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2006-05-20 09:41:22|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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English would be declared the "national language" of theUnited States under a measure the Senate approved Thursday, alargely symbolic move that supporters said would promote unity andencourage assimilation by immigrants.
The measure would not reverse government practices ofproviding some materials and services — including voting ballotsand emergency advisories — in other languages. But it wouldestablish that people have no right or entitlement to askgovernment officials to provide services or materials in otherlanguages, unless authorized by law.
minutes after adding the provision to the immigration bill itis debating, the Senate passed a second amendment with less pointedphrasing. Declaring English the country's "common and unifying"language, it specified that the "existing rights" under which thegovernment provides bilingual services and assistance would not bediminished.
Lawmakers said negotiations with the House would determinewhich of the two measures remains in a final bill overhauling thenation's immigration laws.
The debate over the English language issue dominatedThursday's Senate proceedings and frequently grew heated.Proponents of the tougher amendment argued that it was needed tounite the country, while opponents insisted it would cause greaterdivision.
The dispute echoed similar debates that have occurred for morethan a decade not only in Congress but at state and locallevels.
Twenty-seven states have passed statutes declaring Englishtheir official language.
The Senate's debate reflected growing concerns among manylawmakers about the need to reinforce common ties among citizens.An estimated 47 million people in the U.S. speak a language otherthan English at home.
"We are not a nation based on race," Sen. Lamar Alexander(R-Tenn.) said in support of the "national language" amendment. "Weare a fragile idea based on a few common principles and ournational common language."
But some interpreted the amendment as an attack on Latinos.And in a chamber that prides itself on civility, that concernprompted unusually harsh language.
"I believe this amendment is racist," Minority Leader Sen.Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), themeasure's sponsor. "I think it's directed basically to people whospeak Spanish."
Inhofe, who speaks Spanish, strongly denied the charge,calling it "ridiculous."
The extended debate came on a day when senators who back abroad approach to revamping immigration laws gained themomentum.
The senators, many of whom meet every morning to discussstrategy, have successfully defended the core provisions of thebill. Their collective strength was on display Thursday.
The bipartisan group killed a measure, on a 58-35 vote, thatwould have radically altered the bill. That proposal sought toeliminate a provision allowing future guest workers to apply forpermanent legal status. It also called for scaling backlegalization measures for undocumented immigrants.
Additionally, the coalition supporting the overall billderailed an amendment that would have kept newly legalizedimmigrants from receiving Social Security benefits based on taxesthey paid while working illegally in the U.S.
On a less contentious matter, senators approved by a voicevote a provision that would allow Filipino veterans of World War IIwho reside in the U.S. to bypass visa caps that often separatefamilies for more than a decade. Instead, these veterans would beallowed to bring their children to the U.S. immediately.
The Senate aims to take a final vote on the immigration billby the end of next week.
The legislation would bolster border security and enforcementof immigration laws at work sites, create a guest worker programand offer legalization to most of the estimated 12 million illegalimmigrants in the United States.
The legislation embodies the multifaceted changes inimmigration law that President Bush endorsed Monday in a nationallytelevised speech.
 
 

Author/celebrities, author/politicians and just plain authors willcompete for attention this weekend at BookExpo America, the annualpublishing convention in Washington, D.C.
It's "three days of pure, unadulterated literary hype," bookpublicist Scott Manning says. Russ Lawrence, president-elect of theAmerican Booksellers Association, calls it "a giant celebration forthe printed word and its digital and audio brethren."
The event is not open to the general public but attracts25,000 people in the book business and nearly 1,000 authors. Amongthem: comedian Paula Poundstone (There's Nothing in This Book ThatI Meant to Say, out in December); Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (TheAudacity of Hope, out in October); and novelist John Updike(Terrorist, June).

The convention is a chance for publishers and authors to try tospark the elusive "buzz" about new and forthcoming books.Booksellers line up to have authors sign their books, much likesports fans seek big-league autographs. At last count, 563 authorswill work in shifts in the "autographing area."

It's more about selling books than writing or reading them. Amongthe panel discussions: The Art of Publicity and Self-Promotion,Channeling the Web for Readers and Buyers, and Selling andPromoting Right-of-Center Books via Left-of-Center Channels.

Lawrence, owner of Chapter One Bookstore in Hamilton, Mont., saysone of the industry's biggest challenges is "competition forpeople's time. People seem to have more opportunities to spendtheir time doing so many things other than reading books."

But the convention is "like going to a crowded middle school, whereyou can almost smell the hormones. ... This convention is not aboutwidgets and gadgets; it's about a shared cultural heritage as oldas humanity and as new as this morning's news."

BookTV on C-SPAN2 plans at least six hours of coverage Saturday,starting at 8 a.m. ET/5 PT with a breakfast panel that includesUpdike and Obama.
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