Two Weeks Of Non-Stop Political Action Sets Off Bloggers

The major political conventions are over and now the program's bloggers speak their minds. Hear reaction to the Mommy Wars debate triggered by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's selection as John McCain's presidential running mate, Barack Obama's acceptance of the Democratic presidential nomination, and a recent talk on schoolchildren being paid to excel in learning.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And now we have more comments from listeners. It's Backtalk. Lee Hill, our digital media guy, is back here with me. Hey, Lee.

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel, good to see you back in the chair.

MARTIN: Why thank you.

HILL: Well you know Backtalk took a short break for the political conventions and Michel, you traveled to both Denver for the Democratic Convention and to St. Paul with the Republicans. Now you can imagine that listeners definitely wanted to talk back to us about politics and a few other things on their mind. But first, Sarah Palin, the vice presidential nominee. People seem to have been talking more about her lately these days than John McCain.

MARTIN: Lee I think I already know where you are going with this. This week's Mocha Moms conversation hit a sour note with some bloggers.

Ms. ASRA NOMANI (Mocha Mom): I feel really conflicted Michel. It's painful actually. You know I'm sitting here in England right now, and I'm having to do a lot of explaining about a concept that we know there in America but folks here are wondering what white trash means. And I hate to say those words, and it's, you know in its own way racist, but unfortunately, that's the kind of politically incorrect conversation and internal dialogue I'm having.

MARTIN: That's Mocha Mom, Asra Nomani.

LEE: Michel, now we know some listeners did not think Asra's comments were fair and some were actually pretty ticked off. I'll read a post from Kerry. I too was shocked and disgusted by the comments of Asra Nomani. Apparently having children who enlist in the military, get pregnant, decide to have the child, or who are born with Down Syndrome makes a parent white trash. Michel Martin's failure to censor her guest for racist and revolting comments implicates her in them as well.

MARTIN: And we did receive a number of comments along this line. I did respond to this on the blog but I'm going to let another listener Glenda, respond as well because I think she does a good job as clearing this up.

GLENDA (Caller): Asra was saying that she was in England and that she was in England and that she had explain the term to people around her who were not familiar with it but Asra did say that she thought that it was a racist term. These people, they pick one little thing and they run with it and it has no relation whatsoever to the reality of the situation and what was actually said. They are thin skinned and looking for a reason to take issue with something that is not there.

MARTIN: Thank you, Glenda.

HILL: And here are a few more comments about politics and conventions. Here's a note from Cindy. She says I'm thrilled to have Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket. I'm so glad she has the ideals and convictions that she has. Cindy goes on to defend Palin's stances on creationism and abortion. And Dawn from the DC area wrote to thank us for our coverage of the political conventions and told us that one of our conversations reminded her of a little story from her past.

DAWN (Caller): The only time my mother ever slapped my face it was when I, a little 11-year-old black girl came home from school and pronounced that I wish I was white. The slap woke me up to the fact that I am somebody and I can do all things. Senator Obama's nomination also reminds me of this.

MARTIN: Thank you, Dawn. We want to move on to other news. This week we talked to the Chancellor of Public Schools, Michele Rhee. Rhee is giving serious consideration to a program that will pay some middle school students for their performance. One of our bloggers, Jim has some serious concerns about that.

JIM (Listener): In terms of children being paid to be motivated to get better grades, I don't think that's at all really what children really want. They really want to be listened to. They want somebody who can connect with them and they want an environment where they really can learn.

MARTIN: Interesting. But we'll have more conversation about this. Thank you, Lee.

LEE: Thank you, Michele.

MARTIN: Remember with Tell Me More the conversation never ends. To catch up on our coverage or to tell us more about what you think you can call our comment line at 202 842 3522. Or go to the Tell Me More at npr.org and blog it out.

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