Monday, October 31, 2011

A Very Busy Monday

So much is going on today, you'd think there was something BIG about to happen on campus.  Regrettably, you are probably right.  It was a busy day for me doing actual work for the university, so I'm going to lump together the happenings of the day.  After the break I'll offer a few comments.  Well, maybe a tad more than a few.

President Poshard on the Radio

First, I started my day off to the dulcet tones of Jennifer Fuller interviewing President Poshard.  It is an interesting interview, and I leave it up to you to decide if Fuller was as probing of President Poshard as she was of Dave Johnson last week.You can listen to it here:

First, note how President Poshard leads with the contract concern over salary.  This is an overt attempt to focus on an issue the FA has made its lowest priority at the negotiation table, but the President would rather not frame it that way.  Oh, those greedy, greedy faculty.

My favorite part, though, is about 15:30 minutes in when Fuller asks about the FA's allegations that increased tuition is bringing in more dollars.  Note how the usually fluent Poshard stumbles over himself, first confirming the tuition contribution to a surplus but complaining about the FA wanting to spend it all on faculty (um, no) when the Administration has other projects it wants wants wants to spend it on.  Note also that by the end of this answer he tries to reassert that there is not an increase in funds as a result of tuition increases, although he just confirmed that there is and our disagreement is a matter of spending priorities.   

And did you hear that the Administration has never declared FE.  Soooo....last spring's furloughs were made without an FE.  We knew that, but thanks for clearing that bit of confusion up for the listening public, President Poshard.

The DL talk was, well, a bit strident and full of rhetorical questions that seem to make no distinction between those threatening, small for-profit online colleges stealing our students and the Administration's plan for DL here.   Call that confirmation, I think, that the Administration has no interest in quality DL but just competitive DL for those lost tuition dollars.  And remember, those small for-profit online universities don't exactly have a good record for their pedagogy or their completion rate.  DL can be done quite well, but it seems clearer and clearer that that is not the primary motivation or goal of SIUC's push for more DL.

President Poshard in the Newspaper

President Poshard engaged in something of a media blitz this morning, adding an Op/Ed to the DE (although it appeared in the space usually reserved for sports news.  Telling, that.).  You can read the Op/Ed here:

This, of course, is an acknowledged reprint of arguments he's made earlier and elsewhere.  I won't spend as much time on this bit of opinion.  I think the FA would agree that there are certain aspects of the running of this university that are the sole purview of the Administration.  I appreciate the acknowledgement of the faculty's control over "curriculum construction for each major, the overall core curriculum which each student will be required to take, academic admissions requirements and graduation requirements," although I have my doubts (given some recent practices) that the Administration actually keeps its fingers out of most of these.

But what I find particularly interesting is this bit regarding the Administration declaring FE:

The union can then file a grievance or an unfair labor charge if they continue to disagree with the actions taken by the administration.
I believe this is actually one of the FA's supposals.  That is, that the Administration state a clear definition of FE (something a bit more than the circular definition in current BOT policy), and that, if the FA disagrees when such an FE is declared, there be some formal method of grievance and arbitration.  And I believe the Administration team has rejected that supposal.  Increasingly, I think if the Administration negotiators were offering what Chancellor Cheng and President Poshard offer in the media, we could have reached a conclusion to these negotiations long ago.

White Papers and Ballots

I didn't actually receive the email including the "white paper" attachment from the FSN.  I asked to be removed from their mailing list, and I thankfully respect that they heeded my wishes.  Still, I sneaked a peek at a colleague's copy.

Granted, I think the proposal is much better than its harbinger email last week.  But a few things caught my eye.  First, the title page includes the following statement: "White Paper for Discussion and Comment."  Perhaps the original email includes instructions on how to do that, but there is nothing in the paper itself to indicate mechanisms for comment or, more importantly, discussion.  I reiterate my invitation to the FSN to establish a web presence where folks can engage in lively and helpful discussion of their proposal(s). 

I appreciate that the white paper offers evidence that the structures they are proposing have precedents at another university.  (For the record, so does the FA's original supposal for a joint commission to decide FE...just sayin'.)  But what is missing in the proposal is any indication that the FS is on board with the significant changes they are proposing to the FS and the JRB, or the creation of an RFC.  Given the difficulties in the last few years of getting upper administrators to respect the findings of the JRB, we should be very careful about imagining any group can simply (dare I say, "magically"?) strengthen this or any other campus entity.

In debate terms, we would say they have presented a plan but have indicated no procedures for implementation nor any mechanisms of enforcement.  These are major deficiencies in the proposal -- important details that we cannot simply leave to "trust."  These are parts of a proposal that, if the proposal is serious, should be given some attention before calling for faculty to vote on the options. It is professionally and ethically irresponsible to ask the faculty to choose between the status quo and a highly conjectural hypothetical.  It certainly isn't sensible.

But for some reason, the FSN feels the need to create change on the wing, timing their swoop and predatory dive to coincide with the week's anticipated labor action by the extant representative bodies of four campus bargaining units.  Keeping with this avian theme, I found a use for the petition card that showed up in my mailbox today, and based on the number I saw in the recycle bin I think we could potentially reach 1000.  Maybe then, if certain Eastern proverbs are to be believed, this exercise could actually be beneficial for the campus.


  1. 5 years behind in distance education was the quote. What happened on this campus, 6 years ago this November?

  2. A very eloquent summary, Jonny. I, also, requested removal from the FSN mailing list and "how coincidental" it is that their activities always follow any positive development of solidarity amongst the four unions. Also, I did listen to the 5.30 abbreviated Poshard interview and Jennifer Fuller did not ask the same searching questions to him as she did to Dave. After all, he is her boss and could fire her in a second. But what irritated me was the pitiful Poshard whining tone as well as his attempt to avoid the main FA issues. It reminded me of a singing barber in a Tammahy Hall ward bar during the muck racking era - "Cry in your beer with Diamond Glenn Poshard" as well as evoking a new rendition of the opening song to the old Perry Como TV show - "Whine along with me, I wish I were up in the stars." Why can't he go back to Springfield where he would do less damage to SIUC than he is doing now?

  3. So the article (OP Ed) by Poshard that the DE published was one he had written last year? He has now made some revisions to it and published it in the DE? I hope there are no instances of
    "inadvertent plagiarism" in his Op Ed piece! Perhaps we should check it out! It was basically fuzzy wuzzy vague stuff. After much silence the emperor hath spoken/written!

  4. What do we do with the "white paper" the FSN e-mailed us. Gosh isn't it clear to everyone that they are working hand in glove with the administration to get rid of the unions--esp. the faculty unions???That's their only goal.
    Is it okay to just toss that away--preferably trash it?

  5. Poshard was "complaining about the FA wanting to spend it all on faculty (um, no) when the Administration has other projects it wants wants wants to spend it on."

    Hello? Did I miss the bombshell that the BOT team agreed to 26:1 student/teacher ratio? That means hiring a LOT of faculty to teach students. Kind of blew me away. Who else is hiring in this economy? I hear that issue didn't even come up at the pep rally last Friday?

    I concede that my union isn't concerned with pay. SSA recipients got CPI increase of 3.6% and our union will trade new jobs for something like -2.6% pay raise.

    Let me ask: Which is worse? The BOT imposing a 2% one-time furlough on us (last year) OR my union deciding that a negative 2.5% pay cut is fine with them?

  6. As always, like a typical politician, Poshard twisted the facts. Just as an example on the issue of salary increase, Unions are stating that the salary increase should be tied to ‘revenue and expenditure’ of SIUC. However, Poshard twisted the fact and stated that Faculty wants to tie salary increase to state appropriations. Either he does not know the difference between the two or he thinks Faculty and SIUC employees are stupid.
    I think in order to have real debate Jennifer should let Dave or Morteza ask questions to Poshard. When so much is stake, I believe Poshard would agree to it. I would like to see sweat on his face when he faces Dave.

  7. Anonymous 8:01 PM
    "the pitiful Poshard whining tone"
    Well said.

    Jonathan Bean - oh sure, the administration will guarantee 26:1 ratio even with DL. They will simply hire left and right tens or perhaps hundreds of part-timers, and each of them will be paid $2,000 per 3 credit online class with 50 students in it that will bring in well over $50,000.

  8. To my knowledge, Jonathan Bean, the FA hasn't yet agreed to any terms re:salary, and will not until there is a little more transparency & accountability on when the Admin can impose a furlough or declare a FE.

    Also, to my understanding, there was a TA on the 26:1 ratio before the strike vote (announced by Randy Auxier in an information rally over in Lawson, back when we could meet there). What remained in question then and possibly now is whether DL students are included in that ratio.

    Either way, though, it is good news about the ratio. And I fervently hope this means new hires for the bargaining unit...SOON!

  9. "there was a TA on the 26:1 ratio before the strike vote (announced by Randy Auxier in an information rally over in Lawson, back when we could meet there)." [I don't recall Auxier saying 26:1 and Morteza said the BOT wanted 30:1 and they were still bargaining the issue then].

    "What remained in question then and possibly now is whether DL students are included in that ratio."

    My take-away: the union withheld vital information (if Jonny is correct) in the midst of all the bad news we were fed. If it was 26:1 back before the strike vote I didn't hear it, those with me didn't hear it, and it doesn't appear in my notes. So why do people think there is a "credibility gap"? So they "scare the patient" and get their "yes" vote. Wonderful. Then we find out "inconvenient" details.

    I'm going to presume, however, that Jonny is INCORRECT about the timing because the alternate reading would make my FA look very cynical in its presentation of bargaining updates.

    As for the mass of part-timers who are going to do this from Mumbai . . . Do you people have any idea how well the transition to DL is going? It's so bad, I'm giving it up after working on it for two years. When the support is there I will teach a single high-enrollment course but, really, the DL bogey is just that - a figment (fiction?) of your imagination.

  10. I could be wrong (hey, it happens!). I remember Randy Auxier presenting the ratio as a "near TA" with the DL student inclusion still in question. For something like confirmation, check out Dave Johnson's first comment on this cartoon post:

    I'm hoping the news here is that the bargaining teams have resolved whether to include DL students. If so, then I am with you in jumping for joy!

  11. If memory serves me correctly, that was most definitely NOT announced at the Lawson meeting two weeks ago! If it were, it would have tempered somewhat the doom and gloom reporting going on.

    Please, I want to be reassured that come Thursday, if there's a strike, and I am walking the picket line, I am not being manipulated. Please.

  12. No manipulation on my part, I promise. Last Thursday, it was the first comment by Morteza as the only TA -- but he did not say when that TA had been reached. I presume, but have not confirmed, that the news was about DL inclusion. I included it in my unofficial report this weekend because it was in my notes from last Thursday's DRC.

    Randy Hughes's bargaining update focuses only on the 6 primary points of disagreement.

    Note that the cartoon and comment linked to in my last comment are from 9/21. Jonathan Bean comments in that thread that he is not concerned about DL students being included in the ratio.

  13. I'll try to get some clarification on the faculty-student ratio developments. My feeling is that the FA has made some headway in defending the 26:1 ratio against administration efforts to raise it (either directly--their earlier proposal--or be redefining how it is calculated).

    I thought Jennifer Fuller did a fine job of questioning President Poshard, by the way, and politely pressed him to clarify things. She showed an excellent understanding of what's going on: she's done her homework. His answers, well, that's another matter. I'll try to respond to his comments in greater detail over on Unions United sometime tomorrow. Jonny made one essential point: both Cheng (esp. on tenure) and Poshard (esp. on DL today) have often expressed agreement with things the FA is seeking at the bargaining table. Much of the progress we've made so far consists of getting the administration to close the gap between what they're willing to commit to at the bargaining table and what the they are saying in public.

  14. Okay, fair enough. I will say, though, that updates from the FA have been sparse and not overly satisfactory when it comes to real information. The lack of timely information except when it dribbles out (usually as a response to the Chancellor leaking her version of "reality") does not engender trust. 26:1 with DL included, if indeed that is the current offer, is a MAJOR accomplishment. It inches us closer to a successor bargaining agreement that I could live with (for the next few years). I really want to avert a strike here.

    One thing I would really like to know is which of the six issues are the real deal-breakers? I do not feel like I could strike over DL for example, especially as I have talked with professors working in the program who attest to its complete and utter mess at present. Ditto with SH or CoI policy. Furloughs are a bit trickier, but we really must own up the fact that last year the university faced a cash-flow crisis - somehow that never comes up in discussion about furloughs.

  15. Disgusted, did you get the bargaining report sent out on Saturday? It was pretty detailed. One thing you can't get, of course, is just what you are asking for. Obviously if the union tells everyone what its bottom line is, its bottom line becomes its new top line--the best it could ever hope for. Do you walk into the car dealership and name the absolutely highest price you'd pay? It's fine and good for members to discuss what they consider the most crucial issues (and that's a discussion the union leadership should take note of--though of course we'd prefer that it be somewhat more private when focussing on the bottom line). But while we've attempted to be quite transparent about our positions (compare how much is publicly available on the FA website to what you can find on the Chancellor's website, for example), there are going to be certain limits to what we are going to say.

    The administration did not justify furloughs, by the way, as a response to the "cash-flow" crisis--late payments by the state--but as a one-time necessity to help meet the "structural deficit" until more permanent fixes could be put in place. That's not a very compelling explanation, either, but this isn't the place to explain why--there are earlier posts on that.

  16. Disgusted raises a great point. What is worth striking over?....What is worth losing a paycheck and health insurance? If the FA can't come clean on these points...why strike? It makes no sense. Despite all the rhetoric on this blog and elsewhere....who really wants to walk off the job because someone thinks the chancellor is a dictator and Poshard is acting like a politician. Seems to me that the IEA, a perhaps FA leadership, have vastly different interests than the rank and file.

  17. The chancellor on WSIU said that the progression is furloughs (temporary), then layoffs, then declaration of financial exigency. This was in the first 5 minutes of her interview.

    Can someone clarify the debate over FE. Is the union seeking a definition that will, for all intents and purposes, maintain this order. That is, furloughs and layoffs could still occur absent a declaration of FE? Or is the FE debate tying furloughs and layoff to FE? I suppose I'm a bit confused. If it is the former, wrestling over the definition is meaningless if furloughs and layoffs could still occur absent the declaration of FE, what both the chancellor and president said is a unlikely event. If it is it the latter, then the definition makes more sense.

  18. I don't know if this is the appropriate place to ask this, but here I go. Since the strike date is looming VERY quickly, has there been any discussion about mediation or arbitration? I admit that I know very little about this process so am unaware of what is involved in these processes.

  19. Beth, we tried mediation in the spring until the Administration declared impasse. The unions felt there was still room to negotiate, and so filed an ULP on the Administration's declaration of impasse. I am not sure if mediation is an option at this point.

    The Administration has regularly rejected arbitration, even as a possible grievance procedure for its declaration of FE.

    Clarifying when the Administration can call for layoffs and furloughs is a central point in negotiations. The FA's position is that makes no sense to promise X% salary increase if the Administration can declare a furlough whenever it wants with no transparency or accountability.

    Anon 8:49, come to the Wednesday evening rally if you have these questions. I do not believe the FA leadership is at odds with its rank and file, though I understand why it might be strategic for some to suggest that it is.

    I heard the Chancellor's interview this morning and will have more to say about it later today. One take away, though: it was pretty clear at the end of the interview that she had received the questions beforehand. Even so, note that her exaggerated claim that the Administration has "given and given and given" at the negotiation table was qualified by "in the last few months." In other words, up until the unions moved forward with strike plans, the Administration wasn't budging at the bargaining table.

  20. And just when did the FA start budging? Or have they?

  21. Dr. Gray's last sentence is plain silly in its timeline.

  22. On the 9/21 cartoon comment by Dave J.:

    "I believe the administration has agreed to maintain the on-campus student to faculty ratio, there is still big debate about how to count off-campus students as we attempt to ramp up distance ed."

    But that isn't the same as a TA. We all knew full well that the blogger at Deo Volente wasn't fully knowledgeable about bargaining status. So, I attended the Lawson meeting because I wanted to "hear it from the horse's mouth." Nothing about TA on 26:1. Furthermore, I purposefully asked Morteza after the meeting where 26:1 stood and he told me "the board wants 30:1 but we are still bargaining it." That was it.

    Back on the 9/21 post, Dave J. had no problem with DL if it was on load but now I get the following from the FA listserv:

    "In our proposal on Distance Education . . . There was an in-depth discussion regarding overload. We remained firm in our position that we will not cheapen the time and labor Faculty put into performing overload courses. [Sounds like FA is sticking to its 1.25 months salary demand?] In our conversation, it became clear that one of the Board's purposes for overload is to avoid hiring Faculty when there is a need to teach more courses. Your team made it clear that the quality of education and the research stature of this university requires Faculty to do teaching and research and we explained that we'd rather have more Faculty lines than overload pay."

    Now this really takes the cake: my union has a problem if earn extra money by overload??!! Summer courses were never made one of six Big Issues. Heck, I get nearly all my research done in the summer and a summer course would detract more than an academic year overload.

    It seems to come down to this: the union "collective" doesn't want individuals, including its own members, to contract for extra work and pay. The FA has framed it as a "race to the bottom" and other nonsense.

    Talk to the cops on campus (or in your town). They LOVE overload. Most real workers do especially when their family has lost an income or they simply need to pay for braces. . . But the FA is above all that and will determine that all individuals must fit its formula for "teaching and research," "quality," and the rest.

  23. "I do not believe the FA leadership is at odds with its rank and file"

    Can you say FSN?

  24. I agree with Jonathan Bean. Hire more faculty and those extra pay opportunities are lost, regardless of how much compensation would have been paid. If you are not comfortable with the stipulated compensation, don't accept the overload. It isn't a situation like in some occupations where overtime is mandatory. It is just like the hiring process; if I don't like the pay offer, look elsewhere.

    There are some of us who have experienced far less to teach overloads during a semester and extra during the summer ($3900 here, regardless of rank). I enjoyed it because I appreciated the extra money. I'm all for trying to get the most we can but to demand the most for an overload then say that those opportunities are intentionally going to be limited through hiring of extra people to teach the courses seems to be contradictory. If hiring is the issue, why bargain for the high pay. If high pay is the issue, why bargain for the additional faculty. They are contradictory goals.

  25. Not sure why Jonathan is so surprised about overload. The last contract limited overload to 20% of your annual salary. They've always had limits on the amount of extra pay you could make, and it was not simply limited to teaching courses, but included all forms of income derived from the University (such as Seed Grants).

    I'd be curious to hear from any of the FA leadership on why we should support a contract that limits our ability to make as much money as we want by *voluntarily* taking on extra classes?

  26. Thank you Anonymous 1:34. At a heavily-unionized university where I received my masters and Ph.D. from, professors got hired on a adjunct contract paying a flat $3,500 per course, regardless or rank. And nobody as far as I was aware ever complained that the university was trying to get to compensate the professor who volunteered for the course to do it for significantly less than what his/her normal workload cost. That was because they VOLUNTEERED for it.

    The amount of whining that goes on sometimes in this union is just astounding! When there are legitimate things to criticize the administration about, let's do that. But let's not dream up every little petty grievance we have toward the administration and add that to the list of deal-breakers. You only further alienate the general public and your own members who start to trust your reasonableness.

  27. who start to doubt your reasonableness is what I of course meant to say here!

    And it is a serious point - I do not want to feel manipulated into striking on Thursday. I will indeed strike if there are serious unresolved issues remaining; but not over some nonsense about "racing to the bottom" when most other universities in the U.S. pay summer courses at a flat rate because it is voluntary. I will say it again; the tenth month salary I receive when I volunteer to teach a summer course is quite generous and often it enables me to fly abroad to archives to continue my scholarly work in the absence of a research grant.

  28. Related, I get frustrated (disgusted?) at the repeated argument that faculty members do not teach the course half as well so why get paid half as much than they would in the summer. I'd maintain that the 1.125 argument then negates this argument. Do we teach 12.5 percent better? Extending the argument further, does a full professor who earns more money than an assistant professor teach a course better to deserve more pay? Even within rank? I simply point this out to say that the argument can be extended to extremes that I don't think people would tolerate. Indeed, a race to the bottom could occur from all of this where the administration only chooses three lower cost faculty members (one month, half month, whatever) to teach courses instead of two higher cost senior faculty members. Race to the bottom. Maybe the flat cost proposal is appropriate. Everyone gets the same. This would open up doors for all and provide the administration with predictability. And it seems to be pretty standard in a lot of places.

  29. And it seems like a realistic, common-sense proposal that the FA could put forth, if they weren't so paranoid at times toward the administration that every last thing has to be stipulated in the contract.

    But that would take a little bit of trust now, wouldn't it?

  30. Quiet One asks:

    Jonny, you said: "I didn't actually receive the email including the "white paper" attachment from the FSN. I asked to be removed from their mailing list, and I thankfully respect that they heeded my wishes. Still, I sneaked a peek at a colleague's copy." Why would you want to remove yourself from faculty input? Why would you limit yourself to only some input? Does this mean that some faculty's voices are more valuable than others?

    I am not happy with pretty much anybody. This is a lousy time to call a strike. This state has no money. This country is economically hurting.

    People say to me: Join the FA if you want to vote. Pay $$ to have your vote count. It feels a lot like a poll tax.

    Hey, they say, if you don't like the president then run for president. It's the democratic way. You think so? Then why not have the FA up for "reelection" every four years, six years, eight years? People are fighting ghosts. Each side comes to the table with preconceived notions of with whom they are dealing. The people representing the faculty bring up personal grudges and anecdotal horror stories that fuel the fire. The administration points to its own knowledge of horror stories of faculty being intimidated. This campus reeks of personal grudges over calm consideration. And it's everywhere.

    We are all grown-ups. We are all professionals. We have the ability to work together in a win-win fashion. Part of that ability comes from having respect for the human being across the table from you. You can't demand that person respect you, all you can do is earn it.

    Please remember we are all in this together.

  31. Whew! This has been a busy day for me. Sorry not to be able to keep up with the online debate.

    Quiet one, I answered your question re: removing myself from the FSN's mailing list on another thread. I won't rehash it here.

    I believe I am in agreement about the ability to refuse overtime if I don't find it worth my while. I am neither "surprised" nor particularly concerned about overload pay unless I am forced or pressured to take one. I don't see that happening either. But I also don't see FA manipulating us into a strike over overload pay.

    That said, I find it disturbing in a university suffering from faculty attrition and hiring "slushies" that some here would prefer the opportunity to teach overloads for whatever portion of a month's salary (or even a fixed rate) than to have new colleagues. If all faculty did was teach classes (as folks like Gary Metro think), I could wrap my head around this idea. But I want more full time colleagues ready to pick up the work of the curriculum, graduate advising, and generally running our programs. If that means less opportunity for overtime teaching for me, that is a deal I am eager to take!

    I agree that the 26:1 ratio TA is a big deal. I hope it includes DL students if a DL course is part of my regular load. I believe I was wrong about that having reached TA status prior to the strike vote. I am sorry for the error.

    And folks can proclaim my timeline "silly" all they want about the Chancellor's vague statement this morning, but the fact remains that the Administration showed no real movement at the negotiation table until a strike authorization vote was taken, then again when a strike deadline was set, and now that the actual strike looms on the very near horizon.

    I cannot help but note how often the armchair negotiators always look past that failure of the Administration to agree to Interest Based Bargaining when they chide the FA for playing the same game of hardball negotiation the Administration prefers. All four unions report the same experience at the bargaining table with negotiators demanding accept or decline on package deals with no interest in creative problem solving and compromise.

  32. I really hope you aren't aiming that criticism at me per se. Up until early October I was resigned to the necessity of a strike - hence why I joined with the vast majority of the FA in authorizing one on 9/28. Then, as was hoped, the administration started bargaining and conceding things. In response, after it seems to me some delay, the FA did the same. And now we are 27 hours away from a possible strike, and while I have always been clear that I would support my colleagues and walk the picket line if it came to that, I am not entirely clear what we are fighting over and whether a lot of it is truly "strikable" at this point. I suppose FE might be, although if the university is going to hired a lot of new folks the next few years to retain the 26:1 ratio that they agreed to, I suppose that would mean those folks would be at risk of losing their jobs due to any FE being declared not me or anybody with 5-6 years of service in the university at that point. And that is assuming it even came to that point, a not all impossible scenario but one I would think is rather unlikely. Furloughs might be also, but that is far preferable in my view to the university laying off people. It just seems more fair to me.

    Are the other issues really worth it? I am not convinced they are but I am willing to be open-minded and convinced otherwise.

  33. I think we will all be asking these questions Wednesday night, and assessing the answers. And making decisions accordingly. Rehearse them here, by all means. But I tire of who moved fast enough or first. And when I look at the work our colleague negotiators have done all while meeting their own classes, grading their own assignments, and trying to remain as open and accountable to their bargaining unit as is possible and wise, I try to remain a little humble. Is this contract better than what I had a month ago? Yes. Will it be better tomorrow? Maybe. Are it's flaws still worth striking for? I'm listening.


I will review and post comments as quickly as I can. Comments that are substantive and not vicious will be posted promptly, including critical ones. "Substantive" here means that your comment needs to be more than a simple expression of approval or disapproval. "Vicious" refers to personal attacks, vile rhetoric, and anything else I end up deeming too nasty to post.