Harping on Harper
I always enjoy reading Alice Klein, but with all due respect, I think she may be getting carried away in describing the federal budget as Stephen Harper's recipe for "command and control" (NOW, April 5-11). In fact, many economists think the cuts didn't go far enough.
Klein might be surprised to learn that it was the Liberal majority back in the early 90s that first brought up moving eligibility for Old Age Security from 65 to 67. Of course, she's certain there must be a conspiracy. My suggestion would be for Klein to contact a travel agent immediately and book a fact-finding tour by bus through European countries like Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.
I wish to bring to your attention the fact that the caption Mad Budget on your cover to illustrate Alice Klein's article on the federal budget has upset my daughter, who lives and works in Toronto and asked me to write to you to let you know.
Perhaps you are not aware that it is in fact oppressive to insult or criticize someone by calling them crazy or mad. People who struggle with mental health issues would do better not to read such articles.
Perhaps you are competing with the Mad Magazine of my youth? Perhaps you want your readers to stop taking you seriously?
Regarding Paul Weinberg's Credit Rating Rip-off (NOW, April 5-11). The credit rating agencies are incompetent, which they've repeatedly proven. But I agree with this article in that they are also irrelevant.
Look at the market's reaction after the U.S. was downgraded. The U.S. economy rallied. That's because the markets already set the credit worthiness of any borrower.
Ratings are both redundant and dumber than the crowd-sourced price that already exists. I talk about the failure of the credit rating agencies in my book Jackass Investing. Myth #13: It's best to follow expert advice.
Bully for you
The review of Bully (NOW, april 5-11) states that "Hirsch rides the bus - truly hell on wheels - to record the abuse, the pathetically passive bystanders and the distressing response from wholly inept teachers."
I find this comment ignorant and offensive, mainly because it states that the kids on the bus who don't do anything should somehow be held accountable, too.
These are scared young kids who do not know how to react to bullying at someone else's expense. The issue is awareness. Calling them "pathetically passive bystanders" is in itself a form of bullying.
As a news organization and a political voice NOW magazine has lost a great deal of my respect with its most recent cover (NOW, April 5-11).
It is pretty dumb to eat meat - even "free range" organic - and claim to be environmentally conscious, not to mention supposedly humanitarian.
History of police violence
How Occupy turned violent (NOW Daily, April 5)? That's a poor headline considering that it is the police that got violent, initially on someone in handcuffs (whom they beat), then on the person who was just filming. The video doesn't show any violence on the part of protesters. Also, I object to the suggestion that there weren't enough police or that the police "panicking" was somehow justified. In this video you can see [from] the context directly preceding the violence, there was no reason for the police to panic.
We were dismayed to read Jesse Rosenfeld's contention that the Movement Defence Committee of the Law Union of Ontario (MDC) had been "infiltrated" by JIG officers prior to the G20 (NOW, March 22-28).
The MDC organized a legal observer program in preparation for demonstrations. Volunteer legal observers attended training sessions where they learned to report arrests and monitor police misconduct.
The G20 legal support office, however, was staffed exclusively by members of the MDC, a secure committee with a vetted membership of trusted activists, legal workers, law students and lawyers.
No observers were given access to confidential, sensitive or non-public information gathered.
Irina Ceric, on behalf of the MDC
I enjoyed reading the article about BBNG, (NOW, March 22-28) but was concerned about the misleading depiction of the Humber College music program.
Jazz programs at colleges and universities have gone a long way toward filling an apprenticeship void that was once provided by an abundance of steady gigs and road work. Humber, where I teach, has long prided itself on having a "real world" approach to music education. To say that the school is only interested in churning out a generation of bebop clones is ludicrous. As to whether or not there is any value in transcribing solos by jazz masters, a school that didn't expose its students to this approach would simply not be doing its job.
Biggest demolition sin
Regarding your cover story on Disappearing Toronto (NOW, March 29-April 4). The biggest demolition sin ever committed in Toronto was tearing down the Armouries in 1963. We continue to opt for commerce and gentrification as we erase several aesthetic periods that will never return. It doesn't make for a beautiful city, and it means I need to work harder to appreciate where I live as I walk past all the cheapness.
Chris Michael Burns