NEAL CONAN, host:
It's Tuesday and time to read from your emails and Web comments. And we couldn't even get agreement on the benefits of bipartisanship last week. We talked with veteran politicians about the lack of agreement in Washington these days.
Mark Albert(ph) emailed from Fresno, California to complain: You presumed that bipartisanship is good and that the Senate should get more laws passed. Why do you assume this? Maybe no new laws are better. Maybe fewer laws are best. And haven't you heard that a camel is a horse built by committee?
Last week, we reported on two acts of violence. There was an update on Joseph Stack, the man who flew his plane into an office building in Austin, Texas, which houses the IRS. He left behind a screed against the government. Authorities quickly announced it was not an act of terrorism.
And yesterday we traced the path of Umar Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day underpants bomber from a well-to-do Nigerian family to would-be martyr. Several listeners took issue with the descriptions, including Rob Cashin(ph), who ask: Why is the media sure that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is a terrorist and not just a criminal for burning his underpants on a plane, while Joseph Stack, who attacked the IRS by airplane and killed a civilian, is dismissed as a minor criminal?
In reality, men like Stack are a greater risk to the country. Men like Abdulmutallab are always going to exist, but there are measures to guard against. No measures exist to guard against angry white men with a grudge and a mission.
We also heard from many of you frustrated with the Olympics, not the games themselves, but the coverage: the tape delay, the commercials, the announcers. But several listeners came together in the spirit of the games over one sport in particular, this by email from Joe Esposito(ph) in Ronkonkoma, New York: Is anybody suddenly is interested in curling as I am? I have no knowledge of the sport, but I am glue to TV. Hard to believe the drama it produces.
And finally, listen up, puzzle people. Here's your chance to test yourself against the best. Last weekend the best crossword puzzle solvers in the country gathered in Brooklyn to compete at the Annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament hosted by Will Shortz, the puzzle editor of the New York Times and puzzlemaster for NPR's WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY.
We have posted all three variants of the final puzzle on our Web site: one with moderately difficult clues, one very difficult, and one diabolically hard. Print them out. Challenge yourself, then join us Thursday at this time when you can talk with the man who came up with these mindbenders, Mike Shenk. He constructs puzzles for the Wall Street Journal. You can find the puzzle at npr.org, click on TALK OF THE NATION.
And if you have comments, questions or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by email. That address is firstname.lastname@example.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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