Letters: North Korea, Fulbright Scholars

Listeners comment on the U.S. response to the latest round of brinkmanship with North Korea, the experiences of Fulbright Scholars and job prospects for recent high school graduates.

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It's Tuesday, the day we read from your e-mails.

As North Korea made preparations to test fire a long-range missile last week, we talked about U.S. options to deal with it. The missile, by the way, still has not been fired.

Ty Carpenter(ph) in Hawaii e-mailed and said, "Enough with the talk. People who wave weapons in the face of the police and make threatening gestures," he wrote, "are likely to get themselves shot. The same is true for countries. If the world is to know peace, we must all agree on common code of behavior. North Korea's government has defied the global community with its actions. It's time to end this threat. Destroy the missile where it stands now."

Judy Melton(ph), a listener in Shinnston, West Virginia, hoped for more dialogue to end the standoff, but complained about hypocrisy in U.S. strategy. "Ambassador Bolton," she wrote, "said you don't normally engage in conversation by threatening to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles, and yet the U.S. continually says all options are on the table when it comes to North Korea, Iraq, and other countries we say are a threat to us. Isn't our rhetoric just as dangerous and aggressive as that of North Korea? I find it amazing that we all continue to work towards peace with an olive branch in one hand and weapons in the other."

We invited a group of Fulbright Scholars just back from Africa into Studio 3A last week to talk about what they learned in their time abroad, about other countries and about themselves.

Elizabeth Williamson(ph) wrote from Syracuse, New York, to tell us that she too studied abroad. When she got back, she said, "I came to the realization that I don't really fit in anywhere except in America, which, for all its divisions, really is much more tolerant, open, and diverse than many other places around the globe. Having spent all that time abroad gave me a much deeper appreciation of my home. I came back able to say that I genuinely love America, despite all her faults, and there's nowhere else I'd rather live."

Peter Sagal, of course you know him from NPR's WAIT, WAIT, DON'T TELL ME turned the tables last week and interviewed me on the occasion of my almost-starring role in a new documentary about crossword puzzle master Will Shortz called, Wordplay. I play the part of the play-by-play announcer during the tournament finals. George(ph) in Ewing, New Jersey, e-mailed with his support, just in case. "Dear Neal, just wanted to let you know your NPR fans will still be there for you if your film career dries up. Now get out of there and get ready for your close-up."

And finally, a quick correction. Bill Hickock(ph) in Rochester, New York, wrote to tell me that I misspoke during our conversation with Joe Ostrowsky, he's the student that just graduated from high school and found a job selling knives. Bill wrote, "You referred to the student's knife company employer as Costco. I believe the actual name is Cutco." And, of course, he's got it right. The company is Cutco. My apologies.

If you have comments, questions, or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by e-mail. The address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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