Letters: U.S. Post Office; Fingerboarding

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Robert Siegel clarifies Tuesday's reporting on the U.S. Post Office's funding woes — and reads listener letters about fingerboarding.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host: Now, your letters about something big and something small. First, the big, to the tune of billions of dollars.

Deborah and Jerry Prescott of Mendota, Virginia, heard our discussion yesterday about the financial woes of the U.S. Postal Service. It is struggling to pay its bills and the Prescotts thought that we should have talked more about one aspect of those bills - retiree benefits.

They write: it was Congress that mandated that the Postal Service pre-fund future retiree health benefits to the tune of five and a half billion dollars a year. This is, in effect, a huge overpayment to the civil service retirement system, which Congress could transfer back to the Postal Service if it wants to.

And the Prescotts conclude: Congress should do its job.

And now, onto something small...

TAYLOR ROSENBAUER: It's so awkward with this thing here.

SIEGEL: ...fingerboarding, that's that miniature version of skateboarding. You use your fingers to move a two and a half inch board. The "sport," and we put that in quotes, had its first ever national competition which included 19-year-old Taylor Rosenbauer.

ROSENBAUER: Probably the first trick that most people learn when they first start Fingerboarding is called just a Shove It. That's where you spin the board 180 degrees by doing, I guess, a scissor kick motion with your two fingers. So your back finger slides back and your front finger goes forward.

SIEGEL: Well, Yoko Smith, of Lincoln, Nebraska, thought the story was not a good fit for radio. She writes this: So hard to imagine what the heck fingerboarding looked like and the segment went on and on. I know NPR needs to cover far and wide, but maybe next time you can leave this to public television.

And Stephen Hooper, of Asheville, North Carolina, proclaimed our story the, quote, "fluffiest report he's ever heard on this program." Hooper added this: while I was an avid skater in my youth, a couple of broken wrists and numerous sprained ankles later, I decided to hang up the board with some regret. But Tuesday must have been the slowest news day ever to feature such a story of so very little content. I understand the nature of the show but come on.

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