Letters: Cosmetic Surgery Tax; William Henry Harrison

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Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish read letters from listeners.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's time for your Letters and first, this correction.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

As we reported Monday, New Jersey is getting rid of its so-called Bo-Tax. That's a six percent tax on cosmetic surgery. In our story, some of you heard us say that New Jersey is the only state with such a tax and that was true until last year, when Connecticut approved a tax, as well.

CORNISH: On to your letters about our segment on a notable president. William Henry Harrison's presidency was notable for how incredibly short it was. He served a mere month in 1841 before dying.

SIEGEL: Well, that didn't stop New York Times columnist, Gail Collins, from writing a Harrison biography. I talked with Collins on Monday and we began with the myth of Harrison, the man whose campaign erroneously insisted that he lived in a log cabin.

CORNISH: Well, Alan Gabis(ph) of Indianapolis sent us this description about the home William Henry Harrison did live in in Vincennes, Indiana. He says this. Harrison came to Vincennes in 1801 after being appointed governor of the Indiana territory which, at the time, included all of present day Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as southern Minnesota. He built a 26-room Georgian style mansion on 300 acres and named the property Grouseland.

SIEGEL: It was far from a log cabin. Well, Gail Collins also said this about presidential leadership during Harrison's time.

GAIL COLLINS: There aren't really any good presidents for about 50 years here. There's a very long - between Jackson and Abraham Lincoln - a kind of a drought going on.

SIEGEL: Not so, says Andy Baylosh(ph) of Grand Prairie, Texas. He writes this. One of my favorite presidents, James K. Polk, was pretty important considering he was responsible for adding one-third more land to the U.S. He only served one term, yet he was able to accomplish his four goals and Mr. Baylosh explains those goals are...

CORNISH: Taking the Oregon territory from the British.

SIEGEL: Winning California from Mexico.

CORNISH: Lowering tariffs.

SIEGEL: And establishing an independent treasury.

CORNISH: Well, for all that, the band, They Might Be Giants, wrote a song about President James K. Polk.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JAMES K. POLK")

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: (Singing) But precious few have mourned the passing of Mr. James K. Polk, our 11th president.

SIEGEL: We appreciate your letters. You can write to us at NPR.org. Just click on Contact Us.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JAMES K. POLK")

GIANTS: (Singing) In 1844, the Democrats were split. The three nominees for the presidential candidate were Martin Van Buren, a former president and an abolitionist.

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