Quick reparations cash
reparations for slavery? (NOW, February 27-March 5). You've got to be kidding. What a pathetic lawsuit-happy age it is when some of the wealthiest blacks in the world think they can cash in on slavery from over 150 years ago.Think of the precedent that would set. Do I get compensation for my grandparents living under Nazi occupation in Holland for four years? A new BMW would do just fine. Most people can find some kind of oppression in their family history if they look hard enough. Instead of trying to make quick cash, perhaps the reparations crowd should do something useful like trying to end the slavery that goes on in Sudan today.
Jan Burton, Toronto
Way to Jack 'em
more than three cheers for your "Keep pissing them off, Jack" item (NOW, February 27-March 5). I urge Jack Layton, even after he gets a seat, to continue poking his finger in Parliament's eye, whether it's microphone hogging or something else.Traditions are great, but they can become rusty and hidebound. Occasionally they need cold water dashed in their faces to wake them up to the real world.
Geoff Rytell, Toronto
SUV worth fighting for
you quote globe and mail colum-nist Margaret Wente saying that owning an SUV and "buying lots of gas is patriotic" (NOW February27-March 5).Here are 10 more good reasons why you need an SUV: 1. It's better than a car -- it's a truck. 2. It makes you taller than other people. 3. It shows you're not a wimpy environmentalist. 4. It goes well with your cellphone. 5. It can do side rolls. 6. It looks cool to throw your cigarette out a high window. 7. It's the best-looking vehicle in black. 8. It's almost a Hummer, which is next to a tank. 9. It's why we need to bomb Iraq and drill Alaska. 10. It's what Bush is fighting for -- a way of life.
M. Leith, Toronto
Looking more like Vietnam
re brendan weber's letter (NOW, February 27-March 5).
Are you telling me, Able Seaman Brendan Weber, that you honestly do not recognize any difference between a UN peacekeeping mission, with a mandate to protect civilians and refugees, and an act of aggression, with no such mandate, against a sovereign nation?You sincerely do not see a distinction between trying to prevent human suffering and actively starting a war with full knowledge that doing so will cause the death, starvation, displacement and suffering of hundreds of thousands of people?Maybe you'll tell me we're planning to kill Iraqis in order to liberate them. I'm not buying it, "boyo." This whole bloody misadventure looks a lot more like Vietnam. It still stinks like rotten meat.As for me, I'm going to continue to whine, bitch and resist: you know, all those unsavoury, democratic things people do to be able to sleep at night.
eric brauer, Toronto
Boycotting the war
as George W. Bush charges forward in a desperate bid to gain hero status in Iraq and thereby some semblance of legitimacy for his ill-gotten presidency, the world recoils in horror.Can no one stop the well-oiled U.S. military-industrial complex and its fear-mongering operatives in the White House?
Short of nuking the rogues, which I don't recommend, there is still one forum of persuasion left to the rest of us. It is the logic of the pocketbook.
Imagine if everyone with a heart for peace outside the U.S. bought a VW instead of a GM, vacationed in "old Europe" instead of Disneyworld, bought French instead of California wine, Molson instead of Coors, Zellers instead of Wal-Mart. Soon the American economy, which is already in no great shape from too many tax breaks for the rich and lots of spending on war and insecurity, would be in free fall.
Guru Fatha Singh Khalsa, Toronto
U.S.'s naked aggression
the carolyn parrish affair reminds me of the childhood story of the emperor's new clothes.Fearful citizens wouldn't tell the emperor he was really parading naked until a naive little boy spoke up.Ms. Parrish has reminded us all that the U.S. government is displaying its naked power as it attempts to push around other states and the UN.
Tom Trottier, Ottawa
The Zundel muddle
Ernst Zundel, trying to achieve fame and publicity, denies the Holocaust and turns himself into an undesirable worldwide.
On the other hand, the government of Turkey denies the slaughter of Armenians, but the countries that reject Zundel fall all over themselves to please Turkey in the form of millions of dollars in military hardware.
So much for the nonsense that all men are created equal.
Rudolf Manook, Toronto
re your take on the numbers who attended, or didn't attend, the recent peace march (NOW, February 20-26).
Without some high-quality aerial photos it will be difficult to peg an actual number. But a reasonable guesstimate can be arrived at: just shy of 30,000.
The first marchers left Dundas Square at about 1:30 pm, the last around 2:15. That's 45 minutes. How many passed per minute? Dundas Street at the corner of Bay is 15 metres wide. I covered the 2-kilometre march in 40 minutes, which works out to 50 metres per minute. If you can envision a rectangle of 15-by-50 metres, that would be the number of protestors who passed in a given minute.
One person per square metre would be 750, but I think that's a bit high. Assume 20 per cent fewer, or 600, multiply by 45, and you get 27,000. Of course I may be off.
Dale Fallon, Toronto
Those who dare to criticize
I almost fell off my chair laughing at reader Syd Bosloy's imbecilic comment thanking the Canadian Jewish Congress for standing up for "unfettered speech" (NOW, February 20-26).
The Canadian Jewish Congress? Unfettered speech? Spare me. The CJC and B'nai Brith are indubitably the most fervent enemies of free speech. They have indefatigably pushed for repressive laws against free speech.Those who dare to condemn Israeli infamies immediately become targets.
O.G. Pamp, Tweed
We all should be so "lucky"
Dana Kendal should "thank her lucky stars," as there are many people on ODSP who do not have the luxury of having their own place and are forced by economic circumstances to live in group homes (NOW, February 20-26). How would Kendal like to share a bedroom with a complete stranger? Might I also mention that the half- room space is not enough to swing a cat in.
It seems rather twisted that someone gets a cheque for $930 from ODSP while my net from EI medical benefits for the entire month of February was a princely $260, and I, too, have a mental health disorder (bipolar illness). Hard to believe that I used to (not long ago) hold a great administrative/call centre job that paid in the low 40Ks.Last week I was forced to sell a treasured Bianchi racing bike (that I had purchased cheap and painstakingly rebuilt with my own hands). My CD stereo is also up for sale, and I keep wondering what will be next to go.I keep going on those job interviews but can't help wondering if my "I've just got to get this one or else!!" desperation is showing.
Name withheld by request, Toronto
And she's on disability?
"dana kendal" can write well, keep detailed track of finances and regulations,and apparently walk, talk, see and hear, too. So why is she on disability?She says she has an unspecified anxiety disorder but doesn't explain why she can't work, as do millions of others with anxiety disorders.Kendal apparently has never considered the possibility that perhaps the reason disability allowances are so low is that people like her steal limited funding from those who really can't work. Perhaps she's using a pseudonym to avoid drawing attention to her abuse of the system when in fact getting cut off disability might be the best thing that could happen to her.
J.P. White, Toronto
When there's no help
Has anyone had any help from any of the parties in Ontario? I have been in touch with all three parties about my mother going into a nursing home and nobody responded to me.
All three levels of government completely ignore the homeless, social housing, infrastructure, education and medicare responsibilities, yet they all give themselves big raises.
Sandra Alexander, Toronto
One pissed-off constituent
Another story of the chicanery at City Hall emerged this week in South Etobicoke. Once more the taxpayers of this city will foot the bill as yet another city councillor announces their candidacy and aspirations to a higher level of government. The councillor in this case is Irene Jones, who has just announced her nomination by the NDP for the provincial election.While it is not illegal for Jones to run for a provincial seat while still holding a municipal title, it provokes the question "Why doesn't the councillor resign if she's seeking greener pastures and new constituents?"At least former councillor Jack Layton made a half-hearted attempt to appease taxpayers by forgoing his January salary. Mark Selkirk
EtobicokeQuick and clean
Can you believe a developer is actually listening to people? The people of Parkdale were asked to decorate the soon-to-be-renovated Drake Hotel with their artwork and graffiti, and the developers got what they asked for.The other morning as I skidded down a super-slippery Beaconsfield Street, I noticed someone had spray-painted: "Hey, Drake, if you want to impress people try clearing your sidewalk." Right on, I thought.That night when I returned home, the sidewalk was cleared and the graffiti had been painted over and replaced with one word: "Done."
Jennifer Amey, Toronto