msnbc.com
updated 5/18/2005 2:16:06 PM ET 2005-05-18T18:16:06

Reader:
Below is a selection of e-mail comments we’ve received in recent days to stories by our writers. Several have been edited for length.

• April 29, 2005

Kids, blogs and too much information

Thank you for your "Blog" article today. It was very informative and gave validation to the conversations I have been having with my eighth grader over the past few months.
My husband and I had to prove to her that her myspace.com blog it wasn't visible only to friends by simply logging on ourselves. Within five minutes, we found some of her friends, went to their blogs, found our daughter's most recent post, clicked on it and wham, we were in!
While our daughter didn't have a provocative picture, we found something worse, one of our 6-year-old (not provocative!)!!  We sat Jordan down and showed her how between ALL of her friends any one could piece together bits and pieces from each one as to where they went to school, where they practiced and played soccer, what teams they were on, and so on.
The good news is that she was very responsive once she realized that what everyone at her school had been saying about the safety feature of "friends only" wasn't there.  She immediately took off any pictures of herself and family and exchanged them with cartoon images.  Her teammates and her have created a fake team name when talking about their soccer squad.  Any listings of home towns and school names have been removed.  Our 16 year old was so wigged out, she deleted hers all together and has chosen to communicate the old fashioned way...directly!
The computer has always been in the family room, she has limited privacy but still has managed to cross the line without really knowing that she did.  Her friends and her have been naive and always assumed that it was only for them, something that is misleading within the site I believe. Showing her the proper guidelines on what is safe and what isn't has now included not just a predator in the park but one on the Internet as well. 
Your article has been printed out and it will be shared with the family today!  The more validation the better!
T. Cleary

The Michael Jackson trial

Please, considering the incredible wealth of worthy news stories available to you, would you consider just one 24 hour period without anything related to the Michael Jackson circus, or I guess that it's actually called a trial, appearing on your page.  Too much becomes far too much, and that happened long ago, I can assure you.
Marlyn Eshelman

Social Security bill by June? House GOP aims for it

I am very upset that NBC News pulled away from the President's speech last night. I would think that with all the accusations of the liberal bias in mainstream media, you would have at least tried to make an appearance of being fair, instead your disrespect for the office of the President confirmed your bias.  I changed channels until I found one that had not cut off the President, and to my surprise, it was ABC.  Maybe they get it.
Karen Hornbeck

Sightings spark rush to save ‘extinct’ woodpecker

I notice that something as important as the rediscovery of an exstint species doesn't even make the top stories. It is no wonder that Americans are so ignorant of the world around them and its importance to all of us. Maybe if you as a company showed some responsibility to making the environment important people would start caring.
But NO let talk about Micheal Jackson or the Basketball Playoffs, you guys are as ignorant as President Bush, I guess there is no hope for this country I love and my Family have and is serving to this day. Next time you pick top stories, stop (and) think and choose the real important stories.
Gallus Quigley

• April 28, 2005


MSNBC & Michael Jackson

I have been a long-time fan of MSNBC, back from its inception as a site, and have always relied heavily on it as my primary news resource but today I am switching my home page from MSNBC to npr.org.  I am taking this action because the homepage has become as much about irrelevant junk news, i.e.. Michael Jackson and the "finger in the chili" story, as it has about important political and world news events.
If I wanted to read about Michael Jackson I would make People magazine my homepage. I am sorry that your editorial team has made the very poor decision to focus on pop stories rather than what is important to our world today.
Sam Rosen Taylor

On Eric Alterman's Altercation

Why on earth would anyone care what Eric Alterman thinks or be interested in his opinion on anything? I can sum up his books, blogs and comments for the last 15 months in about three sentences.
1. It's George Bush's fault.
2. It's Dick Cheney's fault.
3. It's the Republicans' fault.
You would get more thoughtful and accurate comments from Scooby-Doo. I don't even read his rants and steaming piles of literary dung anymore. He's boring and shallow and has one-track mind. The rest of you would be well advised to follow suit. The scariest part is he is a teacher guiding impressionable minds. God help us.
To me that makes about as much sense as Saddam Hussein teaching a sensitivity training class.
Steve Cooprider

Constantine voted off ‘Idol’

Once again Craig Berman is out of touch with the public's perception. We are all entitled to our opinions, but Craig, based on the objective of the show (to steal and capitalize on young talent) should a less talented performer be propelled to the top of American Idol when his competition are leaps and bounds ahead of him with regard to talent and potential?
This is a singing competition after all. We have seen all of Constantine's potential, and quite frankly it is not good enough.
The judges (except Paula, who has been hypnotized by Constantine's eyes) have been biting their tongues for weeks, because the ladies that think he is hot are flooding the show with votes for him.
Some of the other contestants may not have as much charisma and stage presences as Constantine, but they have much more music potential. He has been doing this for years, and he is only this good? Come on, it is about time he got the boot.  Albeit a different genre, but he does not even come close to measuring up to LaToya London's talent and potential.
The performance may be entertaining, but what about record sales? Would you really want to pop one of Constantine's CD's in the car?  Maybe he appeals  to the tone deaf audience that sings to themselves in front of the mirror, in love with their own voices.
Jeffrey Smith

Craig Berman's attack on Bruce Springstein was both bizarre and unprofessional. What does supporting John Kerry for President have anything to do with a trivial TV show like American Idol? This was journalism with intent to promote a political view and I am disappointed in the editors of this website.
Scott Silverstein

• April 27, 2005

Ceremony marks Syrian pullout from Lebanon

It's fascinating that the first paragraph in the article states that Syria's military "dominated" Lebanon for the past 29 years. Other than the fact that Israel controlled a minor portion of Lebanon for some of those years, wasn't Syria's militarily actually "occupying" Lebanon? The article even explains that Syria's military occupation was strongly opposed by the people of Lebanon.
When compared to the use of the word "occupation" in nearly every article on your site referring to the US Military's presence in Iraq, one can't help but feel compelled to believe that there is a bit of hypocrisy and un-evenness in your reporting.
Jerry Gard

Eric Alterman on Ann Coulter & Time

I have been following the whole Ann Coulter thing on MSNBC's website and other places. Eric Alterman is a very good writer and I really believe he has hit this whole issue right on the nose. Mr. Cloud may believe he reported his story in a fair and balanced matter, but to many who dislike Ann Coulter and her bullying and off-the-handle tactics find her to be what exactly is wrong with America.
When we put a woman like this on the cover of a very good magazine and act like she is some kind of wonderful person is totally off base. We keep glamorizing people like Ann when she is nothing more than an unbalanced woman who really does hate a good part of this country. She has no sence of what is right for this country. She breeds hate and brands a type of writing and journalism that is neither fair nor accurate. She takes an issue and goes off the deep end and usually does not have her facts straight.
To me Ann Coulter represents a person who rants and bullies people and says anything she can to tear apart a country that was founded on free speach, seperation of church and state, equal rights and a host of other things she goes mental on. Ann is nothing more than a blow hard who trys to use her looks and arrogance to make people think that being conservative is the only side to be on.... I for one will not buy or read Time magazine nor will I do business with any Time Warner companies.
Mike Reynolds

Scholar convicted of urging holy war on U.S

Regarding this story, put him in jail or ship him out of here! He's not American anyway! We need to quit worrying about hurting people's feelings who are trying to harm us! It's our country!
Casey Harris

The end of analog TV

I just read Michael Rogers report on "The End of Analog TV". I found that the report was most informative. But I found that its a bit bias as to Mr. Rogers comment when you stated
"The real problem is the 15 million or so U.S. households whose only television service comes over the air. For these people, predominately lower-income and disproportionately black and Hispanic, the cut-off will be bad news indeed."
Mr. Rogers’ comment seem to point out Blacks and Hispanics. In all aspect there are more then just Blacks and Hispanics ... There are also Whites and Asian and other races of people. Why would anyone ...point out certain races to try to stereotype people? As a report he should be unbiased and just say "lower income and disproportionate people." Not make a stupid un-intellectual comment like that. Or perhaps its the practice of MSNBC to demeanor certain races of people? To me your reports should try to practice more restrain in making off color comments and stick to the basic story.
Alex Dixon

Tom DeLay coverage

I am appalled at your coverage of Tom DeLay. How on earth can your articles not mention that his wife and daughter each recieved nearly half a million dollars in illegal donations. Now, I am aware that you have mentioned this in the past but I cannot understand why it is not mentioned in todays articles. Perhaps it was buried where I could not find it. Do you not feel that this is important enough to tell the American people, or do you think it is to incriminating. He is on the ETHICS commitee.
I feel you are simply only reporting the minimum so that when our lameduck congress fails to do anything about this, you can simply drop the story to the back pages like the NYT. Stand up for yourself and the American people. They are the ones paying your bills!
Kris Blair

• April 26, 2005

Al-Zarqawi eluded capture but left clues, source says

Nice headline. Not "Al-Zarqawi's Computer Recovered!" Not "Al-Zarqawi's Driver Captured!" Not "Al-Zarqawi On the Run!" No - your headline is "Al-Zarqawi Escapes!!!"  (2 months ago)
Schmucks! And you wonder why over half of America hates you?
Jim Emmerson

Bush reviews plan by Saudi Arabia to produce more oil

Does anybody else think that President Bush is barking up the wrong tree?  Instead of asking the Saudis to lower the price of oil, maybe he should be asking his oil-baron buddies to lower the price of refining it.
Oh, sorry, right – The Bush family would lose money if they did that.
Laura

Canine investigators taking a bite out of crime

Your story about the canine investigators was very interesting, and well written. However you don't mention the STU (Scent Transfer Unit) used in collecting scent evidence. A recent court case in California came to the decision that evidence collected in this manner is admissible. Until you examine the STU and it's use, you haven't scratched the surface on the subject of 'canine investigators.'
Herb Mullican Jr.
Owner/General Manager, Special Canine Services

Video shows police handcuffing 5-year-old

Support your schools, teachers and administrators please.  Don't act like you know the first thing about teaching.  If you would like, you could come into my inner city classroom, with 25 students, that live with their grandparents, because their parents are strung out on drugs or in jail.
Most of them are very hungry, thank god they get free lunch at school.  So I want to see you come in and teach in this setting. Leave your cameras and fame at home, also leave your big fancy house, and car, and paycheck. I want you to make  28 thousand dollars a year, saving what children you can by educating them, and then listen to some news reporter ask why they don't give chronic problem students hugs.
I would write more and give you a more realistic glance at what teaching is really like but I have to grade papers, and revamp lesson plans because I couldn't get through everything I wanted to today, because some child got up and through a 10 minute tantrum in my room.  I guess I should have given him a hug and let him go on an extra 10 and distract the students who are trying to learn.
CJM

Why doesn't the probation officers that spend sooo much time watching Martha Stewart, spend more time watching child molesters?  Convicted child moslesters do not have to wear monitoring devices and seem to get "lost" because the probation department has not got enough  personal to watch them? It is a clear case of harrasment, the probation department needs to spend its resources watching the real treats to our society.
Lori

• April 25, 2005

A political 'nuclear option'

The so called "Nuclear Option" term was coined by Republicans three years ago.  Last week the term was found to poll badly and now Republican operatives are projecting the coining of the term "Nuclear Option" to Democrats.  For your organization to follow the Republican line on this term further illustrates the creeping Right wing Bias in the Media.  Please be equal.
Brian

Capitol Hill Democrats stand firm

Dear MSNBC,
The Bush administration for months called their plan for Social Security "Privatization.'' After polls showed a resistence to this term, the administration insisted the term should be "Personal Accounts.'' MSNBC and other U.S. media outlets dutifully changed the way they referred to this policy.
Republicans in Congress for months called their efforts to end fillibusters "the Nuclear Option.'' Now they claim the term originated from opponents of their efforts.
Watch now how MSNBC and other U.S. media outlets jump on board.
My question: Whatever happened to the free and independent U.S. media?
Dan Collins

U.S. gasoline prices dip

I was reading your article regarding gas prices "dipping". The part that caught my attention was the comment about the nations lowest price for regular unleaded being $2.04 last week. The gas station I work for was at $1.97 from Tuesday-Thursday and then on Friday it was $2.01. My station fights to keep our gas and diesel at the lowest prices in town, and so far we are. Also to let you know, our diesel has been at a steady $2.15  for almost 2 weeks now.
Melissa Chick
Opening Manager, USA Grocers
Lawrenceville, GA

This note is regarding your 4/24/05 article about gas prices and the fact that they are dropping. You stated that the highest prices are in San Francisco. I, however, paid $2.94 per gallon up here on Orcas Island (in the San Juan Islands) just yesterday. We are located in Washington State, north of Seattle and consistantly pay more than the rest of the nation for gasoline.  Although we are remote, we are still part of the US. Thanks!
Elizabeth Baker

The church and the Capitol
Regarding your cartoon about the black smoke coming out of the capitol.
As a Catholic, I find is lacking in taste and insulting that you can make a joke out of something that is traditional and sacred to us. Poor taste, but then again, the news media as I see has no sensitivity or taste.
Not funny.
Frank

Lobbyist financed DeLay airfare, papers show

I have read the articles about Tom DeLay.  All of you in the media seem bent on ousting him from the House of Representatives.  None of us will believe you in anything until you investigate Democrats who have done the same thing with the same vengeance that you go after Republicans. It is not Professional for you to take one side for political purposes just because you favor the Democratic Party. I thought reporting was supposed to be truthful and not one sided.  That is the America I remember. The Democrats ought to come under the same scrutiny that Republicans do and that does not happen.  No wonder people have no faith in newspapers or in any reporting any more. Shame on you.
Gale Cunningham

• April 22, 2005

Earth Day at 35: Is it still relevant?

Tell your editor to stop with the inflammatory headlines. There is nothing in the article suggesting Earth Day is no longer relevant. Only that this New Apollo Project doesn't seem to like environmentalists. Sounds like a front group to me. Who funds this New Apollo Project? Do they believe human activity is contributing to the massive increase in greenhouse gases?
I agree with Mr. Shellenberger that some environmental groups may not propose solutions to environmental degradation but seem to want to stop activity which they don't like. They are sometimes narrowly focused and unrealistic. But Earth Day is still relevant because it at least reminds us of what is happening to our Earth if nothing more.
Mark E. Michael

Your report disappointed me greatly but is a reflection of how media think today about the enviroment.
You know our attitude to Mother Earth, Mother Nature and all living things is worse today than ever. Cheney and Bush have put us back 10 years as they let the Corporations, the mining companies and oil companies get away with murder on enviromental issues. Just read Robert Kennedy Jr. book "Crime Against Nature" to get the facts. Have you read it? You should.
You Know Miguel our children, yours and mine,  and our grand children are going to have to pay very dearly for our lack of concern about how we treat nature-today we have poision air, poision water, poison food and global warming-our track record stinks and is getting worse under Chenrey and Bush.and you the media don't give a damn.
Bill Magno

Alterman vs. Cloud II

Somehow over the years I was led to believe the letters to the editor pages were reserved for readers of news to respond with personal thoughts.  Never did I suspect that these pages would turn into the personal stomping grounds for two professional writers who have their own blogs, columns, and/or articles with their very own by-lines.
This is not to say that I'm not interested in reading two intellectual heavyweights have at it with three syllable words and some graduate gravitas to boot.  However, it seems more a propos to leave the letters page to writers who aren't yet paid to do their opining publicly.
If Cloud and Alterman can't shake hands and return to the schoolyard in good spirits, then at least give them their own sandbox to play in and leave the letters page to the hapless, would-be writers who still do it just for the thrill of seeing their own name in print.
Craig Rothstein

• April 21, 2005

Alterman:  Further exchange with Time's John Cloud

When I wrote to MSNBC.com to respond to Eric Alterman's Coulteresque attack on me earlier this week--the one in which he says that Time magazine has a "venereal disease"--I was curious whether he would actually have the integrity to print my response on his blog.  I must say, I am not surprised to find that he did not.  However, he did share with us what must be his entire résumé, going back to his university dissertation.  I think we now know everything but whether he got a check-plus on that third-grade book report.

The Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, whose website says Alterman works in the English department, apparently doesn't employ instructors who know how to get their facts right.  Alterman writes of my "profile of Ann Coulter in which he pronounced her work to be 'mostly accurate.'"  This is yet another Alterman error.  Nowhere in my story do the words "mostly accurate" appear, and yet Alterman quotes that phrase no fewer than four times.  I would humbly ask that MSNBC.com correct these mistakes, especially as Alterman deems this (fabricated) quote "the heart of the scandal of [the story's] publication."  The heart of the scandal, it turns out, is a figment of Alterman's maleficent imagination.

As to the tape of Coutler sparring with landmine opponent Robert Muller on Alterman's own network--yes, I do have a copy of that tape.  One would think that Alterman's own network could provide him a copy of it so that he could accurately quote Coulter in his book--but then again, he doesn't seem interested in accurately quoting anyone.  Evidence isn't that "trick[y]" to understand, Eric: you either have the quote right or--as in this case--you do not.  So please provide me your address, and I will send you a copy of the tape from your network; should I just send it to the Brooklyn College of the City University of New York?  I look forward to the correction you promise in "future editions" of your book.  Maybe one of its "nearly a thousand footnotes" can credit me with the hugely difficult work of procuring a videotape from your own network and actually watching it.

"A few smaller points."  Time doesn't run footnotes, as Alterman must surely know.  (Perhaps the Brooklyn College of the City University of New York does not have a subscription?)  Also, my piece is not 5,800 words, a "fact" Alterman must have picked up from David Brock's website, where I believe it originated.

I suspect what really upsets Alterman and Brock about my article is that it was fair. Ironically, the article actually quotes both of them disparaging Coulter, but I suppose they would only be satisfied if I surrendered my keyboard to them. Unfortunately, I don't work anywhere near the Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, so that is not possible.

John Cloud
Staff Writer
Time

April 20, 2005

Alterman: Time's cover story on Ann Coulter

Eric Alterman calls my piece on Ann Coulter a "moral, professional, and intellectual abomination" as well as, redundantly, a "moral and intellectual scandal." He says Time has "a journalistic venereal disease." This is the left-wing equivalent of an Ann Coulter attack: callous and intended to create as much friction as possible (words I use to describe Coulter in my alleged puff piece). But that's really what my story was about--the kind of take-no-prisoners dialogue that Coulter has helped create and popularize. Now Alterman, it would seem, is trying to out-Coulter Coulter.

Rather than engage the ideas in my story, Alterman simply insults me. He does mention that the story actually quotes him, but he conveniently hides the fact that it also quotes James Wolcott, Andrew Sullivan, Salon, Ronald Radosh, and even Jerry Falwell criticizing Ann Coulter. She is called everything from an "ideological huckster of hate" in my story to a "skank." I myself say she can be "callous and mouthy," that I want to "shut her up occasionally," that her writing can be "highly amateurish." She is called a "fascist," a "polemicist," and--by Radosh--a virtual McCarthyite.

What Alterman wants is for people to ignore Coulter, to pretend as though she doesn't exist and isn't one of the most loved--and hated--figures on the public scene. I would rather engage her, examine her ideas and her popularity, and challenge her. My story does all of those things. It's true that I don't list every single mistake Ann Coulter has ever made, although I do print some new ones. My job was not to fact-check all of Coulter's 1,000 columns, the 1,300-odd pages of her books and the hundreds of TV appearances; it was to profile her. Nonetheless, I do list several Coulter errors and also correct the record on some mistakes by others who have written about her--including Alterman. In his book on the media, Alterman asserts that Coulter said to a Vietnam vet, "People like you caused us to lose that war." She did not. In fact, the vet had just gotten his facts wrong, and Coulter responded sarcastically, "No wonder you guys lost." Harsh words, yes--sort of like saying Time has a venereal disease--but Alterman got the quote wrong.

In the end, Alterman seems most annoyed that we did not use more of his personal "sources" on Ann Coulter. I suppose those sources include Media Matters, the website he quotes to provide the only substantive criticism of my story. That website, of course, is run by someone who is, famously, an ex-friend of Coulter's--David Brock. I do quote Brock in my story once, but I don't consider it fair reporting to dwell too much on the comments of someone who is so publicly identified as her enemy.

Alterman criticizes my "lazy and credulous reporting," but he doesn't seem to have done any reporting for his item on me whatsoever. Eric, I'm not hard to find: call me. Last night Coulter went on Fox and blasted Time magazine in language almost as strong as Alterman's. She implied that I am an unfair reporter and said she had "learned [her] lesson" after talking to me. At least I'm getting it from both sides.

John Cloud, staff writer, Time

The election of the pope

I find it quite interesting that during all of the recent coverage of the Papacy over the last several weeks there has been an absolute avoidance of the protestant majority’s opinions or feedback. This story has been treated as if it is of utmost importance to all of us. Many of us believe in Christ but that he is in heaven not embodied by a person in Rome.
Although the coverage is interesting I think it would also be interesting to discuss why Protestants don’t follow and even separated from the Catholic church. The coverage by MSNBC and all of the other networks that I have seen have not given us a balanced story. Even though they are of smaller numbers would the same coverage, no check that, any coverage be given to the death of the leader of the Baptist, Lutheran, Church of Christ churches?
Can we expect anytime soon a U.S. Ambassador named to any of the other religious denominations?  Why do we have one to the Vatican?  What happened to separation of Church and State?  I think there should be broader coverage showing how the Catholic church and the Papacy fits into the larger picture and give some balance to the story from those who don’t prostrate themselves toward Rome. 
Jim Tait

I am a Catholic female in my fifties.  I consider myself a liberal in most things but especially so in religion.  I believe firmly that Jesus was the ultimate liberal.
Who else but him embraced prostitutes and lepers?  No, I am NOT happy with this new Pope. This Pope will not affect my life much, but I am disappointed in the choice made by the cardinals. To think that they could have selected someone who represented Latin America or Africa!  Both of those areas are primarily Catholic and have a high rate of poverty.
Childbirth is out of control and  AIDS is destroying Africa. The leaders of the church cannot seem to see what a difference birth control and, as in the case of AIDS, condoms would make. As to a bigger female role for women; priest, deacons, etc. that would be nice, but in the BIGGER picture (AIDS, birth control, etc) the role of women in the church is relatively minor. At some point, very soon, if the church wants to survive (Evangelists are making great strides in Latin America) the church will have to look into married priests, a bigger role for females and much more.
Teresa Burke

The Roman Catholic Church is not an institution that caters to the wishes of those in the United States who want same sex marriage, women priests, allow priests to be married, etc.
The Pope is the leader of the Catholic Church of the entire world.  It is time for those in this country to get back in touch with the Church. As much as the Mass in English has given more understanding of it in this country, it has been the beginning of the slippery slope of people falling away.
Edward Hartlage

Bush's high school plan faces fight in Congress

I was a high school student in Houston, Texas while Bush was governor, and was required to take the TAAS every year until my sophomore year of high school. To the test's credit, it was a way for officials outside of the school to determine how well the students were reading and whether they could do simple math or not. However, the schools were rewarded for achieving high test scores and were reprimanded if their students did not pass. This led to many teachers "teaching to the test" (it became a popular phrase at my school), and paying little or no attention to teaching their students essential things that did not appear on the TAAS. This is especially evident in "on level" or the average classes.
I understand the need to improve the public school system and help the students and teachers, but there are other, and much better, ways to do this. If Bush took the 1.2 billion dollars he is willing to spend on these tests that do not actually help students, and instead increased teacher's salaries, he would be doing a much better service. For the most part, teachers love their jobs. However, it is a very tough one to have. Not only are you a role model for hundreds of students, but you are also their mentor, therapist, friend, authority figure, etc. An increase in pay would be an added incentive for those bright young college graduates looking for a lucretive job that is rewarding as well.
Beth Fulmer

• April 19, 2005

Benedict XVI: German cardinal elected pope


I think we are at a point of awareness that the dialog between church and state has been weakened enough to hunger for some answers. The old saying about you never miss the water till the well runs dry holds true in this case. We have denied and neglected our spiritual side for almost 50 years and the equation does not balance. We are searching for that balance!
John L. Whipple, Sr.

I for one am scared to think that a man like Cardinal Ratzinger would even be considered to be a possible contender for the Papacy. This man epitomizes the intolerance that the church has displayed against dissent and progress.
To think that the college of cardinals would even consider this man, to me, sends a terrible message to those in the Church who look for more dialogue and hope for a more concialatory attitude. That is one of the legacies of Pope John Paul II that I found distasteful, and that is the clamping down on new ideas and dissent and his stacking the college of cardinals with like minded conservatives.
It is a sad commentary that the ideals put forward by Vatican II has come to a screeching halt. I would say that more people would leave the church if Ratzinger became Pope. To me he is the greatest mind of the 18th century. I would even consider leaving the church if this man became Pope. It would be a slap in the face of the Pope who should be cannonized before even considering John Paul II and that is Pope John XXIII.
John was the epitome of hope and humanitarianism, more so than our recent deceased Pontiff. I hope that if the Holy Spirit does indeed influence the decision of electing a new Pontiff that it veers the cardinals toward a more moderate individual, Ratzinger is definitely not that person. 
Andrew

The choice of Cardinal Ratzinger, an inquisitor without thumbscrews, to be the next Pope is a strong indication that the Church will remain mired in the Dark Ages on most issues relating to women and sexuality. Enlightenment and rationality will continue to take a back seat to doctrinal proclamations against birth control, stem-cell research, and gay rights.
And Catholics here and in Europe will continue to say goodbye to a church that would rather command its followers with the splenetic screed of men like Ratzinger rather than proclaim the profound yet simple teachings of the New Testament in the modern world.
Edward T. Mulligan

The Pope has not even been named for more than an hour and your sites announces that he is conservative who divides Germans. I strongly suspect that if he were a liberal that you would have greeted him more fairly.
Rick Barry

The darkness has descended even more deeply. The man who declared gay people "inherently disordered" and ordered secular governments to pass laws against them, the man who declared women could never be priests or equal to men, the man who presided over secret trials of theologians in which there was no due process and no right to know who the accuser was or what the charge was, yes, this man, Joseph Cardinal Ratzingher, is now pope. May God have mercy on us all.  The reign of terror and darkness has begun.
Peter A. Alaimo

Bush Pitches Soc. Sec. Overhaul in S.C.

I just have to laugh when I see MSNBC asking President Bush about the economy as if he had any idea. He is an ideologue who will say anything to cover-up the failure of his extreme right-wing precepts. Your credibility is greatly diminished in my eyes because of your inability to expose the pathetic failures of this extremist political party which has seized almost all of our democratic institutions by lies and deception and rendered them impotent.
I am 54-years-old, I have always been a news hound but it is all just becoming propaganda and I can hardly watch anymore. With the likes of Dennis Miller, who really isn't funny, and all the other bombastic vitriol that spews from my TV I don't believe in the independence of the media anymore. So you are going to sit down with the President, let him mumble on with his simplistic answers that don't answer the complexity of the issues being addressed and finish up with Hail to the Chief. What a joke. If President Bush is your highest authority how can you avoid misleading your viewers? I might as well just switched over to The Wiggles News on Disney.
Michael

Calif. student gets 8 years for SUV vandalism

No Bias at MSNBC right?  What does this headline leave out "Student gets 8 years for gas guzzler protest"?
Maybe that the student got eight years for arson! For flinging Molotovs at cars. Etc, etc, etc. No, according to your headline this poor fella got 8 years simply because he doesn't like gas guzzlers!! What next "BTK suspect given death sentence for tying knots!" You people never cease to amaze me!!
Doug Osborne

• April 18, 2005

MSNBC's papal coverage

I would like to thank you all at msnbc for your thoughtful coverage of our Pope's funeral and the current conclave. Your professionalism and sensitivity is much appreciated by all who are tired of the negative portrayals of our Roman Catholic faith in recent years. We will continue to pray for all of you in the media, especially those who write and produce television programs--that they may better reflect the innocence of children, the covenant of marriage and the sanctity of life--all of the things Pope John Paul II championed for throughout his life. Thank you for your time.
Nicholas

As a Christian (non Catholic) I can understand that the death the Pope and the election of another is newsworthy.  However, the extent of the coverage is extreme. Was it really necessary to have minute-by-minute updates on his health, death and funeral? Now it seems we will be subjected to the same excess in the election of the new Pope.
The US population is only 24 percent Catholic; that leaves another 76 percent who change the channel when yet another long drawn-out story about the election process comes on. Our world is full of newsworthy activities.
Why interrupt local programming for the vote of the Pope, but not the killings of innocent people all over the world? Children are starving, being taken into slavery, entire villages destroyed, innocent people are bombed, yet you spend 10 minutes if a broadcast on the logistics of how the Pope is elected. I don’t believe most U.S. citizen care to hear the details.
G Simmons

American activist dies in Iraq blast

I am interested in sending condolences to the family of Marla Ruzicka, as I am sure many others are.  Will you make available an address to where I can direct my correspondence?
Marla Ruzicka’s selflessness, courage, and integrity is the kind of representation this nation desperately needs in the world.  It is a shame to lose such people to senseless violence.
John

China won't apologize to Japan

I am a Canadian teacher who lived in South Korea for three wonderful years and also had the pleasure of visiting the very picturesque island of Kyushu in Japan.  My South Korean wife and I would like to know why MSNBC--and all the other world news agencies--give such heavy coverage to the anti-Japan protests that are occurring in China, but do little or nothing to inform the world about very similar feelings and demonstrations in South Korea.
The South Korean protests over Japanese attitudes of aggression (and now denial) have been going on for years--most recently over a couple of small islands known as Dokdo--but they get only anecdotal references from the media.
The people of both China and Korea are correct: by Japan's lack of remorse and honesty over her past war-time atrocities, she has proven that she is not yet prepared to deal with reality and therefore not worthy of permanent UN security council membership.  And the world deserves to know this.
The failure of the media to accurately report the true nature of these deeply-seated anti-Japanese feelings--that are widespread across most of Asia--can only mean that the media is either very incompetent and unaware or it is simply under Japanese control....or maybe it's a combination of both.
Gary Bartanus

DeLay ducks ethics controversy

I love your headline,” DeLay ducks ethics controversy” then buried in the middle of the story you admit that he hasn’t  been charged with any violations. Talk about propaganda, you’re right up there with the Democrats. How about Pelosi ducks ethics violation and is found guilty to the tune of $21,000 dollars. Now that would be reporting.
Gene

• April 15, 2005

Won't sue Jackson, accuser's mom says

Are you an idiot?  The question is rhetorical—you obviously are.
Your poll asks whether people think the mother of Michael Jackson’s accuser is a credible witness. None of the people you are asking have seen or heard the witness.   I am constantly amazed by the infotainment industry’s ability to constantly lower the base standards you have set for yourselves.
Please fire everyone you know and then quit. Perhaps if we replaced everyone in the media with high school students we could restore some of the dignity to what was once a proud profession. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Jay Abel

Don't applaud Sheffield for using common sense

Mike Celizic's article is pure bull.
Ask him how would he like it if i came to his job while he is working on an article and threw an uppercut to his mouth.  Don't tell me he isn't instinctively not going to push me. If he does he obviously has never been in an altercation (that's a fight to you pansies) Sheffield turns his back on this guy without the shove and who knows whaqt happens next maybe nothing maybe something worse.
Mr. Celizic your a fair writer who seems to be wrong most of the time. I read you to see what you will predict and then watch the results and sometimes you have written articles for something then against. You have praised Barry Bonds then tore people apart that take steroids you would have to be a idiot to think Barry Bonds the last five years has been doing this without some help, illeagal help that is. Sorry for getting off the subject but while Yankee fans are obnoxious, you never see problems in Yankee Stadium like you do in Boston.
Dennis Wojciechowski

DeLay asks colleagues in Senate to blame Dems

In all of your "objective" reporting about the significance of a Republican lunch meeting, it seems that the nicest thing people could say about Tom DeLay was that he didn't chew the furniture.
The irony of Doberman DeLay's apparent downfall while calling Democratic Beagles of the Potomac "attack dogs" has apparently been lost on you. After mounting a filthy vicious campaign in the 2004 election against Tom Daschle -- perhaps the Democrats' most decent advocate of comity and civility; after refusing to recognize nomination "holds" by Democratic senators, and then expressing astonishment that the minority would resort to filibuster; after threatening the nuclear option on Senate rules after the Congress had already been in session -- there is simply no surprise left that Democrats have finally decided to oppose the Bush tyranny of deceit, and the DeLay assault against legislative common sense.
Ben Burrows

• April 14, 2005

John Paul a saint? U.S. Catholics in favor

I would like for any Christian of whatever religious persuasion, to prove to me where in Scripture is gives humans the authority and the right to declare somebody a saint? This authority is clearly a prerrogative of God, especially in as much as Scripture clearly states that we all have come short of the glory of God.
This includes in my view the recent Pope for whom I have the uttermost respect for his awoved defense of the sanctity of human life from conception, on which my own Church, as far as I understand things, is totally pagan so to speak and for a better explanation.
I mean this with the most kindness I can master, in as much as Jesus himself started his mission for the salvation of humanity in an earthly mother's womb!
H. D. Schmidt

As an American Catholic I am horrified at the adulation of the late Pope that has reached a point where you report that 8 out of 10 of us think he is a saint. Catholics, of all Christians, should remember what it is we proclaim at every Divine Liturgy when we thank God for what He has done for us.  We don't say, "Christ has died, Christ is risen, and now the Pope is in charge!".  No, we proclaim, "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!"  Popes, Patriarches, Archbishops, Bishops, and Priests are "the servants of the servants of God" in Catholic ecclesiastical understanding.
They are not substitues for the Lord Himself. When St. Paul was confronted with a crowd that wanted to worship him because he had performed a miracle in Jesus' Name, he tore his garments in horror and in no uncertain terms told them that he was just a man like themselves. My fellow American Catholics need to get control of their mindless emotions and remember that it is God-in-Christ who is the head of His body the Church.
Dave Bertelli

Front page images

Who's horrible judgment call was it to put up bloody pictures on your front page? Please act more like a news site and less like a grocery store tabloid!  It is possible to report the news accurately without shoving horrible images into everyone's heads.
Jeff

DeLay asks colleagues in Senate to blame Dems

In all of your "objective" reporting about the significance of a Republican lunch meeting, it seems that the nicest thing people could say about Tom DeLay was that he didn't chew the furniture. The irony of Doberman DeLay's apparent downfall while calling Democratic Beagles of the Potomac "attack dogs" has apparently been lost on you.
After mounting a filthy vicious campaign in the 2004 election against Tom Daschle -- perhaps the Democrats' most decent advocate of comity and civility; after refusing to recognize nomination "holds" by Democratic senators, and then expressing astonishment that the minority would resort to filibuster; after threatening the nuclear option on Senate rules after the Congress had already been in session -- there is simply no surprise left that Democrats have finally decided to oppose the Bush tyranny of deceit, and the DeLay assault against legislative common sense.
Ben Burrows

Giving Kids Candy Is Anything But Sweet

Finally, I know there is at least one other person who share my feelings about candy!  I was able to avoid candy altogether until my son turned two-years-old. From that point forward, it has been a struggle.  I, too, have a one-per-day rule for sweets. 
In addition to limiting sweets, we talk about balance and our food groups. It's hard but important to lead by example. In a sad way, I hope watching his Grandpa struggle with Type II Diabetes helps my son understand the impact of making the right food choices throughout his life. 
Thank you for the suggested alternatives to candy. I especially like the penny idea. I hope more parents read the article and decide that being overweight and eating too much sugar is just as detrimental as smoking, drinking, and drugs.
MR.

Holy water! Cubs manager tries sprinkling cure

For the last couple of weeks, Roman Catholics in this country managed to watch and read about the events in Rome without the usual bashing you folks routinely do on the Church.
But now things have returned to normal.  Accoding to NBC sports and MSNBC, holy water is no different than urine... Wow.  I knew it was too good to last.
Robert

• April 13, 2005

No longer a girl — Britney’s most definitely a woman now

Please stop parading people like Britney Spears before us. It is a total waste of time, oxygen, and effort in a world that reels every day from important issues. It really degrades your credibility.
Faye

I continue to be amazed that anyone actually cares that Britney Spears is pregnant. Perhaps this is characteristic of our society to award celebrity status on those who in no way contribute to the public good.
Explain to me how something so insignificant and meaningless can make the front page news with MSNBC.com with everything else that is going on in the United States and abroad.
Gregory Skurow

Thank you for giving the Britney Spears pregnancy story high priority.  The extra-large headline "Worst-kept Secret" gives me confidence that my primary source of news doesn't hesitate to report those hot-button issues that CNN can't handle. Please follow up with details on Britney's pre-nuptial agreement, photos of Kevin's recent gifts for Britney, and quarterly reports from retailers that prove "I'm not that kind of girl" t-shirts are fun.  Don't worry about the three guys charged in the U.S. terror plot...they can wait until Britney has an off-day.
Patrick Murphy

German cardinal gains support, newspapers say

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was head of the innocuously renamed "Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith", but he managed over and over again to make it operate like its predecessor, "The Holy Office of the Inquisition."
He called gay people "inherently disordered", he elevated papal pronoucements on the impossibility of the ordination of women to the status of "infallible," and he carried out secret trials of dissenting theologians in which the accused has no right to any form of due process and no right to even confront his accusser. I cannot believe God would subject us to him as a Pope. His reign of terror would splinter the Catholic Church.
Peter A. Alaimo

Sorry, George: Critics used to love ‘Star Wars’

John Hartl is wrong about Star Wars' critical reaction. Lucas may have a selective memory on a lot of issues, but he's fairly close to the truth when he says critics never liked Star Wars.
The first film in 1977 got a lot of left-handed critical praise. Most of those who liked it (a large minority did not) did so while saying it was simplistic and juvenile. And, it did get nominated for an Oscar, so Hartl at least is correct in that assessment.
But "The Empire Strikes Back" was almost universally panned by critics in 1980. Unfortunately, rottentomatoes.com no longer has the original 1980 reviews on its site. But when it did, it revealed a consensus at the time of "thumbs-down" by about 45 to 1.
Today, it is considered by most to be the best of the series. But it wasn't so upon its release.
Chris Pyhtila

Sharon brushes off warning from Bush

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon brushed off a warning from President Bush not to allow further West Bank settlement growth, indicating Israel would continue to solidify its hold on areas it considers of strategic importance.
S.M.

Mirosoft warns of 5 new security flaws

Your headlines today include "Not again: More Microsoft security flaws." What an unprofessional way to negatively spin the weekly Tuesday windows update!  Obviously someone does not understand the tremendous complexity of maintaining a modern operating system. I can assure you, the Mac and Linux operating systems also contain security flaws.  The question you might ask yourself is, are they getting updated and repaired as aggressively as Windows?
Don

Rudolph pleads guilty in series of bombings

So Rudolph had 250 pounds of dynamite hidden in the hills near Murphy, N.C. ..How come no one has mentioned how he came to have so much TNT?
I was born in Murphy, and my theory has it that the TNT was somehow acquired at the marble quarry just down the road from Murphy in the town of Marble. This begs the question: Did somebody from the quarry supply the stuff or did he steal it?
If I wanted to lay my hands on a few sticks of dynamite, I'd have no idea of where to start.  And 250 pounds seems like a lot of explosives that went unaccounted for at some installation.
Jim

Snitching 101: H.S. to reward informants

The article on snitching made me think back to the days when folks used to be afraid of communism.  One of the arguments they raised was everyone over there (Russia) snitched on their own.
Since parents have abandoned their responsibilities the rest of society is left to pick up the pieces.  Punish the parents for feeding their kids McDonalds because it is easy.  Remove kids from their parent's custody who are weaned on caffeine.  Make parents pay for their irresponsibility.
I am sick and tired of these so-called parents and school "experts" blaming everyone but themselves. Vote em out.  They are weighing the country down with their laziness.  I say let them kill each other.
Steve Winston

• April 12, 2005

Hair-raising TV spot shunned by broadcasters

Today's MSNBC story by Kari Huus concerning a controversial land mine ad is a sobering reminder that other countries love their children every bit as much as we do.
In January of 1970 I had the misfortune to run over a Vietnamese land mine in an armored personnel carrier. The force of the explosion was powerful enough to blow the wheels and track right off the vehicle, and easily warped its 1 inch thick steel bottom.
My crew and I escaped with relatively minor injuries. If we had detonated that very same mine by walking over it, there probably would have not been enough left of us to identify.
Whatever media means and methods would help get rid of these horrible weapons, I am all for it !!
Bruce Meigs

Ironically, the article demonstrates perfectly the type of MSNBC bias that often makes me question why I even read articles from your website.
This article goes on, quoting advocates of mine reduction for both sides of the discussion and fails to mention the actual meat of the story – the fact that the United States still uses, and finds necessary the use of mines – and will continue to do so regardless of what the UN wishes.  The UN-made spot was correctly described as designed to create an emotional public reaction to mines.  What the reporter crams in to a one sentence side-note is that the UN agency is sponsoring UN program contrary to official US policy, and attempting to use free US airwaves to do so.
MSNBC correctly chose not to run the “public service announcement,” but it should have had nothing to do with the ‘graphic’ nature of the ad, and everything to do with the political nature of its topic.
John F. Litle III

Snitching 101: H.S. to award informants

Your headline "Snitching 101: H.S. to award informants" is one that offends. It demeans a  serious problem in our nation's schools. Drugs and weapons of violence are known to be on multiple campuses throughout the country. The problem is finding them before they get into the hands of students. What have we seen on television and read about in newspapers over the past month: violence and deaths in public schools. Drugs for sale on campuses. And now a school  in Rome, GA comes up with a program to protect its students and MSNBC demeans it and its staff with an offending headline. Model Highschool should be awarded, instead of being demeaned, for the program that pays for information about guns and drugs being brought on its campus. In our society the only thing that "talks efficently" is money. Therefore, the school is willing to do what others won't. One hundred dollars for information about guns being brought on the campus? That's a small amount should it avoid the violent death of students and teachers. And the $25-$50 payment for information about drugs being brought on the campus? That too is a small investment for protecting its staff and students. Its not payment for "snitching."
Its acknowledgement by the that the green back speaks and is a mighty tool worthy of use to protect its students and teachers. It's not "snitching," its protection.
As a retired newspaper/magazine editor and public affairs practioner for more then 22 years, I find your title of the article mightly offending.
Thomas W. Fuller

Fur flies over rabbit death threat

Regarding the send-me-money-or-I-kill-the-bunny story:  Shame on NBC for agreeing to air an interview with the website guys on the condition that their name and location be anonymous!  What's next, send me a million dollars or I'll kill my baby?  Get out of the mideast or I destroy a city?
Lisa

Miss North Carolina crowned Miss USA

I was appalled by the evening dress that the former Miss USA wore as she took her final walk and gave the crown to the new Miss USA.  I see little difference between that and Miss Jackson's wardrobe malfunction.  It is evident that today's young women have no moral values and are not an example that I want my children to follow.  I was disappointed in the shows lack of modesty.  Is there no virtue left in today's society?  The dress was truly pornographic.  And yes, I purposely turned the channel during the swimsuit competition. 
Raise your standards NBC!  There are other shows you present that are just as bad.
Delrae

Cloned meat identical to normal, study says

I was half in fear and half in hysterics as I read your coverage of the article regarding “Cloned meat” (April 11). The very idea of cloning is frightening in its possibilities, but I had not considered the consequences on the dinner table.  The study said that ‘meat and milk from cloned animals is essentially identical to that from animals that reproduced normally’, very funny!  The publishers of this study seem to be a bit confused about the actual ‘normal’ sexual habits of bovines.  I always thought that in the normal “NOT for immense profit” world of farming, the bull mounted the cow and offspring was the result of natural urges.  This study would have us believe that normal is the result of artificial insemination and thus by comparison cloning is not so bad.  It is embarrassing that the U.S.
Department of Agriculture would help fund such a study; rather than investing in more natural farming options for the return of safe beef. 
Shame on the USDA, and shame on you for not mocking the claims of this study.
Shannon Trainor

Secrets of ‘CSI’ success

I just wanted to write and let you know how much I enjoyed Paige Newman's article on CSI.  She stated what a lot of fan's have been thinking.  We the mature older audience who are not 13 and do not want to see "Grissom bop Sara" as they put it, appreciated it.  Well I did at least. I am sure there have been some complaints.
The fact that someone has taken the time and had the guts to write that they do not want to see CSI turn into a soap gets very high marks in my book. That and the fact that she felt the same as I about Sara and Gil. 
Thanks again and please pass on my message to Paige.  We always seem to write about things we disagree with, and I feel it is only fair to write when we agree with the writer as well.
Jody Priest

• April 11, 2005

China's Roman Catholics Feel More Optimistic

In the article, the writer said that Beijing blacked out the Pope's funeral in China - and made the impression that the Chinese government blacked out all coverage of the Pope's death.
I was in China until today, and every news TV station and every newspaper in the country covered the story constantly.  It was the lead story all week - and the government did nothing to stop the flow of information all week.  The Pope's death, life, and viewing were all shown all week constantly via all media outlet.
Stop trying to create more tension that there already is between our countries. The Chinese government allows most freedoms we have - and is getting more open every day. Instead of focusing on what China used to do - focus on how much they are moving in the right direction.
I know many Catholics and Christians in China - and they all feel totally free to practice their religion.
Do not allow your news staff to give Americans the impression that Beijing is not allowing freedom of religion - because that is not accurate.
Kevin Cuddie


Implant makers say silicone-gel more durable

It is extremely frustrating to read these negative articles with the FDA hearings upon us.  The statement made about the "painful scar tissue that can form around the implants, breaks that require surgery to remove or replace implants, and other complications remain contentious" does not JUST apply to the Silicone implants.
The scar tissue can form around Silicone and/or Saline and that is called Capsular Contraction. It surely hope that the FDA bases it's decision on the facts! The media should consider doing the same. Why is there no positive feedback in your article.  Why is it only one-sided?
The illnesses that women are coming down with "because of Silicone implants" have been found, in some cases, to have already been an existing health problem or a hereditary health issue.  It would be nice to see a positive article from the media on these issues.  The public deserves to hear BOTH sides.
Thank you,
Wendy Parrish

I find it appalling that the FDA would contemplate approving silicon breast implants once again while continuing to obstruct the approval of the "morning-after" pill.  The "morning after" pill has the approval of the vast majority of the doctors on the review panel while the safety and longevity of these implants are still in question.  I guess the money contributed towards Republican campaigns by the pharmaceutical companies makes the risks of these implants acceptable.
Conversely, the ire of the Republican fundamentalist base keeps a perfectly safe medication away from citizens that could actually decrease the need for abortions.
So much for the self-righteous "culture of life" mantra as the FDA promotes big boobs over emergency contraception.
Alan

• April 8, 2005

Groups gear up to counter Minuteman Project

We have a Mexican illegally crossing our border and breaking out laws and we're supposed to feel sorry for him because he held up a t-shirt and had his feelings hurt. What about the Americans that would have to pay for all his welfare and health care costs? Write an article about that.  That hurts my feelings more. The money Americans have to transfer to take care of this infiltrator could have been used to raise and educate their own children. He is a future thief from American  children.
Steve Knudson

Death of a Pope

I read news on the MSNBC website everyday and think your outlet does a fine job.  But I have one minor quip about your story reporting the Pope considered retiring per his testament.
I read and re-read the testament. I located the sentence that gave your outlet cause to believe the Pope considered retiring.  I think your comment is misrepresentation of the Pope's words.  The testament indicated that the Pope had hope that Divine Providence would clue him in as to when his days on Earth of service to the Lord would end, not ending service in the way that we Americans do when we retire. 
I am positive that since your outlet ran the story this way, most other television and print media ran the story the same way.  But as a legal scholar and a devout Catholic, I have little confidence in your interpretation.  But thank you still for all of the good reporting that you do and best of luck!
Lauren

Charles and Camilla's big day

With regard to the piece on the Royals Brady Bunch, Charles has just set up a trust fund for the Parker-Bowles adult children to the tune of $1.8 million each(?) How dare he! These children have a living father! Why on earth does he have to set up a trust fund for her adult children??
Charles and Camilla are both two people that need counseling for all of the grief they have caused and now supporting adult children who have been provided for by their own father.  What is up with these two morons? 
Camilla gives single mothers a bad name — where we try to support our own children by their own fathers—and now Charles joins in on the fiasco—Charles can not even keep his sons in line with money.  What makes him think he can now buy her kids?
Dianne M. Carrozza

Jackson defense continues attack on witnesses

This is disgusting to me, all these adults come forward NOW and say they saw something "not right" between Michael Jackson and other boys.
Where the heck was there moral's when it happened to step forward and be a VOICE for that child...it disgusts me, i don't even know what to believe anymore.
Now the "guard" is coming out with "oral sex" he witnessed, come one people, where are our values in today's America? where are our morals in today's America?
Where are our voices for children afraid to talk???  I don't know whether Michael Jackson is innocent or guilty, but the "witnesses" being called are just as guilty - for turning their backs (if it ever even happened)! ....it disgusts me!!
Denise

• April 6, 2005

Bushes, Clinton but no Carter at funeral

Howard Fineman's excellent article, "Faith, Law, and American Life" should serve as a wake up call to all Americans, and to all Catholics, that our most fundamental liberties are threatened by out of control government and churches. The gift of life is given to each of us and each of us is the steward of it, not the Pope and not the Fundamentalist Republicans like DeLay and Bush. They blaspheme against the image of God in each of us when they assault our autonomy and freedom of conscience. I am a loyal American and a deeply believing Catholic, but to the forces of darkness in my government and church I say a definitive "No!"
Peter Alaimo

On second thought, maybe parity isn't good

Filip Bondy ... really slaps Baylor and women's basketball in the face.  Whoever the horse's behind who approved his article should be horse whipped. How egotistical to think that women's basketball can only be great if Tennessee and UCON are in the finals.  Go stick Bondy, armed with only a pen, in front of a hockey goal and let every woman college basketball player ram a puck down his throat.  What a jerk!
Skip Sharp
Colby, KS (Big 12 Country)

Bushes, Clinton but no Carter at funeral

Unless there is some really valid, pressing reason for limiting to "five" the "official party" going with President Bush to Pope John Paul II's funeral, and thereby excluding former President Jimmy Carter, then I think Carter is being snubbed to some extent by the administration.  Taking only two of the three living former presidents seems odd, if all three want to go, considering the fact that these three constitute such a small and select group of American dignitaries.  I'd be interested to hear an honest explanation for why the delegation limit is set at five in this situation, and on what basis the selection of who could go was made.
James Gibson

Michael Jackson coverage

I am a mother of three and an avid reader of your website (I have it as my home page).  I work from home and am on the computer about 10 hours a day. 
As a mother, I cannot tell you how it turns my stomach to pull up a browser page and see "Boy took a shower with Michael Jackson".
My objection to this is on two levels.
1. I am a parent and the thought of such things happening to young children makes me physically ill. I know they are just allegations, but you cannot expect a reasonable person to see that headline and not get a visual image that is sickening. 
2. I have children who use the Internet for homework.  And when they pull up a browser and see these types of headlines (because they are changing almost daily) it can't help but affect them also.
I realize it's the news and I realize it's just allegations.  However, as a repsonsible parent, I cannot tolerate this sensationalism in the ever growing quest to garner ratings or hits or whatever it is that you are after. 
I know some of your readers are VERY interested in the latest details, but wouldn't it be enough to put "Michael Jackson Trial: the latest news" instead??
So, after 8+ years of using MSNBC as my home page, I'm forced to default to something a bit more pallatable and definitely less sensational.
Dawn Moseley

• April 5, 2005

Some Blacks say focus on Schiavo is excessive
The recent article ... gives the impression that "some Blacks" are not understanding or sympathetic about the Shiavo case. Mr. Jesse Jackson has his own opinions about the publicity involved with the case.
The fact that other human issues need attention according to Mr. Jackson,are a known fact well before and beyond the Schiavo case. Mr. Jackson and Mr. R. Drew Smith as far as I'm concerned, do not speak for the true feelings of most Blacks. On that note I feel the author should not have titled the article as such, simply because the Schiavo case transcends all color lines in matters of opinion.
Donald

Catholic rebel decries Pope's "devastating" legacy

Amid the outpouring of praise for the late pope, a leading theologian who defied John Paul II . . .Hans Kueng
Hans Kung is most certainly not a leading theologian w/in the Catholic Church, although he has made a name by touting himself as such. A theologian is someone involved in the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially: the study of God and of God's relation to the world.  Hans Kueng simply states his personal opinion with very little consideration to God's relationship to the people of the world nor theirs to Him; he spends no time considering what the Church actually teaches, nor the rational reasoning behind those teachings.
It is ridiculous that anyone would opt to print any opinion of Hans Kueng as relates to anything of importance. By printing this article you have greatly diminished your credibility.
J. Turner

When parents and teens clash over religion

With regard to the article about children no longer wanting to attend church with their family, I have a  suggestion that would seem like a huge step in the right direction. The article stated that the teen was unhappy about his parents' church stance on gay marriage.
It would seem that after discussing the issue and determining that the parents and the  child are at loggerheads, the parents would be wise to encourage their child to research what denominations do align with the teens world view.
They could then encourage the youth to attend a church that practices what he professes to believe for a couple of months.
Most parents should want their child to maintain a practicing, living faith in a denomination that is different than their own rather than not attend and to receive no church community support at all. This would streghten the bond that the author promotes and maintain a focus on the importance of faith in the teen's life.  I have been there and done that.
Dawn Seymour

Consumer Reports calls air purifier ‘unhealthy’

What a hoot. On the same site you have an article on the potential hazard and worthlessness of the Ionic air purifier and you've run an advertisement for one at the bottom of the page. Maybe a different model but non the less, the same or similiar machine.
Thanks for the chuckle,
B. Stephens

• April 4, 2005

The death of John Paul II

Being Catholic, I could very easily understand why the death of the pope might be an important story. But looking at things from my American citizen side, it is reprehensible that your lead story was not the 44 soldiers injured in Iraq. This type of reporting is just bad journalism.
George Kopacz

With the current wall-to-wall papal "world grieves" orgy, following last week's "we are all outraged evangelicals desperately trying to save the dead girl in Florida" orgy, following the all "fry Michael" orgy, following the "fry Scott" orgy, your ties to the once great news organization known as 'NBC" should be formally severed.
While you treat the public to these mini-series of sentimentality and fear and obsession, life  and news actually do go on.  Presumably you will not finish with the Papal Deathomania  Series until the majority party in the Cingress, and a minority of Tue believers in the country,  actually sues the "nuke option," effectively seizes one party control of all branches of the government, with the judiciary the next target.
You are no longer a news organization. You are  a mix of the National Enquirer and the Public Relations arm of the New Theoocracy Party. And you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.
You do the country  and your former profesison a disservice.
Nashville, TN

Why do you spend so much time on a Pope and not all other ministers, pastors, preachers who have died or who dies each day.  Are you a Catholic who believes and pray to statues such as Mary and who believes a man (pope) can forgive anyone of his sin/s and that includes himself. I truly encourage all who are not catholic to protest your prejudice of worshiping a mere man.
I am praying for you as you must understand what you are doing.
Rasheeda Harris

I suppose it is necessary to cover every moment of the Pope’s life, hour after hour day after day…endlessly. Why not cover the millions who have died and will die in Africa as a result of his birth control and STD policies?
If 1 billion are Catholics that means there are 7 billion who are not and could care less about this Pope or any other.
As for me, I consider the Catholic Church to be an on-going criminal conspiracy designed to elevate and perpetuate a fairytale.
Bob Thompson

As a Catholic American I want to thank you for your in depth coverage of our beloved Pope John Paul II.  Your interviews and Time and Again  have given us all something to ponder as we feel so empty at this time.  Also it gives some Church history to the younger generation.
Sharron Murphy

In " Pope's body lies in state" , the first thing that struck me was that hours after his death, I (and the world) was able to see him lie in state. Maybe my memory is not was it used to be but, at 60 years of age, I don't ever recall seeing such a papal image  so quickly if at all (even on TV) and obviously not on the internet at the time of his predecessor's death. Both the immediacy and photographic impact of the reality of a death image of a pope are mind-bending. Photogratz

Just a note to say Thank You for the wonderful coverage of the life,  illness and death of our Pope.  Your coverage and tributes to him are much appreciated by myself and my family. Again thank you and God's Blessings to all of you for working so hard for all of us.
Shirley Luketich-Egnosak

• April 1, 2005

Saudi clerics still encouraging jihad

In your article, “Saudi clerics still encouraging jihad,” you end the column by stating that a Saudi government official said they can’t do much to stop it because these clerics are “exercising their rights to free speech.”  Since when do they have free speech in Saudi Arabia?  There should at least be a balance to that statement since people who criticize the Saudi government are flogged, if not worse, and women will not be able to vote in the “free elections.”  We do have free speech in the US.  Please exercise it!
Jackie Schwartz

Vatican: Pope's condition has worsened

Could you please tell me why you think it is necessary to give a blow-by-blow description of the Pope’s impending death? Isn’t obvious to everyone that his life is coming to an end? Why not focus on his accomplishments rather than what his temperature was last night and then having some doctor’s conjecture on what that means. 
Suffice it to say he is gravely ill and move on!
Kate Daley

Bush panel rips US intelligence abilities

Our perilous leader once again doing what he does best: sidestepping all moral and professional responsibility.
And once again we're hearing the famous doublespin of this administration: "We did absolutely nothing wrong, and it absolutely will not happen ever again."
This panel conclusion is all fine and well, except that this administration evidently doesn't really think it's such a problem to be dead wrong.  Saddam didn't have WMD's after all, despite all our mindless frothing to the contrary.  Yet Bush claimed it was okay to invade anyway because he was such a scumbag.  Shucks, there were lots of other reasons...none of which we cared about until 2002. 
So what kind of template is that for foreign policy?  You're allowed to invade countries you don't like for any contrived reason whatsoever, and retroactively justify it by saying they sucked anyway?  What ethical restraints would be left to stop us from invading anybody at any time?  Moreover, if such ends justify any means, then just what "concrete actions" would he be expecting?  If it was really all good, then what's to correct?
BB

Hardtl on 'Sin City'

Please dear editor in the sky, who shines down upon us from MSNBC, never reproduce this "critic"'s feces which spews from his keyboard on your site again. John Hartl is his name. He appears to not know how to enjoy a movie that isn't a documentary. I am very sad for him because he lives a life without joy of the theater.
Though all he does for his job is go to the theater and complain about entertaining movies and how they aren't intellectual enough for him.  He spews forth his mindless hippie (I'm sorry I mean liberal) drivel to achieve an ends which no one really cares about.
Brendan

Jane Fonda regrets 1972 visit to Vietnam gun site

So now Jane Fonda says she is sorry.  Too late, Ms. Fonda!  I considered you a traitor when you did it, and I will forever consider you a traitor. I'm sure that I haven't hurt you, but I've never gone to a movie with you in it, I've never watched a TV show with you in it, and I've never bought anything (at least that I had knowledge of) that would lead to you making a dime.  You betrayed your country, and I'm just sorry that you've never had to pay for it.
Chuck Hawsey, USAF, Ret.

Airline workers face more pain as crisis worsens

So United Airlines et al want their unions/workers to take pay cuts ... but in the same article where we see that the average flight attendant gets something like $30,000 a year, we see the top exec at United got a bonus (not counting his sure to be huge salary) of $366,000 - - in other words, he got more than 12 times what this average person makes in a year as a bonus. And that's not factoring in the other (non-top) execs and their bonuses. Are these execs taking pay cuts from their probably massive salaries. I don't think so. And we wonder why these companies are bleeding red ink.
I believe America had better wake up. Sure it's great to make a lot of money, but all those execs can't buy all the stuff that the small people need to buy: the refrigerators, the cars, the airline tickets, the health insurance  - - the basis of our way of life and economy - - and then we wonder why people don't buy as many durable goods, etc. Every time that we as a people let the folks at the top of the food chain cut the workers' income, we're putting another nail in the coffin of the American worker and economy, the American Dream.
Henry Ford (no socialist, mind you) had it right - - you pay your workers well enough so they can buy your products. It made him and his family fabulously wealthy and made his car company one of the biggest in the world. This is a lesson that the American business community has lost - - or perhaps it's more accurate to say that they have ignored it in the service of their own greed and ego (meaning exec salaries and perqs).
Steuart Liebig

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