California, believe it or not, made English its official language in 1986 yet still shells out a lot of money for multilingual paper products. Here are some statistics from USEnglish.org:
- The cost of multilingual ballots and translations represented one-eighth of Los Angeles County?s $16 million expense in the Nov. 2004 general election. (Source: European Commission)
- The City of San Francisco must spend $350,000 for each language that a document is translated into under the city's bilingual government ordinance. (Source: Janet Ng, Asian Week.com, June 2001)
- The total annual cost for the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to provide language services is $2.2 million. (Source: U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Report to Congress: Assessment of the Total Benefits and Costs of Implementing Executive Order No. 13166: Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency, March 14, 2002)
I would think that having a state language would alleviate the problem of having to print multilingual material.
This is a touchy argument for a lot of people. On one hand this is America and English is the predominant language. Our laws, business transactions, and road signs are written in English. Unless immigrants intend to live in an area that speaks their language, Chinatown for example, then they do not have to learn English to survive. Since 1980, the number of people who cannot speak English has doubled to an alarming 21 million. Simply put, is it too much to ask to learn the language if you are going to live in this country? And please, spare me the argument “Well, the U.S. doesn’t have an official language.” It is English, official or not, and now states are adopting the language as official.
Here is a graphic of the states that have official English laws:
*WARNING- There are a lot of state abbreviations in the upcoming paragraphs. If you do not know them, punch yourself in the ear and pick up a 4th grade geography book.
Another big ticket item was gay marriage, specifically banning gay marriage. The ban on gay marriage was passed by almost all the states that had it on their ballots- CO, ID, SC, SD, TN, VA, and WI- but surprisingly, the margin for victory was slim in all but a few states. So, for now, the rump rangers have 7 less states to look to for a marriage license, although Colorado even shot down domestic partnerships. Of course CO also had a proposition to legalize marijuana. Stupid hippies. Arizona was the only state to shoot down the ban on gay marriage. But the time will come when the margin for gay marriage will favor the peter puffers and the straights will have to figure out how to tell their kids why Suzie has 2 daddies- never mind an intuitive question like, “Then how do 2 men have sex and have a baby if they both have a penis?” If you are a homophobe you better start buying your books now on how to deal with it. It is coming; it is just a matter of time. I have said it for some time now, let the gays get married. Why should straights be the only ones miserable?
For the people who are wondering where the gays can get married, and consequently start emitting their gayness into the atmosphere (converting all non gays), there are only 2 states that allow gay marriage- Massachusetts (2004), New Jersey (October, 2006) and Arizona (November 2006) however, there are many countries that do allow it, not that it would help an American citizen- Canada, Belgium, Netherlands, South Africa, and Spain.
A few state do allow for civil unions, CO not being one of them as of yesterday, and they are CA, CT, and VT. Several countries have civil unions as well- Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Iceland, Luxemburg, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Sweden, and Switzerland.
And if you are gay stay away from Honduras, Latvia, and Uganda (popular shithole tourist areas) as they have banned gay marriage.
So, to all my gay and lesbian friends, go to one of the states above for your civil union / marriage or just wait a few more years until your state adopts it.
A few states decided to raise the minimum wage at least $1 over the Federal minimum: AZ, CO, MI, MO, NV, and OH. I feel good about that because that kid in McDonalds will now have more job satisfaction now that he is making more money.
Abortion and the Environment
I had to shake my head at the defeat of California’s proposition 85 which would have required parental notification of a minor who is getting an abortion. The ridiculousness of this defeat was offset by the defeat of proposition 87 that would have taxed the bejeezus out of companies drilling for oil in CA in an effort to raise money and encourage the use of alternative fuels. So, the message in CA is clear- irresponsible kids have a right to an abortion without their parents being notified by the hospitals and fuck the environment, we need to drive our SUV’s. Oregon also adopted a similar proposition. But who gives a shit about Oregon?
I am not against helping to preserve our environment but there has to be a better way than to just tax the shit out of people and/or companies. This strategy is also used in states that have hiked the price of a pack of cigarettes over $7.00. Don’t do that under the guise of trying to protect people, just come straight out and tell us that capitalizing on a vice is the best way to raise revenue. In a related story, Hawaii will ban smoking indoors (including bars) next week. Welcome to the 21st century retards. Even my home state of AR adopted similar laws before this state did.
Miscellaneous: Weed, Slots and Stem Cells
There were a few Whiskey Tango Foxtrot propositions on the ballots this midterm. Along with adopting English as its official language, voters also had the opportunity to vote on a $1 Million Voter Reward. Basically, it was a lottery that would randomly pick a voter every two years to receive the money. I understand that this was an effort to increase voter turn out but once again it falls under the “Use money to change people’s minds” tactic. Can you imagine the shit storm that would follow if an illegal immigrant won that reward?
Nevada and Colorado both wanted to legalize the possession of 1 ounce of marijuana, realizing the cost of the weed will be comparable to a pack of smokes in a few years anyway. The propositions were wisely shot down by a substantial margin. South Dakota wanted to legalize weed for medicinal use and it was narrowly defeated along with a proposition to ban abortion. We wouldn’t want any potheads, who are legally high, to be denied an abortion.
Ohio wanted to legalize slot machine. Slots? In Ohio? Well, maybe Ohio is due for another scandal involving coins.
Missouri’s Amendment 2 would amend the Missouri Constitution known as the "Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative" and would protect embryonic stem cell research. It would specifically legalize all stem cell research and therapies consistent with federal law but would ban human cloning. MO was the only state to have stem cell on its ballots. Michael J. Fox and his opposition aside, if we have found some kind of science that can help people with deleterious diseases then why not exploit it? Why not make someone’s quality of life better at the expense of a blob of undeveloped cells? “But it’s a potential life!”, you say. Think of it as a potential child molester then, or whatever will help you sleep at night.
Locally, voter turn-out is pathetic and continues to be a frustration with politicians. An article in the Honolulu Advertiser, written in August 2006, said that only 4 in 10 registered voters gets out to the polls and votes citing voters are “apathetic, content, too busy, disinterested in public affairs, cynical about politicians and distracted by new technology and access to unprecedented amounts of entertainment.” Say it isn’t so, locals are apathetic? They have no problem making it to the Day-after-Thanksgiving Day sales at 5:00 a.m, showing up in droves.
There were a few places that turned voters away because of time disputes. Several people had a few minutes to spare before the doors closed in several voting areas but they were turned away because the clock on the inside said 6:00 p.m. while the voters’ cell phones had 5:57. C’mon. Let the people in line vote since they were in line before 6. Or, to prevent this bullshit in the future, get your ass to the polls well before closing time.
Even so, Hawaii made national news as it had recorded its lowest voter turn out- ever. Just over 50% of registered voters even bothered to get off their asses and vote. No wonder politicians like Maize Hirono (D-HI) win elections with ads that say little more than “Vote for me, my opposition likes Bush”. The aged Akaka easily waxed his opponent with more than 60% of the 50% of the voters. Awesome, another 80+ year-old Senator. My wife always throws it in my face that Akaka is pro military- and he is but only to the extent of “Move here and spend your money but don’t do anything”. Is it any wonder why our roads, schools, sewage systems, electric company, and housing costs sucks. Local do nothing to improve it via the medium of casting a vote.
The good news is that I’ll be out of there next year, only to become a resident of California. Even then I won’t be able to cast a vote for Arnold because he will have hit his term limit. Bummer.