June 10, 2006

As in Greater Cincy, “For Service Speak English” Place in Philly Is Catching Flak (Includes Mason, OH Updates)

Filed under: Economy,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:01 pm

Note: This was originally posted just after midnight, but has been moved up because of new information learned about the situation in Mason, OH at The Pleasure Inn.

I knew this had to be too good to last.

I was more than a little amazed that Geno’s Steaks in Philadelphia and its owner, Joey Vento (pictured below; original Philly Inquirer report; previous BizzyBlog post; previous Michelle Malkin post) had somehow escaped the scrutiny of the PC police despite insisting that its customers order in English, and doing so in a public and outspoken way.


I am no longer amazed, because as Michelle Malkin notes, a city councilman and a “neighborhood organization” are on Geno’s, and Vento’s, case.

The councilman, Jim Kenney, has askd Vento to take the “Speak English” sign you see in the picture down, saying:

“It’s such an iconic institution and business, one that is that visible for many of our residents, for the region and the world,” Kenney said.

Mr. Kenney, that’s exactly why it should STAY UP.

The “neighborhood organization” is trying to create trouble where none previously existed:

“It’s really upset a lot of a people,” said Brad Baldia, director of development and outreach for Day Without An Immigrant, a coalition of immigrant groups. “For some people, I think we’re just going to say ‘Le gusta Pat’s.’”

Juntos, a neighborhood organization that advocates for Latino communities, said it plans to send people to Geno’s to try to order in Spanish. Depending on what happens, the group may pursue court action, said Peter Bloom, the group’s director.

The statement that you’ll take your business elsewhere is a legitimate response in a free-market economy, but what’s in the second paragraph of the excerpt is a threat to violate a clearly-established policy of a private business on private property. If Juntos carries through on its threat, I’m sure some dimwit will try to compare it the lunch-counter protests in the 1950s and 1960s. Nothing could be further from the truth — Geno’s will serve anyone; they simply insist on understanding what you’re saying.

Those who have been following this blog and others in the Cincinnati area know that this story has local echoes (see Previous Posts below) at The Pleasure Inn in the northeastern suburb of Mason. Tom Ullum, The Pleasure Inn’s owner, has been under pressure from the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC*) since late last year to take down his “For Service Speak English” sign.

If Joey Vento is lucky, the City of Philadelphia and the State of Pennsylvania don’t have an equivalent to the OCRC. But I doubt that Vento will be that fortunate; I’m afraid, like The Pleasure Inn, he’ll be in some kind of legal battle in the pretty near future. But because of who he is, the, uh, stakes for Vento and the freedom to conduct business at your establishment as you wish will be higher.

* – described by the R-Rated Whistleblower as “the $11,456,071-per-year Political Correctness Commission, whose 135+ bureaucRATS seem to have nothing better to do than travel around the state so they can persecute people like bar owners in Mason for having a helpful sign in their window…..”

UPDATE: I missed two things that have happened relating to the Mason-Pleasure Inn situation:

  1. An organization called Pro English made a statement about Ullum’s situation in late January (like I said, I missed it), and has provided som pro bono legal assistance.
  2. The Pleasure Inn was vandalized on May 28:

    Early Sunday morning, someone threw a five pound chunk of concrete through his window while customers were in his Mason bar.

    Ullum then changed his sign from “you must be legal” to “might need hardhats.”

I’m glad Ullum has a sense of humor. I have a sense of anger. The fact that it was done during operating hours indicates to me that the vandalism was a “statement,” and that it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to consider it to be one of those possible “hate crimes” our Kafkaesque legal system invented out of whole cloth in the 1990s.

The link to the vandalism story is from a Cincinnati TV station’s web site. I searched and did not find any mention of the vandalism at The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The next action in Ullum’s case is August 15. The case was referred (second paragraph at link) to an administrative law judge for an opinion on further legal action in December. The link about the vandalism describes what’s coming up as a “court date,” but I’m not clear exactly what the venue will be.

Previous Posts:

  • May 31 — The Pleasure Inn Has “For Service Speak English” Company
  • May 13, 2006 — Why Won’t the Ohio Civil Rights Commission Get Off Tom Ullum’s Back?
  • Dec. 19, 2005 — Update: Thought Police 1, Bar Owner 0; Bar Owners Showing Solidarity–1
  • Dec. 16 — Thought Police 1, Bar Owner 0
  • Oct. 9 — Questions for the Thought Police at the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and The Cincinnati Enquirer

If True, This is a Jaw-Dropping Photoshop Deception

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 1:40 pm

Luc Van Braekel at The Brussels Journal shows how pictures of numerous people were copied and pasted into to an AFP crowd photo at the protest of the murder of 17-year old Joe Van Holsbeeck in Brussels Central Station in late April — and circles them.

A commenter at the post claims to see even more copy-pastes than Van Braekel flagged.

The only reason I have the caveat “if true” is that a link to the original photo and story either hasn’t been found or isn’t available. That said, I’d say the chances that Van Braekel is playing us are very low.

With that tiny caution, I encourage you to go there, and be dumbfounded.

Brief Outage Is Over

Filed under: General — Tom @ 1:30 pm

The investigation isn’t.

Weekend Question 1: How Miserable Does the Tax Man Make You?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government,TWUQs — Tom @ 9:41 am

Answer: It of course depends on where you live, and how well off you are.

Forbes has a well-done chart of “tax misery” for well-to-do in most major countries in the world. It also notes the changes for the better or worse from last year to this year (click on the image for a larger version and to see the full Forbes article; if/when Forbes puts that image behind its subscription wall, go here instead to see the full image):


Some thoughts:

  • Not surprisingly, France is worst, but what is surprising is that it’s still the worst even after its misery level came down 8 points in 2006. Just imagine how tax-miserable well-to-do French were in 2005.
  • China being second-worst surprised me, especially with its posturing as attempting to meld capitalism and communism (good luck).
  • Germany’s misery went up over 13 points this year, thanks to that country’s equivalent of a RINO (Republican In Name Only), supposed conservative Angela Merkel. This does not bode well for Deutschland specifically, or the EU economy overall.
  • How about that 21-point difference between USA-Texas (94.6) and USA-New York (115.7)? That level of difference explains a lot of the Blue State to Red State migration we’re seeing among upwardly mobile people.
  • Many of the other countries that are the most miserable are the usual EU suspects, but there are exceptions, like Ireland and the Baltic States, which not surprisingly have the economies that are in the best shape in the EU.

Fine. How miserable is it for the average person in various countries? Let’s look at another Forbes chart; it’s a little older, based on 2003 and 2004 data, but recent enough to be relevant (it is split into two for space reasons here; click on image for a larger version and to see the full Forbes article; if/when Forbes puts that image behind its subscription wall, go here instead to see the full image):


What’s interesting, and pretty obvious, is that the countries with the highest tax rates as a percentage of GDP are the ones limping along at 1.5% – 2% annual growth, while the ones with lower overall rates are countries zipping right along at 4%-plus (with the annoying exception of Mexico, whose economy is distorted, and probably hampered, by the illegal drugs trade and remittances from abroad). Why am I not surprised?

Positivity: Woman Saves Three Boaters in Washington State

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:59 am

If you look at the video at the link, you’re going to be impressed that this woman, among others, rescued a 250-pound man: