Saturday, July 29, 2006

English Language a Critical Factor in Assimilation, Witnesses Tell House Subcommittee

Witnesses testifying before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Education Reform today promoted the English language as a key factor in legal immigrants' ability to assimilate into American society, while questioning an executive order signed by former President Clinton that provided immigrants the ability to communicate with the federal government in any language they choose - and at taxpayer expense. The executive order was reaffirmed by immigration legislation backed by the U.S. Senate in May. The hearing is one in a series being held by the Education & the Workforce Committee and its subcommittees on illegal immigration and its impact on American students and workers.

"The issue of making English the official language of the United States has long been controversial," said Subcommittee Chairman Mike Castle (R-DE). "The last time this committee and the Congress discussed the issue by itself was in the 104th Congress. Now, due to the steady growth of new immigrant populations within U.S. borders, whose primary language is other than English, the discussion and issues of language diversity have once again brought attention to this public policy debate."

The hearing took a broad look at varying perspectives on making English the official language, with witnesses offering testimony on both sides of the issue. Education & the Workforce Committee Chairman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) raised concerns about provisions of recently-passed Senate immigration legislation that may serve to undermine, rather than promote, the English language.

The first amendment adopted by the Senate would have made English the national language and required those applying for citizenship to be proficient in English and learn American history. However, another amendment followed, deeming English a "common and unifying language" and reaffirming President Clinton's Executive Order 13166, which guaranteed immigrants' rights to communicate with the federal government in any language they choose, at taxpayer expense. "Because of these dueling Senate amendments, uncertainty ruled the day - both then and now," noted McKeon. "I'm pleased our Committee has been able to start taking steps toward sorting this out, because the issue is too important to leave open to interpretation and ongoing questions."

Mauro Mujica, Chairman of the Board of U.S. English, Inc., echoed McKeon's concerns in his testimony to the subcommittee, focusing specifically on the Senate bill's reaffirmation of the Clinton executive order. "In a country whose residents speak 322 languages, multilingual government must be the exception, not the rule," noted Mujica. "Unfortunately, instead of promoting English learning, government agencies increasingly seek to cater to immigrants in as many languages as possible. The result is that I - a 42 year resident of the United States - can walk into virtually any government office and demand services in my native language, and I'll receive them, no questions asked."

Paul McKinley, an Iowa state senator, and supporter of an Iowa law making English the official language, detailed for the Committee the reaction to and reasons behind that legislation. "When [the English as the official language bill] was debated, some predicted dire consequences," said McKinley. "However, their predictions did not materialize. Their main objection was that making English our official language would somehow be seen as not welcoming legal immigrants. This is absolutely false. The best way to welcome legal immigrants and help them through their naturalization process is to help them learn English. Common language is the glue that binds a society and an economy. Without English, they are strangers. With English, they are able to communicate, join the community, and work their way up the economic ladder."

The subcommittee also heard from Art Ellison, the Administrator of the Bureau of Adult Education for the New Hampshire Department of Education. He described for the subcommittee the importance of English literacy skills to success both in school and at work. "If America is to remain competitive, attention must be given to the English literacy skills of our nation's immigrants and the skills of native-born adults in the workforce today," Ellison. "We must ensure that each and every member of the workforce has skills they need to succeed in today's highly technological workforce. In short, English literacy is critical to obtaining and maintaining jobs and creating opportunities for advanced education and training in order to qualify for jobs with family-sustaining incomes. For the family to support their children's learning, maintain their health, manage their finances, and provide a supportive structure for the family, English literacy skills are critical."

Today's hearing marked the second in an Education & the Workforce series of hearings on immigration issues impacting American workers and students. The next hearing - on illegal immigration and employment verification enforcement - will be held by the Employer-Employee Relations Subcommittee next Monday in Plano, Texas.


Australia: Homosexual propaganda masquerading as news

Once upon a time, a person could buy a newspaper and be fairly confident that the news covered therein was more or less reliable, factual and impartially presented. That certainly is no longer the case, especially for certain newspapers. Consider the case of one Australian broadsheet, the Melbourne Age. This paper is right up there with a few other contenders for Australia's most left-wing, politically correct and biased paper in the country. There are many examples of this bias and agenda-pushing. Just one will suffice.

The Age is notoriously pro-homosexual, with almost daily pro-homosexual reporting and opinion. Of course, with many homosexual activists on staff, this is not surprising. Consider one example of this totally lopsided and prejudiced news coverage and reporting. The Australian Capital Territory decided on May 11 to legalise same-sex unions, which was tantamount to legalising same-sex marriage. This was in spite of the fact that the Federal Government had reaffirmed, through legislation passed by both houses of parliament in August 2004, that marriage in Australia can only be between a man and a woman.

This year, on June 6, the Howard Government signalled its intention to override the ACT legislation - and with good reason. The ACT law was just a sneaky attempt to bring in same-sex marriage, even though the Australian Parliament, and the overwhelming majority of Australians, stated that marriage is a heterosexual affair. (On June 15, the Howard Government motion was passed, and the ACT law was struck down).

Consider how the Age covered this story over the following two weeks. I have clipped every article, opinion piece and letter on the subject from June 7 to June 18. (It was a good thing I monitored only 12 days' worth - there was so much to clip, I was beginning to get sore hands!). Take, for example, the articles run on the story. Altogether, 16 different "news" articles were written on this topic during this 12-day period. That is well over one a day. Talk about a beat-up. Talk about going overboard on a story. One would have thought there were other news items of merit worth covering during this period.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg. In every one of the articles, there was such an obvious one-sided agenda being pushed that there was little or no difference between these supposed news item and the paper's editorials. I simply lost count of the number of homosexual and lesbian activists quoted in these pieces. And how many pro-family voices were heard? Not one. Is this news reporting or propaganda? There was one very short piece on how religious leaders felt about Howard's decision; so a few quick - and token - references were made to those from the other side of the debate, but that was it. Aside from that, these 16 articles were one mass promotion of the homosexual agenda. But it does not end there.

There were also three full opinion pieces on the subject. I guess, in an effort to pretend that there was some balance taking place, one of the three pieces did argue the "no-case" against same-sex marriage. But that is just 33 per cent. When weighed against all the articles, letters and other items in favour of same-sex marriage, it made up barely a fraction of the space devoted to the issue. In typical Age fashion, the very next day the letters' editor featured not one, but three letters attacking the no-case article, with not one letter supporting it.

Each of these opinion pieces, editorials and articles could in turn be analysed at length. They are great examples of sloppy thinking, poor reasoning, question-begging, special-pleading, red herrings and moral obfuscation. But those evaluations must await another article. But wait, there's still more. There were no fewer than four major human interest pieces as well (scattered among the 16 news items). These featured homosexual and lesbian couples given free rein to state their case at length.


Of course, no heterosexual was allowed to feature as a personal story. And there were plenty of full-colour photos of happy, smiling, hugging homosexual and lesbian couples. Of course, putting an emotive human face on the story always beats having to deal with the facts and the real heart of the issue. Just paint an emotional story using people who represent your cause, and you do not have to deal with hard things like truth, logic, facts or evidence.

One lesbian couple got to tell their story not once, but twice (June 9, 14). Both times the couple's story was adorned with large colour photos. They got to speak at length of how terrible it was that their relationship could not be recognised as a marriage. It featured all the emotive rhetoric about their love being denied, and so on. After wading though article after article like this, I really began to believe that I was reading articles from the homosexual press. The Age pieces were absolutely identical to anything found there.

Moreover, a Saturday Age Insight section featured a front-page story (which spilled over onto page 2), with numerous photos and large splashes of colour, complete with a rainbow. Paragraph after paragraph of quotes from homosexuals were featured therein. Again, not one pro-family voice. Not one dissenting position, except for a few references to Prime Minister Howard or Attorney-General Ruddock.

Shedding tears

There was of course the mandatory large editorial, shedding tears over this being a "matter of human rights". In it, the editorial writers said, among other things, that the Howard Government had chosen to "politicise the issue". Sorry, but it was the homosexual lobby that long ago decided to make a political issue of this. The Howard Government has simply responded to this attempt at social engineering by stating what most Australians know to be true: marriage is not whatever you make it to be. It is something that for millennia has meant one thing, and we are not about to let a group of noisy activists redefine it out of existence.

Oh yes, one last thing. The Age also ran a cartoon on the subject, by Leunig. It was a masterful example of propaganda at its best. Using colour, photos and text, it effectively implied that heterosexuals were torturers, murderers and militants, and it is time we let peaceful homosexuals have rights to marriage and children.

Thus this was one giant tsunami of pro-gay propaganda. Like a tidal wave, every day the reader was inundated with one pro-homosexual assault after another. This simply was one of the most blatant and disgusting cases of media bias and agenda-pushing that I have encountered in the mainstream press. Somehow, however, I do not expect that ABC's Media Watch will cover the story.

More here

Australian Feds take away the "obesity" rattle of the State health ministers

John Howard has described efforts by the nation's health ministers to restrict junk-food advertising on TV as a waste of time, saying it is an issue for media authorities, not health departments. In a letter presented to a health ministers meeting in Brisbane, the Prime Minister wrote: "Given ... the fact that regulation of media advertising is an Australian government responsibility, I see little value in continued consideration of this issue in the Australian Health Ministers' Council forum."

The letter, delivered by federal Health Minister Tony Abbott, has infuriated his state counterparts, who have been campaigning for junk-food advertising restrictions for the past 12 months. "We are not going to back down to the Prime Minister's bullying," Queensland Health Minister Stephen Robertson said. "I do not believe it is open for John Howard to unilaterally dictate the ministerial health conference. "The fact that we now have a PM who is prepared to shut down debate on health is frankly unacceptable."

State and territory ministers agreed yesterday to establish a working party to review marketing and advertising practices with the industry, while looking at existing regulatory codes.

More here

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