20 November 2008

Marc Bean: Good with money?

My understanding is that Marc Bean failed to pay around $4,000 of payroll tax. All due to his Government consulting jobs, I would guess.

My question is, is he just bad with money, or is he trying to dodge taxes?

More on Unconscious Bias

Check out this page for a very long list of references about unconscious bias.

This article is also cool, and explains why whites who think they are acting appropriately may be perceived as acting in a racist or prejudiced manner.

Tackling Unconscious Bias

This recent NYTimes article gives a good overview of how unconscious bias and prejudices manifest themselves in Medicine. But all hope is not lost -- by understanding what biases we have and their sources, we can prevent ourselves from jumping to unwarranted conclusions about our fellow human beings.

19 November 2008

This is Not Leadership in Education

The RG reports on how Phil Butterfield really feels about the teachers union: "I don't give a damn that the unions are aggrieved." As chairman of the interim education board, he is demonstrating his inability to be a true leader. And without that skill, I am not hopeful that he and his committee can successfully turn around education on this island.

It's common sense that they should be working with the teachers. Like the teachers or not, and whether or not they are doing a good job, we need them to come on board and start doing a good job. Bad-mouthing their union secretary in a public forum demonstrates Butterfield's lack of respect for the teachers.

Good leadership requires many qualities, including respect, tact, patience, humility, among others. It is also true that leadership requires adapting the approach to the situation. By any of these criteria, Butterfield has failed his test of leadership in Education.

Truth in Advertising

The anonymous authors of the PLP blog recently wrote "The Opposition's Reply to the Throne Speech was about cheap political attacks - not ideas..." To be frank, that statement is a lie -- the Reply was a very good speech which rightly called the Government to account on many important issues, and proposed a multitude of concrete ideas -- 26 by my count. You can read them for yourself in the speech, but for your convenience I summarize them below. So I encourage to think for yourself, and decide, does the UBP have ideas? I think you will find the answer is yes.

  1. Reduce reliance on foreign consultants, thereby reducing costs and involving more Bermudians in running their country.

  2. Provide the people with a realistic & clear-eyed view of the economy, where it is going, and how that may impact Bermudians.

  3. Cut non-essential spending and institute a Government-wide austerity program, including a freeze on public service hiring -- thereby leading by example.

  4. Set aside extra money for Housing and Social assistance in anticipation of the hard times ahead.

  5. Prepare to pick up slack in economy with public projects, but only once the private sector construction boom has ended.

  6. Openly tender Government jobs to "spread the wealth" throughout the economy.

  7. Revive the "Buy Bermuda" campaign.

  8. Be prepared to cut payroll tax for small businesses, especially if Tourism falls with the North American economy.

  9. Aggressively promote energy conservation, starting with the Government.

  10. Repair Government's relationship with International Business.

  11. Do a better job exercising diplomacy in Washington, above an beyond photo-ops in the corridor.

  12. Ban corporate inversions in Bermuda as they are not worth the US political risk to Bermuda.

  13. Be honest with the people about the state of announced hotel projects, given the currently poor state of the US financial system.

  14. Increase Government-Industry teamwork, and "fish where the fish are" in picking up business for Bermuda.

  15. Create a non-political tourism authority.

  16. Start to collaborate with key stakeholders in improving Bermuda's education system: parents, teachers, and students.

  17. Give teachers the tools and training to attack anti-social behavior in the schools.

  18. Implement a fully-integrated technical education curriculum starting in the middle schools.

  19. Create an independent body to assess school performance.

  20. Create a Warwick Police Station to assist in fighting crime.

  21. Increase Police presence in the communities and on the roads.

  22. Install Speed Cameras to attack speeding on the roads.

  23. A whole list of items to help Seniors, such as improving the elder abuse register act, require higher standards of care in nursing homes, and help families care for their seniors at home.

  24. Eliminate payroll tax for lower income earners.

  25. Duty relief for Taxi owners.

  26. Ensure fair tendering of trucking across all truckers, not just the mega-truckers.

In addition, the Reply pledged support for several initiatives put forward by the Government:

  • Water conservation & production plans.

  • Support the Government's intentions in education reform.

  • Support Government's promise to address anti-social behaviour in the schools.

  • Support the Law Reform commission (as originally proposed by the UBP's Trevor Moniz.

  • Support the replacement of the Hospital.

14 November 2008

13 November 2008

Just the Facts

More fact-checking on the PLP blog. They write:
The response was that 24 members of the House of Assembly who were elected as independents morphed into the UBP in 1964. The electorate was voiceless in the formation, and this is an ignominious blot that forever stains the pages of our Parliamentary history.

That's actually false: the electorate was not voiceless about the formation of the UBP: they could have chosen not to vote for those MPs again. But they continued to, for the next thirty years!

Also, the blog-that-shall-not-be-named accuses the UBP of "racial sins". I guess those sins would include such things as:

  • Creating the Human Rights Act;
  • Desegregating schools;
  • Creating the Small Business Development Corporation to empower small business entrepreneurs, primarily blacks;
  • Commissioning the Clark Report to work towards improving racial issues in Bermuda;
  • Creating CURE;
  • Building low-cost housing throughout the island, such as up in St. Georges and by Morgan's Point.

Vote for Charlie Swan

Update: look for Charlie on Facebook and give him some support!

Despite what you might hear from the PLP spin, Charlie Swan has been involved in our community for a long time, and has been busy in the Senate this year. Last night I had the chance to canvass with Charlie, and learn what he's been up to.

Charlie's passion is improving training for the trades, and education. On training he says it is "crucial that Bermuda get that in place, so our youth can become productive citizens." As a businessman and past director of the Construction Association, Charlie knows what he is talking about.

As a Senator, he was on the Joint Select Committee on Education. He has also spoken on training and education, the dental practitioners issues, and telecoms and taxi GPS in the Senate.

Here is some more info about Charlie from his letter to voters. He writes:

Having been recently introduced as the UBP candidate in the upcoming by-election in Southampton West Central (Constituency #31), I felt an early letter is in order.

As I did during the last election, it is my hope to see and chat with each and every constituent in Southampton West Central. I sincerely wish to continue as YOUR representative, to serve all Voters and Residents of the constituency in which I reside.

Beyond a personal visit, please judge me based on my record of service, within the communities that I have resided in, spanning the past 40 years. These include 20 years involvement with T.S. Venture (the west end unit of the Bermuda Sea Cadet Corps); helped establish and organize the Bermuda Youth Sports Program (baseball, soccer); numerous projects as a member and Past President of Sandys Rotary Club, a member of the West End Sailboat Club and past director of The Construction Association of Bermuda.

In addition to this, as Managing Director of Batson Swan Limited--Mobile Plumbing and Heating for the past 25 years, I am intimately aware of the responsiblity and challenges involved in managing and motivating staff and running a business.

Like our plumbing services, I am available with a keen ear, and open door, 24 hours a day, all year round. I am at your service.

Please call me on 238-5000 or 234-1408 (messages may be left), or reach me by email at: cjrnswan@ibl.bm

Sincerely, Charlie Swan.

08 November 2008

How much racial bias is there, really?

In the aftermath of Obama's win, there's been a few interesting articles about whether or not predictions of racial bias are really true. Check out Where have all the bigots gone? ("Was this election a landslide defeat for the researchers labeling most Americans as 'unconscious' racists?") and Tolerance over race can spread, both from the NYTimes (and interlinked). Perhaps some of us are getting too worked about things...

05 November 2008

Yes They Did!

I would be proud to be an American.

It's a feeling of great possibility.

NY Times