Sunday, April 24, 2005


Not all archives are available, but the rest of this blog is available here.

Please update your bookmarks and blogrolls.

If you have any difficulties or problems with new blog and some of its features, don’t hesitate to E-mail me.

Draxblog Movie Reviews is going to remain on its current address.

Friday, April 22, 2005

[ADMINISTRATIVE] Blogroll Addition and Some Transitional Issues

Faute de mieux added to blogroll. This is going to be one of the last blogroll additions, at least on this blog.

In a couple of days, hopefully, I will finish the switch. You are going to be duly noted about and asked to reset your bookmarks.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

[LOCAL ELECTIONS 2005] Glavaš (Glavas) Abandons HDZ

In today’s edition of Globus, columnist Jelena Lovrić (Jelena Lovric) claims that Ivo Sanader has reached the beginning of his political end.

She might be over-dramatic but the current position of Croatian prime minister represents a stark contrast to his the image of pro-European reformer, modernist and confident leader who brought his party from the abyss and brought it back to power.

According to latest Jutarnji list poll, Sanader is today the most unpopular of all Croatian major politicians. Vladimir Šeks (Vladimir Seks) and Jadranka Kosor – his top party lieutenants – hold the second and third spot. To make things worse, same poll gives SDP 6 % advantage over HDZ. Polls like that are notoriously unreliable, but they could point to some disturbing trends at the eve of local elections where HDZ traditionally fares worse than on national level.

The local elections are the reason why HDZ suffered the greatest blow to its rule since returning to power in November 2003. Branimir Glavaš (Branimir Glavas), HDZ boss of Slavonia, controversial wartime leader and the man whose muscle helped Sanader take the party leadership, has been ejected from HDZ following the attempt to create parallel political organisation, dedicated to the cause of uniting five Slavonian counties into single regional entity.

It isn’t the first time Glavaš challenged Zagreb authority, but Sanader, unlike Tudjman, can’t afford the luxury of treating him like a prodigal son who would soon see the error of his ways. Soon after the ejection Sanader travelled to Osijek, together with Šeks – one of Glavaš’s best friends – and is currently trying to find suitable candidates for HDZ list in Osijek. In his statement to the media, Sanader confidently predicted that Glavaš would be blown away just like his Sanader’s former arch-nemesis Ivić Pašalić (Ivic Pasalic) was blown away after leaving HDZ.

Glavaš refused to comment but he announced that he would run on the elections on the independent ticket.

I think that Sanader’s optimism in this matter is just as sound as his optimistic appraisals in Brussels a day before E-Day fiasco on March 17th. Unlike Pašalić, who drew much of his power simply from being close to Tudjman, Glavaš has more than solid power base among HDZ rank and file, many of whom worship him more than they ever did Tudjman. Furthermore, Glavaš is an experienced populist and his defection is motivated more with desire to adjust to HDZ rank and file Eurosceptic views –which he publicly expressed after March 17th fiasco – and prevent his loyal voters from switching to HSP.

Before the latest events, HDZ could have expected solid results in Slavonia, one of its strongholds. Without Glavaš, electoral prospects of Sanader’s party in Slavonia don’t look very bright. And Sanader’s grip on on power is looking much shakier than it looked only few months ago.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Today Slobodna Dalmacija for the very first time had regular weekly supplement dedicated to computer technology. One of the articles they dealt with the blogging phenomenon and mentioned one Croatian blog service.

It wasn’t

It was their arch-rival

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


I was right. Short work by Ratzinger's conservatives.

At least, there will be very little surprises coming from Vatican.


He is elected faster than anyone has expected.

My guess is that it was a short work – either by Ratzinger's conservatives or those who can't stand him.

In any case, we'll see in couple of minutes.

Monday, April 18, 2005


One of the founders of – first Croatian blog hosting service – has recently posted an article in which he described it as “teenagers’ community blog portal” – or, in his words, “Croatian equivalent of Livejournal”.

He seems to be slightly disappointed with this phenomenon, and also concerned, because having teenagers as majority of its clients brings additional responsibility. Teenage bloggers, unlike adult bloggers, are more likely to be prey of Internet vultures and also more prone to all kinds of irresponsible and immature acts that might bring bad publicity not only to, but also to blogging phenomenon in general.

I think that the bad publicity already exists. Blogging as phenomenon was already greeted with great deal of hostility by Croatian mainstream media. When some blog-related news reaches Croatian public, it usually deals with infamous cases like “Vibby” or show business personalities like Dino Dvornik, who are hardly taken seriously. There are some serious Croatian bloggers, but they tend to show unhealthy devotion to anonymity, which is very understandable for a small country like Croatia, but also counterproductive in the long run.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Ivory Tower

Vesna Škare-Ožbolt (Vesna Skare-Ozbolt) a.k.a. Vesna “Let Them Walk Free”, Croatian justice minister, has announced that she would reconsider certain changes in Croatian criminal law. In other words, public outrage over ridiculously light prison sentences and dramatic deterioration of public safety might hurt her DC party at the upcoming local elections. So, she hinted at possibility that the prison sentences might get tougher in the new Criminal Code.

Proposed changes are also supposed to include life imprisonment – which was passed by Sabor in 2003 only to be struck down by Constitutional Court over procedural technicalities.

Škare-Ožbolt went on record as adamant opponent of life imprisonment. For her this punishment is “backward, un-Christian and un-European” and too cruel. She supports status quo in which the maximum penalty is “long-term imprisonment” – between 20 and 40 years – reserved for the worst kind of crimes and worst kind of offenders.

Life imprisonment is, however, very popular among people, so Škare-Ožbolt had to find ingenious way to reconcile her own stance with electoral necessities. She recently announced that, prior to any formal bill, she organise large conference of 1000 Croatian most notable legal experts – judges, law professors and attorneys – in order to see whether life imprisonment could be introduced to Croatian criminal law and whether such measure would have any beneficial effect.

This is one very clever move by Škare-Ožbolt. On one hand, she signals to the public that life imprisonment can be brought to Croatian law in some sort of foreseeable future. On the other hand, the very composition of the conference – where the majority will be made of attorneys, many of them overwhelmingly opposed to life imprisonment for whole sort of, mostly financial and business, reasons – guarantees that the consensus about life imprisonment won’t be reached and that Croatian criminal law will stay as it is.

Distant it may be, but the prospect of introduction of life imprisonment in Croatia is something very disturbing to certain delicate souls in Croatia who belong to the left-wing of political spectrum. One of them is Renato Baretić (Renato Baretic), famous writer and commentator of Slobodna Dalmacija. In today’s issue he expressed the shock and awe he felt towards the whole concept of

life imprisonment. He compared it with death penalty – which he had supported until being disgusted by its practical implementation in USA. He claims that the life imprisonment is an “overwhelming punishment”. He says:

This is the punishment which affects the criminal, regardless of what kind of monster he might be, from the first moment. I can’t back it up with any statistics, but I’m certain that eight out of ten such convicts, when released after such shock, would never again think about doing anything illegally.

Those gentle souls – who believe that people be reformed overnight while not believing in any kind of statistics – have, among many others, created atmosphere in which mediocrities like Škare-Ožbolt (Skare-Ozbolt) thrive and criminals walk free.