Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Viva Los Suns

Today I am a Suns fan, and it has nothing to do with Channing Frye’s jump shot. Suns owner Robert Sarver released a statement through the team denouncing SB 1070, Arizona’s controversial asinine immigration law, in no uncertain terms.

The money quote:

The frustration with the federal government’s failure to deal with the issue of illegal immigration resulted in passage of a flawed state law… However intended, the result of passing this law is that our basic principles of equal rights and protection under the law are being called into question, and Arizona’s already struggling economy will suffer even further setbacks at a time when the state can ill-afford them.

SB 1070 is a classic, and transparently cynical, attempt by politicians to capitalize on genuine frustration over a serious social problem. This is nothing new for politicians generally, and as a former resident of the Grand Canyon State (and a current resident of S. Carolina) I know something about transparently cynical politicians. Apparently, so does Sarver and he’s not so willing to allow them to play with his money. I also know the people of Arizona, and understand their frustration. They deserve better than their elected officials unfortunately.

Some prefer to keep the sports page separate from the editorial page. Although that represents one sort of ideal it has never matched the reality of sports, which are pretty tightly woven into the social fabric; just take a listen to sports talk radio any day. All too often, the “sports and politics don’t mix” sentiment represents at best a willful ignorance about the connection between sports and society and at worst a desire to silence dissent.

The NBA has at times found itself out at the forefront of important social and political issues, but has rarely received the credit it perhaps deserves as a moral and political force. To paraphrase The Nation’s Dave Zirin, Sarver’s action has opened up space for other dissenters–or supporters for that matter–to step forward.

Viva Los Suns!

41 comments on “Viva Los Suns

  1. TDM

    “SB 1070 is a classic, and transparently cynical, attempt by politicians to capitalize on genuine frustration over a serious social problem.”

    A classic attempt to do what exactly? Are you saying that they passed a law simply to gain votes without caring about what it accomplishes? If so, I respectfully disagree. Arizona, like California, is dealing with this issue on a much larger scale than non-border states can appreciate.

    Furthermore, I am one of the many that don’t like to mix sports (or entertainment for that matter) with politics. In fact, this is in large part why I despise the Mavericks — because Cuban is an obnoxious ass-hat that should keep his mouth shut and focus on what he does well.

    It doesn’t mean I’m hiding from reality – I have to deal with reality all day long.

    I, like many, watch sports to escape from things like politics for a few fleeting moments each day. I was rooting for San Antonio because I thought Amare would be more likely to leave PHX this summer if they lose in the playoffs again. Now I have another reason.

  2. Z

    “I was rooting for San Antonio because I thought Amare would be more likely to leave PHX this summer if they lose in the playoffs again. Now I have another reason.”

    Greg Popovich also denounced the law. So did the rest of the Spurs, who all voted to wear “Los Spurs” jerseys too.

    But the good news is: Amar’e may hate the new law so much that he flees to a non-border state all together, ruling out: LA, Houston, and Miami! (although they do have random check points up by the Quebec border, just six hours from MSG :(

  3. bselig

    “SB 1070 is a classic, and transparently cynical, attempt by politicians to capitalize on genuine frustration over a serious social problem.”

    Not just false, but utterly preposterous. The notion that those who passed the bill are ‘capitalizing on genuine frustration’ is straight hilar. They’re doing the exact opposite – they’re acting boldly, in opposition to widespread political and public beliefs, to tackle very real crimes, murders, and attrition on state funds by individuals nearly impossible to regulate because they don’t exist on paper. The legislation isn’t even close to being in the best interests of those who created and passed it. It is a genuine – if stupid – attempt to better an actual problem.

    That’s not to say this is good lawmaking. The threat to civil liberties and the likelihood of increased racial profiling may be real.

  4. Robert Silverman

    Great piece Brian. I agree 100%.

    To paraphrase Ingemar Bergman, all sport is political. If you think you’re ‘enjoying’ being a fan to ‘escape’ the world at large, you’re deluding yourself.

  5. ScottD

    David,

    Mixing sports or entertainment with political or religous opinion is a mistake in my opinion.
    I have often appreciated an entertainer, writer or even a blogger until they opened up their mouth or keyboard with their political or religious opinions or slants.
    There is a place for debate, and I don’t believe that it is in the entertainment venue.
    Sometimes it only takes a small comment to expose a person’s position, and then they can often quickly turn off their followers.
    Take Barbara Streisand and Sean Penn for example, they are highly talented in their fields, but I wouldn’t spend a dime on their releases!
    I don’t think that people on either side should share their opinions in the wrong forum.
    As far as SB 1070 is concerned, illegal IS illegal, and our country and politicians have done a poor job enforcing the law!

  6. Mike Kurylo

    David approached me about this prior, and I gave my OK. Basically this is where a political event has crossed over into sports. So it now enters a area that is close to him, given his Arizona roots and his field of study. The interesting thing about this law, is that many experts feel it is unconstitutional and will be overturned in court. Also it is being derided by people on both sides of the aisle including (but not limited to) republicans like Jeb Bush, Connie Mack IV, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Karl Rove. So I figured this wouldn’t be a lightning rod of anger like some other political topics.

    Finally, I generally agree to stay apolitical, but why should political sites like fivethirtyeight.com be able to talk about sports, but sport sites have stay away from politics? Talk about a double standard!

  7. Z

    I like the subject because it allows readers to learn more about the further reaching opinions of the writers and posters that they have come to know over the years.

    And while people criticize Sarver, Kerr, Nash, Popovich, and Hunter for coming out publicly against the law, it’s only fair that someone in the NBA who favors the law get equal time here (and it ties directly back to the Knicks at the end too!):

    [Phil] Jackson, who has showed lefty leanings in the past, indicated he had no problem with the controversial state Senate Bill 1070.

    “Am I crazy, or am I the only one that heard [the legislature] say ‘we just took the United States immigration law and adapted it to our state,’” Jackson said.

    I told him they usurped the federal law.

    “It’s not usurping, it’s just copying it is what they said they did, and then they gave it some teeth to be able to enforce it,” Jackson said.

    Then he mildly scolded the Suns.

    “I don’t think teams should get involved in the political stuff. And I think this one’s still kind of coming out to balance as to how it’s going to be favorably looked upon by our public. If I heard it right the American people are really for stronger immigration laws, if I’m not mistaken. Where we stand as basketball teams, we should let that kind of play out and let the political end of that go where it’s going to go.”

    That was surprising to hear coming from a man who not only supported Bill Bradley for the Democratic presidential nomination, he wore a Bradley campaign pin on his suit during games. Jackson reminded me that the NBA made him stop wearing it. And apparently that was the end of his political proclamations…although he did take one parting shot.

    “I kind of wish [Bradley] would have been the president,” Jackson said. “After all was said and done, that [George W. Bush] situation.”

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/15724/phil-jackson-on-his-future-and-leaving-politics-in-the-past

    (Hope this doesn’t make TDM a Laker fan!)

  8. ScottD

    Mike,

    If we’re going to discuss the constitution, our federal government has been perverting it for a long time, and I personally am excitied that the state of Arizona is taking a stand.
    I actually have been rooting for Steve Nash and the Suns since the Knicks didn’t even sniff the post season, but hearing their opinions provides me with just a little more information than I would care to know about them.
    Since I feel so strongly about the enforcement of our laws and constitution, and am particularly disturbed by the amount of illegals in our country it simply makes it hard to root for people who have a different outlook (one that can adversely affect my families future), and that is precisely why, it’s not always in the best interest of certain public personalities to open their mouths.

    Having said that, perhaps Mr.Sarver can spend some of that money that he saves by trading draft picks for dollars, on covering insurance and other benefits that are consumed by illegals in his state!

  9. Mike Kurylo

    Knowing anything other than what an athlete does on the court will probably give cause to a fan (or a subset of fans) to view them poorly. Whether it be political views, committing a crime, having children with multiple women, learning about their personal life, etc.

    A part of the problem is that politics become so polarizing over the years. I remember when friends and family members could have heated yet civil discussion about issues, and still respect each other after. Today taking a side on an issue could mean being ostracized. It’s sad, because on a lot of topics I think many people can come to reasonable compromises, but the political climate has stunted that type of open debate. It’s dwindled down to catch phrases, slogans and name calling, not just among friends & family, but politicians as well.

  10. Ted Nelson

    I have no problem with writing about whatever topic you chose. An author can write about any topic, and a reader can patronize whichever authors and news sources they chose. Both are truer now than ever before.

    Also have no problems with those in the sports and entertainment industries saying what they chose. One thing I am quite sure is unconstitutional is censorship. These people should realize publically stating their opinions can impact the public’s perspective on them, but I don’t think they should be muzzled if they feel like speaking their minds.

    My personal opinion is that the reason illegal immigration is a problem is that it’s illegal.

    ScottD,

    I’m not so sure on your take of the constitution. I don’t mean to personally attack you or your opinions. These are the thoughts I had reading your posts, though.

    Is the constitution in favor of censorship and monopolies? The NBA is. If you are such an adament defender of the constitution then professional sports are not for you. (Not sure the constitution directly deals with monopoly power though it certainly would not seem to keep with the document’s general tone–though the original document didn’t consider blacks or women people, so clearly there is always room for change. I am 100% sure that the constitution specifically says that we have the freedom of speech. I understand why the NBA wants to protect its brand and it’s not illegal to do so, but it’s not really in keeping with the spirit of the constitution.) Even college sports would not seem to be for you since I believe they amended the constitution to make slave labor unconstitutional. You might want to concentrate your constitution defending energy on all the college coaches and NCAA officials who make millions of dollars off of slave labor.

    Did the constitution make immigration illegal? Pretty sure this country was built by immigration. If you are entirely against immigration and not a full blooded Native American I would suggest you cash out all your assets, head to Foxwoods, and give them to the original Americans. Since clearly you feel that your presence on this land as the desendent of immigrants is unconstitutional, immoral, and whatever else. Do you see the contradiction between stating that it’s unconstiutional to be an immigrant and that you “feel so strongly about the enforcement of our laws and constitution?” It was ok for people to come to this country–whether by choice or force–for hundreds of years, but now suddenly the doors are shut and that same act is “illegal and unconstitutional?”

  11. Z

    “I actually have been rooting for Steve Nash and the Suns since the Knicks didn’t even sniff the post season, but hearing their opinions provides me with just a little more information than I would care to know about them.”

    You would rather live in blissful ignorance, rooting for the made-up image you have of these guys in your own head? Pretend they are robots programmed only to dribble balls up and down a court, then get turned off at night and hooked up to charging stations?

    I think it’s safest to assume that every athlete you are rooting for is not someone you would be friends with in real life. Assume they are all spoiled, ago-maniacal jerks. All adulterers. All probably do weird stuff in the bedroom. Make homophobic jokes. Sexually harass women. Probably raped a few too. Treat their entourages like shit. Stuff like that.

    Assume all that and their political opinions will suddenly not seem so bad.

  12. Ted Nelson

    After looking through the Constitution, I am very curious as to whether ScottD has ever read it:

    -One thing it specifically states is that the laws of the federal government are the supreme law of the land. It certainly does not grant states power over the federal government. The tenth amendment further verifies that the federal government can prohibit states from excercising certain powers, though it also says the states and people have the rights not assigned to the federal government or prohibited them by the federal government. I don’t know whether this law is constitutional or not, but if the nation doesn’t agree with what Arizona is doing then through our elected officials we can make them stop.

    -The eleventh amendment clarifies judicial power over foreign nationals. We have plenty of non-Americans in our jail, so the idea that illegal immigrants can and do run around murdering people and face less chance of getting caught than Ameican citizens has no constitutional basis.

    -I see no reference to immigration law, but maybe I missed it. The only immigration issue really dealt with is in the 14th amendment: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Not sure what violation of the constitution Arizona is “taking a stand” against… Certainly we have immigration laws on the books, but this is not really a constitutional issue in any other way then whether or not Arizona’s law is constitutional.

    Just not sure where the constitution limits immigration…

  13. Brian Cronin

    An NBA team is directly involved in a political issue, so it seems quite natural that we discuss it here.

    Nice piece, David.

  14. Thomas B.

    No reason not to discuss this here. We wrote at length on the Olympic team (Spain?) that took that slant eye team picture before the games in China.

    I always kinda liked the Suns, but now I’m rooting for them to win in all. Why cant we have an owner to be proud of like Sarver?

    Hey on the MLK day game preview can I include an excerpt from the “I have a dream speech.”

    You see, I too have a dream. My dream is that one day fans of all backgrounds will join hands with one another to rejoice a championship in MSG. Let us get a ring here in the Mecca of basketball. Let us get a ring for the mighty fans of the New York Knicks. Let us get a ring over the team in Colorado. Let us get a ring over the teams in Los Angeles. Let us get a ring over the team in Philadelphia. Let us get a ring! And when this happens, when we get that championship ring, when we celebrate that ring from every village and every borough, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all NBA fans, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Knicks fan spiritual, “Ring at last! Ring at last! thank God Almighty, we have a ring at last!”

  15. TDM

    RS – “If you think you’re ‘enjoying’ being a fan to ‘escape’ the world at large, you’re deluding yourself.”

    Of course I’m delusional – I’m a Knicks fan.

    Z – “(Hope this doesn’t make TDM a Laker fan!)”

    I’d sooner renounce my citizenship and move to Tempe.

    Ted – “I see no reference to immigration law, but maybe I missed it. The only immigration issue really dealt with is in the 14th amendment”

    Federal law is not limited to the US Constitution. Its in the Immigration and Nationality Act, Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations. You can find it here: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.f6da51a2342135be7e9d7a10e0dc91a0/?vgnextoid=fa7e539dc4bed010VgnVCM1000000ecd190aRCRD&vgnextchannel=fa7e539dc4bed010VgnVCM1000000ecd190aRCRD&CH=act

  16. ScottD

    To any readers,

    I must admit that I opened my comment about the constitution in the wrong manner.
    What I really meant to say is: although I do believe that the constitution is being perverted by our government constantly (some would say that Bush’s Patriot Act is one example, others would say that Obamacare is another) , I also feel that the government and it’s bodies do not do a good enough job of inforforcing their own laws, i.e. immegration, drug laws, etc.

    As far as I am concerned, I believe very much in one’s freedom of speech, that being said, when a person goes on the record with a personal viewpoint, they are opening themselves up to judgement and or criticism, and I as the person who hears that particular comment may form an opinion as to the type of person that the comment is coming from.

    Mr.Nelson

    If a person came out and told you that they had an infectious disease, would you want to embrace them?
    It’s their right to discuss what’s on their mind, and other’s to be put off by their words.

    Your comments about the NBA and freedom of speech has no merit, based on the fact that you are no longer referring to an individuals freedom of speech, but to that of a member of an association which does have it’s own rules and regulations.

    Your college basketball argument is ridiculous, because “slave labor” would be forced labor, and to the best of my knowledge college basketball players are not forced to play/work, they choose to play in a forum that may actually promote their careers based on their performances, i.e. they could end up playing professionally or working for pay in some other capacity related to their basketball experience.

    With regard to your comment: “Did the constitution make immigration illegal”?

    No, but it did state that :

    1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    And to me that means that people that are not born here or naturalized here, and who have crossed our borders illegally are in violation of the law, and are not citizens of the United States, and that is why I am happy that Arizona is speaking up, once again, because the fed (both parties) have not upheld the immigration laws the way that they should.

    It is actually my preference to discuss basketball at a basketball blog, and that is why I like read or comment on them, and I wish that political discussions could remain in the proper forum, but I suppose that sometime we just can’t refrain.

  17. Ted Nelson

    TDM,

    Scott referred specifically to how the federal government has been trampelling the constitution for years and said that Arizona is finally standing up to the federal government by percicuting it’s Latino population.
    The biggest problem people have with this law has nothing to do with immigration and everything to do with the law itself and it’s enforcement methods. It allows the cops to randomly harrass anyone who looks like an illegal immigrant… What people look like illegal immigrants in Arizona? The 4th amendment to the constitution, part of the Bill of Rights, does guard against searches, arrests, and seizures of property without a specific warrant or a “probable cause” to believe a crime has been committed. I would not call your race or the way you look “probable cause” that you have commited a crime, and I believe our laws would agree with me there. Pretty hard to argue that this law is constitutional, as it violates the 4th amendment. Whether you believe stricter immigration laws are necessary or not, I hope you don’t believe in percicuting people based on their race.
    What sort of immigration laws we need is largely a seperate issue in my mind.

    Scott also talked about both how the federal government is incompetent, as well as how he’s a firm believer in upholding all of the laws set forth by that same government. Hard to have it both ways.

  18. ScottD

    Ted,

    I remember when I was a young motorcyclist who lived in and rode around Manhattan at the time when Rudy Guiliani was mayor.
    I along with many other motorcyclists were often led into roadblocks/checkpoints where the police would stop us and then ask us to produce our licence, registration and insurance documents.
    They would also look at the serial number on the motorcycles engine to see if the bike or engine were stolen.
    As a young man that used to piss me off to no avail!
    Now that I have grown up some more, I realize that if i’m not doing anything illegal, that I have nothing to worry about, and that maybe, by not being so pissed about that practice, perhaps I will have done my share in allowing the lawbreakers to be caught!

    As far as your comment regarding having it both ways,
    The fed is incompetent on many levels, and I have every reason to be troubled by the fact that they can not uphold the law.

  19. Ted Nelson

    “It’s their right to discuss what’s on their mind, and other’s to be put off by their words.”

    Absolutely. Read what you want, root for who you want.

    “Your comments about the NBA and freedom of speech has no merit”

    My point is that it’s hard to argue for enforcing the constitution and the values it esposes, but support an association that does not grant its members freedom of speech. I specifically said that it’s not illegal, but it’s not in keeping with the values set forth by the constitution. I’m more concerned with those values than legal loopholes.
    Monopoly power is not really a constitutional matter, but I would call it “unAmerican.”

    “Your college basketball argument is ridiculous”

    The NCAA is a pet peeve of mine. I have a lot of problems with it. I realize that it’s a huge exaggeration (and possibly offensive to some) to call it slave labor, but I would call it blatant exploitation. I would call it inefficient. I would call it corrupt, and guilty of encouraging corruption. It’s not particularly relevant to this discussion, but I hate the NCAA so I tried to tie it in.

    “With regard to your comment: “Did the constitution make immigration illegal”?”

    As I said in the comment above to TDM, I believe that the most relevant part of the constitution in regard to this law is the 4th amendment. Even if this law does not legally break that amendment, I would certainly say it breaks the spirit of it.

    As far as the actual topic of immigration, I feel, like many in Washington have said, that the way Arizona’s law is dealing with it is a losing battle. There is too much demand to come here to keep people out, and too much demand for cheap labor here as well. Even if you literally lined every inch of the border with patrol persons (which would, of course, take a ridiculous amount of resources), people would go around, under, and through (through = corruption is not only ramdent in Mexico, but also on the US side). People will get in. Certainly those people should not be encouraged or allowed to stay, but my point is that you’ll never catch all of them or even a reasonable %. If you do catch them all or even most it’s going to cost trillions of dollars. There was or is an immigration bill proposed–I believe bypartisenly–that would take a more comprehensive view of immigration than simply rounding up all the dark skinned people. One of the points addressed in the bill was making it easier to come in legally, and especially making it easier for skilled people to come in. Right now it’s possibly easier to come in illegally, which creates preverse incentives. Same way it’s easier for an 18 year old in the US to get heroin than to get a beer, or at least just about as easy. It’s hard to do battle with the forces of supply and demand simply by drawing lines on a map or passing laws. Unless you do it right I feel it’s a losing battle, one that will cost the taxpayers billions of dollars if not trillions.

    As far as the bit of the constitution you quote. I’m not a huge fan of keeping people out. Tough issue, but 1. we are a country built by immigrants… as I said if you hate immigrants and aren’t full blood native american head to foxwoods and write them a check for your net worth or just head back to someplace your ancestors came from and let them know you’re home and 2. keeping people out is a dissincentive to Americans since it discourages competition in the labor market. It can artificially raise wages and drain the economy due to inefficiency. I can understand the nationalistic sentiment that would lead one to want to keep people out, but that’s basically a welfare program and you don’t strike me as someone who likes welfare too much.

  20. Ted Nelson

    @20,

    I think a lot of people would disagree with your take on the situation, and you yourself say that you were not happy at the time this was occuring. Your civil rights were being violated. It’s also not a matter of just being in a car where you have those documents. An American born Latino person in Arizona could be jogging down the street or on a public basketball court shooting hoops when the cops decide to harrass them, and since they have no pockets to hold documents they’re taken to jail. I’m just not in favor of encouraging police to racially profile or of requiring every American to carry around documents because Big Brother is watching them.

    Again, the federal government passes the laws. It’s hard to love the laws and hate the elected officials who create them. I don’t think just saying no one is allowed in is an enforcable law anyway, as I say above. It would take infinite resources to find every illegal immigrant in the country and jail or deport them. It would take huge federal beauracracies that, as you say, would be largely incompetent and inefficient. I’ll look for an article on the immigration bill that I thought had some good ideas in it.

  21. ScottD

    I do not have much more time to comment or respond on this matter (as I am headed to the gym to play some ball) however, I do appreciate your spirited debate, and although we do not see eye to eye on all levels, that is what makes our country the greatest!

    I do believe that our government could do a better job on this issue and that they should start by punishing those who employ illegals.
    I used to work for a company that employed 3-4 illegals, and while they were generally nice people, they would make a mockery of how the would cross the borders again and again, and at least one was driving a company vehicle with a fraudulantly obtained licence.
    When I used to tour in Europe as a professional musician, I always had a legal work permit which had been filed for on my behalf.

    Broken law is broken law!

  22. tastycakes

    Kudos to Sarver, Nash, Popovich, and the Suns and Spurs organizations for making a subtle but brave statement on the issue.

    Without getting into “Constituational Law Amateur Hour,” I’ll acknowledge that illegal immigration certainly poses a greater problem for working class Americans in border states than it does for professional athletes, or sports club owners, or somebody like myself (an independently employed video game developer in central Texas).

    So I don’t particularly have a problem with the people who are affected by the influx of people from Mexico trying to address the problem. It’s the way in which it is being addressed which is offensive, as it extends power to Arizona law enforcement that will likely lead to many law-abiding citizens (or otherwise law-abiding non-citizens) having their civil rights violated.

  23. TDM

    “It allows the cops to randomly harrass anyone who looks like an illegal immigrant…” Uh, no it doesn’t. Read the law.

    The original law required a lawful contact before any questions regarding citizenship can be asked. Some found ‘lawful contact’ ambiguous, so an amendment was drafted to eliminate concerns.

    http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf

    The amendment to the law replaces “lawful contact” with “lawful stop, detention or arrest”.

    http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/hb2162c.htm

    That hardly sounds random to me.

    Furthermore, the law explicitly forbids profiling solely based upon race:

    “A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not solely consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution.” – Senate Bill 1070, Article 8(B).

  24. David Crockett

    Sorry I wasn’t available earlier and missed the fireworks. Duty calls unfortunately. So, I’ll try to give a summary response to some of the comments.

    As for free speech issues, I don’t see any. Everyone is practicing it here, to my mind, pretty much the way it was intended.

    To TDM: I lived in Tucson for a number of years as a graduate student 1994-2000. I have lots of close friends and colleagues still living there, and am intimately familiar with the problems immigration poses. It’s worth noting that some of what has been laid at the feet of illegal immigration is not really attributable to immigration per se.

    What is transparently cynical about this law is that it is powerless to stanch the flow of undocumented workers into the U.S. It cannot make a dent in the problem, yet maximizes the likelihood of unwarranted and unnecessary detentions. It then goes further to explicitly punish officials for lax enforcement while paying only cursory lip service to illegal profiling.

    Existing law already allows local law enforcement to start deportation procedures on those merely accused of a crime, and people are routinely detained and deported. That was the law long before I ever got there, and routine deportations have not solved the problem. This law offers only more of the same.

  25. David Crockett

    @11 Mike

    I was working on a totally unrelated project, and long story short, the partisan divide on many so-called wedge issues isn’t nearly so big as we might often assume.

    You hit the key point. The discourse is in some respects (though not all) uncivil, but it’s uncivil over relatively narrow differences. Often, people are not so uncivil as much as they are only willing to talk to others who think like them. (So, thanks to TDM and others for speaking their minds.)

    A footnote from that paper to illustrate:

    “For example, 1999 Gallup poll results indicate that there is roughly a 7% partisan difference in belief that abortion should be “illegal in all circumstances” (15% of Democrats and 22% of Republicans). Gallup poll results for 2003 indicate roughly an 11% partisan difference in agreement that homosexual relations should be legalized (62% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans). Both of these partisan differences have been relatively stable since 1993 (see Fiorina 2005).”

    THE wedge issues of our generation–abortion and homosexual unions–have partisan differences that are nowhere near as big as between, say, the Greens and the Tories. But you’d never know it, mostly because only die hards get on TV or radio.

  26. TDM

    One of the good things about living in California, and more particularly LA, is that I’m used to people disagreeing with me. In fact, I’m sure a lot of my friends are against this law. But, the positive side of marching to the beat of my own drum is that I don’t give a rats ass. To quote Charles Barkley “– You got to believe in yourself. Hell, I believe I’m the best-looking guy in the world and I might be right.”

    “It’s worth noting that some of what has been laid at the feet of illegal immigration is not really attributable to immigration per se.”

    You can’t just throw that teaser out there without enlightening me as to what the real cause is for the problems that Arizona is facing. But I will say that it seems like your comments above have a sort of ‘conspiracy theory’ element to them: transparently cynical? What do you think the Arizona politicians are trying to get away with? Does Mark Cuban know? Furthermore, I disagree with your statement that this law “is powerless to stanch the flow of undocumented workers into the U.S.” By making it a felony for illegals apprehended with guns or drugs or repeatedly crossing the boarder illegally, you are disrupting the system — the system of being deported, only to reappear in a few days or weeks later. Again, read the law.

    As an aside, I’m really pulling for the Tories to beat the Lakers in the Finals.

  27. Ted Nelson

    TDM,

    @25 Thank you for correcting me there, I have not actually read the law. (I am completely willing to change my opinion on it, but haven’t seen anything yet that would make me.) However, I feel your interpretation of how the law will be enforced is somewhat naive. There will necessarily be racial profiling, who are the vast majority of immigrants in Arizona? (I don’t know the breakdown, but I have a guess.) Innocent people will at the very least be inconvenienced and percicuted based on their race and origins. Based on what I’ve read here and elsewhere, at best it’s nothing new and a rah rah re-elect me attempt to publicize the issue in a way that will solve little. At worst it’s unconstitutional and will create more problems than it solves.

    I do feel like the US needs immigration reform, but I feel like it has to be done in a logical/rational, comprehensive, actionable, efficient, and effective way. I don’t feel like having another multi-trillion dollar war against an “enemy” that is impossible to defeat (see drugs, war on) because we take an approach that ignores and exacerbates the economical issues involved (and in the case of drugs health, medical, and psycholigical issues as well) and treats it solely as a law enforcement and military issue.

    “By making it a felony for illegals apprehended with guns or drugs or repeatedly crossing the boarder illegally, you are disrupting the system — the system of being deported, only to reappear in a few days or weeks later. Again, read the law.”

    I’m not sure what reading the law will do as far as clarifying the underlying issues and potential effectiveness of the law. Obviously the people who wrote it had some just ends in mind, but that doesn’t make it a good law.
    First of all, I would be willing to go out on a limb that the VAST majority of illegal immigrants are not criminals in any sense other than being illegal immigrants and are picking up jobs outside your local home depot, babysitting your kids’ friends, cooking your meals at a restaurant, mowing your lawn, working for the contractor who remodelled your house, etc. etc. (I know those are stereotypical jobs, but I have no idea what the actual breakdown of how illegal immigrants are employed is.) These people will not be legally stopped in most cases, so you’re not going to catch them by simply asking for documents from every dark skinned or “foreign looking” person you arrest in the poor neighborhoods.
    Second, if someone is caught running drugs or guns right now, I’m pretty sure they will be punished. I think it’s already illegal. We already have the ability to prosecute foreign nationals accused of commiting crimes in the United States.
    Third, I would also go out on a limb and say that the VAST majority of people involved in the illegal drug and gun trades in the United States are American citizens born and raised in the US.
    Fourth, the fllow of guns is from the United States into Mexico, not vice versa.
    Fifth, drugs will find their way into the US and onto it’s streets as long as the demand is there. Forgetting that prohibition dramatically increases the price of these goods and therefore the incentive to smuggle them, when people can’t get drugs they’ll start mixing together the chemicals under their sink to get high. They’ll grow their own pot. They’ll drink cough syrup. They’ll choke themselves while masturbating. People who want to get high will find a way. Stopping illegal immigration all together would have little impact on the availability of drugs in the US.
    Lastly, unless these repeat offenders are locked in jail (at our expense) they will continue to come in. Simply making it a felony is not going to stop people. They already know it’s illegal and they pay large sums of money and put their lives at risk to come in.

    I would also suggest studying immigration from the other side. The economic motivations for and implications of immigration in developing countries (not just into the United States, immigration into Europe is also huge as it also can be between two developing nations). That shed a different light on the issue for me, humanized it. Made me realize it was a universal issue, not just a US issue.

  28. Ted Nelson

    TDM,

    I would be interested to hear what you think the problems are with illegal immigrants and how you think they can be solved.

  29. TDM

    Ted -

    One of the problems with blogging, texting, emailing and other e-communication is that what a person is trying to say can often be perceived in a different way than what was meant to be communicated. In giving you the benefit of the doubt that your request for my person beliefs on a particular topic were not meant to be condescending, my response follows.

    Also, I’d like to say that I don’t participate in this blog to discuss my personal political beliefs, and I don’t like mixing sports with politics as I have stated above. But I also have strong beliefs and will assert them when I find it necessary.

    Problems in no particular order:
    Increased taxes for Americans
    Threat of terrorism
    Increased crime
    Increased drug smuggling
    Taxing national resources
    Overcrowded hospitals, emergency rooms, schools, jails, etc.
    Disincentivizing legal immigration
    Lack of accountability
    Accidents caused by unlicensed drivers
    Increase in insurance rates
    Voter fraud
    Unfair advantages to people who hire illegal aliens

    Solutions in no particular order:
    Increased Federal government involvement on the boarder (maybe a fence, national guard, etc).
    Punish companies that hire illegal aliens
    Streamline process of legal immigration
    National database
    Disincentivize illegal immigration

    That said, did anyone see Alan Hahn’s article which references the recent changes to Chris Bosh’s twitter page –

    “Chris Bosh is at it again on Twitter. His latest action is to change his profile, with his location changed from Toronto to “Everywhere” and his bio no longer makes reference to him being captain of the Raptors. Bosh has an opt-out this summer and it seems pretty clear he plans to exercise it.”

  30. Ted Nelson

    I’ll break up and try to streamline my comment, since the longer ones seem to have to be moderated:

    It wasn’t meant to be condescending, but rather a change in my approach to the discussion since I realized that rambling on and on somewhat aimlessly wasn’t really productive.

    I am as guilty of this as anyone, but often when an argument/disagreement/discussion/whatever starts both parties don’t actually know where the other party stands. A lot of the points I’ve personally made in my ramblings were less directed at the individuals I was responding to and more directed as a strereotypical characature.

    There’s a lot of common ground where we agree.

  31. Ted Nelson

    Problems:

    -First, I agree that there is a problem with the current policy (a.k.a. relative chaos) and I respect that you have a comprehensive list of solutions rather than just “they took errr jerbs” type reactionary stuff (which is why I should have asked the questions in the first place instead of going off on rambling tangents).

    -Without having a single figure in front of me, my hunch is that enforcing immigration law will be a far bigger increase in taxes (or more so increase in government spending which will probably lead to increased debt more so than taxes, not that I’m as hyper as some about the national debt… but I do have a problem with it and can’t see how it’s sustainable). Every time someone goes to court (illegal immigrant, suing their town–I have now read the law–or suing for discrimination, etc.), everytime someone spends time in jail, every time someone is deported, every new officer/bureaucrat that’s hired, every fence that’s built… the government has to spend money. Not saying it’s a good or bad thing to spend money on, more so that I think it would be the reality of the situation considering the history of government bureaucracy.
    (Tangent) I find it a bit contradictory that the tea party, for example, is for small government as well as huge law enforcement and often military budgets… you can’t have both. A huge budget necessarily makes the government large and someone has to eventually pay for that… hence taxes and government debt. I can at least respect libertarians and communists for having their stories straight.

    -As I’ve said previously, I don’t think drug smuggling and immigration are completely linked. Both are border issues, but even building a giant steel wall around the country isn’t going to stop the proliferation of narcotics (and probably also wouldn’t stop illegal immigration). They’re similar issues in nature, but I think they’re seperate. Basically, my point is that stopping illegal immigration 100% would probably not make a dent in the drug problem.

  32. Ted Nelson

    Solutions (I know they’re not in order, just numbered them to be clear)
    2 & 3 “Punish companies that hire illegal aliens, Streamline process of legal immigration” Completely agree.
    4 “National database” Probably… I’m a little weary of the whole big brother thing, but I suppose the government already has plenty of info on me and I’m not really seeing the downside. I’m not intimitely familiar with the idea or what it would hope to accomplish. One thing I would say is that there’s always a way to game the system. This might make it harder, but that might just push up profits for criminals.
    5 “Disincentivize illegal immigration” Depends on how you would disincentivize it… Easier legal immigration is a strong disincentive is and of itself. I think the devil is in the details with this one.

  33. Brian Cronin

    Any chance of getting the one long one put up and 34-36 deleted?

    Oops, ‘fraid not.

    Sorry, Ted!

  34. TDM

    “Any chance of getting the one long one put up and 34-36 deleted?”

    Agree or disagree, I appreciated you thoughts, Ted. Now if you can just comment on Bosh’s changes to his twitter account I think we can close this thread on a positive note. ;)

  35. Ted Nelson

    I would say that the Bosh thing is a little blown out of proportion by the media. Even though the organization has a new front office, this is the same team that completely rubbed Vince Carter the wrong way so maybe it’s just something about the Raptors and stars. Still, it could indicate a lack of maturity and leadership on Bosh’s part. I guess that’s sort of who he is though (as the youtube videos indicate)… A guy who is going to keep it loose. Might need a counterbalance either at coach or another team leader, someone who keeps it tight.

    My final thought on the Arizona thing is that I guess a lot of it comes down to how effective and efficient you think law enforcement measures will be. I view it as similar in nature to the narcotics trade, in that in both cases market forces are too strong to be jammed up by laws and law enforcement.
    To me the drug war has been a miserable failure and filled with misguided policies. So that’s where I’m coming from: making something illegal doesn’t make it stop, and I’d rather actually solve the problems than have a morally right law on the books (and huge government bureaucracy to enforce it) that is horrible ineffective and inefficient. Whatever you think about using illegal drugs, they are cheaper (in real, inflation adjusted terms), more potent, and just as available as they were before the drug war started: we are losing the war. The rise of even less healthy drugs like crack and crystal meth can be directly attributed to prohibition, because other drugs become more expensive due to the risk of producing and trading them. I see similar repurcussions occuring from a large scale law enforcement push against illegal immigration.
    Furthermore, I don’t personally have a problem with the free movement of people. A more flexible global labor market would be great to me. A post-nationalist world order might also be great.

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