Letters: Climate, Music, Stress

We broadcast several climate-related stories last week, and the overall reaction was, in a word, stormy.

Many listeners objected to the way host Scott Simon interviewed former Vice President Al Gore prior to the global Live Earth concerts.

"I was terribly disappointed at Scott Simon's questioning of Al Gore (for) Live Earth," writes Eileen Kalinowski of Taos, New Mexico. "Could you get off your point that a world-wide multi-city event requires using energy? What about the billions of people he is reaching, especially young people, and all the good he is doing for the world? By comparison, is there any national figure, Republican or Democrat or independent, who is raising awareness at the level Al Gore is?"

Our interview with Don Wambles, the Alabama man who has asked the state to pray for rain during this dry summer, brought this response from Elissa Fazio of Tucson: "What were you thinking doing that interview . . . ? I look to NPR as one of the last bastions of critical thinking in today's rather bizarre context of sound bites and pseudo science.

There was much better reaction to Daniel Zwerdling's story on Andrew Pogany, a soldier suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who challenged the military's review of his case and now helps other soldiers in similar circumstances.

Chapman Holbrook of Madison, Wisconsin tells us, "Daniel Zwerdling is doing an excellent job. Please make every effort to continue pushing the military and political forces toward proper mental and physical care for our troops now and into the future."

The story struck a personal note for Gerry Matthews of Wyndmoor, Penn., who tells us that even after 60 years, his father still suffers the mental trauma of World War II.

He writes, "It's disgraceful that we as a country can sit by so complacently, expecting our troops to fight for our country, only to have those who are lucky enough to come home, left to fight for themselves. Andrew Pogany is a hero and a true inspiration."

William Pranty of New York City said we missed an opportunity for some audio-literary synergy with our story about the novels written by composer John Philip Sousa, including one called "the Transit of Venus."

"I can't believe you chose Sousa's "Liberty Bell" march to close your excellent story about Sousa's book-writing career — not when you could have chosen Sousa's "Transit of Venus" march. After all, how many books come with its own music?"

Well, NPR's Sousa scholar suggested that march.

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