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Letters: Animal Abuse, Wooden Teeth, Mr. Rogers

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Letters: Animal Abuse, Wooden Teeth, Mr. Rogers

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Letters: Animal Abuse, Wooden Teeth, Mr. Rogers

Letters: Animal Abuse, Wooden Teeth, Mr. Rogers

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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A listener says she was disturbed by the graphic detail of animal abuse in our beef recall story. The curator of the National Museum of Dentistry tells us George Washington was unlikely to have had wooden dentures. Another listener says he was happy to hear Mister Rogers' voice.


It's Thursday morning, time again for your comments. Nancy Kirkland wrote us from Franklin, Indiana to say that she was disappointed by our coverage of the largest beef recall in U.S. history. She writes, I trust NPR to give warning before launching into graphic detail of the harming of animals. I covered my ears, jumped out of bed and have not turned on NPR since.

Well, Ms. Kirkland(sp), if by chance you have turned us back on, we did add an advisory to our later broadcasts that morning. Dolores Young of Rogers, Arkansas was one of several listeners who said our story made them rethink their eating habits. Your report on the cattle slaughter has already convinced me I do not need beef anymore. I don't want to continue being part of that whole chain of abuse, unsanitary conditions and unhealthy consumption. And she writes, Thanks for letting the public know the truth.

Those who can still stand to eat anything followed our Hidden Kitchen story about early White House chefs and that report included a common myth about America's first president.

Unidentified Man: As we know, George Washington had wooden teeth.

INSKEEP: It's a bit of so-called knowledge that Scott Swank chewed up and spat out.

SCOTT SWANK, (Curator of the National Museum of Dentistry): There's no evidence that wooden dentures were ever made in the United States at all.

INSKEEP: Mr. Swank is the Curator of the National Museum of Dentistry so he should know. He says Washington's dentures were probably made of ivory. The story of the wooden teeth might have come about because the first president had a fondness for red wine.

MR. SWANK: Which would have stained ivory and I think they would have probably looked a lot like wood.

INSKEEP: Either way, it's a good reminder don't forget to brush.

(Soundbite from show, "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood")

Mr. FRED ROGERS (Children's Show Host): (Singing) It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor...

INSKEEP: No matter what your teeth are made of, we got some reassurance this week on the 40th anniversary of the TV program "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood."

Mr. ROGERS: I'm just so proud of all of all of you who have grown up with us. But I would like to tell you what I often told you when you were much younger, I like you just the way you are.

INSKEEP: At the moment that we broadcast that message from the late Fred Rogers, Mansucaskie(sp) from St.Albans, Vermont says, I was in a gloomy mood driving to work ruminating about how people think I don't work hard enough. No problem, at 45 I can take it, he writes, but it sure helped to hear Mr. Rogers say on Morning Edition, just as he told me when I was five, that he likes me just the way I am.

Mr. ROGERS: (Singing) It's such a good feeling, to know you're alive...

INSKEEP: To let us know how you're feeling about what you hear on Morning Edition, go to and click on the button that says, Contact Us.

INSKEEP: This is NPR News.

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