Cleveland Murders, Obama's Presidency Stir Listeners

Tell Me More host Michel Martin and Lee Hill, the program's "digital media guy," comb through listener feedback and offer important news updates to recent conversations heard on the program. This week, the audience reacts to the gruesome discovery in the home of a man in Cleveland. Also, a recent commentary by Martin exploring whether President Obama is sexist when it comes to his penchant for sports prompted listeners to weigh in with their two-cents.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And now its time for back talk, where we lift the curtain on whats happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and get a chance to hear from you, our listeners. Lee Hill, our digital media guy, is here.

Lee, yesterday we talked about the horrific discovery of 11 cadavers at the Cleveland home convicted sex offender Anthony Sowell. We talked to a local NPR reporter covering this story and a city council member who represents the area where the bodies were found. Lee, you blogged about this. What are listeners saying?

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, people are shocked, first of all. And after the initial horror fades, the questions start pouring in, such as why police werent drawn to this scene earlier. Well, heres a post from blogger Sean. Ill read it. The attitude of police in the minority community is a large reason for the multitude of questions this crime has generated. Perhaps this may be time for police departments nationwide to rethink the way the minority community is policed.

MARTIN: Thank you, Sean. And of course well bring you more details out of Cleveland as the story warrants. Now, on a completely different note, last week marked a full year since the historic election of President Obama as the nations first black chief executive. We acknowledged that milestone last week by asking a panel of political thinkers to reflect on Obamas presidency so far. Heres a clip from that conversation with conservative commentator Lenny McAllister, who calls himself a hip hop Republican.

Mr. LENNY MCALLISTER (Blogger): I dont think hes lived up to a lot of the promises that he said that he was going to do - one of which was take us to a new post-partisanship in post-racial America. That was a lot of the promise that he campaigned on. Weve seen racial incidents jump up to a rise in a level that we havent seen in a long time, and its been a crescendo.

MARTIN: Lee, as you know, several people took issue with that assessment. We heard this from blogger Rosy, who posted online.

ROSY: Obama was elected one year ago. He has not been president for even a year yet. How can he be blamed for the increase in racial incidents? Im so disgusted with everyone whos attacking him. The right will thrash anything he says and does.

HILL: Thanks, Rosy. And speaking of performance, Michel, in your commentary last week you weighed in on the dust-up surrounding President Obama and whether his penchant for sports activities outside the Oval Office unfairly excludes women. Here is what you had to say.

(Soundbite of archived recording)

MARTIN: I think that this obsession with including women in Obamas every waking moment, including his sports outings, just perpetuates a different kind of bias the bias of a jock-ocracy, where facility with sports somehow has some relevance to how well you do your job. Unless youre a personal trainer, I dont see how it does.

HILL: And Michel, it looks like you weren't the only one frustrated with the dialogue. I caught up with blogger, Alex, who agrees. Here's what he had to say.

ALEX: Why is it that in the United States every single detail is over-analyzed always from the perspective of discrimination? Can boys just play without someone coming along and labeling the entire thing as discriminatory or racist, or this or that? I for one would like to have President Obama play basketball with me and my buddies, but that doesnt mean that I'm sexist.

MARTIN: Alex, hmm, you dont want me to take to you school, right on the court.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: I guess I'm not being invited. All right Lee, any updates?

HILL: Yeah, just one. Michel, on Friday, President Obama extended that $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers. Now we reported on this the other the week. The provision was supposed to end December 1st, the extension pushes that date back to June - but in order take advantage of the credit, a mortgage contract must be signed before April 30th with a closing date before June 30th.

MARTIN: Thank you, Lee. Planning to buy any time soon?

HILL: I dont know. We'll see. We'll see.

MARTIN: And remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave your name. You can also log on to our Web site where you can read more from fellow listeners and enjoy a simpler social networking experience. Just go to NPR.org, click on programs, then on TELL ME MORE and blog it out.

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