Letters: Celebrities, Immigration, and Graduates

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Listeners comment on the coverage of celebrity news, the implementation of a point system that could decide who gets a green card, and advice for new graduates.

NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, the day we read from your e-mails. And we saw a lot of them after our conversation with Hank Steuver last week. He is the Washington Post reporter who, until this month, wrote the "Question Celebrity" column. He said he's fed up with overexposed celebrities, and so were many of our listeners.

CONAN: Not only am I sick of celebrity news, complained Kevin Gunn(ph) in Kentucky, I'm also sick of pseudo-celebrities created by reality shows. The sad part is once they hook you, they're like train wrecks. You can't turn away. My daughter introduced me to "Flavor of Love" - help.

Another listener, Michael Berken(ph) of Saint Louis came up with one idea why we might get hooked on this celebrity fluff. With all of the real problems in the world, he wrote, I wonder if people have overloaded and choose to focus on celebrity as a way of distracting us all from the harder ones to think about, like Darfur, Iraq, the state of education in America, global warming. No, he did not mention the incarceration of Paris Hilton.

We also talked about speeding last week and heard all sorts of excuses why people drive too fast. One of our guests mentioned that what we need is an organization like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, but which focuses on the dangers of speeding.

CONAN: Dee Brant(ph) e-mailed from Naperville, Illinois, to tell us there is an organization that educates people regarding the tragic effects of speeding. Our name is Families Against Chronic Excessive Speed 4 or FACES4. The founders of this organization lost children due to the actions of others' speeding and excessive rate on Illinois roadways. People are underestimating the value they put on their lives as well as the lives of others on the roadways with them.

President Bush meets today with Republican members of the Senate in an effort to revive the compromise immigration bill. Last week, before debate stalled, we focused on one part of the proposed bill - the point system that would decide who gets a green card. Priority would have gone to people with desirable job skills, education and the ability to speak English.

John e-mailed from California to argue that we already have a point system. As a capitalist society, we are inherently a meritocracy. Competition is the foundation of our society. Those who can cut the mustard will do so. Those who cannot will leave.

Another listener disagreed. Why don't we only let in good-looking people or how about only tall people? Sounds crazy, doesn't it? How is it okay to justify giving an advantage to those who have more schooling than those who don't? That from Brad Schwartz(ph) in Chicago.

We ended last week with some unsolicited advice for new graduates and listeners weighed in with the best and worst advice that they've heard over the years. Kaycee Burnsend(ph) in Virginia, e-mailed. My advice is to expect things, including yourself, to change. Be flexible and forgiving with yourself. If you don't find your calling the first time, look again.

Frank Delmani(ph) in Phoenix offered this bit of practical wisdom to high school grads. Major in anything you want, but minor in business.

And taking a cue from our admonition, not to use the famous line from the movie "The Graduate." Jen e-mailed from Piedmont in California to suggest: No, no, no. Not plastics. Geriatrics. The baby boomers are going to be a force to be reckoned with. You grads ought to make the most of it.

There's plenty more listener advice for grads on our blog. That's at npr.org/blogofthenation. And if you missed any of those programs, they're available as downloads. The details on that are also at npr.org/blogofthenation.

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