MLK would disapprove
RE Build it, they will come (NOW, December 6-12).
Of course black-focused schools are segregation, and respected people like Lincoln Alexander are quite correctly calling them so. Martin Luther King would be the first to dismiss all-black schools as ridiculous, divisive nonsense!
We should be addressing problems in the system instead of dividing people. Constitutionally, then, every group should have the right to its own schools. That would just put up walls between us.
Blurred black focus
First, talk was of a black-focused school for all black children, but your article focuses on black Jamaican males. What exactly is the school's mandate and goal?
There are social ills involved in this community that must be looked at, as well as educational opportunities.
The majority of children who are failing come from dysfunctional homes. Blaming schools can only work for so long.
Why I'm on a hunger strike
Thanks for last week's on the Street (NOW, December 6-12). The support here for my hunger strike has been incredible.
But the reason I have refused food (for 61 days as of this writing, December 7) was barely touched on.
Uranium is the most deadly substance on the planet, and the risk to the environment lasts for thousands of years.
That we need more low-grade uranium in Canada for our electrical needs is a sham. Eighty-five per cent of the uranium we take out of the ground in Canada, risking countless generations into the future as we do so, is exported.
I cannot stand by quietly while we yet again put big money and GDP ahead of the environment and our children's future.
While Dion's at it...
Your suggestion to Stephane Dion that he stop poaching NDP ideas on poverty and "forge a coalition... to defeat the big bad Tories..." (NOW, December 6-12) is a good one.
While Dion's at it, he should support the NDP on proportional representation so that we can put in place a system that will promote cooperation with other parties as the norm.
This would be far better than the present ridiculous cutthroat system in which the major parties perpetually angle to become the majority so they can steamroller those of us who did not vote for them.
Detroit: rockin' city
As a former Detroiter, I'd like to thank Ron Stang for his piece on Detroit's finer points (NOW, December 6-12).
But I'd like to point out that the article missed one of the crown jewels of Detroit's collection, the newly renovated Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).
The DIA sits in a beautiful beaux arts building and houses a collection that puts the AGO to shame.
These positives are the things that I often reflect on whenever I am outside the city. But when I'm there, it's a very different story.
Detroit is, in fact, a shell of what it once was and could be again. Instead, we end up with a city whose "revitalized" downtown core consists of some bars and casinos, and suburbanites practically run to their cars to get back to safety when the fun is over. Problem number-one: there is no real public transit.
In the meantime, if you do visit my old hometown, stop by Belle Isle during the day to see a living museum of what Detroit once was.
RE Encounter on the rock (NOW , December 6-12). Message to Robert Priest: You're not a poet. You're an ignorant pig.
St. John's, Newfoundland
Bible missing moral compass
Drew Hayden Taylor's Let's Ban The Bible (NOW, November 29-December 5) hit the mark perfectly. In fact, I made a similar suggestion (albeit in language that was less polite) to the Halton Catholic School Board following its decision to pull The Golden Compass due to its author's reported atheism.
There are few books that are as hate-filled, intolerant, homophobic, racist and demeaning to the human spirit as the Bible. If someone tried to print it today for the first time, the printer would probably be liable for hate crimes. Yet it gets a free pass from any such analysis. If we're going to examine moral content, maybe we should start there. I'll get the bonfire ready.
City Hall's grand facade
RE Facade fakeout (NOW, November 29-December 5). Thank you for showing and discussing eight (out of at least 50) examples of City Hall's "progressive" approach to architectural preservation. Clearly, here's another sorry instance of knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. Historical bricks and mortar? What a drag.
Better to have something to suit our stunted attention span: virtual architecture. Just imagine where and what it used to be. Context need not apply.
Twigs' slim pickin's
Kudos for reviewing Slim Twig's fine Whiite Fantaseee EP (NOW, December 6-12). However, Twig doesn't use any synths on the disc. Maybe your reviewer was hearing sampled loops and keyboards like Slim's vintage Farfisa organ. Plus, that "laptop rhythm section... digi-beat" is actually a Rhythm Ace drum machine, circa 1974: strictly analog.
Reviewer Jason Keller nailed it with his observation of the "switchblade" sharpness of Twig's lyrics, though. Very few can pen them as brilliantly. It's part of why his talent transcends your whole "messing with rockabilly" storyline.
Hampton fights good fight
RE Mea culpa? no way (NOW, November 29-December 5). Don't blame Howard Hampton for the NDP's meagre election results. No one could have done any better.
Hampton persevered heroically through the aftermath of Bob Rae while the NDP self-destructed into a shadow of its former self. He has carried high the NDP torch for a decade, often almost single-handedly.
Hampton has been courageously leading an uphill fight for social democracy while his followers have wandered off in all directions.
Instead of pointing the finger at the leader, it would be more productive if every New Democrat stood in front of a mirror and pointed his or her finger accordingly.
Hummer hard to swallow
Naomi Klein, well-known for her bon mots, had one of her best lines excised from NOW's version of her article Betting On Climate Change (NOW, December 6-12). The original, which appeared in The Nation, contains this: "The ultimate expression of this second option [Homeland Security-type safety] is Hummer's new TV ads: the gas-guzzler is seen carrying its cargo to safety in various disaster zones, followed by the slogan "HOPE: Hummer Owners Prepared for Emergencies.' It's a bit like the Marlboro man doing grief counselling in a cancer ward."
Googling for NOW Magazine and Hummer turns up two NOW adverts for Hummer sales.
Why are NOW's readers routinely handed Reader's Digest versions of articles that appear elsewhere in full? To make room for yet more ads?
Water worth springing for
Really enjoyed your spirited look at green gifts (NOW, December 6-12). I have another one for you. If your readers would like to make a contribution to clean water and clean air right here in the GTA, I encourage them to visit www.trca.on.ca/gifts.
All the proceeds go to work in the region's nine watersheds through projects undertaken by Toronto and Region Conservation.
Conservation Foundation of Greater Toronto