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The Daily Briefing 13/10/05

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THURSDAY 13TH OCTOBER 2005          

Your round-up from today's newspapers plus the best writing, analysis, critical thinking and humour from around the world.

In today's email:
1    Brief message, no link, see below
2    Alastair Nicholson says terrorism laws take away freedom/Age (5 links below)
3    Irwin Stelzer updates the US and global economies/Weekly Standard
4    Jonathan Freeland on Ariel Sharon's Middle East plan/Guardian
5    Cécile Raimbeau on the rise of workers co-operatives in Argentina/Le Monde
6    Erwin James on the prisoner who won the right to vote/Guardian
7    IN THE PAPERS: National, Opinion, Business round-up

1 Update and feedback

"I am a learned smart-arse on world issues and the things that matter due in a large part to TDB!" - subscriber, Tom McL.

For reasons, outlined below, I've been slow to share some of the wonderful, challenging and interesting feedback that has come in of late and to update you on the business side of TDB. But, I had to pause to share the one above and will get around to posting the rest shortly.


It has been a long year. That's the best excuse on offer at the moment, so I'll stick with it. Putting one of these together every working day, more or less on your own, keeps you honest, off the streets and out of mischief. To complicate matters, the website where TDB is produced has experienced some odd gremlins in recent days, slowing production in the morning. (And then there is the gorgeous 17-month-old in my life, Eamon, who has needed more fatherly attention than normal these past couple of mornings.)

Each day I've intended to write an update on the collaboration that TDB has entered into, but have needed to focus on getting a reasonably strong edition out at a reasonable time. It can't be delayed any longer, even though there is not time now for a full description of what it all entails. So for now, the news in brief is that TDB will now be published every day on Margo Kingston's new, independent version of Webdiary. (Margo has gone solo having split with Fairfax.) In the not too distance future, The Daily Blog, long promised, will also be published on that site, and I hope to be getting back to some more traditional journalism by writing a few stories, rather than just telling you what other people are writing. I also need to get around to writing an "opening statement"  over at Webdiary, and that will also give more details.

The short answer for what it means to subscribers to TDB is nothing, or at least nothing much, particularly in the short term since Margo and I have agreed to have a trial period to see how it goes. The most important thing is that editorial control over all aspects of TDB will stay with me, and since I am dealing with a person of her word, you need have no concerns about that. But as I say, more information to follow, and I look forward to having a discussion about it, rather than just telling you how it will be.

Wayne Sanderson.

2 Judges speak out on liberty and the law
Why do they hate our way of life, they being fear-driven politicians and certain commentators, is a question TDB has posed a number of times, once suggesting that the chances of an Australian being killed here in a terrorist attack was comparable to the chances of being kicked to death by a kangaroo - real but not so likely or unusal a threat in its nature as to require drastic changes to our laws. In a speech last night, former chief justice of the Family Court Alastair Nicholson (link below) said: "Our liberties and our democracy are under a more serious threat than that posed by terrorists as a direct result of the reaction of our leaders, the media and, in turn, the public, to that threat."

Nicolson's comments come as Britain's new chief justice, Lord Phillips, warned the Blair Government not to  browbeat judges over its new anti-terrorism laws (The Guardian).

On Monday, The Independent published an interview with recently retired judge Lord Steyn who accused Tony Blair of mounting measures to tackle terrorism that will fall foul of human rights laws, and launched a damning attack on his record of human rights. (While still on the bench, Steyn described Guantanamo Bay as an abomination for which the US would one day have to apologise.)

The Guardian reports that the Blair Government has published the new legislation allowing detention for 90 days without charge; and it looks at how the new laws compare internationally (Australia gets a mention).

In the SMH, Michael Pelly reports that retiring High Court justice Michael McHugh has said Australia's reputation as a human rights champion had been so tarnished in recent years that it could be called a wolf in sheep's clothing. In his last speech as a member of the High Court, to Sydney University law students, McHugh urged the adoption of a bill of rights and said the lack of one had forced him to hand down decisions with which he did not personally agree (there has to be a great book exploring the tensions between judicial duty and his personal beliefs).

3 Greenspan's juggling act
A somewhat more pessimistic Irwin Stelzer this time around. For those who came in late, TDB has more or less set up a debate between the conservative Irwin Stelzer (sometimes described as Rupert Murdoch's global ambassador) and liberal Princeton economics professor and NYTimes columnist Paul Krugman as they make their educated guesses about the US and global economies.  Of late, Krugman has deserted the field to do what he enjoys most, belting up on George Bush hard and often. Stelzer tends to be a sunny side of the street man, while Krugman sees grey clouds, most of them the result of Bush's failings. This time around Stelzer is, comparatively, more critical than ever about Bush (isn't everyone these days?) and thinks he is relying on Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to shore him up. "Greenspan is known to be upset by the fiscal deficit, which he feels is contributing to the global imbalances that must sooner or later result in a decline in the dollar, rising interest rates, higher inflation, and pressure on the Fed to tighten even if the economy softens. So he might well accompany reassurances to Congress about the direction of Chinese trade policy with a blast at the White House and the Congress for failing to get America's fiscal house in order. Already under pressure because of his delayed reaction to Katrina, a variety of potential scandals, and now from his conservative supporters because of his refusal to appoint a distinguished, conservative constitutional lawyer to join the estimable John Roberts on the Supreme Court, the last thing the president needs is a public dressing down by Greenspan."
4 Sharon's Middle East masterplan
An update on developments in the Middle East from Jonathan Freedland who says the Palestinians are being out-manoeuvered by Israel's Ariel Sharon into a situation that will see them get much less than they refused to accept under negotiations brokered by Bill Clinton in 2000. "That's not how it is any more. Yes, Gazans are relieved to be shot of the Israelis at last. And yes, Israelis - despite some persistent violence, with Palestinian rockets fired across the new "border" - still believe the pullout was the right move. But that does not mean the two sides are about to reach across the divide and touch each other. Instead they are looking inward."
5 The workers, united
Workers co-operatives, a rare beast outside Mondragon in Spain, are said to be rising from the ruin of Argentina's economic crisis in 2001. Cécile Raimbeau says many workers who lost their jobs have occupied their workplaces and successfully resumed production without their former bosses, and now want legislative reforms to support them. "Unemployed workers who choose to take this path inevitably come up against employers, the legal system and the police. When that happens, they need all the support and loyalty they can get from their families and colleagues. The shared experience of revolt creates new forms of cooperation and friendship, and also leads to the emergence of a process of democratic decision-making: the assembly, where every worker has a voice."
6 I fought the law and I won
As chance would have it, British prisoners last week won the right to vote, at the very time the Federal Government here is considering taking away that right from Australian prisoners. The UK case was brought by a prisoner John Hirst, who taught himself the law while serving time for manslaughter. This article is a profile of Hirst, not an exploration of the case itself, and is written by Erwin James, another former prisoner who became a journalist after The Guardian chose him to write a column by an inmate on prisoner life. "Hirst proved to be the most prolific prisoner litigant of modern times - and, he says, like Perry Mason and Rumpole of the Bailey, he never lost a case against the Prison Service. He won the right of prisoners on segregation punishment to keep their beds in their cells during the day, and overturned the blanket ban on prisoners communicating with the media. He also, after he was kept locked in solitary for 28 days without a break, successfully sued a prison governor for "malfeasance in public office"."
7 IN THE PAPERS: National, Opinion, Business round-up

"The Immigration Department received a funding bonus from the Howard Government for every illegal entrant detained and deported before the 2001 election." - The Australian. This could have been written: Public servants, paid by the taxpayers to act on our behalf, have been turned into vigilantes but no Minister has been held accountable for the failed culture in the Immigration Department.

The Herald is excited about a Senate committee report, due out today, which it says is expected to recommend that capital gains tax and negative gearing rules should be altered to discourage speculative investment in rental properties and help reduce Australia's chronic debt burden. (But what would be the chances of either major party acting to stop the human need for shelter being treated as a Monoply game? Three-fifths of five-eighths of bugger all.) The paper also reports that legislation abolishing compulsory student unionism at Australian universities remained on track for this year and would not be diluted to accommodate Barnaby Joyce; and Mike Seccombe does a nice job telling the tale of how the Government was outmanoeuvred in the Senate when Barnaby crossed the floor on competition policy. It also reports that Sydney motorists are about to get a toll road that makes the Cross City Tunnel look like a bargain (and the Tele is keeping up its campaign on the tunnel, see below); that people attending new mandatory relationship counselling sessions are at risk of being advised by staff lacking professional qualifications and experience; and that the Opposition has called for the immediate introduction of guidelines to govern post-ministerial employment following an announcement that the former premier Bob Carr would be a consultant to Macquarie Bank, the biggest private funder of public infrastructure in NSW (as oppositions do, and then do nothing about it when in government and behave the same way themselves. Why are people so cynical about politicians?).

The Australian reports that former acting commissioner of a corruption watchdog Moira Rayner could be jailed for up to seven years for tipping off a public servant and friend that he was under investigation for stealing (of course there is the small matters of a trial and sentencing before that unlikely outcome is reached); that Health Minister Tony Abbott and his parliamentary secretary Christopher Pyne, both outspoken pro-life MPs, are coming under pressure from colleagues to overturn a federal Government ban on the controversial abortion pill RU-486; and that powerbrokers in Sydney's Anglican diocese want to change the church's constitution to enable a split from the Church of England in England if its attitude to the ordination of gay clergy and same-sex unions remains unresolved.

The Age has an "exclusive" it wants you to know, reporting that Victorian women who want a late-term abortion for reasons other than a foetal abnormality will have to first see a counsellor and go through a mandatory 48-hour cooling-off period. It also reports that John Howard appears to have misled Australians by claiming Christmas Day, Anzac Day and other public holidays would not be negotiable under the Government's proposed workplace changes; that a senior police officer faces disciplinary action after 7000 pages of confidential police files were mistakenly released to a corrections officer in Victoria's most embarrassing privacy breach; and that private school fees will break the $18,000 barrier next year, as some leading independent schools increase their charges by more than $1000.

The way we live now - a trend towards living alone and the replacement of traditional paper-based communication with email slashed $57 million from Australia Post's profits in 2004-05; if voting were not compulsory, only about half of Australia's dot-net generation would bother showing up at the ballot box; and pay television may be about to make a profit after 10 years.

Frank Galbally has died and  The Age does him justice.

The nominations for journalism's Walkley Awards have been announced.


The Age:
Paul Keating says the proposed industrial relations changes will strip away the egalitarian part of the wage system, leaving those without sufficient bargaining power vulnerable, notably women and the young, and says the economic outcomes of the past 15 years show they are not necessary; Kenneth Davidson says under the changes, "lower real wages will be imposed by strengthening the management prerogative by destroying the arbitration system based on fairness criteria and reducing the social wage to make room for income tax cuts for the rich"; Barry Jones shares his experience with glaucoma and says that 75 per cent of sight problems are preventable with early action (today is World Sight Day); and Alastair Nicholson see above.

The Australian: Simon Banks makes the case for an independent institute of fiscal studies to promote research and debate on key fiscal issues and to monitor and advise on the Government's fiscal statements (an idea whose time has come - similar bodies exist in similar countries); Mike Steketee says the industrial relations changes will increase the earnings gap between workers and cut union power, giving employers the upper-hand; Greg Sheridan reckons Indonesia is fighting the good fight against terrorism and that Australia needs to be careful with its criticisms because a failed state there would be bad news here; Michael Yabsley urges Brendan Nelson to "stick to his guns" and abolish student unionism; and Ross Fitzgerald gives thanks for the Salvos and suggests an Inebriates Act that could force alcoholics into long-term, life-saving treatment.

The SMH: Paul McGeough says there is a real danger that the war in Iraq could spread across the Middle East (although he doesn't explain how that would play out); Robert Shilkin thinks Barnaby Joyce's vote to block competition law changes is dumb law, dumb economics and dumb politics; Miranda Devine gives John Doyle a belt as she endorses the ideas of Johan Norberg, who was on The Australian's opinion page yesterday after a speech to the Centre for Independent Studies, to argue that globilisation is great and that technology will make things even better; Paul Keating, see Age above.


Something of a "media morning" with the fortunes of Channel 10 leading all the papers and Rupert Murdoch responding to legal action over News Ltd's "poison pill". The Herald reporting that  the Ten Network's reputation as the market favourite in the television industry is under threat because of a lacklustre outlook for advertising and a declining appetite for reality TV. Both Fairfax papers report that Murdoch has told journalists at a press conference in Rome that News Corp's extension of its controversial "poison pill" scheme without seeking shareholder approval was "totally legal". And Bryan Frith risks being seen as a mouthpiece for his boss by explaining why the action of a group of institutional investors, local and overseas, in initiating legal proceedings against News Corporation seeking to prevent the company from extending its "poison pill" without obtaining shareholder approval is well-intentioned, but it's also ill-considered.

The Age reports that interest rates appear set to remain on hold — and the next move could even be down — as the petrol price surges, and anxiety about terrorism and weakness in share prices dramatically undermined consumer confidence, sending it to a 2½-year low; that households continue to be wary about taking on new debt with personal lending up slightly for the month, but down in annual terms for the 14th consecutive month; and that cutting back red tape slowing down economic growth will be the major objective of the newly formed Government taskforce into regulatory reform.

The Herald reports there were rumblings of a new round of consolidation in Australasian telecommunications yesterday after Telecom Corp of New Zealand confirmed it has been in discussions about the potential sale of its struggling Australian business, AAPT; and that Inco has agreed to buy rival mining company Falconbridge for as much as $C12.8 billion ($14.4 billion) to create the world's largest producer of nickel and one of the biggest of copper.

The Australian reports that Seven Network owner Kerry Stokes did not make notes or tell his lawyers about an explosive meeting with James Packer for more than two years, even though he was "seriously considering" legal action at the time of the confrontation in his Sydney mansion, the Federal Court heard yesterday; and that the internet is proving to be a boon for the Holy Grail of banking: selling multiple products to a single customer.


The Daily Telegraph: Taxpayers will be forced to pay millions of dollars for the ventilation of the Cross City Tunnel as part of the contract signed by the Government; Muslim and Pakistani groups have reacted with anger to an appeal court argument by a gang rapist that his cultural background contributed to his committing the brutal crime.

The Herald-Sun: Two million dollars will be offered today as reward for solving the murders of Jennifer Tanner and Adele Bailey; A mammoth campaign to sell remaining tickets to the Commonwealth Games will start on Saturday.

The Courier-Mail: Schapelle Corby's hopes of being freed from her 20-year jail sentence have been wrecked although the Bali appeals court has sliced five years from her sentence; A ferocious hailstorm battered the Gold Coast yesterday, causing widespread damage.

The Advertiser: Liberal leader Rob Kerin's position is safe until next year's State Election - but that's all; The Liberals face a post-election leadership showdown next year between Iain Evans and Vickie Chapman - a political version of Family Feud.

The West Australian: Geoff Gallop was under mounting pressure last night to sack Seniors Minister Bob Kucera after the Opposition revealed his wife held Alinta shares when Cabinet agreed to a deal which saved the gas company and its partners $88 million; Fruit and vegetable imports are not adequately tested in WA and could be contaminated with raw sewage and dangerous chemicals such as DDT, it has been claimed.

The Mercury: A Supreme Court judge has slammed parts of Tasmania's controversial family violence laws, saying they caused a man to suffer great injustice; A 60-something widow from New South Wales has found herself an unlikely retirement project -- the dormant Ida Bay Railway in Tasmania's far south.


Aerial skier Alisa Camplin is so desperate to defend her Olympic gold medal she is having surgery today to have a dead person's tendon and knee bone grafted onto her injured knee; Shane Warne believes Muttiah Muralitharan and Daniel Vettori have the potential to bowl the Rest of the World to victory in the Super Series Test from Friday, but says it will depend on the all-star side's pacemen rising to the challenge against Australia; Mark Philippoussis will seek wildcard entries to all local tournaments in the lead-up to next year's Australian Open.

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re: The Daily Briefing 13/10/05

From Giving
Democracy The Bird
by Ted Rall

... Travel to other countries and you'll find that a society's freedom is inversely related to the number of guys wearing camouflage, brandishing big guns and pulling people over at roadblocks. Blurring the distinction between policing and soldiering, as do the military police in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and Middle Eastern countries like Syria and Jordan, is a defining characteristic of repressive states. ...

You go for it, too, Kim! Lock 'em down. Labor propose lock down powers. Any excuse will do.

And, Wayne, don't let a crummy deadline get in the way of attending to the little chap's needs. Cut it short (TDB, that is), if necessary, there's more than enough.

A tip to the visually challenged - if your TDB text is too small, just do CRTL+ (if you are running Mozilla.)

Another thing - I hope you don't mind the occasional link distracting away from your excellent work. :)

PS - the Keating piece is in Financial Review, also.

re: The Daily Briefing 13/10/05

In the early hours of this morning, Wayne encountered the 'blue screen' a couple of times while composing his Daily Briefing. Thus today's Briefing is shorter than usual.

And a change - a list of links at the top of the Briefing that takes readers directly to the articles covered, for those very short on time.

re: The Daily Briefing 13/10/05

Adam Smith, you made a good point about the usefulness of RSS feeds.

However I think you've missed one of the best features of TDB - that is the summary and selection of articles which Wayne does. This saves me from reading dozens of articles of little worth or which are repetitious. A good editor wades thru the available material and selects the best of what's out there. This saves me, the reader, valuable time. I could read dozens of RSS feeds, but don't have the time.

An obvious problem with Wayne's approach is the subjectivity involved in Wayne's summaries and his judgement in determining what is worthwhile. But over time I expect to get an understanding of Wayne's judgement and skill as an editor and then I'll be in a better position to make my own assessment of whether it's worthwhile continuing to read TDB.

For the moment I think TDB is excellent and provides me with a very valuable service.

I use these comments section to supplement TDB and point me to things Wayne may have missed.

Good luck with TDB.

re: The Daily Briefing 13/10/05

Sorry to be negative but The Daily Briefing is nothing more than a copy and paste job from RSS feeds from other news sources. I get about 30-50 feeds coming in to my inbox everyday from ones that I have setup and could put together something like TDB in about 15-20 minutes. Indeed today nearly every source Wayne has in TDB I've already read from my RSS feeds.

I've come to like reading Webdiary and hope it continues but when I see the readership scrambling over themselves to help Margo find a way to make Webdiary a financially sustainable enterprise I just can't sit back and say nothing.

Margo get somebody to teach you or one of the team how to setup these feeds and pay Wayne to write a proper piece for us every day instead.

re: The Daily Briefing 13/10/05

Adam Smith, if you are intelligent, and if you give TDB a fair go, you will realise there is lot more to it than cutting and pasting RSS feeds.

Give it a fair chance. Then give us your informed opinion.

A long time TDB subscriber.

ed Hamish: Hi Iain and welcome to Webdiary. Very pleased to to see a TDB subscriber join the commentariat. Required protocol however is a full name, or an approved non de plume. See Webdiary's Ethics, and in particular:

"1. If you don't want to use your real name, use a nom de plume and briefly explain, for publication, why you don't want to use your real name. Please send me your real name on a confidential basis if you choose to use a nom de plume. I will not publish attacks on other contributors unless your real name is used."

re: The Daily Briefing 13/10/05

So, do it already Adam! Here's the challenge - post underneath TDB each morning your version, and we shall see how it looks by comparison. At the bottom of the post, tell us how long it took you, because I'm spending at least 60 hours per week on this.

For the record, I don't use RSS feeds, and yes, anyone can set them up, just as anyone can trawl the hundreds of sites I go to each week for themselves. But that will bring you nothing more than indiscriminate information overload, at the cost of time some people do not have to spare. What TDB offers - and presumably this has been the reason for it building up a subscriber base and attracting Webdiary's interest (although Margo can speak for herself) - is a 25 year background in journalism that is used to shift through that wall of words, choose some of the better ones, then provide a summmary with context, background and analysis. For many users of the service, the summary is enough, or it helps them decide they want to read the full article, or that they don't want to waste valuable time on it. TDB also follows debates, discussions and ideas as they evolve, and brings a range of different perspectives to them from widely varying sources. There are debates now coming into the open - conservative discontent with Bush and the Republicans for example - that TDB has followed for 12 months.

It is always a dangerous thing to think that everyone is just like you Adam, and can do the things you do. I service my own motorbike and sometimes wonder why everyone doesn't do the same - but the well-populated trade of mechanics serves as proof that they do not. The subscriber list for TDB contains the names of some of the country's best journalists, two magazine editors, academics, lawyers, political staffers, busy at home parents with children, some of the smartest people I know, a judge and a Senator. All had a free trial and bought a subscription. They have one thing or two things in common - hectic lives, and the lack of time or background to be as media savvy and well informed as they'd like. It works for them. I have never thought for one minute that the service would work for everyone, least of all for people who don't need it.

If it doesn't work for you, move on. That's a judgement you are perfectly entitled to make, as others have made before you. But you are not entitled, on the basis of ignorance (you don't know me, nor how I spend my days), to suggest I'm doing this is some lazy, ad hoc way that doesn't bring professional skills and judgement to bear.

And for the record, once facilities are in place I will also be running a blog on Webdiary, and, as time allows, writing stories. I look forward to doing both. Patience Adam. And perhaps you ought to make haste slowly when you rush to judgement.

re: The Daily Briefing 13/10/05

Family Court Justice Alastair Nicholson [has] said: "Our liberties and our democracy are under a more serious threat than that posed by terrorists as a direct result of the reaction of our leaders, the media and, in turn, the public, to that threat."


Speakin’ of loss of civil liberties and extreme authoritarianism by guns with guns… one still needs to know whether Australian Police Chief Keelty will attend the Balinese firing squad executions of Australians.

And whether he will play any further role in it, togged up in full dress braid, perhaps brandishing his trusty service revolver.

Official or unofficial Howard government business does, after all, require a telegenic coup de grace.

Come to that, what about any other Australians who have either contributed to the “investigation” of the so-called Bali Nine (eg, A-G Ruddock) or publicly approved some form of judicial murder anywhere, eg, the PM and Mrs Howard?

Should they get ringside seats?

And perhaps some nasi goreng in lieu of popcorn?

One imagines that big elements in Australian narcotics industry, each effectively protected by the removal of these paltry players, won’t come.

Or will they?

Peter “no blindfold, thanks” Woodforde.

re: The Daily Briefing 13/10/05

I think Webdiary guidelines should check whether U Saugan is following them. It seems a little bizarre that one of our AFP should be so prejudgmental about some alleged offender. If she is then could she help us with the definition of "scum" and how the word pertains to those one has a professional relationship with, especially when objective analysis for "solving" of crimes requires degrees of psychological assesment of the highest professional and objective level, as does the interpretation of collected forensic data require unbiased analysis of possibilities and probabilities.

The AFP I know have the highest standard of the above and the intellect to manage it. I don't think that comment sounded like one from someone a member of that group, professionally.

ed Hamish: As Peter Woodforde pointed out, U Saugan slipped through the net. It's there, but we shall not be engaging with said (presumed) prankster again.

re: The Daily Briefing 13/10/05

U. Saugan slips Hamish’s net…

“Mr Woodforde. I'm a Federal Cop and if the boss can't make it to Bali, I'd happily go along and watch some scum get what coming to them. Have a nice day and rest assured, I'm out there looking after your best interests.”

This is a chilling and slightly intimidatory thumbs up for a “no courts” Australian version of either arbitrary or “judicial” execution, ie, murder.

Is it a wide-spread prejudice, or perhaps just ordered by the executive?

The whole Bali Nine caper is a bit like the Moran killings in Melbourne, which have seen little or nothing in any courtroom. A bit like the Hilton bombing.

Or the killing or Sally-Ann Huckstep, Shirley Briffamn or all the other talkative prostitutes who might have locked away some bad bastards.

And like the posting, it’s the sort of thing which induces mistrust of coppers, Hamish. From one aspect though, ie, that of Webdiary’s bona fides, you’d hope “U. Saugan” really Is a copper, rather than one of the web’s nut bags in Net-disguise, or e-fancy-dress.

One has relatives coppers, y’know, and know none of them would visit Indonesia or anywhere for the dubious pleasure of viewing or participating in killing somebody, “scum” or otherwise.

But if it gets your dick hard to shoot someone in the head, whether or not for a corrupt courts system, then go for it.

While on the ‘plane going over, and if you’re interested in reading, why not have a look at Sr Helen Prejean’s books The Death of Innocents and Dead Man Walking
link here
The airline might even show the movie of the latter as an in-flight show if you can’t get the books from the library at Weston Creek.

But you could borrow it from one of your brother or sister officers.

They’re good studies of courts, policing and execution for those, like yourself, interested in the capital punishment style of murder.

On the other hand, why not simply just fly to the USA and volunteer for the Republican Party to murder Sr Prejean, in [my] best interests? They will lend you a gun.

It’s about time the old Klan barometer swung back from Nigras and Commies to Kikes and Cathlix. The Republicans might even lend you a sheet and a cross to burn on a hillside.

If the killing of anybody is in my best interests, then we must have let the Imperial Japanese Army and the rest of the Axis march in sometime between 1942-1945 when nobody was looking.

Arbitrary execution of “scum” by an Australian federal police officer, or any other variety, is what too many people must endure globally.

Ben Hall was “scum” and, in [my] interests, they shot him about three dozen times, lying asleep in his swag on the Lachlan Plains.

About as brave as the average firing squad member, them Queen’s troopers of 1865.

Or the slavering dirt who lined up to watch Gulf War veteran Timothy McVeigh lethally injected and keep his mouth shut for the Bush League.

It ain’t in my best interests. Check ya Glock at the door, mate, and please don’t get brain spatters on those nice big shiny boots.

I’ll keep yez in my prayers.

Mr “Best interested and kept frightened” Woodforde

re: The Daily Briefing 13/10/05

Mr Woodforde. I'm a Federal Cop and if the boss can't make it to Bali, I'd happily go along and watch some scum get what coming to them. Have a nice day and rest assured, I'm out there looking after your best interests.

re: The Daily Briefing 13/10/05

TDB is a welcome and time saving addition to Webdiary that provides diverse material with the potential to spark off a lot of good debate. It isn't perfect, or completely balanced, but so what, what info source is, and by whose 'objective' standards?

Give it a few weeks to settle in and find its place, before dismissing it outright.

And don't forget, all you critics, if you don't like what you are reading here then Webdiary gives you the opportunity to contribute your own original posts, as well as comments. How many other blog/media sites do that?

Keep it up Wayne and Margo, et al. I look forward to Wayne's more in-depth pieces on specific issues.

Nighty night. (Don't let the new IR laws bite.)

re: The Daily Briefing 13/10/05

Don't quite see where TDB detractors are coming from.

It's only a distillation or summary of what could be relevant issues for concern for Wayne's conception of what the WD readership is. In a sense we visit "Wayne's world", as a kick-off point that helpfully obviates the need to trawl through to page 28 of the "Daily Tabloid" to dig out any worthwhile informational treasures buried under the mound of preceding fertiliser.

For that I, at least, am grateful.

re: The Daily Briefing 13/10/05

Hi, as a TDB subscriber, who worked in IT for five years, I just wanted to quickly address Adam's points.

Firstly, I don't read TDB for the simple descriptions of what is going on. As you rightly note, most major stories are fed to me almost instantaneously through RSS feeds on our browsers.

Rather, I read TDB for the analysis and commentary on the news, and for Wayne's exceptional ability at finding pieces which aren't available anywhere else. TDB gives me access to around 20 magazine article length pieces of commentary, criticism and debate every day - and looking through my old TDB briefings, most of these are NOT available from RSS feeds.

To wit, I read yesterday through my Guardian feed that John Banville had won the Booker. Great. But did that feed provide me, three months before he won the Booker, with a rare, beautifully written meditation on death and aging (similar themes to his novel) written by John Banville in his local Irish paper? Did it even give a link to this piece?

Of course it didn't. Likewise, a recent debate on education, and a number of articles, in the Australian was linked to by TDB - along with the information that the person writing the debate piece following the article was the Liberal Party hack who wrote the very report cited in the article, who was friends with the editor! This is the difference between information and analysis - and that is what RSS feeds can't give you.

I am a typical starving student, who can use RSS - yet I still consider TDB one of the best investments I have made. As, by the way, do all but one of my friends who I referred to TDB. As for value to Webdiary, well, I read Not Happy John!, and I knew of Margo's Webdiary - yet I never visited the site and had a look around until today, when I got the link to it in TDB.

Wayne, keep up the good work. Good luck with your new venture.


TDB subscriber, and newly minted Webdiary reader.

ed Hamish: Welcome to Webdiary Ryan!

re: The Daily Briefing 13/10/05

Adam, on reflection, it was quite wrong of me not to have noted that part of the expressed reason for your comment was a desire to ensure that Webdiary is well served and getting good value. I respect and share that concern, and wish, for example, that I was already providing a lively blog for Webdiary. But, everything in good time.

So, I would like to state publicly, that if at any time Webdiary (its management and/or its wider community) feels that I am not offering good value, I will be happy to move on, or to re-negotiate the agreement we have entered into. I come from good country stock, who earned every dollar they ever made by honest toil. I am prepared to do what I must to ensure that Webdiary will always be able to say the same for me.

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Margo Kingston

Margo Kingston Photo © Elaine Campaner