Crack Cocaine, Fashion Have Listeners Abuzz

Hear what listeners and bloggers are saying in response to the program's news of the week. Listeners have their say on the reduction of crack cocaine sentences, ethics in the workplace, and spring fashion.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MICHEL MARTIN, Host:

And now it's time for Backtalk where we lift the curtain on the conversations happening on the Tell Me More blog and get a chance to hear from you. Lee Hill, our web producer, joins me here in the studios as always. Hey Lee. What's up?

LEE HILL: Hey Michel. Well, our listeners are telling us quite a few things. First, you know we had a conversation on Monday about how the U.S. Sentencing Commission finally agreed with activists who've been urging that setting a much harsher for setting a much harsher punishment for crack cocaine offenses compared to powder is unfair. Now, in December, the commission agreed to reduce the sentences for crack. Now, Michel as you know, we wanted to take a look at how all of this is playing out in the real world. This week our Facebookers found Natasha Marshall. She was serving a 15 year sentence in connection with crack cocaine charges. She was released three years early and went home just last week. Here's a clip from that conversation.

MARTIN: You know, they seem to feel that they have us all characterized as, you know, violent criminals. With us being released early, we're going to come back out into the community and just, you know, raise the crime rate.

HILL: At least 20,000 people might be released early from prison because of the ruling, we asked listeners whether they would welcome these ex-offenders back into their communities. You told us and we listened. And here's Maria who says everyone deserves a second chance.

MARIA: I believe that number one, it was excessive to begin with. But there are some that are not going to be as appropriate to be released into society. But we as individuals have to understand that there are people that are not locked up that should not be in society and have never been caught or just have never been turned in for the crimes that they commit. Now, I don't recommend it, I don't suggest, I'm totally against it, but everyone deserves a second chance, and everyone deserves an opportunity to be in the free world and live life to the fullest.

MARTIN: Thank you Maria. We should also mention that although Natasha was convicted as part of a case involving her husband whom she admits was selling crack cocaine, she insisted to us that she had no direct involvement with his business and was prosecuted because of her association with him as his wife. But a number of listeners also wrote to say to us that they just do not believe her and believe that her sentence was appropriate.

Moving on, you might recall we have a newer series in collaboration with "O! The Oprah Magazine." It's called "Now What Do I Do?" It tries to give people out there answers to those sometimes awkward questions that deal with ethics. Our question this week, what do you do if you somehow get inside information or advanced word that a co-worker that happens to be a friend is about to get the axe. Do you try to break it to him before the boss does? Carol, one of our listeners, said no.

CAROL: I don't believe that you should take action if you have that information. What if something were to happen between the time you found the information out and the time you told that person that was erroneous? I think that's just a personal matter that shouldn't be discussed outside there.

HILL: Thanks Carol, tough one. Now Michel, you might appreciate this one. You know the two divas we had on to talk about the latest in women's fashion? Well, you know, another diva, Moje (ph), one of our regular bloggers, has a bone to pick with the ladies. Here's her note. Well, first of all she says and I don't know if she was rolling her eyes when she said this but I'm just going to take a guess. "First of all, I have an affinity for belts and I'm wise enough to know that skinny belts don't work on me. Secondly, the big purses are popular because they are functional, and finally, what was the dig about Capri pants with people living in South Florida? I've been a resident for the past decade and I can tell you that capris have not been or will never be in my closet." Now I'm going to step out of it right here because I'm just a messenger.

MARTIN: Wise decision, Lee. But Moje, I have to tell you that they're going to have to blast me out of my Capri pants. That's just what I have to say about it. Thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thank you, Michel.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.