From Our Listeners

Your Letters: Health Care; Peter And The Wolf

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Host Scott Simon reads listener letters about the health care bill and his performance of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.


Time now for your letters.

(Soundbite of music)

SIMON: My essay last week on the Obama administration's plan to cut back on the U.S. space program brought this response from Vincent Lenese(ph) of Kent, Ohio: Scott Simon compared the cost of the NASA space program versus the cost of health care, noting that the latter is now 50 times the cost of the former. I wonder how the cost of health care compares with the military budget between the 1960s, when the U.S. first invaded Vietnam, and the present time - that is, the wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

In other words, how much more does it cost the American taxpayer to kill, maim and torture people overseas as opposed to the cost of providing health care to people here at home?

Last week, NPR health policy correspondent Julie Rovner and I talked about the passage of health-care overhaul legislation.

Dr. Ellen Brant(ph), family physician in Salinas, California, responded: I don't understand why the media keeps talking about public opinion like it really matters to the legislature. What really matters to them are the financiers of their campaigns - the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry. Any selling to the public involves scare tactics and misinformation. If anybody really cared about the public and the patients, single payer would be the obvious solution.

Two weeks ago, we brought you a report on the military's effort to train a new generation of soldiers. Officials say that new recruits have a lot of experience with technology, but little with physical combat.

Anthony Senudo(ph) of San Diego writes: I'll take the side of an intelligent solider any day over a stronger one, especially in this technological day and age. The practice of hand-to-hand combat is clearly on the decline. So a soldier's ability to adequately perform with the latest technology is becoming more and more important.

Finally, on our March 20th program, we went behind the scenes into a rehearsal of Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf," which I narrated two weeks ago with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Several of you said our report brought back childhood memories.

Jerry Charaskin(ph) of Brooktondale, New York, writes: My grandfather gave me a record of "Peter and the Wolf," with Hans´┐ŻConried´┐Żnarrating, about 50 years ago. Every time I hear that piece, I think of him.

And Ellen Carpenter of Boston says: In the 1950s, my mother gave me a record of Basil Rathbone narrating "Peter and the Wolf," which I listened to over and over again. With all due respect to Scott and Leonard Bernstein, it remains my favorite.

(Soundbite of recording, "Peter and the Wolf")

Mr. BASIL RATHBONE (Actor): What kind of a bird are you if you can't fly, said he. To which the duck replied, What kind of a bird are you if you can't swim? And dived into the pond.

SIMON: Hey, who is that amateur? We'd love to hear from you. Send us an email by visiting and clicking on Contact Us. You can also reach us on, or on Twitter @nprweekend. I tweet @nprscottsimon, all one word.

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