Malcolm Gladwell describes how Karen Bradley, head of the graduate dance program at the University of Maryland, analyses Bush's movements:
Movement analysts tend to like watching, say, Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan; they had great phrasing. George W. Bush does not. During this year's State of the Union address, Bush spent the entire speech swaying metronomically, straight down through his lower torso, a movement underscored, unfortunately, by the presence of a large vertical banner behind him. "Each shift ended with the focus that channels toward a particular place in the audience," Bradley said. She mimed, perfectly, the Bush gaze -- the squinty, fixated look he reserves for moments of great solemnity -- and gently swayed back and forth. "It's a little primitive, a little regressed." The combination of the look, the sway, and the gaze was, to her mind, distinctly adolescent. When people say of Bush that he seems eternally boyish, this is in part what they're referring to. He moves likea boy, which is fine, except that, unlike such movement masters as Reagan and Clinton, he can't stop moving like a boy when the occasion demands a more grown-up response.
[From "Profiles: What The Dog Saw" in The New Yorker (5/22/2006); not available online]
According to the 2000 Census, the population of the country over 5 years old is 262,375,152. Of that number, 215,423,557 or 82.1% speak only English at home. Of the remaining people 35,964,744 (13.7%) speak English "very well" or "well", 7,620,719 (2.9%) speak English "not well" and another 3,366,132 (1.3%) speak it "not at all."
In other words, English has done pretty darn well in maintaining its status as the primary language of the United States, considering that 95.8 percent of the legal and counted population speaks it well, very well or as their only language, and, at the very worst, only 4.2% of that population doesn't have fluency in it.
But what about the illegal immigrant population, who are not counted in the Census? Well, the INS estimate of the illegal immigrant population for 1990-2000 says that there are 7 million unauthorized residents in the U.S. Surely some sizable portion of that number speak English, but let's take the absolute possible worst case scenario and assume that none of them do, and let's also assume that they're all age 5 or above.
Using these rough figures, the speaking population of the US goes from 262.4 million to 269.4 million, and the number of non-English speakers in our worst case estimate goes from 11 million to 18 million, or from 4.2% to 6.7%.
That's the very worst case, that less than 7% of the total resident population of the United States, both legal and illegal, doesn't speak English.
So why, tell me again, is it that we are in need of naming English as an official language? What need is there for a national language to unify our increasing diverse population, when over 90% of us, in all our glorious diversity, speak it already? Where's the crisis here?
But let's take a look at California, which seems to be the poster child for those who make anti-immigrant arguments. California has a legal speaking population of 31.4 million, of which about 19.0 million (60.5%) speak English only. Another 9.0 million (28.8%) speak English "very well" or "well", which means that 89.3% of the legal speaking population is fluent in English, and 10.7% (3.4 million) is not.
The illegal population of California is estimated to be 2.2 million, and if we make the same worst-case assumptions as above (i.e. all of them are of speaking age and none of them speak English), that would make 5.4 million people out of a total resident population of 31.6 million who did not speak English, or 11.3% of California's population.
But it turns out that California is not the worst cast example. Doing this same calculation for the five other states (Arizona, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas) which, with California, the INS estimates contain 68.5% of the unauthorized residents in the country shows that, using our extreme assumptions, Texas would have 12.2% of its population as non-English speaking, more than California, and Arizona would have 11.4%, about the same.
Obviously, these are rough estimates using extremely conservative assumptions. In reality, the illegal population may be higher, but also a significant percentage of them would be considered to be fluent in English. We don't know how those changes would offset each other, but we should now know that, as best as can be told from the available figures, it's only at worst, in the states most affected by illegal immigration, only about a tenth of the people living there who don't speak English.
So, again, where's the damn crisis?
Note: I posted this and then almost immediately withdrew it to correct some of the figures. It was re-posted within a few minutes.
Addenda: I haven't written anything about the while illegal immigration issue here, partly because I've been involved in a discussion about it elsewhere, but also because I see it primarily as a "crisis" ginned up by the right-wing for their own purposes. While there is certainly a problem, especially in places like Southern California, and every nation should have control over its borders, the "solutions" being offered (separately) by Bush and the Republicans in Congress are generally either extreme overkill or entirely ridiculous.
What you need to do is first make it easy to verify people's immigration/citizenship status. Second, you need to impose extremely harsh financial penalties on people who employ illegal immigrants, such that it's easily worth their while to either pay someone else more money or else live without the help. Third, you give illegally employed people big prizes for turning themselves and their employer in (say, you get deported but you get to take the fine money back home with you) so employers become paranoid about hiring illegals. This would be more effective than a wall, cheaper than a wall, and wouldn't involve killing anybody. If conservatives were in the habit of actually thinking seriously about public policy, we'd have proposals along these lines coming down the pike. Instead we get, "The only thing that might work is a physical barrier."
Kevin Drum's had some very good pieces on this topic too, such as this one from a couple of months ago.
I was sent the image below with a caption that said it illustrated one good reason to learn English when you live in America:
The context was the debate over illegal immigrants: whether they're harming or us not, and if there's a "crisis" or simply a "problem", and it came just after the Senate voted to make English our only official language.
The joke of that image reminded me of this one:
Two images, same joke. In the specific context, one can be seen as racist, the other can not.
Some things are beyond understanding, such as why, considering that I spent the entire time he was mayor of New York (with the singular exception of a few weeks immediately after 9/11) being seriously pissed off at him, I've entirely neglected to put Rudy Giuliani on My Little List (see sidebar)? Who can figure it?
Well, Josh Marshall has been kind enough to prompt me to notice my oversight with this little nugget:
Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York mayor considered a potential 2008 candidate for president, headlined a fundraiser Thursday for former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed in his run for Georgia lieutenant governor.
The two politicians were effusive in their praise for one another as they entered the Atlanta fundraiser just before noon.
"I just want to say I believe Rudy Giuliani is one of the finest leaders in not only the Republican Party but in either party," Reed said.
Giuliani responded: "We're here to get you elected. It would be a great thing for Georgia." [AP]
As the old expression goes, when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas, so I'm more than happy to put the flea-bitten Rudy G. on my list (Fuck you, Rudy!), where he can join his new friend Ralph.
Oh, but I have to say that my anger at Rudy is somewhat lightened by the knowledge that the chances of him becoming President of the United States are vanishingly small, which also reminds me of reason #75 why Hillary Clinton running for President would be a bad idea: it would clear the way for Rudy to run for Senate in New York, and that contest he might win, given his post-9/11 beatification by the media.
One thing that the two energy crises [Jimmy Carter's in the 1970s and George W. Bush's now] have in common is that both were preceded by upheavals in the Middle East—in Carter’s case the Iranian revolution, in Bush’s the war in Iraq. But in many ways the challenges that the United States faces now are more daunting than those of the nineteen-seventies. Iran’s current anti-American leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has waved aside American (and European) efforts to halt his nuclear program, noting, “Ultimately, they need us more than we need them.” We now compete for oil with voracious energy consumers like China and India. And, as hurricane season approaches (and as the connection between more violent storms and global warming seems to grow increasingly evident), refineries continue to struggle with the disruptions from Katrina.
Even sentimental Democrats today tend to think of the Jimmy Carter of the seventies as a hand-wringing Milquetoast, more rabbit than killer. He and Congress, though, took on the energy emergency with a vigor that seems unimaginable these days. They deregulated oil and gas prices, created the Department of Energy, and got utilities to increase their use of natural gas and coal. They also allocated hefty sums for solar and other alternative-energy sources and pursued President Ford’s policy of higher fuel-economy standards for new cars. By the time Carter left office, the consumption of foreign oil had fallen by nearly two million barrels a day, to seven million barrels. Predictably, as oil prices dropped, so did the urge to conserve. Ronald Reagan revoked environmental policies and ripped Carter’s solar panels off the White House roof, and Americans learned to love big cars again. We now import about thirteen million barrels of foreign oil a day, an increase of eighty-five per cent.
What no elected official has yet taken a stand on is the fact that there is an obvious way to begin addressing the energy crisis, one that would reduce our need for foreign oil, encourage fuel efficiency, attack global warming, and maybe banish the Hummer forever: a steep tax on gasoline. The general assumption is that this would be political poison—too many Americans have to drive long distances to work. As a result, the gas tax, which is 18.4 cents a gallon, hasn’t been raised since 1993. But if most or all of the proceeds were returned to consumers, in the form of lower payroll taxes, the impact on the economically vulnerable would be minimized. Many economists have advocated such a plan, and even some of the most stalwart anti-tax Republicans, such as Grover Norquist, have expressed support for it. Robert H. Frank, a professor of economics at Cornell, has pointed out that when Carter made a similar proposal it was defeated by opponents who argued that drivers would buy just as much gas as they did before, with the money they got back in reduced taxes. But if people are given the right incentives they are likely to save both ways, by taking their rebates and by buying more fuel-efficient cars, thereby reducing consumption and spending.
On Frameshop, Jeffrey Feldman has an excellent post in which he uses Robert Reich's four basic American archetypal narratives (the Triumphant Individual, the Benevolent Community, the Mob at the Gates and the Rot at the Top), and points out that, thanks to Republican/right-wing propaganda, the debate about all of our major issues of the moment is stuck on "the Mob at the Gates" to the detriment of "the Rot at the Top," which is the narrative we need to switch to.
Each story has a clear 'plot' and that plot dictates how we understand the issues.
On immigration issue, we are stuck in the story of hordes flowing across the border, when we should be talking about breaking down the doors of unlawful employers and confronting the Mexican government for colluding to abuse Mexican workers and defraud American working-class citizens.
On national security, we are stuck in the story of terrorist hordes trying to get into America, when we should be talking about taking a leading role in restoring equality and justice in the world.
On energy, we are stuck in the story of supply and demand, when we should be talking about confronting greedy corporations and investing in new fuel and transportation technologies.
On health, we are stuck in the story of market forces and costs, when we should be talking about basic care for every American right now, investing in education and training.
On elections, we are stuck in the story of special interest groups, when we should be talking about eliminating all corrupt private money from elections and returning our democracy to the hands of the people as it was intended.
When Democrats realize that they must drive the debate into a new story--a big story--then the debate will change.
Once Democrats switch the story from 'mob at the gates' to 'rot at the top,' Americans will not only reject Republican failure, but will begin to embrace the vision of Democrats--a basic vision of restoring Democracy to the people.
Until then, we will all be stuck in the wrong story.
What is it with you people? You think that not getting caught in a lie is the same thing as telling the truth.
Three Days of the Condor (film, 1975) screenplay by David Rayfield and Lorenzo Semple Jr., based on the novel by James Grady, directed by Sydney Pollack, spoken by the character "Joe Turner" played by Robert Redford
There was a spate of paranoid political thrillers after Watergate, and there will be even more coming on the heels of Bush. Unfortunately, there will be many more very bad things which will constitute Bush's true legacy.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.