Listener Letters

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Guest host Tony Cox reads listener e-mails and letters.

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Next on NEWS AND NOTES, a hip-hop reference book. Author and NEWS AND NOTES roundtable contributor, Yvonne Bynoe has written an encyclopedia of rap and hip-hop culture. Everything you want to know from A to phishizle.

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GORDON: You're listening to NEWS AND NOTES from NPR News.

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COX: I'm Tony Cox. Next time on NEWS AND NOTES, a new Maryland state law designed to insure health benefits for retail workers has touched off a lawsuit pitting retail giants like Wal Mart against workers and lawmakers who say more profits should go to healthcare. That's next time on NEWS AND NOTES from NPR News.

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COX: Time now for your comments. We received several e-mails on our roundtable discussion. Our panelists' comments about an online poll which found that the Reverend Jesse Jackson remains the most important black leader to African Americans didn't sit well with Cedric Campbell of Houston, Texas. He writes,

COX: (reading) It's the height of both irony and hypocrisy that members of a roundtable will publicly say that a list of black leaders is irresponsible while they obviously are on a list of black spokespersons worthy of appearing regularly on your roundtable. Doug McMullin from Brooklyn, New York, took issue with panelist Michael Myers' remarks on torture and U.N. calls to close the facility at Guantanamo Bay.

(Soundbite of Michael Myers) Well, what do you want us to do with people who are regarded as dangerous? And particularly people who are, if released, are likely to not only be dangerous, but help provoke an attack on United States sovereignty.

COX: McMullin writes

(Reading) that views are contemptible and morally blind as this are aired on NPR is fine. Free debate should mean no thought or idea is prescribed. However, when opinions this corrupt come from an NPR commentator himself in a panel format, and when the views are not challenged in any way by the host or other panelists, when instead the topic is blithely changed to African American hairstyles on the college campus, I am disgusted and saddened.

From Jacksonville, Florida, Catherine McGoldrich writes about our discussion of the sheriff in Pinellas, Florida who has decided to suspend adulterous deputies. She writes,

(Reading) I agree with your guest that what happens in private should be just that, private and protected. However, law enforcement personnel take an oath to uphold the laws of the jurisdictions where they serve. I am sure the sheriff's deputies in the story took an oath to uphold Florida laws. That for them includes all of the laws of the state, frivolous or not.

And we received this voicemail from Marjorie Lewis from Ridgewood, New Jersey:

(Voicemail of Marjorie Lewis) Just a comment on the Brazilian Samba Feast about Lent. Carnival isn't during Lent. Carnival usually precedes Lent, it's the wild time leading up to Lent. But other than that, I enjoyed the piece very much.

Thanks for the correction, Marjorie. And from Atlanta, Georgia, Barbara Jones writes:

(Reading) This is undoubtedly the best hour on radio or television where news by and about black people is concerned. Your West Coast host, Farai Chideya is absolutely the best I've ever heard.

But not everyone shares that sentiment. Margaret Sesay of Brooklyn, New York says she was outraged by our special roundtable on street lit. She writes:

(Reading) I'm a former high school English teacher who quit last fall after years of feeling like an accessory to a crime. The dumbing-down of children of color. This idea expressed by Relentless of having children read by any means necessary is bunk. Over the last three or four years, I've watched these novels infest and corrupt classrooms. She continues:

(Reading) The simplistic plots that leave nothing to ones imagination, the lack of metaphors or symbols are akin to eating white bread, it might taste good but it has no value.

She also writes:

(Reading) The garbage being put out and defended by the likes of Malepia Aderro(ph) do more harm than good. The writers like Relentless and Zane have found a good gig, they're making money, I'm glad for them. But they shouldn't confuse some anemic prose with being an author of merit.

We appreciate your comments, good or bad. We want to hear from you. You can call us at 202-408-3330. Or you can email us. Log on to npr.org and click on Contact Us. And please, please be sure where you're writing from and how to pronounce your name.

This is NPR News.

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