Wednesday, June 03, 2009

English Not Required For Kentucky Roads

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear was set to do the right thing. Governor Beshear had approved making the Kentucky driving test in English. Not only would it encourage immigrants of all stripes to learn our nation’s language, but it would have saved desperately need taxpayer money for other projects. However, at the last moment, common sense deserted the governor. On May 28th, Governor Beshear reversed his earlier decision and instructed the Kentucky State Police, which administers the driving tests, to begin offer the tests in multiple languages.

How many languages you ask? According to Captain Tim Lucas, who administers the driver testing program, we’re talking 22 languages. Captain Lucas pointed out in a memo that there are only 70 examiners staffing Kentucky’s 120 counties. At present, there are no state laws requiring the administration of the test in any language but English. Captain Lucas correctly accessed the situation in pointing out “the current budget situation makes it impractical to continue this testing and translation practice” (Kentucky is facing a near 1 billion revenue shortfall). Care to guess who pays for the costs of the translations? Yelp, you and I do as taxpayers.

Not surprising, liberal groups like the ACLU applauded the governor’s decision. Mr. Michael Aldridge, the director of ACLU Kentucky was quoted as saying, “Our government has an obligation to provide adequate language services”. Oh really? Our government has the obligation to provide adequate access to the testing facilities. This does not mean catering to every individual who doesn’t want to learn the language of the road, and this nation. While the applicant may pass the test, will they understand the written road signs? Will they be able to understand the police officer should they be pulled over? I can foresee all sorts of bad outcomes here. If they’re involved in an accident, will they be able to exchange information with the other driver? Of course, this fallacy by the governor removes the incentive of the applicant to even make an attempt at learning English. The next logical step (if there is such a thing in Frankfort), will be install road signs in multiple languages at taxpayer expense. I can hardly wait.

Rev. Pat Delahanty, a member of the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, is quoted in the Courier Journal (May 28, 2009) as saying the change in policy by the governor was a good thing, otherwise it would have forced many immigrants to be driving illegally. As I’ve written on many occasions, we already have a problem with some religious groups believing that they are above the law and don’t need to be concerned with such trivial issues as illegal immigration. Immigrants (and I’m talking about those who are legally) should be required to have a minimum understanding of English to receive a temporary work permit. As for those here illegally, do we need to be giving them easy access to our roads by giving them an opportunity to get a Kentucky drivers license too?

Hopefully these individuals will be picked up by the Kentucky State Police as quickly as possible. I wonder if these individuals requesting that you and I pay for their translators to they can take a drivers test have to provide proof they are here legally. If not, wouldn’t this be a good opportunity for some enterprising Kentucky legislators to introduce legislation to that effect?

I’d like to end with this closing comment on the subject. In the May 30th edition of the Courier Journal, the Editorial Board ran one of their off the wall editorials praising Beshear’s decision. The editorial says that if Kentucky is to be a “welcoming place to immigrants”, it should allow “less-than-proficient” English speakers the opportunity to take a drivers test. Wrong way thinking C/J. We’re not talking about people who have a little trouble with the questions and might need some clarification. We’re talking about people who do not speak the language and now have little reason to learn it. While you may believe this lapse of common sense by Governor Beshear is a act of compassion, in the long run, it will cost Kentuckians not only more taxpayer money, but it could be endangering the lives of other drivers as well.

It’s been awhile since Moderate Man has written an article for us. Well, I have a treat for you! Moderate Man’s article concerns the future of Louisville (which, I might add, under our current mayoral regime, is looking increasingly bleak). I hope you enjoy this latest piece by M/M as much as I did.

What is Louisville’s Future?
By Moderate Man

As a long time resident of this community who has lived in many other large cities, I was wondering about the future of Louisville. I don’t see a bright picture. Our youth have left town after graduation to earn a living elsewhere due to low wages, then may or may not return at retirement if family lives here. Our population has increased about 2 % in 25 years. This creates a stagnant economy. A quarter of a century ago we had 3 Fortune 500 companies. We now have 2. Where are our elected official’s priorities? Bars on 4th St., Central City developers, River Bats Stadium, Waterfront Park, UPS, Bridges over the Ohio River, U of L Arena, etc.

In short, downtown development, along with a Ring of Parks in the county border without development or acquisition funds. Without well paying jobs nothing else is important in this town. No quality of life issues, amenities, wonderful parks, arts, low cost of housing, or a partial taxing district bus transportation and EMS. We have many short changed items compared to the large towns, such as a pro arena, library master plan, light rail, small cities annexation, paid city and county unified fire department, unified taxing district for both urban and non urban service district. Some of these items are the result of the State Legislature keeping its thumb via home rule on us in order to obtain tax money to grease its rural legislator’s budget machine.

How immoral is this? If they didn’t have our donor funds they might be able to find the spine to reduce about a third of the amount of counties in this state and consolidate the population, so state assistance could be better centralized. There should be a price paid for choosing to live in a rural area, such as government services located a far distance away. Yes we have provided some of our meager state and local tax money to large companies, such as Ford and GE, in our town to assist them during these hard times. It seems that these companies solution is to outsource jobs, raise productivity thru cross training or other means, or have technology replace workers. No wonder the unions are mad after giving into concessions at contract time only to find the company wants to layoff workers. And we have given city loans to local start up companies that don’t always survive. Think about E on Main Street. Years ago I heard that you could tell a cities health not with a thermometer, but by counting the number of cranes working at construction sites. How many can you count? Do you remember more years ago?

I see a future for Louisville with less working population, more homeless people, lack of new buildings, decline in the arts and a decaying west end with shifting existing populating moving outward and to the south parts of town. I see a class divide with the wealthier east end and the poorer parts of town in the west and south end. The 2010 census will reveal people moving out of Jefferson County to surrounding counties and Southern Indiana at a good clip. Of course the main tax money Louisville government uses for services, occupational tax and property taxes will decrease in total yearly revenue. Services will suffer by being cut, reduced or eliminated. Citizens won’t to tolerate an increase in taxes to fund services, after the recession of 2008/10 has passed. Watch the 20 year exodus take place.

Book Review

The Islamist by Ed Husain

We’ve all seen their pictures. Mostly blank and white. Usually they’re taken from surveillance cameras or driver’s licenses. They seem ordinary enough. Young to early middle age men. A few are smiling, but most are expressionless. How many of us have sat and stared at those photos and wondered what goes through the mind of mass murderer? What were they thinking when they set the timer of payload of death and then pulled the pin while screaming “Allah Akbar”? Did they look into the eyes of the unsuspecting victims? Did they see mothers with their children off to the grocery or school? Did they see ordinary people going about their lives in peace? Did they give any consideration to their families waiting for them at home before murdering them?

How do they justify the carnage they about to bring on innocent lives? Did God promise them some sort of “get-out-of-Hell-free” card in exchange for murdering a pregnant woman or maiming some school child? How does one turn a religion which historically has been one of the most peaceful and tolerate of religions into a one based on hatred and death? These are but a few of the questions I’ve often pondered, be about the SS Death Squads, Pol Pot, Charles Manson, or more recently, the terror attacks by Muslim extremists. Author Ed Husain was in a unique position to answer some of those questions, and more. He grew up in London’s East Side; the product of a strong, loving, Westernized Muslim family (surprisingly, not uncommon characteristics of many other mass murders).

Through short, sometimes quite innocent steps, he slowly found himself drawn into a web of radicalism which promoted a self-anointed “holier-than-thou” sense of religious superiority, even (and perhaps especially) fellow Muslims, including his family and friends. From there, the steps down the hole of free and rational thought to hatred and murder become shorter and ever more slippery with the blood of the innocent. Husain, however, was fortunate. He found his way back from the insanity of the radicalism before it was too late.

As we are forced to come to grips with the new reality of a post 9/11 world, stories like the one told by Mr. Husain in his book, “The Islamist” should become required reading of anyone trying to come to terms with the mindset of those who seek to murder in the name of God. The book is both well written, and at the same time, chilling in portrayal of an ordinary young man drawn little by little into this dark world.

Poll Results

In our last poll, I asked you to tell us what kind of job President Obama was doing. 38% of you gave him passing marks. Another 38% said he was doing either good or great, while the rest of you gave him failing marks. So, overall, it looks like Obama is doing pretty good. With some economists starting to predict an early end to the recession, it looks like many of his ideas are starting to pay off, albeit with substantial short and long term debt and partial government ownership of businesses.

End Note

A friend of mine sent this to me from You Tube. I urge every American to watch and take heed: There’s a lot of truth here folks.


Jeff Noble said...

Paul (o Paulo),

Apesadumbrado falté la 100a edición. Ofrezco enhorabuena. En esto, su 101o, diferenciamos en nuestras opiniones, algo que no es nuevo.

Usted se refiere sobre nuestra prueba de conducción que es ofrecida en veintidós idiomas, decir debe ser ofrecida solamente en una. A título de indicación, ha sido y continuará siendo ofrecida en el de su lengua preferida, Inglés.

Su discusión, entre otras cosas, se refiere sobre las que pudieron pasar la prueba en una cierta lengua Arabe, y entonces dado una licencia de conductores, entonces no pueda discernir las muestras de calles cuáles están, por supuesto, en Inglés.

Ese me lleva a preguntarse si la preponderancia de accidentes es causada por todos estos extranjeros que no entiendan que los medios rojos paran y los medios del verde va amarillear medios quizá. Ciertamente hay un número de conductores de habla Inglesa que tienen problemas con esas distinciones.

Usted, en su entrada, consigue eventual alrededor al núcleo verdadero de su preocupación, una cuyo usted ha escrito en muchas veces, y apenas tantas veces, he discrepado cortésmente. Esa preocupación es inmigración, legal y más pronunciado, ilegal.

Usted pide específicamente, "¿En cuanto a ésos aquí ilegal, necesitamos darlos de fácil acceso a nuestros caminos dándoles una oportunidad de conseguir una licencia de conductores de Kentucky también?"

La respuesta, que no es específica apenas a tomar los conductores prueba, es sí. Debemos hacerla más fácil para que estos ilegals lleguen a ser legales. Debemos hacerla más fácil para las que quieran trabajar, y ésa es la razón la mayor parte de que están aquí, poder hacer así pues, y de tal modo permitiendo que paguen en las cajas del impuesto.

Oímos repetidamente que los politicians y los bloggers quejarse por los illegals del coste imponen ante los pagadores de impuestos de la nación. ¿Es más que el bienestar corporativo del paquete del estímulo? No sé. ¿Está más que hemos pagado guerra de George Bush en Iraq? No sé que tampoco.

Sé que si proporcionáramos una trayectoria del mas facil para todos estos extranjeros, y usted tiende a significar ésos del sur de Tejas, sentir bien a ciudadanos - y así a pagadores de impuestos - de los Estados Unidos, una gran carga sería levantada como sus impuestos ocupacionales se podría entonces utilizar para tratar las preocupaciones más verdaderas que hacen frente a nuestra nación, tal como pobreza, falta de vivienda, cuidado médico, y educación.

Jeff Noble

A translation can be found on my blog,

Another Opinion said...

Agradece al viejo amigo por sus comentarios

Liz said...

I’ve just read your article on the new Driver’s License requirement of being offered in many languages. I can certainly sympathize with your article as we have been dealing with this problem for a long time. We offer driving tests in English, French, Cantonese, Punjabi and probably other languages but these are the major ones. For the written tests, there is an interpreter to help write the test and as far as the driving tests there are ‘testers’ who speak the appropriate language. If the applicant doesn’t pass the test there is always the pocketbook! Recently one woman who had taken the driving test for the 3rd time and failed just opened her handbag and offered the inspector $3,000.00 for a pass. This is not new – several years ago an inspector and a person in the liceniseing office were charged because they were paid big money over a period of time – something like 300 licenses were bought.

In Richmond we have a predominately Chinese population and they learn to drive by route and they are taught to back into a parking space because of the lack of their peripheral vision. Another problem is when they are stopped for a traffic infraction, they ‘No speak English’ and the officer has to call in for an interpreter which might take some time to respond, therefore the officer just lets them go.

In Surrey the East Indian population resides and they are known for their driving fast and lots of accidents and deaths happen over there. Neither group have really learned the rules of the road. I’m not saying ‘white’ people are the best drivers in the world but they do speak English and understand the rules of the road even if they don’t always follow them.

I can foresee you all going through these same problems. The governments are into the ‘politically correct’ mode and will do anything that will satisfy the majority (really the minority) and if in the US, English has to go, then it will and you know what –this will cause a lot of strife and will weaken the US even more. I’ve always felt that by having two official languages in Canada is one of the reasons, Canada is not a leading nation – it’s a secondary nation and always will be.

Anonymous said...

You surely know why the Catholic Church wants the Hispanics welcomed, right?

Once the Church got caught with the kids' pants down and it was proven they condoned that behavior by shifting the offenders to new fresh victims, the money, (mine included) dried up. They no longer have the free cash flow needed to run the Church in the manner to which it has been accustomed, therefore, more dedicated, unaware members (victims) are drained of their cash. After all, the vast majority of Hispanics are Catholic. Those grateful members want their friends and relatives here and will, of course, tithe faithfully.

Do I sound bitter? You bet I do and I AM!

Anonymous said...

Please check your facts about whether people who do not have appropriate immigration documents are permitted to take the driver's test and obtain a driver's license. This rule would have impacted refugees, who begin studying English as soon as they arrive, and are expected to start working within 90 days of arrival. Could you learn a language in 90 days?

Another Opinion said...

Actually, my "facts" are just fine, but thank you for pointing them out. If you don't have a basic underatanding of the language, you shouldn't be driving on our roads. Of course, there is always public transportation.

Barb said...

I agree, you should also point out the Catholic Charities are not taxpayers.!

Rachel said...

You state, "Immigrants (and I’m talking about those who are legally) should be required to have a minimum understanding of English to receive a temporary work permit." Are you serious? If so, then clearly you must be willing to financially support them since you don't think they should be allowed to work to support themselves. And since you don't want them to be able to drive either, then I guess you'll be driving them everywhere they need to go as well since, as we know, the majority of Kentucky does NOT have public transportation. Brilliant, and so very generous of you!

You also ask whether we should make it easier for undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses by offering the test in languages other than English. Your question is nonsensical since undocumented immigrants are not eligible for driver's licenses. Thus the language of the test is irrelevant to them. I DO think they should be eligible for driver's licenses, as that would make the roads safer and would be better for us all, but that is a topic for another day. Please try not to conflate topics that are actually quite separate.

Another Opinion said...

Thank you for your comment Rachael. Actually, what I said was that a minimum understanding of English should be required for entry into this country. That would presuppose them being here legally. As for illegals, Kentucky is considered one of the easiest places to get obtain a drivers license (albeit, often fake) according to the Feds. Of course, many of them simply drive without any license to begin with.

And by the way Rachael, they aren't "undocumented immigrants". They are illegal immigrants since they are here in violation for federal law.

Anonymous said...

The purpose of the driving test is to ensure that potential drivers understand the rules of the road and are safe drivers. If a person can demonstrate this, they should be granted a driver's license and allowed to drive. Period.

For crying out loud, we allow people who are illiterate to take an oral test. Being that Kentucky has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the nation, this must cost the state quite a bit of money and put many drivers who can't read on the roads. I haven't heard any complaints about our illiterate drivers.

As always, this blog and many others confuse immigration status with the ability to understand English. There are many U.S. citizens (those born abroad and those born in the U.S.) who do not speak, read or write English sufficiently to pass the driving test. Should we exclude them too?

All of this aside, Kentucky is required by federal law, see the Civil Rights Act, to provide access to government services to those who might have limited english proficiency.

Another Opinion said...

Do these illiterate people understand English? Would they know what to do/say if pulled over by cop? Would they be able to conservse with someone in an accident? my guess is that a illiterate person would. Not every road warning is in the form of a sign. Some are are written. What then? I would venture to guess that most illiterate adults could figure it out, however if you understand English, you may have a problem, expecially in a conjested traffic situation.

I am keenly aware of the Civil Rights Act, which makes no mention (as I recall) to language (just national origin). That's because our so-called "elected leaders" are afraid to make English the "offical" language of America because they might lose votes.

The whole point of the article goes back to this: learn and speak English. The same is expected of us if we moved to another country.

Another Opinion said...

A reader sent me a link to these two site which are excellent examples of the issue being exposed in this blog article. The first is from Lous Dobbs:

The second comes from Polidics: