Clothing: Optional?

This post may annoy you. Sorry. I’m going to conflate two pieces of advice about what clothing to wear.

For pedestrians (and cyclists) at night on dark roads: do not wear black.

For lovely young women in unsafe locations: do not dress like sluts.

I’ll take these in reverse order.

The ‘slut’ comment was made by a senior policeman. It made quite a stir and was apologized for. I mentioned this at the time. What bothers me about the stir (not the comment) is this:

  • Nobody pretended not to know what ‘dress like a slut’ means.
  • Nobody pretended not to think that such apparel was in vogue.

Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect, and unsafe world. Dress as you like, but do consider the consequences of added risk in already risky situations.

Someone might bump into you in a way you don’t like.

Which leads me to the ‘dark clothing at night’ point.

I nearly drove over a pedestrian once. It was late at night, the street lighting was weak, and there were overshadowing trees. The pavement was dull black with no white lines showing, in a light drizzle. A person dressed entirely in black was walking down the centre of the road.

This was in Coldwater, Ontario. After about ten o’clock on Sunday it’s about as dead as a small town can get. I was not speeding. Yet I saw this person just in time.

Later, I mentioned this near-miss to a local. To my shock, it appears that this same person was fatally struck at this same location wearing similar dark clothing. Only a week after my near-miss.

So, dress as you like, but do consider the consequences of added risk in already risky situations.

Someone might bump into you in a way you don’t like.

Trump, Trade, and David Olive

Donald Trump has said a lot of things which we might hope may not come true after his swearing-in as president of the USA.

One of those things is, he will scrap NAFTA and derail the TPP and other potential trade agreements.

Here you will find a fine column by David Olive. In it he argues that Trump will find out that things don’t always work out the way you thought you could cause them to. One thrust in the article is that, in the Senate, are Republicans who are benefiting from, or are committed to, free trade.

Olive makes the case that some ‘for show’ tinkering of NAFTA might occur, but it’s not likely to be overturned as a whole.

Olive is of course correct. What troubles this blogger is, it’s exactly that set of pre-existing insider interests that Trump seemed to want to dismantle. It’s the ‘entitled’ set that is the scapegoat for the masses in the USA who (similar to Canadians) have not made real wage progress in thirty years, and have little or precarious employment today.

I am reminded of the Unabomber’s ‘manifesto.’ In it he claimed that evolutionary change in America was impossible because the system is, in a sense, self-healing. The rich/powerful will find a way to get back any temporary restriction on their wealth/power.

Unchecked, they will continue to increase that wealth and power.

The implication, that the only outcome with real change must be a revolutionary change, is scary. We would be better off, imho, if the stranglehold of the zero point one percent on the wealth of nations were untied.

(I should note here that the Unabomber pointed out that a revolutionary change is, in itself, unpredictable, with unforseen results guaranteed. Trump, anyone?)

(I should also point out that I do not agree with the Unabomber’s method. I did find his argument logical. Revolution is the business of logical lunatics. (Wallace Stevens.) )

Le me also point out that trade deals are not trade agreements. They are trade management agreements. Free trade allows large corporations to divide up markets and create local monopolistic agreements, simply by using patent licensing among themselves. This is detailed in the book Information Feudalism, which you can find in the ‘References’ section of this website.
Free trade allows a large corporation (Apple, RIM, Samsung, whatever) to have a product manufactured abroad, under patent licenses, and take two-thirds of the revenue merely for owning the patents. The jobs are not in the USA. The profits accrue to the upper levels of the corporation, who may indeed reside in the USA. They are the zero point one percent.

So I’m using a computer probably made this way, wearing a shirt probably made this way, using an Internet connection possibly powered by other electronic components made this way. I’m part of the problem: I don’t buy local.

I don’t need a job. However, my children do, and the job market in Canada sucks.

I have a fellow writer in the USA with whom I occasionally exchange views. There is some pessimism amongst our neighbours to the south.

After all that rambling, it’s time for the dumb questions. Ready?

  • Why did three major stock markets in the USA make, after dips, large gains?
  • Is it because environmental restrictions that reduce profit and opportunity, may be dismantled?
  • Can Trump really go against the existing financial powers that be?
  • Does all this conveniently distract from the fact that Trump will hold the codes for the world’s largest nuclear arsenal?

and finally, Is that cynicism enough for today?

A Public Thank-You to Some Great Writers

There are a number of fine writers out there who responded to my request to help my by critiquing a draft poetry collection.

I got more responses than I had hoped for. So I thanked those I did not choose to use, and picked the earliest positive responses and sent the draft work.

There was at least one offer to critique other things I have in the sort-of-done category, where I need a pair of eyes connected to a fine mind to have a look and see if I’ve missed anything.

If you are one of those now looking over my proposed poetry book 7, I thank you. If you are going over some of my rougher work, I thank you as well.

If you are one of those who was not selected by me this time, I thank you too and assure you that I will be asking again, from time to time.

It can take me several weeks or months to put a book together, once the final vetting process has been completed. So please be patient.

Everyone that helps me by reading and critiquing a draft book will get a copy. Physical if you’re in the Toronto area; eBook file if you are not. Critiquing an entire book means you’ll be mentioned in the acknowledgements. Your web page of choice can be there too. I will publish each book in Amazon Kindle, Lulu ePub, and Lulu Print. I think url’s can be live in electronic versions.

That’s the least I can do to recognize those who help me in my quest for quality.

Thank you all.


Another Tory Sale – ‘paying’ for transit

At one point, this blog recommended adding a per-parking-instance of a parking surcharge. This would only apply to paid parking lots, not free on-street or part-of-enterprise parking.

As much as four hundred million dollars a year could come from a one dollar surcharge.

The brilliant pundits who decide everything by making assumptions to guarantee failure said, it would be too difficult to enforce for on-street parking. Therefore, don’t leave that alone, instead drop the entire idea.

Now our Mayor, John Tory, proposes to (possibly) sell the Toronto Parking Authority. This to help pay for SmartTrack (whatever that means now, after so many shrinking changes.)

Selling an asset usually means that the buyer is getting something. Unless there’s a strong reason to stop running something that makes money, why sell it for a one-time cash-out?

And, do any of you believe that a privately owned ‘parking authority’ won’t increase parking charges?

So, here’s one case of Tory Sale: rather than impose a tax or surcharge, sell an asset and let its purchaser do the dirty work of raising more money. But not for the city, for themselves.

The same mayor who cannot bring himself to raise property taxes is considering selling Toronto Hydro. Again, giving up a good business to some person or thing (corporation) that will raise rates.

But that won’t be seen as a tax hike. It will be the big bad private owners’ fault when rates rise, ‘out of control’ of our mayor and his council.

This proposal is another ‘Tory Sale’ where an asset is given up to make it look like there’s no cost increase to citizens, when in fact there is a cost increase. It’s just not seen as a tax.

And of course once the one-time cash sale money has been spent, the earning power of the asset is still gone – gone forever.

That’s what I call a Tory Sale. I think we are being sold out.

On Canada’s Malaise

Given the potential for chaos south of the border, carping on Canada seems small-minded. However, we are in a similar ‘state’ of malaise. We just don’t have the bad taste to blame it on religious or ethnic groups, yet. And we don’t have a candidate trumping up the discontent, yet.

The rich get richer. The middle class get nothing. The poor get to stay poor. We spend millions on studies for parks we don’t really need, that could have gone to fix affordable housing. (The latest park farce in Toronto is proposed to be just south of the financial district. So much for ‘parks for people’ – only certain people.)

Meanwhile, the deficit will, eventually, kill us. Deficit spending can, for sure, provide stimulus. (We did well when making machinery to be blown up in wars, for example. I often wondered why we don’t make refrigerators and dump them in the Atlantic. Same net result, eh?)

The other day my spouse made a comment so obvious, once stated, that I felt dumb for not having noticed its truth.

Make jobs for our young people.

Then they will pay taxes and buy goods and services.

If it takes government money to make those jobs, so be it.

Imagine improving the quality of life for the most valuable and disadvantaged generation in Canadian history.

OK, the dumb questions: what lobby group or powerful industry would benefit from having this happen? and, is that cynical enough?