msnbc.com
updated 6/10/2005 1:15:56 PM ET 2005-06-10T17:15:56

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.

• May 31, 2005


Cheney ‘offended’ by human rights report

Please tell me why your title wasn't "Human rights report proves Cheney and Others Wrong" or something that deals with the real issue.
I don't give a damn if Cheney is offended, and that should not be the focus of your article.  Have the media become so afraid of this administration that they can only report what the White House has to say about an issue and not what is really going on?  How about a headline that says "Human rights report shows abuse at Guantanamo Bay"?
Newsweek has been proven to have been right about the abuses to the Koran. Why didn't your headline say "Newsweek got it right about abuses to the Koran"?
Shame on you for being so lazy and willing to be the stenographers for the White House.  Don't you have any real reporters anymore?
Nancy Cashman

The Michael Jackson case

Please pass along my appreciation to Mike Taibbi for his superb article.  His conclusion explains a great deal – could constitute a much longer article or even a book. 
I have an ongoing argument with a close friend that there is no conspiracy to distract the public from serious issues.  The public wants to be distracted from anything over which they feel powerless.  The War, Peak Oil, Healthcare – “I don’t care. But I feel a close, personal bond with all the guests on Nancy Grace.”
Just kidding.  Sorta.
Rand Cheadle

Mike Taibbi waxes poetic about how did we get here and that he is relieved it's over. Well so am I and I'm sure I'm not alone. He wonders about the public's fascination with the trial of Michael Jackson. The only reason the public is getting force-fed this .... 24 hours a day is for the ratings. MSNBC's web site has a section totally devoted to the Jackson trial under the Entertainment? banner.
I'm not sure what your definition of entertainment is but it doesn't fit mine. This story deserves mention, but a section totally dedicated to the ins and outs of this weirdo's sexual leanings is too much. Oh and this note to Mike on it being over with -- yeah right, no matter how this ends up we will inundated with endless stories on how the jury got it wrong or right for months to come. So send out your laundry and update that motel reservation we/you are in for a long summer.
Robert Carr

Hollywood and President Bush

It seems like every time I turn my head, another one of the Hollywood or MTV “elite” are trashing the President.  If it’s not Michael then it’s Tim.  If it’s not Tim then it’s Susan.  If it’s not the Chicks then it’s the Nails.  I don’t get it.  What are they all mad about?  The man freed an entire country from a repressive Taliban regime?  The man initiated a war that overthrew one of the most hostile dictators of my generation.  When did that become a sin?  I mean, if ousting a ruler who raped women and fed them to his dogs is not a good thing then I don’t know what is.  I want to scream at the top of my lungs when I hear about how we found no Weapons of Mass Destruction as if that was the only reason we went to war.  Sure, we didn’t find them.  Maybe we never will.  Maybe they weren’t there.  I don’t care.
In my opinion, as far as Saddam was concerned, he was the true Weapon of Mass Destruction.  Not only did he kill his own people, but he attacked his neighbors and threatened daily the already fragile stability of the region.  In my heart I know if Saddam had the chance he would plant a nuclear device inside our borders and gleefully watch as it exploded killing millions of our people.  I can do without another guy like that running around the globe.  Liberals can make the argument now that we found no WMD and that Bush is the real Satan of our world. I’m fine with that for now.  As a recently wedded man, I am confident that my future children will be safer 20 years from now because of the President’s courageous actions.  Justin LeBlanc
Yongsan Army Garrison, Seoul, Korea

• May 27, 2005

Democrats win crucial Bolton vote
Dear Editor,
I found the article, "Dems Win Crucial Bolton Vote," to be quite informative.  I write, though, to complain about the title which is a claim that simply is not verified in the story!  How can a vote to delay the vote be considered as "crucial."  A fillibuster, a win, a loss... those I accept as crucial.

Misuse of words in this way is a attempt to create the feeling that Bolton is losing. But it's not that clear yet. Be more honest.

Sol Triane
USA

DOA catfish swimming with the fishes

Re your story on the 124 lb. catfish caught in the Mississippi River, I think it is horrible that this poor fish is dead.  This stupid man should have taken a picture with his camera and then let the poor fish go.  The fish was happy for a good 30 years, and now it is dead - for no good reason - just stupidity!!!!!!!!!  It just makes me angry.
-Ellen Spear

Tyson Foods accused of cruelty to chickens

Dear Editor,
Thank you for your article about the undercover investigation at a Tyson slaughterhouse which documented workers maliciously stomping on and mutilating chickens. Many of these chickens end up in restaurants like KFC or in your local grocery store.

Modern methods of raising chickens are appalling. Chickens are increasingly locked up in dark "tunnel" houses where they hobble and sit in pain and filth on crippled legs. I've been inside many chicken houses on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia and cannot overstate the misery and unwholesomeness in every piece of chicken.

I have also rescued many chickens over the years, and have come to love them for their sweetness and affection and for their strong spirits. Most food-industry chickens are ill and lame from the time they are born. Even so, when rescued, they relish fresh air, sunlight and grass - they eat tons of grass. Most important, these chickens respond to kindness. The greatest kindness to chickens is not to eat them.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,
Karen Davis, President
United Poultry Concerns
Machipongo, VA

• May 26, 2005

Ga. first to use 'blink' credit cards

This is refering to credit cards with an imbedded RFID chip that will be tested in Atlanta. My guess is that some of these people will be paying more than the swipe. Current cards require a magnetic reader to get the codes. At some point, techy thieves will have the equipment to pick up the signal (remember, we're still using signals from Voyager), with nothing more than a well placed & hidden antenna. Then make their own RFID with the right characteristics, and do some waving themselves.
DCoomber
  
Al-Zarqawi hurt, Iraqi officials say

As a veteran of two deployments to Iraq, I have a wake-up call to the American public about the alleged injury of insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi: it does not matter.
I am sorry to be the one who bursts the bubble, but it does not matter if he is alive, dead, injured or healthy. This is not an enemy who will crumble and fall when one of their senior leaders is killed.  Our overconfidence is our biggest weakness.  We see this new enemy as a poorly organized force who use archaic weapons and fighting tactics against our superior firepower.  We think that by killing a few key figures, we will somehow win the war.  What we fail to realize is that their chain of command is not much different from our own. If Al Zarqawi is, in fact, injured or killed, there will be someone else to take his place.  There is always someone next in line to take command.
If you do not agree, then I ask, how much did the capture of Saddam Hussein change the will of the enemy?  When the war started, so many people thought that once Saddam Hussein was captured, his armies will give up their weapons and surrender en masse to our troops.  The war will be over.  How can they continue fighting with their leader in chains?  But there were some who knew better, as we fought against them everyday and continue to do so.  We know that a change in their leadership will not change their hatred for us, and we should never underestimate their resolve. 
This war will not be won by killing a man with a famous name.  I do not know what must be done.  If I knew how to win this war, I would be a very rich man.  As with all major events in history, we can only place our faith in those who make the decisions and hope in the end that they were right. 
Respectfully,
1stLt Josh Gibbs, Quality Control, 8th MCD

Banish your Jackson fatigue

I am wondering why the O J Simpson case is compared to and contrasted with the Michael Jackson case?    There are no similarities other than the defendant is a black male celebrity.  It appears that the media has made this a racial issue as you reference “But like the O.J. Simpson case, the Jackson case is noteworthy. Certainly not for its legal maneuvering and endless publicity stunts. But rather, for its ability to capture where we are as a nation.
The Simpson verdict taught us about justice, or as some would argue, the lack of justice. The jury had its say in the court of law. Then the nation had its say as to its view of Simpson's guilty or innocence.”   So your point is?.  It seems that all black males (people) are guilty based on what “White America” feels and what “White America” says or believes is the truth regardless of what a jury of peers says.  I fail to see any reason to reference the Simpson case as it has no bearing on the Jackson case. But from the perspective of  “White America”  all  Blacks are the same.
In the sentiment of weary Black folk seeking justice in America, “There’s no justice, just us”.
Luna Cooper

DOA catfish swimming with the fishes

Pruitt and Cabela are idiots. Attempting to put the catfish on display was all about Pruitt's ego, and Cabela seeing an opportunity to cash in on a big old fish. I've fished for nearly 50 years and their stunt is about the dumbest thing I've seen.  Apparently Pruitt has heard of catch-and-release, but ignored the concept.  The photograph of him holding the fish for a few seconds would have been enough to get him his 15 minutes of fame -- and more.  A fish like this should have lived out its final years naturally.
Bob Anderson

Carrie is what ‘Idol’ is all about

Thanks alot for posting the American Idol results before the rest of the country could watch the show.  Couldn't you have waited?  It's not earth shattering political coverage.  Nobody died.  It's not ground breaking war coverage. Are you so eager to post first that you have to steal the enjoyment from tv viewers around the country?  Some of us look forward to some mindless - yet suspenseful - entertainment at the end of our day.
I've got 34 more minutes before the show even starts.  I've been looking forward to it all day.  You've just lost an MSN Home Page User.
Lysa Thorson

• May 25, 2005

House votes to lift ban on stem cell

I just have one simple question, if president Bush and his minions are so opposed to stem cell research because it would be "taking a human life", why do they let 8,000 embryos a year get destroyed as "hospital waste"?  The hypocrisy of the administration is to condone the destruction of 8,000 lives a year.
Gene and Vickie Peltier

What disturbs me the most about the stem cell research issue is that it is driving America's best scientists to other countries.  Countries outside the U.S. will perform stem cell research and eventually find cures for diseases.
And then what will America do?  Will the United States import those cures?
Will we reap the results of stem cell research and prove ourselves to be hyprocrites?  America won't make the decision to fund the research but will certainly take advantage of the benefits of the research done by other countries?
Samantha Kujala

Please, lets add some sanity to the stem cell research debate.  Pro life or Pro choice, how about Pro Science?  Scientists have been held as heretics for centuries.  Isn't it time we finally agree that science can be offensive to some individuals?  That said, without scientists we would have none of the wonder drugs and surgical procedures that improve life, save lives and in general better all of mankind.  We must learn to separate science from our personal prejudices.  When we fail to fund scientific research we plan to fall behind the rest of the civilized world that can put the value of science ahead of the value of a particular political view point that gains votes from the bovine minded public.
This issue is not one made up of sound bites. It is an issue of understanding that the failure to move forward means that you move backward. The world is filled with terrorists attempting to bring citizens back to the fourth century where the dictators determined what was good or bad for all the people. Trying to deny the reality of scientific research and benefits gained there from is no different than trying to deny the rights of every individual.  It is time for the moderates of this nation to stand up say no to the extremists who are certain that they know what is best for us all.
Michael Hartigan

Amnesty's human rights report blasts U.S.

Amnesty International can go to hell!! You would think that all the abuses were with only the United States. How about China, all the Arab countries and Muslim countries??? How about Russia?? What about all those cutthroats and Muslims killig Muslims in suicide bombings and car bombings?? How about using a rusty butcher knife to cut off heads while the victim screams for over a minute?
Joe A. Fagundes

10 insurgents die in fresh clash with Marines

Please, change the picture on the front of the MSNBC website of the man writing a number on the forehead of the Iraqi. It reminds one of Nazi Germany and is not only racist but entirely tasteless.
debh

Holy mackerel! That's a monster catfish

Only contempt remains for the venerable wild things of the world.  Looking at this massive beast in the arms of an overjoyed fisherman, I am saddened to think how far we've traveled from the respect our ancestors had for the natural world.
Here is a beast that lived a long life in the wild and now he will be shackled in some glass tank so aquarium visitors can see how "neat" he is. Such is the ethos that makes us think the National Park system is for the enjoyment of the masses, when really, it ought to be for the preservation of rapidly declining, as-yet-unscarred natural land.  It is one thing to fish so you can eat. It is quite another to fish for trophy.
Perhaps some day giant hands will come down from the heavens, wrap fingers around the devout and chosen worshippers of God, and put them in small plastic boxes with vents and feeding tubes so that some other, monstrous and ignorant creatures, may gaze upon the wonder of humans caught in the wild.
Craig Rothstein

• May 24, 2005

W.House lashes House bill on stem cells

Anyone who's truly "pro life" will support extensive embryonic stem cell research. To oppose such research on the grounds of the "sanctity of life" is hypocritical, unprincipled and contradictory.  The embryos from which these cells are taken "will be destroyed anyway."  Nothing is lost that would not be lost in any event, and what is gained is irreplaceable. The right wing's opposition to this research is just further evidence that their support for "life" ends at birth.
Dave Wesner

The fact that President Bush opposes the use of taxpayers money to promote science which destroys life is encouraging. Perhaps the next logical step in this direction is to exempt from paying Federal tax all those taxpayers who are opposed to using tax dollars to kill countless of innocent Iraqi civilians. 
Karl Walters

Senate vote ends debate on Bush nominee

Dear God in Heaven, the adults have finally shown up to participate once again in American politics. The move by a handful of centrist Senators, Democrat and Republican, to negotiate a compromise to the filibuster issue, gives hope that America has, at long last, gotten sick of the screaming fringes from the right and left running the country.
The country has long ago given up on the overreaching, heavy handed political correctness and money heaving "solutions" of the left. Dare we now hope that the "my way or you're doomed to hell" fundamentalists and the smirking, lying, manipulative frat boys running the Republican party and the right wing have overstayed their welcome, as well?
The right and left fringes have commandeered the two major political parties and it is past time for the vast middle majority to reclaim the country. Let's heartily ignore the bleating Ward Churchills and Rush Limbaughs and their ilk and focus on what needs to be done for our nation's financial well-being and security and the needs of the poor and underserved in a caring, realistic fashion.
Thank you, Senators, for your courage to face what wil surely be a very hostile backlash from those profiting from the status quo of divisiveness and name calling.
May we all have the courage to take our country back and prevent the "blue and red" division from becoming another blue and gray division.
Ed Glenn

The Michael Jackson trial

I just read the article about the Jackson trial (Jury to decide Jackson's fate soon).  I am not certain of his guilt or innocence. For the sake of the children, I hope it is not true.
My understanding is that pure journalism should present itself as unbiased. Facts presented in a clean piece will allow intelligent readers to come to their own conclusion. It is also my understanding that a person accused of a crime is considered innocent until proven beyond any reasonable doubt to be guilty.  
It is apparent that unbiased reporting and presumed innocence is not at the heart of this particular article. Of course I am basing this on one statement that summed up the writer's opinion,  "They will hear his breathy high-pitched speaking voice, recall his heyday as a crotch-grabbing dancer of apparently deliberate androgyny, and ask themselves — each of them, individually — whether they’re certain beyond a reasonable doubt that he’s not guilty."  I would expect this level of 'journalism' in a tabloid.
Choice of words and/or location of words in a statement present many different meanings. This statement suggests Jackson is guilty and must prove and the jurors must agree he is "not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."
I thought MSNBC News was a news source I could trust to be unbiased and straight forward but I learn something new everyday.
Sharon

Bank data theft could hit nearly 700,000

We are a large mail-order store and have received over 15 orders from Bank of America credit card accounts that have been compromised in the last 3 weeks. Although we are catching the orders by hand, each of the orders initially gets through our automatic verification procedures because the cardholder's information and entire account have been compromised.
What is happening is the thief calls the credit card company (Bank of America), has the cardholder's address and other pertinent information switched (by providing otherwise secret information such as the mother's maiden name, etc.) to an abandoned home or other remote location nearby, and then makes large amounts of credit card purchases by mail-order sent to that address. In the 15 cases we've been victim to, only three times has Bank of America been aware the card was compromised. Every other instance we were the ones reporting it stolen. They seem to be completely in the dark and uninterested in protecting their cardholder's from identity theft.
We are currently coordinating with the Secret Service, NYPD, and Mississippi State Police to apprehend this crime ring. But keep letting Bank of America tell you that everyone's accounts are safe and secure.
Greg Brailsford

• May 23, 2005

Falling off the map in America
Regarding your article this morning: "For Rural Western Towns, it's Grow or Die", my interest level was way up as I read along, until I hit the phrase: "Preference is given to families".
Bigotry and intolerance are what will eventually kill these small towns. It's a shame you can't put that in your article.
Robert Reardon


Why the battle over filibusters?
I just got through reading a (letters page) reaction to the filibuster by Linda Kekumu.  Why the big deal? Does the minority rule?
Are the Democrats going to pick conservatives to serve on the Court when they get in? Why haven't the Republicans got the right to get their nominees on the Court.  The filibuster to me is the one of the most ridiculous and irritating pieces of legislation there is and one of the reasons for the status quo that everyone loathes - more years of nothing being accomplished.  Hopefully, this will be dismantled and we'll finally something will get done in Washington.
Bernard LaMagna

4 car bombs kill at least 37 in Iraq, hurt dozens
On Monday, May 23rd 2005 I looked at your website and saw the headline "Bloody Monday" and noted that 17 people had been murdered throughout Iraq.
I realize that Iraq, about the same size and population as California, is having problems. And I do realize that California, which averages about 6.5 murders a day, also has problems with murder.
But have you ever used the headline "Bloody California" in reference to particularly bad days?
Or do you see your job as one of unrelenting pessimism on Iraq whose purpose is to never, ever admit some things are working?
I guess I must assume you are no different than Newsweek: biased left-wing media whores who will do anything to undermine the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I hope you rot in hell for the comfort you give to the terrorists in Iraq and around the world.
Bruce Schuck

Jackson's fate will be in jury's hands very soon
In his article on the Jackson Trial Mike Taibbi writes:

"To those facts the jurors will add their own perceptions of the defendant, who has been sitting silently for months, just a few yards away from them. They will hear his breathy high-pitched speaking voice, recall his heyday as a crotch-grabbing dancer of apparently deliberate androgyny, and ask themselves — each of them, individually — whether they’re certain beyond a reasonable doubt that he’s not guilty."

Is Mike Taibbi that ignorant of American Law that he would turn American justice on its face? One is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It's no wonder that the American media gets itself in so much trouble by distorting facts and logic to make its sensationalist point.
It's fortunate that Taibbi is just an ignorant reporter who will make a point at any cost and not a biased juror.
Bgadon

• May 20, 2005

In reaction to some statements by the Pepsi CFO (which can be twisted to sound anti-American), Joe Scarborough comments that “This kind of statement may fly in other countries, but not here.” 
He articulates, without any apparent sense of irony, the sad fact that Americans, citizens of the country that makes the most noise about “freedom,” exhibit so little respect for freedom in practice. From the context of his remarks, Mr. Scarborough apparently thinks that this is a good thing. And right there, in that utter lack of respect for freedom of expression and diversity of option, we see the moral bankruptcy of Conservative ideology and faux-patriotism.
Anthony Ross

U.S. investigates tabloid's Saddam photos

So you’re featuring an article about photos taken of Saddam Hussein in his underwear saying that these may be a breach of the Geneva Conventions.  Apparently journalists don’t care too much for the conventions or the ethical treatment of prisoners since you too made sure that the photo could be clearly seen.  So much for any credibility you have to speak on any moral lapses by the military or anyone else for that matter.  I believe “hypocrites” is the word that fits best.
Steve Barber

Why in the world would you reprint the offending photograph and then highlight how offended so many people are? What were you thinking?
Dan Gelok

Please take that picture of Saddam off your front page. You are just as crude as the tabloid that printed it.
Carol Leigh

Day of reckoning for stem cell research

I have had type 1 diabetes for 33 years. I would jump at the chance for beta cell transplants grown from stem cells no matter what the source. I think cures for the already living have priority over a frozen embryo in a petri dish. Typical of the anti-abortion crowd, they don't seem to care about life after it is born. They would gladly sacrifice me for an embryo in a freezer. What should we expect? They have no qualms about forcing women back to kitchen table abortions and coat hangers.
Robert Eakins

The science community has proven that certain adult stemcells are capable of becoming any organ of the body with much less rejection and tumor issues than embryonic cells.  Is it possible you are just another drum beater for destroying embryos despite the science? 
Steve McGee

Just want to thank you for writing the most balanced, informative and readable article I've yet read on this subject. I've printed your article and plan to use it in teaching high school social studies classes when I return to teaching this fall.  
David Forthube

Women in combat

The fact that this nation bans women from doing anything a man can do is appalling... even if it means serving in the military!  I understand that there are some ships out there still that do not have seperate facilities for women, so they can't serve there... but this?  It is just plain ridiculous. 
Your poll asked who should decide where women should serve.  The answer is clear: It should be the WOMEN who decide.  If they want to fight, let them fight!
Renee K

Women in combat proves once again the underlying bigotry and intolerance of the Republican Party led by their macho, sexist male Fundamentalist preachers.  Don't blame the women for proposing the ban, this was the work of male Republicans.  They have always been trying to turn back to the time when women were not much more than property .. couldn't vote, couldn't inherit, and families had to be bribed with a dowry to marry them.  They even had the audacity to become Congresswomen and Senators.  How ghastly!
Fundamentalists see them as the instigators of original sin which entrenches them in that 2nd rung of humanity.  Come 2006 and 2008 as our military personnel and their families ponders once again who to vote for I hope our brave women soldiers remember who wanted to turn back time and the men remember who still cannot get them vehicles with armor plating or even $20 tourniquets.
Alan

I strongly disagree with their decision based upon the fact that when us females swear into the armed forces, we agree to protect and defend. They send us over to Iraq and we should fight like the rest of our counterparts.  We are trained to do combat maneuvers in basic training.
I was over there and I was on the front lines. Tragedy happens to all of us over there whether we are female or male, the insurgents don't discriminate. I think the politicians in DC should not make the decision to whether females serve in combat, but it should be left up to the Pentagon and military officials
Lena M. Govensky

Why the battle over filibusters?

First, I want to say that the article is well written and informative. Thank you for this. However, I think there's one important piece of the puzzle that is left out and that has to do with how Senator Hatch changed the "blue slip" policy in 2003. Previously Senators could block judicial nominees by using the blue slip, but with the changes Senator Hatch made, this policy is no longer being allowed to block nominees. That leaves only the filibuster as a tool for the minority party to try to block extremist lifetime appointments.
Imagine if the same blue slip policy was in effect when President Clinton submitted his judicial nominees? Would we have had 65+ filibusters from the Republicans? Senator Frist is making a lot of noise about how unprecedented filibustering 10 judicial nominees is, but none of the mainstream media outlets are point out why this is happening - none of you are giving the history, which, quite frankly is the whole reason there were 10 filibusters to start with.
Linda Kekumu

• May 19, 2005

Pregnant grad defies ban from ceremony

Let me get this straight, the pregnant girl is not allowed to participate in graduation, but the father of this girl's child is?  Was this an immaculate conception?  What a double standard.
Nancy B. McCarthy

Amazon reduced by 10,000 square miles

While the creationists replay the Scopes Monkey Trial in Kansas and that tunfish sandwich called P.O.T.U.S. seeks congressional expenditures for star nukes and flying missile shields, an immutable fact of life is making itself known in the rainforest.  Simple biology tells us that without oxygen, we die.
(For those who need proof of this, try closing your mouth and pinching your nostrils shut. Now give it a minute or so.)
As the rainforest dwindles, so does the quality of the earth we leave for future generations.  I'm not sure if the wealthy and powerful leaders of the world and its industries are aware of this, but money only buys breathable air in Mel Brooks movies. Billionaires may be enjoying their lives now, but if we keep going at this pace, they're kids, and mine, and yours, will be sucking poison wind and cursing their grandparents with their wheezing last breaths.
Craig Rothstein

Blogs, etc

I have to express my frustration that all of the news websites and channels, including yours, have decided that blogs are credible, interesting sources of news. Blogs have been around for years and years; they are nothing new. Why all of a sudden they deserve front-page treatment makes no sense to me. They're trash. Blogs are like diaries.
They're an outlet for mindless, partisan drivel. No one cares why a blogger doesn't hate American Idol, or what someone thinks about the new Britney show. And even fewer people care about what a blogger things about pertinent news stories. It's worthless. They shouldn't be treated as if they are credible sources of the news. I hate this current trend and hope that perhaps others are expressing their frustrations with you as well, so we can end this pathetic display of technological savviness.
Lauren McChesney

Voters dissatisfied with Bush, Congress

FINALLY! Some unbiased news reporting! I truly could not tell which party Mr. Murray belongs to. Kudos to Mr. Murray! (Still, my guess is he's a libertarian).
Mario S.

Targeting badly behaved Britons

It always humors me how American journalists dismiss anything negative coming out of Britain--Europe in general--as silly and cutesy, even something as severe as teen-age street crime which is running rampant throughout Britain and continental Europe. Americans have a view of Europe best fitting 200 years ago.
Today's Europe is a melting pot boiling over in a cultural war far more severe than anything taking place in America. Europe's crime rate has escalated above America's, it's multicultural experiment is backfiring and the economy is stagnant, at best. There are no longer good-natured fellows in top hats and coat tails roaming the streets of jolly olde England. A more accurate stereotype would be skin heads wielding machetes and knives. It's irresponsible for American journalists to continue to portray a Lilly white Europe--even when reporting on crime and corruption--as if they work for a European tourist company. This story, once again, displays just how behind the times journalists are.
Mario Sanchez

The Michael Jackson trial

As a regular visitor to MSNBC.com, I must say that I wish that you would simply stop covering the Michael Jackson case. The stories are disgusting, and there is no value in the coverage. Normally, I simply avoid them or tune out, but it's tough to avoid when you give it a banner headline that I can't miss, as you have this afternoon on MSNBC.com. This is not news that I need to know -- nor does anyone, really.
Beth Broderson

Women in combat: Lawmakers draw new line

Women in front line combat? I say equal in life, equal in death. Otherwise it's nothing more that sex discrimination. I'm tired of hearing how equal women are, but they don't want to die like a man to defend this country.  I'd like to have my cake and eat it too.
Joe Shimandle

• May 18, 2005

U.S.: Unhappy al-Zarqawi ordered more strikes

This article was based on information from "a senior U.S. military official speaking on condition of anonymity."  In light of the Newsweek Koran story being retracted, why are you not insisting on naming the sources of these articles?
Why does a "a senior U.S. military official" need to remain anonymous? Does this detract from the validity of article. Does the official have his own agenda by providing this story.
Please insist on having sources identify themselves to help ensure the accuracy of the news and to prevent sources manipulting news with hidden agendas.
Peter Donohue

Newsweek's retraction

It is ludicrous that the White House is claiming that the Newsweek news tidbit on the Koran "has deeply hurt America's image abroad."
There are far more egregious actions the administration has taken since 2001 that have damaged America's image, the least of which is the invasion of Iraq. If the Bush Administration wants Newsweek to "repair" this transgression with more transparency in news reporting, then the White House  should make public all the reports on abuse at Gitmo and elsewhere that they are hiding.
Michael D'Amico

I am absolutely appalled by the total irresponsible journalism exhibited by Newsweek in the errant report of the irreverant actions against the Koran. But I am even more appalled by Newsweek's arrogance in defending, making excuses and calling the whole ordeal with the irresponsible reporting an "honest mistake."  Does Newsweek take no responsibility for the damage they have done to the integrity of America and Americans?
Do they think their "retraction" without appology or admission of wrong doing will do anything to convince your enemies that this event did not happen? The world already hates us, Newsweeks hands them one reason on a silver platter, it turns out to be false and Newsweek says "it was an honest mistake." First CBS and now Newsweek...anything for the money and the top story.
My question is this: Does MSNBC stand behind this irresponsible journalism?  I will be watching with great anticipation on whether the MSNBC values their news media fraternity or the trust of the public more.

Ronnie Pertuit

Olbermann: The resignation of Scott McClellan

This article by Keith Olberman was great. It is inconceivable to me that this Administration, which has made bad sourcing its excuse for so many of its policies, could get genuinely upset by Newsweek's article.
You might think that rather than get mad at Newsweek, they would try to find out who fed Newsweek the information. But that might mean they would also have to find out who fed Novak his info on Valerie Plame.
Thanks to Keith Olberman.

Hugh Appet

What drives gas prices?

The article was well written but it left off two key reasons for high gas prices.
1. The environmentalists insist on having the refineries distil at least six or more different blends of gas for various areas of the  country to promote cleaner air. This requires longer times for refining the crude and adding the chemical catalysts which drive up the raw prices for the distributor. This also requires the oil companies to shutter the refineries for as long as six weeks to switch from the winter blends to the summer blends. It is also during this period of shutdown that routine maintenance is performed. During this period, we have to import refined products from third parties overseas which drives the price up.
2. It has been 25+ years since the last new refinery was built in this country. This curtails the capacity for refining the crude oil that is imported into this country as well as our own production. We import refined gas all year long with the demand increasing when the refineries are shuttered.  Prices also increase when our refineries are running at more than 100% capacity and demand for gas at the pump is high. Environmentalists have once again placed such stringent requirements on building new refineries in this country that it is cheaper for them to import refined products from across the water.
Understand that I'm not giving the oil companies a free pass and have no association with them in any way. But the blame must be spread all around if the article is to be believed and fair!
Thomas Inman

On hybrid cars

Hybrid SUV's which only manage to boost gas mileage to the current compact car range are not a solution.  Real cities where density makes mass transit feasible are the solution.  The American love affair with the McMansion-SUV lifestyle is the reason for the  war in Iraq (and all the wars in the Mideast to come).
In short, we would have to start livng like the Europeans whom most Americans disdain. We'd have to become a country of urbanity and civilization, giving up our exurban excess and vulgarity.  It, of course, will never happen.  Instead we'll pat ourselves on the back for driving behemoth SUVs and continue to send our young people off to kill and be killed in "Blood For Oil" wars.
Dave Bertelli

MSNBC's International News

I am astounded and dismayed by your International coverage for today. You have a story about an individual dying during a parachute attempt off the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but no mention of an entire nation of women gaining the right to vote and run for public office for the first time in Kuwaiti history.
What's happening to news coverage? What kind of priorities are these?  If this is a continuing part of the media's effort to dumb down the American electorate, I can tell you how totally successful you are. But at what cost? The world's most powerful and influential country has the developed world's most ignorant, ill-informed people. Instead of helping reverse this frightening trend, your priorities for news coverage seem to be contributing to it.
Eldon Byland

Anorexic student denied valedictorian title

Too often, when there is a lack of judgment, Texas is involved.  Kingswood High School administrators should be chastised for not recognizing the achievement of one of its students not only for her academic performance but for what she has overcome and accomplished.
I read the article expecting that in their narrow-mindedness they would not give the honor to a student for not wanting an anorexic to be the example for a model student; however, the school's not acknowledging that she was ill and sought medical treatment is beyond stupidity - I wonder whether if her illness had been cancer would they have been so insensitive.  I rarely respond to this type of article;  I hope the administrators are thoroughly embarrassed, but probably are not, given their actions.
-SGF

• May 16, 2005

Mexico’s Fox apologizes for racial comment

First off, I'm a black man. Now that it's out of the way...I see no reason why President Fox of Mexico should apologize for his supposedly racial slur. He is, indeed, stating a fact: Mexicans will take jobs blacks won't perform or want more money to perform.
I work in the lawncare industry where Mexicans have supplanted 'rednecks' and blacks. Why? Because many -- not even close to a majority, but many -- Mexicans are, in fact, illegal. And they will, in fact, accept lower wages to do the same job. Just as many major U.S. businesses outsource their labor to foreign countries because it is cheaper, so do small U.S. businesses hire people that will perform the labor most cheaply. And those people are Mexicans, some of whom are legal and some who are not.
Fox has no reason to apologize. He's simply stating a fact.
Mike B., North Carolina

Newsweek and Guatananmo Bay

The Holy Quran was not sent for me alone. It was sent for all the humanity. Those who desecrate the Holy Scriptures should read them first to know what these have in store for them. May be they (will) learn to be better humans.
Zahid Naseem Akbar

It is amazing to me that a news magazine should be held to a standard of making sure that the facts are correct before printing a story, that was shown to the pentagon, while the White House is allowed to go to war with faulty facts and then change the reason for going to war several times, with impunity, and suffer no fallout for doing it. Why the difference?
John Amstutz
For the observer its difficult to know whether the story is accurate and government officials backpedaled, or if this was poor journalism. However, as an occasional reader of the Manchester Guardian, I read this week that up to 500 people were murdered by Uzbekistan police according to Jack Straw, foreign minister. The Guardian speculated that the story was not playing in the U.S. because of the U.S. close reliance on Uzbekistan in the “war on terror.”
When you juxtapose these two items together, one wonders if the Bush administration’s outcry about the 16 murdered victims is about justice or about its political agenda in Aghanistan and Pakistan being upset.
Perhaps if the American media, particularly TV, was better able to put stories in context and perspective Newsweek would not have to feel responsible to the U.S. government for the rioting and deaths over the Quran story.
The rioters were responsible and they were rioting against many things, only one of which was the Newsweek story.
Marian Linden

I truly have to believe that you did exactly what you wanted to do. Just like CBS and others, that story was to embarrass the Administration and bring the country down another level. What a shameful act with death on your hands as a result. The mainstream press continues to dig itself deeper in the hole. You can not be trusted. When will those on your end be held accountable that the press so pushes for in our government?
Bob Stinnett

• May 16, 2005

Fallout over Newsweek's apology

Get rid of Newsweek NOW.
MSNBC should use this opportunity to severe ties with Newsweek. If not, than you have lost me as as a site viewer.
The public is sick of the disgusting behavior of mainstream media. Newsweek crossed a line and has blood on its hands. 
Their bias is what drove that story. They published a conclusion that they wanted without facts to support it.  Bias permeates most of their stories and news photos on the MSNBC/Newsweek site.
If MSNBC wants to continue their affiliation with Newsweek, then you risk cheapening your own brand name.
Penny Hughes

How irresponsible! In the rush to be the first with the "scoop" and presuming as you do the obvious guilt of the military, you caused the firestorm that  left several dead in Afghanistan. That is akin to yelling "Fire" in a crowded movie theater, not freedom of speech. Someone is responsible for this travesty, and those whom you lied about, and those who died deserve some sort of retribution. I for one will be more inclined to go to the blogosphere for "responsible" journalism.
S.M.Spinks

The nation's top high schools

The article 'Top 1000 High Schools' that was recently published in Newsweek ... rated high schools by computing a ratio of number of tests taken to number of graduating seniors. The number of confounding variables in this ratio are extremely appalling.
The school districts benefiting from this computation are those that are wealthy enough to purchase the tests for all of their high school students, thereby enforcing participation in the AP exams which will garner them instant credibility on the national level.
I was particularly appalled by the FAQ section of the web version of the article. Many very important points were brought up such as school size, background of students, funding and scholarship opportunities for students taking AP courses, and level of academic achievement required for students to take AP tests. All of these variables should have been taken into account when rating schools nationally if not responded to afterwards. Instead the responses to the readers comments and questions took outstanding steps to avoid addressing the obvious fallacies in the article, which are evidenced by the five thousand plus criticisms of the article.
By condoning this sort of evaluation, school districts and administrators are tempted to not only cheat the system, but cheat their students of the education they deserve by leaving the students and parents with a false sense of security at the strength of the program. It is not enough to just take an Advanced Placement Exam, just looking at the number of participants wastes everybody's time from the students spending four hours per test, to the readers who shuffle through mounds of blank tests to unearth the efforts of a student who deserves to be recognized and rewarded for their accomplishments. Unfortunately, these students are not rewarded. 
As a student attending a public high school enrolling students who achieve far beyond the average, as a student who has worked hard for four years to achieve high scores on AP tests, and as a student who is representative of the hundreds of thousands who were not represented by this illogical ratio I ask that Newsweek take a more critical evaluation of the true status of education in this country. Perhaps AP test scores, or test scores in general are not to be looked at as a true indicator of educational achievement. Perhaps we are all missing the mark.
Samantha Beebout

The Week in Pictures

I find it sad that after all that has happened between America and Iraq, the public has lost interest. The situation, which is more dangerous and important than ever, has lost its brilliance and shine. It no longer makes headlines and sells magazines. I just viewed this week's (May 5-12) "The Week in Pictures" and was saddened. I voted for a picture of raging Iraqis pushing a cart with the charred body of a countryman on it. It received the fewest votes, 1,421 at the time of my voting. What was the most popular photo this week? Ten innocent little barn owls sitting in a row, 28,585 votes. How cute. The picture of the charred body is not cute. But it's real. It's more real than those barn owls.
Hannah

The Wendy's chili story

Hi!  Last night, my husband said something that I think everyone in America is thinking, including me! He said: "I can't even think about eating chili anymore!!"
I can't even stand to see stories about this issue either and can't wait for it to go away!!!
Thanks
Janice in Wichita, KS

Poll: U.S. divided on same-sex marriage

Your "Poll: U.S. divided on same-sex marriage" article on your website, PLEASE spare us the picture of two men kissing.  Please!  I like your website and read it daily.  But, I don't want to stumble on to a picture such as that.  And, honestly, do you really think that a picture such as that is going to help you generate more hits on that page?
Wade Sickler

I just want to express my dismay at today's story entitled "Nation Divided on Gay Marriage."  Have you not heard that 12 states have said "no" to gay marriage by a 75% to 25% margin?  And so a college kid interviews 750 people and comes to a totally different conclusion and you print it like it has anything to do with reality?  What you printed is not called news.  Its called propaganda.  Fortunately, most Americans are smart enough to see through such shoddy journalism.  Why not try to just report the news instead of influence people's opinions?
Thanks for listening.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Bo Brink

• May 13, 2005


Judge strikes down Nebraska anti-gay union amendment

That judge of Nebraska has no right to over-ride God Almighty. One day, he will meet his Maker face to face and will be held accountable for the ungodly decisions he has made that has had adverse affects on people, their lives and society. I'm from North Carolina, thank God. He hasn't read the Book.
Glenda O. Harris

Sharp words traded at evolution hearing

Having been raised and educated a Catholic I find it very weird that people are not able to separate their spiritual beliefs from their scientific curiosity. According to some scriptures, God supposedly created “man” in “his” image yet we have “women.” So what image niche do women fill in theocratic thinking beyond being a human reproduction factory?
It’s strange to see this country moving in a direction which attempts to bring religion to the center of political power. We should revisit the Crusades and Spanish Inquisition for historical reference as regards religion in government. There are Holy wars being waged by fanatical terrorists and we want to move toward these premises? One great thing I learned in my years in Catholic school was to keep an open mind and maintain my faith as my thoughts and feelings about scientific facts evolved.
The universe is vast beyond our comprehension as is the nature of our existence. Our time and effort as a society is better spent by acknowledging and respecting both premises rather that drawing a hard line and forcing a position on either. Our brains are capable of absorbing all this and much more. Why limit our sight to blind faith?
Angel Matos

The idea of intelligent design is to specifically criticize evolution because it is just a theory and does not completely explain the origin of life.  However, there are LOTS of theories with similar limitations (that’s why they are “theories,” not “facts”). For example, no one has proposed legislation forcing schools to cast a critical eye at the theory of relativity, or gravity, or economic price sensitivity, or a plethora of other equally non-conclusive theories.
Why have these interest groups picked evolution for this special criticism?  Because this theory in particular is in direct conflict with what is said in the Bible.  This selective legislation is clear proof of a religious agenda.
Jennifer Leavens

It is way past time that Eric Wurtele and all the other creationists get it through their thick Neolithic skulls just exactly what scientific theory and evolution are. Yes, evolution is a theory. Just like gravity is a theory. Just like electricity is a theory. Just like light is a theory. With scientific inquiry, something can only be proven to be absolutely untrue, but nothing can be proven to be absolutely true. We all know it works, we just don’t know all about how and why. Yet.
There is literally a universe full of evidence that supports the theory of evolution, as it is understood today. Support for it spans the disciplines of biology, paleontology, geology, astronomy, chemistry, and physics, as well as a multitude of sub-disciplines within each of these areas of study. The only disputes are about the mechanisms, the timelines, and the biological relationships, not about evolution itself. And we are continually learning and refining our questions, which is what any responsible scientist does. It just amazes me, when I listen to or read the comments of creationists, just how little they understand about this. The shame of it is, they are not willing to learn, only repeat what they have been told in ignorance.
Edward Hanson

United gets approval to shift pension plans

Yesterday United Airlines' pension plan took a hit. Today the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston announced cuts to its pension plan for priests due to "poor investment performance".
Yet Bush and the Republicans still want to dismantle Social Security instead of making it solvent and funnel taxes from it to Wall Street.
Crony capitalism at its best.  Reward the crony capitalists. Punish the workers. 
Dave Bertelli

TV station shows fatal shooting after L.A. chase

Your story regarding the car chase that ended with a fatal shooting live on TV caused me some concern with the title you used for the peson who was fatally shot.  
For most of the story, you identify the person as "the driver."  That is neutral and simply reports the story.
However, near the end the story notes that a "gun flies from the victim's hand..."
This editorializes the story into making this armed fleeing person who almost hit a man and his four-year old daughter, and who apparently also was headed toward a shopping center into a "victim." He is not.
Patricia Lenzi

• May 12, 2005

UK discussed early plan to topple Saddam - Blair

Where is the coverage on the British intelligence memo revealing that the U.S. manufactured justifications to invade Iraq? Or that 88 House representatives have sent a letter to Bush asking him for a serious investigation to this allegation? That even Tony Blair hasn't denied the accuracy of the memo? Is this not big news? Is this not serious news? I, and many other concerned and frustrated Americans, would like to actually hear an answer from you on why this is not being covered by your news channel. I am appalled that this story has taken a back seat to your stories on the Michael Jackson trial, 'chimp art', and the Runaway Bride.
Your NBC News highlights for today are: 'The Rolling Stones Tour', 'Why we love the ones who hurt us', and 'How to bring home the best bacon - Bacon 101'.
It's heartbreaking to see a 'serious' news channel try to compete with Entertainment Tonight, at the expense of our national future.
You really should be ashamed.
Kathryn Windley

I've been looking for more details regarding the smoking gun memo between Tony Blair and George Bush as reported in the UK press. Is the US press more interested in a "runaway bride" than in sending Americans to die in a war that may be illegal?  What has happened to the truth in the US Press?  I have to read foreign news sources to find out American truth. That's sad.
Another missing story is the one about Tom Ridge and the National Alert system, you know, the one where Tom Ridge was instructed to raise the alert level based on very weak information. Why does this press cover up the truth?  Are you that afraid? All we see is the Jackson trial, the runaway bride, and all kinds of nonsense when our very own freedoms are slowly being removed from us. Doesn't anyone care anymore?  How about the a National ID card?  Isn't that what the Nazis did? Take off your blinders and be true Patriots - support our freedoms, beginning with the freedom of the press.
C. Wentz

Day after panic, D.C. ponders evacuation plan

In the article, you printed: "At the Capitol Wednesday, armed security officers raced through the building shouting for people to leave. “This is not a drill,” guards yelled as they moved people away from the building."
There are no armed security officers at the U.S. Capitol and no guards, all personnel that perform security and law enforcement at the Capitol are fully credentialed federal police officers. These police officers attend the police academy at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the same place as ATF Agents, U.S. Marshalls, U.S. Customs Officers and Agents, Border Patrol, as well as numerous other federal agencies.  After that they return to the DC area only to attend another academy that parallels that of DC Metropolitan Police.
These police officers not only perform security for the Capitol, they enforce District of Columbia statutes and regulations as well as perform traffic law enforcement in a large portion of the city.  Maybe the next time you get pulled over in DC you should refer to the police officer as a guard.
Chad Hall

Immigrant advocates Condemn ID Act's Passage

Do the people who passed this act truly think that a person who wishes to do the nation harm will be stopped by increased red tape at the DMV? I think it is more likely that he or she will either by-pass the license all together. Really, someone who came here to do us harm will do it, whether they have a valid drivers license or not. This act is only going to increase the number of unlicensed, uninsured drivers on the roads and increase the incidence of identity theft.
If we really want to make the nation safer, we should make obtaining a driver’s license be about one thing only—driving. If we want to deal with the problem of illegal immigration then we need to reform our immigration system and involve ourselves in finding some solutions to the source problems, such as crushing poverty and political instability that make people so desperate to get here, legally or otherwise. Maybe if we could help those people to stop needing to come here, we would have more time and resources to put into tracking and preventing terrorism.
Bashing migrants and tying ourselves up in red tape won’t do much to keep us safe, or to promote the qualities that the United States is supposed to stand for—tolerance, democracy and freedom. When Winston Churchill said that all we truly have to fear is fear its self, I think this was precisely the type of situation he was referring to.
Kelly Ospina

Motorcycles push the limits of speed, safety

This story has some merit but lacks a lot of facts. More people are riding so more people are going to have accidents. Statistics 101, plain and simple.
I don't have time to look up the statistics right now, I'm sure you guys could if you wanted to publish an accurate story, but most accidents are caused by drivers of other vehicles instead of motorcyclists. Maybe cell phone use of four-wheeled vehicles is causing the increase in accidents? Now there is a story for you.
All I ask is that you do more research before putting out half truths stories of something, no matter what the subject.
GBeall

• May 11, 2005

United gets OK to dump pension plan

United Airways has become another huge corporation to dump pension obligations on the general public. During all this time they have continued to set their corporate officers pay and bonuses high as failure to manage does not seem to be a criteria for withholding compensation anymore for the elite.
One question not answered—in most other pension bailouts upper management got to set aside huge amounts of funds to guarantee their pensions and future bonuses.  Has United management been granted this sweetheart deal also?
Alan

United Airlines' pension plan has crashed and burned.  More and more American workers don't even have company pension plans.  It all proves why Social Security needs be made solvent and kept a tax supported government program for all Americans, and why health care needs to become such a program.
What FDR called "the malefactors of great wealth" have control now of the federal government under the Bush-DeLay-Frist regime, but Americans can wake up and change that with their votes.
Peter Alaimo

The Future of Evolution

I have been an MSNBC.com reader for a good number of years.  Perhaps I have missed it in the past, but it seems that recently your website has made a big push for publishing evolutionary stories as if they were facts.
"The Future of Evolution" and "Violent Stars Hint at Earth's Wild Birth" and other such stories seem to be such a blatent push forward of a secular humanist agenda.  It may be interesting, but it is not fact. It's a theory, not a law.
It would seem more professional if your material was presented with both sides in mind, rather than the fact of evolution. Am I off base? I would like to continue viewing your website, please let me know how this became reported as fact and not theory. 
Eric Wurtele

Army, Marines miss recruiting goals again

Had the war in Iraq truly been about Al Qaeda and terrorism, I could see parents talking to their sons and daughters about service to this nation and a sense of duty to this nation regarding an by Gen. Richard Cody, the Army's vice chief of staff.
This war was begun by a mad man, and I'm not talking about Sadam Hussein. After all the untruths leading to this war, there would be no way I would encourage my three boys to enlist.  Gen.Cody  needs to understand that we can still be patriotic and not be willing to sacrifice our children at the altar of Bush's political agenda.
Nancy McCarthy

MSNBC Navigation

Please, Please, Please return to using drop down menus on your home page!!!!  I only read news on the msnbc website and without drop downs it is so inconvenient and time consuming.  Thank-you for taking this into consideration!
Cyndi Neri

• May 9, 2005

Yellowstone Eruption Threat High

I find it necessary to write regarding a story you reprinted from the AP. This is a 13-paragraph story, and it is necessary to read down to the 10th paragraph to find out that the threat of an 'eruption' is not what is feared!
I understand the purpose is to get people to read newspapers and so-called new stories...this just isn't one! I would be interested in hearing your justification in resorting to sensationalism.
Ron Bourne

Reckless pilots a problem for U.S. military

The article misses the boat and this specific accident is a poor example of reckless” pilot” behavior.
The article is addressing a subject that has always been at issue, more with non pilots than those of us that have had to learn our own capabilities, that of the aircraft and the operational envelope of the bird itself. 
The problem here is that a movable object from the rear of the aircraft was thrown forward into the cockpit consequently jamming the controls. Therefore, the fault of the accident is traceable to the object which was not tied down. The crash therefore was a consequence of not lashing/securing a cargo item.
Standard Operating Procedure requires that any objects in the aircraft be secured/lashed the same as the passengers that were wearing their seat belt. This is the direct responsibility of the “Crew Chief” and the secondary responsibility of the “Aircraft Commander” (AC).
Additionally, it would be advisable to verify weather or not the “Crew Chief” (Who unfortunately was killed in the accident) had “his” seat belt fastened. Many times, in my experience, the crew chief does not buckle up unless directed to do so by the AC.
R. Brock Watkins (CW3 US Army Aviator Ret)

• May 6, 2005

The Evolution of a fight to the end

About Evolution versus creationism, since when does science reflect beliefs?  I found your question in the poll amusing. It asked if we should teach creationism because of the beliefs of the people. What is the matter with the world when science is denied because of beliefs?  Shades of Galileo! No wonder the US is falling behind in the education game!
Judith Slover

Ah, yes. Evolution and religion. Creation vs. Intelligent design. I love the debate. It is healthy and is important to further our knowledge of our human situation. I caution the creationists that are riding on the coattails of the Intelligent Design scientists. Be aware that when you open this Pandora’s box of Intelligent Design, you are admitting into the discussion a possibility which you may find even more distasteful than evolution. The universe could in fact have been created by an advanced entity that could only be described as what is more colloquially known as an alien species.
Marcus Mattson

Fleeing bride-to-be’s tale opens old racial wounds

Erin Texeira’s article about the racial implications of Jennifer Wilbanks’ abduction claims was really well-done. The similarities to the Charles Stuart and Susan Smith cases were not lost on me. One comment, though.  Ms. Texeira mentions research done by Tuskegee University in Alabama, and calls it a one-time black college, now a historic site.  While it is true that the University is both a National Historic Site and a Registered Historic Landmark, it is still an active degree-granting university. Ms. Texeira’s article seemed to imply otherwise.
Thank you for continuing the race discussion. This country still has a lot of healing to do, that can only be done if these things are out in the open.
Lynne Streeter

Grooming for sexual success

'Grooming for sexual success' was an entirely inappropriate column for an online mainstream "newspaper." Maybe you should rename your rag msnbcplayboyhustler.com.
David Gamlowski

FDA set to ban gay sperm donors

First of all, thank you for bringing this story into the mainstream.  I am dismayed that it has already disappeared, but at least I am aware of it, which, I'm sure, is far more than you can say about Fox.com.  I noticed the story was from the AP, but I couldn't find anyway to contact them. Is your organization aware of which docket the FDA has placed this ruling on? I, and many of my friends and colleagues, would like to contact the FDA to urge them not to go through with this highly discriminatory measure.  GLBT men and women are losing far more rights and priveledges than they are gaining, and I can't believe this is happening in the country that is supposed to be a beacon of freedom and equality.
Your help would be greatly appreciated.  Please also consider placing this story back on the "front page".  I think it's safe to say we've heard enough of the "Runaway Bride".
A. Renee Knowles

The FDA's decision to ban all gay sperm donors is a clear example of the unending bigotry of the Bush administration, and the constant expansion of its goal of a theocratic state with Christian Sharia as its law.
It goes without saying that every precaution against HIV positive sperm should be take. It makes sense to test ANY donor, freeze the sperm, then test the donor again in six months.  But the safety of the recipient and future child is not the administration's goal. It's goal is a theocratic state, with Christian Sharia laws and regulations of pure hate and bigotry.
Dave Bertelli

• May 5, 2005

Stun guns for everyone? Taser fires up debate

My name is Bob Swenson.  I have been employed full-time in Law Enforcement in Minnesota since July 1978. I am a use of force/deadly force instructor, firearms instructor, hold a BES from St. Cloud State University, am a Taser Instructor, and have been hit twice by the M26 Taser.  It is with that authority that I can tell you that the Taser is THE best "less lethal" device to come to the aid of Law Enforcement.  If you haven't yet spoken with Taser and gone through the training, do so.  You owe it to yourself and your readers to know all the facts.
Almost all of the agencies I work with employ the Taser.  My experience is that the threatened use is enough, in most circumstances, to dissuade the suspect and avoid other uses of force to resolve a situation.  Two officers I know faced off with an adult male with a shotgun.  The Taser was used. The officers and suspect all survived.
Can that be counted in dollars or argued against? I can relate many more incidents to you.  Not only have criminals with evil intent been stopped, but also mentally ill persons who are not criminals,  but who may have, in other circumstances without the availability of the Taser,  been subjected to higher uses of force and ended up injured or killed.
Would Amnesty International have preferred that the suspect or mentally ill person be shot and most likely killed? I can't get my mind around their reasoning.  The devise is used successfully every day. It has saved the lives of countless officers and suspects.  Again,  would Amnesty International want to see officers injured and killed along with suspects injured and killed on a more regular basis? Perhaps they should interview several suspects who only went to jail rather than the graveyard and ask what they think. And then they could interview the families of officers, who you employ and they employ, and ask them what it means to have a loved one come home safe. 
Bob Swenson
Deputy Sheriff, Wadena, Mn

I have been through Basic Law Enforcement Training, I have been shot with a Taser as part of training. I don't feel it is a good idea to have these available for the general public. Think about all of the bad that can come out of this. You may have people using the guns for more than emergencies.
We already have enough violence in the world, why add to it. This should be used only by trained officials. I do believe there should be more interest from law enforcement regarding the Taser, it is a good source of protection for our law enforcement agencies, and can save on many uncalled for deaths, as well as lawsuits.
Donna Kirkman

The evolution of a fight to the end

I saw your about the confrontation (or lack of it) going on in Kansas over the belated demise of evolution as a fact rather than theory.  Does that description of your report sound biased and slanted to you?  If it doesn’t, then I didn’t do a very good job of writing the thing.
Your report was filled with comments that strongly implied the proponents of anything other that evolution are simply either poorly informed or dim-witted or both.  There wasn’t even the slightest suggestion that the Evolutionists are boycotting the gathering because they know they cannot defend their position in an open and informed debate.
Frankly, I’m not certain why I’m bothering to write.  There has been very little evidence that MSNBC has any interest in factual reporting or un-biased writing at all.  Perhaps it should be taken as another proof of the veracity of the anti-evolutionary position that MSNBC cannot choke out a single, positive statement concerning the viewpoint.
Perhaps a few hours of earnest prayer and Scriptural mediation are experiences from which you would benefit.  What am I saying?  That’s something from which we would all benefit.
Roderick M. Stephenson

In response to Alex Johnson's article sub-titled In Kansas, God and science are going toe to toe again...
You are perpetrating the essential error of this discussion in favor of the fundamentalists. It is not God vs Science, but Some people's bizarre beliefs about God vs. Science. Please remain neutral on this important issue.
Stephen Cherniske, M.Sc.

• May 4, 2005

MSNBC's flyout menus

I am sooooooooo happy the expanding menus on the left are gone...they were super annoying!!
Kayte McCoy

Who would complain about the expanding menus? Seriously, who? They were the reason I visited msnbc more than any other news website. They made your site far easier to browse for stories that interested me than cnn, msn, or any other news site.
The first time I noticed they were gone the other day, I assumed it was a glitch. Now I'm disappointed.
Michael Martin

Are Freeway Shootings Random Acts Of Violence?

Why are the California Highway shootings being treated in such a blase' way?
Four people dead and law enforcement suggests that it isn't so bad, "just look at the statistics from past years". What rock are they hiding under?
It only took 1 highway death for Ohio law enforcement to ratchet up to their investigation.
Forensics might compare any bullets, so that the public would know just how many different shooters are using the California highways as their private shooting range.
Come on, you news reporters, let's start to ask meaningful, pointed questions. These shootings are not in the same league as high school sports, they are much more important.
J. K. Crosbie III

Driver’s license a hassle? It may get worse

Excuse me...but I don't give a flying fig!  I had to show my birth certificate when I got my driver's license.  Was it a bit of a hassle...sure it was...but I wanted to drive so I was willing to do whatever it took to get that license. 
You don't even have to leave the comfort of your home to get a birth certificate, and the cost is only 12 bucks. 
I would gladly show my birth certificate, social security card, bank statement, electric bill, telephone bill, mortgage payment receipt, check stub, or whatever else it takes!  I am sick of illegals getting a free ride in this country.  When my mother was still alive, I took her to the DMV to get her Washington State ID card, and sent to Olympia for her birth certificate...so don't tell me it's too hard to get the proper ID.  BULL!!!!!!!!!!!!!  There is transportation for the poor in every single community in this country. 
Driving is a privilege...not a right.  If you want to drive, then prove that you're an American citizen..period!  If you want to vote...prove that you have the right to vote!  Simple! 
Joy Miller

I have just finished reading the article on the legislative proposals for new drivers licenses.  Am I reading this correctly?  This article says that the states will still be able to issue licenses to illegal  aliens.  WHAT?    How can they do that?  Illegal aliens cannot produce a  birth certificate or a social security card.  How can they get a license to drive?  We are struggling to protect our southern borders from illegal aliens entering the country; yet, on the other hand, we gladly issue them a drivers license?  Our legislators are obviously not living in the same world as the rest of us.
Kathy L.

Britons ask: Can they trust Tony?

I read Chris Hampson's Letter from London today with great anticipation.
Finally, I thought, a major American news outlet would break the apparent blackout of the biggest blockbuster in months, the Independent's story on the plan to go to war in the summer of 2002. Yes, long before the case was made to the American people, long before the tough talk and ultimatums that supposedly pushed us into war, Bush had already made up his mind.
Amazingly, the well-sourced Independent story was not mentioned in Hampson's column or anywhere else on MSNBC.com. Or CNN.com. Or foxnews.com. Or the Washington Post. Or the New York Times. Not ABC. Not CBS.
I think you and the rest of the American mainstream media owe us an explanation.
Ken Chambers

No sympathy for ‘runaway bride’

I just read your producer, Nina Bradley's, commentary about having no sympathy for the "runaway bride".  Perhaps Jennifer Wilbanks does not want her "sympathy" and I am sure did not ask for her public commentary on this situation. I am curious why Bradley feels that she should sit in judgment of Wilbanks—someone she does not even know—simply because they are both brides-to-be.
If I were Bradley's fiancée, I would certainly be thinking twice about getting married to someone so callous and judgmental.  Why not be thankful that this situation was not any worse - Wilbanks was obviously in severe distress and felt she had no one or no where to turn—Bradley should be thankful she is not in the same situation and let it go at that.
Jimmy


Brothers plan 'Operation Salami Drop' for GIs
In response to this article, my partner and I have also been doing our part to make soldiers' tour of duty a little bit better by starting a CD's for Soldiers Drive.  We started when we received an email from a soldier stationed in Iraq requesting that we send them cd's and that email prompted us to start the drive.  We are still ongoing in our efforts and would like to know if we can get a bit of press for our venture to make this a success.  You are invited to view the page and are free to contact us in regards to this.
The page is http://www.femmixx.com/cd4soldiers.html
It has all the information on where to send the CD's.
Any exposure that we can get in our efforts will be greatly appreciated. 
Gary

• May 3, 2005

U.S. unprepared for nuclear terror, experts say

I am Lance Corporal Frank J King US Marine Corps. I am currently active duty in an anti-terrorist unit geared towards the Captiol region. This letter is in response to your article involving the our country's supposed lack in readiness to nuclear attack.
I firmly disagree, for multiple reasons that are easily found  even with a shallow research. For one, our unit is specifically trained for incident response in Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High Yield Explosive (CBRNE) attacks. We as an entire Marine Corps are a "force in readiness." Including the fact that our unit trains around the clock specifically for this type of event.
Nuclear attacks are on the bottom of the list of what we fear. Though possible these attacks are just not probable. As Marines we are still very ready for this event due to the mere fact it is possible. The article points out most that responders and citizens aren't prepared for an attack, when the fact of the matter is there isn't much to prepare. This unit has worked and trained with many other fire departments including FDNY in preparation for such an event. So that what can be done will be, the rest is containment of the material. Though rumors of uranium from bombs are floating around from the Soviet areas and supposedly fallen into the hands of terrorists this again is not probable.
Though in the case of this possible occurrence these terrorists, though funded well, still do not have the funds, education or means of processing such matter. This uranium is weak and requires incredible amounts of processing, further more if it were to be, these people then need to find a way of dispersing it. In this case dispersion would most likely kill those trying to do so before completing their mission. Leaving a small area the size of an average living room contaminated, which can swiftly be contained and removed. There are many factors that hinder the possibilities of a nuclear terrorist attack, the largest of which I have stated.
 
LCpl Frank J King III, USMC

"Nuclear Meltdown" read the headline tonight at MSNBC.com, with a photo of persons in radiation suits. That ranks as among the most misleading, terrifying, and irresponsible headlines I have ever read.
Perhaps you meant it as a coy, though poor, metaphor.  Unfortunately it appears to be a report of an actual meltdown.  I was riveted to my seat not unlike 9/11 or when I saw news of the 2004 tsunami.  Now I feel angry and disgusted. Shame.
James Alley


How clean are your school cafeterias?

I have followed your story on school luchrooms and I am a cook's aid and my son attends xxx middle school in Byesville, Ohio.
I do not work at his school but I am sure their kitchen is disgusting the milk is warm and droppings are all over under the meat slicer and the milk cooler. The children are receiving very poor service. I beleive what you are doing is wonderful (you are sure stirring up the lunch rooms) and believe you are doing a great service to our children. I hope a lot of districts realize the filth our childrens' food is prepared in.
Thank you
a concerned mother


What comes next for Lynndie England?
Lyndie England may be guilty of abuse but the mainstream media is guilty of neglect.  In the biggest guffaw of President Bush's ambition to bring freedom America-style to Iraq, there has been absolutely no accountability for the military higher-ups.  Donald Rumsfeld, of all people, seems to have a perennial get-out-of-jail-free card, leaving the headlines to one or two army privates to be blamed.
In a dramatically hyperbolic comparison, when Allied troops reclaimed Europe they did not let the buck rest on the heads of the German infantry. Rather, blame ultimately fell where it should have: on Hitler and his pack of rabid racist Rottweilers. Today we see, in the organizational sense, much the opposite.  Our men and women on the ground in Iraq, who, it ought to be noted, are serving a duty our Daring Presidential Duo evaded, are taking the fall for the overwhelmingly obvious responsibility of their superiors (in the loosest sense of the word).  The Commander-in-Chief of the Army himself, in all his freedom-waving grandeur, has not deigned to take even partial responsibility for this massive faux pas. Certainly Mr. Rumsfeld has stayed clear of the shrapnel.
Isn't it pathetic that a group of overzealous war-hawks don't have the cajones to own up to their part in this twisted, fraterity-type prank?
Isn't it even more pathetic that Ms. England will have her face splattered all over the news as the army and the media eviscerate her credibility in simultaneous juridical and communicative attacks?

Craig Rothstein

• May 2, 2005

Editor's note: Turning off the 'flyout'

I access MSNBC.com several times a day, every day for news updates - Entertainment, Health, Tech/Science. I am sad to see the expanding new menus on the left side disappear due to complaints from other readers. For me, this was the best part of the site, as I was able to read the headlines of every story on one page making navigation much easier by clicking from the mainpage directly to the article, and then using the expanded menu again to click to a new article without having to navigate back.
Thanks anyway for providing such up to date and accurate information. I hope this change will be reconsidered in the future, or you will find a way to create similar accessibility withouth "getting in the way" for other readers.
Jim Cruise

The Month in Space Pictures
These pictures are remarkable. Thank you for sharing them with me.  I know that sounds corny, but if you hadn't put them on the web, I would never have seen them.  Again, thank you.
Candy Harmon

Prosecutor weighs charges in case of runaway bride

Jennifer Wilbanks, the, "runaway" bride-to-be should be ashamed of herself.  She is a 33 or 34 year-old woman, NOT a teenager!  Unless, of course, she has some sort of emotional problem that has yet to be diagnosed...in which case, if I were her soon-to-be husband, I would make sure she gets the help she needs.
But, if she just did this stunt because she was, "scared and upset", then she should publicly apologize for getting her family upset, her future husband was almost branded as a criminal, and for putting her whole town in an uproar. Sounds to me like she was just another woman from a well-to-do family who just wanted some attention.  Well, she got it!
Donna M. Burck

For Bush, doubts about a mandate

It's amusing to hear Bush talk about an energy plan with his record.
Bush gives huge tax breaks for buying Hummers. Oil companies who are making record profits are getting huge tax breaks. Now he wants to give away military bases to oil companies to build refineries. I don't think corporate fascism is the right solution to bringing down the price of gas and make life better for the people of America.
I'm Marc Perkel - And I approved this message!

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