English as a Second Language

Posted on Mon 10/01/2018 by

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By Burt Prelutsky  ~  

It’s bad enough that tens of millions of Latinos don’t speak English in their home, language being the glue that binds people together, but the other night, because my TV began acting screwy, I was forced to spend an hour and a half on the phone with various Filipinos who had only a casual acquaintance with English.

I don’t have a problem with people from the Philippines, having encountered them often working as nurses in my doctors’ offices. Without exception, they have been friendly, helpful and efficient. I don’t even have a problem conversing with them, but that is because they are merely going about the business of taking my blood pressure or asking my weight.

But when it comes to discussing technical problems on the phone, I have to wonder if the savings their various employers are saving by jobbing the work out to people halfway around the world isn’t nullified by the amount of time it takes when I have to keep asking them to repeat themselves.

What’s even worse is that I wind up feeling mean. After all, it’s not their fault I can’t understand them. If I had their job, I would have a far tougher time conversing with someone whose first language is Tagalog.

Perhaps along with bringing back all those manufacturing jobs that had abandoned America, Trump could do something about encouraging tech companies to start hiring Americans. Those really aren’t jobs that Americans are unwilling to do.


This is going to be one very long campaign season, especially if I’m going to have to keep hearing Barack Obama and that damn condescending voice of his.

It doesn’t help that he’s carrying on as if the country has gone downhill since he and the missus moved out of the White House.

Can you imagine how enormous his ego must be that he regards his administration as a success? In one of those items that winds up going viral in the cyber universe, it shows Obama surrounded by his sycophants, with the ever-present Valerie Jarrett front and center, while Obama laughs and brags: “I blamed everything bad on Bush and now I’m taking credit for everything good under Trump.”

Does anyone doubt that when he was in school, Barack was the little sneak who swiped all the test answers off his neighbors’ papers? That, along with affirmative action, would explain how the moron skated through college.


Another cyber item I received shows a shop clerk handing back a customer’s credit card and saying: “I’m sorry, but your race card has been declined. Do you have another form of argument?”

It does make me wonder how much longer decent people will stop reacting like Superman dealing with kryptonite every time some jerk like Maxine Waters, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Al Sharpton, John Lewis, Keith Ellison, Elijah Cummings, Sheila Jackson Lee, James Clyburn and Frederica Wilson, calls them a racist.


Eastern Europe is looking better and better to me. First, it was because Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, slammed their doors on Muslims fleeing the Middle East and Africa like rats abandoning a sinking ship, seeing no upside in granting asylum to the scumballs who have trashed the rest of the continent.

Now, thanks to The New American, I hear that Hungary’s Minister of Human Resources, Bence Rétvári, has declared that gender-studies programs are based in “ideology rather than science” and therefore have no place in facilities of higher education. He went so far as to compare the programs to “Marxist-Leninism.”

Another spokesman for the government added that the degrees have proved useless to students after their graduation. “There is no economic rationale for studies such as these, as the degrees don’t furnish students with skills that can be readily and directly converted on the labor market.”

Can you imagine anyone in America saying such things about all the politically correct curriculums available on our college campuses? If they got rid of crapola like gay, lesbian, black and Hispanic studies, they’d have to padlock the doors and send all the social engineers passing for professors off to find real jobs.

Speaking of life in the ivory towers, a recent poll discovered that speech codes that violate the First Amendment exist on 40% of our colleges. Interestingly, on 99% of the campuses, the Amendment’s injunction to peacefully assemble isn’t enforced, as George Soros-financed thugs regularly commit vandalism, physically intimidate professors and prevent conservatives from speaking.


Stephen Hanover, who got his nose in just under the wire, has a theory about puns he wished to share. “Puns,” he writes, “are often very clever, but not particularly funny. Most people would have you think there isn’t much to it. Bennett Cerf used to come up with them on a regular basis, but they were never gut busters. Good jokes that make you laugh out loud paint a picture with which you can identify.”

All I can add on the subject is that I recall Mr. Cerf was a co-founder of Random House and also a regular panelist on the TV game show “What’s My Line?” He was also married for a year back in the 1930s to the actress Sylvia Sidney, who really got around.

I never knew Mr. Cerf, so I have no idea how annoying he was in person, but I did know Groucho Marx. For a few years, I’d even go so far as to say we were friends. But he wouldn’t stop with the puns. It was almost a compulsion with him. You got the idea that he was only talking to you with half his brain, the other half distracted, trying to find something you’d said that would provide him with the opportunity to make a pun.

It made even having lunch with him an exhausting experience. Groaning isn’t as easy as people make it out to be.


Ben Hayes is justifiably angry with the Justice Department because it has done nothing about politicians who promote sanctuary cities and sanctuary states. So far as he’s concerned, California’s politicians were all accessories in Jose Garcia Zarate’s murder of Kathryn Steinle. I agree. How else would be have been running around loose after being deported five times?

All over the country, people who have no right being in America have committed murders, rapes, robberies and crimes against children, but politicians in both parties continue to resist building the wall.

Their most pathetic response is when they use up their tolerance quota by pointing out that the native-born also commit all those crimes, as if that means it’s no big deal that creeps who have no business being within our borders are doing it, too.


I’ll give the last word to Israel’s late ambassador to this country, Abba Eban, who once summed up the conflict in the Middle East with these 25 words of wisdom: “If the Palestinians put down their weapons there would be no more war. If we put down our weapons there would be no more Israel.

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