Re: Spare Me The Nostalgia Trip, Rosecrans Baldwin, Dec. 29.
Rosecrans Baldwin misses the point when he laments the comeback of audio cassettes. When home recorded with care, music cassettes are the last vestige of the superior sound of analog recording tape available to the consumer. Not perfect, but competently very good.
For those of us who live and work with digital every day, there is something most enjoyable in listening to tape. While digital has taken over as the world standard for recording, analog tape continues to capture a warmth, depth and richness that elude digital. This applies even to the lowly cassette when recorded correctly and with proper equipment.
Commercially recorded cassettes are often of inferior quality, but high-end consumer cassettes that were the mainstay of personal recording are adept at capturing music to a sufficiently high level of fidelity. Living with a bit of analog in one’s life is not such a bad thing and a reminder that before digital there were viable recording formats capable of making music come alive.
Barry Lubotta, Toronto.
Re: Why Canadian Oratory Is Awful, Patrick Luciani, Dec. 28.
Patrick Luciani may have it backward when he states that an “ordinary” country like Canada produces rather “ordinary” orators. Rather, Canada may be “ordinary” precisely because its orators have been well, rather “ordinary”. Great speakers are a necessity in a democracy where people need to be inspired by its orators who persuade them to go in one direction or the other for the common good. A great speech can take us to lofty heights and a truly great orator can lead a country to greatness. Meanwhile in Canada, we are still waiting.
Dan Mailer, London, Ont.
Re: No Need For A Referendum On Electoral Reform, letter to the editor, Dec. 29; The Liberals’ Electoral Reform Quagmire, Colby Cosh, Dec. 28.
Letter writer Richard Platt argues a referendum on electoral reform is not necessary under our Westminster-based parliamentary system. I contend that with 39.5 per cent of the popular vote in the last federal election, the Liberal government does not have a legitimate mandate to change an electoral system that only selects which political power will rule, not how the selection will be made. None of our elections is democratic unless a small government and/or a none of the above vote is counted as a legitimate electoral choice.
Gene Balfour, Thornhill, Ont.
Richard Platt makes an interesting case with reference to changes made in Britain but missed the obvious point: none of those changes — from removing rotten boroughs to extending the franchise — affects how Britons elected their MPs. It is still first past the post. What Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is suggesting is to change how the electoral system works. While he has the legal authority to do this, he did not win a majority of the popular vote and does not have the moral authority to do so. To have legitimacy any reform of this nature would need a majority of Canadians to agree, either by electing a government with more than 50 per cent of the popular vote or by approving the idea in a referendum.
Kevin Day, Edmonton.
There is a simple way to reform the electoral system — hold runoff elections in constituencies where candidates failed to win more than 50 per cent of the votes, after eliminating those who got less than 25 per cent. This will allow a party with double majorities – majority of seats, majority of votes – to form a majority government. This will not need a referendum. Wide public consultation will do.
Mahmood Elahi, Ottawa.
Re: The Year America Finally Went Bonkers, Terry Glavin, Dec. 24.
The only way the U.S. can be restored to greatness is to find a great leader like Abraham Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt. As for Donald Trump, Barry Goldwater’s pro and con slogans of long ago fit him like a glove: Pro: “In your heart you know he’s right!” Con: “In your guts you know he’s nuts!” Trump, like Goldwater, will be decisively rejected by the women of America.
William Bedford, Newmarket, Ont.
Re: We Have No True Friend There, editorial, Dec. 21.
My award for the biggest joke of 2015 goes to Saudi Arabia: it has suddenly woken up from its deep slumber and realized there is something called terrorism. With the speed of lightning, it has formed a 34-country Islamic coalition to fight terrorism. This is a sinister ploy to divert attention from the fact the kingdom has not volunteered to take in Syrian refugees and is also a quiet, but a vigorous exporter of the most toxic aspects of Wahhbism. Unfortunately several Western governments and press have adopted a policy silence.
Muri B. Abdurrahman, Thornhill, Ont.
Many ways to be right
Re: The Man Behind PM’s Foreign Policy, Dec. 29.
A shift of Liberal policy to multilateralism is hardly surprising, as Liberal political idealism tends to assume its “balanced” norms can be readily embraced by everyone. There may be some truth to this; however even when there is agreement, there can be delusion.
Politics is ultimately intentional and therefore partisan; there is also the further problem of how best to interpret the genuine complexities of the world. Not just one theory, one technique or one solution can determine how this should be done. Though Western thinking may help save the world, it must not be assumed it bestows equality on all other peoples’ dogmas, speculations, and beliefs. While some people will prove to be right, there will be others that will (most definitely) proved to be wrong.
Gordon Watson, Rocky Mountain House, Alta.
Man smart, machines smarter
Re: Bingo’s New Addicts, Dec. 29.
Gambling should not be taken lightly. It can turn to an addiction that can deplete the life savings of seniors looking for something to while away the time. Gambling losses have reportedly triggered a rash of suicides. New technology has made it easier and faster to spend money on slot machines and bingo terminals. Gambling is a game of chance and if you think you can outsmart a machine, you have a problem. Nothing can prepare you for the losses you incur by playing the slot machine or the bingo terminal. If you have an addiction, you should seek professional help.
Alex Sotto, Montreal.
Still an impossible dream
Re: We Need A Plan B, editorial, Dec. 28.
The idea humanity may one day live among the stars is in need of a reality check. Let’s start with Voyagers 1 and 2, our first tentative step toward the edge of our solar system. More than 37 years after launch, V1 is now 18.8 billion kilometres away from Earth. That is an astonishing distance and some claim V1 and V2 are now in deep space.
When V1 beeps a message back to Earth, that message traverses that huge gulf of distance in just 18 hours because light travels at just over one billion km per hour. So to travel just one light year away from Earth will take another 18,000 years. The nearest star, Proxima Centauri, is 4.2 light years away, so if V1 was pointed in that direction it would sail by that nearest star a little over 75,000 years from now. It may be foolish to ever say never, but it is equally foolish to confuse plans with impossible dreams.
Charles Gracey, Ancaster, Ont.