Great moments in US constitutional freedom

Submitted by Rick Eyre on October 15 2006, 5:35 pm

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech....

- The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America

Last week, a fourteen year-old eighth grader from Sacramento was interrogated by Secret Service officers for putting a picture of the president on her Myspace website with the words "Kill Bush" on it. They pulled her out of class to do the interrogation without notifying her parents or the school principal.

Going through the motions, remaining undeterred - II: Microcredit

Submitted by Rick Eyre on October 14 2006, 6:10 pm

What do our pollies in Australia care for microcredit? On September 4 Peter Garrett initiated a debate in the House of Reps urging the government to support the Microcredit Summit goals. As usual, six MPs got five minutes each to speak to the motion, and then the debate was adjourned indefinitely. (Refer my item of September 17 re Darfur.)

Mohammad Yunus wins Nobel Peace Prize

Submitted by Rick Eyre on October 14 2006, 6:03 pm

The award to Orhan Pamuk of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature put a smile on my face, but I was utterly delighted, if somewhat surprised, to see Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank announced on Friday as winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.

So often, the Peace Prize is awarded to inappropriate people, UN bureaucracies and so forth - there can have been no more daft award of the Peace Prize than to Le Duc Thi and that great humanitarian Dr Henry Kissinger in 1973. And there are people who genuinely believe that George W Bush would be a worthy winner.

Needless to say, they're rather proud of Yunus' award in Bangladesh. Today's coverage of the Nobel Prize from the Daily Star:

Ian Chappell on Enough Rope

Submitted by Rick Eyre on October 14 2006, 1:54 pm

I've long been an admirer of Ian Chappell, having fond memories of his batting, his captaincy, his slip fielding, his willingness to drop his daks mid-pitch in the name of wardrobe maintenance. More than that, he has shown himself to be one of that rarest of breeds - an Australian cricketer with a social conscience.

Chappelli was interviewed by Andrew Denton for the October 2 edition of "Enough Rope". The transcript of the half-hour interview is online, as is an MP3 of the full interview as put to air, and a video excerpt.

What Aussie expats are up to

Submitted by Rick Eyre on October 12 2006, 1:20 pm

"Six times during the weekend, police here responded to the same call: a 100-pound emu running wild near Illinois Route 3. But each time, the rogue avian evaded capture - until Monday morning. That's when officers shot and killed the emu."

Emu shot and killed by police in Granite City
Leah Thorsen, St Louis Post-Dispatch, 11.10.06

More on:

AB, you un-Australian ambush marketer, you

Submitted by Rick Eyre on October 11 2006, 2:00 am

"We think ambush marketing is fairly un-Australian,"

- Geoff Donohue, corporate affairs spokesperson for Fosters Brewing, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald of 11.10.06

Allan Border's second stint as a national selector of the Australian team ended on Monday after just four months.

"...my various commitments are far heavier than I had expected back in mid-year and I don’t think it is appropriate to do what is a really important job if I am not able to give it the full attention it deserves."

TV rights for the BCCI: Just say No!

Submitted by Rick Eyre on October 10 2006, 3:25 pm

The wealthiest sporting body in the world not to have its own website, the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), wants to buy the worldwide broadcasting and new media rights to all ICC-run tournaments from 2007 to 2015. There is just one word that should be said, if not screamed, in reply:

No!

Never mind that the BCCI's current executive conducts business with a coherence and transparency that makes the North Korean Government green with envy, it's the simple conflict of interest involved in one franchise owning all the most lucrative rights to a competition in which it is one of the players.

Up the Youtubes

Submitted by Rick Eyre on October 10 2006, 9:38 am

"Innovations such as YouTube are just one of many reasons why technology and time are making a nonsense of the current media rules."

- Senator Helen Coonan, addressing the conservative Millennium Forum, Sydney, 3.10.06

One week after the Minister for Information and Communication Technology cites Youtube as an example of contemporary media diversity, we are greeted this morning with the following news: Google To Acquire YouTube for $1.65 Billion in Stock.

Desmond Tutu's prayer for Darfur

Submitted by Rick Eyre on October 7 2006, 7:59 pm

On September 17, as part of the Global Day of Action for Darfur (sadly ignored by most of Australia), many clerics around the world offered prayers for the people of the Sudanese province. On Desmond Tutu's 75th birthday, I reproduce his prayer for Darfur:

We pray for the people of Darfur who have been terrorised and forced from their homes; for those who have fled to refugee camps, and who still live in fear;

We pray for those who have died, and for their families;