Letters: Personal Finance, and Mushrooms Michele Norris and Robert Siegel read from listeners' letters and emails. Comments this week include reaction to our segments analyzing the minimum wage and non-traditional mortgages. We also answer one listener's questions about a story on the popularity of gourmet mushrooms, and one company's plan to build a new facility to grow them.
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Letters: Personal Finance, and Mushrooms

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Letters: Personal Finance, and Mushrooms

Letters: Personal Finance, and Mushrooms

Letters: Personal Finance, and Mushrooms

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Michele Norris and Robert Siegel read from listeners' letters and emails. Comments this week include reaction to our segments analyzing the minimum wage and non-traditional mortgages. We also answer one listener's questions about a story on the popularity of gourmet mushrooms, and one company's plan to build a new facility to grow them.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

It's Thursday, the day we read from your e-mails.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And we'll start with response to our segment on the minimum wage.

SIEGEL: Jerry Orlando of Portland, Oregon, says he found it one sided.

NORRIS: "It never adequately gave the case for raising the wage," Orlando writes. "You let the opponents of the wage increase make claims without being challenged. The most obvious unasked question is this - if the minimum wage is such a non-issue because it affects so few people, why all the opposition to it being raised?"

SIEGEL: Mark Finney of Denver, Colorado, was unhappy too. He writes, "In your interview with the restaurant owning Texan who opposed the increase in the minimum wage, why didn't you ask how much he pulls in per hour or how many hours he works per week? I suspect there's a significant difference that might influence his perspective."

NORRIS: Francisco Gomez of Twentynine Palms, California, heard our segment on non-traditional mortgages - such as interest only or zero down loans - and some of the potential risks. He says he bought a house with just such a loan.

SIEGEL: Gomez writes, "I'm concerned that the home loan industry is partly to blame for the new loans that are risky, to say the least. There was a time the banking home loan industry required outstanding credit to be considered for a home loan. Today it seems that the loose morals of easy credit and high rates are the norm, and they do not require the consumer to budget and build up a financial cushion."

NORRIS: On to reaction to our story on the evangelical group that's holding services at the Pentagon. The group is called the Christian Embassy, and it is drawing criticism from watchdog groups and some military officers.

SIEGEL: "Having worked a summer in the Christian Embassy, I found your story remarkably one sided."

NORRIS: This comment is from Ben Burns of Portland, Oregon.

SIEGEL: "You allowed the group's activity to be called heinous and a former Air Force chaplain to paint all evangelical Christians with a negative broad brush without allowing anyone from the Christian Embassy to explain its program."

NORRIS: Christina Vederosa(ph) of De Witt, Arkansas, has a different view. She writes, "As a retired officer in the U.S. Navy, I was absolutely appalled to learn about the activities of this group and the open support it receives from active duty officers.

"When I was sworn in in 1977, I took the oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States, an oath I still take seriously. But it is obvious that officers who openly support such activities have totally disregarded their sworn word."

SIEGEL: Steve Canon of Pine Grove, California, writes in to point out an omission in the story about the popularity of gourmet mushrooms and one company's plan to build a new facility to grow them.

Canon writes, "As a professional in the biological sciences and as an agricultural producer, I was disappointed that your reporter failed to ask the critical question why are some people opposed to the farm. I harvest trees from forestland in California and the properties are still replete with abundant wildlife, including bear, herons, owls, etcetera. Your reporter failed in her job and left us with more questions than she answered."

NORRIS: Well, to answer those questions, we understand that the opponents to the plant are worried about pollution and the plant's use of the local water supply, which they say could hurt nearby wetlands.

SIEGEL: We may have hurt a few stereo speakers when we featured this sound.

(Soundbite of Earth)

NORRIS: That is the seismographic sound of planet Earth as put together by artist John Bullet of Somerville, Massachusetts.

SIEGEL: "I was moved beyond description," writes Kurt Alred(ph) of Hancock, Michigan. "When I heard your broadcast of the sound of the Earth, I felt very much the same way as when I first heard my son's heartbeat through a stethoscope that I held to my wife's tummy. There was the gentle muted beating of the earthquakes and in the background an ever present hiss. Thank you so much for sharing this experience."

NORRIS: We'd like to hear your comments. Write to us. Go to NPR.org and click on Contact Us at the top of the page.

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