Inbox – February 18, 2015

LEO Weekly welcomes letters that are brief (350 words max) and thoughtful. 
Ad hominem attacks will be ignored, and we need your name and a daytime phone number. Send snail mail to Inbox, 607 W. Main St., Suite 001, Louisville, Ky. 40202. Fax to 895-9779 or email to [email protected] We may edit for length, grammar and clarity.

Response to Ron Whitehead
I was inspired by your “State of Gonzo” address (LEO 2/11 feature story).  Thank you for the work you continue to do to preserve Hunter S. Thompson’s true legacy. Enjoy Gonzofest and congratulations. I would like to attend someday. 
Robin Thompson, Hunters nephew
Austin, Texas

Response to Miller at the Mic
I have 25 years of experience teaching across grade levels in both public and private schools. I wholeheartedly agree with Ashley Miller that “your zip code should not determine the quality of education you receive,” [as stated in her Feb. 11 column] but her subsequent suggestions for longer school days and no-summer-off school years unfortunately lumps her with the armchair citizens and politicians who offer quick-fix advice to educational challenges, but who aren’t willing to call out the real culprits who are undermining teachers, parents and students on the “front lines,” who are actually working long days and year-round to improve our school systems. Comparing Louisville schools to a particular school in the Bronx, or American schools to Asian schools, while interesting, isn’t addressing the needs particular to either group.
So, Ms. Miller, please use your pulpit to lambast anyone who cries they can’t afford a few more dollars in taxes so that we can collectively create top-notch schools and save money with the investment. This is a national tragedy. Lambast any politician, red or blue, who proclaims he or she is interested in education but won’t offer a dime or a minute toward progress once they are elected. Lambast any parent, male or female, rich or poor, who doesn’t contribute actual dimes or minutes.  Finally, talk to teachers. They want to succeed.  And they will succeed if we give them the freedom to teach to their strengths and to the needs of their school community. 
Lon Church, Louisville

Rand Paul Doesn’t Understand Disability
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) fails to understand the largest minority group in America: disabled people. In mid-January of this year, Sen. Paul made baseless accusations about individuals who are currently “getting a disability check.” Rand Paul implied that fraudulent claims are rampant. He stated that “[o]ver half” of all recipients of Social Security disability insurance (DI) are “either anxious or their back hurts…” and are not truly disabled (according to Paul’s definition of disability, we must assume).

Paul’s constituents in Kentucky shouldn’t stand for his misleading statements and insensitivity. After all, this is clearly a man with presidential aspirations. As both a constituent of Paul’s and a community healthcare provider who works with people with disabilities daily (people who need their DI for basic necessities in many cases), I found these comments particularly jarring. Since we all collectively own the social safety net, public figures should be held accountable when they mislead the people, and Paul has done just that regarding DI.

The American Right has always had a way of creating scapegoats of the imagination – agents which, left unfettered, will destroy our way of life. There’s an illustrious list of egregious, dangerous offenders: trade unionists, women, college professors, LGBT people, African American mothers on welfare… now the faux-disabled person, mooching off of the tax payer. Sen. Paul continues this tradition of a politics based on fear of the perceived Other – a tradition which continues to haunt the American landscape.

Kentuckians: don’t let Sen. Rand Paul fool you. Let the facts dictate how you feel about our vital social safety net – whether it’s disability insurance, Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid. Sen. Paul ought to know it’s unacceptable to make comments that mislead the public and target a community comprising roughly 20 percent of all Americans – many of whom are the DI recipients Paul attacks as complainers and malingerers.
Alex Brandshaw, Louisville