CT- 4 Spanish speaking Bishop booed at Himes town hall

So much for civil discourse, general decency and respect for the clergy. This footage, courtesy of our very own CT Bob is disgusting.

At last night’s town hall meeting held by Rep. Jim Himes in Norwalk, Bishop Emilio Alvarez, a resident of Stamford, got up and politely inquired if he could ask Himes, who is fluent in the language, a question in Spanish. Let’s bear in mind that 11% of the population in Himes’ district are native Spanish speakers, according to the 2000 Census and more recent data (2008) shows that 15.4% of the population of Fairfield County consists of persons of Hispanic or Latino origin.

Himes said yes, but anti-reform advocates in the crowd went ballistic, somehow equating a question asked in Spanish with “giving the country away.”

Xenophobia at its worst.

Just curious: I wonder how many people in that crowd are actually fluent or even conversant in a foreign language? I bet you anything all those “speak English” chanters can’t speak anything BUT English.

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52 responses to “CT- 4 Spanish speaking Bishop booed at Himes town hall

  1. RUDE is when this guy gets up and rambles on in HIS native tongue and expects the entire speaking English audience to just twiddle their thumbs to accommodate him. If he wants to speak Spanish to Himes, call him up or visit his office. Please don’t expect the majority to sit and shut up.

  2. BTW, I’m one of those people who doesn’t converse in a foreign language but silly me, I thought that was OK since I’m in America!

  3. I heard a lot of those protesters last night; they ain’t even that good at English!

  4. AndersonScooper

    It is disgusting.

    And what’s more disgusting is that Republicans, to a one, are standing up for the boorish behavior of the Tea Baggers.

    It really says a lot about the values of Republicans, that they believe it’s okay to shout and be disruptive when an elected official is trying to speak to his or her constituents in an open and democratic manner.

    (and yes, I’m ready for a stream of false equivalencies.)

  5. God, I love it when you do the moral outrage schtick, PoopyScoopy. No one rides the sanctimony pony harder.

  6. I’m one of those people who doesn’t converse in a foreign language but silly me, I thought that was OK since I’m in America!

    And one of the reasons that we aren’t as competitive in an increasingly global economy. Because we think everyone should speak OUR language instead of starting to teach kids foreign languages in kindergarten, when studies show they are best positioned to learn.

  7. Sara – The other countries of the world are becoming competitive in the global market by having their people learn english.

  8. Pufnstuf writes, “RUDE is when this guy gets up and rambles on in HIS native tongue and expects the entire speaking English audience to just twiddle their thumbs to accommodate him. If he wants to speak Spanish to Himes, call him up or visit his office. Please don’t expect the majority to sit and shut up.”

    Really? You’ve never been around someone who was speaking a language other than English? And if you did, you told that person to shut up? Is that what you do? Something like 17% of all Americans speak a language other than English as their native tongue. Yet in America today you are angry and offended to hear someone speak another language? Perhaps that is why Republicans have been trying so hard to deport Hispanics, and why Hispanic-Americans voted so strongly for the Democrats the past four years. Perhaps it explains why 93% of all delegates to the Republican National Convention last year were non-Hispanic Whites, while 40% of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention were members of ethnic minorities.

    My grandfather spoke fluent Irish when he came to this country a century ago, and a lot of bigoted WASP’s had a major problem with Irish-Catholics like him being here. My wife is an immigrant. If she knew that her congressman was more fluent in her native language than she was in English, should she be booed for asking a question in that language. Last night Congressman Himes showed a lot more class than the people who were booing the clergyman. He listened to the man’s plight, his worries over his wife’s losing her job and their health insurance, and when he’d finished Congressman Himes translated what the man had said for the entire audience. After Mr. Himes translated what he’d said, explained his dire circumstances and growing worries, I do hope that everyone who had been booing the minister were ashamed of themselves for having done so. But I don’t think that any of them had the humanity or decency to have felt for him and his wife.

    How sad for them, and how shameful that the people here can be so hard-hearted. Perhaps that’s why to Republicans the word “compassion” is an epithet. To most Americans, however, it defines us as a nation.

  9. PfunStuff wrote, “BTW, I’m one of those people who doesn’t converse in a foreign language but silly me, I thought that was OK since I’m in America!”

    Actually, I am one of those people who converses in a foreign language. I spent two and a half years in rural South Korea in the Peace Corps working in a public health system that was largely financed by the U.S. AID. And I understand how one can struggle in another country to learn a language, and how humiliating it can be for someone to make fun of one’s failings with a language. I vowed when I returned home never to mock anyone’s ability to speak English.

    If you haven’t noticed, many Americans are of Korean ancestry, including many of our best students, our engineers and scientists. Michelle Rhee, a Korean-American, is doing her darnedest to reform Washington, D.C.’s public school system. Does that bother you? Would you like her and her ancestors, who probably struggled with English when they arrived here, to go back where they came from?

    Do you understand how mean-spirited your remarks are in this nation of immigrants?

  10. If you want to see boorish what behavior is, you should go to an 1199 union rally. This is nothing compared to that!!! I actually got caught in one one day. Of course we need to be nice to those people because they all vote Democrat. You see, once again this has nothing to do with behavior and everything to do with whether or not you agree with them.

  11. The other countries of the world are becoming competitive in the global market by having their people learn english.

    By the age of 12 in England, back in the mid 70’s, I’d already had several years of French, and if we hadn’t moved back to the US, was about to have the choice of learning German, Latin or Spanish as my third language.

    The US is woefully far behind in language study as a result of the ethnocentric attitude exemplified by yourself and Puffy.

  12. The US is ethnocentric, we don’t teach foreign languages – I get it. We’re bad and evil.

    With all that said, what was the point of this Bishop speaking in Spanish anyway? Were there a considerable number of Spanish speaking attendees that were not properly being addressed or was this a cute attempt on behalf of Alvarez to “bond” with or “identify” with Himes because he speaks spanish?

    I think when that question is answered, we can debate whether it was appropriate for the time and place. The reaction was rude, I’ll give you that, but you really have to address what the point of the initial action was and whether it was appropriate.

  13. Hooker, save the theatrics for somebody else. It is extremely rude when one person expects everybody else to adjust to them. I would not expect a crowd of people in France to allow me to ramble on at a town hall meeting because just becaise I am too lazy to learn or have no interest in speaking French.

    Sara, this is my country and I’m very comfortable speaking English. If some people desire to learn multiple languages, I say great. I have no desire to learn other languages—-but, come to my country and you need to learn mine. BTW, I have done reasonably well in life just speaking English. I think I’ll stick with it. Yo comprende?

  14. Hooker, save the theatrics for somebody else. It is extremely rude when one person expects everybody else to adjust to them. I would not expect a crowd of people in France to allow me to ramble on at a town hall meeting because just becaise I am too lazy to learn or have no interest in speaking French.

    Sara, this is my country and I’m very comfortable speaking English. If some people desire to learn multiple languages, I say great. I have no desire to learn other languages—-but, come to my country and you need to learn mine. BTW, I have done reasonably well in life just speaking English. I think I’ll stick with it.

  15. The defenses here of the awful behavior of the crowd are, in a word, insane.

  16. “And what’s more disgusting is that Republicans, to a one, are standing up for the boorish behavior of the Tea Baggers.

    It really says a lot about the values of Republicans, that they believe it’s okay to shout and be disruptive when an elected official is trying to speak to his or her constituents in an open and democratic manner. ”

    I registered Republican 33 years ago, on my 18th birthday and I’m an associate RTC member, and I think the people shouting down the Bishop are disgusting. Democrats are not pure in the racial sensitivity department, so don’t classify all Republicans together either. Predjudice (i.e., pre-judging) is always wrong even when Democrats do it. You look especially dumb doing that in this situation.

  17. Why is it supposed to be accepted if someone wants to speak a foreign language, but ridiculed if I want them to speak english?

  18. I agree with John. Let’s separate the behavior of what is obviously a rather unhinged fringe from “Republicans.”

  19. Because, Hank, this is America.

  20. Why is it supposed to be accepted if someone wants to speak a foreign language, but ridiculed if I want them to speak english?

    Hank, just as a little thought exercise, can you explain why sex is legal and rape is illegal?

  21. It may have been impolite to boo the Bishop, but it was not appropriate for him to want to converse in Spanish. When you attend a meeting like this, there’s an implicit expectation that the meeting is going to be conducted in English. English is, after all, the language of this country, whether or not it’s “official” or not.

    The Bishop certainly knew enough English to ask his question in English. However, I’m not sure what Himes was supposed to do about it, it would have looked awkward for him to refuse the question in Spanish and he did translate it. I just don’t know why the Bishop had to make this stand. I seriously doubt that anyone in the audience couldn’t understand English. Asking this question was clearly meant for show only. It was to invoke a reaction, and perhaps it was to show that Himes could speak Spanish.

    You all can go on and lecture us about how we need to learn more foreign languages, but don’t the people that move to this country also need to learn English a lot more than we need to learn Spanish or Chinese or Swedish or whatever? If you live in the United States and speak only English, you can function quite fine in most careers. If, on the other hand, you speak no English or very limited English, your career prospects are going to be awful, and your general enjoyment is not going to be great either: just reading instructions and all the other things you need to do.

  22. Yes, Don, that is also bad.

  23. If his goal was to unmask these people, gmr, he succeeded. We know what they are, now, and now we can forget any idea that they are serious-minded people who want to have real discussions about health care. They are nothing of the kind.

  24. Because we think everyone should speak OUR language instead of starting to teach kids foreign languages in kindergarten, when studies show they are best positioned to learn.

    Come on Sarah.

    Diversity is one thing; however when communication is impossible so is any kind of consensus or agreement of any sort.

    To live here and not speak English places the speaker at a huge disadvantage.

    While a large number of Koreans speak (occasionally halting) English, not all do.
    Thus my son, (already conversationally fluent in Spanish) is learning Korean prior to his return there as a part of some study abroad program, next February.

    If he has the common decency and manners to learn their language I don’t think it’s out of line for us to ask the same out of not tourists or other visitors, but of our fellow citizens.

  25. GC,

    Hank writes in post # 15 : “Why is it supposed to be accepted if someone wants to speak a foreign language, but ridiculed if I want them to speak english?”

    Your response in your post # 17: “Because, Hank, this is America.”

    Look, until your post here I saw no interest in weighing in on this clearly partisan thread, but honestly could you please explain for me (seriously) what you meant by your answer to Hank?

    Personally, I have no problem in the least with people who speak a language other than mine. In fact I envy them!!!! I have traveled all over the world as a requirement of my job, before retiring. In countries where I was not familiar with their language I always made the attempt to at least learn how to say “thank you” in their language, and I noticed how much that was appreciated. It meant a lot to me as an American to show them the respect of making an effort in their country to make an effort to speak a few words of their language.

    All my ancestors came from Italy. They all came to this country without a dime in their pockets and not knowing a word of English but they all learned to speak English ( except for my father’s mother, but we all gave her a pass because she could make a piece of shoe taste good) ……… Why? Not because they, and my parents still believed they were in Italy, but because they knew they were in America. They all understood that learning English was essential to their, and our success here in America. In fact I clearly remember my grandfather ( as head of the family) admonishing my parents not to speak Italian in front of us kids because “we were all now in America and not Italy, here we speak English not Italian”. Of course they spoke Italian whenever we were not around, or if they didn’t want us to know what they were talking about.

    Back then there were no social programs waiting for them. There was no unemployment safety nets, no social security, no welfare, not even a friendly face when they got off the boat from Naples. NOTHING!!!! but a new country and a chance to make what they could of themselves. Somehow they and millions like them managed to suceed.

    You know when I read threads like this one I see two sides. Yes it is unfortunate that some of us still hold resentment against those who have not for one reason or another learned to speak English in this country. BTW, no knock to Sara, but American’s in general, not knowing a second language other than English is the LEAST reason why we as a country are becoming uncompetitive. But I also find it just as unfortunate to accept today, that what our parents did with no help at all then, dirt poor, in a new country, while raising a family with none of today’s safety nets, in a new world, is so hard to do today for those with all of the above.

    Coming back from Italy once, I saw the Statue of Liberty. I wondered what my parents and grandparent’s thought as they first saw it years ago as they left Italy for a new life here in America. I didn’t see anything that said suggested I was being welcomed to the land of good and plenty. I saw that I was being welcomed (back) to the land where I could try to be what I wanted to be. I wasn’t being given a free pass to Go. I was being given a chance to get to Go. WHY????????? BECAUSE GC….. THIS WAS AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!! Results still required work, and personal sacrifice.

    Sorry if I sound like I am venting, but this has not been a good week for those of us who take personal responsibility seriously. Al

  26. The more interesting question is — given that Alvarez knew Himes was fluent in Spanish — why did not just ask his question in Spanish without the English prologue? It just made the question longer and made it appear like a piece of political theater. A citizen who could only speak Spanish asking a question in Spanish seems more reasonable than a bilingual speaker choosing to speak in the language most of the attendees at the meeting could not understand.

  27. GC said: “I agree with John. Let’s separate the behavior of what is obviously a rather unhinged fringe from “Republicans.””

    Over half of Republicans nationally are birthers.

    They are certainly unhinged, but they are no “fringe,” and they are the accurate face of the rump, regional, almost entirely white national party that is the post-Bush GOP.

  28. I have to wonder if any of the “speak English in America” crowd, who constantly complain about people coming here and speaking Spanish, actually know anyone like that. I do. Mom, dad and daughter live in my home (upstairs apartment). Both parents go to UConn to learn English. I assure you that all or nearly all immigrants want to learn English.

    And if for pride reasons or whatever the Bishop, THE BISHOP, wanted to ask a question in Spanish, what is the harm. I am so dissapointed that this happened in my state. No class. It’s an embarrassment. We look like, well, I won’t say.

    More frightening is that posters to a blog like this tend to be more intelligent, and still we see the posts above. Incredible.

    – John

  29. >>Over half of Republicans nationally are birthers.

    Yeah okay.

    We’ll go ahead and commission a poll by some other nut group that’ll indicate that 75% of Democrats think the earth is flat.

  30. >>No class. It’s an embarrassment. We look like, well, I won’t say.

    Agreed.

    This incident or any other that involves disruptive behavior at a public meeting – out of line.

    Ranting & raving is simply out of order – period.

    Want to make a spectacle of yourself – do it at some dopey outdoor rally; NOT indoors at what’s supposed to be some sort of civilized affair.

    And take your damned hat off indoors too.

  31. johningreenwich said: “More frightening is that posters to a blog like this tend to be more intelligent, and still we see the posts above. Incredible. ”

    Sadly, this sentiment seems to be the real “fringe” in the Republican party now, even in Connecticut, not the rabid xenophobia rampant in both the town hall meetings and the comments section of this blog.

  32. “We’ll go ahead and commission a poll by some other nut group that’ll indicate that 75% of Democrats think the earth is flat.”

    Go ahead and do that.

    A PPP poll last month (PDF) also found that 65% of McCain 2008 voters nationally do not believe Obama was born in the United States. (Q5 in the crosstabs)

  33. ACR responds to this comment: “Over half of Republicans nationally are birthers.

    “Yeah okay.

    “We’ll go ahead and commission a poll by some other nut group that’ll indicate that 75% of Democrats think the earth is flat.”

    No, ACR, you won’t find a poll like that because you won’t get the majority of Democrats believing in crazy theories like Republicans. Your party is mired in madness. How else to explain their passion for the woefully ignorant Sarah Palin? How to explain their support for the insane birther theories? Really! You can’t claim equivalency, because there is none.

  34. ACR (incredibly!) writes:

    “While a large number of Koreans speak (occasionally halting) English, not all do.

    “Thus my son, (already conversationally fluent in Spanish) is learning Korean prior to his return there as a part of some study abroad program, next February.

    “If he has the common decency and manners to learn their language I don’t think it’s out of line for us to ask the same out of not tourists or other visitors, but of our fellow citizens.”

    Heaven forbid if someone in Korea makes fun of your son for not speaking Korean fluently while he’s there. Heaven forbid if some Koreans take exception and feel that his country’s culture is being slighted if your son speaks English with a Korean there. Heaven forbid if some Koreans feel insulted if your son and some of his foreign friends are speaking English in downtown Seoul, and they feel that he should be speaking their language. Heaven forbid that someone treats him the way those Americans treated that Hispanic minister in Norwalk!

    I have a feeling that your son has a lot to teach his dad.

    Now explain to me why it is OK if your son comes back to America and feels like using his fluent Spanish to talk to people on the street of downtown Hartford, or in Stamford, or Greenwich. And how will you feel if your son feels like using his Spanish to help poor immigrants who have yet to learn English well, but are still working their butts off to make a living in Connecticut? And what if your son becomes an attorney and happens to have clients who are Korean, but feel more comfortable conversing with their attorney (your son) in Korean? Will you feel insulted? Will your sense of nationalism be violated?

    And now here comes Jim Himes, an American congressman who, like your son, is fluent in Spanish having spent much of his youth in South America. A constituent who knows Congressman Himes and feels more comfortable conversing with him in Spanish asks him a question in Spanish at a public meeting. That minister felt that he wanted to speak from the heart, and he felt more comfortable doing that in Spanish. Keep in mind what that minister told Congressman Himes. He told him that he didn’t have health insurance himself, that his wife was losing her job and with it their health insurance was going to be lost as well, and that he was worried what they were going to do. As a man of God, he wondered how we could live in a world that cared so little for people that it could permit them to go without health care (I’m paraphrasing here; Jim Himes was translating).

    Yet the right-wing crazies there didn’t give a stuff for the minister’s worries and fears, or about his wife’s losing her job and the couple’s health insurance. All they cared about was that the guy was speaking Spanish in America. Doesn’t that tell you something about the humanity, or profound lack of it, of the people there that night who were booing the minister?

    He was a human being, a human being in trouble, and I couldn’t care less that he spoke Spanish, or Korean, or Japanese, or Italian, or Irish (my grandfather’s language). It was so profoundly shameful that the Republicans there cared only about the language he spoke.

    Maybe when your son comes back from Seoul, he’ll want to take you for a Korean meal, and the best place is just across the GW Bridge in Fort Lee. If you go to downtown Fort Lee, you’ll see block after block of businesses and bakeries and restaurants with signs in Korean. Should we run them out of the country? Does it offend you? Will you son just back from living in Korea feel insulted, or happy to be able to find people with whom to practice Korean again?

    Shame on those small-minded crazies who booed that poor minister in Norwalk. Shame on them.

  35. Thomas Hooker is right. And that’s what I meant by this is America.

  36. ///// They are certainly unhinged, but they are no “fringe,” and they are the accurate face of the rump, regional, almost entirely white national party that is the post-Bush GOP. /////

    No tbag. You don’t really get the GOP at all. Their current strength is the 52 Conservative Blue Dog Democrats from the South(the old Boll Weevils and Dixiecrats) and the Plains States/Mountain Democrats. When 75% of this bloc swings to the right on an issue (40 votes) the GOP is in charge of The House with a majority of one .

    Same in the Senate. There isn’t an offical Blue Dog Coalition in the Senate but it exists informally.

    The following 10 are usually cited as Moderate or Conservative Blue Dog Democratic Senators

    Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Jim Webb (Va.), Mark Warner (Va.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.),Ron Wyden (Ore.), Joe Lieberman (Conn.), Byrd, (W.Va).

    And just when you thought Sarah Palin would go away here comes Michelle Bachmann to lead the GOP.

    http://thinkprogress.org/2009/09/01/bachmann-slit-our-wrists/

  37. Hooker – review comment #29 and then you can apologize.

    ow explain to me why it is OK if your son comes back to America and feels like using his fluent Spanish to talk to people on the street of downtown Hartford, or in Stamford, or Greenwich. And how will you feel if your son feels like using his Spanish to help poor immigrants who have yet to learn English well, but are still working their butts off to make a living in Connecticut? And what if your son becomes an attorney and happens to have clients who are Korean, but feel more comfortable conversing with their attorney (your son) in Korean? Will you feel insulted? Will your sense of nationalism be violated?

    I would simply love to see your record of getting anything done for any minority member ever in your life.
    Pull a house illegally foreclosed on out of the mess *after* Dodd failed to ever even return a call along with quite a list of Democrats?
    Ever try to field minority member for Congress, pull 43% of a convention in under 10 days of prep?
    Did I see you at Corey Brinson’s announcement in June?
    No???
    So if a Black attorney is Republican he’s an Uncle Tom as far you’re concerned I assume.

    Say a single word in Urdu or Hindi?
    Even know the difference?
    Ahmed and Mohammad refer to what 2, or is it 2?

    How on earth you decide I’m bigoted is beyond me.
    Do you think my son “just happened”??
    He did not simply fall from space.

    But no one who knows me would ever refer to me as such; quite the contrary.

    It’s truly amazing the “nerve” you seem to muster while hiding behind the name of a good man you have no connection to.

  38. Please note that at the beginning of the clip, when the disruptors are trying to shout down the Bishop, directly in the rear of the shot, Former 26th district Republican State Senator Judy Freedman and current Senator Toni Bouchet can be seen laughing at his predicament.

    Discourse and decency are no longer part of the Republican lexicon.


  39. GC said: “I agree with John. Let’s separate the behavior of what is obviously a rather unhinged fringe from “Republicans.””

    Over half of Republicans nationally are birthers.

    They are certainly unhinged, but they are no “fringe,” and they are the accurate face of the rump, regional, almost entirely white national party that is the post-Bush GOP.

    I agree that the birther idea is just plain nonsense (when Barack Obama Sr. got his scholarship to Harvard, he basically abandoned his wife and child, so why would he have flown his wife from Hawaii to Kenya in 1961 when flying between those places wasn’t exactly easy for a pregnant woman. Hawaii had better hospitals. Not to mention the newspaper announcement in the local paper, the certificate of live birth, blah blah blah).

    However, there don’t seem to be any prominent Republican politicians that are birthers (such as a member of congress, a governor, Lt. Governor, etc). Even Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter don’t believe the Birther nonsense. It seems like the main people pushing the birther nonsense are Alan Keyes (who has been crazy for so long now), Corsi, Lou Dobbs (who I don’t think you can call a Republican in any event), and Rush Limbaugh mentioned it in June or July once or twice but hasn’t mentioned it since.

    But the Republicans aren’t the only one with crazies. A large portion of Democrats at one time believed the Bush administration orchestrated 9/11 or knew specifically that it was going to happen and didn’t prevent it. Rosie O’Donnell said 9/11 was the first time that fire had melted steel. (Does she have as many people listen to her as Limbaugh?) There were all sorts of wacky theories that stated Bush knew there were no WMDs in Iraq but went to war to make oil cheap (or expensive oil: depends on the theory). After Katrina, Randall Robinson said that blacks in New Orleans were eating the flesh of the dead; Spike Lee claimed that the levees were bombed by the Bush administration, Cynthia McKinney said that the military killed 5,000 blacks and dumped them in the swamps.

  40. Sociopaths

    They booed and heckled an Hispanic Bishop. They booed and heckled doctors and nurses who told their personal stories of not being able to provide proper care because of insurance or financial issues. They booed and heckled a former insurance executive who described his frustration with not being able to offer decent coverage at affordable prices. And they booed, heckled and tried to grab the microphone away from a middle-aged, female cancer victim.

    Sociopaths — the soulless face and base of the Republican party.

  41. /// Sociopaths — the soulless face and base of the Republican party.
    ////

    catchlightning. The Courant has a poll going on the CT state budget. Below are the results. Sociopaths or not, they are invisibale to the liberal fringe of the Democratic party (the same group that voted in Lamont over Lieberman. The same myopic group that didn’t see the polls all along saying Lieberman would beat Lamont if he ran against him an Indy). The same group is now trumpeting their budget win over the ineffectual and doomed GOP and Rell.

    What does public opinion have to do with the upcoming elections in 2010? Those same myopic Democrats will tell you nothing.They are the champions. The winners. The non-birthers. They play Apple to the GOP’s, PC, etc.

    80% polled hate the budget. It’s a collosal failure. Hint: this will translate into GOP votes and the Democratic leadership will never see it coming. How could they? They just read their latest press releases and Democratic blogs. They are the winners forever and ever. Just ask them.

    It reminds me of the salesmen I’d work with in the early 80s. So high on coke they’d tell you about their yachts and vacations when in reality they hadn’t made a sale in three months. The Lenny Dystra syndome.

    Here’s the poll:

    Question: Are you happy with the new state budget?

    No. It doesn’t shrink the size or cost of government. (460 responses)

    69.9%

    Yes. It preserves much-needed state services. (94 responses)

    14.3%

    No. It will drive wealth from the state. (71 responses)

    10.8%

    Yes. It keeps Connecticut competitive during the recession. (33 responses)

    5.0%

  42. Don

    I am so confused. The LA Times said it was a health care reformer whose finger was bitten off. This is the problem – newspapers don’t even get the story straight.
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/09/healthcare-reform-violence.html
    The lead:
    A 65-year-old man at a Wednesday night California rally supporting President Obama’s embattled reform ideas had a finger bitten off during a scuffle with anti-reform protesters.

    So which is it? The Ventura County Times or the LA Times? They both got the age of the victim right…

    As for the bishop, yo entiendo espanol porque cuando era estudiante en la escuela secondaria, y tambien, en la universidad, estudiaba la lingua. Yo vivia en Espana con una familia madrilena, y este era unas de las experiencas mas formativas en mi vida.

    En Espana, la gente me daban respecto para aprender su idioma. Pero, la gente en Espana no tuveiran problemas cuando yo quiero hablar en ingles.

    Unfortunatamente, ese idea sea imposible en este pais Estadounidense.

    Gracias, y uds. tengan buenas noches.
    KK

    PS – ACR – If Corey Brinson is the best the Republicans can do, you guys have no bench.

  43. ACL, I haven’t the faintest idea what you’re rambling on about. When did I refer to any African-American attorney as an Uncle Tom? Show me! Please!

    Do I know the difference between Urdu and Hindi? Actually, yes. And I made an attempt to learn Hindi (after learning Korean and Russian) when I was responsible for Indian investments. I’ve traveled to numerous cities in India, including the north where Hindi is dominant, and also to Chennai where Tamil is more widely spoken. I declined to travel to Pakistan, where Urdu would have been helpful, due to the physical danger to Westerners and the utter hopelessness of investing there.

    What in the world are you talking about with “Ahmed and Mohammad”? Were you chemically altered when you wrote this?

    I should like to point out that you began your comments by criticizing Sarah for calling out the bigots at the Norwalk town hall meeting who shouted down a minister who dared to speak Spanish to Congressman Himes. You wrote, “I don’t think it’s out of line for us to ask the same (meaning learning English) out of not tourists or other visitors, but of our fellow citizens.” (#24).

    You then write, “Do you think my son ‘just happened’?? He did not simply fall from space.”

    I haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about here, and I’m sure no one else does either.

    You ask me to review comment #29 and then apologize. Comment #29 was the comment you made in which you asserted that if a poll were conducted of Democrats, we would find that three quarters of them believe that the earth is flat. You want me to apologize for your comment there? Again, were you coherent when you wrote these comments? Hey, there’s a holiday weekend approaching, and it makes sense that people might like to begin celebrating a bit early. No harm in that, as long as you didn’t get behind the wheel afterwards. Shall we simply ignore this post of yours and you can start over refreshed and with all your thoughts pulled together? That would be fine with me.

    If you would care to think and write rationally, we’re here to engage you in civilized debate.

  44. “By the age of 12 in England, back in the mid 70’s, I’d already had several years of French, and if we hadn’t moved back to the US, was about to have the choice of learning German, Latin or Spanish as my third language.

    The US is woefully far behind in language study as a result of the ethnocentric attitude exemplified by yourself and Puffy.”

    Sara – It’s great that Europe is so much less “ethnocentric” than us. So much more tolerant. Maybe the fact that the continent has people speaking all different languages in an area the size of New England fosters some of the necessity to learn a new language or two or three. Myself, I am fairly fluent in French – in my day to day existence (barring a flight to Europe) , this means that I can order in a French restaurant without fear and can get around Quebec City on the rare trip there. Would I ask a question a a town hall meeting in French? Nope. So any Quebecois immigrants in the audience would be on their own in trying to understand the issues.

    But speaking of tolerance – why do you and all the other proponents of this healthcare reform fiasco feel the need to justify any and all resistance to the plan as ignorance, racism, ethnocentricity, etc? It seems like proponents are ignoring the fact that the majority of the population either opposes the reform plan or have serious questions and doubts about it. People just don’t trust government to solve the problem, and they don’t trust the politico-speech campaign that the dems are trotting out. That is why there is uproar at these rallies. That is why there are tea parties. We are all just sick and tired of the same crap being fed to us by a government that can’t do the basic jobs they are charged with and are trying to extend their influence into all aspects of society and the ecoonomy.

  45. The more interesting question is — given that Alvarez knew Himes was fluent in Spanish — why did not just ask his question in Spanish without the English prologue? It just made the question longer and made it appear like a piece of political theater.

  46. Joe Sixpack writes:

    ////// It’s great that Europe is so much less “ethnocentric” than us. So much more tolerant. Maybe the fact that the continent has people speaking all different languages in an area the size of New England fosters some of the necessity to learn a new language or two or three. ///////

    There is a differene when a summer in France, Spain or Germany is about the same as spending a summer on the Cape, or Wildwood, or Newport.

    We aren’t the greatest linguists but American Corporations are quick to hire those that are when doing business overseas. Hiring indigenous peoples is good business.

  47. Joe Sixpack writes, “It seems like proponents are ignoring the fact that the majority of the population either opposes the (health care) reform plan or have serious questions and doubts about it.”

    Consider this from Huffington Posthttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/17/obama-boost-new-poll-show_n_217175.html:

    “New poll numbers from NBC/Wall Street Journal produce two major and potentially conflicting story lines when it comes to the Obama administration’s efforts for a health care overhaul. On the one hand, the American public overwhelmingly favors a choice between getting insurance coverage either through the private market or a government run option. Indeed, 76 percent of respondents said it was either “extremely” or “quite” important to “give people a choice of both a public plan administered by the federal government and a private plan for their health insurance.”

    Or perhaps you’d like to consider this: http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2009062515/new-poll-shows-tremendous-support-public-health-care-option

    “Eighty-three percent of Americans favor and only 14 percent oppose ‘creating a new public health insurance plan that anyone can purchase’ according to EBRI, a conservative business research organization. This flatly contradicts conservatives’ loudest attack against President Obama’s plan to provide quality, affordable health care for all.

    “The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) calls itself ‘the most authoritative and objective source of information’ on the issues of employee retirement and health benefits. Founded in 1978, EBRI says it ‘is the gold standard for private analysts and decision makers, government policymakers, the media, and the public.; And EBRI is funded by many of the largest corporations in America.”

    Or this:http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/healthcare/august_2009/without_public_option_enthusiasm_for_health_care_reform_especially_among_democrats_collapses

    “The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 57% oppose the plan if it doesn’t include a government-run health insurance plan to compete with private insurers.”

    Or perhaps this: http://www.mydd.com/story/2009/8/20/165644/660

    “3/4 of Americans Back Choice of a Public Option

    by Jonathan Singer, Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 04:56:44 PM EST

    “NBC News (.pdf) and The Wall Street Journal decided to drop the question from their August polling, so SurveyUSA went ahead and polled Americans on their sentiments towards a public option using the very question NBC and The Journal had previously used in June. The numbers are quite remarkable:

    “In any healthcare proposal, how important do you feel it is to give people a choice of both a public plan administered by the federal government and a private plan for their health insurance–extremely important, quite important, not that important, or not at all important?

    Extremely important: 58 percent (41 percent in June 2009 NBC/WSJ poll)
    Quite important: 19 percent (35 percent in June 2009 NBC/WSJ poll)
    Not that important: 7 percent (12 percent in June 2009 NBC/WSJ poll)
    Not at all important: 15 percent (8 percent in June 2009 NBC/WSJ poll)

    Total important: 77 percent (76 percent in June 2009 NBC/WSJ poll)
    Total unimportant: 22 percent (20 percent in June 2009 NBC/WSJ poll)

    “It’s not clear why the pollsters behind the NBC/WSJ poll omitted this question this time around, but it certainly appears that public support for the option of a government-run plan has not at all diminished in the past two months despite the onslaught from the right and an unfavorable media climate.

    “Indeed, what’s particularly interesting about the latest numbers from SurveyUSA is the breadth of the support for a public option as part of health insurance reform. Looking at the partisan breakdown of the question, even 71 percent of Republicans believe a public option to be important — including a whopping 58 percent who believe it to be extremely important. Even two-thirds of conservatives in the country back a public option, per this polling.

    “So why, then, are some in Congress so skittish about giving the public a choice — one that they seemingly want — between private insurance and a program administered by the federal government?”

    Far from being opposed by the majority of the American people, it seems abundantly clear from numerous recent national opinion polls that the opposite is the case: the American people strongly support a public option as a key element of health care reform.

    JSP writes, “That is why there is uproar at these rallies. That is why there are tea parties. ”

    No, JSP, there is an uproar at these rallies because a tiny, very tiny, minority of Americans who are increasingly unhinged feel lost and angry. But the strong majority of Americans do not feel that government is encroaching on their liberties. We just saw American democracy work, resulting in a strong victory for Barack Obama and strong Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, and also in a majority of state governments. Extremist Republicans just cannot accept that their viewpoints and politics don’t represent the majority of Americans. We also saw democracy work in Connecticut with even larger Democratic majorities in both houses of the General Assembly and all five House seats go to Democrats. The majority of Nutmeg voters spoke and their voices were heard. Why would you contend that these were somehow anomalies and that the minority is the majority?

    And those “tea parties”? Talk about unhinged: how else to explain the “outrage” of those attending who decried their overwhelming tax burdens when the Democratic congress and the Obama administration had just enacted tax “reductions” for 95% of all American taxpayers?

    According to JSP, “We are all just sick and tired of the same crap being fed to us by a government that can’t do the basic jobs they are charged with and are trying to extend their influence into all aspects of society and the ecoonomy.”

    Where were you during the eight years of the Bush administration when it was demonstrating incompetence time after time, from its response to Katrina, to its failure to locate the Anthrax poisoner, to its failure to adequately inspect peanut factories for e coli to its failure to prevent vegetables getting into our food supply that sickened and killed thousands? Where were you then? And where were you when the Bush administration “was extending their influence” into our lives by listening in on our phone calls without legal warrants, and planning to use the military in the domestic United States for “anti-terrorism”? Now that the Obama administration is attempting to correct those failings, now is the time you choose to protest government incompetence? Seems more like pretext than reason.

  48. I don’t know what’s more disturbing, viewing this uncivilized behavior or reading the justifications for it in the comments. This is not about politics, this is about civility and basic human decency, and the fact that individuals either can’t or are unable to understand that is deeply troubling.

    My grandparents, although they spoke English, like the gentleman in this video it was not their native tongue nor could they express all of their thoughts in their second, and for them, inferior language. Occassionally when talking with someone who spoke their native tongue, they would resort to it to better express themselves. And if I were to have heckled or derided my grandparents for this my mother would have rightly slapped me on the side of my head. An action that, I imagine, every reader of this blog would have agreed with.

    It escapes me how behavior that we can all acknowledge is rude in everyday discourse is somehow acceptable, and even encouraged, at a political event. The crowd wasn’t booing because they disagreed with the sentiments that were expressed, but because he was using his native tongue to better express himself to his elected representative, and the Congressman, to his credit, was charitably accommodating him. Shameful.

    We live in society were basic civility should be expected and freely given. It’s time that many adults in our society (look at the video, we are not talking about children) need to be reminded of this fact. Perhaps by their grandmothers with their accented English.

  49. Stop the nonsense. This is a Town Hall in the US. We speak English. I have MANY Latino friends who are native Spanish speakers, but they don’t ask me to change the language to Spanish when they arrive at my house for a BBQ. Don’t be silly.

    And for you, catchlightning, the same “sociopaths” you claim are Republicans include independents, too, both at the Town Halls and in the polls, where indies now disapprove of both Obama and the health care plan — see some here:

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/09/01/cnn-poll-independents-disapprove-of-obama/

    and here:

    http://abcnews.go.com/PollingUnit/Politics/story?id=8373563

    Sorry, guys, blaming the GOP is not the answer. The answer is to get a new plan or lose the House next year.

  50. I still haven’t see one person write of the displeasure of SEIU Union members bieng paid to show up at these Town Hall meetings and cause trouble.

    I guess it is OK if a African American SEIU Thug beats up another African American outside a meeting?

    And isn’t it great that this SEIU Union Thug that helped beat up Kenneth Gladney, and there is video to prove it, has the nerve to file a Workman’s Comp. Claim because he was “injured” while on the job!

    Actually disgusting!

    http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2009/09/unreal-injured-thug-who-attacked-ken.html

  51. I expected better from you Vincent. There is simply no excuse for individuals to treat somene disrespectfully as we saw in the clip. Nor does pointing to other poor behavior in any way justify this misbehavior. And as for my comment, I never referenced nor assumed that the behavior we witnessed belonged to a particular party.

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