Inbox – March 25, 2015

An Ignorant Citizenry
It is heartening, as Aaron Yarmuth pointed out (March 18 Editor’s Note), that people are dissatisfied with their government. He seems to feel that those citizens might now go on the offensive to change things. Sorry, but it’s not happening. Two changes could be made that would solve most of our problems: term limits (like Congress will ever vote for that) and campaign finance reform (which most don’t understand and which bores the rest).

If you ask the vast majority of Americans what the main problem facing our nation is, they will, in lockstep and mindlessly, say, “jobs.” (See Heiner’s campaign commercial.) They do not pay attention to what is going on, and they believe that is the right thing to say, when in fact, at this point, jobs should be way down most everybody’s list. I do not believe the populace has the knowledge or will to save itself. And to paraphrase Aaron’s dad, Washington is now so very dysfunctional the governance is going to have to move to the local and state levels; the federal level is hopeless.
Ann Pollard, 40204

Insulting and offensive
I must take exception to J. Robinson’s letter of March 18, in which he insults the editor, the president, the Democratic Party, Jewish citizens and Americans in general. All of these individuals and groups have the ability to answer such drivel for themselves without my assistance so I won’t presume to lend any. I will merely state that this has been the Republican Party’s preferred mode of attack for the past seven years, at least. Bully and push. Say or do anything to get their own way without thought or care as to whom they may hurt or how much. That’s not patriotism no matter how loudly they proclaim themselves patriots. It is the opposite.

Netanyahu’s speech was offensive because it suggests that the U.S. is subordinate to Israel, requiring his personal direction and approval in the conduct of our foreign policy. It offends because Speaker Boehner accepted, in the name of the Republican caucus, the promise of money from Netanyahu, the agent of a foreign government, for the privilege of addressing the U.S. Congress, in direct violation of the United States Constitution (1.9.8) and in defiance of both the president, whom they overtly sought to insult, and long-standing public policy.

It offends because that agent incited 47 senators to conspire and criminally violate the Espionage Act in sending a letter, without the authority or approval of the Senate but under color of office, to the government of a foreign nation in which they attempt to sabotage the efforts of our State Department to reach a nuclear arms agreement with that country. There is no congressional immunity for violation of this law. They, through John Boehner, accepted the promise of money from a foreign agent and then acted on behalf of that agent’s nation against our own government.
As much as these Republican Senators might wish otherwise, we are still the United States, not the Confederate States of America.
Mark Humphrey, 40299

The administrators’ response
I couldn’t help but smile at the two responses of the well paid college vice presidents to the cover story ‘A is for Adjunct.’ They use evasive political language which shows their educations failed them.
Bob Moore, 40242

An adjunct’s response
It is true, as Provost Willihnganz writes (March 18 Guest Commentary), that UofL offers access to health, dental and vision insurance to part-time instructors. The only reason I know this, however, is because I went digging for it in the university’s website. This information is not made available in any other form, nor is it discussed at the point of hire.
 Further, the amount of money it would cost me to participate would make it impossible for me to put money towards other basic needs. A full-time employee, just covering health insurance (not vision or dental) pays anywhere from $78.58 to $115 per month. A part-time instructor pays from $294.96 to $367.15 per month for the same coverage.

Nevermind that Willihnganz clearly seeks to exploit our passion as educators and uses this to justify what is essentially a shell game meant to ensure that while the institution offers benefits, that we can neither afford them nor, in most cases, even know about them. 

Other institutions have not taken such a defensive and anti-employee stance; rather, they have acknowledged that the issues of adjunct labor need to be addressed in an equitable and just fashion. A pat on the back is nice, and being told how important we are is really very sweet. But it is not respect. An institution like UofL demonstrates its level of respect for its employees in a very specific way: a paycheck and reasonable access to affordable benefits. I suspect the Provost is highly regarded in this fashion. It is my hope that the University of Louisville begins showing a majority — because whether it’s 70% or 52%, we are still the majority — the same respect.
Mick Parsons,
Organizer, Louisville Teach-In
Kentucky IWW, KYCFA