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Published: Saturday, 11/27/2010

Liberal arts drive economy

I am entirely in support of your Nov. 21 editorial “Imagine this,” advocating establishment of the Science Society at Imagination Station, modeled on the Toledo Museum of Art's Apollo Society.

I would question, however, your statement: “With deference to the liberal arts — the heart and soul of civilized societies — it is the maths and sciences that drive America's economic engine.”

The heart pumps the blood of life and the soul gives our lives spirit. The liberal arts stimulate the creativity and imagination that feed exploration and discovery in maths and sciences. Therefore, they are the fuel that drives the economic engine.

Brian Kennedy

Director

Toledo Museum of Art

Time will tell on new ag leader

Your Nov. 19 editorial “Ohio's farming future” commended the newly appointed director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Jim Zehringer, for helping to pass Issue 2, which created the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, even though you previously opposed Issue 2 as poor public policy.

You also vilified the Humane Society of the United States for trying to dictate agricultural affairs in Ohio. HSUS did not initially attempt to amend the Ohio Constitution, but only tried to work with state agricultural groups to adopt humane standards for farm animals.

Instead, agribusiness leaders approached state lawmakers, who quickly placed Issue 2 on the ballot to cement this board into the Constitution.

Issue 2 was funded by out-of-state agricultural industries. It misled voters into signing a blank check for this new board composed of a dozen political appointees with broad and unchecked power.

Mr. Zehringer owned a large industrial chicken operation, so I agree he will be hailed as a good choice by agribusiness leaders. It remains to be seen whether livestock care or the status quo will be his priority.

Vickie Askins

Cygnet

Interviews mock tenure process

Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, president of the University of Toledo, believes he can judge the quality of candidates for tenure at the university based on a 30-minute interview (“Why I meet with UT tenure candidates,” op-ed column, Nov. 14).

These candidates have had from three to six years of experience teaching, and if appropriate, have done research and publication. Most if not all of UT's colleges have each professor evaluated each year by students, an evaluation that goes to the department chairman and the faculty member.

Upon becoming a candidate for tenure, the candidate provides samples of work and publications, if appropriate, to a committee of peers. Their recommendation goes to the department chairman, who makes an independent recommendation. Both are forwarded to a college committee composed of members of each department who are versed in what is expected of candidates for tenure.

This is forwarded to the dean of the college for recommendation and, if positive, then to a university committee made up of representatives of each college to ensure uniformity in meeting the standards set up by the departments, colleges, and university.

Once a candidate receives a positive recommendation from these committees and administrators, it goes to the provost, who decides whether the candidacy meets the needs of the university. Finally it goes to the president of the university.

Now Dr. Jacobs, who probably has never met the candidate, is not familiar with his or her work, and cannot judge the quality of the candidate's research or publications, will judge, on the basis of a 30-minute interview, whether the candidate is qualified for tenure.

What nonsense. What arrogance.

George J. Murnen

Pemberton Drive

Editor's note: The writer is a retired UT professor of civil engineering.

Mideast policy is cowardly

Your Nov. 20 article “Mideast peace talks teeter over incentives” stated that negotiations between the United States and Israel about a new settlement freeze had hit snags over incentives offered by the United States, including 20 F-35 fighter planes worth $3 billion.

On Oct. 11, Israel offered to extend the settlement freeze in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Why doesn't the United States pressure the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people?

Palestinians claim this would compromise the status of Arabs living in Israel. However, Israel already considers herself to be a Jewish state, so their status would not change.

Palestinians argue that recognition would undermine their stipulation for right of return to anywhere in Israel. But former Secretary of State Zbigniew Brzezinski declares this demand on the part of the Palestinians unreasonable.

All of the incentives in the world won't bring peace if the Palestinians won't recognize the legitimacy of Israel.

Meanwhile, the United States has offered to sell Saudi Arabia $60 billion in arms — the largest arms deal in U.S. history, for an unstable monarchy that has one of the worst human rights records in the world.

Is this the evenhanded policy promoted by the Obama Administration? This is open appeasement, a highly rationalized form of cowardice at the expense of our only genuine ally in the region, Israel.

Rob Vincent

Perrysburg

Who speaks for honest citizens?

U.S. citizens must undergo full-body scans or pat-downs by Transportation Security Administration agents.

It is common practice for prison contraband to be hidden in body cavities. Should we assume the next step is a cavity search?

Where is the American Civil Liberties Union when honest citizens are assaulted at our airports?

Bruce McKenna

Sylvania

Redirect debate on immigration

We need to deal with the cause of illegal immigration, not focus so much on the illegal immigrant.

The North American Free Trade Agreement has given American agribusiness the opportunity to dump cheap, subsidized U.S. corn on the Mexican market. Corn was the basis of Mexican agriculture, and agriculture was the cornerstone of the Mexican economy. Millions of Mexican farm workers were thrown out of work.

The number of U.S. manufacturing jobs shipped to Mexico by NAFTA is far less than the number of farm jobs that were lost. Many of these manufacturing jobs have since moved on to even cheaper labor markets.

As long as there are no prospects for work and no social safety net on one side of the border. and even a hint of opportunity on the other, there will be an immigration problem. No fences, vigilante groups, surveillance cameras, or renegade sheriffs will stop it.

If we want to solve the illegal immigration problem, we need to end U.S. farm subsidies and revisit trade agreements that were written by and for multinational corporations. People will not risk their lives to cross the border illegally if there is hope of making even a modest living in Mexico.

Richard Schultz

Monclova

Rate hikes unfair to Toledoans

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell has proposed to increase water and sewer bills for residents (“Bell seeks big boost in water, sewer rates,” Nov. 17). If I were a double-dipper, that would be affordable for me too.

But because I am on a fixed income, it will be difficult. My grass is already brown because I did not water it because of the high water bills.

When will Toledo wake up?

Marilyn Cook

Cresthaven Lane



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