It's a movie - get over it
The problem with Eli Shupak's criticism of Million Dollar Baby (NOW, February 24-March 2) is that it's a movie, not a political manifesto.
This is one person's story, and should not be considered a road map for all disabled people.
Some disabled people probably do want to kill themselves.
Are their stories not worth telling? What people seem to forget is that we have a responsibility to think for ourselves and not rely on movies, television and books to do it for us.
Reviewing tips for Jessica Russell (Shivaree Sizzles, NOW, February 24-March 2): arrive early if you want a seat at a popular show; review the performers, not the audience; if you must comment on the "middle-aged audience" and their "rejuvenated sex lives," then go for full disclosure (i.e., what's your own age, and are you getting it regularly?).
So Hugh Mackenzie seems to think we're undertaxed (NOW, February 24-March 2). This must make him the blindest economist in the country!
Well over half my income went to taxes last year, and this silly man says I ought to pay more. Tax breaks are good. They've been proven to stimulate the economy. If the Harris tax cuts failed, it wasn't because he was wrong to make them. It was a case of the provincial government giving and the crooked Chretien feds taking away.
Money is power.
The governments we're under want more of our power, and economists like Mackenzie think they should have it. I say power to the people.
Jack's tax backtrack
As a former tax specialist, I agree with Hugh Mackenzie that "governments fell over themselves to buy votes by cutting taxes." But I wonder why our progressive Jack Layton and the NDP recently backed down on bringing in an inheritance or gift tax.
NHL owners the real goons
Shame on NOW for pandering to the masses by dismissing the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) as "idiots" equal to the owners (NOW, February 24-March 2). The NHLPA is resisting the owners' union-busting lockout. NOW should back every player's right to bargain freely for an individual contract.
Live stupidly, die young
How come kids who are seriously into defacing/damaging property, even if they've got some kind of artistic ability, become social heroes? I am puzzled by the accident that killed Bardia Bryan Zargham (NOW, February 17-23). I live near where he died.
Have you been on that railway bridge? There are about 2 metres of gravel between tracks, so one in trouble can simply lie down and wait for danger to pass.
Regretting the misfortune, I'm nevertheless very much inclined to say that the kid lived stupidly and died the same way.
On the firing line now
I was disturbed and outraged by the story on U.S. troops targeting journalists in Iraq (NOW, February 17-23).
Accordingly, NOW should investigate and send its entire editorial staff to Baghdad immediately.
Homegrown crop fix
I really appreciated Wayne Roberts's thoughtful article about saving Ontario's agricultural land (NOW, February 17-23). Many of his ideas, such as rewarding farm and forest stewardship, and government funding of first-time farm buyers, were very practical. However, while we can and should grow a greater variety of food, there's no need for us to be hauling diesel truckloads of veggies like potatoes and peas from the U.S. when they can easily be grown here.
Toronto's Foodshare is a great organization that tries to bring good fresh vegetables and fruit (much of it organic) from nearby Ontario farms to people in the city at very reasonable prices.
Check out their Good Food Box program at www.foodshare.net.
The politics of poo
Stephen Humphrey's All Pent Up With Nowhere To Poo (NOW, February 17-23) raises important underlying issues about the politics of public space.
Washrooms are more than just toilets. They are social spaces where all kinds of activities take place.
Public washrooms raise the question of which activities are collectively valued and built into public space, and who is designated a legitimate member of the public. Closing the washrooms was a spatial solution to a political problem. This "moral terror," as described by Councillor Kyle Rae, is invoked time and again to define the borders of the "public," and certain groups are always construed as beyond its borders - in this case teenagers, queers and the homeless.
Humphrey is right that Toronto needs to install public washrooms, but before we lobby for exclusive mono-functional machines of social control in our streets, let's consider the meaning of "public" and the important role public bathrooms could play in providing space for multiple purposes.
What would Toronto be like if we actually prioritized our embodiment in all its complexity and diversity in our built form?
Assistant Professor Department of Geography
Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario
Skeptics, see for yourself
Just some clarification on oise Up On Arms (NOW, February 10-16). U of T is disseminating a lot of disinformation on the subject of partnerships with military contractor Atlantis Systems International and the Department of National Defense (DND). People just have to go to www.atlantissi.com and see for themselves.
People Against Militarization of OISE
Re Odds stacked against blacks (NOW, February 24-March 2). Letter writer Vernon A. Bassue has apparently never heard of Lincoln Alexander and several other luminaries from the Canadian black community who've climbed the social ladder. Nevertheless, one mustn't forget that Condoleezza Rice has always been a tool of the Bush administration.
Furthermore, there's no question that all minorities in North America, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual persuasion, still have a huge battle in order to prove themselves when up against those who are white, Anglo, Christian and male.
Please, peruse my package
I read Peter Zed's Letter to the editor (NOW, January 20-26) and thought that perhaps there hadn't been enough room in Savage Love that week and it had simply been misfiled.
He's at the Y, a guy makes a comment about his unit, and it's not until he discusses the matter with his girlfriend that he figures he "was probably being hit on." Is there a Y in Picton that I don't know about? I figured this was an isolated incident, but then I read a letter from S. Beresford (NOW, February 17-23), who's concerned about gay peepers at his gym giving the rest of us queers a bad name. Perverted peeking peepers are plenty persistent, it seems.
Personally, I don't see what all the hubbub is about. I go to the gym so I can look good, and I'm pretty proud of my manhood. Be upset when they stop rubbernecking to peruse your package.
Why's Paul perplexed?
Now that prime minister Paul Martin has finally said no to George Bush's missile defence program, the other Paul, Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, says he's "perplexed" about why Canadians don't want to participate. Well, Paul, let me enlighten you. Missile defence doesn't work.
Missile defence costs billions of dollars. Missile defence is the first step in the weaponization/militarization of space. Canadians know these facts, which is why the majority oppose it.
Does that clear things up for you, Mr. Cellucci?
Darlene A. Hebert
Nailed for going too slow
Re Drive-by cash grab (NOW, February 17-23). I have had a similar experience with the Drive Test Centres. On December 10, 2004, I proceeded to the Etobicoke Drive Test Centre to take my G2 test, only to fail because I was travelling too slowly.
A weather alert had been issued that morning, cautioning motorists to slow down because of reduced visibility in fog and heavy rain.
The staff were rude and condescending, and when I notified them that I would file a complaint with the Ministry of Transportation, their response was "Good luck."
They knew something the rest of us didn't until we read your article.
Pharma pulls strings
Matt Mernagh's harrowing experience with Effexor withdrawal syndrome (NOW, January 27-February 2) is a good example of what happens when Big Pharma is paid in taxpayer dollars to pull the puppet strings on Health Canada, dumb us down to pill-popping docility while using the CBC to disseminate propaganda against natural health products for healing. Matt, if you really want to make it better, tell your MP to support Bill C-420, and start eating some good-quality cod liver oil while you check out alternative dietary solutions for arthritis pain.
Hugh and cry
Contrary to A Little Dot Will Do Ya (NOW, February 24-March 2), Judge Hugh Locke was in attendance at the police services board's February 9 consultation meeting at North York Civic Centre.
Toronto Police Services Board