Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Monday, October 10, 2016

"Trying on a new min. wage"/ time travel TV shows and movies

Sept. 6, 2016 "Trying on a new min. wage": I was going through my "parking lot" email and I found this article by Jodie Sinnema in the Edmonton Journal on Sept. 30, 2015:

Carly Miller has her dream job at The Bridal House, working with lace and soft fabrics, fetching veils and helping brides and bridesmaids during their dress fittings.On Oct. 1, Miller gets a $1-perhour raise as the NDP government takes its first step to boost the minimum wage to $15 by 2018.

Associations representing businesses and restaurants are wary and anxious about the move, suggesting businesses might reduce employee hours or hire fewer young people as the rate ramps up. They, along with the Wildrose party, say there are better ways to provide living wages. Yet economists and empirical studies are divided on the effects such a move brings: job losses or a boost to pocket books? Fewer opportunities or better standards of living?

Sure, this first jump is relatively small, raising the bar to $11.20 from the basic $10.20 minimum wage. Liquor servers and waiters, who also earn tips, will be paid $10.50 per hour, up from $9.20 as the government aligns the two pay schemes.

But while annual hikes to minimum wage have been the norm in Alberta, Thursday’s jump of approximately 10 per cent is substantially higher than the 2.5-per-cent increase in 2014. The move also catapults Alberta from being the province with the lowest minimum wage (alongside Saskatchewan) to one of the highest. By 2018, Alberta will become the first province in Canada to offer $15 an hour, among a handful of North American jurisdictions to commit to that amount.

The politics don’t concern Miller, who works six hours every Saturday at The Bridal House, and another six hours during the week at Winners, where she organizes shoes and stock shelves. The 18-year-old has intellectual and developmental delays and needs rote work with some oversight, but loves fashion and complimenting people on their outfits.

The extra $12 a week — $48 per month — might sound piddling to some, but has real value. She’ll be able to see more movies, treat more friends to coffee. The extra cash will also help Miller pay for taxi rides from work to the gym in November, when she’ll no longer be able to walk because of balance concerns.

“It makes me confident,” Miller said of her raise. “I feel confident and very proud of my work. … No one judges me. No one looks at me in a different way.” Her mother, Renee Miller, agrees. “I think that’s important to Carly’s self-esteem and her selfefficacy,” Renee Miller said, noting her daughter has blossomed socially by working in sales. “Carly is fortunate because our family is financially stable, but for those people with intellectual delays who are receiving funding from AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped), I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to maintain an acceptable standard of living on minimum wage.”

Yet Renee Miller worries the $15 minimum-wage promise could have repercussions for her daughter. Laid-off workers could flood the market.
“There are so many more people that have higher skill sets than someone like Carly that, in the future, the doors may not be so open to her,” Renee Miller said. At the same time, “it’s important that that population is not dismissed.”

Ken Kobly, executive director of Alberta Chambers of Commerce, agrees such jobs are valuable, but he’s heard one business owner near tears, fearful she won’t be able to hire many people with disabilities at $15 an hour. Kobly said he suspects more fast-food and big-box stores will move toward self-service options, limiting entry-level jobs for young teens.

“There is a misconception out there that folks whoown their own small business are just rolling in the dough,” Kobly said. But businesses are being hit with higher food prices and other rising costs.

“Business recognizes that it is a societal issue to raise people out of poverty. But does that fall squarely or totally on the backs of business?”
Joseph Marchand, a University of Alberta economics professor, said according to conventional economic theory, the Oct. 1 wage increase will lower the employment rate by two per cent.

“(But) a lot of empirical studies have refuted that and said that there would be no negative employment effect and maybe even a small positive employment effect,” Marchand said. Economists fall 50-50 on either side of the argument. Even Marchand, who studies boom and bust cycles, is divided.

“I think I’m optimistic in terms of a third energy boom, but I’m pessimistic that there’s going to be no employment impact or a positive employment impact. I think we should assume there’s at least a small negative impact,” Marchand said. He advised government to move slowly while oil and gas prices are down, then jump to $15 when prices recover.

But Shane Loiselle, part-owner of Daravara pub and restaurant on 124th Street, supports upping the pay of five or six servers out of 20 employees who currently receive the lowest rate. Other jurisdictions have done it, Loiselle said, and the sky hasn’t fallen.

“I think it’s a good thing for Alberta. I think it’s a good thing for employees,” Loiselle said. “From a business point of view, if I’m running my business properly and my margins are in place, if I approach this properly with small incremental increases, typically it shouldn’t really be felt.”
He’s raised some menu prices by a dime or 25 cents and few patrons have noticed.

“I’m all for progression and progressive employee standards,” said Loiselle, who hires a lot of musicians, artists and students. “When you say $1 extra per hour, it sounds pretty minute, but if you’re working 30 hours a week and 48 weeks a year, it’s a fair amount of money.”




Aug. 15, 2016 "Raising min. wage gives the working poor a better chance": By Sherri Torjman and Ken Battle:


In a recent column in the Edmonton Journal, analysts from the Caledon Institute defended the Notley government’s plan to increase the provincial minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2018.

The authors got one thing right: Albertans have gone through rough economic times lately. But rather than propose policies that would help counteract the negative shocks, they applaud a policy that will make matters worse and harm the very workers they want to help.
Let’s start with the suggestion that most minimum wage earners are “heads of households raising families.” 

In reality, 50 per cent of minimum wage earners in Alberta live with parents or other relatives, with the vast majority of them being teenagers or youths (ages 15 to 24). Of the remaining minimum wage earners, 26 per cent have working spouses, most of whom earn more than the minimum wage.
Put another way, minimum wage earners tend to live in households with multiple-income earners, meaning they are not living on one minimum wage earner’s income alone
In fact, only two per cent of Canadian minimum wage earners are single parents with young children. We can all agree that helping this group is an important and worthwhile objective, but raising the minimum wage is the wrong way to do it.

The above statistics — all from Statistics Canada — challenge the misperception that minimum wage earners generally live in poverty. In fact, the opposite is true — 88 per cent of all minimum wage earners do not live in low-income households, as measured by Statistics Canada’s low income cut-off.

Clearly, the minimum wage does not effectively or efficiently target the working poor. But it also has serious negative consequences for low-skilled workers. Despite a large and robust academic literature finding minimum wage hikes reduce employment, some continue to suggest this time might be different and the hike may even increase job opportunities.

This is wishful thinking.  Canadian research consistently finds that for every 10 per cent increase in the minimum wage, we can expect youth employment to decline by three to six per cent. The Notley government plans to raise the minimum wage by 34 per cent from its current rate of $11.20.

When governments impose a minimum wage higher than what would otherwise prevail, and without corresponding productivity increases, employers find ways to operate with fewer workers and/or reduced labour costs. While the more productive workers gain through a higher wage, their gain comes at the expense of those who now have fewer employment opportunities. Young and low-skilled workers are most adversely affected because of their lack of experience and skills.

But minimum wage hikes don’t just lead to job losses (both today and in the future) for low-skilled workers. Employers also respond by cutting back on hours, providing less on-the-job training and moving toward more automation.

Minimum wage hikes ultimately rob young and low-skilled workers the opportunity to gain valuable experience and develop skills, which would help them command higher pay down the road. Indeed, earning the minimum wage is typically a brief stepping stone to a higher paying job.
Apart from minimum wage hikes, the provincial government has pursued many other policies that undermine Alberta’s struggling economy. It has raised a host of taxes including personal and corporate income taxes as well as the carbon levy, which will discourage investment and entrepreneurship. Successive governments have also allowed rapid spending increases over the past decade resulting in mounting debt and eroding the province’s financial position.

While we agree that Alberta families have been hard hit economically in recent years, government policies are making things worse and the plan to raise the minimum wage is a another clear example.

Charles Lammam is director of fiscal studies, Steve Lafleur is senior policy analyst, and Hugh MacIntyre is a policy analyst at the Fraser Institute.



Oct. 4, 2016 "$1 an hr can make difference": I found this article by Emma Graney in the Edmonton Journal on Oct. 3, 2016.  Here's an excerpt:

During the 2015 election, the NDP promised to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2018. The increase is being rolled out over a number of years. On Oct. 1 next year, the minimum wage rises to $13.60 per hour, then to $15 on Oct. 1, 2018. The province’s lower liquor server rate of $10.70 per hour has been eliminated.


"Minimum wage fears imagined, but benefits to poor are real": I found this article by Gil McGowan in the Edmonton Journal on Oct. 3, 2016.  Here's an excerpt:

In Alberta, two University of Calgary economists, Trevor Tombe and Blake Shaffer, concluded that employer claims of massive job loss are “hard to justify” based on a “comprehensive reading of the recent research literature.”

Tombe and Shaffer say a minimum wage of $15 is “neither extreme nor unreasonable” and that it “brings Alberta closer to other jurisdictions.”
Six hundred economics professors recently signed a letter that concluded: “Increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labour market.”

First, employers simply pass along increased costs to customers in the form of slightly higher prices. So, an increased wage is more likely to result in a sandwich that costs 50 cents more than it is to result in job losses or increased bankruptcies.


Oct. 6, 2016 Letter: Yesterday I found this letter by B. R. Hyatt in Sherwood Park in the Edmonton Journal.  He wrote that after the wage went up:

"The hours of mentally disabled employees, including my son, were immediately cut."

"They (NDP) do not seem to understand a recession is the worst time to increase the burden on small business."

"Eateries warn of cutbacks from new wage level": Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail:

Restaurant owners and operators in Alberta say they will have to cut hours or lay people off to cope with a higher minimum wage.
Mark von Schellwitz, vice-president of the Western Canada region of Restaurants Canada, says 78 per cent of operators have said they will cut hours, while nearly half will go through a round of layoffs.

Alberta’s minimum wage went up Saturday by one dollar to $12.20 an hour, and by $1.50 for liquor servers, with the elimination of the liquor-server wage.
Mr. von Schellwitz says Alberta members recently participated in a workshop in Calgary to find ways to reduce labour costs.
They looked at balancing what they pay between higher-paid front-of-house service staff and back-of-house kitchen staff who don’t earn gratuities through new service charge or self-service options. He says 35 cents of every dollar by a restaurant earned goes to labour costs.
“If you are an owner-operator, you’re going to have to work those seven days a week and cover shifts that normally you’d have a staff member cover … in order to stay viable our guys are just saying, ‘Look, I guess we’re going to have to work more hours to try and keep our labour costs aligned,’ ” Mr. von Schellwitz said in a phone interview.

“We’d lost a number of foodservice businesses over the last year and in the first nine months since the last minimum wage increase, from October to July, we were down several thousand employees already. That doesn’t count how many people are getting reduced hours. Their take-home pay is actually less and not more with the minimum-wage increases.”
If you are an owner-operator, you’re going to have to work those seven days a week and cover shifts that normally you’d have a staff member cover. Mark von Schellwitz Vice-president of Restaurants Canada


My week:

Oct. 4, 2016 Lindsay Lohan accident: Yesterday I read the crazy story of how her finger got ripped off in a boating accident.  After her finger was ripped off, they were fortunately able to find the finger and sew it back on.  That was so crazy.  I hope all of you learn to be more careful and more grateful for your health.



Kim Kardashian robbery: When I read about it, I felt sorry for her. 

1. Her mental and physical health.
2. I hope she has insurance for all that jewelry.

On Sunday night, according to French Judicial sources who spoke with CBS Radio News, five people dressed as law enforcement officers went to where Kim was staying and got access to her room and robbed her. Tying her up and pointing a gun at her, the individuals robbed Kim of a reported $10 million worth of jewelry. Here’s more on this story.



Joe Francis robbery: This totally reminded me of a robbery that happened to this guy who created the Girls Gone Wild videos.  It happened back in 2006.  When I first read about this, I didn't really feel too sorry for him.  There is sexism involved.  Francis was a big grown man.  If any woman gets robbed and tied up in her home, I would feel sorry for her.
I guess it's hard to feel sorry for Francis, after I read this 2011 story where he beat up a woman.





Oct. 6, 2016 Alpha Meeting: I went to an Alpha meeting last night.  It was the first one.  We watched a 20 min. video with what it's all about and asking what is the meaning of life.  The video showed this quote:

“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer.”
Jim Carrey

Another thing that stood out to me, was that this guy H has been homeless for a couple of weeks.  One time he was outside and cold.  He closed his eyes and prayed.  A man tapped him on the shoulder and gave him a $50 bill and said: "You look kind of hungry.  Why don't you go and get something to eat?" 

H told me that he was from Ontario and moved to Edmonton.  Though he had family in Edmonton that he could stay with, he didn't.  Something about not being able to.  I asked why he didn't save a lot of money so he could be more prepared to move to a new city, but he wanted to come to this city because he didn't like Ontario.

My friend C made a sweet potatoes soup for about 20 people to eat.  We may have to pay $5 next time for the next meeting.  After all that, C drove me home.

Oct. 7, 2016 Comparisons:

Time travel TV shows and movies:

A character changes something in the past and there is a good and bad thing that happens: If you don't want to be spoiled, skip it:

On Timeless pilot:

"An unlikely trio traveling through time to battle unknown criminals in order to protect history as we know it."

They go back in time, and they come to the present.  In the present Lucy had a mom in a coma and a younger sister.  After some changes in the past, her mom is healthy, but her sister doesn't exist.




Frequency pilot:

"A police detective in 2016 discovers that she is able to speak via a ham radio with her estranged father; Frank Sullivan, a detective who died in 1996 and the two must work together to change the history of tragic events to come while also getting the chance to heal their complicated relationship. - Written by vhavnal "

Raimy has a boyfriend and her mom is alive.  After she forewarns her dad Frank on how he died, Frank prevents his own death and lives longer.  However, her mom was missing and presumed dead.  She was murdered and it turns out the Nightingale killer killed her.  Before the Nightingale killer killed only 3 nurses, but now he has killed more.  Also Raimy's boyfriend Daniel doesn't know her.

It says that after Frank survived getting shot, 11 weeks later, her mom was murdered.  So it looks like there are 11 episodes to stop her death.

My opinion: After I saw the Frequency pilot, I will definitely record the show and watch all the episodes in a week.  As for Timeless, I feel like I have to watch one more episode to decide if I'm going to continue watching it.

My brother P told me about a movie with the same name.  I looked it up, and it seems the show is based on the movie a bit, with couple of the same character names.





"An accidental cross-time radio link connects father and son across 30 years. The son tries to save his father's life, but then must fix the consequences."



DC Legends of Tomorrow: I only saw the pilot:

"Focuses on time-traveling rogue Rip Hunter, who has to recruit a rag-tag team of heroes and villains to help prevent an apocalypse that could impact not only Earth, but all of time."



The Butterfly Effect: I saw the last half of this movie:

"Evan Treborn suffers blackouts during significant events of his life. As he grows up, he finds a way to remember these lost memories and a supernatural way to alter his life by reading his journal."



The Simpsons: Does anyone remember the Halloween episode where Homer has a magical toaster that is like a time machine?


Next:

"A Las Vegas magician who can see into the future is pursued by FBI agents seeking to use his abilities to prevent a nuclear terrorist attack."

I rented this movie and it's about how a magician can see like 1 min. into the future.  I saw the interview with Jessica Biel.

Biel (paraphrase): I would like to know 1 min. into the future.  Then I can do this and avoid that.  However, I would never really make mistakes or learn anything or grow.  So I would rather not know the future.

My opinion: I agree with her.  I read the business section of the newspaper 6 days a week, so I learn things about the economy and jobs.  I had previous experience with call centres and how they close down, lay me off, or cut my hours.  I am not surprised.  I like working at call centres so I go there.



I would have to say the highlight of my week was watching the Frequency pilot.

Don Banting: I see this man on the Screenwriters Meetup and he makes a comment.  He looks familiar so I looked him up.  I had met him before.  I had to look him up on my blog, and I wrote about meeting him in 2011:






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