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Plots at the PMO
Re How The PMO Plotted To Make The Duffy Scandal Go Away (Aug. 13): Harry Truman as president of the United States had a sign that sat on his desk. He took responsibility for his job. There is no such sign in Canada's PMO. If there were, it would read: "The buck stops anyplace but here."
Joe Spence, Ottawa
Senator Mike Duffy thought he was entitled to additional expenses. Most of us disagree.
Nigel Wright disagreed. One of Mr. Wright's duties was the smooth operation of the Prime Minister's Office. He considered Mr. Duffy's expenses a distraction he could do without. He used his own wealth in an attempt to do so. He felt it prudent that the PM not know all the details.
We've known all this for months. The problem is no longer news, except to the media. Mr. Duffy's reputation is in shreds; the Senate financial rules have been shown to be incredibly poorly written.
Many of us do not care if Mr. Duffy is ultimately found to have committed a criminal offence. Opposition members need to discuss matters of real consequence.
Ian McKee, Halifax
It's very appropriate that Nigel Wright quoted scripture in his reasoning for trying to make the Duffy problem go away for the boss (Wright Cites Scripture To Explain Secrecy Of Duffy Payment – online, Aug. 13).
When the big guy's unhappy – will no-one rid me of this troublesome priest? – it's time to look for divine inspiration.
And it sells better with the Conservative base than quoting, for instance, Flip Wilson: "The devil made me do it."
David Ferry, Toronto
There is simply no honourable element in this affair. Or at least the PMO, Senate, Conservative Party and Mike Duffy's view of what is pure or honourable is certainly not in accord with my view of what those terms mean.
Blair Bleakney, Saskatoon
With a Nigel Wright ATM in the PMO, benevolently spitting out cash for seemingly every "worthwhile" cause, why did Stephen Harper bother sending Mike Duffy out and about to raise money for the Conservative Party?
Ken Cuthbertson, Kingston
Re Mr. Spock At Bat (editorial, Aug. 12): To repeat your phraseology, you couldn't be more misguided. The differential between runs scored and runs given up is an "old school" metric, and surely offers no proof that the Toronto Blue Jays have ever been seriously considered among the league's elite.
The Jays' success is in large part defined by a traditional approach to baseball – making the lineup so powerful that opposing pitchers can find no reprieve, particularly in the first four spots in the batting order. And because the top of the lineup is so good, you have to throw strikes to the bottom of the lineup, which makes them that much better. This isn't new age baseball. This is Babe Ruth, Murderer's Row.
But the stats nerds and geeks make it clear to general manager Alex Anthopoulos that despite an exemplary record, a pitcher like Drew Hutchison isn't a front line starter, and that even if he wins 20 games this year he is neither a candidate for the Cy Young Award nor is he in line for a raise.
Stats serve executives at both ends of the talent pool. The high end is simple enough for anyone to understand.
Where Mr. Anthopouplos earns his money is understanding how the stats protect the team at the lower end of the talent pool.
John P. Foden, Toronto
One study does not suddenly invalidate decades of nutritional research (Stop Worrying. Dinner Is Served – editorial, Aug. 13).
To suggest that many people have suffered earlier deaths by seeking alternatives to saturated fats is disingenuous, to say the least, as is talking about a "puritanical policy of absolute avoidance" and advocating that we "fall back on our best instincts."
As reported elsewhere, the lead author in the McMaster University study also cautioned that researchers "aren't advocating an increase of the allowance for saturated fats in dietary guidelines, as we don't see evidence that higher limits would be specifically beneficial to health" and that "we could not confidently rule out an increased risk of death from heart disease with higher amounts of saturated fat."
A little knowledge is a dangerous base for advocacy.
Luke Mastin, Toronto
Pliant vs. strategic
Re Mulcair's Makeover Of The New Democrats (Aug. 13): Konrad Yakabuski is correct about Thomas Mulcair's makeover of the NDP, but he misses the reason for Mr. Mulcair's easy ride.
Along with millions of other Canadians, party members will do what it takes to rid the country of the Harper Conservatives.
Once this national nightmare has passed, once postal service and the CBC are restored, and refugees are once more entitled to medical care, a prime minister Mulcair will have to negotiate with the party he has chosen to lead. Then we will see Canadian progressives pressing once again for policies that aim to eradicate poverty, close the income gap, and combat climate change.
The "remarkably pliant" base is proving to be remarkably strategic.
Roberta Hamilton, Kingston
Re Is Air Conditioning A Sexist Plot? (Aug. 13): It's reported that new research suggests the reason why most women find office buildings too cold in the summer is because the air temperature is set using a decades-old formula best suited for the metabolic rates of middle-aged men.
While there may be legitimate concerns with this formula – it ignores many cultural, climatic, social and contextual dimensions of comfort, for example – pinning the blame squarely on one variable is far too simplistic.
Thermal comfort is highly complex, involving a multitude of physical, social and psychological parameters that vary between different areas of a building and at different times of the day and year. Temperature in buildings can't be as finely tuned as one would hope.
One thing is for certain, however: It is absurd to waste so much energy cooling buildings in the heat of summer that a sizable portion of the population are made to wear sweaters or blankets.
Mark Bessoudo, Toronto
PS: For the record, I'm a man and I find most buildings unbearably cold in the summer.
I always figured the letters editor at any newspaper must have ice in their veins to say no to so many people eager to have their screeds published. I just never knew until I read Margaret Wente's column that at The Globe And Mail, that was literally the truth.
Inquiring minds across from me at the table want to know: Is the letters editor the one wearing the sweater – or the shawl?
Frank Rogers, Winnipeg
Editor's note: It's shawls, plural. Brrrrr.