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Letters: Bill Gates, Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

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Letters: Bill Gates, Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

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Letters: Bill Gates, Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

Letters: Bill Gates, Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne read mail sent by listeners weighing in on stories on Bill Gates, the ivory-billed woodpecker and funk band The Meters; corrections.


And it's time for your comments. Many of you responded to Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who told us last week that America is not training enough qualified engineers. Ned McEwen(ph) of Costa Mesa, California, calls that an outrageous statement. He writes, `The dot-com bust left tens of thousands of engineers unemployed. Many US-trained engineers found themselves middle aged and without career prospects.'


Joshua Wide(ph) writes, `I'm an electrical engineer who was laid off from Hewlett-Packard in 2003, along with an entire group of 100 or so fellow engineers. The VP of our group said this was due to a choice to outsource the jobs to India. I am now back in school, transitioning out of engineering. My advice to a young person is to stay away from engineering, unless, of course, you're going to live in India or China.'

INSKEEP: Pamela Moore(ph) noticed that during that interview, Bill Gates used the word "irregardless." She writes in to tell us that, `Had Mr. Gates checked his own MSN Encarta dictionary, he would have seen that the word is,' quote, `"an illogical double negative and is to be avoided."'

MONTAGNE: We also reported last week that biologists had spotted the ivory-billed woodpecker, long thought to be extinct. Our story brought thanks from many of you who are convinced you've seen it.

INSKEEP: Spring Bradley(ph) of Neosho, Missouri, tells this story about her mother. `In 1987, mom spotted an unusual bird in our back yard in Friendship, Arkansas. She studied her "Birds of North America" guide and determined it had to be an ivory-billed woodpecker. Members of local bird-watching groups dismissed her claim. The bird was, after all, extinct. I could hardly wait,' she writes, `to call mom to tell her that scientists found the bird in Arkansas alive and very much not extinct. Thank you for the early Mother's Day gift.'

MONTAGNE: Some corrections now. From our story about the decision of a Kansas church to break away from the Episcopal Church of the USA. In that story, our reporter said Gene Robinson, who is an openly gay man, was the presiding bishop of the Episcopal church. He is, in fact, the bishop of New Hampshire.

INSKEEP: Our report on the trial of Army Reservist Lynndie England said the judges in civilian and military courts have a different standard for evaluating guilty pleas. But that is incorrect. As in the military, judges in federal and many state courts must determine that a guilty plea is voluntary and based on fact.

MONTAGNE: In a story from Utah about tensions over the No Child Left Behind Law, the reporter said that a school deemed as failing by federal officials runs the risk of losing federal funds.

INSKEEP: Which is not true. A public school is not judged by the federal government, but by the state. If it fails to meet targets, it faces a variety of interventions, but does not risk losing federal funds.

MONTAGNE: Finally, this thank you from Bo Child of Princeton Junction, New Jersey. He writes, `As I was pulling into work, I couldn't believe I was hearing a story about one of my all-time favorite bands, The Meters. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my boss pulling into the parking lot. I finished listening and then headed inside. Shortly after, my phone rang. It was my boss.'

INSKEEP: `"So," he said, "I bet you were in your car listening to The Meters on NPR, weren't you?"'

MONTAGNE: `"Guilty as charged," I replied.'

INSKEEP: `"Great piece, wasn't it?," he said.'

MONTAGNE: Listener Bo Child concludes, `What a great way to start the day. Thanks, MORNING EDITION.'

INSKEEP: And thank you for your thank yous as well as your critiques. You can write to us at and please tell us where you live and how to pronounce your name.

(Soundbite of song)

THE METERS: (Singing) Funkify your life, get on down. You could be the funkiest one in town. Funkify your life, get on down. You could be the funkiest one in town. Take some good, funky advice, get on down and funkify your life. Ha. Don't be ashamed...

INSKEEP: This is `Meter' EDITION from NPR News.

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