damnum absque injuria

October 1, 2015

This is America, Speak Spanish!

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 1:02 am

Q: What do you call a person who speaks three or more languages?
A: A polyglot.

Q: What do you call a person who speaks two languages?
A: Bilingual.

Q: What do you call a person who speaks one language?
A: An American.

Q: What do you call an American monoglot who can barely speak that one language and is inexplicably proud of that?
A: Donald Trump.

Many important issues have been discussed in the first two Republican debates, but some very silly ones have been as well. Among the silliest was Donald Trump’s admonition that Jeb Bush (and, by extension, Marco Rubio) “should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States.” Of course Trump could not have meant this literally, as both Bush and Rubio do speak English in the United States – a tad more fluently than Trump himself, I might add – every day. Presumably the example Trump wants his opponents to set is one of speaking English exclusively, rather than by communicating with recent immigrants in their native tongues while encouraging them to learn English at the same time. This is wrongheaded.

First, speaking a foreign language is good for your brain. By learning to think in more than one mode, you begin to think about language more abstractly and analytically, and will likely soon find the quality of your English improving as well. There’s evidence it may help to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, as well, particularly if learned early in life.

Second, speaking a foreign language is good business. It closes no doors, but opens some you might not even have known where there. For the first 12 years of law practice, speaking three foreign languages didn’t help me at all. Come year 13, it practically saved my life. One financial bubble, one burst, three now-nonexistent Fortune 500 Companies and a few personal crises later, these languages are the only reason I now make anywhere close to what I made before. My employer is not unique in this regard; many others prefer bilingual or multilingual employees purely because it makes good business sense. Among these employers: Trump Enterprises.

Third, speaking a foreign country language gives us credibility abroad that we cannot enjoy when everyone else speaks our own language better than we do, and we bring nothing to the table in return. Yes, international diplomacy can be done entirely in English, and in fact often is. But relying on everyone to come to us, linguistically at least, puts us in the role of follower when we should be the ones leading. I am not aware of politicians in any other country having ridiculed their opponents for speaking a foreign language. More typically, they ridicule them for not speaking a foreign language, typically English in particular.

Fourth, speaking a foreign language is good for conservatism. Whatever the -ism, getting the message across is what matters, not the language. Possibly Rubio’s strongest point in the debate was when he noted that he learned both his patriotism and his conservatism from his grandfather in Spanish, “because that was the language he was most comfortable in.” He then added that he that wants today’s immigrants to get his own message directly from him, “not from a translator at Univision.” Similarly, Arnold Schwarzenegger chose his party affiliation in 1968, before he spoke a word of English, because his friend translated enough of Nixon and Humphrey’s respective views (albeit wrongly remembered as a debate) for him to recognize one party as supporting free enterprise and the other as reminiscent of the European quasi-socialism he’d left behind. Most immigrants don’t have that friend to translate for them, and don’t become politically aware until many years later. When they do, they’re more likely to go with the party seen as friendly to them. Right now that advantage belongs to the Democrats. The G.O.P. has a lot of catching up to do. Encouraging more of its candidates to learn at least one foreign language, if not more, would be an excellent start.

In sum, not everyone needs to learn a foreign language, but all should be encouraged to. Of course we should set an example for immigrants to encourage them to learn our language. The best example we can set is to learn theirs ourselves.

April 23, 2015

Bible Quiz

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 10:48 pm
  1. Who inspired King David to conduct a census that led to the untimely deaths of 70,000 innocent Jews?
  2. A. God

    B. Satan

    C. Adolf Hitler

    D. Kanye West

  3. Why did Jesus’s parents take him from Bethlehem to Nazareth?
  4. A. To escape a crazed Jewish king’s mass-killing of infant babies, which historians forgot to record.

    B. Because they were originally from Nazareth, and were only visiting Bethlehem in the first place to comply with the world’s worst-planned census, which historians forgot to record.

    C. Because they had read some long lost scripture (appearing nowhere in the Old Testament, but referenced in Matthew as though it were) that their new messiah was supposed to be a Nazarene.

    D. Because they thought Kanye West was opening for them.

  5. What did Judas do with his 30 pieces of silver?
  6. A. Gave it back to the priests.

    B. Bought a field.

    C. Invested in no-load mutual funds.

    D. Bought front row seats to see Kanye West.

  7. How did Judas die?
  8. A. By hanging himself.

    B. By falling down in the field he had bought with the bribe money and splitting open.

    C. Of old age.

    D. He didn’t. He was one of the few people in the crowd Jesus was addressing in Matthew 16:28 and Mark 9:1 who would not taste death before he came back. He’s currently living under an assumed name, “Kanye West.”

  9. Whose blood was the potter’s “Field of Blood” named after?
  10. A. Jesus’s.

    B. Judas’s

    C. Herod’s.

    D. Kanye West’s.

  11. In what order did God create the living beings on our planet?
  12. A. Man first, lower animals second, woman last.

    B. Woman first, who gave birth to the first man.

    C. Lower animals first, man and woman last (simultaneously)

    D. On the seventh day, God created Kanye West, and couldn’t have have rested on that day instead?

  13. When is it permissible to divorce your wife and remarry?
  14. A. Never.

    B. Only if she cheats on you.

    C. Only if you suspect she’s a closet lesbian.

    D. Only if she abuses you, either physically or emotionally, such as by making you listen to Kanye West.

  15. Who did Jesus tell it’s more blessed to give than receive?
  16. A. The apostles and the crowd, during his inaugural sermon that was either on the mount (Matthew 5) or on the plain (Luke 6:17 & 20).

    B. Pilate, to make an ironic point about the death penalty.

    C. Paul, who never met Jesus during his lifetime.

    D. Kanye West.

  17. Who was Joseph’s father?
  18. A. Jacob.

    B. Heli.

    C. Moses.

    D. Kanye.

  19. Can all sins be forgiven?
  20. A. Yes.

    B. No.

    C. Maybe.

    D. Kanye.

November 12, 2013

Killer Nannies R Us

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 10:08 am

If you ever think of hiring a nanny or au pair through Cultural Connections, think again. And again. And again.

January 28, 2012

Truth About Truth Redux

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 6:02 pm

More than four years ago, I blogged that items titled “The Truth About X” almost always turn out to be lies themselves. This latest “truth” from Gary DeMar is but the latest example. DeMar writes:

Here’s what Elliot Abrams, who served as Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs under Reagan, wrote about what Newt allegedly said about Reagan and his policies toward the Soviet Union:
“Measured against the scale and momentum of the Soviet empire’s challenge, the Reagan administration has failed, is failing, and without a dramatic change in strategy will continue to fail. . . . President Reagan is clearly failing.”

Here’s what Newt actually said — in context. Pay attention to the distinction between Reagan and those in his administration. It’s the key to the story:
“The fact is that George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Irving Kristol, and Jeane Kirkpatrick are right in pointing out the enormous gap between President Reagan’s strong rhetoric, which is adequate, and his administration’s weak policies, which are inadequate and will ultimately fail.”

Newt was attacking the people in Reagan’s administration who wanted Reagan to tone down the anti-Soviet rhetoric. These are the same people who wanted Reagan to remove the line “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” from his speech at the Brandenburg Gate near the Berlin Wall on June 12, 1987.

Gee whiz, how could anyone have read the transcript of Gingrich’s March 21, 1986 Special Order speech and gotten the quote so horribly wrong? The answer, of course, is that he actually said both. Abrams’s quote appears in the tenth paragraph of Gingrich’s speech (or the third full paragraph of the third column of p. 5886 of the Congressional Record), while the part cited by DeMar is the second full paragraph of p. 5887. And even DeMar’s doesn’t say what DeMar says it says; in it, Gingrich clear attacked Reagan’s policies, not any individuals working in his administration, and certainly not about a speech in Berlin that would not be made until more than a year later. Indeed, far from making this about the faceless, bureaucratic squishes DeMar wants it to be about (who, it should be noted, Gingrich would indeed go after later in the speech), Gingrich further clarified (p. 5887, paragraph 4) that:

The burden of this failure frankly must be placed first on President Reagan; he is the President.

Gingrich also had some nice things to say about the President, and all in all it wasn’t a huge bombshell of a speech that ought to figure high on anyone’s list of priorities in deciding who to vote for in next week’s primaries. But it’s certainly not grounds for calling Abrams a liar simply for recalling different true facts than the ones DeMar wished he had.

January 24, 2012

Doctor Paul?

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:40 am

Yup, that’s exactly what these aPAULogists did: prove their dear leader isn’t a racist by turning a white baby into a black baby.

September 11, 2011

Memo to the Folk at Instapundit

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 8:32 pm

Yes, it is. “Etymology,” on the other hand, is not a synonym for “meaning.”

May 15, 2011

Nitecruzer Is a Prick

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 8:05 pm

Whose posting privileges on all Google fora (beginning with this one) should be revoked forthwith. If, however, he finds this post or my comments on Google fora and finds a way to get me shut out of my own GMail account, consisting of my first name (Jeff) followed by my middle initial (W) and my surname (Bishop) followed by the usual Google Mail domain, I shall give him credit for being a more resourceful prick than previously thought.

January 19, 2011

Idiot of the Day: Steve Cohen

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:59 pm

I’m torn over why I should hate the guy more. Do I hate him for comparing opponents of Obamacare to Goebbels, or do I hate him for pronouncing Goebbel’s name “gerbils?” Decisions, decisions.

January 10, 2011

Change We Needed

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:43 am

It is now legal to cuss in at least one more North Carolina county, namely Orange. There went the only reason for anyone to choose East Carolina over UNC Chapel Hill.

August 26, 2010

At Least She Wasn’t Talking on a Cellphone

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:21 pm

Multitasking while driving is illegal in Ohio. Who knew?

UPDATE: Insty notes that she wasn’t texting, either.


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