Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Squeeze Play

Squeeze Play

I love baseball, our national pastime.   One of the most exciting parts of the games is the squeeze play where a runner on third base dashes to home while the batter places (or attempts to place) a bunt that requires a perfect fielder’s response to prevent a run from scoring.   Good stuff.  What I write about today is a not-so-nice squeeze play by the powers of big money and governments.  We have been treated the past couple of weeks to the exposure if the activities of a massively-funded right wing organization known as ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council).  ALEC introduces state legislators to already-written proposed statutes or laws which then require only that the legislators introduce the bill into Republican-dominated legislatures where they are quickly voted into law and, equally as quickly, signed by a Republican governor.  An example of the working results of ALEC would be the ‘stand your ground’ statute causing so much uproar in Florida and mimicked by no fewer than eighteen other states.  

With that brief introduction as background, I call your attention to Alabama which I view as the runner on third base in the squeeze play under consideration.   ALEC has written an anti-immigration law that is intended to serve as the model for the country.  That law passed but various court proceedings have limited some of the more onerous portions of the statute.  The Alabama legislature went back to work and re-crafted the statute ALEC-style.  As reported in the NYTimes  “The changes under the new measure will do little to end the abuses and inconveniences created by the law. Companies, for example, won’t automatically lose their licenses if they knowingly hire unauthorized workers. Instead, penalties would be left up to a judge. Landlords won’t be arrested for renting to undocumented immigrants, but churches and humanitarian groups still risk prosecution for harboring or transporting them. The police would be allowed to check drivers’ papers only after ticketing or arresting them, not after any stop. But officers would also be able to detain anyone else in the car, a blatantly unconstitutional overreach.”  

The batter laying down the bunt is the Supreme Court with its recent decision allowing strip searches for anyone arrested.  Hispanic residents, legal or not, are caught in the middle of this squeeze play (okay, the analogy is not perfect) and it doesn’t take much imagination to envision the humiliation and degradation that is soon to follow as Alabama police go about their daily business.  Citizens will be arrested for a minor traffic violation and all of the occupants of a vehicle can be taken to the local police station where they can be forced to strip and display their various body cavities, all with the ordained approval of the highest court in our land.  

Welcome to America Alabama-style.  Just saying . . .

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