RUSH: Have you heard about this? This is from Philadelphia. “An English-only ordering policy at one of the city’s most famous cheesesteak joints drew a warning Monday from officials who threatened to file a discrimination complaint…. [Philadelphia]’s Commission on Human Relations planned to argue that the policy at Geno’s Steaks discourages customers of certain backgrounds from eating there, said Rachel Lawton, acting executive director. Geno’s owner, Joseph Vento, posted two small signs at his shop in South Philadelphia proclaiming: ‘This is America: When ordering, speak English.'” Now Rachel Lawton, the acting executive director for the Commission on Human Relations, “said that violates the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodation and housing.
“‘It’s discouraging patronage by non-English-speaking customers because of their national origin or ancestry,’ she said. Vento, 66 [the owner of Geno’s], whose grandparents struggled to learn English after arriving from Sicily in the 1920s, said Monday that he isn’t discriminating and has no intention of giving in. ‘I would say they would have to handcuff me and take me out because I’m not taking [the signs] down,’ Vento said. He said no customer had ever been turned away because of the policy. Vento said he posted the sign about six months ago because of concern over the debate on immigration reform and the increasing number of people in the area who can’t order in English.
“The historically Italian community has become more diverse as immigrants from Asia and Latin America have moved in.” Lawton said the restaurant would probably be served with a complaint either yesterday or today. She didn’t return calls from al-AP on Monday evening. She said the restaurant “could be ordered to take down the signs or face fines. The dispute could end up in court. ‘Let them do what they want to,’ Vento said. ‘When it comes, then we’ll deal with it.'” Can you believe this? Okay, the guy — if he doesn’t want people coming in there that can’t speak English and order — how is this discriminating? Why is the onus not on those who want to go into a place of business and access it? Obviously… I know. I know. The regulations. I’m just telling you this is another sign. This is Philadelphia. This is not a border town. This is not close to the Mexican border. This is not San Diego. This is not Texas.
This is not Arizona. This is a blue state and a really blue city. Don’t forget, this is the city — they’re building some giant building. I forget what the building is, a bank building or something. It’s going to be the tallest building in Philadelphia, and they’re going to use non-flush urinals in the men’s room. Weeeeell! The union thugs and the Pipe Fitters Union weren’t having any of that so they filed a protest and they threatened to go on strike, some of the construction workers did, and the way it was settled? “All right, all right, all right, all right! We’re not going to take out the flush-free urinals, or flushless whatever they’re called, urinals. We’re going to keep ’em in,” but the compromise was to let the pipe fitters go ahead and put pipes in anyway. Pipes that will never be used! Pipes that are not even going to be connected will be installed so the pipe fitters have work today.
RUSH: Our last caller, two callers ago, said that John Kerry had his cheesesteak at Geno’s. It was not Geno’s. It was Pat’s. Pat’s is the Democrat place, and Geno’s is the GOP place across the street, and Kerry went to Pat’s to have his cheesesteak, and that’s where he ordered Swiss cheese. Normally it’s Cheez Whiz, maybe some American or provolone. (Laughing.) But he ordered Swiss cheese, and the Washington Post ran a picture of him eating the thing, and the whole story is how he just blew it with the whole experience: the way he ate it, the way he ordered it, and they bring in his $75 haircuts and his Boston Brahman personality and so forth.
Anyway, we’ll link to it at RushLimbaugh.com so you can refresh your memories of John Kerry eating a Philly cheesesteak. You got me to thinking, here, folks. They want to fine Geno’s because he’s got a sign up that says, “This is America. When ordering, please speak English.” In other words, discriminating against customers who can’t speak English. Well, this program airs in Philadelphia, and a number of other places around the world as well. This program airs in Philadelphia and you have to speak English to get on this program. We don’t have a sign posted, but, I mean, it’s clear if you don’t speak English you’re not going to get on this program. I wonder if that exposes the EIB Network to any kind of penalty or liability in Philadelphia or discriminating against Philadelphians who cannot access the nation’s most listened to radio talk show.
“Well,” you might say, “No, Rush. Come on! You can’t do that.”
Why not? This is a federally regulated business, broadcasting — and, you know, anti-discrimination laws in the federal books are just as onerous as what they might be in Philadelphia. You might say, “Well, they’ve probably got Spanish-language stations in Philadelphia.” Well, I’m sure they’ve got restaurants in Philadelphia, too, where if you want to go speak Spanish to order the food, I’m sure they have those specific locales, and I’m sure that if you don’t speak Spanish in those restaurants, you may be out of luck. I don’t know. Wait and see. I’m not confident we might not be cited as well, ladies and gentlemen, for being in violation of Philadelphia’s anti-discrimination statutes, laws, regulations, what have you. Kirk in Lansing, Michigan, welcome to the EIB Network, sir.
CALLER: Rush Limbaugh, I feel sorry for you, sir. I’ve never heard a person as mean-spirited and nasty. Now, what’s wrong with that individual who doesn’t speak English to go into a restaurant and maybe struggle with the language and order a meal?
RUSH: Wait a minute. Did you just say that you’ve never heard anyone as mean-spirited and nasty as I?
CALLER: That is true, Rush. I do not understand where you’re coming from on this.
RUSH: When was I “mean-spirited and nasty”?
CALLER: Let me ask you a question: “Would Jesus have walked around Nazareth or Jerusalem with a sign that said, ‘Don’t talk to me unless you do it in my native tongue’?” No. He went to everyone. He went to the poor, the homeless, the prostitutes, he spoke to people in different languages, he had interpreters there [sic], and what you are advocating is immoral, inhumane — and in this country it’s against the law, Rush.
RUSH: You’ve got to be kidding me?
CALLER: Uh, sir, no, I am not. What is wrong with Christian brotherly love, welcoming in people?
CALLER: (clearing throat) I see nothing wrong with that — and I have a bit of advice for Geno [sic–Joseph Vento]. Maybe —
CALLER: — maybe if he wanted to show some of that GOP love because apparently he’s the GOP guy —
RUSH: Oooh! Oh, here it is. Stick with it long enough…
CALLER: — he could have people out in the line telling people how to order in English.
RUSH: Kirk, let me tell you something. This will explain it. I do not walk around with an obsessive guilt like you do obviously. As a liberal Democrat, you have to be obsessed with tremendous guilt in order to feel and think the way you do, as just articulated. I don’t have that kind of guilt. I don’t believe my country is mean-spirited and nasty and wrong and needs to bend over and grab the ankles in order to say we’re sorry and be accommodating of virtually any activity or any behavior. Perhaps this man and his business, perhaps, says, “I don’t have time. I don’t have time to go out and try to understand what people who don’t speak the language of this country are telling me. I’ve got people that want to get served. I’ve got people coming in here; they’re ordering a cheesesteak or whatever else. I don’t have time to try and figure out what somebody who doesn’t know the language of this country is trying to say. So if you want to come in here, learn English.”
It’s his business! He can run it the way he wants. If it hurts him, it hurts him. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I, frankly, think the onus ought to be on people, if you want to go in someplace and order something to eat, learn how to speak the language and read the menu, for crying out loud! Why is it that business owner’s responsibility to go out and have interpreters and hire people that can speak all kinds of languages? I can understand hotels doing this in certain cities that have international travelers coming in and out, but you gotta brush up here on your definitions of “mean” and “nasty.” (interruption) Yeah. You know, I’ll tell you something else, Kirk. The thing that surprises me the most, though, about your call is — and it’s actually refreshing — it shows that there may be a cultural shift here taking place that’s actually good for the country. When you, a liberal Democrat, call here and espouse the virtues of Jesus, when you call here and use Jeeee-sus as an example that we should all follah! Why, Lordy, amen! Progress happening in my country! Say what it is. Guy, Winter Haven, Florida, welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hi, Rush, how are you?
RUSH: Fine, sir.
CALLER: Long-time listener, first time caller. The reason I’m calling is I’m listening to all this stuff about English first and so on and so forth. I’m 62 years old. I grew up in Montreal. I remember the FLQ [Front de liberation du Quebec]. I remember all the mailbox bombings. I remember all the separatist movement and so on and so forth. I remember when I was a kid it used to be English signs on the buildings and on the businesses. All of a sudden they had to be English and French. By about the middle of 70s, it was French first, and then by the 80s it was French only. Now it’s come back a little bit, but all I’m saying is: I am seeing with all this adding Spanish to the menus and when I drive from Florida back up to Montreal, I go through North Carolina, I listen to two Spanish radio stations. (Laughing.) I understand a Spanish radio station in Florida. In North Carolina? I’m not so sure. But all I’m saying is I see the handwriting on the wall. It happened to me; it flipped around, and the only other thing I’m going to say is that if we went to some other country, Americans, you know, walk into some place in Paris, France, and maybe they might speak English to them, but the chances are pretty slim. They’d have to order in French. The guy’s got a right. As you said, it’s his business. You should order in English, and all I’m saying is I’ve seen the handwriting on the wall.
RUSH: I know what you’re saying. Let’s define some terms here, set some parameters, as it were. I know what you’re saying about the Balkanization — and this, by the way, is one of the most — I think it’s just now starting to bubble up over the surface; this is one of the most — irritating aspects of illegal immigration, and that is because of it, Americans are having to learn Spanish or put up with multilingual signage and so forth and so on rather than enforcing the notion that English is our official language. By the way, it is a compassionate thing. It’s not “mean and nasty” to insist on arrivals in this country who are going to live here to learn our language.
Without doing so, you’re never going to realize your potential in this country. It’s just axiomatic. If you don’t learn the language as an immigrant to this country you don’t stand a chance of being all you can be, of maximizing the opportunities here, and to require an English-only or English-language requirement, learning requirement in this country, it’s a compassionate thing for people that are arriving here. But the libs, who all of a sudden are citing the experiences of Jeee-sus to us on the phones are trying to say that it is mean-spirited and nasty for us not to learn their language! It’s just the opposite.
Now, you talk about Paris. I’ve been to Paris. I’ve been to France, and there are plenty of places there that speak English. Restaurants, hotels and so forth. But I am not an illegal immigrant when I go to France. I am a visitor. I am an American. (I tried to hide that last time I was there. Nah, I didn’t really.) But, you know, they will accommodate you. You go into a hotel or a restaurant, and they know that in various times of year it’s the peak of tourist season. They will endeavor to understand you and they have people that can. I don’t think — maybe they are — if the French are requiring their people to learn various languages of Islam, I don’t think they are, are they? They’re blowing it a whole bunch of other different ways but they’re not doing that. (interruption)
Chirac walked out. That’s right, he did. Chirac walked out of a business meeting because French wasn’t spoken, because the guy used English. They’re very arrogant over there about this. But I have been to places, on the other hand. I have been to little neighborhood joints. Last time I went to Paris a friend of mine from California recommended this French neighborhood bar restaurant joint — not on the tourist site, not on the tourist beat — and there was no English to be had. There was no English spoken. There were no menus in English and it was fend for yourself. (interruption)
Well, yeah, I pointed at it. I knew some French words, not enough to carry a conversation. I had a little book and so forth, but (interruption). No, no, no. I did not order snails. It was a breakfast place, a brunch-type place. It wasn’t difficult to do. I’ve got enough experience in recognizing enough words to get by. That’s not my point! The point is you can find places in Paris just like Geno’s. Geno’s is not a place where Mark Malloch Brown from Great Britain on a tour of Philadelphia would find to go eat. John Kerry wouldn’t find it if he weren’t campaigning for something. He’d have to be drug in there by a campaign. He wouldn’t set foot in south Philly otherwise. So Geno’s is not the kind of place that you would expect international travelers — it will be now. (Laughing.) It’s not the kind of place you’d expect international travelers. We’re talking about illegal immigration here, and that is what needs to be pointed out.
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