notice! Coping with a toxic boss or a lousy job can take a severe toll on your productivity - and your life

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

There'll always be some people at the fringe playing political games, but the rest of us are getting on with the job Debnam unveils frontbench team

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Timing is everything
I 'm having trouble articulating just how angry I am at pundits, writes Nic White, both in the media and the blogosphere, who are capitalising on this disaster to score political or ideological points:

Stop right there. First of all, "politics" mandates nothing. It's an abstract noun. It's like beginning a sentence "Morality dictates that..." Morality dictates nothing. It's how people interpret morality, and how they apply it in certain situations which evolve over time. Politics are people, and what they make of their political situation, and when the realities of their lives demand that the political and economic circumstances of their lives change. It isn't something to put on a shelf and used only when the climate of opinion permits

James Wolcott [Two men in Villawood detention centre have not eaten for 14 days and say they will continue the hunger strike until they die Detainees vow to starve themselves to death ; Antony Loewenstein on Labor MP Michael Danby Saga goes mainstream; Records show misuse of town credit cards
• · Democracy the Worst Form of Government Ever Tried ; Home Ownership Riskier with New Bankruptcy Law
• · · In the Spring of 2005, workers' votes in France and the Netherlands made the difference in defeating the draft European constitution and ending socialist party control of the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg Europe, Capitalism, and Socialism ; The Russian Revolution and the unresolved historical problems of the 20th century
• · · · And Moisés Naím on how John Bolton and Robert Mugabe might be the two best things to ever happen to the UN The Bad Boys of Global Politics ; John Quiggin Simplifying taxes
• · · · · His bestselling The Purpose-Driven Life has made him a superstar, but is mega-pastor Rick Warren's true purpose strictly political? Rick Warren, 'America's Pastor' ; Accusing one’s political enemies of lying is certainly an old tactic, and often enough an effective one Seized by the Political Spirit ; The Struggle for Civil Rights for People with Disabilities Able to Fight
• · · · · · Abbott leaves 'sorry' message for Brogden ; Brogden sex claim branded a lie ; The Tele's sordid shame ; Mark Coulton has a colourful history in importing Fined $2m, tobacco smuggler could now face 10 years in prison

Sunday, September 04, 2005

I did not sleep very well last night. I was haunted by the faces of the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which slammed into the US Gulf Coast on Sunday. I kept seeing an African American woman holding two babies, screaming into the camera Help us, we are dying

Eye on Politics & Taxes: The hurricane from Hell
The hurricane from Hell

It's a sight that even had hardened news reporters saying they couldn't believe their eyes. One said:

It just didn't look like America any more, little babies taking a bath under a water spigot that had just been turned on. What they were referring to was how a hurricane had turned parts of America into a Third World country in the space of four days. The famous world-class city of New Orleans has descended into anarchy, with dead bodies floating by in water that covered 80 percent of the city, looting, gun battles in the street, houses set on fire. An Australian couple, stranded in the city on tour, were forced to go to the Superdome in New Orleans and said they feared for their lives. A Canadian tourist told the Associated Press he didn't know if he'd get out alive: I'm scared of riots. I'm scared of the locals. We might get caught in the crossfire

The fear and frustration grew inside Flooded Orleans [Hurricane Katrina Interview: Alexander Downer ; Thousands of Blogs Cover Hurricane Katrina's Impact ; Both sides of the anti-terrorism dialogue must give ground Listening, not lecturing, is the answer ; List of bloggers who've been posting from/near/about New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Live from Katrina ]
• · It was a golden run. For hard-hat man John Roberts, the job of building Sydney’s Olympic stadium was a shining reward for a lifetime of toil. For Multiplex, the company Roberts had founded 40 years earlier, it was a launch-pad to even dizzier heights – the $1 billion contract to redevelop the spiritual home of soccer, England’s Wembley stadium Road to Wembley ; Lobbying is out of control
• · · Siek Toon Khoo and John Ainley examine how attitudes influence decisions to continue with school and education beyond school Attitudes, intentions and participation ; Restructuring and governance in the Australian health system 2004–05 (Re)form with Substance? ; How Al-Qaeda defeated New York Ground zilch
• · · · Colourful personality, Moira Coombs, describes the excision process and its legal implications Excising Australia: Are we really shrinking? ; Timetable for the next Australian elections
• · · · · How effective has the United Nations human rights system been in promoting human rights observance by Australian governments?; After the New Economy Actually existing capitalism
• · · · · · Young revisionists in South Korea are rethinking who the villains and heroes were in the Korean War. The Unwanted General; A look at the unintended consequences of the Kremlin's power grab over Russia's regions Beyond Siberia ; Mikhail Khodorkovsky Jailed Tycoon Plans to Run for Office

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Three things distinguish living from the soul versus living from the ego only. They are: the ability to sense and learn new ways, the tenacity to ride a rough road and the patience to learn deep love over time.
-Clarissa Pinkola-Estes "Women Who Run with the Wolves"

The effect of Hurricane Katrina in terms of human lives is appalling, and its destruction of property and infrastructure devastating. Time isn't just money in this catastrophe. It's lives... American bewilderment turns to fury as the richest nation on earth fails to rescue its own people from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina
The foretelling of a deadly disaster in New Orleans: Civic arrangements work or they fail. Leaders are found worthy or wanting. What's happening in New Orleans and Mississippi today is a human tragedy. But take a close look at the people you see wandering, devastated, around New Orleans: they are predominantly black and poor. The political disturbances are still to come. Bodies, gunfire, chaos and anarchy in New Orleans' streets

Eye on Politics & Taxes: Neil Mann
The States are losing not just a Mann, but also a strategic Thinker:

Well it’s time for me to say goodbye to you all. I start a new phase of my public service career from Monday, 12 September when I transfer to the Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs to head up their new Compliance Policy and Case Coordination Division. I can certainly say that it isn’t without some regret that I leave GST. Looking back over the past twenty two months and seeing everything we have achieved as a line, I am very positive about the future for GST.

Like Collingwood coach Neil Mann, who sought to inspire players before a 1955 semi-final by releasing a crate of magpies in the centre of the MCG, younger Neil is leaving the office on a positive note. The Goods and Services troops appreciate his common sense views on zero alcohol policy. Good on ya Neil as even John Tadros supports the sentiment ...
• I know that many executives, like Kathleen Gibbings, will miss the easy-going leadership style of Neil Mann Speech by Neil Mann; No ifs or Buts [Months before John Brogden's racist, sexist slur, which led to the end of his career as NSW Opposition leader this week, his opponents were plotting his demise and seeking to install their own candidate How Brogden fell into a Machiavellian plot ; Nothing gained in pointing the finger ; Ah, the tears of crocodiles ; Such lack of discipline takes the cake]
• · This journal has become the Survival of New Orleans blog The Interdictor; Bookseller Relief Fund Book Industry Responds to Katrina's Catastrophic Effects
• · · If you read one thing about New Orleans, read this email to Boing Boing by a rescue worker. And the waters shall cover the sea ; via Barista
• · · · Harry Heidelberg's Sydney Opposition is in a political sense only ; My objective is more to make observations which could even be helpful to the Webdiary operators Webdiary Watch #1 ; Webdiary watch #2
• · · · · Dream of city life gives way to need for space ; Steep housing costs spark skills exodus ; Mystery millions: Crocodile Dundee swept up in tax net
• · · · · · It's more than a question of rebuilding our political leadership. We have to rebuild our shattered faith and sense of purpose as Liberals O'Farrell a target of whisper campaign ; When it comes to smear campaigns politicians should look no further than over their shoulders Private lives, public scandal ; A secretive police taskforce has for the past seven months been investigating serious allegations against officers of the Wood royal commission Taskforce explores case that cost three top careers

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Margo Kingston has a unique position in Australian journalism. She's one of our most senior reporters but over the last three years her focus has been a weblog on public affairs - Webdiary. Until last week, Webdiary was the property of Fairfax but no longer. After spending most of her career at the company, Margo Kingston is unplugged. We find out why she left and what she plans for Webdiary Margo, Unplugged

Eye on Politics & Taxes: Democracy at Risk
Democracy at Risk reveals the dangers of civic disengagement for the future of representative democracy.

The authors, all eminent scholars, undertake three main tasks: documenting recent trends in civic engagement, exploring the influence that the design of political institutions and public policies have had on those trends, and recommending steps that will increase the amount and quality of civic engagement in America. The authors focus their attention on three key areas: the electoral process, including elections and the way people get involved; the impact of location, including demographic shifts and changing development patterns; and the critical role of nonprofit organizations and voluntary associations, including the philanthropy that help keep them going.

How Political Choices Undermine Citizen Participation, and What We Can Do About It [A page on constitutional law case book reviews ; If the law is an ass the law professor is a donkey ]
• · The NSW Liberal Party is taking time to heal its wounds after the apparent suicide attempt of former Opposition Leader John Brogden, newly elected Liberal leader Peter Debnam says NSW Liberal Party is healing ; Politicians and journalists have to live in each other's pockets. They naturally become close Peter Coleman: Candid remarks bite back; The question everyone's asking is: did the Telegraph go too far? State Libs healing: Debnam <
• · · Empire' only became a dirty word in the twentieth century Emancipation & empire, from Cromwell to Karl Rove ; Beyond imperialism: the new internationalism; Empire: a blunt tool for democratization
• · · · Once a liberal pin-up and intellectual leader of the global human rights movement, Michael Ignatieff has fallen out badly with some of his best friends and colleagues No more Mr. Nice Guy; We may have seen only a hint of hip-hop's political promise Hip-Hop Voting Bloc?
• · · · · I just returned from a lovely little respite from the usual grind and its daily dose of news alerts and fire alarms A tale of 4 ethics ; 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America': Who's No. 1?
• · · · · · The history wars ; A Geoffrey Robertson Hypothetical: Australia under attack ; The sacrosanct seats of the lords of creation: n 1925, in the ‘bear pit’ of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in Sydney’s Macquarie Street, Millicent Preston-Stanley gave the first speech made by a female Member of Parliament (MP) in this state and only the second in any Australian parliament Preston-Stanley and Women MPs

How a media Web site is changing the face — and pace — of media culture
The Romenesko effect

The Blog, The Press, The Media: New around here, stranger?
If you came here in search of information and are curious to know what else this blog has to offer under normal circumstances...

This week, there was a significant event. Margo Kingston, a professional journalist who pioneered blogging on her Webdiary site for The Sydney Morning Herald, has severed connections with Fairfax and gone independent. She is a new phenomenon — the stand-alone journalist. Kingston's site relies heavily on her contributors. She is passionate, partisan, often annoying and, as one of her former bosses once remarked to me, "impossible to manage". Kingston is not a "respected journalist", and while I disagree with her as often as I agree, I mean that as a big compliment.

Webdiary [Jay Rosen; News outlets, online journalists struggle to fill post-storm ...]
• · "The wall between you, - the audience, - and the circus is coming down," McFarlan declares. It's a three-ring sign of the times: Thanks to new media, we have all become the messengers But what are we saying? ; Blog links for Katrina survivors and families
• · · Can you do a Wayback on that? The Wayback Machine is a free web service that allows people to view archived versions of websites. It consists of around 40 billion web pages that have been archived since 1996 The Wayback Machine The Wall Street Journal Online discussed how US lawyers have used the service to obtain copies of old web pages for use as evidence in areas such as domain name litigation, where proving the content history of a website may be important. Content
• · · · Lib-web-cats is a directory of libraries worldwide Online, Searchable Directory of Libraries Worldwide ; Google wants to be your best friend on your computer ; How Yahoo! will be the center of the million-channel universe
• · · · · Blog Faces Lawsuit Over Reader Comments