Sunday, August 6, 2006

Gratitude -- and talking points (2006-08-06)

want to thank Scott Tribe for putting the first get-together of some of the members of Progressive Bloggers, as well as Shoshanna Berman and her husband for hosting the event. It was really nice being able to put together a face to bloggers such as Section 15, A BC'er in Toronto, Take Off Eh and Canadian Cynic. This was a lot of fun, with two or even three discussions going on at once about current events. I also learned some insider stuff about one of Canada's registered parties, something that the mainstream media simply will not touch, but perhaps they should be paying attention to.

Just a few thoughts from some random news items today.

  • The Connecticut Senate Primary is on Tuesday, and the Hartford Courant reports that nearly 20,000 residents of that state have either registered to vote for the first time ever or have switched their preference from "non-aligned" to card carrying Democrat. (CT is a closed primary state, meaning only party members may vote for the man or woman who will carry their banner in November.) The race, which was once a shoe-in for longtime Senator and former Vice-Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman, has turned into a huge surprise with some polls showing his challenger Ned Lamont ahead by 13 percentage points. Even four weeks ago, as I told the other ProgBlogers yesterday, I was convinced Joe had it in the bag. But the war in Iraq is extremely unpopular in the Northeast and his near unwavering support for Dubya could be his downfall. A lot depends on the turnout two days hence. What I am interested in and was not reported is how many Republicans are "temporarily" switching parties just to make sure Lieberman stays in the race. Unpopular incumbents bring out the vote, and usually that spells trouble for the defending champion. If I put odds on it, I'd say Ned has a better than even chance of winning -- and by a wide enough margin that Joe will decide an independent run would be futile.
  • The Hong Kong legislature took a step backwards today when it passed a "spying law" that critics say will severely curtail privacy rights in the former British colony, which is supposed to have a significantly higher degree of personal freedom than the Mainland of China under the "one country, two systems" policy. So furious were the pro-democracy section of the legislature that they walked out before the final vote as an act of protest. This law is a blatant attack not just on the attorney-client privilege (which continues to exist in HK but not in Beijing) but also on a journalists' right to protect confidential sources. Check out any of the papers from HK -- in Cantonese or English -- and one finds an extraordinary level of criticism of the central government, the kind that wouldn't be tolerated even in Singapore. It also serves as inspiration for George W Bush and Stephen Harper, both of whom hate most members of the press.
  • On the lighter side of the news, the Caesar's Casino Corporation is red-faced after its facility in Bridgeport, Indiana had a slot machines automatically multiply credits by ten -- so if one put in a hundred dollar bill, say, he or she could hit the cashout button and immediately get a thousand dollar voucher. Over two days, the machine paid out $500,000 and it would have kept going until an honest woman from Louisville, Kentucky reported the problem to security. What went wrong? A credit switch inside was set for the Philippines, not the US and Canada, which resulted in the 10 by phenomenom. Man, if only I had that luck!

Go take on the day.

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BCer in Toronto

06/08/2006 12:21:49 PM

Was good to meet you and everyone else yesterday. Hope you guys didn't stay out too late after we left!

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