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Tilting at Windmills

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June 14, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

ROADSIDE SIGN CULTURE....Brian Weatherson notes a photo in the LA Times of a sign in a Philly cheesesteak shop and asks:

Im not sure what rule of English requires, or even permits, quote marks around the last two words in that sentence. Im no prescriptivist, so Im happy to be shown that this falls under some generally followed pattern, but its no pattern Im familiar with.

Glad to help out here. There's a long folk tradition in American roadside signmaking of using quote marks the same way normal people use italics or exclamation points. In more refined circles for example, Usenet or corporate memos this message would be rendered thusly:

This is America. When ordering, SPEAK ENGLISH!!!

Since using quote marks for emphasis is an American tradition, it's obvious that the cheesesteak owner is using them here in a meta-referential attempt to draw attention to the fact that his shop is in America, and thus one should not just speak English, but "speak English." It's actually a very sophisticated play on the modalities of American discourse and the folkways of blue collar American culture.

POSTSCRIPT: The mainstream press, of course, has deliberately ignored the subtle subtext of Joey Vento's sign and instead portrayed him as just another ignorant nativist prick. They even mock the local idiom. Typical, isn't it?

POSTSCRIPT 2: Yes, I'm joking. But not about the quotation mark thing. Head over to The Gallery Of "Misused" Quotation Marks for more.

Kevin Drum 6:51 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (142)

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Comments

gaaahhh... using quote marks for emphasis is one of my top three pet peeves, and I just ranted about the other two elsewhere a couple of hours ago. It's practically an epidemic in marketing & advertising, and the unintentional irony isn't even amusing anymore.

Posted by: latts on June 14, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

I dont think its possible to say cheese-steak or Coco-cola in another language.

Posted by: jimmy on June 14, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Quisiera un filete del queso.

If the order takers don't speak Spanish to their customers, I'm not sure how they figure out what the person wants. Could they just point? What if a person who can't speak at all wants to order?

Posted by: bob on June 14, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK
What if a person who can't speak at all wants to order?

Too bad. This is America. "Speak English".

Posted by: cmdicely on June 14, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

I guess it's meant to contrast with Speak English!

Posted by: Tim Morris on June 14, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Pinche gueros

Quisiera verle hablar dos idiomas, con excepcin de la charla generalmente del 'redneck'

Posted by: Pancho Villa on June 14, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of the language of signs... American Sign Language is definitely American, but it ain't English. Would signed orders would be honored?

(Probably wouldn't come up; anyone who uses ASL knows how to get a sandwich from someone who only understands English, without signing.)

Posted by: Grumpy on June 14, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Woe-be to the innocent Swedish tourist who enters this shop. And what self-respecting capitalist doesn't realize the value of trying to accomodate all customers regardless of national identity or language preference? If they want to give you their money, why do you care what language they speak?

Posted by: Doug-E-Fresh on June 14, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

They don't specify which part of America, though.
When I order my Quisiera un filete del queso in Managua, do I still have to speak English? Or shall I "speak Spanish?"

Posted by: mister pedantic on June 14, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

I figure it's his shop. If he wants to drive away customers with this well publicized policy that's his business. If the food is poor and his location inconvenient than he'll loose money. Than he'll be poor and a jerk.

Posted by: Garble on June 14, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Wid or Widout bid in the newspaper is quite hilarious. It cheered up my morning.

Wid or Widout?

Wid What?

Wid cheese stoopid!

Posted by: nut on June 14, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

The sign actually says, "This is America. When ordering please speak English." It's easy to overlook the word "please" beacause it's written over the eagle.

I saw Geno interviewed on TV. He made four point:

-- The word "please" means the sign is a request, rather than a demand.
-- He does serve those who don't speak English and just point at what they want.
-- Those who just point may not get their preferred type of cheese on their cheese steak.
-- Those who don't speak English won't be offended by the sign, because they can't read it.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 14, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Kudos" Kevin for having the guts to stand up to the liberal elite media. Apparently they learned their english (and patriotism) at Oxford.

Posted by: rewolfrats on June 14, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK
The sign actually says, "This is America. When ordering please speak English." It's easy to overlook the word "please" beacause it's written over the eagle.

That reminds me; what's really wrong with the size is that it breaks the law that ought to exist governing the number of font family, style, weight, and orientation changes legally permitted in a single sentence.

Those who don't speak English won't be offended by the sign, because they can't read it.

This would be true, if "read" were a synonym for "speak".

Its not particularly unusual for people to read languages that they don't speak, even if they did both in the process of studying them.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 14, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

I'm at least as arrogant as any other Murkin -- the world, after all, DOES revolve around us -- but even I would not consider it the responsibility of a Parisian restaurateur to understand my attempt to order in Murkin. Why is this any different?
I find myself in total sympathy with the rednecks on this one. Why the heck SHOULD I have to "press 1 for English" in a country whose daily language has been English for almost four centuries? All four of my grandparents came here as adults, and learned to speak English -- with an accent, but well enough to live their lives in the local tongue.
This is one of these seemingly-little things where the left loses the respect -- and the votes -- of too many people who should be voting for us.

Posted by: smartalek on June 14, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, this is America? We speak Engrish here?

I never would have known if it weren't for some moron in Philadelphia who serves shitty food for a living.

Posted by: Ex-conservative on June 14, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Vento has been a prick for yeahz. Not da brightest bulb inna bunch sumtimes and mostly none of it has been intentional, but 'ey da guy just comes acroos like dat ya know?

Pat's Steaks is where its at by da way.

Posted by: Rocky on June 14, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

This whole thing is so overblown. Can we get back to corruption and Iraq and fiscal irresponsibility and the things that really matter? Why pick on these blue collar guys? By the way, I lived in Philly and Genos does make the best steaks. Blows Pats away.

Posted by: Brian MD on June 14, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK
I'm at least as arrogant as any other Murkin -- the world, after all, DOES revolve around us -- but even I would not consider it the responsibility of a Parisian restaurateur to understand my attempt to order in Murkin. Why is this any different?

How is a common unadvertised expectation based on the dominant language of an area different from posting a sign requesting a particular language used based on the nation in which the restaurant is located, accompanied by national symbols?

Um, better question, how are they the same?

Posted by: cmdicely on June 14, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK
Why the heck SHOULD I have to "press 1 for English" in a country whose daily language has been English for almost four centuries?

The country known as "The United States of America" hasn't existed for even three centuries.

The portion of this continent in which the "daily language" has been English for anything remotely approaching four centuries includes only a narrow slice of the modern United States, along part of its East Coast.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 14, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

What is that language The Yale Illiterate speaks? Texlish?

Posted by: Pechorin on June 14, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

I'm at least as arrogant as any other Murkin -- the world, after all, DOES revolve around us -- but even I would not consider it the responsibility of a Parisian restaurateur to understand my attempt to order in Murkin. Why is this any different?

I've traveled all over Europe and been so thankful for the various restauranteurs who've been willing to accomodate me as I pointed, pantomimed, and stuttered my way through their menus in an attempt to order in languages I don't speak. Many were willing to help me in languages that I could speak. None of them barked "speak french/turkish/italian/dutch" when I tried to otherwise indicate what I wanted by pointing or stumbling over the pronunciation. What they did was offer was is called "hospitality."

Posted by: Constantine on June 14, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think I can take someone who works for a place that requires people to understand what the hell "wid" and "widout" is supposed to mean seriously when he says "Speak English".

Posted by: Quinn on June 14, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

To me, what's offensive about the sign is that it asks patrons to "speak English", not just to "order in English." It's easy enough for non-English speakers to "cheese steak coke" But, one could read the sign as a request (or demand) not to have private conversations in other languages.

Nevertheless, I think management should have the right to post this sign if they want to. If potential customers are offended, they can buy their cheese steakes elsewhere.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 14, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

I think people should be required to sing the Star Spangled Banner in Iroquois or maybe Ogala Sioux, since we slaughtered thousands of native Americans and took the land that was rightfully theirs in order to found this country.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 14, 2006 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Apologies Britain, Brian apparently learned his english in Australia. LA times, you are still on notice for disrespecting regional th to d consant shifts. "I'm all like, people outside Hollywood sure do speak strangely."

Posted by: rewolfrats on June 14, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

I think management should have the right to post this sign if they want to. If potential customers are offended, they can buy their cheese steakes elsewhere.

This was the ACLU's argument-- they have every right to post the sign, as it's an expression of the owner's opinion. THe owners, of course, are not allowed to "enforce" the owner's opinion.

Posted by: Constantine on June 14, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

I spent a week or so in Germany a number of years ago, and if they had had a "Speak German!" thing going, I would have been screwed! But I guess Philadelphia doesn't have any sort of tourism industry.

What does 'Philadelphia' mean again? (And in what language?)

Posted by: Robert Earle on June 14, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Old Joey Vento has had that sign in his family since they came over on the Mayflower. It originally read, "Speak American, Capiche!!!"

Posted by: enozinho on June 14, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, yeah. I also wanted to ask if that stars-and-stipes representation behind the eagle constitutes flag desecration.

Posted by: Robert Earle on June 14, 2006 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

Constantine
Many were willing to help me in languages that I could speak. None of them barked "speak french/turkish/italian/dutch" when I tried to otherwise indicate what I wanted by pointing or stumbling over the pronunciation. What they did was offer was is called "hospitality."

"STRAWMAN!"

(Note the quotes for emphasis).

If you showed up with a Turkish driver's license and all the signs that you've lived there a long time and just haven't bothered to learn Turkish out of stubbornness, might be different.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 14, 2006 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK
Nevertheless, I think management should have the right to post this sign if they want to.

Sure, they have the right to post it.

Has anyone said they didn't have such a right? Has anyone suggested the government should compel them to remove it?

Posted by: cmdicely on June 14, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

enozinho: It originally read, "Speak American, Capiche!!!"

As a New Yorker, I find no great irony in that.

P.S. There should be a question mark, as capiche is an interrogative.

Posted by: alex on June 14, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

"In more refined circles for example, Usenet or corporate memos this message would be rendered thusly:"

Thusly? Speak Englishly!

Posted by: Ross Best on June 14, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK
"STRAWMAN!"

Nice of you to announce that up front.

If you showed up with a Turkish driver's license and all the signs that you've lived there a long time and just haven't bothered to learn Turkish out of stubbornness, might be different.

Now, I've never been to Turkey, so things might be different, but I'm not used to restaurants (except perhaps when one of questionable age orders alcohol) asking for your driver's license when you attempt to order, and even less used to staff responding to your language proficiency differently based on the origin of that license.

Not, of course, that such speculation is at all relevant, as neither the sign nor the staff in the anecdote took such a searching approach to origins as you imply before setting their language expectations.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 14, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

If you showed up with a Turkish driver's license and all the signs that you've lived there a long time and just haven't bothered to learn Turkish out of stubbornness, might be different.

"What The Fuck" You need to show your driver's license and proof of long term residency before someone will think about serving you a cheesesteak and treating you with respect? Which red state do you live in, Mike?

Posted by: rewolfrats on June 14, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

I despair over the inappropriate use of quotation marks. When I'm driving down the road and see a sign that says "APPLES" FOR SALE, I want to stop and ask the proprietor, "Look, are they apples or aren't they?"

Posted by: navamske on June 14, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

If you showed up with a Turkish driver's license and all the signs that you've lived there a long time and just haven't bothered to learn Turkish out of stubbornness, might be different.

It's a good thing after three years in Iraq, all of our soldiers speak perfect Arabic! And the Preznit too... As an Arabic speaker I particularly appreciate President Abu-Gharum's commitment to learning the language.

Posted by: enozinho on June 14, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I'm sorry, but say what?

Posted by: Chris Brown on June 14, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK
It's actually a very sophisticated play on the modalities of American discourse and the folkways of blue collar American culture.

Am I the only one who noticed that Mr. Drum has his tounge firmly planted in his cheek? You'd think the postscript was a dead giveaway. This is really well written, Mr. Drum.

Posted by: Edo on June 14, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

If you showed up with a Turkish driver's license and all the signs that you've lived there a long time and just haven't bothered to learn Turkish out of stubbornness, might be different.

All of those exonerating qualifications must have been in very fine print on that sign.

And it's been a while since I've been to Philly: have to show a driver's license to get a cheese steak these days?

Must be a new Homeland Security thing.

Posted by: Windhorse on June 14, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK
I despair over the inappropriate use of quotation marks. When I'm driving down the road and see a sign that says "APPLES" FOR SALE, I want to stop and ask the proprietor, "Look, are they apples or aren't they?"

I particularly like it when the quotes are used around some quality, like: WE HAVE "LOW" PRICES

Posted by: cmdicely on June 14, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Liberators kill "civillians" while terrorists kill civillians.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 14, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

That reminds me; what's really wrong with the size is that it breaks the law that ought to exist governing the number of font family, style, weight, and orientation changes legally permitted in a single sentence.

That law was scrapped when the Macintosh was invented.

Posted by: macfreak on June 14, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure if it's still there, but historically, after crossing the Delaware River on Route 80 from New Jersey, you were greeted by a sign saying "Welcome to Pennsylvania: America Starts Here." This might explain a bit. Or maybe not.

Posted by: jonathan on June 14, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Everybody paraphrased in response totheir misreading...
"What The Fuck" You need to show your driver's license and proof of long term residency before someone will think about serving you a cheesesteak and treating you with respect? Which red state do you live in, Mike?

Uh, no. Not sure how you navigated to the wrong side of that creek, but the point is, there are those who make an effort to speak-ee the language, and those that don't. And some of those that don't also live there, not just visiting. They are lazy or just don't care. But they should at least learn to say, "Cheesesteak with onions" if they wish to be served his cheesesteak.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 14, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't that be "APPLE'S" FOR SALE?

Posted by: shnooky on June 14, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

jonathan: after crossing the Delaware River on Route 80 from New Jersey, you were greeted by a sign saying "Welcome to Pennsylvania: America Starts Here."

That's more a comment on NJ than anything else. Pennsylvanians have the good sense to share New Yorker's views on this.

Suggest revision: the 12 original states. If absolutely pressed, one can parenthetically add "(and one original toxic waste dump)".

Posted by: alex on June 14, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely asks, "Has anyone said they didn't have such a right? Has anyone suggested the government should compel them to remove it?"

Yes, some bureaucrat, I forget which one, said the sign is discriminatory and asked that it removed.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 14, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

In high school and college I took 5 years of French. After having been in the Navy for about a year and a half I was stationed (luckily at my request) in Rota, Spain. I gradually learned enough Spanish to communicate, but I often wound up pointing to items on a menu in order to let whoever was waiting on me know what I wanted.

I also learned some other choice words which we will not go into here, but suffice it to say that I was not fluent, but I still found the Spanish people to be amazingly gracious and, given the opportunity, I would not hesitate to move to Seville which is the most beautiful city in the world.

The provincialism of Americans has astounded me for decades and continues to cause me consternation!

Posted by: fred on June 14, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Everybody paraphrased in response totheir misreading...

I didn't misread you. Care to comment on my response concerning our military's commitment to learning the language of the country they've occupied for the last three years? Oh, and what does "totheir" mean? Sounds French.

Posted by: enozinho on June 14, 2006 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely asks,
"Has anyone said they didn't have such a right? Has anyone suggested the government should compel them to remove it?"

I was listening to some NPR show today while circling the beltway on my way south, and someone was vociferous'ly "arguing" that they should have to remove the sign by law. He seemed to imply he wasn't alone.

Just so long as he doesn't eats, shoots and leaves.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 14, 2006 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

fred: I would not hesitate to move to Seville which is the most beautiful city in the world.

Dude, Cordoba is even better, if smaller. Did you like the winter flamingoes near Rota, though?

Posted by: shortstop on June 14, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

In my high-school cafeteria there used to be a sign that said:

No pizza "today."

Posted by: fumphis on June 14, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

A scene from the movie Love and Death on Long Island:

The protagonist, Giles De'Ath, a British gentleman of good breeding, gets into a NYC taxi and lights a cigarette.

Taxi Driver: The sign says No Smoking

Giles De'Ath: No, the sign says Thank You For Not Smoking. As I am smoking, I don't expect to be thanked.

Posted by: GOP on June 14, 2006 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

enozinho
I didn't misread you. Care to comment on my response concerning our military's commitment to learning the language of the country they've occupied for the last three years?

We were given a crash course in phrases for every port we pulled into. The folks over there are given courses in phraseology also. A fair number are picking up rudimentary Arabic skills. The military continues to send people through the Defense Language Institute.

But it is a problem and the military knows it.
http://www.usma.edu/publicaffairs/directorscorner/BaltimoreSunJan06.htm

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 14, 2006 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

GOP, leave the creativity and humour to the lefties. You on the right really suck at it. Something to do with your propensity to blindly follow whatever presents itself as authority figure that always hinders the creative, free part of the brain.

Posted by: POG on June 14, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

There's a small market near here that has on their sign:

"Our specialty is our..."meats."

Ellipses and all.

Posted by: Windhorse on June 14, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

POG
GOP, leave the creativity and humour to the lefties. You on the right really suck at it.

Are you kidding? Ann Coulter is hilarious.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 14, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Bumper sticker seen in Tucson:

Piss off a Rupug.
Speak Spanish Proudly.

Posted by: koreyel on June 14, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

A fair number are picking up rudimentary Arabic skills.

Is this what you mean? "Hadji Girl"

Posted by: enozinho on June 14, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

Don't think I misread you either. Just trying to figure out how you are supposed to be make the following declaration:

They are lazy or just don't care.

You're the one that mentioned "driver's license and all the signs that you've lived there a long time." How else do you propose distinguishing visiting Latin American researchers, students, and tourists from obstinate/lazy immigrants?

Posted by: rewolfrats on June 14, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't that be "APPLE'S" FOR SALE?

Sometimes it is, yes. But the misuse of the apostrophe is a different transgression altogether, though it's often committed by the same people who don't know bubkes about quotation marks.

A friend of mine told me she saw a sign that said LARR'YS GAS STATION.

Posted by: navamske on June 14, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Only a right wing tool would find Man Coulter funny.

Oh, wait, Redneck Mike thinks she's hilarious, bwaahahahahahaaaa! So funny!

Nothing that rancid skank can utter remotely comes off as funny. Being funny takes talent and effort, and she has none. Flinging feces is not a sign of talent, then again consider her audience. These are the same jerks who thought it would be 'funny' to put purple band aids on their faces at the GOP 04 convention. I get it, ha ha ha, SO funny!


The punchline to Manny Coulter is knowing she will die childless and alone.

Posted by: POG on June 14, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

The punchline to Manny Coulter is knowing she will die childless and alone.

Any child carried by Ann Coulter would suffer a serious case of frostbite on its way through the birth canal.

Posted by: navamske on June 14, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

navamske, now THAT was funny!

Posted by: POG on June 14, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

So the left, having pathetically lost on every issue, and every election, that has confronted them in the last five years (with the exception of SS private accounts and thanks for not letting me save my own money), have turned their anger towards a small businessman.

How's that '08 platform coming along?

Posted by: Jay on June 14, 2006 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

POG,

GOP, leave the creativity and humour to the lefties.

If Al Franken or Molly Ivins were here, I might be inclined to. You're too angry and bitter to have a sense of humor.

Posted by: GOP on June 14, 2006 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Jay is funny, when he is not trying to be.

Posted by: POG on June 14, 2006 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

navamske: Any child carried by Ann Coulter would suffer a serious case of frostbite on its way through the birth canal.

POG: navamske, now THAT was funny!

Wasn't it though? I'm still laughing. navamske, you should do stand up.

Posted by: GOP on June 14, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see, try and make a list of influential artists, musicians, filmmakers, etc who leaned right...

Ted Nugent
Toby Keith
Charlie Daniels

someone help me here...all we have are three crackers whose audience washes their hands before leaving work every night.

Posted by: POG on June 14, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

There have been rare anecdotal reports of true hermaphrodites with functional uteri being able to get pregnant and carry to term.

Posted by: Nads on June 14, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

And their political views are important because, why again?

Posted by: Jay on June 14, 2006 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who demands that folks only "Speak English" is a backwater or urban hick in my book.

This country is made of immigrants. They or their children will all learn English at some point.

In the past, there were Polish or German speaking immigrants that faced the same kind of biggotism as Latinos face today. Today, these Hispanics are here to do the dirty work that even your African Americans won't stoop to.

C'mon, America, get real!!!!

Posted by: MultiCultural on June 14, 2006 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

And their political views are important because, why again?
Posted by: Jay

true hermaphrodites' political views? ... I was just pointing out that coulter still has a chance to spawn.

Posted by: Nads on June 14, 2006 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

Bumper sticker seen in Tucson:

Piss off a Rupug.
Speak Spanish Proudly.

Posted by: koreyel on June 14, 2006 at 8:45 PM

Amen. Speaking Spanish sure seems to piss off all the right people.

Though being from Texas I've known quite a few conservatives who have made their peace with Spanish. Dios mio, this may be the one area where Texas right-wingers have forged ahead of the rest of the national camp even.

Posted by: sweaty guy on June 14, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Nads wtf are you talking about? Go get your meds, I was addressing POG

Posted by: Jay on June 14, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

POG
Being funny takes talent and effort, and she has none.

Idunno, I thought this was funny...

"If John Kerry had a dollar for every time he bragged about serving in Vietnam - oh wait, he does."

These are the same jerks who thought it would be 'funny' to put purple band aids on their faces at the GOP 04 convention. I get it, ha ha ha, SO funny!

Yea, it pales in comparison to the infamous Dem 2004 Convention Keystone Cops balloon drop stunt.

The horror.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 14, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Yea, it pales in comparison to the infamous Dem 2004 Convention Keystone Cops balloon drop stunt.

Man does every single conservative pull the false equivelency arguement out of their ass every time they can't make a valid point?

i.e., Bush lied about WMDs, but Clinton lied about getting a blowjob, so everything is balanced.

Nice feeble attempt, Redneck Mike but I shouldn't expect anything less...

Jay, the point is people who think conservative dont have it in their heads to truly break free and be creative because they are the type of people who follow authority to a fault.

No conservative EVER started a revolution anywhere at anytime, they are too busy sucking up to whoever is in power at the moment to break their minds from the approved channel of thought

Posted by: POG on June 14, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

The balloon drop thing was pretty funny. Of course it was a television producer and not a democratic elected official that went batshit crazy.

Posted by: rewolfrats on June 14, 2006 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

POG
i.e., Bush lied about WMDs, but Clinton lied about getting a blowjob, so everything is balanced.

No and no. Bush was mistaken about WMDs while Clinton redefined the very meaning of the word "sex" in the English language (American version) in order to avoid lying. Very Humpty-Dumpty of him.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 14, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

The quasitechnical term for it is "greengrocer's English."

Posted by: The Confidence Man on June 14, 2006 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter RSM: The Republican convention was a festival of hatred and anger, but the Democratic convention had a glitch deploying the balloons, so it's all the same.

And RSM, it's clear that the proprietor of the cheese steak establishment is picking on people who are struggling their way through the menu and meanwhile talking with their friends and relatives in their native language while eating. Which is to say, as Kevin puts it "a nativist prick." Quite honestly, I've never been treated that way while abroad for any amount of time.

Posted by: Constantine on June 14, 2006 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

Though being from Texas I've known quite a few conservatives who have made their peace with Spanish. Dios mio, this may be the one area where Texas right-wingers have forged ahead of the rest of the national camp even.
Posted by: sweaty guy on June 14, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Ya gotta speak their language if you're gonna hire illegals cheap. If they speak English, all of a sudden they're expecting "minimum wage".

Posted by: American Fuck on June 14, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

No and no. Bush was mistaken about WMDs while Clinton redefined the very meaning of the word "sex" in the English language (American version) in order to avoid lying. Very Humpty-Dumpty of him.
Posted by: Red State Mike on June 14, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

Bush was not mistaken. He knew there were no WMD, and he bent over backwards to make sure anyone who said different paid the price. He's a dirty liar - but why are you so enthusiastically standing behind someone who, out of incompetence, brought this nation to war and ended the lives of tens of thousands of innocent civillians and brought the economy to it's knees due to inflated oil prices?

And Clinton defined Sex precisely in line with the very specific, narrow definition the prosecutor gave him. He's a lawyer. He followed the prosecutor's instructions. How terrible. Won't someone think of the children?

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 14, 2006 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

No and no. Bush was mistaken about WMDs while Clinton redefined the very meaning of the word "sex" in the English language (American version) in order to avoid lying. Very Humpty-Dumpty of him.

Red State Mike is redefining the meaning of the word "mistaken" here. Unless he's saying that Bush didn't know what the hell he was talking about, entirely likely, Bush was lying his fascist face off.

The meaning of the word "sex" includes its use to mean vaginal intercourse. A lot of people who have oral sex don't "really" think they've had "sex". Since the idiot judge didn't think the questions were germaine he shouldn't even have been asked them.

Posted by: olvlzl on June 14, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

but why are you so enthusiastically standing behind someone who, out of incompetence, brought this nation to war and ended the lives of tens of thousands of innocent civillians and brought the economy to it's knees due to inflated oil prices?

Because Redneck Mike is a good conservative who follows orders and keeps his mouth shut and doesn't ask questions. That's the Republican way.

Party before country.

Posted by: POG on June 14, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Because Redneck Mike is a good conservative who follows orders and keeps his mouth shut and doesn't ask questions.

Probably lost in the phone answering tree for the RNC Talking Points line.

Posted by: olvlzl on June 14, 2006 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

osama_been_forgotten: Bush was not mistaken. He knew there were no WMD

While I agree, it's not the key point. Bottom line, which even he (if not Faux News) has admitted, is that he was wrong.

At the level of POTUS, and where thousands of American lives are at stake, you don't say "oh shucks, everybody makes mistakes, let's give him another chance". You simply fire his as at the polls (oh, hold it, maybe we did).

Posted by: alex on June 14, 2006 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

American Fuck,

Ya gotta speak their language if you're gonna hire illegals cheap. If they speak English, all of a sudden they're expecting "minimum wage".

So let me get this straight.....They should not be encouraged to speak English because that's discriminatory and disrespectful, but they should be encouraged to speak English because otherwise they're more likely to be underpaid or otherwise exploited.

There's no pleasing you Fucks.

Posted by: GOP on June 14, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

GOP: There's no pleasing you Fucks.

Not being a proper noun, "fucks" shouldn't be capitalized.

Posted by: alex on June 14, 2006 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

osama,

Bush was not mistaken. He knew there were no WMD,

How did Bush know that?

and he bent over backwards to make sure anyone who said different paid the price. He's a dirty liar

No he didn't. No he isn't.

... enthusiastically standing behind someone who, out of incompetence, brought this nation to war and ended the lives of tens of thousands of innocent civillians and brought the economy to it's knees due to inflated oil prices?

We don't know how many innocent civilians would have lost their lives if we hadn't gone to war. As for the economy, I'm sure the economics profession would be astonished to learn that it has been "brought to its knees."

Posted by: GOP on June 14, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

Not being a proper noun

So "Fuck" isn't his last name? If the shoe fits...

Posted by: GOP on June 14, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I'm sure the Spanish and Mexicans are losing lots of sleep over this - what with the results from Germany and all...

Let the hick have his sign, 'wid' or 'widout' quotation marks.

Posted by: floopmeister on June 14, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Back to lighter-humoured farce ; do you remember the one about the teacher who carped about teaching English as a foreign language ?

Posted by: opit on June 14, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

What I want to know is exacctly when they actually started speaking English in South Philly.

And, Genos's and Pat's are over-hyped -- Tony Luke's is the deal for cheesesteaks.

Posted by: cassandra m on June 14, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

When our resident redneck Pauline Hanson was getting her 15 minutes of political fame here, she was once asked why she was so xenophobic.

She answered: "Please explain."

Funnily enough, she also owned a takeaway fish and chip shop in far north Oz. At the same time, someone made a brilliant t shirt with MLK on the front pronouncing "I have a dream!".

On the back was Hanson proudly proclaiming "I have a fish and chip shop!"

Gotta love the rednecks.

Posted by: floopmeister on June 14, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

How did Bush know that?

He planned to send in only 138,000 troops.
How many would YOU send in if you thought it was likely that 50,000 could be gassed?

He knew the same way the rest of us knew. Hans Blix.

and he bent over backwards to make sure anyone who said different paid the price. He's a dirty liar

No he didn't. No he isn't.

Yes he did, and yes he is. Ask Val P.

We don't know how many innocent civilians would have lost their lives if we hadn't gone to war.

It wasn't too big of a stretch to take the previous 10 years and extrapolate. Someone did do this, the study was published in one of the most respected medical journals in the world, The Lancet, and over the first year of the invasion, 100,000 more civillians died in Iraq, based on death rate, in 2003, than in 2002. That's non-violent deaths ONLY. That was before the mass kidnappings, death squads, and headless bodies started showing up.

As for the economy, I'm sure the economics profession would be astonished to learn that it has been "brought to its knees."

Measuring a good economy by GDP alone is like driving a car off a cliff with your eyes steadily fixed on the speedometer.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 14, 2006 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Dear GOP Sir,

I am Mr. Wang, managining Ho Gung Corp. In reading your comments here at Washington Monthly I am greatly impressed with your honesty, logic powers, and ability to discern deception. We would be very pleased that you work for us

We are a company who deal on mechanical equipment, hardware and minerals, electrical products, Medical & Chemicals, light industrial products and office equipment, and export into the America. We are searching for representatives who can help us establish a medium of getting to our costumers in the America as well as making payments through you to us. Please if you are interested in transacting business with us we will be glad. Please contact us for more information. Subject to your satisfaction you will be given the opportunity to negotiate your mode of which we will pay for your services as our representative in America. Please if you are interested forward to us your phone number/fax, full contact addresses, bank account, social security number, and mother's maiden name. Thanks in advance.

Mr. Wang

Managing Director, Ho Gung Corp.

Posted by: Wang on June 14, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

now THAT'S funny ...

Posted by: Nads on June 14, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

So let me get this straight.....They should not be encouraged to speak English because that's discriminatory and disrespectful, but they should be encouraged to speak English because otherwise they're more likely to be underpaid or otherwise exploited.

Posted by: GOP on June 14, 2006 at 10:10 PM

Speaking English is a valuable skill in the US, and probably always will be. Immigrants who want good jobs and a higher standard of living will learn to speak it to some degree.

That said, those who don't choose to learn English or haven't had time to yet shouldn't be castigated because they want to order a cheesesteak and have the money to pay for it. This should not be a legal issue, but it is an issue of courtesy and respect. The business owner clearly isn't directing the message at non-English speakers (since it's in English) but to show fellow nativist pricks that he's on their side.

btw, floopmeister. I'm also living in Australia (Canberra) and would love to know where the hell to get one of those Pauline Hanson shirts??

Posted by: sweaty guy on June 14, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

You jackasses should learn to speak English before you demand it of others.

Posted by: Horta on June 14, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

As a small business owner I can tell you what this sign really says: I am rich, do not need anymore money and have so many customers that I can afford to be rude and offensive and therefore encourage you to take all business elsewhere. A business needs every possible customer. If they think that they do not then that business is operated by morons.

Posted by: Where's osama on June 14, 2006 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Yo quiero Taco Bell.

Posted by: tripoley on June 14, 2006 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Is there a Gallery of Poorly-Placed Hyphens too? Maybe I'll start one for my pet peeve.

Posted by: JJF on June 14, 2006 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

When our resident redneck Pauline Hanson was getting her 15 minutes of political fame here, she was once asked why she was so xenophobic.

Xenophobia: fear of Lucy Lawless

Posted by: navamske on June 14, 2006 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

sweaty guy; I saw it at a few rallies against Hanson - I wish I knew where to get one as well...

JJF: there pro-bably is such-a Galler-y.

Posted by: floopmeister on June 14, 2006 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

navamske: nice one...

Posted by: floopmeister on June 14, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

osama,

He knew the same way the rest of us knew. Hans Blix.

No he didn't. Hans Blix didn't know either. No one knew, except Saddam Hussein and his men.

Yes he did, and yes he is. Ask Val P.

No he didn't, and no he isn't. Ask Dick Cheney. Unsubstantiated accusations are such fun, aren't they?

It wasn't too big of a stretch to take the previous 10 years and extrapolate. Someone did do this, the study was published in one of the most respected medical journals in the world, The Lancet, and over the first year of the invasion, 100,000 more civillians died in Iraq, based on death rate, in 2003, than in 2002. That's non-violent deaths ONLY. That was before the mass kidnappings, death squads, and headless bodies started showing up.

The Lancet study is controversial and has significant problems acknowledged by its authors, the 100,000 figure you cite is just the midpoint of a 95% confidence range rather than an actual estimate, and the study covers only a 14-month period before the start of the invasion and an 17-month period after it. The question of how many additional civilian lives in total were lost or saved because of the war obviously involves a longer timescale than just the 14-17 month periods before and after the start of military action. The UN sanctions imposed on Iraq in the 1990s, for example, are estimated to have caused hundreds of thousands of additional civilian deaths. UNICEF estimates that between 1991 and 1998 alone, the UN sanctions caused 500,000 additional children to die. There is no reason to believe that if the U.S. had not invaded and these sanctions had continued instead, sanction-caused civilian deaths would have continued to pile up. In addition, Saddam Hussein's regime is estimated to have killed hundreds of thousands of its own people, and there is no reason to believe this killing would have stopped if the U.S. had not invaded, either.

Posted by: GOP on June 14, 2006 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

Yet another juvenile, Atrios-level post from Kevin Drum.

For the adults, see "Bush Administration Quietly Plans NAFTA Super Highway". By supporting illegal immigration, Kevin Drum also supports that plan.

If you want to read up on the plans the government has for you, see spp.gov Yes, that's a U.S. government website.

While I consider the topic of the post just a distraction, here are my comments on Geno's Steaks.

Continuing in the "things Kevin Drum doesn't know" department, the Colorado Supreme Court engaged in what appears to be judicial activism in order to support illegal immigration. One of those on the other side has links to a company that makes a lot of money off illegal immigration and which has used a spin-off 501c3 to engage in politics. (Yet another thing Kevin Drum supports!)

Meanwhile, from the Oddly Enough category, Alex Jones detained in Canada on Bilderberger orders?

And, returning to the "things Kevin Drum won't cover" department: "Bush Admin Hiring For Guest Workers Program as if Done Deal"

Posted by: TLB on June 14, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

No time to read all the quotes Kev, but in this case the quotation marks are not meant for emphasis, but rather stand in for conversation. "He said smugly."
The subtext is that speaking is going on, and should be in English rather than the wild and rollicking Latin of Priests on a road trip.
I don't care what language is spoken if someone pays for my products. It is funny--we go overseas or to Mexico and just expect English or pigeon English as a matter of course. No excusing our rudeness here.

Posted by: Sparko on June 14, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

sweaty guy,

I agree about the sign in the cheesesteak shop. It's mean-spirited and probably bad for business too. But I wasn't talking about that. I was talking the conflict between encouraging or accommodating the use of foreign languages, out of respect and the desire not to discriminate, and encouraging the use of English to prevent exploitation.

Posted by: GOP on June 14, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

sweaty guy,

I agree about the sign in the cheesesteak shop. It's mean-spirited and probably bad for business too. But I wasn't talking about that. I was talking the conflict between encouraging or accommodating the use of foreign languages, out of respect and the desire not to discriminate, and encouraging the use of English to prevent exploitation.

Posted by: GOP on June 14, 2006 at 11:30 PM

I guess I don't really see those two goals to be in conflict either, necessarily. If people truly want to promote any foreign language as the ideal first (or sole) language to speak in the US, they should go right ahead. The government shouldn't make any language "official", just cater to whoever speaks whatever languages in any given state. These new language pioneers should know that they are almost certainly limiting their potential for wealth and representation in any new country, even a liberal democracy like ours. Most people do realize this and get to learning English pretty damn quick. Those who don't stay at the bottom of the pile. Not promoting any one language, allowing people to make this decision, seems to have worked in our past. Immigrants realize they will probably be taken advantage of if they don't understand what the power-holders in a country are saying, so they have a good natural incentive to learn.

Bottom line: speak the language you grew up with, but if no one else speaks it you can prepare for a long American life of washing dishes. There's no conflict there, it's just not the choice most of us would make.

Posted by: sweaty guy on June 15, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

those, who don't speak english (if they are not newcomers) usually have some constrains and limitations (emotional, physical,cognitive, family related, or combination)- in other words, who are different. Normal approach in animal kingdom

Posted by: nasha on June 15, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Wang - you forgot to promise to give me $27million if I help you. You've got to bait the hook, dude!

Posted by: craigie on June 15, 2006 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

Geno's and Pat's are overhyped -- Tony Luke's is the deal for cheesesteaks.

A good place (and Tony's has a stand at Ashburn Alley in Citizens Bank Park, for those of you planning to check out a Phillies game), and so is Jim's. South Street, Center City, the Great Northeast...

Passyunk Avenue? A tourist trap.

Posted by: Vincent on June 15, 2006 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

"Where you from?"

"W-what?"

"'What' ain't no country I ever heard of. They speak English in 'What'?"

-Pulp Fiction

Posted by: craigie on June 15, 2006 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Wang,

My email to you was bounced back. It could be that your email address was garbled. You can email me at:

greedyonepercent@gmail.com

Look forward to do doing business with you.

sincerely

GOP

Posted by: GOP on June 15, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

I think the irony that he'll 'help translate the order into english' while the sign is posted with the 'reserves the right' should be pointed out.

No one would care if he put the two signs up seperately - but together, it implies speak english or get lost.

Posted by: Crissa on June 15, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

God, I'm wasted!

Posted by: craigie on June 15, 2006 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

God, I'm wasted!

Maybe God should give you a more meaningful destiny then, hey?

;)

Posted by: floopmeister on June 15, 2006 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

...The Lancet study is controversial and has significant problems acknowledged by its authors, the 100,000 figure you cite is just the midpoint of a 95% confidence range....

Posted by: GOP on June 14, 2006 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

...I was talking the conflict between encouraging or accommodating the use of foreign languages, out of respect and the desire not to discriminate, and encouraging the use of English to prevent exploitation.

Posted by: GOP on June 14, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

GOP--
1) Lancet: the methodology used was previously perfectly acceptable when used elsewhere, only thrown into a bad light when the US looked bad.

GOP, please expand as you brought it up.

2) We're are not talking a foreign language. Both French and Spanish were spoken within the area of the present USA before the boundaries were set. German also.

Switzerland, 200 miles long and less wide, has French. Italian, German and Switze-Deutsch (sorry, porobably misspelled) as native languages as well as English spoken by most. In the British Isles you have Gaellic(Irish, Scottish and Hebrides variables), Welsh, Cornish and English (I bet I missed some). In France, French, Brittanic.... Need we go on.

In the US we barely tolerate any of the native Anerican tongues, northern or anywhere else. We think Spanish or Mexican is foreign. How colonial do you want to be?

GOP--
Please tell us what you consider "foreign" and say why English should be the only language.
=============
Wake up. Look at our history. We've been every bit as colonial as the European "Great Powers".

This sign is bullshit. But he has every right to be a shit.

Posted by: notthere on June 15, 2006 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

Now I REALLY want a cheesesteak. Damn. How far to Philly?

btw -- to whoever was theorizing about why righties ostensibly aren't funny: P J O'Rourke is the funniest political writer, bar none.

If we had anyone half as good, I bet it would be good for at least a half-percentage point in the national polls.

Posted by: smartalek on June 15, 2006 at 2:46 AM | PERMALINK

What if a person who can't speak at all wants to order?
Too bad. This is America. "Speak English".

We need a sign like that down here in Floida:

Dear Potential Tourist:

This is an English speaking country!!! If you want to be served, or you want a room for the night, or you want directions to our tourist attractions. SPEAK ENGLISH!!! or you will not be served, nor will you have a place to sleep and your directions will be in English which you probably won't understand.

I'm sure the folks in Orlando will approve!

Posted by: Ray Waldren on June 15, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

The humor is that anyone who grew up in an NE city in the 50s knew a whole bunch of first, second and even third generation Italian families where MAYBE the kids could speak English. The common language of the street was Italian, and what English you heard was accented. South Philly was one of those places.

This clown calling out the Hispanics is a HOOT:)

Posted by: Eli Rabett on June 15, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

I realize that we equate "America" with "United States," but really, one can be in America (i.e., North or South America) and legally speak Spanish!

Posted by: Rachelle on June 15, 2006 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe this is an obvious question, and one that's been asked by now, but what happens in this restaurant if a brother comes in speaking heavy American Ebonics? Will he be told to speak English or leave?

Posted by: Bat Guano on June 15, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

cmdicely asks, "Has anyone said they didn't have such a right? Has anyone suggested the government should compel them to remove it?"

Yes, some bureaucrat, I forget which one, said the sign is discriminatory and asked that it removed.
Posted by: ex-liberal

I read somewhere, can't remember where, that that never happened.

Posted by: kc on June 15, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

It seems pretty clear that the word "please" was added as an afterthought, or a concession to people who considered the sign too harsh.

Posted by: sullijan on June 15, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

The Laziness of Media Personalities is causing the Epidemic slurring of the word Year.
I am amazed at how few TV and Radio broadcasters that can pronounce Last Year
It is almost always said Lashyear.

Thishyear
Lashyear

You would think that there would be some pride in pronouncing word correctly, Esp. if that is your career. So now practically everyone is slurring word together.

You can tell very much about a person by:

How they talk.
How they walk.
How they sit.
Eye Contact.


First impressions are key.

Posted by: skibumlee on June 15, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike,

I agree completely. Anyone who can't bother to learn some English has no business going to a restaurant here.

I made that point to my employer when they asked me to travel to Bejing. I don't speak Chinese and I don't have a hope of learning.

They essentially told me "Too bad roundeyes. We're a global company now and you're either going to China or out the door."

Needless to say I went. I made do. Before leaving the hotel I had the concierge write, in Chinese, the address of where I was going to show to the taxi. I kept the hotel card with me to show the taxi driver on the way back. Many of the restaurants had demo food that I could point to when ordering.

For the most part I was a celebrity and was treated with so much respect and kindness I felt embarrassed about it. If it wasn't for the pollution I'd go back again in a heartbeat.

So, yeah, every American has the 'right' to be an asshole but if they do it then they are still being an asshole.

Posted by: Tripp on June 15, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

If you've been to those cheesesteak places, you realize that the locals and the people who work in "dere can't speak no good English."

Fuggedaboudit.

Posted by: Brian on June 15, 2006 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Vento? Does not sound like an American name.

In my city a car dealer has been putting up billboards saying the US is being invaded by Mexicans. Chinga Childress is my response.

Posted by: Hostile on June 15, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

you know the real irony is that a growing body of empirical evidence---including precision measurements of brain pans and foreheads---indicates that italians comprise the stupidest group ever to emigrate to the US.

Posted by: zanzibar12 on June 15, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

notthere,

GOP--1) Lancet: the methodology used was previously perfectly acceptable when used elsewhere, only thrown into a bad light when the US looked bad.GOP, please expand as you brought it up.

I don't know what aspect of the methodology you're referring to. The authors of the study acknowledge that the methodology has problems, in particular its reliance on interviews to establish the number of deaths. Anyway, the larger point is that prior to the war, directly or indirectly (through the effects of the UN sanctions, for instance) Saddam's policies were killing huge numbers of Iraqi civilians, perhaps hundreds of thousands a year (again, UNICEF estimates that 500,000 children died because of the UN sanctions between 1991 and 1998 alone). There is no reason to believe these deaths would not have continued to occur if the U.S. had not invaded.

Posted by: GOP on June 15, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

I couldn't comment at the time, because I was overseas, but the whole "Speak English When Ordering Your Food" thing got me so upset. I was in Greece, and if I had to speak Greek everytime I tried to order food, I would have died of starvation.

Instead, the Greeks were gracious enough to accomodate me and my sorry language skills. I was very appreciative.

Posted by: Sovay on June 15, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Tripp
Red State Mike,...I agree completely. Anyone who can't bother to learn some English has no business going to a restaurant here.

OK, the thread is probably dead. But in case anyone is listening...how many folks have been in places or surrounded by crowds somewhere in America that were all speaking another language, to the point that you felt like a foreigner in your own country?

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 15, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Poor you, RSM. I bet you felt so inadequate.

Posted by: floopmeister on June 15, 2006 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

I don't get why they would do that. Don't they want the business of tourists? I know it's a small part of the market, but still. Do they have a big problem with people moving into the area and not trying to assimilate?

Posted by: aaron on June 16, 2006 at 6:44 AM | PERMALINK

Were they actually enforcing a policy? Or was it just an amusing sign?

My guess is that it's just one of those places where you are expected to know the process and spit your order out quick and clearly. No patients for anyone who slow down the flow.

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