Letters: Economy, Health Care, Kinney

Listeners respond to stories about the Native American economy, health care and the interview with author Jeff Kinney. Melissa Block and Michele Norris read from listeners' e-mails.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Turning now to your letters, and we start with some corrections. Earlier this week, we picked up on the Balloon Boy hoax and we aired a commentary examining some of history's greatest hoaxes, including the famous broadcast of "War of the Worlds." We said that aired in 1934, but as several of you correctly point out, it actually aired on Halloween night 1938.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

We aired a report yesterday about an Arizona Indian reservation that's building a spring training baseball stadium for both the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks. We said it will be the first pro-sports facility built on tribal land.

BLOCK: Well, Robert Joyner(ph) of Salt Lake City caught us there. He writes: I believe that this is incorrect. And Mr. Joyner is correct. The Mohegan Sun Arena is located on the Mohegan Reservation and it has been home to the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA since 2003.

NORRIS: Yesterday, we heard about how our health care system came to involve employers paying for insurance. We said it happened due to a series of accidents of history.

BLOCK: Not really is what Harris Myer(ph) of Yakima, Washington writes. He goes on, it's the result of a series of political choices and non-choices. The United States had a chance for a national health insurance system several times in the first half of the 20th century. First, when Teddy Roosevelt proposed it in 1912, then when FDR considered it in the 1930s, then when Harry Truman proposed it during his presidency.

If any of these proposals had been adopted, we would not have our current employer-based system. So, calling our system an accident of history misses the mark.

NORRIS: Finally, we got mostly positive response to my conversation yesterday with Jeff Kinney. He's the author of the popular "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books. One negative email we did see came from Ellen Bitner(ph) of Minnetonka, Minnesota. She writes: My 13-year-old loves these books. I forced him to come listen to a beloved author and it was too short. She continues, shame on you. I love NPR and wish to have my kids love it, too. Try this again, please.

BLOCK: And it seems some listeners were confused by one word they heard a couple of times in that interview. Let's take a listen.

(Soundbite of archived broadcast)

NORRIS: What do you say to the parents who are ambivalent about this who say that the books are just too snarky?

Mr. JEFF KINNEY (Author, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid"): I think that there are stuff out there that's a whole lot more snarky. I think that…

NORRIS: Yes, snarky is the word. And, Melissa, actually it was a word that cropped up a lot of times in yesterday's broadcast. And one of our listeners wanted to know what does it mean. That was Kate Crawford(ph) of Downers Grove, Illinois.

She writes: I attended middle school as well as elementary, high school and college but I am mystified by Michele's use of the word snarky in this interview. So, Melissa, I hope you have the snarky answer for her.

BLOCK: Well, I use snarky, too, as it happened in the show yesterday. Here's what Merriam-Webster has to say about this: sarcastic, impertinent or irreverent in tone or manner.

NORRIS: Impertinent, well, you never hear that from us, right?

BLOCK: Never.

(Soundbite of laughter)

NORRIS: If you have a question, we want to hear from you. Snarky comments or whatever, send them our way, if you must. You can reach us at npr.org. Just click on Contact Us.

(Soundbite of music)

NORRIS: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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