Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Corzine's $1.2 Billion Locomotive

This Blog's posting of 20 October 2005 invoked a quotation from the works of the late Robert Benchley, specifically, a sketch entitled "The Lost Locomotive."

I shall reprise that same quotation as anent to Jon Corzine and his MF Global's missing client funds to the turn of $1.2 billion:

The day that Mr. MacGregor lost the locomotive was a confusing one for our accountants. They didn't know whom to charge it to.

"We have an account called 'Alterations,'" said the head accountant (Mr. MacGregor). "We might charge it to that. Losing a locomotive is certainly an alteration in something."

"I am afraid that you are whistling in the dark, Mr. MacGregor," I said quietly.

"The point is not what account we are going to charge the lost locomotive to," I continued. "It is how you happened to lose it."

"I have already told you," he replied, with a touch of asperity, "that I haven't the slightest idea. I was tired and nervous and -- well -- I lost it, that's all!"

"As a matter of fact," he snapped, "I am not at all sure that the locomotive is lost. And, if it is, I am not at all sure that I lost it."

[from Robert Benchley, "My Ten Years in a Quandry," page 1 (Blue Ribbon Books, New York, 1936)]

Substitute Jon Corzine for Mr. MacGregor.

Wishing all a Happy Chanukah or a Merry Xmas, as the case may be.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dhimmi Apparatchik in Training

Matthew Carlson, a student at The College of New Jersey, has just been awarded a scholarship to study at the American University at Dubai for the upcoming Spring semester.

Said Carlson, "Dubai offers the best of both worlds for me as a student studying economics and Arabic. I will be able to continue my business education in an international financial center, and I will be able to improve my Arabic skills by experiencing the Gulf culture firsthand."

I basically believe that students studying in foreign lands is a good thing. I broadens the students' experience, builds cultural bridges, and teaches tolerance and appreciation. I happen to have had an exchange student from China enrolled in one of my classes this past semester.

But somehow, I cannot help but wonder what Carlson will do with his life once he graduates college and goes out into the world. Will he help to further the beneficial influence of American ingenuity and innovation, or will he become a dhimmi apparatchik facilitator of the Islamic agenda for world domination?

I hope for the former, but fear the latter. The fact that Carlson's scholarship is bankrolled by the William J. Clinton Foundation is not very encouraging.

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Arab Neighborhood is Going to the Dogs

Shuafat is a neighborhood in the Municipality of Jerusalem. The population of Shuafat is Arab. As such, it is an accepted cultural norm in Shuafat to physically attack Jews who come into their neighborhood. Even if those Jews happen to work for the electric power utility, or the Jerusalem municipality. While the residents of Shuafat unabashedly detest anything Jewish, the nevertheless do feel a strong sense of entitlement to the services of the State of Israel and the Jerusalem municipality.

Packs of wild dogs have, of late, converged upon Shuafat. The Shuafat residents now complain that the Jerusalem Veterinary Service does not provide adequate protection to their neighborhood.

But, as the JVS so appropriately notes, they cannot be expected to send their people into Shuafat without adequate protection from the Shuafat Arabs who habitually attack employees of the Holy City of Jerusalem.

If you want service, then you need to ensure the safety of the providers of such service!

This, by the way, is yet another reason to love dogs!

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Talking about the Legacy

I really shouldn't be writing this post now because I have so much to do, but I have just had a very frustrating day (the details of which shall not now burden the reader) and I need to take a break from it all.

One of the e-mails in the In Box was a Call For Papers on teaching students whose primary language is not English.

I frequently get Calls for Papers. Most of them are of no interest to me, but I have been known to submit some, and have made a few presentations at conferences (including one within the past six months).

I have no professional interest in this latest Call of Papers. What I did notice, however, was the use of the term "legacy speakers" to refer to people in America whose language preference is not English.

I remember my grandparents and parents conversing in Yiddish (which my own generation eventually picked up) and other languages from the old countries when they really, really, did not want the younger generation to understand the conversation. But even though my grandparents were born over there and English was their second (or third) language, they each had an excellent command of English (albeit with a heavy accent).

And while only one of my grandparents managed to graduate high school, and none of them attended college (though my grandfather did pass the entrance exam to an Ivy League school), all four of them could read and understand the fine English literature, the daily newspapers, and even a few specialized technical writings.

But in my parents' and grandparents' day, conversancy in one's ancestral language was never an excuse for a resident of the United States to not be conversant and literate in English. Today, there are fewer incentives for people in America whose first language is not English (present in the country legally or otherwise) to learn English.

I have no objection to people being conversant and literate in the languages of their parents and grandparents. Millions of Americans of diverse backgrounds are. There is nothing wrong with taking pride in one's ethnic and linguistic heritage.

But I am very conspiracy-minded, and somehow, I suspect that the term "legacy speaker" is part of some grand plot to excuse people in America from learning English, and leaving America all the more vulnerable to a takeover by various and sundry hostile elements.


Monday, December 05, 2011

Occupied with the Occupiers

Yes, the postings here have been few of late. Without going into details, it suffices to say that several changes in my heretofore normal routine schedule (if there is such a thing) are now afoot. I fully expect to be quite occupied with various personal and professional matters during the coming weeks and months, and it is likely to be stressful at times (though not all of it necessarily bad stress).

Speaking of being "occupied," I have encountered more than enough of the Occu-Shmucks and their supporters who run my faculty union and who have been convening many campus events to push the Occupy Wall Street agenda.

It therefore was very reassuring to read this article in the Jewish Press from one academic, Prof. Steven Plaut of the University of Haifa, who is definitely NOT an Occu-Shmuck. It is called "You Just Might be an 'Occupier'."

I now share it with you, dear reader, as I sign off and attend to all of those other pressing matters. I'll try to not delay this long for the next posting.