Fri February 22, 2013
Who Should We Honor On Presidents' Day?
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
And now it's time for BackTalk. That's where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere. Editor Ammad Omar is with us. What's going on today, Ammad?
AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: Hey, Michel. So a lot of people are at the end of a short week, even though it might not feel like it. Monday was Presidents Day if you can remember that far back. And we mentioned on the show that it's a day when we celebrate our nation's presidents. But, Michel, Loretta Adamo(ph) from White Plains, New York, wrote in to tell us that that is not exactly true.
She writes: I thought that the third Monday in February is observed in the United States as a legal holiday in commemoration of the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. I don't want to celebrate Taft, Buchannan, Harrison, Bush, or Clinton. Let's keep the holiday to honor Washington and Lincoln as originally intended.
Well, Michel, just to make sure we checked with our library and Loretta is right. So feel free to ignore Taft and Harrison and Buchannan next year unless you really like those guys, I guess.
MARTIN: Anything else?
OMAR: Yes. We do have something else. Last year in January we talked a little bit about a controversy surrounding LEGO. They're introducing new toys that were aimed at girls. Let's hear a little bit of tape from an ad promoting the new line of LEGOs.
(SOUNDBITE OF AD)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: New LEGO Friends. Welcome to beautiful Heartlake City. I'm Stephanie. I'm going to a party at the new cafe with my friend Olivia.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: That's me. I just finished decorating my house. Time to chill with the girls.
MARTIN: All right. Chill with the girls. How about that, Ammad?
OMAR: I mean, not everyone was happy with that, Michel. If you remember, you spoke with a woman named Bailey Shoemaker-Richards who told us that the whole thing was stereotypical. She was so against it that she got tens of thousands of people to sign a petition on change.org telling LEGO to stop it.
Some consumer groups were with her as well. Well, LEGO didn't stop and this week they're reporting a 25 percent boost in sales and they say that's thanks in part to those new LEGOs aimed at girls. That came out to an extra $1 billion in sales for LEGO last year. The company says it couldn't keep up with demand for those LEGO Friends sets in the U.S. and they sold three times more of them here in the States than they expected.
MARTIN: Chilling with the girls. Yeah. How about that?
OMAR: There you go.
MARTIN: In the beauty salon. Yes. Anything else?
OMAR: All right. Last bit of news, Michel, on a much more serious note. It's about a very famous swim coach, Rick Curl. His swimmers have won Olympic medals and all sorts of honors at the national and local levels as well. Back in August we spoke with Kelley Currin. She was a swimmer and she had dreams of going to the Olympics too.
But she told us she was abused by Curl starting back when she was just 13 years old. Well, Rick Curl pleaded guilty to sexual abuse charges yesterday in a Maryland court. His sentencing is scheduled for May and according to published reports, he could face up to 15 years in prison.
MARTIN: Well, thanks, Ammad for that news update.
OMAR: Thank you, Michel.
MARTIN: Of course, remember at TELL ME MORE the conversation never ends. To tell us more you can visit us online at npr.org/tellmemore. Please remember to leave us your name. We're on Twitter. Just look for #tellmemorenpr. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.