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January 27, 2009 02:31 AM UTC

Stay Classy, Dave Schultheis

  • by: Colorado Pols

As the Denver Post reports:

Sen. Dave Schultheis says the Colorado Department of Transportation is wasting mucho dinero by running ads in Spanish that urge drivers to buckle up.

“All these ads are going to do is provide one more assimilation off-ramp for new arrivals,” Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs, said today. “Bilingualism in our buckle-up ads – just like bilingualism in our schools – will only encourage the further balkanization of our culture, reduce the pressure on new immigrants to learn English and make it harder in the long run for immigrants to become Americans.”

The department is holding a press conference to announce the TV ad campaign, its first ever Spanish ad campaign, on Tuesday. According to agency spokeswoman Stacey Stegman, 23 percent of all fatal-accident victims last year were Latino…

Schultheis wondered where the accommodation of foreign languages ends.

“Can we expect a new round of PSAs from CDOT later on this year in Vietnamese, Mandarin Chinese or some other foreign language?” he asked.

Stegman replied, “If in Colorado there were the same large numbers of those populations that were unbuckled, we would do what we could to address those as well.

“Our programs are about saving lives, regardless of the race.” [Pols emphasis]

Almost as thoughtful as when his first reaction after hearing about an bad car accident in Greeley was to assume there were illegal immigrants involved–because the victims’ surname was “Bustillos.” Here you think we’ve come all this way in the last year, not getting, you know, all overtly racial about stuff anymore, and there’s Dave Schultheis proving you wrong.

Look folks, Jim “Black Moral Poverty” Welker and Doug “Knee-Jerk” Bruce are gone, and there was a vacuum in the Republican caucus that, let’s be frank, needed filling. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the latest reason for non-whackjob Republicans to eye the floor in shame.

More wingnuttery coverage. This can’t be made up.


70 thoughts on “Stay Classy, Dave Schultheis

  1. this is very, very important.  Especially so for people from a nation and culture in which seat belts are an oddity and/or disdained.  “When it’s your time, it’s your time.”

    Good move.  

    1. I think we should be doing a better job of enabling every kid to know English and Spanish.

      If everyone knew a second language (Spanish only being the most useful here) I think we would all be a lot better off.

      1. With the exception of Canada, the US, and Brazil (and, officially, Belize), the entire hemisphere is Spanish speaking (many or most Brazilians speak Spanish as a second language as well). If there were parity of political-economic power in the hemisphere, Spanish would probably be a universal component of our public education curriculum. I prefer to be a good neighbor rather than an arrogant bully. More of America’s international problems are due to a national preference for the latter than to any other single factor.

      2. I’m referring, to start with, the famous, “For English, press one.”  From there it goes to the Spanish media, which do nothing to foster assimilation, to La Paginas Amarillo, and everything else.  

        Nations with two or more languages, with perhaps Switzerland being the exception, suffer effects from inconvenience to seperatist movements.

        While I certainly encourage multi-lingualism, that tale wags both ways. I’m not sure why so many Americans think that it is I who should learn Spanish (and I do have a smattering of it.  Voluntarily.)and not the immigrants who cling to their Spanish.

        In Mexico, there are virtually no signs or aids in English.  No emergency crew is expected to speak English.  I doubt if there is any English only TV station, or if so, only in Guanajato (large American colony.) When I go to Mexico I work very hard on my Spanish for obviously practical reasons.

        If my Chinese fried can immigrate here at age 50 and learn passable English, anyone can.  She did, and could, because she wanted to.  Not haing Chinese enabling media, she listened to English TV stations all of the time.  

        In summary, multi-ligualism, yes. But catering to those who won’t learn English, no.  Ditto for the Americans in Mexico on the flip.  

          1. In fact, it is American business that has jumped on the enabling bandwagon and not so much the much fear government.  Anything to make a buck.  Or a million.  

            What you suggest is a good example of “the markets” not working in the larger society’s interest.  I don’t know of any cure for that in a free society.  

              1. My point was not to damn Canines for inferring that Spanish-speaking folks might cost us money after a seatbelt-free accident.

                It was to show that he and Shultheis are basically saying the same thing, albeit in totally different ways.

                With our economy being such a mess, there’s no reason to be PC about it.  Illegals who don’t speak English or have insurance are very expensive for us.

                What’s the best solution?  Is it tiptoeing around the issue and spending money to make commercials in Spanish?  Maybe.

                It’s time to fix this.  99% of the illegals here are great, hardworking folks.  Let’s make it easier for them to work here, and protect them and their wages, but take money out of their paychecks to pay for services.  Even if it means taking on the Feds.  

                Now THAT would be something Ritter could do that would be a demonstration of real leadership.

              2. You don’t need to know much English to become a citizen and therefore eligible for public funds.

                A serious head injury will cost the taxpayers millions over even a short lifetime.

                Think of a five year old that was born here ending up with an injury causing a permanent mental disability.  10s of millions, 100s?

                    1. Points covered.

                      If you think illegals ought to be rounded up, businesses fined, that’s all well and good.

                      But since, right now, the public does pay for EMT visits, it’s probably cost effective to run the ads. How much does it cost to produce ads and air them? Don’t rightly know…$10,000? 25K? How much does one head injury cost? I’d wager a considerable amount more than that.

                    2. How does this:

                      If you think illegals ought to be rounded up, businesses fined, that’s all well and good.

                      Jive with this:

                      It’s time to fix this.  99% of the illegals here are great, hardworking folks.  Let’s make it easier for them to work here, and protect them and their wages, but take money out of their paychecks to pay for services.  Even if it means taking on the Feds.  

                      It doesn’t.  So calm down.

                      The commercials only cost $15k, so not too big of a deal.

                      My point is that you and Schultheis are basically saying the same thing, I think.

                      It’s within our power to make it more cost-effective and humane to have illegals working in our State.

                      It’s not about xenophobia, it’s about a total commitment by the State and the Feds to pass the buck, and it’s fucking everything up for everybody.  Colorado could lead the way and establish our own system that keeps the illegals (they are illegally here, right?) from feeling hunted, from being taken advantage of, and provides the rest of us with a modicum of economic security in the form of a special tax that would pay for their public services.

                      Let’s quit pretending like there aren’t a shitload of non-English-speaking illegal Mexican immigrants here that are a tremendous strain on our economy, and let’s also quit pretending like they’re almost all not really hardworking, good folks.  They are.

                      We can fix this.  Screw the Feds if they aren’t willing to help.  This is a clear instance where a little more Federalism would be a good thing.

                      But is non-assimilation helping anyone?

                    3. I’m reading and posting on the fly. Not a good idea.

                      I’ll reread what you’ve just written a bit later, and if I feel like I actually have anything intelligent to add, I’ll add it.

                    4. but it doesn’t necessarily sound to me like it’s the same place from where Sen. Schultheis is coming from. On the surface, at least, from that news excerpt.

                      Looking back on where I was coming from, I was responding more to the thread than you in particular. Yeah, I know, my post appeared right below yours as a response, but the “you” in my post was more of a general catch-all (anybody who does feel what I pointed out regarding illegals: that they should be rounded up, businesses fined) rather than you.

                      So much for saying something intelligent, I guess…

                    5. The latter, if under age 70, are immigrants, legal and mostly illegal. They latter is why they are the state’s fastest growing demo.  Doesn’t mean it’s best for the state.

                      The monolingual Spanish speakers are of generations past from the southern part of the state.  The isolation that permitted monolingualism is gone with modern transportation, education, and communications.

                    6. Parsing, I don’t entirely agree.  Most of the population growth among Latinos is predicted to be by birth if I understand the trends correctly.  People born in the U.S. (as per Amendment 14 in the Constitution) are U.S. Citizens.  

                      To LB’s point–not all English speakers are uninsured either, thus by your reasoning there shouldn’t be English campaigns promoting seat belt use?  

                    7. 1. And those kids will grow up learning English.  Second generation always do.  I repeat, the largest monolingual Spanish speaker demographic is (mostly)illegal immigrants.

                      2.  I didn’t say all, but I’ll bet it’s much higher with them.  If only because of relative poverty and types of jobs that don’t have health benefits.

                      English language selt belt encouragement programs have been around for years.  

    2. If people don’t know that you can be stopped and ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt, they are going to react much less positively to those cops (sometimes violently) when it happens.

  2. One of Colorado’s great industries is as a vacation hot spot. A world class vacation destination.

     Many of our visitors are not English is my first language people.  

     In spite of the efforts by some over the years to make people not from Colorado feel unwelcome to our great state; people still come here for vacation and conferences.

    Providing information regarding our laws and customs in other languages is a great idea.

    1. We could start by posting multiligual signs in Denver INTERNATIONAL Airport!  Certainly signs relating to important tourist designations and for safety reasons. Such as no stopping on the runaway truck ramps. (I recall a case many years ago of some non-English speakers deciding it was a marvelous place to have a picnic.)

      1. When the dollar first started to lose value the ski resorts were getting tons of Europeans (cheap vacation for them).

        Even if you speak passable English you may not understand longer, more important, signs.  Asking where the bathroom is doesn’t involve the word caution or death.  Unless there’s some sort of problem I don’t want to know about.

  3. Subway stiops, street signs, many business signs, etc are in the latin alphabet as well as Kanji/Han. So a lot more bi-lingual there for English speakers than we do here for Spanish speakers.

    And in Korea an English-only TV station (Armed Forces TV).

          1. A lot of TV seems to be in English, often with Romanian subtitles, and it seems relatively recent. I know they run CNN without titles, as well as a weekly version of the Daily Show. (I’ve got some family there.)

            1. Transylvania. And a few of the northern provinces. I arrived by train, but then I flew from Cluj to Bucharest in order to catch a flight back to Western Europe.

              I didn’t see any English TV at that time (those I wasn’t doing a lot of channel flipping, really). I do remember seeing quite a few satellite dishes, though, on houses. BMWs competing on the highways with horse-driven carts. Private restaurants just starting to be allowed alongside state-run establishments: I fondly recall the Turk pizza place in Sighisoara.

              I remember the airport in Bucharest as being one of the most broke-down transit points I’d ever seen. Holes in the roof. I recall feeding sparrows bread crumbs on a table inside the airport.

              1. and also Sighisoara.  Don’t know if I hit the pizza place there, but had a great za in Cluj (arrived there from Budapest).  

                I was mostly in Transylvania and briefly in Wallachia, took the train from Sibiu to Timosoara and stayed there one night, and then to Beograd.  Overall I really liked it, but was bothered quite a bit by the overt racism toward the Roma, seemed to be really prevalent everywhere.

                1. The Roma issue is not something we discuss in the family, at least not when we’re sober. It’s like discussing ebonics with a Republican family (which I’ve done too). People try not to let it get ugly, but it does.

                  The Bucharest airport has improved a lot, apparently. It still seems really tiny for the population, but it’s not embarrassing by any means. Beats the crap out of JFK, for one.

                  Never really went as far as Timisoara, just to the Retezat national park in the mountains. And to the beach towns. Having never visited under Communism, I had no idea what it was like, but there are still places like Mangalia where much of the stuff still looks like it’s from the Communist era. If you’re curious.

                  1. It seems they are distrusted considerably.

                    I also spent a small amount of time in Transylvania among a mixed Romanian-Hungarian family. I learned about the ethnic disputes between those two peoples, while I was in Romania. In fact, not too long ago, I spoke with a Hungarian man here in Denver who insisted that that land in Transylvania still rightly belongs to Hungary.

                    I’m not surprised to hear that the airport in Bucharest has improved; I imagine there have been considerable capital improvements, since 1994. (Unlike JFK airport…?)

                    I found the Romanian people to be, on the whole, quite educated. I never ran into so many holders of Math degrees in my life.

  4. If I remember my history correctly, most of Colorado used to be Mexico.  Shouldn’t we be speaking Spanish?  Or at least more tollerant of folks who don’t speak English?

      1. If I compare to situations in other countries, where they actually fight civil wars over this kind of crap, the biggest issue is how the conquering population deals with the natives. We exterminated most of ours, but in some places they just let people live subsumed in the larger culture. Do they still get to speak their own language?

        It’s a somewhat different issue from tylarsoma’s, I think, since hispanics weren’t native to Colorado either, and I’m not convinced many of the hispanics here now are remnants of the conquered population from the 1850s.

        But I have to say in general, if majority populations were more tolerant of minority rights, there’d be a lot less internal conflict in a lot of countries. We have the occasional separatist organization, but not a whole lot of “ethnic identity” battling since the FALN disbanded. I think that’s more a sign of luck than good policy.

        1. The reservation system is basically institutional poverty, and the only way for some tribes to get out of the hole is by building casinos.

          Good points about acceptance of ethnic minorities too.

        2. but my understanding is that in Romania, for instance, where Roma people are at least 20% of the populations there are guarantees that certain services will be provided in their language.

          1. There’s the Roma population, but there’s also a significant Hungarian minority who wants to speak Hungarian, along with other smaller minorities. Many other countries have the same sorts of issues (Yugoslavia most notably and disastrously). The Roma issue is kind of different from a general ethnic issue because of their intense poverty. At least, that’s my understanding, which may be quite limited.

    1. We should be tolerant of people in general, but the argument that we used to be Mexico goes nowhere with me or most other people.

      English is the official language of the U.S. and the language worldwide of commerce.  Teaching English fluency would go a long way in helping some of these folks move up the economic ladder.

    2. The culture that won the Mexican-American War spoke English.

      Languages have ebbed and flowed everywhere for millennia.  It’s the way of conquest and migration.  No rule about first language has full dibs.

      As Obama just told the Republicans, “I won.”

        1. Pun intended.

          My point was just because Spanish was spoken in a region before English doesn’t have any moral context as to why it should continue.  

          By the time of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, there were actually very, very few Spanish speakers or Mexican citizens in the new region. I think the population was in the few thousands, not more than ten, IIRC. New Mexico and the California missions pretty well summed it up.

          Most residents were Indians and spoke their languages.  Spanish was merely a short term, not much used language.  

          1. The thread seems to have moved from what I think is an issue of highway safety toward ‘English Only’ or ‘English First (and nothing else)’ maybe that’s just my take.  

            Like trying to stop shifting demographics (which I remain convinced underlies much of this, if not specifically posters here), trying to build a bulwark around a certain language seems both unnecessary (i.e. who cares IMO) but also contrary to historical fact.  

            American is becoming more multicultural, and Latinos are leading the way.  People can moan and scream all they want but it won’t stop or even noticeably slow that fact–there are much larger trends at work here.

            I have seen several studies that show immigrants to the U.S. (whether in the 19th or 21st centuries) often do not learn the native tongue or ‘assimilate.’  It is why our cities are full of neighborhoods like ‘China Town’ and ‘Korea Town’ or ‘Little Italy.’

            However by the 2nd and 3rd generations most speak fluent English and have in fact assimilated.  And what they bring–and that we then assimilate into our lives–makes our culture all the richer for it.

            But again this matter (the CDOT) is about highway safety and I think DS is a fool (and a xenophobe).  

          2. nation-states are products of historical conquests. They are maintained to serve the interests of their current members, and sometimes, at their best, to serve, to some degree, the interests of humanity. There is no moral argument to be made on their behalf, unless it is to hold them to a higher standard than mere collective self-interest. They are political facts on the ground.

            Human migration is a more ancient and constant reality. People move in the direction of opportunity, and away from violence or destitution.

            There are organic processes underway at all moments in world history. Political entities that rage against those processes are pissing into the wind. Even when such processes are problematic, they are better dealt with by channeling them than by simply resisting them.

            The more we continue to accept the increasing polarization of global wealth and power, the more intense the press of humanity on the borders between those two worlds will become.

            On the other hand, most calculations of the total economic effects of immigration into the United States, both legal and illegal, identify a net economic benefit to the United States, though one not evenly distributed. So, the federal government collects more taxes from illegal immigrants than it spends on services supplied to them, while local and state governments are stuck with the reverse. Illegal and other low-skilled new immigrants compete with other low-skilled labor in the U.S., often themselves recent immigrants, but contribute to lower consumer prices across the board.

            And, infrequently mentioned but of crucial importance, massive Mexican immigration helps resolve our pressing demographic problem of an aging population: The immigrants are disproportionately younger and with higher fertility rates. With all the talk of “saving social security and medicaid,” more people need to talk about the one process underway with the greatest potential for actually meeting that challenge: The immigration of enough younger workers to support the burgeoning population of retirees.

            Pablo, you and I have always had a basic disagreement about labor and humanity. You judge American capitalists harshly for protecting their relative wealth against incursions by American labor, but consider American labor’s protection of its relative wealth against incursions by foreign labor to be completely justifiable. I’ve always considered those inconsistent positions: Either you accept people forming clubs to protect their relative wealth against incursions by the less wealthy, or you consider the formation of such clubs to be morally questionable. But you can’t, reasonably, consider the club that is richer than you morally questionable while your club organized against those poorer than you to be morally justified.

            In both cases, in reality, it’s not a zero-sum-game. Obstacles to the free flow of labor across borders is just one of many ways in which we diminish both aggregate global wealth production, and global distributional justice. In other words, it is neither efficient nor fair. And it serves neither our own short-term nor long-term national economic interests.

                1. Thanks for filling out my thoughts.  That is precisely what I was getting at.  I feel sorry for the people who will be going up against you in court (if you’ll be a trial attorney that is).

                2. Making up hispanic-sounding names for people you disagree with? Great precedent.

                  And seriously, the rich and the poor are not equal. If rich people want to get together to fuck over everyone else, vs. workers getting together to get tiny concessions from the boss, those are utterly different arrangements.

                  You’re an educated person, so clearly you know better, or should.

                  1. for Paul, so I’m not sure what your point is.  Since we were discussing language and such seems like your critique is a bit of an over reaction…  Just saying, I usually agree with your posts.

                  2. He’s been to my house, and I trust that he takes my use of the Spanish form of his name in the spirit in which it was meant. Given my positions on these matters, as well as my personal relations and life history, it is unlikely that I would consider “making up hispanic sounding names” to be some kind of put-down. One of my favorite nick-names given to me by friends in Mexico is “Estebandito,” or “este bandito,” which means either “Little Stevie” (with a “d” in place of a “c”) or “this bandit.” When I speak to my Mexican wife and bilingual five-year-old daughter in Spanish, I can assure you that it is with the greatest affection and respect. Similarly, when I call Parsing “Pablo,” it is an expression of affection and respect.

                    Second, I was comparing the “relatively rich” organizing against the “relatively poor” on two different levels, and the relatively poor’s attitude to the relatively rich on those two levels. American labor is in the middle position, being the “relatively poor” in relation to American capital, and the “relatively rich” in relation to foreign labor. These are all gross oversimplifications as far as I’m concerned, and not the form of analysis I generally employ, but I did so for a particular purpose here. I wasn’t comparing American labor organizing against American capital to American capital organizing against American labor, as you interpreted me to have done in your response. I was comparing American labor opposing foreign labor to American capital opposing American labor, parallel positions on two different levels.

                    My point was, if you support the intranational “class struggle,” I find it inconsistent not also to support the international “class struggle,” on the same side but on different levels. Again, for my part, I think the concept of “class struggle” is sloppy and imports a lot of conceptual baggage of questionable value, but since I’m referring to consistency or inconsistency within that conceptual framework, it’s own language is the right language to use.

                    I hope that clears up any misunderstandings.

                    1. I forget that you have a history going back before I came here, so I didn’t know what you were referring to there.

                      And although I disagree with your analogy between bosses organizing against workers and domestic workers organizing against foreign workers, it’s not quite as nasty as what I impugned.

                      So Twitty’s right, I overreacted. But hey, you guys wouldn’t get the good posts from me without the bad ones.

                    2. look into “dependency theory” (many scholars, but Andre Gunther Frank is one of the best known), and Imanuel Wallerstein’s “World System’s Theory.”

                      I long ago abandoned Marxist analyses in favor of microeconomic analyses, but the one value the former has is that it sometimes captures some good descriptive snapshots of how wealth and power concentrate across levels. The above theories describe how the small nucleus of elites of poor nations are often allied with the majority populations of “elites” (by global standards) in wealthy nations against the poor masses in poor nations and the poor minorities in wealthy nations. American labor’s opposition to incursions by foreign labor fits into that framework.

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