Showing posts from 2005

Kerry is dead. Toyota for sale.

Packer is dead. Again. Though this time it seems more perminent. I guess it's a wake up call to all of us that no matter how wealthy, how well connected or how many servents you have who are willing to donate their vital organs, your life can end prematurely. It's inevitable that in the first few days after his death, Packer will be deified and viewed through the rose-coloured glasses which seem to be standard issue in TV, radio and newspaper news rooms. A little down the track, though, hopefully a more truthful and sober reflection on Packer will be aired. From various accounts of those who worked for him, Packer was a thuggish boss who used his power and wealth to intimidate his staff. Whilst he had great business acumen, he seemed to lack the personal skills that make for an admired boss. Paul Barry quite literally wrote the book on Kerry Packer ( The Rise and Rise of Kerry Packer ), and this is one I am yet to read. One I have read, though, is Barry's book on

Sure beats Adelaide

I've been reading two very interesting travellogues of late, and they're both worth having a glance at. Chris Berg is in Hong Kong, and soon Beijing, with an NGO at the World Trade Organisation conference: There were an enormous amount of cops, armed with big roman-style shields, little hoplite-style shields, and big computer-game-style shotguns. And, apparently, pepper spray. But none of it mattered, because, apart from the intimidatory tactics by the Hong Kong police, nothing happened. The police drew a line just off the beach, about 1km from the convention centre itself, and the protest was unable to pass that line. While the media I have seen has reported a few skirmishes, it has massively overplayed the extent of the violence. Nothing happened. DMargster (that's Daniel to you and me) is living it up in crazy, crazy Hanoi: It's also incredibly noisy because of drivers' monotonous use of their horn. From about 6am to 9pm you cannot hear much of anything fo

Beattie on media and the Canberra option

Is Peter Beattie Canberra-bound? Whilst many have been watching Bob Carr with interest to see if he'll "Do a Carmen", one who has slipped under the radar has been the Queensland Premier. The whisper started on Crikey yesterday, where Christian Kerr published a one line suggestion under the heading 'Wild Rumour Department' : Is the federal Labor team really looking around for a safe seat for Queensland Premier Peter Beattie? Isn't it a bit late? Speaking at the University of Melbourne on Wednesday, the rumour was put to Beattie and the Premier given a chance to respond. Confirm?? Deny?? "I read it with quite considerable interest," the Premier said sheepishly. Even if there's no truth to the rumour, it's clear that Beattie is happy to have people whispering about a possible Federal future. After seven-and-a-half-years as Premier and age on his side, the Canberra option must surely be a tempting one. ----------- Beattie was deliveri

Scott Ritter: On the trail of WMDs

My Scott Ritter interview has made it online over at Vibewire : On the trail of WMDs Contributed by Ari Sharp 14 Dec 05 By the time their work ended, UN weapons inspectors in Iraq were being squeezed on one side by the CIA, and on the other by the Iraqi secret security service. Scott Ritter was in the midst of the action and recently spoke to Ari Sharp. The story of recent Iraqi history is straightforward. In 1991, in the aftermath of the first Gulf War, the rest of the world, acting through the United Nations, imposed rigorous weapons disclosure and inspection requirements on the demoralised Middle Eastern dictatorship. In 1998, the inspectors were kicked out, sparking the skirmish known as Operation Desert Fox. In the years that followed, the lack of inspectors lead to the presumption that Iraq was rebuilding its weapons stockpile, and by 2003 the fear was so great that a coalition of nations took action to ensure once and for all that Iraq was free of weapons

"We shall fight them on the beaches..."

A bunch of pissed idiots in Cronulla is probably not what Winnie had in mind . Take a step back from the Cronulla race riots of the past 48 hours, and you'll realise they're not an isolated incident. There are plenty of similarities with the Macquarie Fields riots earlier this year. And with Redfern last year. And even with the French riots in November. All of them occur in urban areas. All of them are dominated by angry young men, often under the influence of alcohol. Most importantly, all of them involve the defence of one's own turf. The genesis of the Cronulla riots was the mistaken idea that the beach somehow belongs to one social group or another. Even though it is notionally public space, the way it had been used was as the exclusive plaything of the locals. This was our beach, and one whose territory we need to defend, or so went the logic of the traditional beachdwellers. To the locals, the presence of visitors from other suburbs - and ethnic visito

Less talk, more action

In recent weeks I have found myself the initiator of two different consumer complaints. At first they seemed completely separate and unrelated, although the more I think them through, the more I see a common theme. In brief, here's how I've been screwed over: During November I started recieving spam text messages on my mobile phone from 199xxxx. Paraphrasing, they read "XYZ (female, aged 21) wants to chat with you now. SMS 'chat' to chat, or 'stop' to stop. Visit" As with all spam I recieve, I refused to take the bait and respond. I had the added fear that I would be charged some absurd amount for sending a text message to the number, even if it was 'stop'. At the end of a fortnight of these lame messges, I finally SMS'ed 'stop' and sure enough, they did. A few days later my mobile phone bill arrived, and it was approximately $15 higher than usual. Sure enough, I'd been charged 50c per unit for each of th

It's William Hag... I mean David Cameron!

From the newly elected leader of the British Conservatives, David Cameron: I said when I launched the campaign that we need to change in order to win. Now that I have won we will change. We will change the way we look. Nine out of ten Conservative MPs are white men. We need to change the scandalous under-representation of women in the Conservative party and we will do that. We need to change the way we feel. No more; grumbling about modern Britain. I live in a world as it is not how it was. Our best days lie ahead. We need to change the way we think. Hmmm, so now we'll end up with a Tory party that's more progressive than Labour, and a Labour Party that's becoming more conservative than the Tories. Surely there's not enough room for everyone in the middle of the road. Someone might get run over. Tony?? David?? ----- And just a quicky - the Conservatives have launched a new slogan: Ideas that will change our country . Obviously the irony-o-meter was on the blink

It's all an illusion

Did anyone catch this one on SBS tonight ? 8:30pm CUTTING EDGE SPECIAL - THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES - Baby It's Cold Outside Should we be worried about the threat from organised terrorism or is it simply a phantom menace being used to stop society from falling apart? This three-part documentary series explores how the idea that we are threatened by a hidden and organised terrorist network is an illusion. Of course, it's all an illusion. That terrorist business was just a bad dream. What a relief. It must give great satisfaction to the post-modern geniuses who think this stuff up to know that you can serve up any old crap and it will get an airing. We must go and tell the victims of Netanya and Bali and London and Madrid that it was all an illusion. They'd be so relieved. If they weren't dead.

Questions, please.

Next Friday Ariontheweb will be interviewing controversial former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter for publication on Vibewire . Ritter has recently published a book, Iraq Confidential, which covers his seven years up to 1998 as a weapons inspector in Iraq. Ritter is a much talked about figure in the US, particularly with his strong stance opposing US involvement in Iraq. There's some interesting material on Ritter here , here , here and here . And some other stuff that I won't be mentioning, here . Any suggestions for questions to ask? UPDATE, 5/12, 5:10pm: The interview and has and gone, and went extremely well. In preparing for it, it became clear there were two approaches I could take: I could either try my best to nail Ritter for his possible duplicity and inconsistency, an approach which would make me feel like Bill O'Reilly on speed but lead to Ritter closing up; or I could take a less confrontational approach, drawing out the personal as well as the politi

The 'The Latham Diaries' Diaries: 2000

Though they were immortalised in print as enemies, Mark Latham had something positive to say about Tony Abbott: Thursday, 6 January Maybe it's his (Abbott's) background in the Catholic Church, but he seems strongly committed to the principles of social self-help - not rampant individualism but a revival of old-style mutualism in society. - Page 127 Latham was close mates with the late Greg Wilton, the Labor Right MP who committed suicide after his marriage fell apart in 2000. Understandably, Latham was sensitive about the issue, and was savage toward those who sought to take advantage of it: Monday, 29 May Met with Beazley to discuss the situation. I know politics is a tough game but I am still unnerved by the conversation. Kim was more worried about the possibility of a by-election than Greg's wellbeing - he doesn't know him that well and seemed distant from the problems Pills (Latham's rather macarbe nickname for Wilton) has to deal with. Read the Hera

Thawing the republic

There are few issues that manage to bring together members from both sides (indeed all sides, really) of politics like the republic. Tuesday night was a demonstration of this as a gathering of young republicans from the left and right took the opportunity to imbibe a little too much alcohol and argue the toss with Liberal senator Mitch Fifield and Nicola Roxon , Labor shadow A-G, who constitute two-thirds of the new Parliamentarians for a Republic . As seems common in the early stages of debate, the discussion doesn't move far beyong vague generalities. Yep, we all support a republic, and yep, we want to involve people in the process. Just what republic and how we wish to involve them is a discussion for another time. There are conflicting ideas on just when the time is right. The most optimistic plan, suggested by Roxon, would see a referendum occuring the election after next (most likely in 2010). Other suggestions saw the referendum as a goal to be achieved within ten an

Rabin, Sharon, Peretz, Peres and Bibi?

This month marks the tenth anniversary of the assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Yitzchak Rabin. The trend of late has been to trash the legacy of Rabin, arguing that he was naive to deal with Yasser Arafat and that the fledgling peace achieved in the wake of the Oslo Accords had come crashing down by 2000. All this is true, and much of the good work of Rabin was based on the false premise that at that time Israel had a viable partner for peace. I heard an interesting counter-theory today at a memorial service for Rabin. The theory goes that the template established by Rabin was the one that Sharon has ultimately followed through on. It was Rabin that articulated the need for physical separation (later adopted by Sharon in the form of The Fence) and it was Rabin who identified some Jewish West Bank communities beyond the green line which would need to be included in Israel proper (controversially but rightly adopted by Sharon). Even the land-f

"...then your children will be next."

At first I thought this was satire. I'm still desperately hoping it is : Twin girls start Nazi pop group From: From correspondents in Los Angeles AMERICA'S white supremacists are eagerly awaiting the release of the latest pop album by a group called Prussian Blue, whose members are a pair of blonde 13-year-old twins. Lamb and Lynx Gaede have already released an album and a music video. Their biggest hits include Sacrifice, a tribute to Rudolf Hess. The lyrics describe Hitler's deputy as "a man of peace who wouldn't give up". In press photographs, the pale sisters appear in crisp white T-shirts that are decorated with yellow smiley faces sporting Hitler moustaches. The Gaede twins are from the farming town of Bakersfield, California. They have been performing songs about white supremacy since they were nine and their band's name is a nod to their German heritage and piercing blue eyes. "We're proud of being white, we want to keep bein

"This summer I went swimming..."

Birds are chirping, flowers are blossoming, sandy beaches are doing their best to hide their syringes... it is indeed a wonderful world. As of 4:17 on Thursday afternoon, I finished my exams, and hence my studies, for yet another year. This has left me with a chasmically long gap over summer which I have been eagerly awaiting. Amongst my many projects of summer fun are: - Getting this blog happening regularly again. Perhaps I need an electronic dose of Metamucil to get back in the habit. One of my first blogging projects will be the continuation of my brief, copyright-breaching synopsis of The Latham Diaries, which I hilariously titled "The 'The Latham Diaries' Diaries". Eager readers would be aware that I got kind of bored with the project and stopped in 1999, but never fear, since the next six years of synopsising is about to commence. - Reading. For pleasure. Another habit I wish to restart, and I have a backlog of interesting books on my shelf to keep me

Exams etc

Apologies for the lack of posts of late. Exams have been keeping me busy, and this will continue until they finish on 17 November. In the meantime, check out the ridiculous looking model who was staring out at me from the cover of Vogue Australia in the check-out queue at Coles this afternoon (so that's why they call it a check out ): This odd looking thing bears a striking resemblence to a space alien, whatever they happen to look like. Perhaps this is Neptune's entrant in the Miss Universe contest.

Hamish Malcolm

I was devastated to learn this morning that a friend of mine has passed away. Hamish Malcolm died of cardiac arrest a week short of his 26th birthday. I came to know Hamish this year as a friend, and occasionally rival, within the Political Interest Society. Hamish was a passionate lefty who believed strongly in justice and tolerance, but always managed to keep a sense of humour, often richly sarcastic. Having spent most of his life in Britain, that was where his heart lied, although he was rapidly becoming an honourary Australian after settling in Melbourne to continue studying. Hamish had a significant on-line presence. You can read his blog Omission of Mercy as well as his lively blogger profile . Here is the email recieved from the Melbourne University Debating Society explaining of Hamish's death and the events to celebrate his life: Dear VCs Cuppers, MUDS has recently received some very sad news regarding one of our members, Hamish Malcolm, who you may have met, cha

Unimelb election wrapup

As election week 2005 at Melbourne University comes to an end today, it's worth reflecting on one of the more peaceful campaigns in recent years. Having seen the skullduggery of the 2003 election in the State of the Union (the official website even refers to it with the adjective 'skullduggerous' - nice work, lads), one expects all sorts of silliness to be going on. To the casual observer, though, there was little smoke nor heat. The most visable presence on campus was the Left Union ticket, who were out in force last week and again during the election. Combining the considerable resources (oh, the irony) of Socialist Alternative and the left wing of the Labor Party, Left Union were the well organised voice of the left. In what was a real trademark of the entire election, there were few issues of substance raised by the Left Union folks. Apparently, they're really truely absolutely positively opposing VSU. And the war in Iraq. Still, these guys in their suave

Facing death in Singapore

Normally I'm not a fan of popular attempts to influence justice systems, but the presence of the death penalty, particularly in a country as enlightened as Singapore, is appalling enough for me to take action. Though I doubt it will have much effect, I think we owe it to a fellow human being to do all we can: URGENT ALERT NGUYEN TUONG VAN - Please don't hang this man He now faces execution, possibly within 10 days. Nguyen's mother fled Vietnam alone in a boat in 1980 and had her twin sons in a transit camp in Malaysia before being accepted into Australia four months later. Nguyen's Australian lawyers described the decision as "devastating for him, his family and friends". Lex Lasry QC said Nguyen had always admitted his guilt and given constructive help to authorities including the Australian Federal Police. "The decision appears to pay no heed to the provisions of the Singapore Constitution that make specific reference and provide for cleme

Another take on IR reform

I was impressed by this take on the government's IR reforms, published on (in?) Crikey today and written by an old friend of a friend of mine. After starting from a fairly neutral perspective, I'm becoming swayed by the merits of the IR reforms and am growing tired of union sob-stories. Plenty more to come, though, I'm sure: 12. The IR ads the government should be running Crikey's occasional corporate law correspondent Adam Schwab writes: Much has been said about the fact that the Government is spending around $100 million advertising its planned changes to the Workplace Relations Act. But not much has been said about the pathetic advertisements that have so far been produced. The Government would be better off sacking their grossly overpaid advertising agency and media buyers and running ads like this: Advertisement One: Cameras focuses on an employee rifling through the handbag of a fellow employee and removing money from her purse. Midway through the act the

The 'The Latham Diaries' Diaries: 1999

After a two week hiatus, I'm finally back on board with my blow-by-blow, catclaw-by-catclaw account of the best bits of The Latham Diaries, which I notice is already being discounted by some retailers. Yesterday's epic is tomorrow nestling against the Complete Works of Max Walker. Sigh. Friday, 29 January In New York I met with Clinton's campaign adviser, Dick Morris, who has an amazing instinct and feel for politics. I explained my sutation is Australia and he got it straight away. He reckons that 'This period of ostracisation is essential to your success'. We also talked about the Third Way and the triangulation of policy. He sees it as a spin-off from Hegel's dialectic interpretation of history - out of two conflicting positions a synthesis emerges. - Page 96/97 ...and this was Morris' recall of this same conversation, on the ABC in 2003 : JOHN SHOVELAN: Dick Morris first met the Opposition leader when Mark Latham sought him out on a visit to

Brown on Latham

I wrote this on Tueday, when it was mildly newsworthy. It's now Friday night, and it's ancient history. Here it is, anyhow: Senator Bob Brown has remained quiet on the Latham-front, but stood up to be counted last night at Melbourne University. I've always had mixed feelings about Brown - whilst I reject his misanthropic ideology, I think he's an exceptionally talented and perceptive politician. Far from being a voice from outside the political establishment, Brown is capable of the sort of brutal tactical approach that would make even the most seasoned Labor numbers-men proud. His talk last night was on the topic of "Ten reasons why a young person should get involved in politics", a very direct contradiction of Mark Latham's speech at the same venue last week. Brown stuck loosely to his theme, although meandered through all sorts of themes. By the end, though, it seemed that Brown's attitude was not far from Latham's: the Labor Party is n

Bali carnage

Yet again, violent thuggery has proved itself to be a blunt instrument. We should not forget that Indonesia is a democracy (albeit a fledgling one) and those who turn to violence for their cause are those that cannot win in the battle for hearts and minds. For Indonesia's sake, JI should finally be criminalised by the archapelago, and authorities ought to ruthlessly crack down on those involved. Spare us the 'root causes of terrorism' argument, please. The Australian media have been squeamish about naming the victims, but not so the Indonesian media. I don't speak Indonesian, but I have a fair idea of the fate of those who appear on this list in the Bali Post .

Where's it buried?

A ripper yarn by Sly of the Underworld in today's Age, putting together the missing peices (nope, not a type) on Victor Peirce (told you) and the horrific Walsh Street slaying in 1988. I was very interested to read this paragraph: Allen was a prolific drug dealer in the early 1980s. "I saw Victor with cash, sometimes $50,000, sometimes $100,000. I saw Dennis with $500,000." Allen had many bank accounts but also liked to bury cash so it could never be traced. Much of it was never recovered when he died of natural causes in 1987. "When he got sick he couldn't remember anything. It must all still be buried around Richmond." Jackpot!!

He speaks! Latham hits Melbourne University

During the week Mark Latham made his one (and so far, only) public appearance to promote his book, at the University of Melbourne. Latham spoke in the sterile and lifeless Copland theatre, buried deep within the Economic and Commerce faculty in a way that leads one to conclude that it doubles as a bomb shelter. Latham's speech, on the topic "10 reasons why young idealistic people should forget about organised politics" (which leads to the conclusion that there are plenty of reasons why young narcisstic opportunistic people should enter politics). Anyhow, Latham's speech attracted a fair bit of attention, particularly in The Age. Michael Gordon wrote about it , whilst the Op-Ed page published an extract of the speech itself . The Age website also published the full text in a Word document on its website, obviously straight from the source, given that one "Janine Lacy" is listed as the author (head to File, then Properties, the Summary). Even more intr

The 'The Latham Diaries' Diaries: 1998

It's an even numbered year, it's the Labor Party, it's January... welcome to Hobart!: Friday, 23 January One black mark, however. The Conference dinner was held downriver from Hobart and delegates piled into boats to get there. On arrival, we were ordered to stay on board while Princess Cheryl (Kernot) and her two fawning courtiers, Kim and Gareth, disembarked first. The Labor Royal Family. I hate it when we mimic the hierarchy and snobbery of high society. In Australia, socialism has always been a social habit, much more than a political program. We are all equal in our mateship group. Now, unhappily in the ALP at least, some are more equal than others. - Page 71 This idea is almost as scary as Mark Latham, PM: Tuesday, 24 March An interesting conversation with Leo McLeay, who reckons that Martin Ferguson will be the next Labor MP: 'Kim will lose twice and then Ferguson will take over - he's got the working-class credentials and the support of the unio

Call centre blog

Interesting. A blog for those of us in the call centre industry. Waiting On Hold.

Better than average Bush joke

A decent joke has landed in my inbox, a thankfully it's marginally better than the 'insert hated politician's name here' jokes: President Bush and Don Rumsfeld are sitting in a bar. A guy walks in and asks the barman, “Isn’t that Bush and Rumsfeld sitting over there?” The barman says, “Yep, that’s them.” So the guy walks over and says, “Wow, this is a real honor! What are you guys doing in here?” Bush says, “We’re planning WW III.” And the guy says, “Really? What’s going to happen?” Bush says, “Well, this time we’re going to kill 140 million Muslims and one blonde with big tits.” The guy exclaimed, “A blonde with big tits? Why kill a blonde with big tits?” Bush turns to Rumsfeld and says, “See, I told you no one would care about the 140 million Muslims”. Not bad.

The 'The Latham Diaries' Diaries: 1997

Gee, that's unusual for Ross Cameron: Friday, 14 February Ross Cameron, the brilliant but creepy Liberal Member for Parramatta, has talked me into participating in his youth leadership forum in Canberra. I rather suspect it's a front for mobilising young Christian soldiers, plus some quality box for Ross. Thank goodness I wasn't the only one sucked in. Howard and Beazley addressed the opening session yesterday and gave some interesting insights into their background. - Page 57 And Howard the stinker: Friday, 14 March A great day's cricket, playing for the Parliamentary XI against the Crusaders at Albert Mark in Melbourne. Our side was reinforced by (former Australian fast bowler) Merv Hughes and the middle-order batting wizardry of John Howard. Actually, he's hopeless. A real rabbit with the bat and The Man From Unco with the ball, the sort of player who was an automatic selection as scorer in schoolboy teams. I walked away from the ground thinking, th

The 'The Latham Diaries' Diaries: 1996

Was Gareth really a no-hoper in his short time as Shadow Treasurer? Latham reckons he was: Thursday, 18 April Earlier today, the mighty Gareth told me that 'I want to go back to Foreign Affairs'. He's trying to rote-learn the economy and it's not working. He knows nothing about National Competition Policy and Hilmer. It's really quire scary, shattering the image I had of super-competent Hawke and Keating ministers. The more I see of the frontbench, the more sceptical I become. - Page 47 The first Howard/Costello budget was delivered in August, and for those who remember it was a grusome slash and burn budget as the incoming administration sought to turn around the massive deficit of Keating/Beazley/Willis (everyone remember the "$8 billion Beazley black-hole", a phrase in the rhetorical spirit of the Beazley flip-flop?). Anyhow, with health, education and just about every other government service having the guts ripped out of it, here's how

Latham pisstake

Kerry and Mark? Nope, it's John and Bryan : INTERVIEWER: Gee, you've cut quite a swathe this week. MARK LATHAM: I don't know about a swathe, Bryan, but I certainly cut a bit of a swathe during the week. INTERVIEWER: It's a tough business, isn't it, politics? MARK LATHAM: I don't know about tough, Bryan, but I'll tell you something about this business, it's pretty tough. INTERVIEWER: Didn't you know it was going to be tough when you went into it, though? MARK LATHAM: Yeah, yeah. You don't go into a business like this, Bryan, without knowing it's going to be tough. I knew it would be tough. I knew it would be tough. I knew it would be tough. INTERVIEWER: Did anything surprise you about it, though? MARK LATHAM: Only the toughness, Bryan, only the toughness. INTERVIEWER: But you would have expected that, wouldn't you? MARK LATHAM: I did.

A community service announcement...

For those American Northkoreaphiles comes this interesting snippet of news, courtesy of NKzone : NK Opens to US tourists (briefly!) Travel by Simon Cockerell I've just heard from Pyongyang that US passport holders will be welcomed to North Korea as tourists until the end of the Arirang Mass Games festival; recently extended to run until October 17th. Koryo Tours of course and probably others will be running trips to the event for US citizens, during that time. If you've got $2000 and a week spare, treat yourself to a mindblowing experience.

The 'The Latham Diaries' Diaries: 1995

Did Keating know this early that his number was up?: Wednesday, 8 February Keating hosts a Caucus BBQ at the Lodge. He is very frank in his remarks, maybe half-tanked at the time: 'I've been here too long, that's the truth of it; 26 years is a long time.' For a moment or two, I thought he was going to pull the pin and resign as PM. Not a bad time to do it, in fact. Twenty-six years is a long time indeed. He's won an unwinnable election for us and become a Labor legend. Why not go out on top? But Paul hates the Tories too much to ever leave them alone. It's the obsession of a lifetime. - Page 31 Latham nails Graeme Campbell, the then Labor Member for Kalgoolie and a Pauline before there was Pauline, in a way that makes you realise that Latham wasn't the only nutter wandering around Capital Hill: Wednesday, 10 May I attend the launch of Graeme Campbell's book by Peter Walsh in one of the committee rooms at Parliament House. It is a sad occa

The 'The Latham Diaries' Diaries: 1994

Here's a story the media missed, then and now: Thursday, 24 March Graham Richardson's private secretary Marion assures me he was all set to swap places with Bob Carr - Carr for Senate, Richo for the NSW Labor leadership. Something change Richardson's mind the weekend before his resignation from Parliament. A nice little mystery, ass everyone smiles and gives Richo and happy send-off. - Page 25 If these any truth at all to this story, it's quite incredible. Given the success that Carr went on to enjoy for a decade, this would have had a remarkable effect of contemporary Australian politics. Has anyone done any digging on this story? Wednesday, 4 May It also dragged all the major journalists into Canberra, who then kicked on to the pub in Manuka. Ran into an old mate of minte (now working as a researcher in ABC current affairs) who said that his boss (a prominent TV presenter) was keen for everyone to piss on back at his place in Kingston. Sounded great unti

The 'The Latham Diaries' Diaries: Introduction

As promised in an earier post, here are some interesting snippets from TLD. There has been much criticism about Latham's inability to take responsibility for his own failings, and his role in his party's failure in the 2004 election. Whilst this perception is largely true, it is worth noting that Latham does accept some responsibility for his actions (though it does include the significant caveat 'by the conventional performance measures'): My aim is not to rewrite my place in Australian political history. This is not possible. I never became a minister in a Labor Government. Under my leadership, the ALP lost seats at the 2004 Federal election. This disappointed many of my supporters, dashing their expectations of what I could achieve in public life. I failed in my mission to advance the cause of Labor, to make Australia a social democracy. By the conventional performance measures of Australian politics, my parliamentary career was unsuccessful. - Page 4 The

Kim Jong Il: "Did somebody say Six Party?"

The past 48 hours there was some success in the six party talks aimed at disarming North Korea. Like most, I'm cynical until I see some action, but it does seem like a positive development, and from what I've seen a real shock to most Korea-watchers. I got the feeling that most though that the six party talks were all but dead after a failed round two month back, so this agreement has come out of the blue. Back at the last talks in July, here was my suggestion for a workable solution: For what it's worth, here's my solution to the North Korea tensions (you listing George, Hu, Kim?): at the next round of Six Nation talks next week in Beijing, the other five states should do a deal with Kim Jong Il. Give him an absolute assurance that the world will not seek his removal (STEP 1), if - and only if - the DPRK shut down its nuclear plants and give open access to IAEA inspectors (STEP 2). To be sure that he'll do the deal, the quiet threat needs to be made by the Chi

Vale: Simon Wiesenthal

Simon Wiesenthal: "The Conscience of the Holocaust, Dies in Vienna" at 96 Simon Wiesenthal, the famous Nazi Hunter has died in Vienna at the age of 96, the Simon Wiesenthal Center announced today (September 20th). "Simon Wiesenthal was the conscience of the Holocaust," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the International Human Rights NGO named in Mr. Wiesenthal’s honor, adding, "When the Holocaust ended in 1945 and the whole world went home to forget, he alone remained behind to remember. He did not forget. He became the permanent representative of the victims, determined to bring the perpetrators of the history’s greatest crime to justice. There was no press conference and no president or Prime Minister or world leader announced his appointment. He just took the job. It was a job no one else wanted. Read more here.