Thursday, September 30, 2004

When Bilingualism Works

Ricardo Marquez, 34, delivers each morning announcements over the loudspeaker in English and Spanish. Marquez is the new principal at Trost Elementary School in Canby, Oregon. The school has a Spanish-speaking student population of more than 30%. Thus Marquez’ ability to move form one language to another is proving a definite asset. He also serves as a role model to kids who struggle with the English language.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Voting in English Only?

She'll follow the law but does not like it. That's what Bell County Republican Party Chair, Nancy Boston said about the requirement to have bilingual poll workers in Waco, Texas. She said that they are being mandated to do something that's "not required." According to Boston, if people want to vote, they'll do it by "our rules and laws." Republican laws or American laws? For Boston you vote in English, the official language of the US. The fact is that English is not the official language of the US. It is the de facto language but other languages have been part of the American linguistic landscape even before the country became a country. They still are. Some of them are Native American languages which have been in the US much longer than English. Even Spanish has been used in the country as long if not longer than English. But getting back to voting, the law is pretty clear. If 5% of the voters in a given county don’t speak English according to the US Census, election materials must be provided in that language. That includes Spanish, Native American languages, Chinese and Vietnamese. Of course, Republicans like it when minorities don't vote. Minorities routinely vote against the GOP by large numbers. And Republicans are famous for putting barriers on the path of voters' rights. They did it in Florida in the last presidential election. Thousands of African Americans were blocked from voting because they were on the felons' list. It turned out the list was wrong and many people were not allowed to vote. Barriers were also placed by police roadblocks, which made it difficult for African Americans to get to the polls. Those that did make voted 90% for Gore. Latinos also vote Democratic by significant margins. Thus by not providing bilingual help, the GOP is putting barriers which are illegal. McLennan County Republican Chair, MA Taylor said that if "he went to Mexico" he would be expected to learn the language. Of course, that applies to immigrants who come to the US. Yet, the law is the law. All naturalized citizens are, like native-ones, eligible to vote and no one should prevent them from doing so regardless of how well they speak English.

No Cowboy Diplomacy

A majority of Americans believes that dealing with international terrorism is best handled by a UN-authorized multinational force instead of US unilateralism. That seems to reflect John Kerry's view instead of Bush's. Will it translate into votes on November 2nd?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Bush-Kerry: 1-1

It's quite likely that Ralph Nader cost Al Gore the presidency with the 90,000 votes he received in Florida in 2000. Many, if not most of those votes, would have gone to Gore if Nader had not been on the ballot. Now Nader is trying to repeat himself and re-Bush the country. He is still running for president and will be on the ballot in New Mexico, according to a recent court ruling. He will not be on the ballot in Oregon, according to a Supreme Court ruling. Score one for Kerry and one for Bush since both Oregon and New Mexico are battleground states.

Monday, September 27, 2004

ESL Voting?

Andy Rooney is famous for his humorous few minutes in CBS acclaimed 60 Minutes. In his latest commentary he talked about the fact that people don't vote and that's a good thing. The gist of his talk was that only those who know the issues should vote. And for those who have just become citizens he advised they "wait another four years until" they understand "English well enough to know what the candidates are talking about" before voting.
I like Rooney's humor, but in his advise knowing English well enough before voting he reflects American's narrow-mindedness about immigrants and their knowledge.
Of course, some naturalized citizens do not English very well, but others do. In addition, these people also know other languages.
How many languages does Mr. Rooney know?
Mr. Rooney's comments also reflect the idea that everything is in English and if you don't know English you cannot know enough to cast a vote.
For a journalist, Mr. Rooney shows an incredible lack of understanding about available information in other languages about the election. There are virtually hundreds of sources of media in print, radio, television and the Internet, which provide plenty of information about the candidates in many different languages. In fact, naturalized citizens often might have more information available because all of them can have access to at least two sources, one in English and at least another in their native language.
Mr. Rooney's comment about knowing the English language also misunderstands the fact that some naturalized citizens have been speaking English as long as he has.
Naturalized citizens include Canadians, Australians, Britons, and other immigrants from English speaking countries. These people know English very well, even if in Mr. Rooney's way of thinking they talk "kind of funny."
What bothers me the most about his comment is the fact that Mr. Rooney seems to suggest some kind of litmus test to be able to vote. Does he not know that literacy tests were used in this country to keep people from voting?
Id' be very surprised if he did not. I do, and I did not start speaking English until I was sixteen years old. I bet many new citizens also know it because their ethnic group may have been a victim of discrimination.
Everyone who is a citizen should be allowed to vote. Indeed people should be encouraged to participate. Native-born or naturalized citizens including those who just passed their naturalization test, should exercise their rights. The last presidential election, which Bush supposedly won by five hundred votes, might have turned out differently if all the votes cast were actually counted and if all naturalized citizens had made it to the polls, even if they spoke English with an accent.

Unbecoming Swiss

It’s tough becoming a Swiss citizen. For the third time, Swiss voters have turned down a proposal to make it easier for foreigners to become naturalized Swiss citizens. Nearly 57% of Swiss voters indicated that they don’t want to bring their country’s citizenship requirements in line with other European countries. The vote prevents third-generation foreigners born in Switzerland from becoming citizens. About 20% of the Swiss (1.5 million) population is made up of non-citizens. The French and Italian speaking cantons voted in favor of the changes but the German speaking ones voted against.

Bush’s National Guard Lack of Service

Although George Bush got an honorable discharge from the Texas National Guard, he did not finish his service. He left it six months early so that he could attend the Harvard Business School. How many other people could have gotten that kind of favoritism?

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Shortage of Bilingual Poll Workers

It's happening in California and also in Texas. Shortages of bilingual poll workers may make it difficult for every vote to count. Part of the problem is the fact that poll workers are paid only $7.00 an hour. The hope is that those individuals who have recently become citizens will turn out to vote and exercise their rights. Lack of bilingual poll workers will make it difficult. That will hurt democratic candidates since a significant majority of Latinos are registered Democrats. The fewer of them vote, the better it will be for the GOP.

Italian Language Endangered?

Many languages around the world feel threatened by the 500-pund gorilla known as the English language. Several countries have passed legislation to protect their national languages from the onslaught of English words. France is one of them, but others such as Brazil, Germany, etc. are considering following suit to limit the invasion of English words in their languages. Italy is no exception. Communications minister Maurizo Gasparri has indicated that the Italian language needs to be safeguarded. Gasparri stressed the fact that while Italian is being studied as a foreign language abroad in increasing numbers, more needs to be done on the technological front to protect it. The need is severe in the field of computers where English is used almost exclusively.

Raise the Minimum Wage to Help Business

The student aide at my school was all excited about the California legislature's recent vote to hike the minimum wage to $7.75 an hour in the next two years.
Unfortunately for the student, it won't happen. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill, believing it would "create barriers" to economic development.
Schwarzenegger's veto goes back to the traditional Republican held belief that by boosting wages you increase the cost of doing business and damage the economic climate.
History, of course, points in another direction. When the federal minimum wage was increased during Bill Clinton's presidency, Republicans railed against the negative effect it would have on the economy, particularly its potential impact on small businesses.
None of that happened. Although some people may remember Clinton's personal weaknesses, virtually no one would try to take away his positive influence on the economy. More than twenty million jobs were created during his presidency. That means business must have done pretty well, otherwise no one would have been hired. Raising the minimum wage did not damage the economy; it may have helped it.
President George W. Bush, like other Republicans, opposes raising the current federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour. Bush's economic strategy has been to lower taxes, which benefits the wealthiest Americans. If Bush had managed to create any jobs, you can just imagine how the GOP would have made sure you heard about it.
Lowering taxes on the wealthy created nothing but huge deficits for the country and jobs have been lost. Since Bush took office there are 1.1 million fewer jobs. If giving money to the rich doesn't help the economy, putting it in the pockets of people at the bottom of the economic ladder by raising the minimum wage, makes sense. It would help the more than 15 million people who earn the minimum wage, the vast majority being women.
The hike would mean that people would have a little more disposable income. In all likelihood they'd spend it all on basic necessities and that of course would generate economic activity which would even benefit small businesses, exactly those the GOP is trying to "help" by opposing raising the minimum wage.
Another concern about a hike in the minimum wage is that fewer people would be hired. But research by the Economic Policy Institute found that in 1996 and 1997 minimum wage increases did not cause job losses. More jobs became available.
Another study by the Jerome Levy Economic Institute in 1999 found that the increase in the minimum wage did not affect the hiring decisions of most small businesses.
Raising the minimum wage would not only benefit those at the lowest level of earning power. It's quite likely that it might also have some impact on others who make little above the minimum. People who work at Wal-Mart, a significant percentage of whom live at the poverty level or slightly higher, might eventually see more money in their pockets.
At the national level, the minimum wage has not been increased in eight years. Whatever increase occurred eight ago has been eaten up by inflation.
John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, wants to increase the federal minimum wage to $ 7.00. Even $7.00 does not mean you make it out of poverty. You need at least $9.00 an hour to move beyond the poverty line, according to the Poverty & Health Insurance Report of the 2003 US Census.
Although Arnold Schwarzenegger is officially a Republican, true conservatives often show doubts about California's governor being a fully-fledged member of the GOP. The recently-passed California state budget occurred because of the support of the Democratic-controlled legislature with only a handful of Republican legislators voting for its approval.
Given Schwarzenegger's weak GOP credentials, he had little choice to veto the bill to raise the minimum wage in California. As usual, Republicans worry about the big corporations rather than workers. The sad thing is that by raising the minimum wage, even corporations would have profited because all the "extra" money earned by workers would be gone back in the economy, benefiting business, which opposes the raises. And en español.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Bilingual Priests from Mexico to US

Given the shortage of bilingual priests in the US. Mexican nationals are being trained in a Catholic seminary with the idea that they will provide services in American cities with high concentrations of Hispanics.

If America were Iraq, What would it be Like?

Juan Cole explains very well the situation in Iraq in American "terms." Must read.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

A Phrase a Day to Cure Monolingualism

To celebrate the European Day of Languages (September 26th) A Rubery company wants businesspeople across Europe to learn a phrase a day. To bring this about the company has launched a series of lessons lasting 30 seconds to teach a simple phrase from a different European country each day. A similar kind of celebration will occur in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where language specialists at Queen's University will provide a sample of 17 European languages next Monday.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Bush to UN: Help

In his speech at the UN Bush asked other nations to help in Iraq. Those listening to him must have be thinking what Colin Powell apparently told Bush before the war: You break it, you own it. Bush still doesn't get it. Unfortunately, he broke it and "we," American taxpayers own it. What Bush does not get is that terrorism is not an American problem but a global one requiring international solutions. The UN should and will help fix Iraq but as long as Bush is president the stain of the "illegal war" described by Kofi Anan will remain and will not wash. If Kerry gets elected, he'll have a difficult job in, but at least he'd have international support.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Latin: A Dead Language?

Unlike modern languages, the study of Latin focuses on learning the structure of the language, its vocabulary, and the ability to read and understand. Of course, a sound foundation in Latin is beneficial in learning the Romance languages but it’s also valuable in becoming more sensitive to English.

Bush to Apologize?

Dan Rather apologized for using memos, which came form a questionable source. Yet, the facts remain that Bush joined the National Guard to avoid going to Vietnam. He used his family connections to avoid the war. Kerry volunteered and carries shrapnel in his body. More than a thousand Americans died in the Iraqi war and more than ten thousands of Iraqis also lost their lives. Rather apologized for his mistake. Et tu Bush?

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Selling Cars en E$$pañol

As the purchasing power of Latinos increases, smart companies make efforts to reach them in Spanish. Sometimes even when people may not be in the market to buy anything, just hearing a description may end up in a sale. A car dealership in Kansas City focused its efforts on reaching out to Hispanic and increased the bottom line by $825,000 in new and used car sales (Free subscription). A study by J. D. Power and Associates found that Hispanics are responsible for 8 % of all new vehicle sales and that figure is expected to rise to 13% in 2020.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Do You Believe Bush or Canadian Healthcare?

A lot of Americans are buying their prescription drugs in Canada. They save money. Bush says that doing so is a dangerous practice. Is he right? Do you think Canadian drugs are safe? More than 10 million Americans have already bought Canadian drugs. Many more are planning to d the same. Should we also adopt Canada's single payer system for healthcare and insure everybody? Healthcare for everyone or profits for Bush's buddies running American corporations?

Shortages of Bilingual Poll Workers

Both San Diego and Ventura Counties are struggling to find enough bilingual poll workers. San Diego County had agreed to hire 900 Spanish-speaking bilingual poll workers for the November 2nd election but they are far short of meeting that goal. Ventura County adopted plans to offer bilingual county workers a full day’s pay as and up to $90 for poll duty. In essence, county employees would do their regular government job and receive a small bonus for their bilingual skills. San Diego may want to do the same.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Voting in Spanish?

Lubbock, Texas is looking for bilingual clerks to help in the general election this fall. Many Americans feel that you have to know English to be able vote, but the law is pretty clear about allowing every citizen the opportunity to participate. If 5% of the voters in a given county don’t speak English according to the US Census, election materials must be provided in that language. Often that language is Spanish but it can be another such as Chinese, Korean, or a Native American language.

Bush: Se Habla Español

President Bush speaks passable Spanish and made good use of it in the 2000 election. He hasn’t stopped doing it. At the Republican National Convention he sprinkled his speech with Spanish when he said No dejaremos a ningún niño atrás - we will leave no child behind." In spite of his use of Spanish, bush ahs done virtually nothing for Latinos since being elected. He promised to deal with the issue of immigration and made a proposal in January of 2004. Yet, his plan has not gone anywhere in spite of bipartisan support in the US Senate. Bush, in fact, sent feelers to the Senate leadership to slow down the process fearing a backlash of the right wing of the GOP. Bush can try to speak Spanish to attract voters, but his words will ring false (free registration).

Multilingual Pennsylvania

Students at Penn State can chose from about 60 languages, from the traditional Spanish, French, Italian, German, to less commonly-taught African, Middle Eastern and South Asian languages.

Fees Go Up for California College Students

In the last few years, the economic crisis in California has forced the state to borrow and cut programs. Taxes have not been raised even if modest increases on the very wealthy would have spared fee increases for Californians. Fees for California college students have been increased and will continue to do so every year for the next ten years. That is of course not a tax increase, but for parents and students who have to pick up the higher cost, it’s a “tax” even if you don’t use the dreaded word.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Re-Elect Bush and Keep Going to Canada to Buy Drugs

In the last three years healthcare costs went up 59%. All under Bush’s watch. Bush wants to continue having the market take care of things. That ahs led people to buy prescription drugs in Canada and Mexico. If Bush is re-elected you can expect more people will go abroad to buy their medicines. Bush also wants to privatize Social Security. Will people have to go to Canada for their pensions if his plan is eventually implemented? Bush badmouths government every chance he gets. He is forgetting HE is the government. Unfortunately, unlike the Canadian and European governments, Americans can’t afford healthcare. Time for a change of government?

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Another Dual-Language School

This dual-language school is in Encinitas, California. Four kindergarten and first-grade classes are using the dual-language approach in English and Spanish. In kindergarten and first grade, students receive 90 percent of their instruction in Spanish and 10 percent in English. In second grade the distribution shifts to 80 percent and 20 percent, before reaching a 50-50 balance by fifth grade. There are at least 150 dual-language programs in California.

From American Indian Languages to American Culture

Fifteen students from Italy from Bologna are learning about American culture while visiting the U.S. to study Native American languages. The students are in Montana where they visited a Nkwusm Salish language immersion school and were impressed by school children speaking their native language alongside of English. In Italy, something similar is happening with dialects. Although Italians use standard Italian in everyday affairs, some regions are beginning to offer courses in the dialects as well to prevent their disappearance which some linguists fear is inevitable.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Curing American Monolingualism?

She made it clear in three languages that diversity is important at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, California. Superintendent/President Victoria Munoz Richart addressed students, teachers and staff members during her inaugural celebration in French, Spanish, and English. That kind of linguistic ability is rare among college presidents. Munoz Richart recently became the chief executive officer of the college. A native of Mexico City, she earned her B.A. in French ad Spanish, a master's degree in education from the University of Texas in Austin, and her doctorate in education from the UCLA.

Friday, September 10, 2004

GOP: Buy All the Assault Weapons You Like

The ten-year ban on assault weapons will expire and Bush with the Republican-controlled Congress will not renew it. Assault weapons are nothing but military tools. They have no use other than to kill lots of people in a very short period of time. Watch for more deaths and more tragedies thanks to the GOP.

Insurance Rates Rise Again

Medicare premiums went up 17% recently. Health insurance rates paid by employers went up 11% last year. Since Bush became president took office rates went up 59%. What has he done about it? Nada. Since companies are not willing to pay the cost, they have been passing it on to their employees. I pay $300.00 a month for coverage, which a few years ago was paid completely by my school. I am lucky. I have insurance for my family and me. More than 40 million Americans don’t have health insurance. Canada? Europe? Socialism? Help.

Nader: Smart but Blind

Ralph Nader, whose 90,000 votes in Florida gave us George W. Bush for four years, now says Kerry will lose in November. He may be right. Nader is a smart man but it’s unfortunate he could not and still can’t see the difference between a not-so-perfect Democratic Party and a very bad GOP. If nothing else, the next president will quite likely nominate two or possibly more Supreme Court Justices. Do you think a Democratic president would nominate Scalia or Thomas clones? Will Bush? You bet.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Number of Iraqi Deaths

Many American newspapers reported the more than 1,000 deaths in the Iraq war. The number if likely to grow. Yet, there is an even greater number. It’s Iraqi deaths, which are just as tragic. It’s not totally clear how many Iraqis have died in the war. Estimates range from 10,000 to 30,000.

San Luis Teacher of the Year

Tina Lucas, a Baywood Elementary School teacher, was selected Teacher of the Year for San Luis Obispo County. She will represent the local area in the California statewide contest that will be decided later this school year. I have no doubt she is an extremely talented and dedicated teacher. And it’s always a good thing for education when someone is recognized. All teachers gain in some way. At the same time all teachers lose a little. There are a lot of wonderful teachers who deserve awards and many times they go unrecognized for years and may never win Teacher of the Year.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Multilingual McDonald’s

Happy meals and languages from McDonald’s.

More Than 1,000 Dead in Iraq

More than 1,000 Americans have lost their lives in the Iraqi conflict so far. Most of these deaths occurred after President Bush declared major combat over. If Bush is re-elected you can except more Iraqs and more deaths. For what?

Most Studied Foreign Languages in US Colleges& Universities

1. Spanish 746,000; 2. French 201,979; 3. German 91,100; 4. Italian 63,899; 5. Japanese 52,238; 6. Chinese 34,153; 7. Latin 29,841; 8. Russian 23,921;
(Language Magazine & Association of Departments of Foreign Languages of the Modern Language Association, 2002 figures).

Most Widely Spoken Languages

1. Chinese (Mandarin) 1,075,000,000; 2. English 514,000,000; 3.Hindustani 496,000,000; Spanish 425,000,000; Russian 275,000,000; Arabic 256,000,000; Bengali 215,000,000; Malay-Indonesian 176,000,000; French 129,000,000; (From Language Magazine, Ethnologue, etc.)

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Truthful Texans

George W. Bush served in Alabama National Guard. Yet, no one at 187th Air National Guard remembers him. Did he really serve?

Keeping Hawaii Multilingual

Budget cuts at the University of Hawaii Honolulu may mean reducing courses in Filipino and Ilocano. Although the number of students is increasing, the university budget has remained the same. The administration is considering reducing classes in the spring semester and offering them only in the fall. A group of students at the University is fighting the proposed cuts. Currently, about 200 students are taking Filipino classes and another 100 are taking Ilocano.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

International Baccalaureate in Boston

Although Massachusetts eliminated its bilingual education programs a few years ago, languages are alive and well in the state. The Ecole Bilingue, a French-American International School of Boston, offers bilingual education in grades pre-K through 12. It also offers the French baccalaureate and beginning this fall it will make available the International Baccalaureate (IB). The diploma is highly regarded worldwide and has a strong emphasis on global studies. The Ecole Bilingue has 470 students representing 40 nationalities. They include French, Americans, and the rest represent many other countries. Subjects are taught in French and English. Students in the upper grades can also add another language choosing from either Spanish or German.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Medicare Premiums to Rise 17%

Medicare premiums paid by elders and disabled will rise 17%, according to the Bush dministration. It's the largest increase in history. Of course, you did not hear that at the recent RNC. How do you spell Medicare in Canadian?

Arnold's True Lies?

Arnold Schwarzenegger stretched the truth when he gave his talk at the republican national Convention this week. The tanks he saw and scared him as a child were in all likelihood British not Russian since he lived in an area of Austria occupied by Great Britain after World War II. As to his leaving a socialist Austria in 1968, the Austrian chancellors between 1945 and 1970 were conservatives. When he left the Austrian government was run by a coalition government whose leader was Josef Klaus, a staunch Roman Catholic and a vocal critic of communists and socialists. Of course, the story Schwarzenegger said made sense in Hollywood and also in politics which is becoming more and more cinematic.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Quick Notes About The RNC

I did not get to watch much of the Republican National Convention yet a few things come to mind. While the Democratic National Convention was very gentle on Bush, the GOP speakers attacked John Kerry viciously, The main assaults came from Zel Miller, a former Democrat who eventually saw the "light" and became a Republican. Miller was apparently so angry in his keynote address that he made John Dean look tame. Zel Miller's anger spilled into the post convention interviews. He got angry with CNN reporters who dared challenge some of his assertions. He later went on to MSNBC and got angry with Chris Matthews and wished he had been living in another century so he could have challenged Matthews to a duel. The attacks on Kerry continued from Vice-President Dick "Halliburton" Cheney. Cheney got a whole bunch of deferments and did not serve in Vietnam. Yet, when it comes to sending other people to war, he is very quick on the draw. His boss, of course, is no different. George W. Bush joined the National Guard and when he made Texas safe, he went to Alabama to do the same. The trouble is that hardly anyone remembers him serving. Apparently he did a lot of partying (subscription) and on one occasions even boasted about how much alcohol he had drunk the previous night. To his credit, Bush did give a decent speech at the Convention. Yet, he also gave a laundry list of programs he believes are important. One of them would invest more in community colleges. As a community college instructor I got all excited but then it occurred to me that since Bush has created such huge deficits largely because of his tax cuts to his rich friends, there is nothing left for me. The RNC ended on a positive note. Kerry, who eventually got angry at the attacks from GOP and the Swift Boat veterans for truth, did something remarkable. He gave a talk in Ohio right after Bush finished his speech at the RNC. Several cable news outlets carried his speech, stealing some of Bush's thunder which would have occurred in the post-speech commentaries. Will Kerry continue in his "angry" mode and possibly go negative on Bush? Or will voters eventually figure out that since Bush has nor record to run on he can only win by attacking his opponent?

Monolingual Media?

Unable to find journalists who speak Spanish in the U.S., the editor of La Voz, a weekly Spanish newspaper in Arizona, hires reporters from Latin America. Yet, officials at the University of Arizona School of Journalism are planning to help fill the need for bilingual reporters. They intend to attract bilingual high school students who show interest in journalism and encourage them to further their education and become the next Walter Cronkite en español.

Another Dual-Language School

Kids in Madison, Wisconsin, will have the opportunity to grow up bilingual thanks to Nuevo Mundo, a new dual-language school. Students will study school subjects in both English and Spanish.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Inspired by Nixon?

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s speech at the Republican National COnvention was great according to many pundits. So much so that speculation about the “gobernator” running for president may become a possibility if the constitution were to be changed to allow naturalized citizens to become presidents. If that were to happen, we might it owe it all to Richard Nixon. Apparently, Schwarzenegger became a Republican when he heard the Nixon-Humphrey debate. It’s difficult to imagine anyone being inspired by Nixon and more difficult to swallow anyone admitting having been inspired by a president who resigned in shame. Nixon resigned in 1974 at the height of the Watergate scandal to avoid impeachment and possible criminal prosecution. As they say in Spanish, “dime con quien andas.. “ ( You can judge a man by the company he keeps).

Lincoln, Roosevelt, and George W. Bush?

Laura Bush praised her husband at the Republican National Convention last night. She said that presidents don’t want to take the country to war but sometimes it’s necessary. Bush agonized on the war, just like Lincoln and Roosevelt did, according to the first lady. Yet, the list of Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Bush somehow is incongruous. Maybe 100 years from now the three names can be listed one after the other and sound OK, but in the present time Bush does seem to lack gravitas to be in the company of the other two presidents. Interestingly, Mrs. Bush did not include her father-in-law, who also took the country to war in the group. Does it mean that her husband agonized more than his dad?

Bush Flip-Flop?

Well, Bush changed his mind. Yesterday he said we cannot win the war on terrorism but today he changed his mind. Did Giuliani give him a call?