Letters: Katrina, Sen. Craig, Ultimate Fighting Listeners e-mails include thanks for a report on the lack of mental health resources in New Orleans, mixed feelings about a story on Katrina evacuees in Houston, a response to coverage of Idaho Sen. Larry Craig's arrest, and thoughts on Ultimate Fighting.
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Letters: Katrina, Sen. Craig, Ultimate Fighting

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Letters: Katrina, Sen. Craig, Ultimate Fighting

Letters: Katrina, Sen. Craig, Ultimate Fighting

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Our coverage of the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina prompted many of you to write to us, so that's where we're going to begin with our listener comments today.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Bryan Simpson(ph) says he was glad to hear our report on the lack of mental health resources in New Orleans. He says this. As an outreach worker to the homeless mentally ill in Boston, that is what I see here on a daily basis, minus the major trauma of the Hurricane Katrina, obviously. One man in the story asked how these conditions would sound to Americans around the country. To this listener, it sounded like business as usual.

BLOCK: Scott Peacock(ph) of Houston had mixed feelings about our story on Katrina evacuees in his city. He writes: The first half of your piece was very flattering of our treatment of one set of evacuees - the good-looking and hardworking ones. But then, it implied that Houston failed the others. Our city helped more people than any other city in America. We stepped up when our neighbors in New Orleans needed help. Many have since gone home, leaving us with those mired in the downward spiral of welfare and the worst of the hardened criminals.

SIEGEL: We have a couple of corrections to make. First, we misidentified an editor of a book called "The Art of Governance." Her name is Jaan Whitehead, not Nancy Whitehead.

BLOCK: We also got a figure wrong in our coverage of Senator Larry Craig's arrest. We stated that Craig had pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge and paid a $1,000 fine along with $575 in court fees. Craig actually paid a total of $575 in fines and fees.

SIEGEL: Our report from Boise yesterday on reaction to Craig's arrest prompted a number of you to write in. The story included comments from one Judd Reynolds(ph) who, in his life as a drag queen, goes by name Minerva(ph), and who feels bad for Senator Craig.

BLOCK: Well, that surprised listener Steve Froisland(ph) who writes: As a gay man, I personally have no sympathy for Larry Craig. From my perspective, he is a liar and a hypocrite. I do, in fact, appreciate hearing a more diverse view on the subject. I also appreciate how you use proper drag queen etiquette when referring to Minerva as a she while she was in character as a woman. It would also be proper to refer to the same person as he when he is in male form and not dressed as Minerva.

SIEGEL: Well, whether Minerva or Judd, Blame Branchick(ph) of Hamden, Connecticut was not impressed.

BLOCK: He writes: Although drag queen Minerva's opinion was perfectly legitimate, the use of one drag queen to represent all of Boise's gay community harkens back to the bad old days when most Americans dismissed gay people as either drag queens or hairdressers.

SIEGEL: Finally, some of your reactions to my story on mixed martial arts, commonly referred to as Ultimate Fighting. Thank you so much for your great coverage, writes Sam Kauffman(ph) of San Antonio. Mixed martial arts is one of the few sports that puts human against human in what is the most basic of our instincts. Perhaps, it is this fascination with the will to survive coupled with the admiration of the pure athleticism and dedication that this sport requires that make it so popular. If there is one sport that is deserving of being called an athletic event, it is this one.

BLOCK: Well, Diane Barren(ph) of Colorado had a different reaction. Yuck, she writes, I'm ashamed for NPR. This is not news and not worthy of being broadcast as such. Wise up.

SIEGEL: Well, whether you want us to wise up or keep it up, we want to hear from you. Write to us at npr.org and click on Contact Us at the top of the page.

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