Letters: Rice and Powell, Michigan and Teachers Michele Norris and Robert Siegel read from listeners' e-mail. Topics include our interviews with the current and former secretaries of state, Michigan's peninsulas, and how teachers spend their summers.
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Letters: Rice and Powell, Michigan and Teachers

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Letters: Rice and Powell, Michigan and Teachers

Letters: Rice and Powell, Michigan and Teachers

Letters: Rice and Powell, Michigan and Teachers

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Michele Norris and Robert Siegel read from listeners' e-mail. Topics include our interviews with the current and former secretaries of state, Michigan's peninsulas, and how teachers spend their summers.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

On Thursdays, we read from your e-mail. And we start today with several foreign policy interviews we've done over the last week. There was lots of mail about our interviews yesterday with the current and former secretaries of state.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

I have to give kudos to Michele Norris' interview with Condi Rice. This is the first hard-biting interview I've heard NPR conduct in far too long a time writes Steve Chapel(ph) of Brownfield, Maine. Miss Norris' interview was true to journalistic creed, to ask questions that uncovered the truth and reported as it is.

NORRIS: There were some critical letters, too. At one point, Secretary Rice asserted that Musab al-Zarqawi, who founded al-Qaida in Iraq, was in Iraq before the beginning of the war. Listener Yasser Matt(ph) said, shame on you guys not to correct her about Zarqawi. Yes, he was in Iraq before the invasion, but in area out of the control of Saddam Hussein.

SIEGEL: Robert Lenehan(ph) is one of the listeners who voiced displeasure with my interview with former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Am I missing something here? he writes. Where are the hard-hitting questions? Have Powell's publicly stated recommendations been reliable in the past? Was his strong support for starting the Iraq war justified? The listener couldn't tell, those questions weren't asked.

NORRIS: And there was also mixed reaction to my interview Friday with Stephen Hadley, the Bush administration's National Security Adviser.

SIEGEL: I both appreciate it and was infuriated, said Ken Erlich(ph) of Los Angeles. By evoking 9/11 and talking about al-Qaida in Iraq, Mr. Hadley implicitly endorses the claim that there was some connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq. I wish that Ms. Norris had done more to get past the hollow rhetoric of the administration.

NORRIS: This is a letter on a totally different subject. Larry Abramson's story on what teachers do with their summer breaks. Jennifer Raypatch(ph) of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania was happy to hear it.

SIEGEL: As a teacher, I got tired of all those snarky comments about getting the summers off. I would usually ask if it's such a great perk, why don't you become a teacher? Responses were usually an enthusiastic, no, thank you.

NORRIS: Another teacher Elizabeth Hauberk Rabafca(ph) of Bar Harbor, Maine said I'm not sure how many people realize that most teachers use the summer to supplement their incomes to make ends meet. The cost of housing and higher education is such that while many teachers earn a steady living, it is not a profession that affords a summer full of lazy days at the beach. Still, I can't imagine doing anything else.

SIEGEL: We also received quite a few e-mails regarding Amy Robinson's story about a giant erector set model of Michigan's Mackinac Bridge.

NORRIS: Paula Geyster(ph) of Battle Creek, Michigan offered this correction: Amy Robinson stated that the Mackinac Bridge connects Michigan's mainland to its upper peninsula. The state is actually comprised of two peninsulas, an upper one and a lower one.

SIEGEL: We want to hear your thoughts. You can write to us by going to npr.org and clicking Contact Us at the top of the page.

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