Red light = prepare to go?

Last weekend, Corporation of Hamilton made a move to remove the status of flashing amber from some of its traffic lights, and revert to the red-red/amber-green progression for sitting traffic. Not sure why (a) this was done so quickly, and (b) why more notice and information was given to the public. Heck, I couldn't even find the archived article on either of the Big 2 news sites. It sure isn't on cityhall.bm.

What does that mean for motorists? Only that now after pedestrians have crossed, motorists (particularly the bikes) zoom through instead of waiting for the red-amber status. That's right. Before the amber even shows up.

Brilliant, make the changes, without posting signage or enlisting police officers to at least ensure people aren't completely confused or decide to take matters into their own hands.


Creative PLP discussion

Maybe the Progressive Minds blog is back. Since July 7th, there have been ten posts (none of which sparked any discussion), which took on the following topics:
  1. a lash out at a claim that the official PLP blog doesn't tolerate dissenting views

  2. an attack on Kim Swan, UBP head

  3. an attack on the Gazette

  4. an attack on Kim Swan

  5. an attack on Kim Swan

  6. an attack on Kim Swan

  7. an attack on Kim Swan

  8. an attack on Trevor Moniz, new deputy UBP head

  9. an attack on Bob Richards, UBP MP

  10. an attack on Charlie Swan, UBP candidate

It got to the point where one had to wonder if the name of the blog would change to the "Bash-a-UBPer Forum" or something. Finally, there came a post that had substance on either the PLP or the Youth Wing's goals or accomplishments. It discussed positive things that were initiated by Premier Brown and or his Cabinet team. This is the kind of thing people need to hear of when browsing political items online, not smear and demeaning attacks.

Hopefully this starts a new trend and that site can return to its goal of providing constructive dialogue and progressive solutions.


Bye-election and third-party candidates

The bye election to take place in constituency of Southampton West-Central could really serve to deliver a message to both political parties on the impressions they've made with the voting public.

On one hand, the UBP, in the position of defending their seat, have to counter the image that they're becoming an irrelevant force in politics and ensure that voters still believe that they're viable, overall. By running a current Senator and person who ran for a House seat last year it would appear that they are going with the experience and stability angle.

On the other hand, the PLP has a lot to gain from taking this seat over. Despite the shellacking they've taken from various persons on particular policy decisions, the party has maintained their Cabinet structure and come out of their delegates' conference without any shakeup. Their candidate is also a Senator, and he's becoming more well-known on the island. What the PLP are banking on is that their candidate brings youth and drive, as opposed to the more-of-the-same plot of their opponent.

And somewhere in the middle of it all, we have an independent candidate. However, this guy is no stranger to dipping a toe into the political fray. He believes that there's a genuine opportunity for real change to happen in the House if voters reject the policies of either party and select him as their representative.

Predictably, there are some who think it's a waste of time and potentially screw up the election results, and it's a pity that people can be so narrow-sighted as to not realize that the more options available, the better overall. Where I think things will fall is that people probably won't buy the "shakeup" line from someone who's been already well-affiliated with one of the established parties in the past and threw the ABC feeler only to bail out. That said, he's not running in my constituency and I am unlikely to hear about the things that he could propose and implement as an MP.

Most likely, his desire for 300-400 votes will likely fall short by a significant amount as Bermudians gravitate to one of the establishments out of fear of the other party winning, which is a pity. But I would definitely cheer for a surprise result.


Paving them roads

They've gotten around to paving over South Shore Road near Paget Plaza and most of Palmetto Road (particularly near Dock Hill roundabout), so well done, W&E folks.

Now you need to get to repairing Dundonald Street, namely from the Cedar Avenue intersection to the roundabout where Serpentine Road begins. That'll do it.


Useless sites

Decided to browse the P-Tech website to see what was being offered in their stores before stopping by.

After a glitzy Flash presentation (with sound!) that had zero actual information on products, instead just putting up product brand names without further data, I'm going to check out M&Ms instead. You'd think P-Tech was a marketing or graphic arts company or something instead of a company trying to sell products. Hmph.


Winking is outdated, right?

ZBM has this guy named Cooper Stevenson doing reporting and anchor duties for them now. I'll give him a break because he's new to the job and will allow for him to get more comfortable reading from the teleprompter (when people can easily tell you're reading the teleprompter, that's when you need more practice).

However, please cease and desist with the on-stage winking. He may be trying to channel the spirit of fellow so-obvious-it's-creepy fellow winker (and former TV personality) Nick Jones, but it comes across as so forced and artificial. Find another signature tagline, please.

Besides, didn't winking die out as something cool sometime in the early 90s?


Local truckers protest

I have to say that I'd be on the side of the truckers in their beef with those who allow tractor trailers to illegally transport material that truckers are able to. The law is the law, and it served to protect the truck drivers from unfair competition.

Yesterday's protest involved several trucks in a convoy around Hamilton with signs and slogans on them. It's another case of alleged favourtism of certain companies and individuals when it comes to jobs and money, at the expense of the common man. Why would Government grant certain companies permission to use these vehicles for purposes that the trucks can do?

I would like to see how this situation turns out. As far as I know the Ministry of Transport hasn't officially responded.


keeping appointments

Little rant here. Had an 8:30 appointment at a clinic for a flu shot (first ever flu shot, but whatever). Was sitting in the wating room for 50 minutes.. Not happy. Probably also because there was no "sorry for the delays, we're stacked with patients, etc." from anybody. Got a reschedule but sheesh.


Crossings at bus stops

I could've sworn that in the wake of Tyaisha Cox's death a few years ago that there would be a change in the positioning of pedestrian crossings near bus stops so that the crossings would be either behind the bus stop or in a position where vehicle drivers (and the pedestians themselves) would have a better line of sight and thus reduce the chance for another tragic incident.

However, they've repaved Palmetto Road yesterday but at the bus stop near Fat Man's Cafe, the pedestrian crossing has been laid out in the exact same place. I remember a girl getting struck on that crossing not long ago, so why they haven't tried to place it somewhere else is baffling. Maybe the issue was overlooked. More likely, it was hot air.


State of the Blogosphere 2008

Bermuda Network News has either done a soft launch or they're just testing their new look. They're trying to give a cleaner appearance and added functionality in the form of public and private discussion boards. Some aspects such as the Photo Gallery, cause the page to expand in an ungracious fashion, they ought to tweak that bit. Will be interesting to see how much new and unique content is published on that site.

In any event, the lack of action from Bermuda Broadcasting and VSB as far as initiating an online presence is allowing for BNN, a likely beneficiary of Government advertising going forward to go on hiatus and reemerge as an online 'news provider' without taking much of a hit.

The author of politics.bm has decided to call it a day for his blog. The Politics.bm site had been around since September 2003, perhaps an eon ago in Internet-time. What I think this site served to show us that blogs, particularly ones that focused on news, business, sports or politics, can be worthy compliments to the traditional media outlets for providing information and discussion.

It got derided as a UBP-propoganda machine from PLP-affiliated critics, particularly over the last two years, but posts kept on coming thick and fast. Thus the suspension of active blogging came as a unexpected shock. There is a big gap in the local blogosphere right now and one not likely to be filled for some time.

With NewOnion, Bda Longtail and 21 Square now in a state of hiatus/dormancy/suspended activity, there's a limited amount of online discussion. Prog Minds seems to have reemerged after three months in its cocoon but so far it's more of the same Bash UBP/Offer no creative input stuff. Recently launched Bermuda Fables is providing interesting discussion so far.

Catch-A-Fire and Vexed Bermoothes (with special mention to the two online forums BS and BIAW), arguably discuss the most compelling and talked-about issues with news and politics on the island and remain popular. There was a blog comment posted recently that suggested that the local blogosphere is somewhat irrelevant because the online community is predominantly white Bermudian and white expat, a minority of the population in Bermuda as a whole. I would tend to agree that the online community doesn't come close to representing the population, however it doesn't necessarily make what is discussed online irrelevant. I don't know if black residents will embrace online blogging, etc., in the numbers that white residents do. Black residents sign up to BermyNet and VybezAlliance, so it may not be a simple matter of accessing the Web. I don't have the answers.

Summer's ended

Monday evening, things just cooled off, literally. Time to put something over the shirt on the bike rides home in the evening. I realize that many people look forward to the end of summer since we're all tired of the blazing heat, but does the change have to be so drastic? Heh.


Music Festivality

I attended my first ever Bermuda Music Festival last week and got to see the headline performances from Beyonce (who's all-girl band completely rocked) on Thursday night and Alicia Keys (smaller woman than I'd have thought, she rocked too). Not many productions can claim to bring two music heavyweights down over one weekend, I'd wager. Also, Aaron Neville performed, first time I've seen him live and this fella has got a hell of a voice. Steve Harvey brought up the fact that we in Bermuda have chickens running around the place, and he's right, I can't think of a single country in the world that has chickens running around free. Anywhere else, they'd be caught, chopped and cooked like a flash.

It was a good show and one could tell that they put a lot of effort and cash into getting a quality stage arena for the entertainers. It was a little strange that there was no security to ensure that people didn't videotape the shows (trust me, at least a third of the audience were filming), but oh well.

Financially speaking, I cannot guess how much was spent on this event. Government through the Ministry of Tourism was of course the lead sponsor, which means that our taxpayer dollars goes to bringing this event every year. With our National Stadium probably maxing out at 15,000 people and a limited amount of corporate sponsorship possible, the questions that many are raising is how much are we, the Bermuda public, paying for the event?, how much revenue did Bermuda gain from tourist dollars (there appeared to be sizable numbers of visitors, but there were far more Bermudians, I'd wager), and how much exposure did Bermuda get to the outside world where future tourists would be watching, listening, and hopefully calling their travel agents afterwards?

Of course this then treads down that road of economics and politics raised by the UBP, Vexed Bermoothes and others and countered by the PLP, and we're probably not going to get anything tangible from Government anytime soon. That aside, I enjoyed my time at the Music Festival.