And now ... Quick Hits

Double standard: Ford CEO Jim Hackett told a Michigan business audience that “women tell the truth” more than men when it comes to apprehension over driverless cars. Imagine the hullabaloo if he had said the opposite? – 10/11/17

What took them so long? The feds finally got around to designating Windsor a foreign trade zone - the eighth such region - despite the fact we have one quarter of all trade between Canada and the US.- 1/8/17

How to offend locals: In launching a new cross-border advertising campaign BIA rep Greg Plante called Windsor “a great suburb of Detroit.”– 18/7/17

Space age People Mover: Detroit mayoral candidate Coleman Young Jr. is proposing two-person pod SkyTran that uses electromagnetic power for personal rapid transit. – 12/7/17

No sense of humour: Authorities in St. Marys were not impressed after an Animal House type prank where students sent four piglets scurrying through school halls and assembly, eliciting criticism for “bullying” the animals. – 4/7/17

Canada’s safety net fails: Upset to pay for hospital parking local citizen Larry Robert says: “Health care is free by the government, but it’s not free to park.” -24/6/17

Land of the absurd: Ontario will spend $45 billion to save ratepayers $24 billion on electricity bills, watchdog says. - 25/5/17

Commie to capitalist: Andy Warhol’s image of Chairman Mao, deceased leader of the great Chinese poverty-stricken oppressed masses, recently sold for US$12.6 million. – 7/4/17

Only in Ottawa: The Liberal government is considering eliminating House of Commons' sittings on Fridays so as to be "family-friendly" for MPs with kids. - 22/3/17

What took so long? The litigious Ambassador Bridge company has filed suit against it carrying hazmat, regulations that have existed for decades. – 23/2/17

Irony: University of California, Berkeley, home of the 1960's Free Speech Movement (FSM), this week cancelled a speech by high profile right-wing speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, amidst violent riots against the speaker. – 3/2/17

You can't make this up: Abi Roach (surely not her real name?) is the representative for the Cannabis Friendly Business Association. - 1/12/16

You snooze, you lose: Sleep-deprived Derek Callaghan got a rude awakening this week when Windsor police found him slumped over the wheel of his automobile and, upon closer inspection, also allegedly found a huge cache of drugs. – 21/10/16

Teacher, teach yourself: The University of Michigan is embarking on a wide-ranging program to connect university studies to poverty issues and groups, when its average tuition is $29,000 for in-state students and $60,000 for out-of-state students. – 6/10/16

Water water everywhere: Windsor Enwin employees like drinking commercial bottled water when their own utility is recognized as having the best tasting water in Ontario. -15/9/16

Back to the future: The company that put the world on motorized wheels, Ford, is partnering with Motivate, a bicycle-sharing company. - 10/9/16

Snakes are people too: Jenny Pearce, owner of Sciensational Sssnakes of Guelph, compared negative attitudes by humans towards the slithering reptiles as being like “chauvinism or racism.” - 19/7/16

Out of a job yet? Keep buying…: reports that the top five vehicles with the most American content are, wait for it, Toyota and Honda. – 30/6/16

Insert joke here: Canada Post is considering using drones to deliver the mail. – 24/6/16

Still a handout: "When I use a word," said Humpty Dumpty, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less." Premier Kathleen Wynne explained an $85 million grant to FCA is not corporate welfare but an example of “partnerships.” – 16/6/16

Oppression is good: Uber, which just received a $3.5 billion investment from Saudi Arabia, says introducing the ridesharing service in the misogynistic country, where women are not permitted to drive, is good, because it will at least help get them around. -2/6/16

No names: Our area suffers from badly-named projects. First it was the Herb Gray Parkway, then the Gordie Howe Intl. Bridge, and now the Little Ceasars Arena, new home of the Red Wings. - 28/4/16

Dubious distinctions: The Herb Gray Parkway is the most expensive 11 km highway in Ontario history while the EC Row Expressway was the shortest freeway that took the longest time to build. – 21/4/16

Quote of the week: Little did they know but when the NDP put forward its recent Leap manifesto it could be mocked, as BC premier Christy Clark did, as Communist China’s 1950’s “Great Leap Forward” in which as many as 40 million died. – 15/4/16

Bald racism: Toronto Black Lives Matter co-founder Yusra Khogali tweeted: “Plz Allah give me the strength not to cuss/kill these men and white folks out here today.” – 11/4/16

Thanks Europe: One million refugees from the strife torn Middle East have been welcomed on the continent yet two major terrorist attacks have targeted European cities in the past five months. – 23/3/16

Slum landlord: None other than the federal government, which owns the long dilapidated and hoarded-up Paul Martin Building and the grossly deteriorating Amherstburg Boblo dock. – 22/3/16

Corporate jargon: Right up there with “sanitary engineer” comes “delivery agent,” Canada Post’s term for the person who delivers your mail. - 9/3/16

Cliche revived: With the province's Innovation Supercorridor announcement, once again it proves that the province does end at London. - 3/3/16

Taxi or Uber: The alternative for unreasonable Windsor parents who want door to door school bus pick up for their little darlings, afraid kiddies will have to walk a few blocks to the nearest bus stop. – 25/2/16

Hot air: According to the UN, Canada’s contingent at the recent Paris climate summit saw more than 380 politicians and bureaucrats make the trip, triple those sent by the US and quadruple the number from the UK. - 4/2/16

Dumb-dee-dumb-dumb: With temperatures around or well above the freezing mark this past weekend rescue crews in Michigan had to pull six vehicles out of Lake St. Clair that had fallen through the weak ice. – 2/2/16

Detroit disconnect: Detroit schools are falling apart with rodents in the halls, buckling floors, missing ceiling tiles and wild fluctuations in temperature. And the Detroit Tigers just signed free agent Justin Upton to a six-year $132 million contract. – 22/1/16

Minivan sex: Fiat Chrysler design chief Ralph Gillies says the new Pacifica minivan is so sexy, ”Even single guys can get laid in this.” – 11/1/16

Quick, we need another angle: The Michigan State Spartans’ last regular season game was Dec. 5. Their next game, the Cotton Bowl, is Dec. 31. Virtually every day since then the Detroit Free Press, and likely other Michigan media, have had a story about the football team. -21/12/15

Seeing the light: The WindsorEssex Economic Development Corp. turned a reporter away because its agenda was mixed with private and public items, then realized it could simply divide the agenda into public and private sessions. And we wonder why it hasn’t lured investment here. – 14/12/15

It’s a joke: Big city men’s retailer Harry Rosen had to apologize for a flyer showing the Trumpster saying, “If not for Harry’s private sale, I’d wall off Canada, too.” - 1/12/15

Blaming the victim: In Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Quebec, a business that has been the target of graffiti vandals, has been issued 47 tickets by the municipality to clean up the graffiti or face a fine of more than $7000. - 25/11/15

Boo!: "Voting isn't as scary as some of us think it is," said Nicholas Hyatt of a local "Ninja" campaign to get coddled Millennials out to vote. - 15/10/15

Now that's some ignorance: Hamilton NDP candidate and school board trustee Alex Johnstone this week admitted she "didn’t know what Auschwitz was, or I didn’t up until today.” -25/9/15

Back to the future: Essex County CAO Brian Gregg says it’s about time the county modernized itself with a new communications position and “come into the 20th century.” Thanks goodness for analogue technology. - 8/9/15

True (un)believer: Gretta Vosper, a Toronto-area ordained minister of the United Church of Canada, says she doesn’t believe in God or the Bible. - 13/8/15

High anxiety: With hackers invading the website, thousands of Ashley Madison customers, which sets up extramarital couplings, are worried their spouses will find they’ve enrolled to have affairs. - 22/7/15

Cutting off the nose to spite the face: The result of last Sunday's referendum in Greece. - 7/7/15

Who knew? More than 10 years in the making, one of Canada's most significant highway projects, fraught with controversy, a total disruption and realignment of Windsor's west side, and years of eye candy for construction enthusiasts - and the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway opens last week - and hardly anybody noticed. 1/7/15

First Lady’s sexism: Michelle O. said to students in the UK: “You know our sons are important, we love men, we all do, they’re good, they’re useful.” (Italics added.) - 16/6/15

Cross-cultural (mis)understanding: Two bewildered Canadian trekkers are in deep doo-doo for allegedly stripping nude atop Malaysia's Mount Kinabulu, angering the mountain’s sacred spirit, resulting in a 6.0 magnitude earthquake. - 10/6/15

Have to get to know him: “He’s an incredibly charismatic man when you have that opportunity to meet him." - newly minted Windsor-Tecumseh Conservative candidate Jo-Anne Gignac about PM Stephen Harper. - 14/5/15

There’s a sucker born…: Local graphic artist Thom Malone has already raised more than $22,000 to create a four acre photo mosaic featuring the image of Hollywood actor Nicolas Cage; site still undetermined. - 14/4/15

Just asking: In a story that drew international attention Detroit factory worker James Robertson walked 21 miles to and from work each day for years because of shoddy bus service. But did he ever consider using a bike? - 15/2/15

Dumb (def.): People who complain that snowplows throw fresh snow on to their shovelled driveways. Where else is it supposed to go? - 11/2/15

Missed the....: Yes, this is an easy one, but what can you expect for an unprecedented US retailer's bailing from Canada? - 6/2/15

Wink wink: Canada's Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said she had no choice but to present a citizen's petition to Parliament alleging the Sept. 11 attacks were a government conspiracy. - 5/12/14

None dare call it Christmas: With downtown Windsor's "Winter" Fest and "Holiday" Parade, CPR's "Holiday" Train, and Mackenzie Hall's "Holiday" Tree, it's almost shocking that there is still a Windsor "Santa Claus" Parade. - 4/12/14

Racism redux: The shooting in Ferguson Mo might indeed have been racially-motivated (though a grand jury found not). But isn’t assuming it’s racist simply racism in return? – 1/12/14

Unscheduled: Leave it to Amherstburg, notorious for incompetent management, to publish a municipal calendar highlighting yard waste drop off days. Problem: the town cancelled the drop offs after the calendar was published. – 19/11/14

Gall (definition): Citing artistic ownership, a Montreal graffiti artist is suing the French CBC for capturing on film his illegally sprayed graffiti, demanding $45K. – 29/7/14

More recalls please: GM’s US sales actually increased last month by one per cent despite months of recalls, something analysts suggest is because motorists are drawn into showrooms while they get their cars repaired. – 15/7/14

Not very feminist (2): The Windsor Professional Firefighters' Association, for a union, didn't seem very progressive this week when it chose to hold a press conference at the Caboto Club, which doesn’t allow women to vote on its operations. – 3/7/14

Not very feminist: Windsor West’s newly minted New Democrat MPP Lisa Gretzky made her first misstep when she selected the Caboto Club, which doesn’t allow women to vote on its operations, for her election victory party. – 13/6/14

Bumper sticker: With GM now having recalled 15.2 mil vehicles it brings to mind an old Mad magazine tourist sticker:" I VISITED DETROIT" the sticker says in bold print but upon closer look -in large & small print: "I stayed home while my car VISITED DETROIT on recall." - 21/5/14

Latest therapeutic buzzword: "Street involved" says Lady Laforet in announcing the closure of a Drouillard Rd. drop-in centre for, well, street women. - 16/5/14

Boring city: Alleged Heartbleed virus attacker charged - so something interesting does happen in London Ontario after all. - 17/4/14

Media overboard: Case in point - coverage of the unfortunate death of former federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty - 14/4/14

Quote of the year: “We’re wary of executive compensation in the public sector.” So spoke newly minted Hydro One chair Sandra Pupatello, who will earn $150K. That’s on top of her $160K as honcho of the WindsorEssex development corp. – 20/3/14

Not very educated: The public school board wants to rename a school because it will have the word "freedom" in it and therefore confuse people with another school with the same word in it.- 18/2/14

Alphabetical order: Why is the corporate name Fiat Chrysler and not Chrysler Fiat? - 12/2/14

Duh, did you have to ask? Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the AK-47 assault rifle used over the past century by hundreds of thousands of soldiers, insurgents, terrorists and armed guerrillas, before his recent death wrote the Russia Greek Orthodox Church, asking “if my assault rifle took people’s lives.” – 14/1/14

Oh, the irony: Passengers aboard a research vessel exploring global warming in the Antarctic, after more than a week stuck in massive pack ice, are finally rescued. - 3/1/14

(Very) away in a manger: Forget the debate over whether it should be “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas.” From the popular culture you’d never know what the source of Christmas is to begin with. – 17/12/13

Gobbled-up: Now that Canucks have copied Americans with Black Friday sales all we need to be consistent with US Thanksgiving envy is move Canada’s turkey day to the fourth Thursday in November. – 1/12/13

And Mussolini made the trains run on time: Liberal leader Justin Trudeau spoke of the "admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say ‘we need to go green fastest ... we need to start investing in solar.’ ” - 12/11/13

Warning - big spender: Ward 7 byelection candidate Laurie Komon wants not just bike lanes that are painted on the road but honest to goodness separate bike paths. – 27/10/13

That's telling them: Former Finance Minister Dwight Duncan mocks his legislature interrogators over the government’s $1 billion gas plant scandal by scoffing that the hearing is hardly on TV anymore. “Ask me another question, for all 10 people who are watching it.” - 25/10/13

Popular delusions?: After a spate of reports, interesting how there have been no sightings in recent months about the infamous alleged cougar stalking the fields of Essex County. Nor has there been a peep about the great Windsor Hum. - 15/10/13

Keep buying foreign: The Ram van, once made in Windsor, is now being made in Saltillo Mexico. Chrysler yesterday dedicated the new $1.1 B plant which began making the Ram ProMaster in July. - 11/10/13

Please don't go: The Ont. government is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to the top brass of the upcoming Pan American Games - double the salary in the case of the CEO - as an incentive not to quit before the Games open. - 11/10/13.

Just asking: In an era of sex role equality why is Liberal leader Justin Trudeau known only by his singular last name while his wife's name is Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau? - 21/8/13

Once a freeloader: The allegations that two federal senators – Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin – have been feeding at the taxpayers’ trough shouldn't be surprising. Journalists – as these two were – are notorious for mooching at, say, press events where the more free grub the better. – 24/7/13

Bad Baldwin: Movie star Alec Baldwin just can’t suppress his rage, this time offending gay people everywhere by calling a Daily Mail reporter a “toxic little queen” and “lying little bitch,” and suggesting he would enjoy forcible sodomy. – 3/7/13

Garbage credits: You’ve heard of carbon credits. Lakeshore Deputy Mayor Al Fazio doesn't want garbage bag limits when some of us are less wasteful than others - your four bags for my one bag.– 27/6/13

Kind of blue: Those complaining about the big blue wall of the new Windsor aquatic centre, negativists that they are, really do need to get a life, or should that be, dive into the swim of things. - 4/6/13

Bottoms up: An LCBO strike in the offing? Another reason to privatize the world's greatest liquor monopoly. Many will drink to that. - 13/5/13

Boston cops: The fact they couldn't find the terrorist under the canopy in the backyard shows they really "missed the boat!" - 2/5/13

The travel elite: Former PC cabinet minister Bev Oda resigned after revelations she upgraded to a $600 London hotel room and drank $16 OJ. US vice president Joe Biden’s entourage recently charged almost $500K for a night in London and $600K for one in Paris. – 12/4/13

So that’s the problem: Now we know what has caused years of Detroit mayhem and strife. It’s a mysterious creature known as the Nain Rouge or Red Devil. It has haunted the D for years. An annual march this weekend aims to banish it from, among other places, the steaming ethers below Detroit's streets. – 21/3/13

Tattoo you: Police forces everywhere must be smiling at the skin tattoo craze. After all, now they have permanent identifiable marks to track down alleged perpetrators. - 11/3/13

Railroaded: It might be harder for Canada's national railway, Via Rail, to drum up business when federal senators, who live less than two hours from Ottawa in Montreal and have free privileged access to the train, prefer flying instead. - 1/3/13

Dumb and dumber: Detroit City Council turned down a $6 mil state gift to expertly run Belle Isle, the result of which will see the park go to further seed and the closure of 50 city wide parks. - 11/2/13

Now he tells us: Outgoing finance minister Dwight Duncan, taking a self-congratulatory bow for a slightly reduced yearly deficit, warns the province's $250 billion debt is a "ticking time bomb." - 5/2/13

Next, the movie: Residents opposed to Detroit leasing Belle Isle to the state of Michigan to help the city out financially were so exercised by the idea that they called supporting council members disciples of the antichrist. - 28/1/13

Irony: That’s what it’s called when Chrysler announces it’s going to build the Jeep ‘Patriot’ in countries such as China and Russia. – 16/1/13

So blame the voters: Windsor Police Assoc. president Jason DeJong said it's not that the City of Windsor has an inability to pay its police officers more because it has kept taxes flat in recent years. That, he says, is a "political decision." - 14/1/13

Poster or porn: The decision to pull a poster for the hit play The Vagina Monologues from the forecourt of the Capitol Theatre begs the question. What would be the reaction to a poster advertising “The Penis Dialogues?” – 5/12/12

Metre Me – the sequel: The local cycling committee’s dance video advising motorists to give bicyclists one metre space when passing is fine. Can we now expect a follow up advising cyclists to stop driving on sidewalks, obey traffic signs, and signal when turning? – 12/11/29

Colbert for Mayor: Haters of Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis might want to consider drafting comedian Stephen Colbert for the city’s top job. With his remarks about Windsor being the “the Earth’s rectum” Colbert could really clean the city up. – 15/11/12

Bad penny: In Detroit, voters elected Democrat Brian Banks, who has been convicted eight times for felonies related to passing bad cheques and credit card fraud. His campaign motto in running for the state legislature was "You can Bank on Banks." - 8/11/12

Updated bumper sticker (as seen on the street): Out of a Job Yet? Work Harder - 16/10/12

That's not funny: Detroit officials didn't take kindly to a, yes, very funny Jay Leno joke: "Well, the police chief of Detroit was suspended after a female police officer said she had sex with him in exchange for a promotion. And of course people are stunned: Detroit has a police department?" - 11/10/12

Rather tasteless: Adelina Cecchin, president of the local branch of Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, described the province’s new legislation restricting teachers' collective bargaining as a “twin tower.” The legislation was passed on Sept. 11. – 18/9/12

Perils of Pauline: In Quebec Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois would like to see a ban on all religious clothing and symbols in public institutions except, that is, for Catholics, owing to Quebec's French Catholic heritage. - 16/8/12

Thank Canada: We all know about the Blame Canada song from South Park. But with the announcement last week by the Canadian Government to fund Michigan's half of the new downriver bridge Yanks might want to substitute two new words when singing of the Great White North. -18/6/12

Colr blind: When it comes to provincial air ambulance service Ornge, patients' families and hospital authorities are seeing redd as delayed ambulances mean patients turn bluue before bedside monitors fade to blak. - 8/6/12

Sick leave threepeat: Now we know why Windsor Library CEO Barry Holmes with great fanfare launched the library system's new digital direction. The dust in all those paper volumes was making him sick. - 25/5/12

'Evolved' Obama: US president Barack Obama, the great liberal, finally - finally - comes out in favour of gay marriage. But he still leaves it up to individual states to pass legislation, and few have. Meanwhile Canada legalized same sex marriages in 2005. - 10/5/12

Underwear terror: Now that the CIA has broken another Al-Qaeda planned underwear bomber's attack, it begs the question. First it was taking off shoes at the security checkpoint, now will we have to take off our underthings? - 8/5/12

Penny for your thoughts: The last penny was struck at the Royal Canadian Mint Friday. The government says it will save $11 million a year by not producing the coin. But consumers can expect to pay multiples of that as retailers round-up prices to the nearest nickle. - 7/5/12

Insert joke here: The new student centre at the University of British Columbia has slides – that’s right, playground-type slides - so students can descend from one floor to another. – 23/4/12

Helmets for noise: Michigan repealed its motorcycle helmet law. So as a reciprocal gesture couldn’t motorcyclists agree to quiet their bikes so they don’t create the most noise pollution of any vehicles on the road? – 16/04/2012

MNR at work: The folly of the poor beleaguered Ministry of Natural Resources officer who has come down heavy on a LaSalle resident for selling antlers on the Internet, and on a farmer for harbouring a stray goose, could be turned into a productive job. Put the officer on the trail of the phantom Essex County cougar. – 16/04/2012

Motown money: If former auditor general Todd Langlois, suing the City of Windsor for $2.4 mil for unfair dismissal, is looking for work, he should apply to the City of Detroit, which is hiring a team of accountants to help get that city out of deep financial doo-doo under a consent agreement with the state. Now there's a city Langlois could really sink his teeth into. - 6/4/12

Occupy Ford Field: After Occupy Wall Street protesters demonstrated (not) earlier this year against the outrageous salary paid to Tigers' hoped-for star Prince (good name) Fielder, now there are rumours Occupities are massing at the gates of Detroit's football palace to protest Lions' wide receiver Calvin Johnson's $132 million pay coup. Well, not really. -15/3/12

Oh, why not? One of Windsor's longest-running unsolved murder cases has been closed when Michelle Charette's killer, Peter Dale MacDonald, confessed. But it was no skin off his back since the sentence for Charette's murder will be served concurrently during time MacDonald is serving for another murder at the Kingston Pen. - 27/2/12

Politico time out : You know the overcharged US election season just blew a gasket when politicos of all stripes tried to find hidden messages in the Clint Eastwood Super Bowl Chrysler commercial. Republicans thought “Half Time in America” endorsed Obama while Democrats saw it supporting the auto bail out. Clint, who’s more Right than Left - and who wrote it and donated time - just thought it an honest portrayal of post-Recession America. -11/2/12

Occupy CoPa: With the Detroit Tigers agreeing to give burly bearded slugger Prince Fielder a $214 million ($23.8 mil a year) nine-year contract, looks like the Occupy types should move their tents to outside otherwise beleaguered Detroit's downtown baseball stadium. - 25/1/12

Hands across the water: Windsor has things in common with Toledo Ohio. We share the same waterway and soon Toledo - birthplace of Jamie Farr and Katie Holmes - will have a casino. And something else we share, unemployment. 30,000 people submitted applications to work in the glittering new Hollywood Casino Toledo. - 24/1/12

EnWin or lose: Windsor's public utility will be taking it out on consumers who only thought they were doing the honourable thing like conserving electricity - by upping rates. Maybe the utility should change its name. - 3/1/12

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Noted and filed

Oct. 26/17: Chris Potter, who is PwC’s real estate tax leader, tells the Financial Post that there’s hope for cities like Windsor as a result of sky high real estate values in places like Toronto. He was speaking upon the release of the accounting firm’s 2018 Emerging Trends in Real Estate report. “You think about Toronto and other cities,” said Potter about the GTA’s 24-hour status (a term that denotes it’s a city so busy it never shuts down). “All of these (cities) seem to have affordability issues. What we started to see in the U.S. was, especially among younger people, affordability was a challenge. They decided regardless of what it would do to their careers, (to go) to smaller centres because they found affordable places to live. And what’s happened is some of the cooler jobs followed and what developed was a more vibrant core in those centres.”

June 6/17: The, right wing journalist and activist Ezra Levant’s popular website, did a piece on the Windsor mosque on Lincoln Road. Reporter/commentator David Menzies questioned why the City of Windsor allows an institutional building in a residential area – in fact there are two houses, the other being for women and kids while the men pray. So he calls the city's chief building official John Revell. Wouldn’t non-conforming be “a slam dunk that the mosque would be told to skedaddle?” (Earlier Menzies says, “there goes the neighbourhood.”) “No, actually.” Revell tells Menzies the city has opened a file checking on improper use. But Menzies – “Hello, City of Windsor!” - points to a sign on the door, taken by The Windsor Star, indicating clear religious purposes. “So again why is the city tip-toeing around this issue?” He quotes Revell as saying the use could simply be a social gathering or the congregants didn’t know the bylaw. “Since when is ignorance of the law considered a valid excuse?” the reporter says of the city’s “timid response.” Could it be fear of “being labelled Islamophobic, is it a concern that the owners of this mosque will file a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission alleging that Windsor’s zoning laws are anti-Islamic?” A 30-day investigation period was given. Menzies says he will follow-up. The video can be seen on

May 19/17: Marijuana. The Border. Windsor. When the federal government legalizes the weed in just over a year what repercussions could the law have on a border town like Windsor, already experiencing varying border delays depending on vagaries like the time of day or day of the week or the number of inspection booths open or the particular whims of the customs officer? The National Post’s Chris Selley this week indirectly raised some of those questions in a column otherwise about the way the feds are approaching pot legalization. In point of fact, he was raising the questions to show almost a paranoid view of drug regulation. Call us paranoid, but they're worth considering. Among them: what happens if someone rolls up to the border reeking of marijuana? Since the weed is legal would that bar Canadians from the US because, federally, marijuana smoking is still a US crime? Will more vehicles be turned into secondary inspection or turned back altogether because sniffer dogs smell the evil weed? Will the Trump administration, ever vigilant on border security, instruct customs to scrutinize anyone coming from Canada even more? Will there be more people smuggling dope into the US? And, just like some US folks are stopped for carrying weapons into Canada, will Canucks be stopped and charged for carrying baggies of Mary Jane?

April 26/17: The respected transportation blog Pedestrian Observations doesn’t think hi-speed rail is right for Windsor. In an April 7 post author Alon Levy, a mathematician who has lived widely around the world and has “a side interest in urbanism and mass transit that is entirely unrelated to my work” – though reading his intricate blogs about train spacing and speed you might think differently – wrote this: “Canada is not building high-speed rail anytime soon; if it were, it would connect Toronto with Montreal, using Lakeshore East, and not with points west, i.e. London and Windsor. London and Windsor are small, and a high-speed connection to Toronto would be financially marginal, even with potential onward connections to Detroit and Chicago. A Toronto-Niagara Falls-Buffalo-New York route is more promising, but dicey as well. Probably the best compromise in such case is to run trains on a four-tracked Lakeshore West line at 250 km/h; the speed difference with nonstop trains running at 160 km/h allows 15-minute frequency on each pattern without overtakes, and almost allows 12 minutes. Alternatively, express trains could use the local tracks to make stops, as I’ve recommended for some difficult mixtures of local, express, and intercity trains on the Northeast Corridor in New York.

April 10/15: Windsorites have been busy writing, and getting their letters published, on American topics in the Detroit Free Press. Last Thursday Greg Marsh suggested a solution to the battle over new Super Court justice Neil Gorsuch, a Trump pick opposed by Democrats. After Gorsuch gets the seat - he was sworn in today – Marsh says the president should nominate former Democratic pick Merrick Garland to replace “the next ‘liberal judge.’” He says this strategy “will ensure that Justice (Antonin) Scalia's seat will be replaced by a likely similarly conservative justice while Garland's selection will ensure the ideological status quo is maintained”…..Meanwhile, in Sunday’s paper, retired Windsor Board of Education superintendent Mike Saffran thinks the best choice for a new Detroit school board super isn’t an outsider – the three finalists come from outside the city – but the person who has been acting in that role since March of last year, Alycia Meriweather. With a nod to his own career, Saffran says, “Parachuting ‘leaders’ into the system creates an unease within the system. I have lived through it and speak from experience. Here's hoping the board exercises some common sense and makes this ‘search’ a really meaningful one.”

Feb. 21/17: University of Windsor political scientist and conservative Fraser Institute senior fellow Lydia Miljan has dismissed the recent anger by Canada’s left wing opposition parties and some in the media that Prime Minister Justine Trudeau failed to deliver on a major election promise to change Canada’s electoral system. Trudeau had said during the election campaign he wanted to replace the current “first past the post” system with some other method such as proportional representation. But on Feb. 1 he abruptly reversed himself, saying the traditional voting system would remain unchanged. Miljan, in an op-ed piece, writes that the opposition’s anger at Trudeau is misplaced. In fact, contrary to how the issue has been portrayed as being a high priority during the election, the promise “was given very little attention” during the 2015 campaign and the opposition’s claims are “bordering on revisionist history, or in today’s parlance, ‘alternative facts.’ ” Miljan says the Liberals’ electoral pledge actually was “buried” and “in the middle” of more than 200 various election promises. She says most voters likely “were wholly unaware that the promise was even made.” Nor, she says, did the criticizing media, during the campaign, “give it much weight either.” She says a search found “electoral reform” was mentioned in the media 851 times compared to “health care” which was mentioned more than 30,000 times.

Jan. 6/17: You’ve heard of fake news. Well, how about fake charity bins? These looks like legitimate bins scattered on parking lots or street corners. Yet they’re not run by legitimate charities but outside firms which sell the merchandise for profit. That’s been a complaint for years by charities like Goodwill Industries. It asked Windsor city council to ban the bins but the city turned them down, saying the problem is a non-issue locally. But many such bins have turned up in nearby cities like Chatham and Sarnia. However, over in Michigan the state is taking action against companies who drop off fraudulent bins. Attorney General Bill Schuette last month issued a cease-and-desist order and notice of intended action against Dearborn-based Golden Recyclers, according to the Detroit Free Press. Maximum penalty could be more than $10K per violation. The charges relate to the company misrepresenting itself as a charity for the Cancer Foundation and that donations were used to make a company profit. In 2013 another company, American Textile Recycling Services, was accused of removing and selling St. Vincent de Paul bins.

Dec. 19/16: The subject of the tragic death of a onetime Windsor area resident, Dr. Elana Fric Shamji, has developed into a discussion about discrimination in how the news media covered her killing. Fric Shamji, a family physician with expertise in medical policy, earlier this month was strangled and beaten, her body found inside a suitcase in the Toronto area community of Vaughan. The Globe and Mail’s Public Editor Sylvia Stead wrote last week of complaints from readers that The Globe (and perhaps other media) used a double standard in reporting about Fric Shamji’s medical career and that of the man charged in her death, her husband Dr. Mohammed Shanji, a neurosurgeon. “In one article, all of his achievements and credentials are listed, but none of hers,” wrote one reader. But the readers might have been more reacting to the headline rather than the story’s contents. The headline was: “Toronto Doctor Charged with First-Degree Murder in Woman’s Death.” Stead agreed that the wording “puts the focus on the wrong person.” Nevertheless, the first seven paragraphs of the story were about the victim and her professional background. A follow-up Globe article had a “much better” headline, Stead said: “Toronto doctor’s killing shocks medical community.” Stead also wrote in her column that the criminal justice system routinely “places the emphasis on the accused, not the victim,” adding “that is all the more reason for journalists to tell the story of the victims”…..Then, National Post columnist Christie Blatchford referred to Stead's column as well as other similar charges of misogyny on other subjects in an article titled, “Two words to my fellow females – toughen up.” Blatchford reported that “A woman started a petition, addressed to ‘the news media’ and taking the press to task for interviewing Shamji’s former patients who lamented the loss of his surgical skills. ‘His work should be a footnote in these stories, if it is even mentioned at all,’ reads the petition preamble." Concluded a weary Blatchford: “Not everything is a misogynist plot.”

Dec. 2/16: Canadians might have to shell out some cents for plastic bags at the grocery or department store but Michigan this week affirmed it is fully against the idea. The state legislature has passed a law that prevents municipalities from forcing retailers to impose fees for shopping bags. A state representative from Ann Arbor called the decision an assault on local control…..Meanwhile the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing the U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency to find out if its agents are illegally profiling citizens and foreigners. It found in redacted records that four of every 10 people stopped in the Detroit sector from 2012-14 were already citizens or foreigners in the US legally. Other information showed that in Sandusky Bay, Ohio (part of the Detroit sector), Hispanics, who make up only three per cent of the population, accounted for between 62 and 85 per cent of arrests between 2009-11. But less than one per cent were Canadians, despite Sandusky’s Lake Erie location. The area is also a popular spot for Canadian boaters.

Oct. 10/16: Windsor often feels left out of a lot of things. We’re the best kept secret in Canada but influential people elsewhere – i.e., the national media – often don’t see us that way, if they see us at all. So in the September/October issue of MoneySense magazine an irate Windsorite complained: Your article (“Canada’s Best Places to Live” Summer, 2016) has really ticked me off! I was born and raised in Windsor and have lived and travelled to many parts of the world,” writes Lynn Sampson. “Windsor is far from perfect, yet you managed to really hurt and anger a lot of people.” She went on to admonish MoneySense’s editors for not recognizing the area’s great weather, and its destination for retirees who realize great real estate values. “All in all, I feel the article is not fit to wrap fish parts in.” … The editors felt compelled to respond. “What dragged Windsor down … was its high unemployment rate relative to the rest of the province. It can feel great to live there if you have a good job, but it likely feels different if you’re looking for work.” With Windsor’s unemployment rate down to 5.7 per cent in September - the lowest in 15 years and one of the lowest in Canada - might MoneySense eventually come to a different conclusion?

Sept. 6/16: In the ongoing controversies surrounding the Ambassador Bridge company it’s hard to find a public official who will openly back bridge management. Bridge management, of course, for many years has been involved in constant legal wars with various government authorities on both sides of the Windsor-Detroit border as it attempts to block construction of a new international bridge and over its own efforts to build a replacement span for its current aged structure. So, at an event last month where work began on extending a Detroit city park that came about as a result of a land swap between that city and the bridge company, it may have seemed surprising to hear Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan laud the idea of a new Ambassador. Noting he supports the new international government-planned bridge Duggan said, “I also believe we need to have two bridges. I thought we ought to be thinking in terms of a replacement for the Ambassador Bridge, and this (the land swap) kind of lays the groundwork for that,” The Detroit News reported. – 6/9/16

June 3/16: Commenting on the overpriced housing markets in cities like Toronto and Vancouver the Bank of Montreal’s chief economist Douglas Porter offers an interesting insight, among others, about why prices are so high in those cities and not in peripheral markets like, well, Windsor, which of course has some of cheapest realty in the country. Quoted in the Financial Post, Porter said, “On the demand side, I think something fundamental has changed. With the weakness in manufacturing and other industries in the last decade, a lot of the smaller centres just don’t offer meaningful job opportunities, in many, cases for younger people.”

May 26/16: The New York Times, in a profile of Windsor-born John Paul Reddam, owner of thoroughbred race horse Nyquist, despite placing third in the Preakness Stakes Saturday after winning the Kentucky Derby, had some kind words for the philosopher turned businessman. Said sports writer William C. Rhoden, Reddam, “for me, (is) the most intriguing figure of the week leading to Saturday’s” race. Nyquist, of course, had been favoured to win and go on to a Triple Crown victory. This, after Reddam’s colt I’ll Have Another won two legs of the Triple Crown in 2014. Said the Times, “A Canadian-born philosopher king turned money lender turned successful horseman, Reddam is a multimillionaire and a haunted near-witness to history.” Rhoden talks about Reddam, 60, years ago making a “dramatic shift” from “the high-minded world of academia — philosophy — to the world of money lending and thoroughbred racing.” He mentions Reddam having philosophy degrees from the University of Windsor and U of Toronto, receiving his doctorate at Southern California. Reddam now lives south of Los Angeles. The Times quotes Reddam on the difference between philosophy and horse racing. “He went to a philosophy conference and was surprised at the combativeness of the discourse. ‘I realized that philosophy in academia was about one-upmanship,” he said. ‘The business world is about making money.’ Reddam, even then a serious horseplayer, decided that he might as well make as much as he could, and have fun doing it.”

May 1/16: Does a lawsuit stemming from an accident in Leamington have some similarities to a threatened lawsuit involving a crash almost two years ago in Amherstburg? Perhaps. In the Leamington suit, reported last week, a man charged with first degree murder in the killing of the passenger of a car he was driving, is suing numerous organizations. The defendant, Andrew Cowan, 44, is suing the Town of Leamington, County of Essex, Leamington Horticultural Society, two of the horticultural society’s members, a local landscaping company, and Caesars Windsor for serving him and his passenger Edward Witt, with alcohol prior to the crash. The crash happened at a ramp-shaped flower bed and the pick-up truck went into a building at the corner of Talbot St. and Fraser Rd. on Oct. 21, 2012.……Almost exactly a year ago the family of Emily Bernauer, who died in a car accident driving home from the Shores of Erie International Wine Festival on Sept. 6 2014, indicated they intended to sue several parties such as the Shores of Erie International Wine Festival, Colio Estate Wines, Sobeys, and a Concession 2 home owning couple. Bernauer was killed on Concession 2 when her car rolled over while driving home from the fest, where she was working at the Sobeys tent. Amherstburg police said the 18-year-old woman had alcohol and marijuana in her system, may have been texting at the time of the accident, and was not wearing a seatbelt.

April 21/16: News that the US Treasury will the feature the first African-American and abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the US $20 bill begs the question. Why does the US keep churning out so much paper money anyway? Anyone who has travelled much in the US – including many Windsorites – knows the annoyance of getting so many $1 bills back in change. Canada and other countries solved the problem of low denomination paper years ago. Yet the US keeps hanging on to an archaic tradition. But with the way technology is going perhaps soon no one will even be handling paper money at all.

April 4/16: It seems the default description of Windsor’s economy is that it has been moribund. Seldom do we hear from any community leaders about those parts of Windsor that have a certain dynamism. Dynamism - in Windsor!? Just take a look at the burgeoning restaurant scene. This city has hundreds of restaurants. Not just that, but any week or month are bound to find more eateries that have opened or changed hands. For a city of 200,000 Windsor is incredibly well served – and surprisingly not overserved - by a highly diverse array of restaurant types, especially of the ethnic variety. Which also raises the question: new immigrants to the city seem to readily create jobs for themselves. Why can’t people who have lived here all their lives do that?.....The social media campaign against Heinz ketchup and in favour of French’s – because the latter uses locally-grown tomatoes in the aftermath of Heinz packing up and retreating to the U.S. - has truly become a Canada-wide story. The National Post, for example, doesn’t seem to be able to get enough of it. Colummist Colby Cash last Friday called it “Ketchup Patriotism” and looked at it somewhat skeptically. Said Cash, “it is hard to fault Ontarians for harbouring bad feelings toward Heinz.” But he also pointed out: “French’s, best known for selling mustard, is owned by Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC of Slough, England. This ‘Ketchup Patriotism,’ the closer you look at it, becomes more and more a matter solely of dream terroir. Canadians don’t get the profits, don’t pick the tomatoes and don’t even can the ketchup — that happens in Ohio, although French’s, obviously aware that it has a whole country by the tail, has hinted at plans to open a new cannery somewhere in Ontario. All we do, for the moment, is own the land. This ketchup has a mystical Canadian essence; one I defy anyone to detect in a blind taste test.”

March 21/16: About this time every year there’s a parade in Detroit that celebrates the Nain Rouge or the Red Devil, believed to have been a curse over the city since the days of its founder Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, who had a nightmare about it. (Some people half-seriously think this is why Detroit has ended up in the shape it’s in tpday.) During Sunday's parage,The Nain shouted out: “Why don’t we just change the name of this place to North Windsor?”…..For befuddled and stunned auto industry reporters and not least of all consumers here’s a reason the new FCA Pacifica is being priced as exorbitantly high as it is. From the horse’s mouth, the Detroit Free Press reports that Matt McAlear, Chrysler’s marketing manager, says the company isn’t just trying to rack up more sales but is going after the sweet price spot where most minivan sales across all manufacturers including Toyota and Honda take place – 65 per cent of sales are above $30,000 USD (starting price in Canada more than $40,000).

March 18/16: Windsor and Essex County are mentioned in a couple of articles in today’s National Post – both having to do with high profile local industries and products – and both critical in nature. One, by automotive columnist David Booth, called the $43,995 starting price of Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s new redesigned Windsor-built Pacifica minivan, in showrooms this spring, “ludicrous” and “madness” when the “typical Chrysler minivan consumer is looking for the cheapest method of moving friends and family, not a blinged-out Mercedes competitor”….And then, on the Financial Post’s Comment page columnist Kevin Libin flies in the face of the barrage of social media condemnation of Loblaws when Canada’s largest grocery chain pulled French’s ketchup, made with Leamington tomatoes, from the market. Libin called the campaign, widely touted as a victory, a “patriotic frenzy” and said “American-owned Heinz, as it happens, employs far more Canadians than does Reckitt Benckiser, the European owner of French’s. And both companies combined don’t employ anything close to the number of people who work for Canadian-owned Loblaw…”

March 3/16: Whatever happened to cougar sightings in Essex County?.....Ever notice that when people gather in public places they tend to crowd the entrance ways?.....The Fox News Republican debate in Detroit tonight is showing off the city's Fox Theatre in all it's spectacular glory, seemingly even eye-popping to jaded New York broadcasters who have, after all, Radio City Music Hall.

Feb 18/16: Whatever happened to the Windsor Hum?.....During Aretha Franklin’s terrific concert last weekend at Caesars Windsor Colosseum Aretha at one point stopped and specifically pointed out one member of the audience, a person about whom most Windsorites were probably scratching their heads. She’s Mildred Gaddis, the long time talk show host on WCHB 1200 AM, whose show airs daily and who has long been considered as having her finger on the pulse of the Detroit community, as Aretha pointed out……Ever notice that more times than not, when trying to merge on to the EC Row Expressway – and given there are only two lanes - traffic in the right merging lane doesn’t shift to the left lane to allow the entering vehicle? Why is that?

Feb 14/16: At Caesars Windsor, when bar staff clean up and pack away the booze for the night, the still filled bottles of wine and spirits are transported to a cart to be brought to a safe place. But not any cart. These carts have bars and are otherwise designed so that intrepid casino customers can't get their grubby hands on a bottle passing them in the hallway. Also at the casino, ever notice there are no water fountains? "Can you imagine what it would be like if we had them?" one staff member exclaimed. The casino also must be the only place where mild mannered rudeness rules. Sit in an empty slot machine seat, say, when waiting for a SO to exit the washroom (there are no other chairs), and there's a pretty good chance you'll be matter of factly asked to remove yourself, a gambler a few seats over wanting to try his luck on the machine....The venerable River Canard Bridge is getting a makeover. One of the few remaining "bowstring" bridges in the province it's also noted for its slender columns or "hangers" that tie down the overhead arches to the deck. The columns will be slightly widened this summer to keep the bridge, built in 1937, healthy, and to maintain at least current weight limits. There's also a similar, if smaller, bridge slightly down the road on Concession 2, making for a twofer of architectural heritage......Meanwhile repair work on another bridge, the Ambassador, is continuing , with new, seemingly lower guardrails, replacing the greatly rusted out old vintage hulks, a news story in August 2014 when an astonished Peterborough trucker snapped pics while halted in a typical backup on the bridge. Speaking of that bridge, the much-maligned management has a point when it tells the public not to blame the bridge company for backups, at least of pedestrian vehicles: more times than not there aren't enough Customs booths open, especially on the US side, to handle the traffic......And speaking of bridge owner Matty Maroun's other vast holdings, the once grand but later hulking eyesore that is the former Michigan Central train depot - which ignominously has long greeted bridge travelers entering the US - at least now has windows and interior lights. The question is: what will the Marouns do with the (slightly) renovated building?