MAIL BAG

March 13 2006

MAIL BAG

March 13 2006

MAIL BAG

'Shooting birds on the ground, or shooting in the direction of other hunters, is considered dangerous hunting. Amiel attempts to represent Cheney as old and silly instead of negligent.

Eyes on the road

The issue of distracted driving is barely mentioned in your cover story, “It’s not just a car anymore, it’s home” (Feb. 27). At 50 km/h, in one second you cover about 14 m. The important message missing, among the mentions of iPod docks, fridges, Wi-Fi and video games to amuse the driver and passengers, is that even one second spent fiddling with the CD player, or reaching for a coffee cup, could lead to a crash that ruins your whole day—or takes someone’s life. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

David Flewelling, President,

Canadian Automobile Association, Ottawa

If one wishes to talk on the phone, finish important office work, watch a video, listen to music, read a book, heck, even take a nap while travelling in safety, take a bus!

Paul J. McLeod, Windsor, Ont.

Freedom of expression

I must commend Maclean’s for using your “freedom of expression” to make the decision not to publish the Danish cartoons. In the editorial “What it means to be free” (Feb. 27), you call for “clear statements and robust leadership on these issues from our politicians.” I am puzzled, therefore, by your somewhat vague criticisms of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft in regard to censorship within China. If the Canadian government has the right (or even the duty) to determine the rules under which corporations (both foreign and domestic) operate within our borders, the Chinese have the right to determine the rules in China.

UlfSoehngen, Sidney, B.C.

We need to be disgusted with companies or individuals who put profit before human rights or human dignity. At the very least we can pressure companies and our own government to behave like good citizens.

Eric Best, Lanigan, Sask.

Your editorial on free speech was cowardly. It is easy to sit back and righteously defend a universal value. The hard part is reconciling two or more such values when they are in conflict, such as free speech versus discrimination based on religion. Don’t whine to politicians about it. Take a stand. Isn’t that what Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten newspaper was trying to do to begin with? Did they cross a line? What do you think, and why?

Phil Thompson, Richmond Hill, Ont.

Dr. Laura’s diagnosis

Our children each have four siblings, two parents, four grandparents, two great-grandparents and many aunts, uncles and cousins who love them. Dr. Laura Schlessinger (Interview, Feb. 27) chose a career over a family until the age of 38. She thereby prevented her son from experiencing the lifelong network of love my kids will enjoy, that no mother alone can replace. We, however, are making our kids “pay the price” for our “self-centredness” and committing “child neglect,” she claims, for sending our kids to daycare a few hours a day. Does she not own a mirror, or does she just refuse to look into it? Christopher Liebrecht, Danville, Que.

I have been both a stay-at-home parent and a working parent. Linda Frum’s comment, “as women, we also need meaningful work

in our lives,” gives me pause. How we raise our kids will probably affect society more than anything most of us do in our careers. Lynda Willyard, Smiths Falls, Ont.

Let’s see: very poor relationships with her father, mother and only sister, and her only son is in the military. And this harsh woman is supposed to give us relationship advice? Kristyn Chepelsky,

Toronto

When my husband and I decided to have children, we both knew that we were switching priorities forever. If your ego and needs cannot take a back seat to a child that you decide to bring into the world, then remain childless.

Pamela Tonkin, Kitchener, Ont.

Laura Schlessinger is not a medical doctor. She does not hold a Ph.D. in psychology. Instead, she calls herself “Dr. Laura” on the basis of a Ph.D. in physiology from Columbia University. Readers should be advised to take her armchair psychology with an extra grain of salt.

J. A. Britten, Ottawa

Dangerous hunting

As a rule, when hunting quail in a party, a trained dog finds and points birds. A single hunter dressed in orange detaches himself from the party and flushes the birds. One bird or a flock of quail rises. The hunter picks a single bird, swings on it in flight, and shoots in a safe direction only. If hit, the bird falls. The hunter then sends the dog in to retrieve the downed quail. Shooting birds on the ground, or shooting in the direction of other orangeclad hunters, is considered dangerous hunting. Barbara Amiel (“Silly old rich white men,” Feb. 27) makes a valiant attempt to represent her neo-conservative idol, Dick Cheney, as old and silly, instead of a criminally negligent hunter. Jules Sobrian, Omemee, Ont.

Hungarian meltdown

István Csurka and his party of thugs really have very little impact on political life in Hungary (“Neo-neo-Nazis,” World, Feb. 27). The point Michael Petrou missed is that there is a

A MILESTONE

Ted Rogers, chief executive of Rogers Communications Inc., rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange last week, celebrating the company’s 10-year anniversary on the world’s largest stock market. Stock in the company, which owns Maclean’s, closed the week at US$40.70 a share—up more than 250 per cent since its debut in 1996. From left to right, Rogers executives Bill Linton, Phil Lind, NYSE CEO John Thain, Ted Rogers, Alan Horn and Bruce Mann.

ROGERS

'If one wishes to talk on the phone, w finish office work, watch a video, listen to music, read a book, even take a nap while travelling in safety, take a bus!'

social meltdown occurring in Hungary. Nationalistic and xenophobic tendencies are serious problems here. Since regime change took place (as the 1989 collapse of the Communist system is referred to here), Hungarians have been buffeted by a profit-driven market economy and governed by self-centred politicians. The result has been a burgeoning bureaucracy, which produces no real wealth or good governance; the establishment of a circle of wealthy business tycoons of various faiths; institutionalized corruption; and deteriorating education, health and social services. Even life expectancy rates are falling. Regarding the upcoming election, the mood of ordinary citizens is one of anger and dismay. The alternatives are akin to choosing between red wine or white wine, each laced with poison. The result will be the same.

Thomas A. Tass, Budapest

A spectacle of sport

The focus of the Olympics is being eroded away from the athletes in the wake of huge and splashy opening (and closing) ceremonies (“Rings of fire: how is Vancouver going to top Turin’s opener?” Feb. 20). A word of advice: keep it simple! Make them uniquely Canadian, and keep the focus on the athletes. Marie Salovaara, Powassan, Ont.

Why do we try to be the best in the world in the sporting arena, but are content with “average” in other areas? For instance, Stephen Harper has said that he wants Canada to move toward foreign aid spending that will reflect the average level among the OECD members. Why is this our goal? Wouldn’t this be the

time, when it truly is a matter of life and death, for us to shoot for the gold medal?

Barbara Haley, Victoria, B.C.

Scott Feschuk’s column “Let the excuses begin" (Feb. 27) was less than discourteous to our Olympic athletes. With heroes like Clara Hughes laying it all out, what’s to excuse? Your mid-Games analysis was mean-spirited. Ian Clark, Ottawa

Caging crows

While “Two’s company, three’s a crow” (Home, Feb. 27) mentioned the legality of keeping a crow as a pet, I was surprised that it completely neglected the ethical debate. If people really want to raise a baby bird, they should volunteer with a wildlife rehabilitator who raises baby birds for the purpose of release back into their natural environment. These animals don’t belong in people’s homes—there is a reason they are called “wildlife.”

Cindy Platt, Edmonton

Rejects reconsidered

In Scott Feschuk’s list of Top 10 rejected ideas for the new Maclean’s (“Now for the Top 10 rejects,” Nov. 21, 2005), No. 1 was “Buy me! I might have a half-naked lady inside!” Recently I opened up the magazine and found covers of Vanity Fair with pictures of halfnaked Scarlett Johansson, Keira Knightley, Kate Moss and Paris Hilton (“Vanity Fair bares all,” Media, Feb. 27). What happened to that idea being “rejected?” Now I’m just waiting for No. 8 on the list: Peter C. Newman wearing a backwards baseball cap.

Kristin Stroobosscher, Conestogo, Ont.