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Bloggers On Obama's Coolness, Holiday Shopping

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Bloggers On Obama's Coolness, Holiday Shopping

Bloggers On Obama's Coolness, Holiday Shopping

Bloggers On Obama's Coolness, Holiday Shopping

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NPR listeners are having their say in response to recent Tell Me More stories. Today, they open up about President-elect Barack Obama and the supposed "new definition of cool", about counting gratitude and about holiday shopping on the cheap. And one listener was left wanting to hear more following our conversation on the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.

MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And now it's time for Backtalk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the Tell Me More blogosphere and hear from you, our listeners. Lee Hill, our digital-media guy, is here with me as always. Hey, Lee, what's up?

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, for starters, the moms in our weekly parenting segment say that President-elect Barack Obama's smarts, good looks and achievements have their kids rethinking what it means to be cool. Well, we heard from blogger Linda. She works with children. Here's what she had to say.

LINDA (Blogger): President-elect Obama is a wonderful tool for motivation in the high school. When I see students in the hall during class time, my new line is, where would our new president be, in the hall or in class? Students start moving without any excuses or inappropriate remarks. Obama has had a profound effect on our children. It's a gift that keeps on giving.

MARTIN: Well, thank you, Linda. Lee, let me switch gears here and talk about a tragedy we're still learning more about: the terrorists attacks in Mumbai, India. Investigators in India and the U.S. are saying that the violence seems to be linked to a militant Islamist based in Pakistan. We had a conversation about the aftermath of the attacks and specifically tensions that may be arising because of all this between Indians and Pakistanis. We had four guests, all with roots in both countries, representing both Indian and Pakistani perspectives.

But some listeners still thought we could have done better with a diversity of our guests. We received this note from Ravi(ph). He asks, I understand why you had a Kashmiri on the show, but why didn't you also have a Kashmiri Hindu on the show? I want to thank Ravi for his comment, Lee, and I have to tell you, Ravi and I have had a spirited email exchange on this matter. I told him that considering India's diversity, there is really any number of combinations that we might have liked to have had. For example, we also could have invited a Muslim from Mumbai, another important voice in the story. And we also wanted reporting, which is why we invited two journalists, and we also had a guest who lives in close proximity to one of the attacks and actually heard what was going on. But we appreciate the comment because it gives me a chance to talk about the fact that booking is an imperfect science and every interview is just a snapshot on an important story like this. Lee?

HILL: Well, Michel, I think we should also mention that Tell Me More producer Arwa Gunja has family in Mumbai, and she tells us how her folks in the U.S. are thinking about all of this, and listeners can go and read that story on our blog. And turning to another story we've been covering, the economic crisis. Now, a lot of people are cutting back this holiday season and doing their Christmas shopping on the cheap. Listener Ray called to tell us he's a part of that group.

RAY (Caller): We told our kids - I have a 12 year old and an 11 year old - to pick the top two things they want for Christmas and that's what they're going to get. That's our change for how we're going to handle this Christmas season. So, there won't be a lot gift buying, present giving. That's how we're going to deal with our economy this year for Christmas.

MARTIN: Thank you, Ray. I hear you. Way to take the bull the by the horns. Lastly, we were grateful to so many who called and wrote to us last week with your Thanksgiving attitudes of gratitude, and while we know that Turkey Day is over, we wanted to share this reflection from Rachel.

RACHEL (Caller): A year and a half ago, my house burned down. For the past year, I have been the recipient of so much love and food and clothing and good vibes and generosity. And I am so thankful to be back in my house and to be able to cook Thanksgiving dinner for 13 people I love in my very own kitchen once again. Yay, it's miraculous.

MARTIN: That is miraculous, Rachel. If you still want to work out in that kitchen, we like pie, if you, you know, just want to think of that.

HILL: And macaroni and cheese.

MARTIN: And macaroni and cheese.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Thank you, Rachel. And thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: Remember, with Tell Me More, the conversation never ends. You might hear yourself in the next Backtalk. To tell us more about what you think, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. That number again is 202-842-3522. Remember, we would like to know your name and how to pronounce the city where you live, and of course, you can also go to the Tell Me More page at npr.org and blog it out.

(Soundbite of music)

MARTIN: Coming up, some comics say they're having trouble making jokes about Barack Obama, but can the guys in the Barbershop find something to laugh about?

ARSALAN IFTIKHAR: I think all of us here would agree that Barack Obama is in the top one percentile of global gangster quotient.

(Soundbite of laughter)

IFTIKHAR: You know, the way he dances, for example. He's a mixture of Carlton Banks and Steve Urkel.

MARTIN: The Barbershop Guys on what's funny and what's not about Obama. That's next on Tell Me More from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin.

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