Letters to the editor:
Your paper reported that Mr. Tim Burchett is against tax reform ["Tax-o-Whirl" by Jesse Fox Mayshark, Vol. 9, No. 16]. Burchett was quoted as "...repeating (but not attributing) tales of people with $100,000 incomes receiving state medical aid. And what about UT, which is in his district? Get rid of the professors 'who only work five or six hours a week,' he says dismissively."
Needless to say, these inflammatory, unsubstantiated examples are most unhelpful. This kind of speech hurts. The person I know covered by TennCare is a lovely woman, extremely hard-working, who took care of my child in her high-quality home daycare service in South Knoxville.
Before joining the library faculty at UT, I worked in the defense industry in California. Part of being an effective librarian is to know what everyone in the business or campus is doing. I have worked at the AG-VET MED Library since 1987, and thus have close working relationships with faculty, students, and staff on the agriculture campus. I can verify that the agriculture faculty is available 8-5 M-F, at minimum. Come to a meeting at night or on the weekend on the Ag Campus and you'll see faculty on campus then as well. The veterinary facultywell, they never stop. They are training four classes of 60 students each; they have grueling clinical responsibilities; and externally-funded research projects on top of that. In retrospect, the 40-hour work week and downtime between projects that I experienced as a librarian at private-sector defense corporations in California was relatively less taxing on the people who were in positions comparable to faculty at UT.
It seems to me that Mr. Burchett owes us an apology for spreading unsubstantiated stories which inflame, not inform, the debate on tax reform. Then Mr. Burchett needs to begin to discuss the real issues involved with tax reform, which incidentally I first learned about in forums at UT about seven years ago. Tennesseans have a regressive tax system with loopholes for limited liability corporations. It is outdated and unfair. We need a fiscally sound system that is linked to economic growth.
WUOT: The Final Letter
I was dismayed that John Mayer's long diatribe ["Talk, Talk, Talk"] against WUOT was printed without an opposing viewpoint in the April 8 letters to the editor. WUOT is the chief source of intellectual stimulation for my friends, my colleagues, and me. It is rare for us to carry on a meaningful conversation without referring to an idea expressed on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, or Fresh Air. Although Mayer considers Car Talk annoying, we think it is vastly amusing.
I have found WUOT to be extremely responsive to listener preferences. We wanted an extra hour of Morning Edition, and we got it. We requested that Car Talk be added to the roster, and our request was granted. Now we even get a rerun of Garrison Keillor on Sunday afternoon. Great!
Mayer's suggestion that listeners withhold donations for a year or two is horrifying. My husband and I try to raise our contribution each year and make sure that it is matched by my employer. If Mayer wants to encourage the launching of a new, nonprofit station, he's free to proceed. However, let's let WUOT continue its present course, which I consider very pleasing.