Letters: Gingrich, Teenscreen, Generations

Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne read from listeners' letters. Comments touch broadcasts featuring House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a depression screening program for teens, generations in the workplace, financial planning and the singer Odetta.

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And now time to catch up on the mail.

(Soundbite of music)


William Garmo(ph), who listens to member station WAMU, in the Washington, DC, area writes: `I listened to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich offer commentary about the current state of corruption of power in Congress. How ironic to listen to someone such as Mr. Gingrich speak about the causes of unethical and corrupt behavior. While his track record qualifies him to be familiar with such behavior, he hardly warrants being viewed as an expert on how to correct the current state of affairs.' That's the view of William Garmo.

While Speaker, by the way, Gingrich was reprimanded by the House Ethics Committee for giving incorrect information. He also returned a much-criticized book advance, but did not face criminal charges.

MONTAGNE: Brian Smith of Shewsbury, Massachusetts, adds: `Newt Gingrich's commentary that big government is the cause of corruption is totally off base. All governments--big, small and in between--experience corruption. As long as there is money and power for people to lust after, corruption will exist.'

INSKEEP: There were two errors in our story earlier this week about the Teenscreen program for identifying depression. We said the programmed screened 14,000 students in 2005. The program says, in reality, it screened 55,000. And in the lawsuit mentioned in the story, the defendants are the local school district.

MONTAGNE: Dan Hodlick(ph) of Atlanta says he doesn't like the way his age group was described in an interview about baby boomers and so-called generation X'ers in the workplace. Dan Hodlick writes that contrary to what our guest suggested, younger people like him `are not switching jobs every five years because we don't get enough advancement or guidance from our bosses. That's not the people I know,' he continues. `With a few exceptions, most have been employed by the same employer for far longer than five years with no intention of going anywhere.'

INSKEEP: Here's an opinion from the other side of the generation gap. Doug Hall(ph) writes: `I worked in Silicon Valley in the '70s, '80s and '90s, and it was a common practice to change jobs every couple of years. We embraced new technologies and brought them into the workplace.' He says, `It comes as no surprise that gen X'ers want to take credit for things others pioneered. They think they invented it all because they have no sense of history.'

MONTAGNE: We also got a letter asking about our sense of gender. Deanna Toliver(ph) of St. Robert, Missouri, writes: `Am I the only person irritated by the guy who was discussing how to pick a financial planner?' She continues, `He advised choosing "a guy" who was certified and to watch out for "guys" who try to sell ancillary products. My financial planner is a woman. The guy you interviewed sounded like someone living in the 1950s.'

INSKEEP: We received a number of responses to a woman who was singing in the 1950s and is still busy today.

(Soundbite of "This Little Light of Mine")

ODETTA: (Singing) This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.

INSKEEP: The folksinger Odetta spoke to us as part of our series of conversations called The Long View. During that interview, we spoke about a performance at the Amazing Grace coffeehouse in 1972. Lynn McKenna Frazier writes to tell us she was at that performance in Evanston, Illinois. She writes: `I'll never forget how Odetta entered at the back of the building and began to sing a cappella, absolutely silencing the room as she walked to the tiny stage. I'd place that experience over any of the big pyrotechnic shows anytime.'

MONTAGNE: So to close, no pyrotechnics, just Odetta from a New York City performance released last year.

INSKEEP: And if this program jogs your memory, send us an e-mail by going to npr.org. Click on `contact us.'

(Soundbite of "This Little Light of Mine")

ODETTA: (Singing) This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. Let it shine...

INSKEEP: This is NPR News.

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