Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Hamilton's Check Engine Light Crisis and Other News

  • Unanimous Pro-Uber City Council Vote: The Damage

  • "Check Engine Light" Crisis

  • Uber MADDness

Uber Hamilton by the Numbers

Working with numbers can be a lot of fun. At least, I think so. I once took an in-house course, back when I had a real job, called "Strategies of Experimentation." I can't remember anything I learned in that course, but it made an impression on me that impacts my thinking to this day. It says that if you don't have solid data to work with, use the next best thing. Try to build a cloud of probability. Use whatever information you do have and think about whether it falls within the realm of reasonable expectation.

The following analysis attempts to use this approach to some degree.

What is known for sure is the approximate amount each taxi operator pays to the taxi broker for the service of matching riders with drivers - just like any other "technology company." That is $500 per month, per cab, or $6000 per year, per cab. With 448 licensed cabs in Hamilton, the two brokers share an income of 448 X $6,000 = $2,688,000 (two million, six hundred and eighty-eight thousand dollars.)

In accordance with Hamilton politician's shady deal with the Uber corporation, the city has declared that it expects to receive an initial bribe of $50,000 (the so-called Uber license fee,) plus an additional bribe of $20,000 to exempt Uber from any accessible transportation mandates. In addition to that $50K the deal that received "unanimous" support from council, Uber, the two brokers, and the taxi school, requires that Uber transfer six cents from every Uber ride to the City. According to published reports, the city estimates that Uber drivers will run one million trips per year. At $0.06 per trip that adds up to $60,000 extra dollars for the city.

It will, of course, be very interesting to see how the real numbers add up, now that Uber has been operating under this deal for almost a year.

In the meantime, I will use the City's estimates to arrive at a picture of how much local Hamilton money is being extracted and sent to Uber's banks in the Netherlands, for eventual distribution amongst Goldman Sach's, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of Uber's investors.

First off, there is Uber's $2.80 "booking fee," the equivalent of the non-exempt taxi brokerage fees. At one million trips per year in Hamilton, Uber makes $2.8 million dollars. That amount, alone, exceeds the $2,688,000 the two brokers earn for doing the same thing as Uber.

The real brilliance in Uber's "business model" is not the technology built in to its dispatch software (a dime a dozen,) but in its ability to sucker its hundreds of thousands of drivers into surrendering an additional 25% of the income they earn after rider and driver have been matched, using "assets they already own" in Tim Hudak's famous words. In other words, Uber's driver/"partners" turn assets they already own (or financed) into income for Uber.

It's a stroke of pure genius.

Note: My calculations exclude HST.

In the absense of data, I will asume that the average Uber trip in Hamilton runs about $12.00. Minus the $2.80 booking fee, the remaining $9.20 is composed of the $2.50 basic fare, the $0.90 cents per Km charge, and any time charges at $.15 per minute.

Out of that $9.20, Uber receives an additional 25%, or $2.30. Multiply that by the estimated one million Hamilton trips per year, and Uber sends another $2.3 million dollars to its Netherlands banks.

Adding that $2.3 million dollars to the $2.8 million dollars, it emerges that Hamilton City council basically handed the Uber corporation $5 million dollars per year to provide a redundant service.

Hamilton's non-exempt taxi sector was already at roughly 400% over-capacity. (That is why you see long queues of taxicabs all over the city. They have been idled by regulatory incompetence. Are you pissed off by that taxi driver loitering in the parking spot you wanted? Don't blame him. Blame the city council.)

Correspondingly, the Hamilton City Council transferred about one million trips per annum from the non-exempt taxi drivers to Uber.

One million trips per annum, at an estimated $12 per trip for non-exempt taxis equates to about a $12 million reduction in income amongst Hamilton's 1,200 non-exempt cab drivers, or $10,000 per driver. This estimate jibes with the cab driver I interviewed regarding Mayor Fred Eisenberger's fake news. When I asked this driver how much income he has lost as a result of Uber partnering up with the city he stated, "Oh, a couple hundred per week." $200 per week times 52 weeks equals $10,400 per year. Two numbers in the same ball park.

Again, these numbers are ball-park. The real number could be between, say $8,000 and $12,000. (Or wider. Prove me wrong if you can.) If anyone reading this has better data, I beg you, please share it with me. Similarly, if anyone wishes to quibble with my arithmetic, please speak up.

Numbers aside, from some of the feedback I have been getting from some of the drivers I have spoken to, the City's rigging of the local taxi market in favour of Uber has really hurt them. Many have resorted to paying Uber to use their personal cars as taxicabs.

One driver told me, "I never would have believed I would find myself wishing I was ten years older, so I could be out of this mess."

Another driver expressed delight at the fact that his diabetes condition had escalated to the point where his prescription costs finally made him eligible for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP.)

Think about that for a second. ODSP is now seen as a step up the career ladder for some Hamilton cab drivers.

The members of council had to be aware of the harm and hardship their decision to allow Uber to enter the Hamilton taxi market would impose on the most vulnerable members of the taxi industry. Yet they went ahead and did it. If the mayor is to be believed, the council vote was unanimous.

Last night (Dec 4, 2017) one driver told me he had to use overdraft protection to pay his rent, for the first time ever.

Thank you, Hamilton City Council.

And then think about this the next time you see one of our local politicians flatulating about their desire to eliminate poverty in Hamilton, or virtue signaling their approval of the pending minimum wage hike, which will only serve to lotterize (my word invention - "to make a lottery of") income distribution for those on the margins. Just like McWynne's guaranteed income project.

And then think again, about the $5 million dollars Hamilton City Council handed to Uber on a silver platter on the pretext that this had anything to do with "technology."

The same tales of misery have been replicated in every jurisdiction in Ontario where local politicians complied with Uber's business model.

It's Sickening.

-- More info.

Taxi turmoil caused suicides - See here.

Of note: "Mr Rowe said drivers are working increasingly long hours and being fined by gardai as they are unable to even find a place to park on a rank." (See Hamilton GO station, or King St. near the Sheraton Hotel.)

50 taxi driver suicides in past 4 years - See here.

‘There is no future’ - See here.


December 2017 - Hamilton's "Check Engine Light" Crisis

The latest in Hamilton's Fake Campaign to "Level the Playing Field" between Exempt and Non-Exempt Taxi Companies

Over the latter part of November, I started to hear several reports about the newly deployed "Mobile Enforcement Officer(s)" accosting, and in one case, following and cornering a non-exempt cab driver for on road spot checks. In too many of these reports, the cabs were cited for having "check engine" lights glowing on the instrument panels.

Last summer, then Senior Project Manager for the city, Monica Ciriello responded to an inquiry by taxi school lobbyist, Steve Jones, regarding the status of the City's enforcement of the terms of its new arrangement with the Uber cab company. In her response, she noted that the city was in the process of hiring a mobile enforcement officer to perform on road spot checks.

I suspected at the time that this would be another one of the City's classic bait and switch tactics. Yes, one or more mobile enforcement officers would be deployed, but instead of focusing on the invisible Uber cabs, they would end up targeting the non-exempt taxis.

As the reports started coming in to me, I felt vindicated. I can read this city government like a book.

In the case of Uber, the City collects a six cent per trip dividend from Uber. The City, therefore, has a built in incentive to see Uber not only succeed, but expand. In effect, Uber and the City of Hamilton are now partners. The non-exempt taxi operators are their competition.

On 25 November, 2017, I sent a followup to Mr. Jones' email to the addressees, which included the members of council as well as Director of Licensing, Ken Leendertse, requesting the following:

Would you be kind enough to let the people on this list know how many Uber cabs have been inspected by the City's mobile enforcement officers vs. non-Uber cabs, and how many, if any, compliance orders and/or fines were issued to them vs. the Uber cabs?

As I have come to expect, the response was D E A D    S I L E N C E.

A Small Break in the Silence

One of the places cabs like to queue up in Hamilton is at the designated taxi stand just outside the GO terminal at 36 Hunter St. E. The City has allocated four spaces for cabs to wait for bus and train passengers. Even before Uber, the city had issued too many taxi licenses. Therefore, those four spaces are not nearly enough to accommodate all of the policy-idled cabs that line up, on Hunter St. east of John for one of the coveted legal spots at the stand.

It was Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at approximately 7:30 P.M. when one of the City's white law enforcement SUV's showed up at the designated cab stand at the GO, and cornered one of the cabs waiting there. Suddenly, the other three coveted parking spots became vacant.

Not a single cab parked on the east side of John moved across John to occupy one of the now vacant spots. The sight of those white SUVs strikes fear into the hearts of Hamilton's cab drivers these days. The slightest flaw, like a glowing "check engine" light is often enough to have the cab pulled off the road until the problem is fixed. The driver loses even more income. The owners also lose time and money as they must now drop everything and try to get the cab back on the road, lest some faulty O2 sensor jeopardizes public safety. The icing on the cake, of course, is that while this harassment is going on, the exempt Uber cabs continue to swirl around them, unhindered, like buzzards cleaning the last pieces of flesh from the carcass of the once vibrant taxi economy.

When it appeared the mobile enforcement officer (MEO) had finished with the cab he had detained, and it looked like he was going to cross John St. and accost the hapless hacks sitting back there, I left. I was willing to sacrifice my position in line, and extend the waiting time before my next fare, rather than risk being yanked off the road, or getting fined for one of the encyclopedic list of finable violations contained in the bylaw as it applies to non-exempt taxicabs. I circled around the block, but I guess the rest of my fellow drivers all had the same idea, because when I got back to the GO station all of cabs were gone and I was able to slide into the first spot.

It seems the MEO has already caught on to this cat-and-mouse game, because he also drove around the block and swooped down on me from behind. There was no escape. For whatever reason, I was not cited with any violation even though there is probably not one single cab operating in Hamilton that is in full compliance. So I took the opportunity to dig for an answer to the question I had sent to City officials just three days prior.

Me: How many Uber cabs have you inspected, by the way?

MEO: We're actually doing a blitz on those guys this Friday and Saturday.

In other words, the answer to my question was "none." But a blitz was planned. He said if I visited Hess Village on Friday and Saturday, I would see him and two of his officers doing a "full out" blitz on them. I speculate that he was a relatively green MEO by the way he tried to assure me that the MEO's were driving around, and actually trying to "help" us by trying to make "us" safe. Yeah, "I'm from the government and I am here to help you." Going by actions, rather than words, it would appear that most of the cabbies who scoot away from the scene whenever an MEO show's up fear the harm that the City government might inflict on them far more than the extreme danger that might occur should they have a failed O2 sensor or loose gas cap.

MEO: What can I do? The only thing I can do is make sure they are following all the guidelines that were set out for them.

As the conversation progressed, he informed me that the MEO's would be looking for Uber drivers that are not supposed to be driving the vehicle, I.E. people who are not the person using the Uber taxicab dispatch app. He also stated that he would be looking for Uber drivers who "are picking up hails, which means waving people down." Talk about chasing ghosts, especially if the white MEO SUV's are seen in the area. Talk about a sting operation that was hatched right out of the pages of Monty Python. In my forty year span in Hamilton's taxi business I have only seen two instances of cab drivers "waving down" random passers by in an attempt to solicit business. Both were very recent. One was a Toronto taxi driver fishing for a passenger for his return trip. The other was an Uber driver, or alleged Uber driver who recently tried to scoop up a young woman who was trying to hail passing cabs from the front door of the GO.

MEO: We're trying to enforce that they have stickers on the back. It's in the bylaw that they should. (and also) We're going to take the numbers of Uber cabs that are driving around without stickers and then go to Uber and (demurely?) ask them why those cars don't have stickers.

In other words, there will be no tickets issued to Uber drivers who have ignored the bylaw as it relates to the stickers. And of course, none of them will be pulled off the road.

So I guess it comes down to how Uber will rule on this sticker issue and whether Hamilton's politicians will comply with Uber's business model. Their performance to date indicates that the politicians will toe the Uber line.

After all, if Uber had to follow the same laws that apply to non-Uber taxis, how could the Uber business model succeed? And what would happen to the City's six cent per trip dividend?

The systemic incentives tip the scales against the non-exempt taxi operators. It's Kindergarten simple.

For my part, the prospect of having to work my shifts in constant fear that the City's Taxi Gestapo will swoop down on me at any moment and impose further barriers to my efforts to avoid poverty have turned what once used to be a job with which I had a love/hate relationship into an unambiguous nightmare. I almost wish I had diabetes.

Papers, please?


MADD Canada Whoring for $Uber$

Distracted driving is gaining increasing attention as a contender for preventable death and injuries on the roads. MADD Canada is obviously being very selective about the kind of impaired driving they oppose. Drivers impaired by alcohol are demonized, while drivers impaired by Uber's "Distractive Technology," are encouraged and promoted by MADD Canada in exchange for cash.

Right, MADD. Encourage parents to tell their kids it's safe to ride with a bunch of inexperienced, GPS addled, fly-by-night, amateur taxi drivers. As both a parent, and a taxi driver, I can offer this advice to parents who would place their trust in Uber to get their kids home safe: Don't Buy It. The thought of some naive parent advising their kid to "take an Uber" evokes in me in the same reaction I would get I heard a parent telling one of their kids to eat glass.

If there were an organization called, "Drunk Drivers of Canada," (DDC) which purported to accept only well trained, responsible drunk drivers, with no testing, no trainining, so long as they own a car and pay a membership fee, and kick some $$$ back to MADD, no doubt MADD Canada would be happy to partner up with DDC too.

Shows you what MADD Canada is really about.

MADD Canada and Uber Canada fight impaired driving.

The saddest part of all of this is that the destruction of viable, full time, professional taxi driving occupations brought on by Uber and its sycophantic politicians has resulted in an exodus of experienced drivers from the non-exempt taxi sector as well. This only compounds the risks to the public.

Meanwhile, the City of Hamilton hires a crew of "Mobile Enforcement Officers," to run around the city making sure the taxis don't have glowing "check engine" lights.

Duh!

"More than 3,470 lives were claimed due to distracted driving in 2015, according to statistics furnished by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Taking your eyes off the road for seconds at 55 mph is like driving the length of a football field blindfolded, the agency said."


Hit and Run on Main St. E. Near Holton Ave. S. caught on dashcam.

Dec 5, 2017, 8:10 P.M.

Is It Safe to Drive with the Check Engine Light On?

It is unlikely that you are at risk, but your car is.


Puke Advice

What happens in a taxi, including Uber taxis, stays in a taxi... including residuals from unpleasant body effluents.

"About 2-3 months a go, a drunk rider took a piss on the back seat of my car. When asked for a cleaning fee, Uber only gave me $150. Needless to say, the piss was dried and cleaned by other riders sitting on top of it. I don't know of any professional that would clean the seat for just $150."

See more here.

Comedy Segment Fake News with Fred Eisenberger

Where is Matthew Green?

Public Lies, Private Truths: Why Communism FELL & Trump WON


Hamilton Project Zero

King Street 2020.

Other News

"Three university policies are cited by the signees as evidence that Peterson’s termination is justified. The first is the Statement on Prohibited Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment, which reads, “The University aspires to achieve an environment free of prohibited discrimination and harassment and to ensure respect for the core values of freedom of speech, academic freedom and freedom of research.” The letter alleges that Peterson’s conduct “constitutes an obstacle” to that aspiration."

See: Hundreds sign open letter to U of T admin calling for Jordan Peterson’s termination

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Devout Communist

The problem with most communists, and this goes for all of their imitators on the left, all the way up to the misnamed "liberals" of today, who are anything but liberal, is that they are such BRAZEN HYPOCRITES! If you're paying attention, it's damned easy to extrapolate the "liberal" agenda which is invariably premised upon Karl Marx's dictum:

Try this test, and decide for yourself, if you don't recognize the Marxist dictum embedded in the "core beliefs" of just about every politician, and every big-mouthed leftist professor or "activist" or fake-stream media commentator you've ever seen.

Homelessness: force someone else to pay for housing.

Health care: force someone else to pay.

"Education:" force someone else to pay.

Income Security: force someone else to pay.

Prescriptions: force someone else to pay.

Food Security: force someone else to pay.

You have a disability that restricts your mobility: force someone else to pay.

Make a living from your shitty art, music, and movies: force someone else to pay.

You're a boy who wants to turn into a girl: force someone else to pay.

You want an abortion or free birth control: force someone else to pay.

You want to be addressed by your preferred gender pronoun: force everyone else to do it, or make them pay.

You want "reparations" for the injustices done to your long forgotten ancestors, to be paid for by everyone OTHER than the long dead perpetrators of those injustices?

This is the new morality. (Actually, it isn't. It's been around since the beginning of time. Political history has always been about forcing someone else to pay.)

Yep, it's the same thing you hear extruding from every politician's lips, force someone else to pay.

The Marxist dictum is explosively obvious in every one of these issues.

What it always boils down to, is that everyone wants something for nothing, and if it doesn't just fall into their laps, well then, it just stands to reason: force someone else to pay.

Because I have long understood this simple dynamic, it has cursed me with the ability to see the future. The future I see is not in perfect contrast. All I can see are vague outlines. Ball park eventualities. But because of this ersatz clairvoyance, I am almost NEVER caught off-guard and surprised by events. Well, I didn't see the election of Donald Trump. I really didn't expect that one.

The problem I have with most politicians is that they never see themselves doing any of the actual work.

They care about homelessness, but it goes without saying, that the politician's role in this holy endeavor, is to make someone else pay. They don't lower themselves to digging in the ground, or hammering in the nails. Nope. That is someone else's job, even if it doesn't really need a whole bunch of that Marxian, "ability."

The same goes for health care. The politicians aren't the ones diagnosing the illnesses, suturing the wounds, writing the prescriptions, emptying the bedpans and cleaning up the vomit and blood. Nope, they will just be the ones getting someone else to pay for it, and then voting themselves $5,000 gold rings. And then they build fucking statues of each other. And, of course, someone else always ends up paying for it all.

And so on. And so on. For every political issue.

It's so simple. So easy to see, And yet the vast majority of the population remain blind to the whole scam. Why is that? I have some ideas, but I won't attempt to answer that question here. (But a good start for you, if interested, is to read a few books by Ayn Rand.)

Oh. I almost forgot about why I wrote this rant in the first place.

I was thinking about this die-hard Marxist friend of mine, and about the time back around 1983 when we happened to bump into each other in a quiet bar in the center of Hamilton. I always enjoyed jousting with this guy, because unlike too many phony, Che Guevara, or Nelson Mandella T-Shirt-wearers of today, this guy had some real intellectual power behind his convictions.

What a real treat. Someone who can actually defend his position, instead of what people do today, like kick you out of forums, or block you on Twitter.

The real bonus was that, despite the fact that we were both about as opposite as possible on the political spectrum, we were nevertheless able to joust away without resorting to insults or recriminations. The discussions were pure, as if examining a disagreement over math, or chemistry.

Never once did he accuse me of being a fascist, or a Nazi, or a white supremacist due to my fondness for individual rights, equal rights, and freedom of speech.

I enjoyed the conversation so much that I kept on buying more rounds. It was pure market economics, and I was willing to pay for the value I was getting out of this challenge.

The one thing that I did notice, though I never protested, was that the communist didn't offer to pay for a single round of beer.

I guess it came down to that greater need theory.

Once need becomes a politically valuable commodity, as it has become in most of the West today, the law of supply and demand, combined with scumbag politics, will ensure that it will become extremely abundant.

And in the modern welfare state democracies, it has.

Need is a bottomless pit. It will eventually drag every civilization, that predicates its politics on it, into the sewers of history.

What a shame.




Monday, November 20, 2017

Abuse of Power by Mini-Tyrants

This morning I discovered that I had been blocked from accessing the Facebook Group, World Wide Anti-Uber Society, for having allegedly "dumb" and "hateful" opinions. Perhaps surprisingly, the mini-tyrant did not go so far as to accuse me of being a NAZI as well.

At first World Wide Anti-Uber Society Facebook admin, Justin La Plante, tried to bully me into complying with his world view by deleting a couple of my posts and threatening to use his administrative power to block me from the group.

During a private message session he tried to justify his bullying by accusing me of lighting fires he then had to put out. Seeing as how the "offending" post had garnered little attention or commentary, I'm not sure of what kinds of fires he imagined he had to put out, unless he was deluged with a bunch of private messages, which I doubt. In other words, his real message was that no controversial views would be permitted in HIS group if they happened to clash with HIS opinions.

No Donald Trump Supporters Allowed

He then dug himself in deeper by confessing that he had a problem with my support for Donald Trump, and that he equates my posting of a Confederate Battle flag on my own facebook page with "hatred" rather than my life-long interest in, and love of American history, and the spirit of rebellion that flag represents. In bringing up these matters, he did nothing but reinforce the fact that he was using his admin POWER to enforce compliance with his god complex.

So it came down to another small example of what we've been hearing about all year with respect to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google, the censorship of opposing views.

During the discussion, which he later published on the group page to demonstrate how flawed my character is, he tried to show how big his brain is by asking me some civics questions.

He obviously wanted to keep kicking this ball back and forth in the PM session. I don't like wasting my time arguing with fools in private. I'd much rather poke fun at them, and expose their self-righteous hypocrisy in public so I invited him to take the debate back onto the group he wanted to block me from.

He took the bait.

I was confident I had sized this guy up rather well during our PM session, that he was an intellectual lightweight, and that it would be easy to publicly humiliate him in the light of day.

After he agreed to an open debate, I proceeded to annihilate Justin La Plante in the World Wide Anti-Uber Society group.

It was no surprise to me, therefore, that after a few punches were thrown, he took the coward's way out, posted a few twisted misrepresentaions to get the last word in, then deleted the debate, and blocked me from the group.

Maybe the guy is not such a coward in the end. After all, it takes some balls to brazenly demonstrate that you have none.


Also of interest:

The Fred Eisenberger Comedy Special

Saturday, November 18, 2017

My Warning from an Uberpeople.net "Moderator."

I just got a message from one of the moderators of the uberpeople.net Toronto driver's forum. In it he states,

"This forum values opinions from all angles. However, being argumentative, name-calling, personal attacks, instigating other members, and any post that can be deemed confrontational will not be tolerated. Please refrain from any posts of this manner, even if instigated. We hope you can tone it back a bit going forward.

Please review the terms and rules http://uberpeople.net/help/terms"

I think he was feeling a bit humiliated after he read my criticism of his limp response to my "Uberpeople Service Animal Discussion" that I posted in the Toronto Uber taxi driver forum.

Things have really changed in the last twenty-five years. It used to be quite the rollicking back and forth in discussion forums. Now, whenever you get the better of some smart-ass who takes shots at you, he threatens to have your views censored.

As an example of my objectionable conduct, the "moderator" cited the following passage by me,

"Are you dyslexic? The individual referenced in my post was not "terrified of driving," he was terrified of dogs. A remedial reading comprehension course might help you in this thread."

I thought I was being kind in attributing the respondent's dishonest and deliberate misquoting of my post to dyslexia rather than the slimy tactic that it obviously was. It seems to have escaped the "moderator's" attention, that deliberate and dishonest misquoting of forum participants is, itself, "confrontational." Yet I doubt the individual who slandered me received any similar warning. I doubt that the thought even occurred to the censorship muscle-flexing "moderator," Mugats, or whatever his real name is.

I could be wrong. Maybe "Mugats" did send a similar warning to "Fuzzyelvis," but I sincerely doubt it.

By the way, and perhaps of some significance, is the apparent fact that this "moderator" uses a fake name and a fake picture of himself.

In my reply to his "warning" I challenged him to reveal his true identity. Any bets as to whether he will have the guts to step up?

I anticipate that Mr. Mugats will use his power to shut me down on the discussion board.

My last reply to him was,


Relevant Screenshots

Did this person receive a "warning" from Mugats for this?

Or this?

Bets?

I am not omniscient, but I remain certain that none of the other "offenders" received a similar warning from the mysterious moderator. Notwithstanding, I will happily recant if Mr. Mugats provides any evidence that proves me wrong.

At this point, I would say the odds that Mr. Mugats uses his power to borf me from the forum is about 99.9 % to the .1 % chance that he will identify himself and provide evidence that he sent the other confrontational users similar warnings.

By the way, I love it when people are confrontational with me. It gives me the opportunity to work on my debating skills. If no one ever confronted me, I would be bored as shit.

Unfortunately, these days, it seems that whenever you challenge the crooked scumbags that spew their fraudulent effluvia on social media, rather than engage, they run and hide.

Well. That didn't take long.


Also of interest:

The Fred Eisenberger Comedy Special

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Uberpeople Service Animal Discussion

I knew a guy who was terrified of dogs, no matter how small. Even a Mexican Chihuahua would terrify him. It would be a dangerous mistake to force someone like that to drive passengers with service animals.

Some of the people in the thread claim to have pet allergies. Should they be forced to take service animals?

And what about those who have strong religious beliefs about dogs? Whose rights rights should prevail in our new utopian socialist caste system?

I prefer one of the greatest achievements of Western civilization, the now deceased ideal of equal rights for all. In accordance with Rand's statement,

"Any alleged right of one person which necessitates the violation of the rights of another is not, and can never be a "right."

According to that simple formula, there would be no question about the Ubercab driver's right to refuse service animals.

And there's no reason it should be a problem in the first place. There will always be drivers willing to take service animals. The installation of a simple marker or flag in each driver account indicating a desire to accommodate service animals (or anything else, for that matter, including heavy bags or luggage and wheelchairs, tobacco use, racial or ethnic background, music preferences, intelligence, alcohol, prostitutes, drug addicts, people who stink like corpses, etc.) would solve most driver/rider incompatibility issues.

Everyone could be happy. It's the manifestation of Milton Friedman's "Unanimity vs. conformity" argument in favor of the free market vs. the coercive democracy lorded over by slick, mendacious, manipulative, sociopathic, and above all, uninsightful politicians we must all presently endure.

Instead, the politicians opt for brutal mandates, the equivalent of using a legislative sledge hammer to force square pegs into round holes. It creates nothing less than a social pressure cooker. A war of all against all. It's dumb and it's evil.

It also explains why all socialist regimes eventually descend into chaos and mass murder. If the sledge hammer isn't big enough, try a bigger one. And if that doesn't work, use internment camps, guns, gas chambers, and gulags.

For my part, I have never refused animals in my cab. In fact, they are often preferable to many of my "human" passengers.


Service Animals Forced Agreement

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Most Boring City Council Meeting Ever

Refresh my memory. I seem to recall being able to tune in to the odd City council show back in the 1960's when I was still a kid. We didn't have cable at the time. CHCH was the local channel. Did they broadcast the tomfoolery that was going on at city hall at the time, or am I just imagining it?

What struck me at the time, and this was long before I had any serious political opinions, was how phony all of these politicians were. I could see right through them. They were basically a bunch of actors putting on what had to be the most boring show around. They reminded me of some of the people in my classes at Westwood public school. The ones I couldn't stand. The ones that had picked up on the art of virtue signaling. Today we call them Social Justice Warriors or SJWs.

You know, this edition of the Public Record is more boring than most. That's probably because there is no sound. I mean, how much time is anyone going to spend watching a bunch of people in a room scratch their noses, and walk up and down stairs, and in and out of doors.

The most exciting part I've seen so far is where Maria Pearson reaches across the desk to retrieve an item that is under a piece of paper. She rearranges the paper after retrieving the object, but doesn't seem to do anything with the object after successfully retrieving it. What ever is going on must be REALLY boring, because the guy beside her, I'm guessing it's Lloyd Ferguson, actually allocates a few seconds of his valuable time to turning his head and watching his colleague's fascinating maneuver.

I mean, these people haven't even figured out a creative way to waste time. At least, when I was in high school bored as hell with what was being taught, I used to drum on my desk, trying to mimic In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly. You should have seen my Gr. 10 French book. I covered every inch of it with creative doodles. I knew how to waste fucking time.

There is one thing these politicians are very good at, though. I'll give them that.

It's wasting money.

I'm surprised they haven't actually hired that transgender piss artist to put on a show right outside of those glass doors.

For something completely different, and much less boring, I invite you to view my latest video.

It's about:

  • Uber Drivers Soliciting Cash Fares
  • Mayor Eisenberger Refuses to Apologize
  • Uber Driver Takes Graveyard Shift Too Seriously
  • Hamilton Cab Drivers Say it Plainly
  • Comedy Segment Featuring Fred Eisenberger

Check it out

Uber Driver Tells Young Girl to Meet Him in Graveyard

In this show:

  • Uber Drivers Soliciting Cash Fares
  • Mayor Eisenberger Refuses to Apologize
  • Uber Driver Takes Graveyard Shift Too Seriously
  • Hamilton Cab Drivers Say it Plainly
  • Comedy Segment Featuring Fred Eisenberger

Background Links

Fred Eisenberger Exposed

REPORTED LIST OF INCIDENTS INVOLVING UBER AND LYFT

Friday, November 3, 2017

Satan Lives.

Person A: I like what I see in Person B, but I cannot attempt to make contact with him/her, unless he/she first gives me a verbal indication that they are interested in hooking up.

Person B: I like what I see in Person A, but I cannot attempt to make contact with him/her, unless he/she first gives me a verbal indication that they are interested in hooking up.

In the end, they just walk on by each other for fear of being accused of a transgression..... finally settling on the much safer option of showing interest in someone they would otherwise not be interested in hooking up with, because, if accused of a transgression, they could always fall back upon the argument that they WERE NOT attracted to the person they tried to hook up with.

This is the purest expression of the self-sacrificial, self-immolative, altruist/collectivist morality identified, and condemned, by Ayn Rand.

I think what we are seeing here is the evolution of a code of thinking that has, at its root, exactly that which Rand tried to warn us about.

Hatred of humanity. Hatred of the mind. Hatred of success. And above all, hatred of human happiness.

Oh! And correspondingly, white people, be they atheist, Christian, or Jew, being, arguably, the happiest, most successful people in the history of this planet, must be correspondingly marginalized, vilified, and blamed for all of the planet's wrongs.

Oddly, perhaps, though I am an atheist, this monstrous evil is beginning to persuade me that Satan, does indeed, exist.

What a weird way to become religious.


More News

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

For a while there, Uber seemed to have the whole world hoodwinked…

By Rita Smith

November 2017

This article originally appeared in the Toronto Taxi News. It is reproduced here with permission from the author, Rita Smith.

Rita Smith is a writer and communications consultant whose career was launched at Taxi News almost 30 years ago. She has worked at the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government as well as in multiple roles in media and public relations. Her respect for hard-working cab drivers is endless.


Taxi drivers are owed giant apologies by so many groups, it’s hard to keep track any more.

I have read so many ridiculous, misguided, inaccurate and plain pathetic media articles about Uber in the past four years, I am at risk of becoming inured to the lunacy. I’ve lobbied politicians and pleaded with cops. I’ve debated family members and friends. I’ve pestered media members until they ran away from me.

Their minds are impenetrable; people want so desperately to believe you can get something for nothing, you can’t overcome their magical thinking.

We should never give up thinking skeptically, though, and challenging the lunacy; because what happened to taxi drivers could happen to anyone in any industry. The corruption and massive breach of business and political ethics that have infected the vehicle for hire industry can – and will – affect EVERY industry in future. Uber’s business model and philosophy is a cancer that must be removed from commerce. Cabbies, unfortunately, have been the canaries in the coal mine.

First, it appears that Uber’s terrible, horrible, very bad year was triggered by a blog post published in February by Susan Fowler, a female engineer at Uber. Her treatment was so egregious that her recounting of it set in motion a chain of events that forced CEO Travis Kalanick to resign.

What, you may ask, could possibly have happened to motivate Uber to send Arianna Huffington off on a fact-finding mission and hire former US Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate its toxic culture?

Well, this woman’s boss sent her an online message saying he would like to sleep with her. Instead of replying “F--- you,” or even just “No,” or perhaps taking documentary evidence in the form of a printed chat message to a lawyer, she went to Human Resources, which did not help her. She was sad. She did not quit, though.

The next event, in a display of sexual discrimination so breathtakingly cruel I cry just thinking about it, Uber bought leather jackets for a team of male engineers, but they did not buy any for the women.

I contrast these dire circumstances with those of cab drivers whose stories I have heard over the past four years: one driver I met had his own apartment in spring of 2014. By summer, he was sleeping on a friend’s couch. By fall, he was homeless.

I wish the legal, licensed taxi drivers who’ve had their lives decimated by Uber got even the tiniest percentage of the media attention female engineers get when propositioned or deprived of leather jackets – but nobody cares. Not even Susan Fowler, who is clearly completely comfortable with the thought of wrecking the lives of thousands of law-abiding cab drivers and their families, but doesn’t have the guts to say “no” to a lecherous boss. I am sorry for the pain she was content to cause taxi drivers, and I am sorry we are even the same sex.

Second, cab drivers are owed an apology by technology writers at every outlet that covers Uber. These writers are supposed to be smart and prescient and have their finger on the pulse of all the trends which are going to affect us in the years ahead. In fact, they are so out of touch with business reality that they shouldn’t even be allowed to predict whether VHS VCRs will overtake Betamax, or whether online music shopping might be more popular than vinyl records.

Here’s a quote from a ReCode article on self-driving cars written by Johana Bhuiyan:

“Uber’s future depends greatly on solving self-driving. It’s what will keep the ride-hail company relevant as more automakers produce their own autonomous vehicles. But taking drivers out of the equation would also increase the company’s profits: Self-driving cars give Uber 100 percent of the fare, the company would no longer have to subsidize driver pay and the cars can run nearly 24 hours a day.”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Let’s just skip over the fact that Uber has NEVER turned a profit, and is on track to lose more than $3 billion in 2017.

Uber doesn’t own, or maintain, or insure, ANY cars.

The cars are owned by the drivers, who absorb every dollar of the cost of maintaining them no matter how much or how little revenue they generate.

Imagine what Uber’s bottom line would look like if, in addition to buying leather jackets for female engineers, they also had to purchase, insure and maintain their own cars. And then pay drivers. Uber’s business model is based upon persuading car owners to share their cars with Uber, while those drivers assume 100 percent of the risk of the business. While this appears to be far too futuristic a concept for a tech writer to grasp, P.T. Barnum was able to sum it up succinctly over 100 years ago: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Third, the mainstream media.

There aren’t enough column inches in Taxi News for me to recount the ways in which the mainstream media missed the boat on Uber.

I’ll just focus my comment on one recurring inaccuracy which is repeated in almost every article I read about Uber around the globe (England, Australia, Canada, the US, India and various Asian and African nations): how fairly or unfairly Uber “pays” its drivers.

“Uber doesn’t pay drivers!” I groan every time. “Drivers pay Uber! The driver does all the work, invests all the time, pays all the vehicle maintenance, and gives Uber 25 percent of the money he earns. Without drivers, Uber has nothing. The drivers are Uber’s only source of revenue. Uber doesn’t pay drivers; drivers pay Uber!”

If they don’t understand that, they don’t understand anything about Uber. Why would we trust anything else they report? I am sorry we can no longer trust the mainstream media on much of anything.

Fourth, politicians.

Where to start? The betrayal of the taxi industry by politicians around the globe has been complete, quick and starkly hypocritical.

From John Tory in Toronto to David Cameron in England to Daniel Andrews in Australia, politicians who are either air-headed or corrupt just rolled over backward for Uber, re-writing or eliminating safety standards that have been decades and millions of dollars in the making and shredding the social contract with drivers that supported consumer protection.

Nobody puts it better than Hamilton taxi driver and writer Hans Wienhold:

“All of the most expensive elements of a secure taxi industry were never about safety at all. Now we see clearly that none of these things ever had anything to do with safety: they were just power grabs and cash grabs. No one will ever buy the politicians’ BS again.”

Finally, consumers.

People like cheap, there’s no arguing that.

When Uber first arrived, there was much ado about cartoon cars on cell phone screens and free ice cream and free puppy cuddles and hot women drivers.

Really, though, what it all comes down to is that Uber is cheaper than taxis, and people like cheap.

For the first two years after Uber arrived we read lots of stories about free water and candies in the car and happy grandmothers driving for extra cash.

When the first stories of sexual assault started showing up, a little dark cloud appeared on the horizon.

When an uninsured Uber driver killed a six year old girl in San Francisco, concerns were raised.

When London, England announced they were averaging almost one sexual assault per week and Londoners began referring to Uber as “rape roulette,” things began looking serious.

And then, when a woman in Texas was made a paraplegic in an accident with an uninsured Uber driver, people sat up and took notice.

Back in the day, when I was reading dozens of articles about Uber around the globe as part of my job, I felt some sympathy for these people.

Now, I confess, sympathy has evaporated. Now, when I come across complaints about Uber in my Twitter feed (“My Uber driver refused my service dog! My Uber driver left me at roadside! My Uber driver showed up at my apartment and told me he has feelings for me!”) I tend to reply sarcastically, “But you saved some money, so it’s all good, right?”

I particularly love the fact that there is a campaign underway by some women right now to get security cameras in Uber vehicles….now, consumers want to combine “cheap” with “safe.” They want it all; but as Austin Powers would say, “Some things just aren’t in the cards, baby.”

Sunday, October 29, 2017

professor block  pollutes the universe

Two Ways to go Insane

March 1, 2013

I read another ridiculous article in the Hamilton Spectator (Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013) about the ongoing Two-Way street conversion debate, currently wasting precious ink, which was replete with the usual mental squeeze chute drivel I have come to regard as typical of that particular purveyor of information and ideas.

I was going to write a rant about it and then I remembered that my esteemed colleague, Professor Schnickenkeimskivishenzochung, had already done so.... about 16 years ago.

So, I think I will take a break from ranting for this morning and let Professor Schnickenkeimskivishenzochung have the floor.


(January 1997)

Recent Hamilton Spectator Headline:

Push for two-way streets gains momentum

How Stupid Can People Be! (?)

The downtown core in the city of Hamilton has been declining for some years now.

Take a walk along King Street and you can't miss the depressing sights of the stores and small businesses.... once bustling with commercial activity...now sitting vacant... with no customers... and only ghosts collecting taxes.

Sure, there are a few places still hobbling along, here on King Street.... as the photo (right) shows. But anyone who has lived in Hamilton for a while knows it used to be better.... much better !

Well, have no fear Hamilton, things are going to get better. You see, we have a whole crew of brain surgeon types working on new plans to revitalize the core!


What are some of the ideas these brain surgeon types are coming up with?

In an article in the Hamilton Spectator Ken Peters gives us a great example:

"Hamilton politicians believe a call to make King, James and John two-way streets again is headed in the right direction.

The return of two-way traffic to the three main thoroughfares after nearly 40 years would occur by this summer if a citizens' lobby group has its way. The streets have featured one-way traffic since 1958.

(Italics mine.)

A recently formed Hamilton Downtown Two Way Streets Group won support yesterday from the city's planning and development committee for its proposal.

The group says it may make a case for turning Main Street into a two-way thoroughfare in future.

The move to two-way traffic is expected to create greater traffic congestion in the core, thus creating a more pleasant atmosphere for pedestrians while improving storefront visibility and tourism opportunities."

(Italics mine.)

Well whaddaya think of THAT gem! Two-way traffic is expected to create greater traffic congestion in the core, thus creating a more pleasant atmosphere for pedestrians! Yummy.... all those engines idling away... yup should create a mighty pleasant atmospherefor everyone.

You can just hear Fran calling up her girlfreind Megan to go shopping downtown, "Megan, I just heard the on the radio.... traffic's backed up for miles downtown... it's creating a really pleasant atmosphere for pedestrians. Why don't we go and do some shopping!"

Well, if greater traffic congestion is called for why stop at two-way streets? Why not quit repairing the roads!? Let those potholes proliferate. Imagine what a combination of two-way streets and potholes will do to revitalize the core!

Why, no doubt pedestrians will find the experience so damn pleasant they will begin to have orgasms. Hell, if the potholes don't cause orgasms then a few strategically placed road construction sites with cranes and huge craters should do the trick. Hamilton could become a tourist Mecca what with flowers on the traffic islands and massive, hair ripping, traffic jams in the core.

"I don't know of a successful downtown in the world that isn't congested"

Alderman Marvin Caplan said in voicing his support for the concept.

Let's see if we can expand upon Mr. Caplan's thinking here. Mr. Caplan observes that successful downtowns, at least the ones he knows about, suffer from congestion. He concludes that congestion must be the reason for the success of these downtown areas and happily supports proposals to deliberately create congestion in Hamilton's core! See what I mean about brain surgeons?

I used to go to a lot of Rock concerts back in the 1970's. At every one there were line-ups and crowds of people jostling to get in to see the band. In other words, there was a lot of human congestion. In accordance with Mr. Caplan's thinking we can suppose then, these concerts were not successful because of Pink Floyd or Super Tramp or the Rolling Stones or what have you. No, these concerts were successful because of all the human congestion that occured around them.

"I can think of no successful Rock concert without crowds" we can easily imagine him saying. Clearly then, if the line-ups and crowds were there, even Fishin' Wire Eddy could become a flipping millionaire! This, of course, begs the question, "If we want to make Fishin' Wire Eddy a millionaire how do we attract the crowds?"

"I don't know of a successful downtown in the world that isn't congested" --Marvin Caplan

Create conjestion and everyone will rush downtown to visit places like the ones shown here. These are just a couple of examples of the community which extends

over most of Hamilton's Barton Street. Barton Street never had to worry about losing it's "vitality" due to efficient traffic flow... it has been a two way street all along.


Can anyone guess where Bob "Flower Power" Morrow perches on this issue?

The Spectator says

Mayor Bob Morrow supports the proposal to revert the three streets to two-way traffic.

"I am convinced on the philosophical side and from the nuts-and-bolts side that it makes a whole lot of sense. I think it is one good ingredient to the recovery of the downtown, and this could be a tremendous shot in the arm."

Maybe we can get Hamilton's core to look something like this, (left) section of Barton Street, ey Bob? Just another example of the "Nuts and Bolts" of two way traffic. Perhaps Sheila Baby will turn the "Closed" sign around.

And really.....the philosophical side? Excuse me but is this guy for real? What is the "philosophical" side of this issue? If anyone knows please leave a comment in the box below! I suspect it relates somehow to the fashionable leftist notion that the private automobile is evil and any government action to make driving unpleasant is therefore laudable regardless of whether screwing up traffic revitalizes so much as a single abandoned warehouse.

The Spectator article continues:

"Group member Helen Kirkpatrick, a founding member of the Greater Downtown Development Corp., a defunct advisory group, says the two-way plan has the backing of the Hamilton-Halton Homebuilders Association, Durand Neighbourhood Association, Hamilton Society of Architects and International Village Business Improvement Area. The proposal was a key element of the Hamilton Downtown Ideas Charrette report presented to city council in October by the Hamilton Society of Architects."

Another shot of the vibrant two-way Barton Street (right) leads one to wonder whether any of the members of the groups mentioned above have ever visited a two way street.


Jonathan Diamonds, evidently, is located on a section of Barton Street that was not sufficiently congested even though traffic does indeed travel in both directions in front of it. Perhaps the owner should have requested a stop sign in front of his property. Or maybe he should have hired a fake road construction crew to hang around out front having coffee breaks after digging a gaping hole in the road. Surely then a whole army of frustrated drivers would jump out of their cars to take advantage of the pleasant atmosphere for pedestrians thus created... and they'd also be overcome by a sudden urge to do some shopping, no doubt!


Ms Kirkpatrick said civic politicians must choose whether they want the core to be a street-friendly place or a thoroughfare for quick-moving vehicular traffic. "It comes down to a choice. Are our people a priority or are cars a priority?"

What the heck is "street friendly" supposed to mean? It's probably just another Spec typo. She probably said "people friendly." Who cares... it's a load of hogwash anyway.

It really does seem as though everyone who advocates a return to two-way traffic clog suffers from mental caplitis (irritation of the caplan wrought by inflamation of the colon). Ms. Kirkpatrick clearly sees quick-moving traffic and "street-friendliness" or "people friendliness" as mutually exclusive values. Slow traffic down, she seems to believe, and hoards of happy pedestrians will suddenly descend upon the core and start buying stuff.

The boards will come off the storefronts and the bums will find other hangouts as everyone rushes from Limeridge Mall, Eastgate Mall, the hundreds (thousands and counting?) of new establishments on the mountain and in surrounding communities.... as everyone rushes from these places into the core of Hamilton to take advantage of the pleasant atmosphere for pedestrians created by traffic hell!

"It comes down to a choice. Are our people a priority or are cars a priority?" -- Helen Kirkpatrick

"We see this proposal as not an end point but part of the beginning to the revitalization of the downtown."

Yeh right.... as the pictures here clearly show... the "revitalization" of Barton street started eons ago. I guess they forgot to go to the next step. Or maybe they would be satisfied with that vibrant community in the photo... the one in the black hat... taking advantage of the pleasant atmosphere and "street friendliness" here on one of Hamilton's longest two-way streets.


What's the next bright idea? A "Johnny on the Spot" on every corner?

You should be be able to find more reports on the two way street issue by visiting the Hamilton Spectator Home Page

And remember, if you get stuck in some horrendous traffic snarl in Hamilton next summer, just get out of your car as fast as you can. The sooner you become a pedestrian the sooner you will benefit from the pleasant atmosphere . That is, if you can find a place to park that doesn't cause an unpleasant atmosphere in your wallet....


Update

Further foolishness from City Hall....

Taxpayers ought to cringe as of this date (September 2005) since construction has now started on the conversion of James and John Streets, south of main to two way traffic.

It is well known these days that many Hamiltonian's incomes have remained static for over a decade. Hamilton's cab drivers are making less than ever even in dollar terms without inflation adjustment.

Woe to the poor soul whose life may depend upon seconds as the ambulance attempts to access St. Joeseph's Hospital emergency once the desired two-way gridlock has been accomplished. Mencken was so right.

Yet Hamilton's politicians remain committed to a monumentally stupid campaign of two way street conversion, a politically motivated but utterly hairbrained scheme which involves the squandering of MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars. All of this is happening while property taxes continue a never ending skyward trajectory.

It is time for Hamiltonian's to demand that the scope for municipal political action be seriously curtailed. Unfortunately, politicians presently have far too much local decision making leverage. Since they are spending money which is not their own, and therefore of little or no cost to them if the money is simply wasted, there is little incentive for truly prudent action.

If the local government were somehow constitutionally limited to picking up the trash and fixing potholes, instead of indulging their flights of fancy at taxpayer expense, they might even be able, though not without difficulty (given the evidence on our streets at present), to actually achieve some measure of competence in these very mundane, yet important, tasks.



last modified:Sunday, October 29, 2017

Read about the latest round of vandalism on Bay St perpetrated by Hamilton City Hall and its lobbyists.


 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Why did the Chicken Not Cross the Road?

City of Hamilton goes Full Steam Ahead with its Obstruction of Traffic Agenda.

The buzz amongst Hamilton's cabbies last week was all about the new traffic obstructions the city has installed on Bay St. from Aberdeen Ave. down to Stuart St. A distance of 2.3 Kilometers has now been half decommissioned by the local government, led by local pot dispensary kingpin, and Burgermeister, Fred.

It usually came in the form of a question, "Have you seen what they've done to Bay Street?" followed by a rolling of the eyes and some rather profane comments about the quality of leadership in this city.

One driver stated that from now on, he will try to avoid Bay St. at all costs. In other words, he will join other drivers in clogging up the remaining arteries, and capillaries, of the city. This will increase the risks to Hamilton's more sensible cyclists who stick to the alleys and side-streets, trying to avoid taking their lives into their hands by obstructing streets that were designed for cars, back when Hamilton was "The Ambitious City."

Warms my heart.

The Burgermeister said, "It warms my Dutch heart." He's probably pining for a simpler age of windmills and wooden shoes, as are most other advocates of a return to pre-industrial living.

As with his claim that the city's sell-out to the Uber corporation was accomplished with "the backing of the taxi industry," the Burgermeister played fast and loose with the truth again.

"It doesn't cost any money," he said, with a straight face, ignoring the fact that it wasted about $295,000 that the Ontario government borrowed, then gave to the city to be pissed away on this mind-boggling horseshit, not to mention the wasted time and fuel imposed on Hamilton's more serious residents who have real jobs, and are just trying to get to work.

His second statement was even more ridiculous. It "doesn't pollute the air."

If he is not aware of the fact, someone should inform the Burgermeister about the invisible stuff that comes out of automobile tailpipes.

  • carbon monoxide
  • hydrocarbons
  • nitrogen oxides (NOx).
  • Particulate matter -- small particles of foreign substances -- in the air contribute to atmospheric haze and can damage people’s lungs.

It also wastes fuel.

The creation of vehicle exclusion zones (VEZs) on city streets creates unnecessary idling which increases the amount of pollution.

Duh!

Finally, the Burgermeister says "I get exercise." WTF! Is he too cheap to buy a fitness club membership? He'd rather waste the money borrowed from Ontario's children?

And besides, I very much doubt that Fred will actually ever make much use of these VEZs, at least not outside the hours of 3:00 A.M. to 5:00 A.M., when the odds of him getting angry looks, curses, and middle finger salutes from frustrated drivers stuck in the artificial muck he so enthusiastically supports are lowest.

I have yet to see him traversing any of the other VEZs. Maybe he disguises himself as a crackhead, with a fake Appalachian beard and some Swastika tattoos, in a tattered denim jacket, on a stolen bike, so he'll fit right in with the other three guys who actually use those lanes.

Still, he does make the claim that he is, "all about that," so if anyone sees him using one of these VEZs, please let us all know by leaving a comment below.

"The bike in front of you or beside you is the car that isn't"

says that McWynne government bonehead, Ontario Minister of Tourism, and Culture and Sport, Eleanor McMahon.

That car that now isn't beside you is now in front of you, you idiot! Idling and spewing legislatively mandated effluent into the neighboring homes and apartments. And the bike that is blocking the car in front of you isn't reducing the number of cars on the road either. It's just fucking up traffic.

To make matters worse, the odds that you will see a bike beside you in the VEZ, while you are idling away, are pretty slim.

But a cyclist heading south is basically screwed.

You just know that you come from a different generation when you read this complaint from prominent bicycle supremacist and autophobe, Ryan McGreal. (Raise the Hammer.) His motto should be "Make Hamilton Primitive Again."

It turns out that Mr. McGreal is not happy about the new VEZs.

"The inevitable frequent presence of parked vehicles blocking the Bay Street lanes will act as a serious deterrent to a great many people who might otherwise be willing to use them."

Really?

A serious deterrent?

One of his sycophants sent him a couple of photographs of vehicles parked in the bike lanes. According to Mr. McGreal, "These trucks blocking the bike lane are bad enough for a cyclist traveling north on Bay, who can at least veer out into the adjacent driving lane to pass around them. But a cyclist heading south is basically screwed."

"Basically screwed," he says.

I was born in the 1950's and rode my bicycle all over Hamilton in the 60's and 70's. Whenever I encountered a parked vehicle blocking my path, I rarely, well actually never, felt "screwed." I just went around it. I think my generation had a gift that seems to have been bred, or "educated" out of successive generations. If they don't have some government signs or lines on the road giving them guidance they freeze in terror.

How sad.

This could also lead to a situation where the left starts eating itself. How would Mr. McGreal and his sycophants react if the vehicle blocking their barrier-free access to the VEZ is a wheelchair taxi? Who's right to barrier-free access to transportation takes priority?

Should the wheelchair van attempt to park across the street, forcing the passenger to cross over? Should the wheelchair van park in the thru lane, blocking northbound traffic and risking being rear-ended by a bike-lane addled driver distracted by checking the bike lane beside him to confirm that the empty space he sees beside him is a car that isn't a wheelchair taxi?

Oops.

Crash!

I know. The wise politicians of Hamilton will come up with a perfect solution. They will mandate that arrows be painted on the sidewalks instructing wheelchair users to congregate in specially designated wheelchair pickup zones.

Or maybe they will just add a third VEZ, between the traffic and the bike lanes. I have already seen numerous incidences of wheelchair users impeding bicycle traffic on Cannon St. I am not aware of any complaints about that, so far, from McGreal et. al.

You know, I really wonder about Mr. McGreal sometimes. Canada is a very big country. Only a tiny percentage of its land is occupied by modern environments. There is so much auto-free territory in this country where he could move to without ever having to be insulted by the image of a parked moving truck or wheelchair van. Why doesn't he just move?

Why, instead, is he so insistent that everyone else be forced to confirm to his preferences?

This whole issue isn't about cleaner air, or healthier transportation options. It's about political power and leverage.


Hamilton Politician's "Vision" for the Future

Something I wrote about 20 years ago when all of this street vandalism was adopted by the local political elites.

Two Ways to go Insane

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Uncle Block's Bullshit Detection Service - Week in Review

This weeks edition is titled,

Breaking Wind

October 22, 2017.

Features

  • Uber Drivers are being ripped off
  • Road Vandalism Leading to Traffic Chaos, Delays
  • Hamilton B├╝rgermeister Drug Connection

Uber Drivers are Being Ripped Off

What else is new?

Some would argue that the Uber phenomenon is how "free markets" work. I have dealt extensively with the spurious "free market" arguments in defence of Uber elsewhere so I will not re-hash them here.

What we have now, and Hamilton, Ontario, is a perfect example of this, a regulated market in which the rules have been changed to tilt the playing field in favour of profits for Uber and its wealthy investors.

The govenment of Hamilton has created a two-tiered taxi regulatory system. One set of rules for Uber. Another set of rules for everyone else.

From the beginning, I have stated that I would never drive a cab for Uber. Not only was I, perhaps, the only Uber applicant in Ontario that did not receive a "welcome" message from Uber, they even blocked me on Twitter.

I guess they didn't want other people to see what I had to say about them.

There has been a lot of debate amongst the non-exempt taxi drivers who queue up at Hamilton's Bus Terminal for fares, only to sit idle for hours at a time, while the Uber taxi company whizzes in and out scooping up the business they once had.

The debate often centers around whether Uber drivers are actually making any money by converting "assets they already own" (in Tim Hudak's famous words,) into cash. (the so-called, "sharing economy." I call it the "garage sale" economy.)

Think about it. The same slogan could be used by any pawn shop.

And while it might not be a bad idea to rent out your driveway while you are not using it, using your own car as a taxicab actually incurs costs. Significant costs.

As part of my exploration of the Uber phenomenon I have tried to put numbers around Uber driver earnings to determine whether they are actually making any money, as opposed to being treated as total suckers.

My tentative conclusion, up to this point, is that Uber drivers are being screwed. And they are not being screwed by Uber as much as they are being screwed by the politicians who caved in to Uber's demands for a two-tiered taxi bylaw system that is skewed in favour of Uber..

I have thrown some numbers together, based upon Uber's own published tarrif rate for Hamilton, Ontario.

BaseFare$2.50
Per minute $0.15
Per Km.$0.90
Booking fee $2.80
Minimum Fare $5.30
Cancellation fee $5.00

Sample Calculation

An Uber taxi ride from 30 Arkledun to 100 Main St. E.

Distance 1.1 Km

Minimum Fare via Uber

Base Fare $2.50
Booking fee $2.80
Per Km (1.1X.9) $0.99
Total Fare $6.29 not including time

Driver's Share

75% base fare $1.88
75% Km $0.74
Driver earns $2.62

Uber gets $3.67

Actual driver % 42.00%

General Estimates based on Km.

Note: For the purposes of this analysis I exclude any calculations for the $.15 per minute time charges. Therefore, my calculations represent the absolute minimum Uber taxi fare.

Distance (km) Booking fee Base fare Km. charge Total Fare Driver gets Uber gets Actual Driver % Actual Uber %
1 $2.80 $2.50 $0.90 $6.20 $2.55 $3.65 41.13% 58.87%
2 $2.80 $2.50 $1.80 $7.10 $3.23 $3.88 45.42% 54.58%
3 $2.80 $2.50 $2.70 $8.00 $3.90 $4.10 48.75% 51.25%
4 $2.80 $2.50 $3.60 $8.90 $4.58 $4.33 51.40% 48.60%
5 $2.80 $2.50 $4.50 $9.80 $5.25 $4.55 53.57% 46.43%
10 $2.80 $2.50 $9.00 $14.30 $8.63 $5.68 60.31% 39.69%
20 $2.80 $2.50 $18.00 $23.30 $15.38 $7.93 65.99% 34.01%
50 $2.80 $2.50 $45.00 $50.30 $35.63 $14.68 70.83% 29.17%
100 $2.80 $2.50 $90.00 $95.30 $69.38 $25.93 72.80% 27.20%

You have to wonder why so many Uber cabbies are willing to sign on to such a rotten deal.

"We connect riders with drivers," Uber Toronto general manager Ian Black told CTV News. "They're simply using our technology to connect."

Okay. So that explains the $2.80 booking fee. So once connected, where does Uber get off in claiming a further 25% of the drivers earnings?

Clearly, there is something very stinky going on in the land of ├╝ber alles.


Other Uber News

Sadly, the impact of Hamilton's pro-Uber tilting of the playing field is driving veteran drivers away from the non-exempt taxi sector. Their replacements are just as bad as the Uber drivers. As taxi driver quality ratchets downward, people will perceive Uber as superior.

Why I like taxis better than Uber: Teitel

I give it three to five years before Hamilton's non-exempt taxi brokerages, Hamilton Cab and Blue Line, are reduced to something like Yellow Cab was before it was absorbed.

Uber will have acquired most of the ODSP, hospital, school, and business contracts. I'm surprised they have not already done this.

The non-exempt taxi brokerages will each be reduced to about thirty or forty cabs in their fleets, serving mostly prostitutes, drug adicts, the homeless, the mentally ill, some impecunious seniors and disabled people, and anyone else who lacks a smartphone and "credit card privilege."

The trends are unmistakable. The market has been rigged.

Don't blame Uber. They are just one of many taxi brokerages trying to get one over on the competition. It's always been a cut-throat business.

Blame the politicians for their cowardice, lack of insight, and/or negligence.

Uber should be laughing all the way to the bank.

Parking Problem on Hunter St.

A few years ago, a concerned Hamilton citizen wrote a letter to the Spec. complaining about all of the idle taxis parked at the meters on Hunter St. east of John St.

Of course, as members of the public tend to do, he blamed this annoyance on the taxi drivers, rather than City Hall. Had he been perhaps a little more economically literate, he would have been asking why there was such a vast surplus of taxis in Hamilton, indeed, why were so many cabs sitting idle instead of doing what taxicabs are supposed to be doing.... which is, driving people around?

But it was obvious from the text of his complaint, that he was more like the typical, government-educated, Canadian, who simply reacts to current sensory stimulii, like a cat or a dog or a housefly would, without any questioning of what might have preceded, or caused, this state of affairs.

Anyway, it's somewhat delicious irony to observe of late, that it is not only non-exempt taxicabs that are using up all of the parking spots on Hunter St. E. They have now been joined by a growing number of Uber cabs!

There are almost no spaces left for other members of the public to park.

And of course, you know who will get the blame the next time someone complains? Not the privileged Uber cabs. They are hardly visible, even the few that have the stickers in the windows. Nope. It will be the clearly-marked, non-exempt taxicabs that get the blame.

Again.

Uber Now Juicing Drivers Who Bribe Dispatch

For anyone unfamiliar with the terminology, in the taxi business "juicing" is the almost ubiquitous practice whereby dispatchers show favouritism toward certain drivers in the allocation of trip orders. The favoured drivers are unfairly given the more lucrative runs to airports and out of town destinations, while the non-favoured drivers are left with the short grocery trips and fold-up wheelchair, etc. trips that tend to be shorter, more time-consuming runs.

Sometimes the drivers being "juiced" are family, or personal friends of the dispatchers. At other times, the dispatchers will accept bribes in the form of cash, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, (sex?) and such from certain drivers in exchange for the juice.

Well, lo and behold, Uber is now experimenting with embedding the ancient juicing practice into it's alledgedly "innovative" business model.

Meet your new taxi broker, same as the old taxi broker. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Uber asks drivers to pay $115 for a shot at extra Halloween earnings

Also of interest:

From 27 March 2017,

This Uber Story Made James O'Brien "Sick To His Stomach"


Vandals Attack Bay St.

As the week passed, reports started to trickle in about Hamilton's Bay St. The usually smooth-running, One-Way street had been seriously disrupted. Drivers complained of having to stop at every signalled intersection for periods of unnecessary idling, and of drivers honking their horns and yelling at each other in anger. One driver reported seeing a motorist exiting his vehicle to kick an adjacent car. Apparently, vandals had reduced the road to a single passable lane.

I wondered who could be behind this disruption in civilized automobile travel. Could it be ANTIFA? BLM? ISIS?

So I decided to investigate the problem myself. Imagine my surprise to discover that the instigator of all of this chaos and ire were none other than the government of the City of Hamilton.

The worst part of the street is the area adjacent to City Hall. In my minds eye, I can imagine the politicians watching from the windows and snickering amongst themselves as they admire their handiwork. "Look at those freaking idiots. They actually think we are trying to save the planet!"

It reminds me of one of the pranks my friends and I used to pull back when we were about twelve. Garth Street south of Mohawk Road had not yet been paved. Construction had started on the new houses south and west of Mohawk and Garth. We started out by putting these one-by-one strips of wood we found in the work sites across the road. We would hide in the half-built homes and giggle as we watched the south-bound cars drive over these things. When that got boring we resorted to laying two-by-fours across the road, or by blocking the road with those construction barriers with the kerosene lanterns.

We knew that if we got caught, we would have been in deep shit. We might even find ourselves being interogated by the notorious G.L. C**per, the strap-happy warden of the public institutions we were mandated to attend. At the time, it would never have occured to us to argue in our defense that we were merely trying to make Garth Street more "pedestrian friendly" by experimenting with "visionary" "complete streets" ideologies.

I thought of sending an urgent request to our Prime Minister for some disaster relief, but then I realized that he is just another enthusiastic supporter of the whole scam. I realized I would probably have a better chance if I were to Tweet an aid request to @realDonaldTrump.

On Saturday afternoon (Oct. 21, 2017,) I decided to visit the disaster zone to survey the damage. Keep in mind that my report was filmed on a Saturday afternoon at about 3:00 P.M. The situation will, no doubt, be much, much worse during those times when Hamilton's adults are trying to get to work.

Oh, just a last minute thought for you to ponder as you watch the report. Prior to designating the left lane as a "No Driving" area, my habit has always been to shift to the left lane to leave as much room as possible between my car and the cars parked on the right. I felt a slight discomfort as I drove down this road this afternoon, but I did not immediately identify the source of my discomfort,

until now, as I review the video. I wanted to shift into the left lane but could not.

The idea behind this maneuver is to minimize the possibility of hitting a child, or other pedestrian, who might suddenly come darting out from between the parked cars. Now that cars have been banned from using the left lane, this minor safety precaution is no longer available. (This BS is supposed to make the streets safer? Doesn't it really suggest to you that the people behind this BS are really a bunch of bone-heads?)

Here is my report:


Hamilton's B├╝rgermeister Implicated in Drug Trafficking Ring

A few years ago I was driving an elderly woman home in my taxi. During the ride she said to me, "I didn't know councilor Lloyd Ferguson was in the taxi business!" (EEWWW! - how icky.) I could tell by the tone of her remark that the councilor had been demoted in her mind from his position of prior respectability to something akin to skid row alcoholic covered in vomit as a result of this shocking (to her) revelation.

Today, I can't help but wonder if the nice old lady is still alive, how she would react to the news that Hamilton's B├╝rgermeister is a kingpin in one of the local drug trafficking rings. I think the news could be fatal to the poor woman.

Breaking Wind

Conclusion

This week's conclusion from Uncle Block's Bullshit Detection Report for the week ending October 21, 2017 is this:

Attention members of the public. Your political representatives are shitting all over you and telling you that you should like the smell.

Gerald Celente distills it:


Some background into the root causes of the rampant removal of road space in Hamilton as part of the continuing effort to de-normalize private vehicle ownership. That is one of the early steps.

Step 2

Denormalize the Western standard of living.

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