Morning Ed: Europe {2016.05.19.Th}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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152 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Cruising is one of those things that I never got. Its where my inner snob kicks in hard. Your basically stuck at a large luxurious hotel with organized activities aimed at what seems to be the lowest common denominator. Yes, I realize this sounds really terrible and classicist. Its how I feel though.

    Workers might need capitalists in general but there have been several successful examples of workers participating in the management of a corporation like Germany or worker owned and controlled enterprises like various co-ops or Israel’s kibbutzim and moshavim operating in a market economy. While I’m not a fan of Chavez and believe he mismanaged Venezuela’s economy, too many on the Right are over emphasizing what happened. They are using it to attack welfare programs rather the state control of the economy, ignoring very or at least somewhat moderately successful state controlled oil industries like Norway or those in the Middle East, and not emphasizing Chavez’s unique take on socialism.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I am with you on cruising. I completely fail to see the attraction. If the point is to go places, there are quicker ways to get there, making more efficient use of my vacation time. If the point is to participate in organized activities, then I want a better selection to choose from. If the point is to sit and do nothing for a span of days, I can think of environments that are both cheaper and more to my taste.

      My extended family’s annual vacation is renting a house for a week on the Jersey shore. We take turns on cooking and the like. I am in charge of breakfasts. This leaves ample time for reading, swimming, vegetating, etc.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        Being Navy, the idea of getting on a ship crewed primarily by hotel & resort staff, rather than professional sailors or merchant marines makes me nervous.

        And it’s not that the crew is bad, it’s that I’ve never seen much evidence that they invest in crew training beyond the bare minimum needed to appease the various regulatory bodies. And that might be fine for cargo ships, but a high end people mover should have better standards.

        And yet, despite how often we hear of fires & accidents, people still drop thousands on a cruise.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          My Dad was career Navy. He was incredulous at the idea of paying to go on a ship.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Cargo ships are way cheaper if you ever want a fine ride across the ocean. Dine with the captain at his table the whole way if you want.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          I wonder how often do we hear of them vs. how often they happen, as compared to other activities.

          My general thought is that, if something is in the news, that’s a good sign it’s not something I need to worry about: it’s news precisely because it’s unusual. The safety of driving vs. flying is a perfect example of what I mean – if people die in a plane crash on the other side of the world, we hear or read about it in the news. If people die in a traffic accident just a few hundred kilometres away, we don’t hear about it, or there’d be no room in the papers for anything else. And yet most people are more nervous during a flight than during the cab rides to and from the airport.

          As a general rule of thumb, I figure if I’m more likely to die driving to do a thing, than doing the thing, then the thing is safe enough for me. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn cruises fit in that category.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to dragonfrog says:

            Yes & no. Compared to cargo ships, there are only a handful of cruise liners in the world, so they tend to make the news. Overall, they are pretty safe, aside from the occasional bout of raging vomit from a bug that sweeps the ship*, or a person going overboard.

            But when things do go pear shaped, the lack of training shows. I hear about a fire on one of those ships, and I know it got a lot worse than it ever should have, because there are probably only a handful of people on the ship actually trained to fight a fire. With a professional, properly trained & experienced crew, EVERYONE knows how to fight fires, and stop flooding, and do basic damage control. But such crews are expensive to train and retain, and cruise customers are largely clueless regarding the value such a crew brings to the safety of the ship, because it isn’t readily visible.

            Which is fine, you pays your money, you takes your chances. I’ll just not pay that money or take that chance, thank you.

            *The prevalence of stomach bugs sweeping a cruise liner is interesting to me, because you almost never hear of it hitting a Navy ship, even through scuttlebutt. Whole ships just do not get sick like that, and Navy ships are much tighter quarters than cruise lines.Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              If there is one thing I think I know about the navy, it is that most navy sailors spend most of their day cleaning things. Seems that would tend to limit the spread of non-airborne disease.

              As far as fighting fires and whatnot – navy ships are also expected to go into rather than out of situations where people are shooting rockets and torpedoes and such at them, which I’d expect would rather raise the likelihood of firefighting being a relevant skill…

              (And, generally, cruise passengers spending most of their trip vomiting over the gunwales doesn’t make the news, suggesting it may be a relevant thing to worry about. Cruise ships hitting a reef and sinking is very much news.)Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to dragonfrog says:

                Actually good, solid cases of vomiting like that DO make the news. A friend of mine is still incredibly unhappy at a specific cruise line (one with a really good record of not having those problems) pretty much barred her and her family to their room because one of their kids started throwing up. (They’d gone to see the ship’s doctor. It wasn’t sea-sickness)

                The cruise line told them it was “stick to your rooms until no one has thrown up for 24 hours or disembark”.

                She felt that was highly unfair. I thought that was, unfortunately, how you keep from making 2000 other people sick. It sucked to be her, but it was notable that the rest of the ship didn’t get sick.

                The last cruise I went on was SUPER serious about hand-washing. (Hand washing stations everywhere, cruise staff that wouldn’t hand you a plate until they’d seen you scrub your hands, etc).Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to dragonfrog says:

                That’s not actually why firefighting is important. If you’re in a burning building, you just need to leave and get far enough away. If you are on a ship, evacuation is not only a bit trickier, but you are likely evacuating to a place that is rather hostile (cold water, rough seas, predators, etc.).

                You never want a fire to get out of control, because it could be a long, cold wait before help arrives.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to dragonfrog says:

                Re: sickness – it isn’t cleanliness per se (ships are kept clean for the same reason good factories are – it improves morale, efficiency, and safety), but I suspect the efforts of a very responsive medical staff, who have some pretty healthy authority to back up their ability to treat crew & passengers (i.e. you don’t get to argue with the ships medical staff).Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I suspect the Navy food system is probably better designed to resist the spread of infectious agents. (Buffet style food setup? With people often grabbing their own food?)

                And also, frankly, no snot-nosed little brats running around. The way little kids get and spread disease can’t be underestimated. (I’ve got a wife that teaches. There’s always something going around, and the hygiene of your average kid is highly suspect. Even when you make them wash their hands, they’re just not very good at it….)Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Morat20 says:

                Every underway, a new crud will go around the crew, as the people leave their snot nosed little brats at home but bring their bugs with them, to live in close quarters with other people that have done the same.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kolohe says:

                True, but if that Krud is highly contagious and impacting performance, the medical staff will lock that down in a hurry. Additionally, vaccinations/preventative meds are not optional.

                I remember when we made our first call in Mombasa, and even though everyone was warned not to drink the tap water, people still drank the tap water (for me, it was ordering a soda and forgetting that the water the syrup was mixed with, as well as the ice, was all going to be done with tap water). Sick bay was ready with a shot to stop the vomiting, and enough kaopectate to treat a small city.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Navy ships are kept clean because it gives the sailors something to do.
                I suspect normal merchant ships are about as clean as they need to be, which is probably a lot less scrubbing.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kim says:

                A lot of the dirt is created by people. More people, more dirt.

                More people on board means more spaces for people, a more complex interior layout, with more bulkheads, decks, pipes, and ductwork, meaning more places for dirt to build up. Large merchant ships have large spaces filled with bulk or containerized cargo, which aren’t attracting dirt.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kim says:


                How about you not tell a former Navy sailor why things are done they way they are in the Navy?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                If you disagree, just go ahead and say so. I do acknowledge you’ve got a bit more experience than I do.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kim says:

                Fine, I disagree.

                Sailors clean because:

                1) accumulations of dirt impacts morale (hard to take pride in a dirty ship)
                2) it can foster pathogens
                3) it can impact crew safety (crud can be slippery, ships are constantly in motion, foot traction is vital; crud can be flammable, clean spaces tend not to burn, etc.)
                4) crud can affect the safe & efficient operation of machinery
                5) crud can accelerate corrosion
                6) and last, but not least, crud can make the skipper, and the Admiral, look bad

                Trust me, most Navy sailors have enough crap to do with all their other duties that cleaning is a PITA because it takes up time most people are already pretty short on.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to dragonfrog says:

            And then I read stuff like this, annnnnnd I stay off cruise ships.Report

        • Avatar Mo in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          I have a friend that was a bartender on a cruise ship and he was required to get an MMC. Granted this was in Hawaii, so was a US flagged ship. Not sure what the requirements are for the Caribbean lines.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        There is something romantic about arriving to a city by boat rather than plane but people who have been through the experience told me that customs are hell at sea ports. Another problem with cruising is that you will eat and drink too much.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to LeeEsq says:

          That’s a feature, not a bug.

          There were free tacos. Almost any time you wanted them. Free. With cheese and fixins. For free. And a midnight buffet. And if you asked for some bleu cheese, they’d just bring some out.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

          I’ve arrived via boat.
          I’ve arrived via boats carrying marijuana across the border, as a matter of strict fact.
          Customs were easy as heck. (not that I was smuggling anything).

          The folks from Washington will know what I’m talking about.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I prefer it more for the recreation than the foreign ports aspect. My parents like the latter part more. For me, it’s that there is lots and lots to do and nowhere that you have to go to do it. Good food that is free (though I think this is less the case than it was). A buffet of things to do, and a buffet on top of that. The folks like the lack of hassle. You only pack and unpack once. Mom likes the gambling.Report

      • And there’s nothing more pleasant that laying in a deck chair, reading a book, and watching the ocean go by.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

        I’m rather fond of the bit where you’re pretty unconnected from the world (wi-fi is pricey), where you get to be out in the sun and watch the ocean, and while there’s plenty to do — there’s no hurry, or even requirement, to do it.

        And yeah, I get to find some fun beaches and spend time in the water, and I don’t have to worry about food, drinks, or spending more than we plan. (We don’t gamble, and as much as possible we pay everything before we step on the boat). I don’t have to pack or unpack, since I live near Galveston, I don’t have to bother with airport security or the hassles of flying for the most part. (I will, sadly, when I do an Alaska one).

        To me, the benefits are almost entirely the luxury of having nothing important to do, and being disconnected from the world at large. (Other vacations? I tend to find excuses to use the hotel wi-fi, or my phone, etc. I can’t disconnect as easily. I’m not even tempted given the god-awful insane prices on internet connectivity on a cruise ship).Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Venezuela is crony socialism at it’s finest.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:

      “Yes, I realize this sounds really terrible and classicist. Its how I feel though.”

      Do you think that it is terrible and classicist (Did you mean classist?)? If so, do you ever challenge yourself in that thinking?

      I think there are plenty of reasons to abhor cruises — including the ones you offered here — that will keep you on the “good” side of the terrible and classicist/classist divide.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kazzy says:

        It depends how I’m feeling about other humans at the time. Ads for cruises and theme park vacations usually activate my misanthropic tendencies for different reasons though.Report

  2. Avatar notme says:

    To aid integration, a linguistics professor has said that it is Germans who should learn Arabic or Kurdish, rather than migrants learn German.

    That’s an idea, it’s the residents of the host country that need to assimilate not the newcomers. Maybe the Germans should adopt Arabic dress and customs as well. We want the immigrants to feel at home don’t we?Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to notme says:

      We learn Spanish here, don’t we?
      We fucking forced the American Indians to learn English, at gunpoint — and basically stole them from their families to do it.

      You, sir, ain’t got no room to bitch.Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to Kim says:

        So you are saying we must learn Spanish to make all the Mexican illegals feel more at home?Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to notme says:

          It’s not that we must, but learning multiple languages is good and on a societal level none is more useful than Spanish for a variety of reasons.

          And yes, it would be better if they learned English. Learning languages later in life is tough, though, and their kids will learn it reliably enough.Report

          • Avatar notme in reply to Will Truman says:

            Sure, learning Spanish may be “good,” “useful” and better” in a general sense but I fail to see why folks in the US needs to change the language we speak to accommodate immigrants. We don’t owe them anything and the least they can do to show that they want to be a part of our society is learn our languageReport

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to notme says:

              The main thing is to resent their presence, All else follows from that.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                As you do so often, you totally distort the issue. I don’t resent their presence, I resent being told by liberals that I should change my lifestyle, language or culture for immigrants that want to live here. There is a difference that I’m sure even you can understand.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to notme says:

                Once you realize that liberal politics has decayed into a mix of superciliousness and socially-sanctioned aggression, what looks perverse makes more sense.Report

            • Avatar David Parsons in reply to notme says:

              In the US, “we” speak english, spanish, french, and a large handful of other languages. Maybe they only speak english in your village (they only spoke english in mine, to my immense regret) but despite that we’re still a continent-spanning nation stuffed full of migrants.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to David Parsons says:

                In many villages, inside or outside the US the good life consists of only having to learn one language to survive. To some people it is regret, for others it frees them up to learn other things.

                I can walk into almost any machine tool shop on planet and start communicating machining parameters through dimensions and measurement tools to another machinist who doesn’t speak a word of english. Subjectively speaking, many Vietnamese are excellent in this regard.Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to David Parsons says:

                Ma mere est francaise et moi je parle francais assez bien. De temps en temps je parle francais avec ma mere. Elle aime ca.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to notme says:

              It’s one thing to expect someone to understand Stop, Fuck Off, and Please. It’s another to expect them to conjugate every single verb we’ve got.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Will Truman says:

            learning multiple languages is good

            Learning accounting is good too. Learning one thing takes time away from learning something else. Manufacturing a bilingual society through immigration and educational policy was something no one wanted in 1970 bar a small minority of ethnic hustlers and ed school graduates.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Art Deco says:

              Many other countries seem to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Will Truman says:

                Didn’t we say a bit ago that Belgium’s bilingual bifurcation was partly to blame for terrorists being able to get their boom on?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Kolohe says:

                Belgium has a cultural divide. Many of the euro countries have two or more languages without issue. Switzerland had 3 official languages which vary by province. Italy has a predominantly german speaking region. The language isn’t the issue.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to greginak says:

                The germanophone region in question contains < 1% of Italy's population. For tidiness sake, they ought to cede it to Austria. The residual local dialects and regional rivalries and cleavages are far more consequential.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kolohe says:

                Oh I want English to be our defacto national language. I even apply this to the question of Puerto Rican statehood.

                I just don’t want it to be the only language most Americans can speak.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Will Truman says:

                The notion that it is modal for Europeans to speak multiple languages is a myth.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Art Deco says:

                Indians, on the other hand…Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Kim says:

                Somewhere, beneath the accent, lies English.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Art Deco says:

                I’m not super-duper ambitious on this point. If we can simply get “more” bilingualism and multilingualism, I would consider that an improvement.

                As for where in the process to do it, that’s a fair question. It is possible that there is just nowhere on earth to put it. There was certainly room for it in the curricula in both my middle school and high school. We just didn’t have to take it and so, for the most part, didn’t. (I took two years in high school, but that was it, and even that wasn’t actually necessary.)

                But mostly, I’d settle for just a little more emphasis and a little less resentment at the notion that it should be something we should strive for because illegals.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Will Truman says:

                It’s not something we should strive for because of the illegal alien population. It’s liberal education, like English literature or music appreciation, or biology. The only reason to give Spanish pride of place is that people who can teach it are more plentiful.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Art Deco says:

                It’s not something we should strive for strictly for the illegal immigrant population. It has both liberal arts and utilitarian aspects. It’s heavier on the utilitarian than most other languages, for a number of reasons including the immigrant population as well as geography and our association with Puerto Rico. Other languages are also useful in other contexts, and especially useful in some, though less likely to be as broadly useful in the US.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Will Truman says:

                You keep puting forth a utilitarian argument. As Art said, that argument supports learning any number of other skills as well but isn’t that convincing.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to notme says:

                There’s a decent chance I would support people learning the other things. Perhaps instead of language as an option. But in K-12 I took more years of theater than I did a foreign language. And I wasn’t even a theater person in the way Saul is.

                Mostly I think we should view learning another language, and Spanish as the default, as something people should do instead of as caving in to the illegals. More Spanish would have been a lot more useful to me than a lot of the classes I did take.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Will Truman says:

                My parents made me take French and latin. I’m going to make sure my daughter takes a year of latin and then she can take whatever she wants.

                What would support folks learning? Pottery, coding, small engine repair, gunsmithing, Macramé?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Will Truman says:

                I think what underscores some of the tension is the growing awareness that encounters with other cultures are no longer being done solely at the discretion of white Americans.

                Increasingly non-Europeans and non-English speakers are assuming a more dominant role in business and culture.

                What language people “should” speak is less and less a decision made by the political ideology or cultural norms, and more and more a rational decision made to succeed.

                For the time being, English is the lingua franca of the business world, but in some pockets, its difficult to stay in business unless you speak Spanish, or in some other corners, Chinese.

                Which just brings us to the point that globalization has brought with it a lot of effects Americans never considered; we are now intimately tied to everyone in the world, and along with that, we are connected to their cultures, and they to us whether we like it or not.Report

              • Avatar Mo in reply to Art Deco says:

                There are 11 non-English speaking countries where a majority of their citizens speak English. That means there are 11 countries where a majority are at least bilingual. That’s without including the numerous other languages.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Mo says:

                11 out of 193 (number of UN member countries)? Wow, that’s a lot. Clearly the US needs to become a bilingual nation just because.Report

              • Avatar Mo in reply to notme says:

                11 out of 37 European countries (not counting English speaking ones). Also, as mentioned, it doesn’t include the people that are multilingual, but speak a language other than English.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Mo says:

                So what?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Art Deco says:

                The notion that it is modal for Europeans to speak multiple languages is a myth.

                From The Guardian: “Just over half of Europeans (54%) are able to hold a conversation in at least one additional language, a quarter (25%) are able to speak at least two additional languages and one in ten (10%) are conversant in at least three.”Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Stillwater says:

                By that standard, I count as bilingual. I’m sure there are any number of Parisian waiters who would find that a hoot.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Will Truman says:

                Hell, Americans speak at least four kinds of english and at least three types of spanish.

                That’s like seven languages, without counting the Canadian stuff.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal says:


              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Will Truman says:

                What are you planning to discontinue to have more language instruction? Where is your conception of where the slack is if you fancy that more language instruction can be had without costs? Given that few people avail themselves of the chance to get a degree in a foreign language (and very few in a language other than Spanish or French), it’s going to have to be an imposed curriculum.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Art Deco says:

                the slack is in the summer.
                Immersion is the way.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Art Deco says:

                I’d hit English itself. I learned whole years worth of grammar minutiae that I’ve since forgotten. Details that are likely of great interest to linguists, but which don’t really enter into the consciousness of the normative english speaker (e.g. quick, without looking it up, what is a gerund, or a participle?).Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Will Truman says:

                Interesting but not the point. The point is being told that I need to learn the immigrants language to help them assimilate in MY country.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to notme says:

                On the one hand, that’s not a great argument to do so.

                On the other hand, learning the language that lots of people here speak seems like a worthwhile endeavor. Learning French in (non-western) Canada would also be good. They’re good for many of the same reasons.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Will Truman says:

                Actually, I think it is. I’ve run into countless immigrants (used to work in a sw shop) that spoke english outside the home and native language in side the home (for cultural reasons). I’m cool with that. I see no reason why someone coming here to my home shouldn’t learn the language of his adopted country. It’s respectful. Just as when I travel to foreign lands, I make an effort to speak to the locals in their language and NOT assume the speak english.

                Could I learn another language? Sure, but that’s my option. I shouldn’t have to get along in my country where I’ve (allegedly) welcome new folks. When you speak something else outside your home in my country, you disrespect me and it.

                Yeah, i’ll make allowances for adults who work and are raising kids, but their kids should be speaking english and the parents should be encouraging it to be spoken outside the home.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Damon says:

                When you speak something else outside your home in my country, you disrespect me and it.

                So all the descendants of Mexicans in the American South West who speak Spanish disrespect you by doing so, Damon?


              • Avatar Damon in reply to Stillwater says:

                If there’s ‘mericans yes.

                After all, my ancestors didn’t bushwhack a bunch of native americans and steal their land, and then invade mexico in a trumped up war over texas to take the southwest, only to have to learn to speak spanish!Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Damon says:

                Maybe you’re selling your ancestors short, Damon. Maybe bilingualism was precisely the goal they were trying to achieve. You know, melting pot and all that. And who melts food in a pot better than Mexicans?Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Stillwater says:

                Nope. I have it on good authority. Direct line to the ancestors and all that. Got a copy of the memo. It said in part….

                1) Kill the savages
                2) Take land from the mexicans
                3) Profit!
                4) Keep 1 & 2 oppressed by making them speak american.
                5) Profit again!Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Damon says:

                Ancestral prophets are rejected by succeeding generations at grave risk to their own health and happiness, where “grave risk” is the primary consideration in play.Report

              • Avatar dexter in reply to Stillwater says:

                @Stillwater, In America hoy este better comprender como speak Spanglish.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Damon says:

                and then invade mexico in a trumped up war over texas

                The territories in question were bereft of nothing but … actual Mexicans.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Damon says:

                The kids do learn English, as it has always been.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                FWIW, there has been exactly zero change in language assimilation for immigrants in America. First generation speaks rough English (or none at all, for those who don’t have much contact), the kids are bilingual, and the grand-kids speak only English.

                It’s how it’s always been. The ESL classes and such just mean the second-gen kids (and the younger first-gen immigrants) don’t miss out much on the fundamentals of an education as they’re absorbing English.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

                There is a weird tension for this, though.

                When you have 20 or 30 distinct groups of people who speak 20 or 30 different languages (one per, I mean) living in the same place, it makes sense to just have everybody speak the same language. Pick one. It doesn’t matter which one. Make the people who don’t speak that one learn that new language.

                If you have 20 or 30 distinct groups of people who all speak one of two different languages living in the same place, the calculus changes and it makes more sense for everybody to learn two languages (even if only one of them is at a basic or conversational level).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:


                I vaguely recall (since it was looong time ago) a theory (or data?) presented in an Anthro class that the single most important factor in determining national solidarity over time, and on the flip side Splitters!, was shared language. More than geographical proximity, shared cultural norms, shared religious beliefs and eating habits…Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Stillwater says:

                If that is the case, then so much for our country.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to notme says:

                The context of the theory was a review of imposing a “national” language requirement on people as part of an effort to compel assimilation of those folks into the “national identity,” on the premise that cultural identity is determined to a great extent by language use, and how poorly the outcomes of those efforts were.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                A single language has serious benefits for trust/collaboration. Something to take into account for those who want a high trust/high collaboration society.Report

              • Absolutely. If the EU wants to really be United, among other things a single language is critical.

                But that’s not what they want, which is an entirely reasonable proposition… but also one of the reasons we’re not going to be seeing a United States of Europe any time soon.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

                I think the pull towards English for Spanish-speakers is considerably higher than the pull towards Spanish for English-speakers.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

                Now that Sabado Gigante has been cancelled.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Jaybird says:

                It’s not that tough to follow sports in Spanish, though. Broadcasters’ love for cliches knows no national boundaries, so once you pick up a few of them from context you get at least half of what most of these guys are saying.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to El Muneco says:

                Looking at pop culture and *ONLY* pop culture, what does Spanish have that you can’t also get in English?

                Sports, you point out. If you want to listen to the best soccer analysts in the world in real time, you need to learn Spanish. I’d also put Pro Wrestling in there. You watch a WWF match between two midcarders in English and you hear the announcers discussing the main event or the segment that happened prior to the match actually going on. It sucks. You listen in Spanish? The two guys are actually talking about the match and calling moves and getting excited about the match like it was Wrestlemania. (And that’s without getting into Lucha Libre or AAA, which are so much better than the WWF that it ain’t even funny.)

                Telenovellas. (Though “Yo soy Betty, la fea” did make it here, I understand that there are some seriously awesome ones that did not and, much like with wrestling, if you want the good stuff you’ve got to learn the language.)

                But what else? A handful of poets, a handful of singers/songs… what else is there? It seems like, if you’re only looking at pop culture, your main pull to learn the language is love of some… let’s call it “niche”… stuff.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Jaybird says:

                Also niche: in the PNW, it’s my experience that there’s a positive correlation between the quality of a taqueria and whether the signage/menu is in Spanish. And although “secret specials for native speakers” is (largely) an urban legend, being able to code-switch into the stronger/more comfortable language of the staff person you’re talking to is unlikely to lead to worse service.

                Anecdotally, one soccer team I play on is almost entirely native Spanish speakers. They all speak English, the younger generation being about equally fluent in both languages. But on the field, it’s more instinctual, so you revert to how you learned it – so all the talk is in Spanish. This might also count as sports, but it might have broader social application.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Will Truman says:

                Sure learning French in Canada might help, mainly because it’s one their two national languages. We don’t have an official langue but for all intents and purposes it is English. So don’t tell me that I need to learn Spanish just b/c some folks refuse to assimilate.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to notme says:

                Not because it’s one of two official languages, but because it’s spoken by a large chunk of the population. The official language and the fact it’s good both being a product of that thing.

                In the US, there is both the immigrant population and that it’s the most common language of our hemisphere, making it more generally useful than Polish.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Will Truman says:

                Do you really think in this day and age that French would still be spoken by a large number of folks if it wasn’t an official language and given special protection? Not a chance.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to notme says:

                Depends on the level of accommodation. If there was zero accommodation, probably not. But if there was accommodation (like us with Spanish) it might be because you have a consolidated population with a shared history.

                I think that having two official languages is not a good idea if it can be avoided. That’s not really what’s being discussed here, though.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Will Truman says:

                And yet you keep discussing Canada as an example of why it might be good to learn another language. French is only as viable as they make it in Canada. Spanish, Arabic etc are only as viable as we make them here.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to notme says:

                No, I use Canada as an example of how the second language that one learns is variable depending on the circumstances of the country you are in. In a lot of the world it’s English. In the UK it’s more likely French or German. In Canada it’s French. Here, it’s Spanish.Report

              • I think that having two official languages is not a good idea if it can be avoided.

                Does anyone here know how often having laws, regulations, and court decisions in two languages, with both officially given equal standing, has caused problems in Canada?

                I’m a fencer. The Fédération Internationale d’Escrime is the international governing body for the sport. The official rules are written in French. Occasionally some confusion arises with translations. I fence epee where the rules allow a certain amount of body contact. The word-for-word translation about what calls for a penalty card is “excessively brutal” contact. In common usage, though, the French phrase means something that stops well short of what the English word brutal connotes. The last time I looked, the British and US fencing associations had settled on “excess jostling”.Report

              • All I know is that this makes it sound like a pain in the arse:

                {out ce que je sais est que ce fait sonner comme une douleur dans le cul}Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Michael Cain says:

                @michael-cain One thing that helps is that inside Quebec (where most Canadian francophones live), a) there is a law and a bunch of related regulations that specify that French has primacy over English, and b) there’s an entire separate civil code (federal criminal law is the same throughout Canada though). So I think this cuts back on the problems. At least, in all my years living there, I never heard of one? And I was pretty sensitive to language-related problems, seeing as I regularly passed into and out of both anglophone and francophone culture (as well as the all-too-rare bilingual subculture in Montreal – so much more fun talking when you don’t have to use almost-as-good-as words, but instead can use both full vocabularies!!).

                I’m sure it happens sometimes, but it’s not common or anything.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to notme says:

                The point is being told that I need to learn the immigrants language to help them assimilate in MY country.

                YOUR country? Is that the fulcrum of the argument?

                Or is the pivot point “being told” to learn any language in particular?Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Stillwater says:

                YOUR country?

                Yes, mine.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Art Deco says:

                Hmmm. Let’s suppose for the sake of argument that it’s mine too and I disagree with you. For example, that I don’t think anyone ought to be “told” to learn English. How would we settle the matter given that your argument is based on a claim of ownership which we both share?Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Stillwater says:

                Did you even read the original post were Germans are being told they should learn Arabic to help the poor folks assimilate?
                That doesn’t bother you?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to notme says:

                I’ll repeat the question above: does your (above) argument turn on the phrase “MY country” or does it turn on being told what to do?

                Seems to me those are two very different things.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Stillwater says:

                Really both, MY country and any language. If they want to settle here they can at least act like they really want to be here and learning our language would help. If they won’t assimilate into our culture they should stay home.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater says:

                That question is probably a good demarcation of the ‘right’ into high y-axis and low y-axis.

                not saying good or bad, just noting edgesReport

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Stillwater says:

                that I don’t think anyone ought to be “told” to learn English. How would we settle the matter given that your argument is based on a claim of ownership which we both share?

                That wasn’t my argument. That was your gloss on his argument. This is still my country. Mr. Echeverria of Veracruz has his own country, which is not mine.

                That aside, I perfectly at home with telling aspirant immigrants to show up at a U.S. consulate, submit to written and oral examination in English, submit to a physical, and submit to a background check. If they pass all three, they take a spot in a queue and enter when their number is up.

                As for people already here, I’d suggest employers and merchants should have plenary discretion over who they hire and over what the dimensions of their custom are, so long as we’re all hot and bothered over who shouldn’t be told to do what.

                We used to settle matters of public policy by legislation approved by elected officials. Now its settled by lawfare entrepreneurs. No, that’s not an improvement.Report

      • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Kim says:

        “You, sir, ain’t got no room to bitch.”
        This right here is the best summation of liberal plurality.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    Royalty: Dude’s already got a job. Being a prince. He doesn’t need another job. You’d think he’d been raised to understand his role in British society better.

    Ecigs: our approach to these has been completely wrong.

    Cruising: I don’t like cruising, but I did it once on a river, and it was very nice, but it was a small boat. Not as small as this of course. I’d do this type of thing since it’s very small but the cost 6K us or more? Ouch.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Damon says:

      Eh, he’s the spare, so his impulse to get an additional job is laudable. The Firm’s interests are better protected by him seeking something to fill his time though full time charitable work is also acceptable.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Damon says:

      Royalty: Dude’s already got a job. Being a prince. He doesn’t need another job. You’d think he’d been raised to understand his role in British society better.

      His uncle and his uncle’s wife eventually left the working world because of scheduling conflicts and pr problems. It’s expected if you’re on the Civil List that you’ll be a patron of a long list of philanthropies. Princess Anne’s children and Princess Margaret’s stay off the Civil List, so they have careers.Report

  4. Avatar notme says:

    Was it really Trump accusing Clinton of rape or just repeating allegations others made already?

    What I find so ironic is that the media spends a lot of time talking about the comments Trump made about certain women but totally ignore Clinton’s history with women. That’s the liberal media for you.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to notme says:

      If you look closely, you might note that Donald Trump is running for president. Bill Clinton is not. We sheeple consumers of the liberal media are aware of this distinction.Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        Is that the job Trump is running for? Thanks for letting me know b/c I’ve been wondering why he’s on TV so much these days. Given both Clintons’ history, Slick with assaulting women and Hillary for helping cover it up, neither of them has the moral high ground.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        I’m old enough to remember when Hillary Clinton supporters were retweeting and blogging about Jane Sanders involvement in Burlington College, even though Jane Sanders isn’t running for President.Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    British Royalty: I would think being a doctor would be a good career for a spare son or daughter in Royalty. They can do a lot of charitable humanity work with that skill. Doctors without Borders and UNICEF stuff.

    Cruising: I am with Lee and Richard (though I might need to call him Vinny now that he admits to vacationing on the Jersey Shore.)

    Workers and Capitalists: There are lots of employee owned companies/co-ops in the United States. Many in the Bay Area of course. You have Rainbow Grocery, the Cheeseboard Collective, and others. In Kentucky, you have Against the Grain brewing. I think worker owned companies can succeed or fail for the same reasons as normal companies. Also how about partnerships or sole proprietorships? Those are basically worker owned companies.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Richard (though I might need to call him Vinny now that he admits to vacationing on the Jersey Shore.)

      If you live in that part of the Mid-Atlantic region where, should you face directly east, you are facing New Jersey, then it is entirely normal to go to the Jersey shore. This is entirely unrelated to you yourself being culturally New Jersey, any more than going to the beach in California makes you a surfer dude.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        You could go to Delaware or Virginia or even your own Maryland.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to LeeEsq says:

          I could, but none of these would be any closer, assuming the aim is a beach with actual waves. Those parts of Maryland or Delaware are roughly the same distance by car as the Jersey shore. Recall that there is a big frickin’ bay in the way, and most of the coast of Delaware is actually on the Delaware Bay, not the ocean proper. The relevant bits of Virginia are considerably further away.

          And really, what’s the point? New Jersey does beachside touristy stuff very well. We rent a house on Long Beach Island, the barrier island one north from Atlantic City. It has a couple reasonable bookstores and a nice beach with seemingly competent and discreet lifeguards. (The one time I went out in somewhat rough water and swam just past the breaker line, I was huffing and puffing out there when this adorable young thing of a lifeguard pops up next to me. She clearly was concerned, but sufficiently cognizant of my dignity as an older gentleman to leave implicit the offer of assistance back to shore. For the record, I got back just fine on my own.) I’m not giving any opinion as to how real Vinny and Snookie and the like are, but as a day to day matter, you don’t run into them or theirs.

          Oh, and my mother rents the house. She lives in Philly: just a quick trip to the Jersey shore. She who pays the rent gets to pick where it is.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Calling non-corporate businesses worker owned is stretching the definition of worker way too far. The partners or sole owners might be doing a lot of work reserved for employees in corporations but they are also the owners and acting as capitalists.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The problem is that most people would be too star struck with the Royal person and make too much of a fuss.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Doctors without Borders needs logistics folks — which is a far better fit for “Mr. Military Man.”
      Plus, that’s a backend job where he needn’t talk with tons of people.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Worker-owned businesses are problematic for portfolio diversification reasons. It’s just not a good idea to have so much of your wealth tied up in a single company, especially when it’s also the company providing your salary. It also makes obtaining funding tricky—note that all the examples you give are businesses of types that can start small with funding from modest loans and personal savings. This is much harder to do with heavy industry and other capital-intensive businesses that require a large investment up-front, or anything so risky that it can’t be funded by loans at a manageable interest rate.

      And now, having typed out the word “problematic”—twice now!—I’m going to go wash my hands several times.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      British Royalty: I would think being a doctor would be a good career for a spare son or daughter in Royalty.

      When Princess Anne and Prince Charles were of age, universities in Britain corralled about 5% of each age cohort. I think it was somewhat higher during Prince Andrew’s and Prince Edward’s time, but not a whole lot. Prince Edward and Prince Charles have baccalaureate degrees and Prince Edward was a schoolteacher in his younger years. Royalty get satisfactory liberal education. There is online somewhere a recording of a radio interview given by Princess Margaret on music and her musical selections. You’d very seldom find someone who was a non-professional so fluently versed (Tony Randall, perhaps). Few of them have the chops to be doctors, though. One of the Queen’s paternal side cousins is a lapsed architect. That’s it.Report

  6. Avatar notme says:

    Hiroshima atomic bomb victims want apology from Obama

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he did it. He should apologize that we had to bomb them for starting the war in the first place.Report

    • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to notme says:

      Since it’s a well-known tenet of the laws of war that any use of force at all is justified when directed against the side that started the conflict.Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to Don Zeko says:

        These days you have to consider military necessity, along with distinction, and proportionality. Back then you could pretty much do anything which is how you got Dresden.Report

  7. Avatar notme says:

    Hiring Hurdle: Finding Workers Who Can Pass a Drug Test

    So we’ve created a culture where folks world rather continue using drugs than get a good job. I wonder if the liberal solution is stop drug companies from drug testing so these poor folks aren’t stigmatized and made to feel bad about themselves and their choices.

    I love these two gems from the article, “Kevin Canty, 55, said that in his experience, “most people can’t pass the drug test because they don’t want to pass a drug test.”

    “They want the job,” he added, but “they still want to be in that lifestyle. And they have to choose.”

    One of the newest hires, Frederick Brown, 34, said, “I come from a society where drugs is common — marijuana, weed, it’s common,” and people who cannot pass a drug test seek work at McDonald’s. Most restaurants do not test. “I asked for this job,” Mr. Brown said, calling it a blessing. “I already knew what I had to do — you know what I’m saying?””

    So these are the kind of folks that are demanding $15 for flipping burgers b/c they won’t stop taking drugs to get a real job?Report

  8. Avatar notme says:

    ‘We can’t be the United Nations’: Milwaukee frozen custard shop defends ‘English only’ policy

    Gee, how racist can they get?Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to notme says:

      Leon’s is in a Latino neighborhood towards the north side, so I think that’s a bad business move. If it were on the westside like my personal favorite Gilles’ there might not be any effect at all. But then again, without customers asking to be serviced in Spanish, there’d be no “need” for a “no Spanish” policy in the first place.

      Leon’s custard is pretty good, so the quality of its product will cushion any ill effects of the policy. But it’s not like there isn’t competition: Kopp’s, Gilles’, Oscar’s, or one of the ubiquitous Culvers. Therefore we may confidently predict that market will sort this one out for better or for worse, so no governmental intervention seems necessary.

      Still, I have a personal distaste for a business prohibiting a clerk and a customer from conversing in the language that both are comfortable in, so long as they transact their business in legal tender, so on my next visit back to my ancestral home, I may just go to Oscar’s rather than Leon’s should we have occasion to make a custard pilgrimage.Report