From Our Listeners

Letters: Lives Lost In 2011 And Farm Work

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NPR's Neal Conan reads from Talk of the Nation listener comments on previous show topics, including our annual show remembering remarkable lives lost, and a recent proposal to change the laws governing what work children may do on farms.


It's Tuesday, and time to read from your comments. Our annual program to remember those who died in the year past brought many more calls and emails than we could get to. This story from Linda Cloney(ph) in Corning, California, caught our eye. I wanted to remember William Yabsley(ph), she wrote, my husband and life partner. He was known in the San Francisco Bay Area as Mr. Bill, the clock man. He managed the timepiece clock store for many years, and had the most amazing ability to analyze and repair any clock in existence. He would always say, there never was a clock that couldn't be fixed with a little time and knowhow.

And many of you echoed these sentiments from C-noise(ph), who wrote: Please don't forget Anne McCaffrey, the author who created the world of Pern with its dragons and dragon riders. She also wrote about ships that sang and cats who can run the galaxy. She died just before Christmas, and her unique voice will be missed.

Our conversation about new regulations proposed by the Department of Labor to limit the kinds of work children may do on farms prompted Constance Holland(ph) to write us from Longmont, Colorado: One summer, on a break from college, my father sent me out to drive a grain truck, which I quickly found out did not take corners nearly as well at 20 miles an hour as my Honda Civic. I dumped 60 bushels of grain.

This law should focus more on training required rather than on penalizing farmers for using the most readily willing and available labor most family farms have. I did work on my father's harvester from about the time I was eight years old without ever having an injury, but staying focused on all the moving parts was very important, and better training would highlight this. We should note, however, the proposed regulations include exemptions for kids who work for their parents.

Finally, several people complained after a guest's description of President Obama's policies in last week's Political Junkie segment, this from Mike on Facebook: I've heard Neal correct a lot of people on the show over the years, yet he just let the guest say Obama is putting forth a socialist agenda. I don't even like Obama, but I have to say it's usually Neal's style to butt in and least add a caveat about an untrue statement.

If you have a correction, comment or questions for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name. If you're on Twitter, you can follow us there @totn, or follow me @nealconan, all one word.

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