Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 26, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

SILLY WASHINGTON LAWS....I don't really have an opinion immediately at hand about whether we suffer from a glut of Nobel Prize winners and should clamp down on giving them permanent residency here, but baseball is another thing entirely. Reducing the number of visas available for power hitting shortstops is clearly beyond the pale. Barry Frank, a top honcho at uber-agency IMG, explains the realities:

Look, baseball is basically becoming a Hispanic game. And don't forget who their employers are — men of considerable means and power. The owners are not going to let their stars get away because of some silly Washington law. I think you're going to hear some noise.

Indeed. These are men of considerable means and power. They can hardly be expected to sit still for a silly Washington law, can they?

Kevin Drum 12:43 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (30)

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Comments

Laws are for the little people. Monica Goodling was put in her job to see that the DOJ was filled with people who understand that.

Posted by: jimBOB on May 26, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

power-hitting shortstops?

Posted by: mudwall jackson on May 26, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Easy solution: just let all Hispanic children immigrate during their early adolescence, and let them develop their skills domestically within the U.S., thus avoiding the need to get a visa later on. However, since we can't really determine that early on who will later become a power-hitting shortstop, we pretty much would need to force all Hispanic children to immigrate to the U.S., otherwise we'd miss out on our key future baseball stars.

I'm pretty sure that solution would satisfy everyone, especially all men of considerable means and power.

Posted by: msmackle on May 26, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

How about a compromise? Give talented technological and medical people permanent residency, but require them to live and work for at least five years in areas of the U.S. that are struggling and need an economic stimulus, e.g. the Great Plains or Appalachia. So technology whizzes and such would have to do research and build plants in the Dakotas or southeast Kentucky, not in the Route 128 corridor or the Silicon Valley. Force the immigrant "creative class" into areas that need the help the most, instead of letting Boston and the Bay Area get even richer.

As for power-hitting shortstops? Well, the Washington Nationals could use one...

Posted by: Vincent on May 26, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, that article really is a POS.

Aside from the issue at hand get a load of this analogy:

Consider this: If Bill Gates -- who dropped out of Harvard -- were foreign-born and subject to the new point system, would Microsoft be able to hire him to live and work in the United States?

Not even going to waste my time breaking that one down.

Posted by: Simp on May 26, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Those are not laws--they are just Department of Sports rules. Big whoop.

Posted by: Kenji on May 26, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

This guy has been watching too many "Batman" movies.

Posted by: mattsteinglass on May 26, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

George Bush was the owner of a baseball team. So he should understand this issue. I doubt he will let the law through as it is.

Posted by: fostert on May 26, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

I was a cub scout in the 50 cent seats in the right field bleachers in Forbes Field in Pittsburgh watching the great Roberto Clemente.

Whenever he caught the third out, he always threw us kids the ball. They fined him, but he kept on anyway.

We didn't know what Hispanic was, but we loved Clemente.

Posted by: chance on May 26, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Better argument:

George Will needs great ballplayers to suck up to.

Ancillary question:

Is it because Mr. Will enjoys all the spitting or all the crotch itching?

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on May 26, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

What I find myself wondering about is what the current criteria for being "aliens of extraordinary abilities" might possibly be.

While the analogies and examples are Bill Gates and John Lennon (and Yoko Ono, puke, puke -- though I'm hoping that was as a family member), the reality is that 36,960 were granted the special exemption either directly or as a family member.

Let's just say that there aren't exactly 36,960 Nobel Prize winners and famous musicians and power shortstops needing entry into the US every year. So who are all these people, really? What did they really have to do to get on that list?

Posted by: frankly0 on May 26, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Just to give the 36,960 figure a little more context, I gather that there are about 10,000 (give or take) graduates from Ivy League universities in total every year. I don't think of the distinction as being particularly remarkable. How could there be many more "aliens of extraordinary abilities" every year who should get gold card entry into the US? What could their real distinctions possibly be?

Posted by: frankly0 on May 26, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

World Class/Cutting Edge Talent doesn't always come with a degree from a fancy school. The surpassing ability to dance or play the piano doesn't always mean a person can easily learn English. A lot of posters are poo-pooing the issue, but it is extremely important to some very powerful people. I can imagine that it will be rapidly corrected for ballplayers, but what about other fields?

For generations the United States has cherry-picked the best and brightest from around the world. When did that become a bad idea?

The kind of stupidity we see in the immigration bill was rampant in the bankruptcy reform bill. Maybe we need to elect smarter congress critters, or maybe they need to hire smarter legislative aides.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 26, 2007 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

frank0 I happen to know one of those folks you are asking about. She is an extraordinary computer programmer who happens to come from a third world country. A raw talent without an advanced degree. Of course, being a programmer she has language skills in abundance. she would probably get in on the point system.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 26, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Don't worry mhr, going to college is becoming more and more difficult for American kids across the board. Institution of a rigid Republican class system for all Americans is right on schedule. The Paris Hiltons of the world will soon be called "your highness" without any hint of irony or parody.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 26, 2007 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

power-hitting shortstops?

Carlos Guillen . . .

Posted by: rea on May 26, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

I met a doctor with a similar attitude: easy entry for baseball players, continued restrictions on doctors and scientists.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 26, 2007 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

If the MLB club owners were really interested in opening our borders to Latino baseball talent, and their influence held that much sway in D.C., we'd doubtless have normalized relations with Cuba by now. Fidel Castro was considerd a promising left-handed pitcher during his days at the University of Havana, and has always been a huge fan of the game. He and George Will would have a lot to talk about.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on May 26, 2007 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Don't worry mhr, going to college is becoming more and more difficult..."

Hey, of there's one thing he knows about (and even that is debatable), it's about not getting educated.

Posted by: Kenji on May 26, 2007 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Have any of you guys actually LOOKED at the point system in the bill?

(crickets chirping)

Posted by: theAmericanist on May 26, 2007 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

444 Iraqis have been let in to the U.S. in the last 4 years. Too many?

Posted by: R.L. on May 26, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

"Look, baseball is basically becoming a Hispanic game."

According to ESPN, the Major Leagues are currently:


2% Asian
8% black
29% Hispanic
61% white


http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/jackie/news/story?id=2828584

Posted by: Orkon on May 26, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

If baseball fans, collectively, want to pay Ichiro Suzuki $10 million a year (probably more) to watch him play, it just seems crazy for the government to say, sorry, you have to pick a less-qualified American citizen to bat lead-off for the Mariners.

Posted by: kth on May 26, 2007 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

MatthewRmarler

Big woop. Doctors have a very powerful union focused primarily on limiting the number of people practicing medicine. That union is very good at what it does.

Still lots of foreign doctors end up practicing in the US.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 26, 2007 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

The drug rackets in New York City are awash in Dominican ex-ballplayers who didn't go home when they washed out of the minor leagues (or in the case of ex-Dodger slugger Pedro Guerrero, who has a 55 IQ according to his defense attorney, when they washed out of the majors).

Posted by: Steve Sailer on May 27, 2007 at 2:23 AM | PERMALINK

European football teams manage to survive with a cap on on the number of non-EU citizens they can employ.

Posted by: You will indeed walk alone on May 27, 2007 at 6:09 AM | PERMALINK

Donald:
"Just shave the beard, Fidel"
(let's see who get's that reference)

Steve Sailer:
Are you claiming that if we could only rid New York of Dominican ex-ballplayers, that the drug trade would be seriously affected? After all, it surely can't be the case that there are Dominicans who never played ball in the NYC drug trade, to say nothing of other Latin Americans, to say nothing of Chinese and other Asians, to say nothing of Russians and other Europeans, to say nothing of the old-school Irish and Italian mobs, to say nothing of anglo-Americans.... Did I leave anyone out?

Posted by: keith on May 27, 2007 at 6:10 AM | PERMALINK

You'll have to pry David Ortiz from my cold dead fingers.

Posted by: Klein's tiny left nut on May 27, 2007 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Keith: "Just shave the beard, Fidel"
(let's see who get's that reference)

"Knocked Up" (2007)?

Posted by: Kenji on May 27, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

"If baseball fans, collectively, want to pay Ichiro Suzuki $10 million a year (probably more) to watch him play, it just seems crazy for the government to say, sorry, you have to pick a less-qualified American citizen to bat lead-off for the Mariners."
Posted by: kth on May 26, 2007 at 9:10 PM

What about this compromise? Immigrants with *talent* and $$$ making potential.. let 'em in, BUT they have to pay a chunky income/wealth surtax (above some minimum income)for some defined period of time.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on May 28, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK
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