Why is it So Difficult to Pronounce “Queso” Correctly?

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American English has had an influx of foreign words as much as our nation has had immigrants.  After years of common use, we can easily stop becoming aware of their origins.  Words such as restaurant and entree (French), delicatessen [often shortened to “deli”] and kindergarten (German)1 , vodka (Russian), as well as fiasco and prima donna (Italian)2 fit into our daily conversations smoothly.

With the increase of those with Hispanic heritage, many Spanish words have become prevalent in our conversations.  Sometimes the words are used even when an English equivalent exists.  This brings us to “queso” or cheese.  A recent fast food television commercial  used the Spanish word throughout rather than its English equivalent.

Fine, many ads do that.  But why is the word pronounced “KAY-so”  instead of “KEH-so”?  In the first place, the long “a” is practically unique to the English language.  Secondly, the correct “eh” sound for the Spanish “e” is already familiar to us Americans.  For example, we have “impressive (“im-PREHS-sihv”), beneficial  (beh-neh-FISH-al), etc.

The closest to a long “a” sound in Spanish comes from words with the “ei” diphthong3 such as in “beisbol” (meaning baseball).

While we’re on the subject, the common unit of currency in several nations, the “peso,” is pronounced “PEH-so”, not “PAY-so.”  Of course, Spanish words aren’t the only ones with foreign origins which are mispronounced when they are easily said correctly.  Perhaps these will be addressed in a future article.

 

1 – “German loanwords in English,” http://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en/words/loanwords.htm

2https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_words_of_Italian_origin

3 – “A diphthong… also known as a gliding vowel, is a combination of two adjacent vowel soundswithin the same syllable,” from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diphthong

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Atheist is Suing Against “In God We Trust” on Currency — Perhaps We Simply Don’t Deserve to Use It

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A California atheist, Michael Newdow, will be in a federal court in Cincinnati arguing that the presence of the words “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 by infringing on his religious freedom.1,2  He’s ignoring the prominence of religious belief in our republic since its beginnings.  As George Washington said in his farewell address:

“Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports… Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice?  And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion.  Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”3

The courts will continue to ponder this thorny issue of how to allow expressions religious belief in our public lives without violating constitutional rights.

Putting that aside, a review of where our U.S. culture is headed strongly suggests that using the motto “In God We Trust” is giving ourselves more credit than we deserve.  Oh sure, we made slavery illegal in this country in the 19th century – a mere eight centuries after “both Saint Wulfstan and Saint Anselm successfully campaigned to remove the last vestiges of slavery in Christendom” 4 (unfortunately, it resurfaced later in more “enlightened” times).  And we started allowing women to vote in 1920, or twenty-seven years after New Zealand did the same and we were also later than ten other countries.5

But, we have had legalized murder of the unborn for 44 years resulting in about 59 million victims6 not counting the physical risks and emotional scars suffered by the mothers.And our latest creation, where we think  the state can redefine the institution of marriage (something not created by the state in he first place) and toss Natural Law out the window with same-sex “marriage.”

These are strange ways to prove we believe “In God We Trust.”

 

 

1 – “Does God have a place on money?, by Chris Graves, The Cincinnati Enquirer, 6/18/2017.

2https://www.congress.gov/bill/103rd-congress/house-bill/1308

3https://www.crossroad.to/text/articles/WashingtonFarewell.html

4 – “Bearing False Witness,” by Rodney Stark, Templeton Press; West Conshohocken, PA, 2016.

5 – “First 15 Countries To Grant Women’s Suffrage, http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/first-15-countries-to-grant-women-s-suffrage.html

6 – http://www.christianliferesources.com/article/u-s-abortion-statistics-by-year-1973-current-1042

7 – “In a series of 1,182 abortions which occurred under closely regulated hospital conditions, 27 percent of the patients acquired post-abortion infection lasting 3 days or longer… Researchers have reported that 3 to 5 percent of aborted women are left inadvertently sterile as a result of the operation’s latent morbidity… Other countries which have legalized abortion have seen the same dramatic increase in ectopic pregnancies…

“Within 8 weeks after their abortions, 55% expressed guilt, 44% complained of nervous disorders, 36% had experienced sleep disturbances, 31% had regrets about their decision, and 11% had been prescribed psychotropic medicine by their family doctor… Thirty to fifty percent of aborted women report experiencing sexual dysfunctions, of both short and long duration, beginning immediately after their abortions. These problems may include one or more of the following: loss of pleasure from intercourse, increased pain, an aversion to sex and/or males in general, or the development of a promiscuous life-style.”  From The After Effects of Abortion,” http://www.abortionfacts.com/reardon/the-after-effects-of-abortion

Time to Send Sgt. Saunders to Congress!

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Those of us born in the first half of the “Baby Boomer” generation will remember the television weekly series, “Combat!”  It was set in World War II France as the Americans fought the Germans.  Like most programs of that era, short snippets from an episode were used in brief promotions during the week.

The one which stands out featured a night battle scene where Sergeant Saunders (played by Vic Morrow) was giving instructions to an overwhelmed soldier, both covered in mud and sweat.  As the sergeant finished his orders, the soldier said, “I’ll try.”

Saunders sharp comeback was, “Don’t try, you DO IT!”  

Fast forward to 2017, where a two-plus year Republican majority in both houses of Congress has had several years to plan a strategy to deliver us from Obamacare.  The two leaders, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), seem to be rolling out more versions of doomed legislation with their apparent concern being that they can say they tried rather than they were relentless in the critical pursuit of victory.

The threats of the Axis powers then and Obamacare now are similar in their impact on daily life.  Had Germany, Italy and Japan been victorious, our freedoms that are guaranteed (not given) by the Constitution would have been scuttled.  Allow the ironically named Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to continue much longer and the free enterprise medical world crashes in the U.S. when too many insurers pull out of markets and middle-America is smothered by premiums covering many more than just their own families.  Thus, the original intent of our previous President will be realized as a frantic majority will plead for “single-payer health care” (also known as socialized medicine) where big government decides what health care is given to whom.  This will complete the liberals’ process of trivializing human life to a commodity to be managed like crops and minerals – the same philosophy of the Axis leaders.

To Mr. McConnell, Mr. Ryan and the rest of the Republican controlled Congress:

“Don’t try to fix the damage caused by Obamacare, YOU DO IT!”

India Wants to Tackle Climate Change with the Risk of Increased Nuclear Power?

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A few days after President Trump announced that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the Paris agreement on climate change, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a state visit to France where he emphasized India’s continued commitment to the 2015 accord by saying “we will work and walk together with others to leave a gift for future generations.”1

The article continues to describe India’s desire to make its “Made in India” campaign realized partially through its development of nuclear power.  The nation is behind in its ability to produce nuclear power as it is still recovering from the 32-year ban the world placed on India prohibiting it from buying nuclear fuel and technology for civilian purposes.  The ban was initiated as a result of its testing a nuclear weapon in 1974.

Putting all of the political reasons and climate change theories aside, there should be one monumental question overriding everything in this issue:  Why is a densely populated country like India willing to gamble with a potentially cataclysmic accident?  Or has the world forgotten Chernobyl?

The  Distressing  Data  from  Chernobyl

April 26, 1986 Chernobyl:  The nuclear power disaster killed 30 workers at the time of the explosion or those who died within months due to radiation exposure.  The World Health Organization projects 9,000 total deaths as a result of this calamity if it parallels the results of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in 1945.  Greenpeace suggests it could go as high as 90,000.  Three hundred fifty thousand people were impacted by the initial evacuation and resettlement.About 1,000 square miles continue to be restricted areas.3  High levels of radiation are expected to make the area uninhabitable anywhere from 180 to 320 years.  Birth defects in Belarus and Ukraine near Chernobyl have been significantly higher.Cleanup of the site is scheduled for 2065.5

If  This  Happened  in  India

The nuclear power plant in Hazira is running at about 20% capacity.1  It is not India’s biggest plant, but let’s supposed a ramped up Hazira has a Chernobyl misfortune.

The city of Hazira is only 65 square miles, so we need to look at its Surat district within the state of Gujarat to compare for population density.  This district is 4,418 square kilometers in size or roughly 1,700 square miles (or close enough to use for similarity).  Its population density is 1,376 per square kilometer6  or about 3,564 people per square mile.

If this plant were to contaminate a Chernobyl-sized area of 1,000 square miles, at least 3-1/2 million people (approx. the combined populations of Chicago and San Francisco)7 would be displaced in addition to the thousands of deaths and life-changing impacts on many more in surrounding areas.  Is nuclear power really the best option for India’s in its attempt to show its resolve in addressing climate change?

 

1 – “India’s Nuclear Industry Needs a Jolt,” edited by Cristina Lindblad, Bloomberg Businessweek, 6/12-18/2017.

2 – “Chernobyl: 30 Years Later, By The Numbers,” by the Associated Press, https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2016-04-25/a-look-at-the-1986-chernobyl-nuclear-disaster-in-numbers, 4/25/2016.

3 –  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_Exclusion_Zone

4 – “Area around Chernobyl remains uninhabitable 25 years later,” by Doug Saunders, The Globe and Mail,https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/area-around-chernobyl-remains-uninhabitable-25-years-later/article4266317/, published 3/15/2011, last updated 8/23/2012.

5https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_Nuclear_Power_Plant

6https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surat_district

7 – July 1, 2014 estimated populations. https://www.infoplease.com/us/us-cities/top-50-cities-us-population-and-rank

Suddenly, Democrats are Worried About People Losing Their Lives?

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In response to the recently released Senate version of Obamacare replacement, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said:

“These cuts are blood money,” Warren said on the Senate floor. “People will die.”  More specifically, Warren added that “Senate Republicans are paying for tax cuts for the wealthy with American lives.” 1

She was a member of the Congress which implemented Obamacare – the plan which increased premiums to unfathomable heights (married couple with no children at home in Ohio with moderate coverage and high deductibles pays $1,700 per month).  The plan has absurd requirements causing insurers to leave many counties and states, thus decreasing competition (and we know what that does to prices).  This is the plan which Rep. Nancy Pelosi famously said that we would have to pass it in order to learn what’s in it, and we have regretted the result.

Sen. Warren is all up in arms about the proposed health plan which might force Congress to move public health insurance assistance from the backs of average Americans to a sensible federal plan where the burden is distributed fairly.  (This does not mean going to socialized medicine, the “single payer” program which Obamacare had in mind after it deliberately destroyed our private insurance system, a goal well on its way to realization.)

All of this outrage from a member of the party which promotes the killing of babies (59 million victims since Roe v. Wade)2   and a disciple of President Obama who, as a senator, would not vote against the horrific practice of late term abortion.

We can’t take her or the rest of the hypocritical Democrats seriously.

 

1 – “Elizabeth Warren on McConnell Bill: ‘These Cuts are Blood Money… People Will Die,’” by Tony Lee, http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/06/22/elizabeth-warren-blood-money-people-will-die/

2http://www.christianliferesources.com/article/u-s-abortion-statistics-by-year-1973-current-1042

Democrats: Don’t Wring Your Hands About Anticipated Federal Budget Cuts, but Donate As Non-Liberals Do

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Lead  In

My wife and I recently attended an info-dinner given by a nationally known financial planning company for invited clients.  Near the end of the evening, one of the attendees at our table repeatedly mentioned how improper it was for those us attending a special dinner we didn’t have to pay for when so many in the U.S. and the world were struggling to survive.  To comfort him, several of us agreed with his assertion that the world contained enough wealth to sustain the entire population, but that the problem was how to make it equitable.

He continued to wring his hands verbally about how those of us at the table, living in excess, were part the problem.  I commented that it would be a great help if our federal government would stop pushing religious groups out the adoption business, hospitals and schools because they did not subscribe to the new political correctness being enforced.  These organizations not only have done good work for centuries, but do it more economically than big government can.

His continued restrained jabs at our supposed lack of concern for the less fortunate changed our responses.  A couple of us described how we and relatives were assisting disadvantaged people through contacts in our country and the world in charitable projects to alleviate poverty.  These efforts included not just significant financial assistance, considering our modest means, but actual labor to help those in need.

Unfortunately, he was not mollified by any of this.  Finally, to my surprise, my otherwise silent wife asked him what he was doing to help others since he seemed so passionate about this subject.  After some typical liberal avoidance of the issue, he said he was promoting awareness.  But what was he actually doing to be part of the solution?  In the absence of anything specific, it was clear that he was for big government to solve these inequities.  This idea was cemented with his question after I reminded him that the success of getting the colonies to agree to a federal constitution was contingent on the assurance that states’ rights would still exist.  He then asked me how much our nation’s population had increased since then.  I correctly stated that it went from three million to 320 million.  His implication was that greater size required great government intervention.

Subsidiarity,  not  Big  Brother

The Left loves concentration of power at the top ostensibly because those of us at the lower levels are incapable.  History proves the error of this strategy because:

“… Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative.  The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity [emphasis retained], according to which ‘a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help co-ordinate its activity within the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good’… The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism.  It sets limits for state intervention… In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies… The family must be helped and defended by appropriate social measures.  Where families cannot fulfill their responsibilities, other social bodies have the duty of helping them and supporting the institution of the family.  Following the principle of subsidiarity, larger communities should take care not to usurp the family’s prerogatives or interfere in its life.” 1,2

How  Does  This  Relate  to  the  New  Federal  Budget?

President Trump’s federal budget proposal is expected to be released this coming Tuesday (May 23).  Included in it will be some budget cuts as the federal deficit begins to be addressed.  The safest bet is that there will be considerable howling, especially from Democrats, as a result of some decreases in funding of some social programs.

Subsidiarity teaches that this is not a crisis or necessarily inappropriate.  Much has been and should be done at the state and local level – and this includes us average citizens, not just “the government.”

Going back to the discussion at the financial planning dinner, what states’ residents are doing the most to make the world a better place through their own initiative?  According to recent data, these states were the most charitable based on income tax filing deductions (as a percentage of income) and would not reflect aid to family members and friends in need:

  • Utah 6.6%
  • Mississippi 5.0%
  • Alabama 4.8%
  • Tennessee 4,5%
  • Georgia 4.2%
  • South Carolina 4.1%
  • Idaho 4.0%
  • Oklahoma 3.9%
  • Arkansas 3.9%
  • North Carolina 3.6%

Liberal states aren’t present in this list.  Adding  to the Left’s reputation for wanting the federal government take all of the responsibility, New Hampshire was the lowest and Maine and Vermont were among the lowest.While some may believe that this is because conservatives are simply wealthier or more religious (at least true on the second part), the point is that for the 2012 election, “The top 17 states for rate of giving all went for Romney.” 4

The take away from this:  Liberals, with their willingness to spend others’ money instead of their own, may not complain about budget cuts until they match the generosity of their supposedly less informed non-liberal acquaintances.

 

1 – Taken from paragraphs 1883, 1885, 1894 and 2209 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 25th printing, November, 2013.

2 – A word about “the common good.”  It is not about majority rule or what helps the most people, but “By common good is to be understood ‘the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.’  The common good concerns the life of all… The common good consists of three essential elements:  respect for and promotion of the fundamental rights of the person; prosperity, or the development of the spiritual and temporal goods of society; the peace and security of the group and of its members.”  Ibid, from paragraphs 1906 and 1925.

3 – “Report:  Which states give the most to charity?  The ones with church-goers,” by Lindsey Bever, The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/10/06/report-which-states-give-the-most-to-charity-the-ones-with-church-goers/?utm_term=.d192b18507a9, 10/6/2014.

4 – “Who’s More Generous, Liberals or Conservatives,” by John Grgurich, The Fiscal Times, http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2014/10/17/Who-s-More-Generous-Liberals-or-Conservatives, 10/17/2014.

It’s Unfortunate that Many “Universities” are Digressing to “Particularities”

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Universities have been in existence for many centuries, although a precise starting date is not known.

“It was, after all, in the High Middle Ages that the university came into existence… The precise origins of the very first universities are lost in obscurity, though the picture becomes ever clearer as we move into the thirteenth century.  We cannot give exact dates for the appearance of universities at Paris and Bologna, Oxford and Cambridge, since they evolved over a period of time…”1

The original purpose of the university is “the creation of prepared minds.” True, over the last century, we have seen much commercialization of higher education in the form of investment into research for the business and manufacturing worlds.  In addition, the idea that colleges are to prepare students for more lucrative employment has somehow become the majority opinion.

All of that aside, an inherent mission of the university remains that it is to be an arena where a multitude of ideas can discussed and debated.  The concept comes from “the Latin words universitas and universitatis (which) are generally thought of as the source of the word university.

These words are derived from universus universeum / universa, meaning universe or universal.”3

 The intrinsic purpose of the university was maintained in the 1960’s despite near anarchy occurring on some campuses when “progressive” ideas ranging from the validity of the Viet Nam War to sexual mores to questioning our form of government aggressively demanded to be heard.  While many opposed the progressives, it was appropriate that these differences of opinion were allowed to be debated.

Now, after seven centuries of purposeful existence, the “university” is threatened with extinction.  Since the 1960’s, a majority of U.S. universities have adopted the “progressive” social and political philosophies.  However, in this new climate they have abandoned the fundamental purpose of the university by not allowing “conservatives” to speak on many campuses.  Excuses for limiting the exchange of ideas include charges of not representing the university’s core values4 and false accusations of “hate speech” compelling the universities to say they cannot guarantee safety of the speaker or audience because of the expectation of violent protests.

These institutions of higher learning are abdicating their responsibility to “create prepared minds” via civilized discussion of opposing thoughts.  They are ceasing to be universal in the testing of ideas.

An antonym for universal is “particular”.Consequently, institutions that “disinvited” conservative speakers last year such as Princeton University and American University should henceforth be known as Princeton Particularity and American Particularity.5

 

1 – “The Catholic Church and the Creation of the University,” by Thomas E. Woods Jr., http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/education/catholic-contributions/the-catholic-church-and-the-creation-of-the-university.html, 2005.

2 – “The Purpose of Higher Education:  To Create Prepared Minds, “ by Andres Fortino, https://evolllution.com/opinions/the-purpose-of-higher-education-to-create-prepared-minds/, 6/26/2012.

3http://english-ingles.com/en/etymology-of-university/

4 – “Dis-invited: 4 Conservatives Not Welcome To Speak On College Campuses,” by Arissa D (Future Female Leaders cabinet member and a student at Yale University, http://futurefemaleleader.com/disinvited-conservatives-not-welcome/, 4/16/2017.

5http://englishthesaurus.net/antonym/universal