One fish fact overlooked
Thank you for your article on the recent debate about toxins found in farmed Atlantic salmon (NOW, January 15-21). I especially appreciate this discussion because I began to eat salmon regularly a couple of months ago and now eat it as often as four times a week. The one thing I think your article neglected to mention is that not all Atlantic salmon sold at the grocery store is farmed in Canada.
I've been buying frozen salmon (at a regular grocery store) farmed in Chile that supposedly contains roughly half the toxins of Canadian farmed salmon. Simple information like this, though easily overlooked, provides a better understanding of the issue and puts the power that some organizations are trying to undermine back into the hands of us fish-loving consumers.
Nicole Visscher , Toronto
Rude cabbies real distraction
so the driver of a beck taxi was distracted by two men sharing affection for each other in his back seat (NOW, January 15-21)? Perhaps they were distracting him from his all-important cellphone conversation. There is not a human being on the planet who spends as much time on the phone as a Toronto cabbie on duty. Too often I've had to ask a driver to turn off his phone, only to be met with rudeness. Distraction is a "value-added" for the average Toronto cabbie. The only value cabbies should be concerned with is that of human life. Ralf Joneikies, Toronto
If it had been lesbians...
I'm guessing we wouldn't have heard a peep out of that grumpy cab driver who objected to the male couple sharing a kiss in his cab "because they were distracting him from his driving" if they'd been a couple of attractive lesbians. Judy Donaldson, Waterloo, ON
Who's out to get Heisey?
re backroom betrayal (now, january 15-21). Why, suddenly, are police services board chair Alan Heisey's comments about a child pornography case the subject of an inquiry 18 months after the fact? Child pornography is a heinous and evil crime, but so is drug running, which may well affect more people. Nicholas Brooks, Toronto
Inspectors won't stop abuses
I was so angered by the article regarding the need for licensed building inspectors and attempts by some landlords to fight the inspections (NOW, January 15-21). In the last apartment I rented, there were obvious signs of mould in the bathroom, thanks to an inconsiderate neighbour who let her tub overflow daily. An inspector with the city came, took samples and ordered the landlord to make repairs. Of course, my crappy landlord did nothing.
When the inspector came for a return visit, she reversed herself, saying there was never anything wrong, and she refused to put something on paper regarding her first visit. I put in a complaint and requested another inspector, only to end up with the same results.
At the end of the day, the little guy keeps getting screwed, licensed inspections or not.
Nicole S. , Toronto
Strange flu advice
re cold comfort (now, january 15-21). One of your experts says, "The flu spray (form of the vaccine) may be a better preventative, since it more closely mimics natural routes of infection." Strange advice coming from a supposed alternative health perspective. Most naturopaths advise against the flu vaccine because it doesn't prevent flu, has dangerous additives, i.e., mercury and formaldehyde, and does harm by weakening the immune system.
The flu mist injected into the nose contains live attenuated virus, which can cause flu symptoms and spread flu to vulnerable family members and the community. The FluMist manufacturer's own insert, labelled "Precautions," gives the following warning: "FluMist recipients should avoid close contact with immunocompromised individuals for at least 21 days."
The best flu preventative remains eliminating sugar, eating fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of purified water, getting enough rest and dealing with stress in a healthy way.
Kathy Baglio, Toronto
Burying the Gardiner
if David Miller wants to help re store the waterfront (NOW, January 15-21), why isn't he burying the Gardiner Expressway? It's noisy, it's ugly and it's cutting off the waterfront from the rest of the city. When I first moved to the city 15 years ago, my brother and I set out to explore the waterfront. We started getting a little nervous. There was nothing around as we started getting closer to the Gardiner, so we decided to turn back. Who wants to be exploring beneath a highway overpass? We should be opening up the waterfront and making use of what we have - a lake that can bring fresh energy to the Skydome, CN Tower, Air Canada Centre and downtown core. We should never underestimate the power of nature. Chester Manoharan, Toronto
Bike lanes fool drivers
Don Wanagas writes that a bike lane changed how he drives in a positive way (NOW, January 8-14). But how does he drive where there are no bike lanes? Like too many Ontario licensed drivers, he seems ignorant of the Highway Traffic Act that says cyclists belong on our roads and not just along the right side of the curb lane. The city of Toronto cannot put bike lanes everywhere, and the reality is that the bike lane traffic calming effect is temporary. Drivers stop and park in bike lanes, use them to pass left-turning traffic and when convenient simply ignore them.
But drivers can be educated with meaningful roadway signage. Bike lanes simply fool most drivers most of the time and give bicycle riders, especially those who don't make themselves visible, a false sense of security.
Issie Chackowicz, Toronto
How many is a massacre?
I was distressed to read mike Smith's account of a Toronto high school cancelling the movie Jenin, Jenin because of pressure from the Canadian Jewish Congress (NOW, January 8-14). As someone who was with the International Solidarity Movement in Jenin last summer, I'd like to add a few facts to Smith's rather good article.
According to the Israeli human rights group B'tselem (www. Btselem. org), more than 60 Palestinians were killed during the IDF invasion. The Palestinian Red Crescent believes the number is three times higher.
And just when does a killing spree by the Israeli military become a massacre? When Palestinian suicide bombers kill 10, four, 12, 20 Israelis, it is always a massacre. If the killing of innocent civilians is done by the military with tanks, helicopters and F-16 fighter jets, that's no longer a massacre.
I'm completely dismayed that Canada, a country that has consistently stood up to the U.S., is now buckling under to pressure, in effect making your student population as ignorant of the facts in Palestine as Americans.
Greta Berlin, Los Angeles, CA
Perlich, get off the pipe
Regarding the recent cd review of The Unintended's debut release (NOW, January 15-21). What can one say? Everyone's entitled to their opinion, and everyone should be able to take criticism, whether it's positive or negative. But to openly make fun of the band by changing their name for the review is pretty fuckin' lame, and even though very little that NOW prints these days surprises me, this sets a new standard in childishness.
Perlich, get off the pipe and pay attention to the keyboard. People might start taking you seriously again.
Bill White, Toronto
Raves for Starr
Thank you for reviewing and recommending the music of Kay Starr (NOW, December 18-24). I have long loved her music and never cease to rave about her to others. But NOW has done more to broadcast the gems of Kay's career than I ever could. Thanks! Craig Rowland, Toronto
Madonna deserves a listen
I don't know how now could list Madonna's American Life as one of the worst albums of the year (NOW, December 25-31). Get your ears checked. It's one of the best. Madonna has produced an intelligent album. American Life is powerful and focused, with strong songwriting, beats and rhythms. It is both self-reflective and political. Perhaps American Life won't go down as a classic, but the lyrics and music deserve to be listened to. Randolph Ouimet, Toronto
Saddam's mouse of a soul
In her letter, Michelle Höhs imagines a world in which we used the power of Saddam Hussein's "strong soul" to bring peoples together (NOW, December 25-31). There is nothing tough about Saddam. In his tyranny he robbed billions from his people to live luxuriously; in his downfall he surrendered as meek as a mouse. Imagine if we expended as much brainpower and fearlessness for the global good as al Qaeda uses to slaughter people globally. We could cure diseases, feed the hungry, house the homeless, preserve the environment, educate the illiterate. Jacob Mendlovic, Toronto
It's not about good and evil
If i can offer constructive criticism of 2003 and a New Year's resolution for 2004, it's to maintain your excellent movie reviews and entertainment coverage while injecting some fairness into your political coverage. Surely it's time for NOW to grow beyond this sophomoric view of the world as a great ideological struggle between good and evil. May you turn over a new leaf in 2004 so that people can appreciate your paper for more than entertainment. Paul Echevarria , Toronto