Barbados at 41

Happy Birthday, Barbados, my second home. Don't let the tremors put y'all off. I'm looking forward to spending a little time there next week, seeing friends and family, and possibly witnessing some of the political intrigue going on down there.


Polls, Damn polls and statistics

One poll comes out. PLP ahead.
Another poll comes out. UBP ahead.
Each side claims the other poll is flawed.
Lather, rinse, repeat.

This election in Bermuda is going to be close on the basis of percentage of votes. Shouldn't be greater than say a 45-55% ratio, not counting the independents (wow that ABC thing sure worked out, didn't it?).

But because of the nature of our electoral system we could see the composition of the house being anywhere between 29-7 to 7-29 but more likely something in the middle. It's really about the constituency-by-constituency battles more than anything, which these polls aren't really able to achieve, no fault of their own. And of course, the large number of first-time eligible voters, and which way will they turn. I don't think anybody can take their seat for granted.

Yes I'll talk about the fishies too

I was planning to review all the recent TV ads showing during that crucial Oprah Winfrey timeslot (8-9pm) in Bermuda, and actually some are pretty interesting and or very snark-worthy.

But anyway, this morning I was directed to an animated ad designed by the UBP. Oh, it's pretty sad. Not great quality, but is probably superior to most local TV ads in terms of structure. But that's another topic. It's gotten comments through the blogosphere including Limey and Devil's Island, and naturally garnered commentary on the official PLP blog. I do think that the PLP commentary in terms of claiming the ad is offensive, is over the top. In fact even addressing the ad is somewhat bizarre of them.

(Crap Limey beat me to the punch)

Anyway, and not just because I'm doing all kinds of cross-selling, 21 Square has come up with a very humourous alternative ad proposal in quick time.


Newspaper sources

Just an observation, but I've noticed recently that many news stories produced by our daily newspaper, the Gazette, are using as source material blog postings and Facebook entries. Does that mean that the 'traditional' news media is indeed embracing online technology for their news (in spite of the slam put on them in earlier articles), or that staffers are just enjoying having their jobs done for them?

Campaigning and Pedestrian crossings

Y'all know I'm tired of idiot drivers who don't obey the traffic code, right? So anyway Sunday I'm at the bus stop near Warwick Academy looking to cross the street at the zebra crossing. Typically, I have to wait for a few cars to fly through before there's a gap where I can safely cross. This time, a couple of cars zoom through but one slows down and allows me to cross.

I look over and in a car flanked by PLP flags is what I believe to be Zane DeSilva, who's one of the more controversial figures in the upcoming election. I wave warmly at him and cross. Well done, sir. That's immediate bonus points if I was in his constituency. The little things sometimes really do matter.


Gazette sports reporting

How sad is it when the Gazette publishes an article written by two reporters and contain such a bad inaccuracy:

"... Trinidad and Tobago became only the second Concacaf nation to appear in football's premier showpiece..."

I mean, how can Trinidad and Tobago be only the second CONCACAF nation to make the World Cup? That's a pathetic gaffe.

I think that Canada, Mexico, the U.S., Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica and others have also raised their proverbial hands to protest...


Not good takeout service

Usually, ordering takeout from L'Oriental goes pretty smoothly but you know how the bad experiences are the ones that you make more noise about? Well that was me and I'm very reluctant to call them again or go to the restaurant.

Last week I called to make a takeout order for our team at the office. When I indicated I'd like to place a takeout order, the guy on the other end said that they aren't doing takeout orders. Me, I'm thinking, wait it's only 1:45, there's no reason for them to not be doing this, and am about to ask what the deal is, and I'm cut off.

In retrospect, I'd like to think that a more appropriate response from them would be to ask me the customer if there's anything else they can do for me, but anyway.

My colleague called them back and was able to get a takeout order, so something's not quite right with that establishment.


Thanksgiving holiday solution

Since half of Bermuda sort of celebrates American Thanksgiving anyway, with turkey dinners and stuffing as well as travelling to the U.S. for the post-holiday sales, I figured that Government should perhaps take advantage.

Let Thanksgiving Day become Bermuda's National Heroes Day. Then everybody's a winner. Heck, even the businesses would be okay since half of them observe the holiday anyway. Heck.


Cement situation seems scary

Now I haven't been giving as much attention as perhaps should be applied to the local cement situation thanks to all the other vast important local issues, but reading through some of the latest news in which it appears that we're slated for a rough go as far as the construction industry is concerned thanks to a bad situation with the Bermuda Cement Company.

With that in mind I refer the intriguing New Onion blog entry that ponders if this action is part of a scheme to 'get back' at an old-Bermuda family in order to instill in its place someone tied to the ruling Government.

I guess that after the election is over and the euphoria (and disappointment) dies down a little, this issue will be raised over the Christmas week and become something that gets much more attention as New Year's approaches.


Cyclone in Bangladesh

You know we're on this island blogging about local politics and events and news, and I'd like to offer my condolences to those who knew the teacher that died from a motorcycle collision this past weekend by the way, as I'm taking a different tack here.

Bangladesh was just struck hard by a tropical cyclone (the equivalent of a hurricane in those parts). As of now, over three thousand deaths, with the official number certain to rise greatly. I cannot imagine such a sudden loss of life. We in the western world really need to appreciate our standard of living. We have for the most part sturdier accommodations available to us and facilities like clean water and electricity that we take for granted - we're unlikely to ever experience that kind of decimation on that kind of scale in Bermuda. It's very humbling.


No live debates

I'm pretty disappointed. In a country where the political parties are using the Web to broadcast their messages to the public, nobody wants to participate in a simple TV debate about the issues at hand.

How sad is that? People don't want to debate the issues?

This probably show that indeed, the political parties are more focused on scaremongering, convincing us that the real issue is that the opposing party is going to take the island down a path of ruination rather than discussing topics and gaining political leverage.

Dr. Brown's response is that it would only be entertaining but no political value. WTF? So all those TV debates going on in the United States have no value to people considering who to vote for, etc.?

The Opposition leader wouldn't even commit to a yay or nay on it, which is even worse. Sheesh.

Both political parties suck. And they claim to be concerned about voter apathy. Bull.


Selective bias by the media?

As many locals know, the news media, namely the Gazette and the Mid-Ocean News, have been under attack from the Progressive Labour Party and accused of being biased against that political group.

With that in mind, shouldn't the party be calling for a boycott of that newspaper? Also, why are they still referencing articles from the Gazette? If the party believes that the Gazette is biased against them then they should not be quoting articles by them on their website. They can easily use the Bermuda Sun. They also can utilize Bermuda Network News which is at the least, affiliated with one of their political candidates (although they're also affiliated with Bermuda Broadcasting which I think is also not on the good guys' list). Potentially, they have avenues through the Workers' Voice and with hott fm affiliated with another political candidate, can utilize transcripts for any sound bites they wish to utilize.

Basically, the gist is that if you don't like a newspaper, you shouldn't quote them and drive traffic towards them, right?


How will undecided black voters go?

In the local blogosphere, which admittedly is dominated by white males (through nobody's fault, just the way it's been), the political talk as relates to the General Election deals a lot with corruption allegations and BHC scandals.

However, these issues, huge as they may be, perhaps are overblown when it comes to how relevant it is to the black population overall. I was speaking with friends recently and the impression I get is that many black folks are tired of hearing about BHC and court costs and cedar beams. To them, it doesn't matter. It could be a matter of apathy or that they're really more concerned about getting truly affordable housing or how their kids are educated.

To the swing voters, who'll be majority black with fair amounts of whites and other racial groups, they're going to vote for their UBP or PLP candidate based on the more concrete issues, I think. Regarding the current Premier's reputation, that's going to matter more to the diehard supporters. Just my opinions early on.

Car parking abuse

I completely agree with Limey's sentiments on the Corporation of Hamilton's car clamping policy and barriers. Reading the accompanying Gazette article, I was thinking, how lazy and irresponsible are these motorists? Park your car appropriately and pay the parking fee. Lord.

Some guy actually said that "This is an island, we just need to relax, man." WTF?

If you park illegally, you should be prepared to face the consequences. That applies to those who like to double-park too. They ought to get an immediate ticket from the wardens.

Of course we need more parking options. We also need to catch the dang buses and ferries more often. Then again the amount of buses on the roads hasn't increased yet.


Signs of an election

Yep, that's when things like roads getting paved happens. After a few years of chopped up asphalt everywhere you went, within the space of a couple weeks South Road in Devonshire as well as Middle Road near Tee Street got a spanky fresh upheaval. Well done. Who knows, maybe they'll even pave up Palmetto Road or something in the next couple weeks.

Just one of those interesting observations.


Return of the Limey

No, not a new blockbuster movie coming to theatres near you; the local blog that started it all, Limey In Bermuda, is back. It's great to have this voice back in the Bermuda online community and I for one look forward to reading his musings particularly as the general election approaches.

Like Politics.bm, the 'relaunched' blog won't be taking comments; which is a little unfortunate, but there are still avenues out there for interactive discussion anyway whether it be through the current Bermuda online forums or through Facebook groups. Let the fun times continue.

Back at the GovTV website

I promised myself I'd avoid overt criticism of a government-owned cable TV station but I decided to visit their website today to see if they put up any useful information since my first visit on launch day.

  • they now have an uninspiring photo gallery of the 'launch party'. People in suits posing and whatnot. No text or anything.
  • there's a 'message from the Premier' which is a JPG scan of a press release. Almost as annoying as a PDF. Like I'm going to print this off or something.
  • Current shows list continues to be mundane in description. I wonder if the BermudaSucks people are going to sue over the name "Bermuda Rocks" as that's an alternative name of their own website.
  • There's a "Who's Who" bit which again is uninspiring photos of behind-scenes stuff. Again, no content whatsoever.
And that's really it. And as of now I haven't heard much regarding the usefulness of the currently broadcast material that warranted its own TV station to host when ZBM, ZFB, VSB or even FreshTV (despite their own shortcomings) have plenty of broadcast room available.

Digihell, what the devil...

Just got a piece of spam to my cell phone:

"Congrat,your GSM number won €1,000,000 in the NETHERLANDS Mobile Promo,your money is ready to be sent yo you,for details contact Mr Van at vanbakker@aol.com From: PROMOTION"

How does this happen? Hmph. Oh yeah. Nobody contact that email address please.


Bermuda's Election Day announced

In a very strange turn of events today, the Premier called for the dissolution of Parliament and for a new election on December 18th. It was really strange because the Throne Speech was given earlier in the morning. Therefore there's potential for everything in that Throne Speech to be completely null and void (and a big waste of time). It's quite odd.

ZBM said that the announcement was made on the YouTube internet site as well as the PLP website, which perplexed me since something of this magnitude deserved a formal announcement to the mainstream media. I know the Gazette sucks and the TV media are still in the 1980s, but still.

The timing is pretty interesting from the PLP's point of view as it gives them something to highlight in their banquet dinner this Saturday. The UBP probably has prepared for a December election as well. ABC? Whatever.

Anyway your favourite blogs and forums will be sure to provide you with all the opinions and thoughts as Bermuda prepares to elect its government. No predictions yet, of course, heh.

More ads than news

Looks like the Gazette online is making tons of money from advertisers, unfortunately there's now more ads than content on most of the article pages thanks to a crafty decision to load a giant Digicel ad in the middle of the article. This is funny because there's already all kinds of banner ad space available to the right and top of each page.

What's even funnier is that the ad is one of those $2.00 productions that has no invitation or offer or anything. Just the tagline. Someone at the Gazette ought to look into a redesign that makes their news site look like something professional...