Letters: Palin Letter, Commander In Chief, 'The Fly'

Listeners respond to three segments from Friday's show: the story about the woman who wrote a viral e-mail about Sarah Palin, a commentary on the president's role as commander in chief, and a feature on the new Operatic version of The Fly.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Now to your comments about Friday's show.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

It included a report about Anne Kilkenny, the woman from Wasilla, Alaska, whose email to family and friends about vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin turned up in inboxes around the globe. Reporter Martin Kaste talked to Kilkenny not about the email's contents, but about how it got out and went viral.

SIEGEL: Well, Tamara Okei (ph) was among several listeners who thought that our story missed the mark. She writes, I really wish Martin Kaste had asked Anne Kilkenny questions of substance regarding Sarah Palin and her knowledge of Palin's record in Alaska. I am sure Kilkenny is surprised by the speed her letter traveled the Internet, but is that really the story NPR wanted to cover?

BLOCK: Also on Friday, we heard a commentary from former Navy pilot Ken Harbaugh. Harbaugh argued that the president's most important role is as commander in chief.

SIEGEL: And he said that when the commander in chief orders Americans to die for their country, there is no real check and balance. Well, many of you took issue with that.

BLOCK: Mr. Harbaugh is incorrect. That's from Rick Haimen (ph) of Austin, Texas. He continues, while the Constitution does indeed make the president commander in chief of the Armed Forces, it gives Congress the power to declare wars and to make rules regulating the military. Sadly, in recent practice, these provisions of the Constitution have often been ignored.

SIEGEL: Charles Long (ph) of Birmingham, Alabama, wrote in to applaud Ken Harbaugh's perspective. He writes, I was most impressed with Mr. Harbaugh's refusal to recommend a choice for president because it's not about party politics. Rather, it's about our best judgment as to who can best fill that job. Issues like the economy and health care are important and will be near and dear to every voter this November, but the lives of our young men and women in uniform are - to me, anyway - far more dear.

BLOCK: And finally, some of you responded to our feature on the new operatic version of "The Fly." Our story referenced the 1986 film version starring Jeff Goldblum. Mitch Paradise (ph) of Los Angeles responded with this. If NPR's going to do a feature about the new opera and talk about antecedent productions, you should know enough to mention not just the 1986 movie, but the quite well-realized 1958 film directed by Kurt Neumann with Vincent Price and Herbert Marshall.

SIEGEL: Our story also sparked memories of the original film for listenerRon Knoff (ph) of Holliston, Massachusetts. As California kids of the '50s, my cousin and I were quite taken with this black-and-white treat. So inspired, we went to a local Army-Navy surplus store and found two vintage gas masks for our purpose. We artfully applied rounded mounds of plaster of Paris to the lenses, fashioning eyes that we painted black. Donning these works of art, we wandered, bent over, hoses dangling, and dragging one foot through the neighborhood, chanting in high squeaky voice our mantra, help me, help me!

BLOCK: Whether you're sharing nostalgic anecdotes about horror movies or expressing horror at our reporting, we always look forward to hearing from you.

SIEGEL: Help us. Contact us via our web site, npr.org, and click on Contact Us at the top of the page.

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