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Letters: Katrina, Cosmetics and Aid

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Letters: Katrina, Cosmetics and Aid

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Letters: Katrina, Cosmetics and Aid

Letters: Katrina, Cosmetics and Aid

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Robert Siegel and Melissa Block read from listeners' emails. The topics include our Hurricane Katrina coverage, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and hurricane aid from Mexico.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

It's Thursday, the day we read from your e-mails, and a number of you took issue this week with a comment by Barbara Ehrenreich. We interviewed her about her new book "Bait and Switch," which documents her experience going undercover as a white-collar job seeker. One of the two jobs she was offered was from Mary Kay cosmetics.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

`As a sales director with Mary Kay cosmetics, I have to correct a statement made by Ehrenreich.'

BLOCK: This letter came from Tammy Schmidt from Evansville, Indiana.

SIEGEL: `Ehrenreich mentioned it was a job that required at least a $2,000 investment to begin. That statement is incorrect. It takes $100 to begin a Mary Kay business and that is the only requirement. Inventory is optional and can be done in different ways.'

BLOCK: Well, that is true; a Mary Kay start-up kit does cost $100. In Ehrenreich's book she notes that same amount, but she adds that the Mary Kay rep who offers her the job recommends spending $1,800 in addition for inventory such as lipsticks and mascara.

SIEGEL: In our story on trauma debriefing after 9/11 by reporter Stephen Smith of American RadioWorks, we should have included the fact that the two companies mentioned in the story, Crisis Care Network and Crisis Management International, have since merged. The new company says its approach to trauma treatment is constantly evolving and based on the latest available research.

BLOCK: Our coverage of Hurricane Katrina has prompted many letters. Michele Norris' piece on tensions in Baton Rouge, where many New Orleanians took refuge, prompted this from Eric Smith of Portland, Maine. He writes, `I drove slack-jawed after hearing the comments from the manager of the Frosty Top Diner that many of the evacuees were on the, quote, "lower-income African-American level." It is important to hear that racism is not merely in our government and economic systems, but still very much in how we think and speak about our fellow Americans.'

SIEGEL: Several listeners wrote in about my interview regarding food aid arriving from Mexico. Lee Cook of Oak Hill, Virginia, was one. `It was a shock,' he says, `to hear you joking that the gift from the Mexican people amounted to the largest take-out order for Mexican food in history. It is rude to make fun of gifts, no matter that you may not like them or need them.'

BLOCK: Roger Knight(ph), who now lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, wrote this lament: `I lived in New Orleans for 18 years, including seven in the Garden District. Three times I left the city to go abroad; twice I returned. Now I have nothing to return to. We talked many times about the storm that would breach the levees and kill the city. It has finally happened, and it is worse than I had imagined. My mind keeps rolling over the places I enjoyed so much--the Superdome, the Aquarium of the Americas, the Audubon Zoo, the streetcars, dozens of restaurants, on and on.'

SIEGEL: And the letter concludes, `I hope that everyone remembers the New Orleans that was and prays for the New Orleans to come.'

BLOCK: You can write to us by going to our home page at npr.org and clicking on the `contact us' button. And please don't forget to tell us where you live and how you pronounce your name.

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