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Thursday, 18 May 2006



It comes as no surprise to me that Bill Nelson, my erstwhile Democratic Senator, has signed on to this.

Once the government starts passing laws written in a reasonable facsimile of standard English, they can complain.

Steve Bates

Michael, thanks for the names of all 10 Democratic senators; only eight appeared in the article I read yesterday.

For a good time, run your French paragraph through Google Translate. Not being a Francophone, I was forced to that regrettable alternative. My favorite was "wire-whores" for what I take to be "SOB's" in your original.

I think the GOP's new version of its Southern strategy may backfire. Have they forgotten that Texas, to take just one example, will be majority Hispanic in a decade or two if trends continue, and that's just counting Hispanic citizens who vote? If the U.S. survives as a representative democracy, the GOP may find that actions like these will come back to haunt them in a greatly changed electorate. (Of course, that condition may not be met. Sigh.)

Steve Bates

Correction: for "Hispanic citizens who vote," please read, "Hispanic citizens, who vote in large numbers." I doubt the Hispanic citizens who vote will ever be a majority in and of themselves in Texas. One never knows; that may happen, too. But my intention was to say that American citizens in Texas who are Hispanic will soon enough be a majority in that state. And goodness knows they are politically active.


Hey, I said it was idiomatic and would kick out some strange results. "...maudits fils-putains... means, literally "accursed sons of whores." It's a little stronger than SOBs, but in that same genre. I can't for the life of me figure out how the translation software could get the second half of the compond correct but so egregiously miss the first part, even given that fils could be the plural of fil, "wire." Must be a glitch in a parsing subroutine someplace.

Ian McGibboney

I laughed out loud at your French declaration! Very much the kind of words my grandparents would have used.

Well, let's at least look at the bright side of this: Bush will now have to learn English. Hell, me just might veto it in light of that fact.


A month in France, and a very good French slang dictionary mean that I've gotten a lot better at colloquial slang--and consequently sound a lot less like a tourist. I don't know why they don't teach French the way it's actually spoken and written, at least in addition to the formal type. It would be a hell of a lot easier! I'd still be standing in the Gare du Nord trying to validate my railpass and make my required reservations for the EuroStar to London if a friendly SNCF employee hadn't taken pity on me and switched to English. Nobody ever taught me railroad vocab!

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