Sunday, January 28, 2007


I resent the weekend of nothing between the conference championships and the Super Bowl. It makes the game itself seem like inconvenience to those planning the pageantry, entertainment and product awareness. They’re icing us like the opposing coach calling a time out right before the crucial field goal.

The playoffs had a lot of exciting games, especially the week before the championships where all four games were close to the end. Indy’s big comeback last week created a fire to see the big game to decide everything, but knowing we had a two week wait I have watched nothing on the match ups. They’re too much like the endless trailers we see for anticipated movies months in advance so by the time the film arrives at the theatres it already seems old.

Last week’s playoff games seem a month old now and by next week when they get around to playing the game, I’ll be at a party surrounded by a majority of people that can’t name both quarterbacks. I’ll enjoy the party for the social reasons and the football part will mostly be lost. I suppose its success when you create a sporting event that transcends the actual sport. It means a lot more money for your business and greater exposure for your athletes. But as a fan the event so overshadows the sport that you don’t always get that feeling of completion. Then contrast the Super Bowl with the following week’s Pro Bowl that hardly even registers as a sporting event despite the best players playing the most popular American sport.

I love watching Steve Sabol’s NFL films because it’s like watching past Super Bowls for the first time. You hear the players talking and you feel the tension that comes in late game situations. Key players are interviewed about the thinking of crucial plays. No mention of wardrobe malfunctions and funny Coke ads. And its not that those things aren’t fun, but I wish they could somehow have all that stuff the day before the game since the people anticipating those things are usually talking during the action anyway. Or better yet, A real genius would have found some way to attach the pomp and circumstance to that meaningless Pro-Bowl and let the real fans enjoy the big game.

I don’t mean to make this a big complaint just an observation. I’ve watched more football this year than I have since 1998 when I had the NFL package and was involved a fantasy league for the last time. My disappointment with baseball coincided with a new HD TV which is the perfect platform for watching football. I forgot how much I liked football to the point where I watched both college and NFL every week.

Football occupies an entirely different place in my brain from other sports like golf, tennis and baseball that I played much more. Whereas I feel baseball’s steroid policy ruins the legacy of the game, I expect football players to be genetic lab creations designed to crush skulls for my enjoyment. Someone else can worry about the long term health of people that have already decided that walking like a cripple at age 30 is a fair trade-off.


Last week Mickey Kaus compared Bush’s handling of Iraq with that of illegal immigration. The whole post is intriguing and worth reading. His worries about the Bush amnesty plan mirror mine, although I haven’t been able to articulate it this well.
The equivalent disaster scenario in immigration would go something like this: "Comprehensive" reform passes. The "earned legalization" provisions work as planned--millions of previously undocumented workers become legal Americans. But the untested "enforcement" provisions (point #5) prove no more effective than they've been in the past--or else they are crippled by ACLU-style lawsuits and lobbying (as in the past). Legal guest workers enter the country to work, but so do millions of new illegal workers, drawn by the prospect that they too, may some day be considered too numerous to deport and therefore candidates for the next amnesty. Hey, "stuff happens!" The current 12 million illegal immigrants become legal--and soon we have another 12 million illegals. Or 20 million. As a result, wages for unskilled, low-income legal American and immigrant workers are depressed. Visible contrasts of wealth and poverty reach near-Latin American proportions in parts of Los Angeles. And the majority of these illegal (and legal) immigrants, like the majority in many parts of the country, are from one nation: Mexico. America for the first time has a potential Quebec problem,** in which a neighboring country has a continuing claim on the loyalties of millions of residents and citizens.

The wage problem in particular is not really being addressed by those who say that we need these workers to run the economy. Democrats that are trying to push a $2 increase in the minimum wage have been all but silent on the lower than minimum wages paid to the illegals. That would seem to be in direct contrast to the union mentality of these people, but it’s a great strategy if you’re trying to create a large underclass to permanently vote Democrat. An amnesty will legitimize a number of workers that have the skills to earn minimum wage, but it will also create an unemployment among those that cannot. They will go from cheaply productive workers to wards of the state with legal rights to be here feeding off government services.

The way around this would be to have two separate tracks of people entering the country, people that go through the process to become citizens before employment and cheap labor that can legally work here without a path to citizenship. That segregates those people that seek to become “Americans” for reasons of sharing a culture and identity and those people that are more interested in the economic benefits of work. We need both types but nothing says that both types must be treated the same.

The two tracks process allows immigrants to decide which they value most, American culture or economic opportunities. Rather than have a bunch of pundits speak for them they can speak for themselves. The two tracks brings less risk of creating a big underclass because the guest worker track simply sends non-workers back without government responsibility.

Do you know how hard it is for an American to get a job in England, France or Italy? Ours would still be one of the most liberal work policies in the world without the responsibility of cradle to grave social services.

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