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Torture Policy? Friday, 30 December 2005

Posted by R Garfield in Drifting.

These letters state that the use of torture is routine in Uzbekistan, that US policy there (which the UK supports) is focussed on oil, gas and hegemony rather than democracy or freedom, and that by knowingly receiving evidence obtained through torture the UK is in breach of the UN Convention on Torture. “With Tony Blair and Jack Straw cornered on extraordinary rendition,” says Murray, “the UK Government is particularly anxious to suppress all evidence of our complicity in obtaining intelligence extracted by foreign torturers.”


Last Samurai : Values Friday, 30 December 2005

Posted by R Garfield in Drifting.
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All those movies/channels, and nothing to watch… so I ended up watching The Last Samurai again. It remains one of my favourite films. Granted, it’s historical accuracy is more in the feel than the detail. Granted, it’s an action-adventure epic.

But the themes it centers on, especially as portrayed by Ken Watanabe, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Shin Koyamada, are ones that I personally find stirring. Forget for a moment the ride of the samurai into the hail of bullets from the gattling gun, or Tom Cruise lobbing off someone’s head with a sword.

It’s not the fighting or heroics that attract me to the film. Rather, it’s the virtues that are attributed to 武士? (bushido): 義 (morality), 勇 (bravery), 礼 (respect), 誠 (honesty), ??誉 (honour) and 忠 (ethics). There are different translations for these, so forgive me if mine are less than correct.

Those values are ones that have echoes, even in this day and time. They have a broadbased appeal (or so I believe) that’s almost universal. I know that I do not uphold those ideals, but I wish that I did. It’s a goal to strive for.

Heh. There’s a reason for the ‘drifting’ category for postings. I’m drifting, in this post: I have something I want to say, but I’m unable to say it clearly.

Just a thought that ethics, integrity and personal morality and ethics still have a part to play in the world, and that a life lived that aims towards those precepts is a life that is well lived.

Death of a Blog/Politics As Usual Thursday, 29 December 2005

Posted by R Garfield in Technology, Views On News.
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I’m involved as an appointee with three local government committees. Whenever anyone starts talking about communication and public input and interaction, I start thinking about such things as Blogging, Mailing Lists, and Internet.

On the face of it, it seems a good idea. One of the things I come up against fairly often is the echo chamber effect – we on the various committees think we know what we’re doing, what we’ve identified as necessary things to do, but we usually determine this in relative isolation. It’s difficult to get public comment ‘live and in person,’ but easier to do so on the Internet.

It seems like a win-win situation. However, sometimes, as Josh Hylatt points out, what seems like winning to some of us is perceived as a threat by others…

If you are a public agency and you launch a blog which immediately achieves success with a high number of daily readers that leave scores of comments to discuss the posts and for the first time truly opens a public discussion on a topic what do you do next?

Shut down the blog of course!

He wrote this well over a month ago. I’m waaaay behind on my reading…

The future of Raising Kaine Monday, 26 December 2005

Posted by R Garfield in Drifting.
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Lowell over at Raising Kaine has some questions about the future of the site and the blog. This has been a very active blog over the course of the past year. I’d like to see it coninue. What do others think?

Stress Relief Monday, 26 December 2005

Posted by R Garfield in Day, Drifting.
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Google’s official blog has a quick post on stress and stress relief.

I personally like the vacation idea: I wonder how many 3-day weekends I can get in a year? Actually, I wonder how many of those ‘3rd days’ can be a Monday, or better yet – Tuesday.