Friday, August 08, 2008

Olympic Focus

It will be pretty slow politically this week as the Olympics begin and Obama and Congress go on vacation. August is always the slowest political month. We are left with a solid 5-9 point Obama lead, no VP announcements and a series of upcoming ads during the Games. Obama had always planned on airing millions in ads, but McCain had to shore up the cash at the last second to combat his rivals airtime. I'll occasionally report what's happening, but as I said, it will be slow.

The Olympics are much more interesting at this point. We are already getting some pretty juicy repressive stories coming from China.

From the AP with a hat tip to One Free Korea,

The beating of two Japanese journalists by police in western China drew an official apology Tuesday, but Beijing also set new obstacles for news outlets wanting to report from Tiananmen Square in the latest sign of trouble for reporters covering the Olympics. [….]

In the latest restriction, the Beijing city government said on its Web site that Chinese and foreign journalists who want to report and film in Tiananmen “are advised to make advanced appointments by phone.” It said that will help ensure orderly newsgathering amid what are expected to be large crowds in the square on each day of the games, which start Friday.

Beijing’s thousands of taxicabs are being fitted with video cameras and satellite technology that transmits a live audio feed of what is being said in the cab back to a computer for monitoring and linguistic analysis, according to industry sources.

“It was about two or three months ago. All the taxis in our company had this fitted,” an employee at a major Beijing cab company said. “There is a screen which displays the exact location of the vehicle. The taxi is also able to send information back to us at the control station. All the taxis registered with us have had the modifications.”

Sounds like a blast! Permission to film and no trash talk in a taxi.

More and more Olympics to come!