Here, Mickey Kaus blasts "This American Life":
Does it always feature tedious bits of propaganda like the recent segment (#4 on this link) from a "fellow at the New America Foundation" crudely presenting one side of the argument for the DREAM Act? ("There is a very simple solution to all of this, a bill called the DREAM Act ..." concludes narrator Douglas McGray--as if he were talking to children and there were no arguments against rewarding "undocumented" immigrants by granting their children legal status, in-state tuition and citizenship.) You'd get a lot more useful information from a two-graf editorial in USA Today.Well, you listen to that segment and tell me if it's crude or profound. It doesn't set out to examine the provisions of the act. It reaches you emotionally by bringing you inside one person's life. Admittedly, that has a propaganda effect. I was ready to promote the act, though I didn't know the details of it. But I got the message that there is a narrow legislative proposal that is being stalled by those who want to deal with the much larger immigration problem and I realized I'd have to look up the proposal on the web and see if the details checked out. I don't see what is crude about making you care about a problem rather than dissecting the legislation.
So read about the legislation at Mickey's link and tell me -- Mickey doesn't -- why we shouldn't care in a special way about young people who were brought here by their parents, educated by Americans, and then left with no way to follow through on their dreams?
And let's look a little more closely about why Kaus doesn't like "This American Life." He seems quite concerned about Ira Glass and his "clipped, geeky," "ironic nerd/hip" voice. I think it's the big testosterone discrepancy between Ira Glass and Mickey Kaus that is squicking Mickey out.
ADDED: The producer of the "American Life" segment, Douglas McGray, wrote a long piece in the L.A. Times before he did the radio version linked in Kaus's post. Here's some detail about the DREAM Act from the article:
Together with Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, [Democrat Dick Durbin] introduced a bill called the DREAM Act. The bill recognized that kids such as Thi and Martha grew up as Americans and may not even remember another home. It offered them conditional resident status when they graduate from high school; if they graduate from college or serve in the military, that conditional status becomes a green card.
When Durbin and Hatch introduced the DREAM Act in 2001, it provoked the kind of deep disagreement that seems to follow each new immigration proposal. Eventually, though, the bill had collected a staggering 47 co-sponsors, nearly half the Senate, including immigration hawk Larry Craig, a Republican from Idaho; likely GOP presidential candidates John McCain of Arizona and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and their Democratic counterpart, New York's Hillary Clinton; Minnesota Republican Norm Coleman; California Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. The bill has enjoyed unusually broad support for an immigration measure for several reasons.
Only the most extreme immigration hard-liner would blame a toddler, or even an adolescent, for the choices their parents made. Some strain to make the case that offering opportunities to kids such as Thi, Martha or Esmeralda is akin to rewarding their parents, but that is just a polite way to argue that punishing children will discourage illegal immigration—not exactly a crowded bandwagon, when there are other ways to address the problem. Besides, there is something undeniably American about kids who scrap their way out of a bad situation with talent and hard work.
In 2003, the Senate's right-leaning Judiciary Committee voted 16-3 to bring the DREAM Act to the rest of the Senate. But the Senate's Republican leadership refused to schedule the DREAM Act for an up-or-down vote. The bill had Republican dissenters, and Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, appeared fearful of dividing his party and alienating right-wing activists.
Again this year, the Judiciary Committee endorsed the DREAM Act, voting to attach it to the Senate's sweeping immigration reform bill. But before Congress left for recess earlier this month, that bill bogged down, perhaps indefinitely. Even if the measure ultimately passes the Senate, it must be reconciled with a tougher House bill on immigration. Just before legislators left town, however, a bipartisan group of House members reintroduced their version of the DREAM Act. Compared with the nightmarish task of overhauling America's immigration system, and determining the future of 12 million illegal residents, offering green cards to a few all-but-American college kids hardly seems controversial.