Friday, July 11, 2008

Merci Beaucoup

Senator Obama believes it's more important for Americans to learn Spanish than to have a law making English the national language:

Powerline believes the Senator is out of touch with the mainstream of American opinion on this matter:

Attending to the news of the day, Scott Rasmussen polled the comparative importance to Americans of immigrants learning English versus Americans learning a foreign language. Rasmussen reports, in English, that Americans reject Obama's call for bilingualism, with 83 percent of respondents placing a higher priority on encouraging immigrants to speak English as their primary language. Just 13 percent took the opposite view saying it is more important for Americans to learn other languages. Rasmussen does not report how many respondents associated the latter view with Obama.

Rasmussen also found that only 26 percent believe that every American should be able to speak at least two languages. Breaking the results down along party lines, Rasmussen found that 79 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of Democrats reject the idea that all Americans should know multiple languages. Sixty-eight percent of independent voters rejected the importance of American bilingualism.

The question I have for Senator Obama is, if all the rest of the world can speak our language, why do we need to learn theirs?

Anyway, if Senator Obama wins in November maybe we would all do well to learn Arabic.


Guillermo Gonzalez Update

Readers with good memories will recall that Guillermo Gonzalez is a distinguished astronomer and author of The Privileged Planet who was denied tenure at Iowa State University ostensibly because he believes that planet earth is uniquely situated to permit the development of life forms (us) capable of doing astronomical research. In other words, it looks to professor Gonzalez as though earth was intentionally placed precisely where it is in the cosmos so that we could learn about the universe. Almost any other location would have stifled man's ability to study the heavens and science probably would never have progressed beyond the most rudimentary stages. It's a fascinating thesis and in his book he makes a powerful case for it, a case for which his materialist colleagues at Iowa state have made him pay dearly.

At any rate, it now turns out that Dr. Gonzalez has obtained a teaching and research position at Grove City College in western Pennsylvania where he will continue his fascinating work.

Photo of solar eclipse taken by Dr. Gonzalez



Like many folks, I guess, I rarely see movies until they're out on DVD, and even then it's often a year after their theater release that I finally catch up to them. Such is the case with the film I watched last night, but if you haven't seen it you shouldn't put it off.

The movie is Bella, the inaugural effort of a small indy film company released last fall. In the behind the scenes stuff that's included on the DVD one of the actors notes that this may be the first film made about Mexicans that's not about drugs, murder and foul language. Indeed, Bella is a movie about family, love, redemption and forgiveness. It's a simple but beautiful story of a troubled, lonely young woman, Nina, who finds herself pregnant and who wrestles with whether to have an abortion (it reminds me in this respect of Maria, Full of Grace which, however, was much more violent and dark), and a young man, Jose, whose professional soccer career has been shattered by an accident, and who finds himself befriending Nina and changing both her life and his.

The film struck me as a cinemagraphic version of the parable of the lost sheep in the New Testament with Jose as an obvious but understated Christ-figure.

The acting is excellent, even among the supporting cast, and you grow fond of every character in the film. Parts of the story might be confusing or troubling for younger children, but I enthusiastically recommend Bella for families with older children looking to share an evening together. It'll give you a lot to talk about.

If you do watch it be sure to also watch the extra background material on the DVD.