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Kai Ryssdal: We’re going to start our letters segment today with the company that’s been in the news non-stop, mostly for its cars that reportedly won’t stop. A couple of weeks ago commentator David Frum said Toyota ought to get credit for what he called the global quality revolution, thanks to an American statistician named Edwards Deming. Not long after World War II, Deming convinced Japanese manufacturers that quality could indeed be engineered into their products.
Demings’ name has largely dropped out of popular consciousness but Cliff Robinson wrote from Wilmington, Del., to put his importance into perspective we might understand.
CLIFF ROBINSON: If the name Edwards Deming was as common as Britney Spears we wouldn’t be in such a mess.
We aired a commentary not too long ago from the president of Jackson State University — Dr. Ronald Mason. He suggested that historically black colleges and universities, like Jackson State, ought to join forces to survive their budget crises.
Victor Barge from Minneapolis, Minn., has some relatives that went to historically black colleges. He says he doesn’t totally agree with Dr. Mason, but his ideas do beat the status quo.
VICTOR BARGE: I think your recommendation is imperfect but the best option for continuing the tradition of providing an HBC alternative for the foreseeable future.
Novelist Lionel Shriver was on the program last week. We talked about her new book “So Much For That.” It’s a tale about the true effect of health care costs on families of the seriously ill. One of the topics we touched on is that in real life we don’t often have the brutal conversations her characters do about whether the cost of keeping somebody alive is worth it.
Tori Norman is an intensive care nurse in Sacramento, Calif.
TORI NORMAN: I work in a ICU, and if a patient were to say, “Let me just die, it will be too costly to keep me alive,” they’d end up with getting a psychiatric consult because they’re “depressed.” Patients get treated as if something is wrong if they’re making that type of decision.
Jason Vuic was with us last Friday to talk about his new book on the Yugo, the worst car in history was the subtitle. We were not kind to the small Yugoslavian import. That got Ruth Martin from Brown Summit, N.C. — and a bunch of other people, to be honest with you — a little bit upset.
Ruth said her Yugo hit 90,000 miles.
RUTH MARTIN: The only reason why they were not more popular was the ridiculous American obsession with big cars, and luxurious appearance. I would buy one again in a heartbeat if they were available.
I don’t know, Ruth. I saw one on eBay today for $1500. Only 84,000 miles on that baby. No matter what you drive, if you’ve got a comment or a question about what you hear on the broadcast, please let us know.
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