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    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    Tuesday Reading List

    A few things to check out, if you have a sec.

    In Salon, Immigration Nation:

    Indeed, illegal immigrants, who were supposed to live a shadowy existence, belong to neighborhoods and to church congregations that were willing to stand alongside them. And most important: Many millions of illegal immigrants have U.S. relatives, sons and daughters, in-laws, cousins, grandchildren.

    That family tie is the lesson of these parades. In Houston and Boston, in Phoenix and in San Jose, Calif., what we saw were not exactly "protests," nor were they political demonstrations, primarily. We were seeing huge family gatherings, celebrations of the clan.

    In Los Angeles, I saw a veritable platoon of young women with baby strollers, the babies asleep or not, the women chatting, as though they were headed to the grocery store. I saw carnival balloons and comic oversize sombreros. I saw the Mexican Virgin of Guadalupe floating on somebody's shoulders. I saw the flags of several nations, often, of course, Mexico's. On one Mexican flag, an old man with an Indian face had taped the photographs of his sons, serving in Iraq.

    In generations past, for example during the Depression, once America had done with the eager hands of Mexico, there were mass deportations. Send the Messicans back!

    But now, how do you deport so many millions who belong to even more millions?

    After the early parades, some Americans (who never complain about Irish flags on St. Patrick's day) complained to Sean Hannity about all those damn Mexican flags. (If they love Mexico so much, why'n't they go back?) In Dallas on Sunday, some mad-as-hell Texans decided to burn the Mexican flag.

    Yesterday, it was clear that the crowds had heard the complaints. On extravagant display were yards and yards of red, white, blue. And thus the irony was deepened: The happy parade of outsiders was waving American flags.

    David Broder on Narrowing The House's Gender Gap:

    it turns out that there are specific characteristics for districts that are friendly or hostile to female candidates -- at least as far as white women are concerned. The scholars could find no significant differences in terms of geography or social characteristics between those districts that elected African American men and African American women. Almost without exception, they were heavily Democratic, urban and working class.

    But the picture is very different for white women running for Congress. "Female Democratic House members tend to win election in districts that are more liberal, more urban, more diverse, more educated and much wealthier than those won by male Democratic members of the House," they write. "They come from much more compact, 'tonier,' upscale districts than their male counterparts."

    My Amusement Park has yet to comment on Katie Couric's new position, but I'm stoked about it and everyone who's dissing the situation makes me want to start throwing punches. Newsweek talks The Katie Factor:

    For the record, Couric is going to be the anchor of the "CBS Evening News"—the first solo woman anchor on network television. It's almost certain that she didn't mention it because NBC wouldn't let her. (And wouldn't that be ironic, seeing how CBS Radio tried to muzzle Howard Stern when he was moving to satellite radio—then later sued him for talking anyway.) But the impression Couric's announcement left—her reluctance to blow her own horn, underscored by that unassuming working on—says everything about Couric, and why she's about to make TV history. When she takes that $15 million-a-year anchor seat in September (which represents a slight pay cut), she could well become the most influential newscaster in the country. But our Katie—well, she's still just folks.

    The initial reaction to Couric's announcement naturally focused on her gender. Will viewers accept their evening news from someone wearing mascara? The fact is, Couric is cut from entirely different cloth than any of her predecessors, including the handful of women coanchors. She's the most up-close-and-personal news broadcaster ever on television. We know her kids and her deceased husband. When she's dating a new man, she makes the gossip magazines, as do her new hairdos. We've seen her inside and out—literally. In 2000, she had a colonoscopy performed live on the air, as part of her ongoing campaign against colon cancer, which killed her husband, Jay Monahan. We expect our news anchors to be like icebergs: distant, strong and cool. Couric is warm, and sometimes a little wet. When Walter Cronkite shed an on-air tear after the assassination of President Kennedy, he made history because it was atypical anchor behavior. Couric cries regularly. She did it again last week when she was talking about leaving and, famously, in her moving post-Columbine interviews. So the question isn't so much whether a woman can succeed as a network news anchor, but can the girl next door?


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