Letters: Senate Name-Calling, A Breed Apart

Scott Simon reads listeners' thoughts on the proper title to use when addressing a senator and on the temperament of Lhasa Apsos.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

Time now for your letters.

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SIMON: Emails, Tweets, and posts on npr.org came in by the dozens in response to last week's commentary by Alison Stewart, who offered her views on the dustup over Senator Barbara Boxer's demand to be called senator instead of ma'am by Army Brigadier General Michael Walsh during a Senate hearing.

Many letters like this one: Shame on Barbara Boxer and Alison Stewart, writes Cathleen Sharpe(ph) of Colorado Springs. You don't win points with the American public when you dress down a military general who's put his life on the line in a way that they never have or ever will do. General Walsh was following perfect protocol and Barbara Boxer's faux pas was unforgivable, as was Ms. Stewart's defense.

But there were also many responses like this, from Chris McGuire(ph) of Spartanburg, South Carolina: I was pleased to hear Alison Stewart's commentary on what seems like a trumped-up brouhaha about Senator Barbara Boxer's recent comments. Of course she should be addressed as senator. After all, if she'd refer to Brigadier General Walsh as Mr. Walsh, the outcry would still reverberate. He has earned his title and she has no less earned hers.

Last week our senior producer, Peter Breslow marked, Father's Day with a tale of the bedtime stories he tells his twin daughters about a couple of family dogs named Ralph. Ilene Lockwood(ph) of St. Joseph, Missouri said she was reminded of the fictional adventures of her own family's pet. The hero was Chubby, my husband's boyhood pet who lived on the farm. In my husband's skillful telling, Chubby became a hero for all occasions quickly transcending the exciting true life saga of Chubby and the porcupine. Even today, our four grown children talk about their favorite Chubby and the communist spy.

Peter also mentioned his family's first Ralph was, and I quote, "an adorable mop-headed Lhasa Apsos who would go from licking your hand to tearing at it in an instant," eliciting this from Ilene King(ph) of Silver Spring, Maryland: I have owned, loved, bred, and shown Lhasa Apsos for decades and the typical temperament is not like Ralph's. Lhasa's were bred in Tibet to be indoor guard dogs and many of them still have the instinct to guard. I'm sorry for the Breslow family's unfortunate experience with the dog they kindly rescued. But I'm also sorry for the breed to get bad press.

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SIMON: You can bark at us too by going to our Web site, npr.org, and clicking on Contact Us. Please remember to tell us where you live and how to pronounce your name. Twitter users can send Tweets to me directly, nprscottsimon, all one word, or to our editors and producers at nprweekend.

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