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Old 11-21-2008, 01:01 PM
 
Location: NYC area
3,486 posts, read 4,943,561 times
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Rathagos: Since you responded in the second person to a personal anecdote, your choice of words was, at the very least, ambiguous. I really don't want to go off on this tangent, so if you weren't talking about me, fine. However, since you are a native speaker of English, I presume that you possess enough fluency and eloquence to say exactly what you want to say -- up to and including deliberate ambiguity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathagos View Post
And the First Amendment you are throwing around doesn't apply. Obviously you didn't study it enough here did you? Can you stand up in a crowded theater and execute that right by yelling "FIRE!!"? Of course not. Society (and apparently you included) need to stop picking and choosing the parts of the Constitution, or Bill of Rights that can momentarily apply to meet your agenda. Under the preamble to the Constitution also says "... promote the general welfare..." and I can pick that one piece only and say it's the general welfare of American society to speak one language so that business can be conducted for the "general welfare" medical attention can be given to the "general welfare" and security and law enforcement can be given to the "general welfare". Now you see how stinky it gets when you pick and choose without understanding context.
Sigh. Where do I even begin? I studied the US Constitution in law school, passed exams on it, passed the bar, and published a paper on in a law journal. (Here I anticipate another comment about my lack of modesty, but really, it's not about self-aggrandizement: it's about your suggestion that I "throw the First Amendment around" or lack familiarity with the document. Incidentally, what is your background in Constitutional law?)

Okay, ConLaw101: The Constitution consists of more than the Preamble. For example, there are these things called Articles. They are written in that slightly stodgy, antiquated legalese that makes them somewhat more boring than the Preamble, and they are also longer, but trust me -- they are important. The Preamble is merely the statement of purpose, but it's the Articles that actually lay down what the various branches of government can and cannot do. You also have to read the text closely (something that's very important when you are citing legal authority): the Preamble states that the Constitution is being enacted for the purpose of general welfare, among other things; it does not state that the federal government can cite general welfare to enact whatever it wants. In fact, the Constitution provides very differently. I specifically direct your attention to Article I, Section 8. The Federal government is one of enumerated -- i.e., "limited" -- powers. The general police power (i.e. the power to enact laws to promote general health and welfare) belongs to the individual states. Supreme Court cases are a legion, striking down federal legislation, however beneficial, because it was an improper exercise of general police power. On the other hand, Article I has something called "the Commerce Clause". The Commerce Clause means, among other things, that an individual state cannot impose its legislation outside its borders. Thus, for our purposes, an individual state cannot use its police power to impose an "official" national language on the entire country.

Then come the Amendments. Amendments serve several purposes, but one that's important for us is limitations. Even if Congress passes a law under one of its powers and otherwise complies with all the procedural requirements -- there are still things that it simply cannot do. The First Amendment has had a rocky history, but for the past 70 years or so, it has been held that content-based regulation of speech is unconstitutional unless it represents very narrowly-tailored means towards a compelling governmental objective. That is an EXTREMELY difficult burden for the government to meet, and such legislation is almost invariably struck down. The discussion of all pertinent First Amendment litigation would fill a tome, so suffice it so say: a law prohibiting private individuals or entities from communicating in a foreign language would not withstand scrutiny under this standard, not by a long shot. Or what do you think -- the Supreme Court has stood by pornographers so consistently because the Justices think pornography is good for general welfare? Haha.

There is one small mistake that I made in my previous post -- namely, the issue of (un)constitutionality of prohibiting private individuals from communicating in a foreign language was not, in fact, settled in the 1930's. It was settled in the 1920's. See, Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 US 390 (1923). However, I do stand by my earlier assertion that the Supreme Court at that time was very conservative.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathagos View Post
But I don't expect anyone to change a menu or packaging their products because I decide to become an immigrant somewhere else.
Again, for the umpteenth time -- I never said I expect anyone to change their menu or packaging for the sake of immigrants. I said that companies that choose to do so to cater to a particular market should have the freedom to transact their business the way they see fit. If you can't see the difference, then all this is really pointless.
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Old 11-21-2008, 01:02 PM
 
Location: West Texas
2,441 posts, read 5,251,022 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leftydan6 View Post
I think there should be two international languages, one Asiatic and one Romantic/Germanic since those are the most widely spoken and most prominent in business. Arabic would be good too because the language barrier is a major reason for the fear and hatred of everything Arab in this country.

Great idea! Maybe we should all dress like them, too, to make them feel more at home???
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Old 11-21-2008, 01:13 PM
 
Location: West Texas
2,441 posts, read 5,251,022 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redisca View Post
I said that companies that choose to do so to cater to a particular market should have the freedom to transact their business the way they see fit. If you can't see the difference, then all this is really pointless.
Redisca,

I just cropped the above so that you would know I'm responding to you, not to address anything specifically.

I agree. This probably is pointless. I would think by now you (before, during, and after becoming a lawyer) would know that it's the legislative system that has totally screwed up things as viewed by must of us "ignornt and unedumacated" (purposefully mispelled) people. We have some of the most assinine laws that exist in the world in this country thanks to lawyers and courts. So, trying to throw law101 out is ludicrous against those of us who really live the life that you lawyers seem to be above. (Not directed at you, just including you in a group you, yourself, included yourself in).

When a bimbo can order hot coffee, spill it on herself, and successfully sue the company, we have problems as a nation. When people can rape kids, admit it, and get probation, we have problems as a nation.

But you can go right on trying to teach law to those of us with common sense. I won't even pretend I can get into law school or pass a bar. Acadamia is not in blood by even a drop. But, I worked in military intelligence for over 20 years (oxymoron or not ). I've travelled the world and seen the worst of Americans, and a couple that I've been proud of, too.

But to the point. This is America. Proud of our history. And many of us are seeing it brought down (the fabric of our society that holds us together) piece by piece. Supported by lawyers who think they know more, and willingly and knowingly pushing the agendas of the few hiding behind misperceived interpretations of our Constitution. So, take it easy when you tell us we need to learn another language, or "deal with it" when we have to buy products in our own country that we can't identify by the foreign language on the package. We were raised to speak English in school. If they wanted us to read (Spanish/German/French/Russian/Japanese, etc.) to be able to buy simple groceries or products, stop teaching us English.

Some of us are just saying enough is enough... speak English, please!!
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Old 11-21-2008, 02:32 PM
 
Location: NYC area
3,486 posts, read 4,943,561 times
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So, Rathagos, you have a problem with lawyers. That does not change the fact that your interpretation of the Constitution -- specifically your claim that the Preamble somehow invalidates the rest of the Constitution, including Article 1, the Bill of Rights, and the Fourteenth Amendment -- is wholly irrational. I admit I had to chuckle at the suggestion that our laws would be just fine if it weren't for the lawyers and the courts -- you know, the people whose job it is, actually, to make and interpret the laws. I remembered something one of my law school instructors once said: that in the eyes of lay people, every profession is ruined by its experts. Doctors are screwing up medicine, structural engineers take the fun out of construction, and universities would be great places indeed if it weren't for all those professors. (As a career soldier, I bet you get annoyed when people with armchair "common sense", who haven't served a day, engage in long-winded ruminations that boil down to the idea that what's wrong with the military today is, well, the military.) Your grievance that gosh, darn it, you just can't pass a good law because those lawyers and judges won't let people with "common sense" interpret the Constitution every which way to enable any legislation they deem sensible is best addressed to the Framers. Of course, most of them were lawyers too. They designed this country to be ruled by law, not by the mob -- and their specific discussions on this issue have been preserved, if you care to do some pithy bedtime reading. A country that has a rule of law is bound to be one where judges and lawyers are prominent, in theory if not in practice.

I have always found it amusing that lawyers are charged with the effects of other people's acts. For example, a criminal defendant is entitled to counsel, so the lawyer defending him is merely doing his job -- a job which he may be assigned as a condition of maintaining his license. In fact, if there is no one to defend an accused criminal, he must be set free -- that's in the Constitution also. But of course, it's the lawyers who get the blame for bringing it up. I have a different idea of what is destroying this country. People who lie to consumers and peddle dangerous products, going so far as to bribe regulatory agencies -- they are destroying this country. People who rape kids -- not their lawyers -- they are destroying this country. People whose iniquities and wrongdoing bring them to the courthouse in the first place -- they are destroying this country. Big corporate players who use the legal process to stifle small businesses -- they are destroying this country. People who remain willfully ignorant of civics and this country's laws, despite claiming to be proud of its history -- they are destroying this country. Rabid vulgarians, who wage political wars on intellectuals and academic institutions -- they are destroying this country. Not surprisingly, it's easy for all these folks to live with themselves by blaming lawyers. And, when we refuse to represent someone whose position is untenable, we get blamed for that too. Which is all part of the job, of course.

As for asinine laws -- cite one, and provided that it actually exists, we can discuss it. But I'll tell you one thing on the subject of asinine laws: a law which has no practical effect and whose only purpose is to assuage the jingoistic sentiment of the populace, is certainly asinine.

It has become fashionable lately to use the term "real" to deny a group of people legitimacy. "Real" women are fat, "real" Americans live in small towns, and so forth and so on, ad nauseam. You have not used it, but the distinction between "real" and "not real" is implicit in your statement that lawyers do not exist in real life (or exist above it). That's laughable, of course. Lawyers are real people. We use the same public transportation, we buy the same products, we live the same life. We date, marry, have children, get sick and die just like everyone else. We get our share of life's tragedies, problems and ill luck in no lesser measure than our neighbors. So you have to, at least, entertain the possibility that perhaps those pesky lawyers aren't as clueless as you want to believe. Before you condemn a law as "asinine" -- read it. Before you condemn a court's decision in a similar manner -- read it. Don't just base your judgment on impassioned editorials -- read the things that you believe are problematic before judging them. That's common sense. One's personal experience has virtually nothing to do with the basic interpretation of the Constitution, or any other law, for that matter; all it takes is patience, some research, understanding the language, and -- for goodness' sake, actually reading the darned thing. Being one of the "people" is no substitute for familiarity with the text upon which one presumes to rely in his argument. I would not have to "teach" you law had you taken it upon yourself to at least read the Constitution -- I mean, past the Preamble. And it's sad -- really sad -- that you will simply ignore what I wrote in my previous post (very basic ConLaw stuff, really) because you have decided that things of such academic nature have no relevance to real life. It's sad, also, that "common sense" is so often cited not as a complement, but an alternative -- indeed, a superior alternative -- to actual knowledge, nuance, or, heaven forbid, education.

Oh, and -- you don't have to buy products that you can't identify by the foreign language on the package. There are very few of those products on the market. If you don't want to see them -- stay out of ethnic shops and discount stores. But, regardless of what you were raised to speak (I certainly hope you learned to speak English before you reached school), you have no business telling other private individuals whose dealings do not concern you how they should communicate.

Last edited by Redisca; 11-21-2008 at 02:54 PM..
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Old 11-21-2008, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Boise
2,008 posts, read 2,911,247 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathagos View Post
I would be all for English being the official language. It wouldn't "outlaw" other languages, but make definitely make it easier so I don't have to spin a box 3 or 4 times to find the English writing on it in America!!
You just showed us all an example of how businesses do their job. You find it inconvenient, and while I think it is an infinitely trivial inconvenience, it is one nonetheless. So why not take some of this out on the businesses that have no problem marketing something in a couple extra languages? So on the one hand you the consumer have an issue and the people who market it don't care - so we don't want to have to see another language, but it is 100% acceptable to take the money from these people who speak said language.

Just something to consider.
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Old 11-21-2008, 06:21 PM
 
Location: San Diego
2,518 posts, read 1,848,116 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathagos View Post
Great idea! Maybe we should all dress like them, too, to make them feel more at home???
Just as I expected, someone would go on a little tirade do to their racist feelings about the Muslim people. You do realize that Arabic is a very important language in business, right? Being able to form business relationships with more middle eastern and North African nations would not be a bad thing. Ever have a fight end because you didn't communicate with the other side? Think about that...
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Old 11-21-2008, 10:13 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
7,091 posts, read 10,497,258 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leftydan6 View Post
Just as I expected, someone would go on a little tirade do to their racist feelings about the Muslim people. You do realize that Arabic is a very important language in business, right? Being able to form business relationships with more middle eastern and North African nations would not be a bad thing. Ever have a fight end because you didn't communicate with the other side? Think about that...
I'm sorry, I think a sentence doesn't represent a tirade. Business relationships in the area are good, but I wouldn't put my money in such fractious and war torn regions. I don't think most Muslims who really hate Americans care if we speak Arabic, if we are part of other religions and cultures we are infidels and deserve death in the eyes of extremists.

Many Arabic regions and people are friendly to other cultures, but just speaking another language doesn't solve the issues between the people that are not...there are many policies and beliefs that have affected that.
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Old 11-21-2008, 10:37 PM
 
Location: In a house
5,230 posts, read 7,327,596 times
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Why cant a buisness conduct itself in another language if English was our official one?
I'v always believed & still do that we should have an official language. For Governmental purposes.
A business can still print directions in 20 others if they want, but when they go for licenseing or to get permits & pay taxes they need to do so in English. They can speak whatever they want in their business & refuse to hire English speaking help.

What bothers me is the way we cater to the Spanish speaking like they are the only non english speaking immigrant group here. By we I mean our Govts, state municipal & federal. What a business does is a private matter. Me getting school notices in Spanish is a public one & its wrong.
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Old 11-22-2008, 04:39 PM
 
12,870 posts, read 12,783,283 times
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30 states do have english as the official language, by the will of the people! i live in one of those states. there is no reason why american taxpayers have to pay to translate everything for everybody else in their own country. it is an unfair tax burden on americans.
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Old 11-24-2008, 07:47 AM
 
Location: West Texas
2,441 posts, read 5,251,022 times
Reputation: 3094
Quote:
Originally Posted by leftydan6 View Post
Just as I expected, someone would go on a little tirade do to their racist feelings about the Muslim people. You do realize that Arabic is a very important language in business, right? Being able to form business relationships with more middle eastern and North African nations would not be a bad thing. Ever have a fight end because you didn't communicate with the other side? Think about that...
Racist feelings?!?!? Ah... so patriotic equals racism now! Got it. Thanks for clearing that up. All American's should now NOT be patriotic and for goodness sake become fluent in a language that is spoken by less than one half of one percent of the American population (and that's decendent, not first time, so that's not even an accurate number). According to the 2000 census, there are only 1.25 million people of Arab decendence in America.

Your premise of learning the language is solely based on reducing the "fear and hatred of everything Arab in this country." Do you realize how many kids are graduating high school today that haven't even mastered English and you're trying to throw in 3 additional languages.

I admire you for carrying the torch for the minority masses, but for God's sake, don't carry it into a body of water!!! If someone in business wants to learn a language to expand their business, that's up to them. And although I strongly agree with mutiple languages on products sold in America, if we sell a product overseas, we should definitely market and sell it in the language of the consumer (if that includes Arabic, so be it).

But to label me a racist because I want to read a product in my own language, and because I don't believe in teaching people other languages to pacify minority populations who have WILLINGLY chosen to live in my country is plain idiocy.

The more we cater to other people... the more we break things down for individuals instead of building up a society, the more we divide this country. So, you go right on developing ways to break the country down instead of unite it... I don't see this country getting better as a society (and haven't for over 40 years). The more we've pursued individual freedoms, the more we've torn it apart. (And no, Redisca, I don't have a damn court case to prove it.. I just live it... see it on the news... hear it from almost everyone around me... see it in the countries I've lived in and visited).
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