You called your last issue "the Beer Issue" (NOW, August 7-13), stating that "Hogtown is well on its way to becoming Hoptown." I hardly know what to say. Are your writers that ignorant as to what a vibrant beer scene should be?
For the size of its population, southern Ontario's beer scene is pathetic, mostly because of a government-sanctioned monopoly in The Beer Store and Brewers Retail. Hell, I can't even find a good selection of the fine Quebec microbrews, let alone some of the stuff from the U.S. and overseas.
Ontario is being screwed by big breweries. Write to McGuinty, tell him you want beer sales opened up to private competition. Sign the petition (ipetitions.com/petition/nobeerstore) and check out the website freeourbeer.org.
Olympic hero worship
Helen Lenskyj is right on. Her piece Fool's Gold Standard (NOW August 7-13) is refreshing and timely given the onslaught of Olympic propaganda. There is a cult around the Olympics that is creepy. Olympic athletes and professional athletes in general are hardly role models for our society. They are primarily interested in fame and money. If you want role models and heroes, look at all the folks doing volunteer work or those working with the homeless. These are the real heroes.
Andrew van Velzen
Higher, stronger, perverted
There are many times I've wanted to write a letter because of the annoying things I read in your newspaper. You write an article one week about boycotting the Olympics opening ceremonies and the next you run an ad showing off that you have your very own reporter in China. Wow, I'm impressed!
While I'm ranting, may I suggest that you get a dedicated veg/vegan expert to start reviewing veg/vegan restos?
Another letter-writer has suggested a pullout section for your disgusting perv ads. I agree, so make it happen so I don't have to be subjected to that smut.
Bashing Obama as sport
I share the views raised by letter-writer Corey Pierce (NOW, August 7-13) on your coverage of Barack Obama. Obama-bashing is now a popular sport during this Olympics season in China. Even the National Post is attracted to it. Apparently, Obama sells newspapers these days. Truly, this guy has mesmerized everybody.
Kaela B. Mulenga
Regarding Ticket to Nowhere (NOW, August 7-13). Living at Yonge and College, it's hard not to be annoyed by the zero-tolerance approach to panhandlers and drug users by police. It's nice to be able to walk down the street without being offered crack every five minutes, but the mayor, Kyle Rae and 51 Division bosses have failed. Can we please focus on the real problems around here, like noise and air pollution? BTW, those new street lights on Yonge are too harsh!
A pox on T.O.
Only in a fascist, white, anglo shithole like Toronto would the poor who are forced into scavenging garbage by the fucking system be penalized with $360 fines for doing so. Way to go, Miller and Co. Shame on you and a pox on your city.
Many thanks to Mike Smith for the thoughtful discussion on "footprint" taxes (NOW, July 31-August 6). While I agree with Smith about the difficulties he points out, footprint taxation is the ideal answer to direct certain behaviours. In our society, all taxes are essentially forms of social engineering.
The crucial question is what behaviour does the city of Toronto want to engineer? Publicly, a desire for higher density [is articulated], yet actual-value-assessment-based taxes punish condo dwellers and homeowners in high-density neighbourhoods.
Now the city claims to want to reduce garbage. The new bins are an interesting, and possibly the right, experiment. But if the real goal is to reduce garbage, it's time to also investigate going after the source with a producer-pays scheme.
Some might then argue that the poor will face inflationary pressures on goods, since packaging disposal costs will get passed on to the consumer. Life is hard for the poor, and it's none of my business how they spend what little income they have, but frankly, they're consumers, too.
Resisters show courage
In response to letter-writer Patrick Rawley's comments about your war resisters Profiles Of Courage (NOW, August 7-13), Rawley didn't get his facts straight. Jeremy Hinzman joined the army in 2001, became disgusted by what he saw there, turned into a pacifist, tried to get out - which is a big point Rawley seems to have missed - then was sent to Afghanistan. He sought refuge in Canada when they tried to send him to Iraq.
Put yourself in Hinzman's shoes. Recently, the Canadian Parliament passed legislation allowing war resisters to stay in Canada, yet they are still facing deportation because the PM and Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley are refusing to act. This is why you're seeing the Profiles In Courage in NOW.
Carlin J. Belof
Spin on disc reviews
Why have you changed yet again the way disc reviews are archived? The previous way of listing all the recent reviews on the right side of a review was excellent. I am left wondering how I can see the previous week's reviews if I was not able to read them. Please go back to the previous set-up.
AC killing us
Is this city's love affair with ac making anyone else sick to their stomach, literally? I wasn't born in Canada, but it looks like I will die here. Have you, too, been suffering from mysterious pains and can't quite pinpoint what's causing them? I can assure you it's this cold draft we are being forced to live in. It seizes up the muscles and makes us susceptible to all kinds of illnesses.
Anywhere I go - TTC trains, residential buildings, office buildings, movie theatres, grocery stores, shopping malls, gyms, you name it, everywhere - freezing! It bothers me as a person who values her health and the environment.
I spent last summer in Europe. They don't crank up AC and force you to carry a winter coat and socks everywhere. They live "with" the summer as opposed to "against" it.