Letters: Gen. Zinni, Immigration and a Kink Melissa Block and Michele Norris read from listeners' letters and emails. They read comments on Robert Siegel's interview with former head of U.S. Central Command, General Anthony Zinni, reactions to a commentary we aired about illegal immigrants written and read by Richard Rodriguez, and praise for our interview with musician Ray Davies.
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Letters: Gen. Zinni, Immigration and a Kink

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Letters: Gen. Zinni, Immigration and a Kink

Letters: Gen. Zinni, Immigration and a Kink

Letters: Gen. Zinni, Immigration and a Kink

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Melissa Block and Michele Norris read from listeners' letters and emails. They read comments on Robert Siegel's interview with former head of U.S. Central Command, General Anthony Zinni, reactions to a commentary we aired about illegal immigrants written and read by Richard Rodriguez, and praise for our interview with musician Ray Davies.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

On Thursdays, we take time to read from your letters.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

We'll start with reaction to our colleague Robert Siegel's interview with General Anthony Zinni.

BLOCK: General Zinni is the former Head of U.S. Central Command and an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq. During the interview, Zinni was very critical of members of the Bush administration, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

NORRIS: "Bravo, General Zinni," writes Louis Ludwig of New Orleans, "for slapping down Secretary of State Rice's contention that the thousands of mistakes made in our Iraq misadventure were tactical, as if the things that have gone wrong were the fault of sergeants and captains deciding when to fire or where to drive. The most grievous mistake that has led to all this bloodshed was ultimately strategic. It was made by Ms. Rice and Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Bush."

BLOCK: But Ben Reeser (ph) of Graham, Washington, was unimpressed. He writes, "You want to talk to Zinni because he supports your bias, and he wants to talk to you because he needs to sell more books. Why should I believe anything this out-of-work general has to say."

NORRIS: An essay by Richard Rodriguez about the contributions of illegal immigrants brought in a flood of email. Rodriguez shared his gratitude to undocumented workers.

Mr. RICHARD RODRIGUEZ (Contributor): Thank you for turning on the sprinklers. Thank you for cleaning the swimming pool and scrambling the eggs and doing the dishes. Thank you for making the bed. Thank you for getting the children up and ready for school. Thank you for picking them up after school. Thank you for caring for our dying parents.

NORRIS: Listener Ralph Meyers writes to praise the essay. "I want to thank Mr. Rodriguez," he writes, "for his insightful and deeply moving characterization of the contributions of Mexicans and other immigrants. It was eloquence at the service of truth and sanity."

BLOCK: James McKay of Ila, Georgia, feels differently. He writes this. "In response to your commentary thanking illegal aliens for their contributions, you missed a few. Thank you, illegals, for holding down wages to already low-income Americans. Thank you for taking away entry-level jobs to young Americans. Thank you for raising taxes on all Americans by sucking off our health and education systems, and thanks for showing all those who have tried, in vein, to enter our country legally how dumb they are."

BLOCK: Finally, we come to my interview with Ray Davies, lead singer of the British band The Kinks. He just put out his first solo studio album called OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES and many of you wrote in to note our pronunciation of his name.

NORRIS: It's Davies, many of your wrote, Davies.

BLOCK: But as became clear during the interview --

Mr. RAY DAVIES (Singer): It's Davis. I think, over here, the tendency is to say Davies. Davis is not quite right, so think of it with a zed at the end, z.

BLOCK: Davis.

Mr. DAVIES: Davis.

BLOCK: Pronunciation aside, Larry Ferguson of New Orleans writes to praise Melissa's interview and Ray Davies's work. He writes, "He stands up to or above all of the giants of the era, but he, unfortunately, never received the recognition and financial rewards of some of his peers, and wonderful to highlight Waterloo Sunset, which I consider one of the greatest songs of any era. It can bring me to tears if I'm in the right mood.

NORRIS: Whatever your mood, we'd like to know what you're feeling. Write to us by going to our web site, NPR.org, and clicking on Contact Us at the top of the page.

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