Norwegian American Press

More photos from My Summer Vacation…

My great grandfather signed his name with a X. For a while the family puzzled over the old documents, thinking he must have been illiterate.  But no, someone else remembered he always read the Swedish paper that he got from Minneapolis–there were several–so now the mystery is only deeper.

There were several Norwegian-language papers as well.  Here is what they were printed with and what they looked like, the equipment being part of a display in the basement of Vesterheim museum in Decorah, Iowa.

The explanatory sign:
1 Norwegian Press sign

Linotype (?) machine:
2 linotype

Explanatory sign for hand printing press:
3 hand printing press sign

Hand Printing Press:

4 press

The newspapers:
5 papers
6 Decorah papers

7 Norwegian newspapers

Judge orders ESL classes

Here’s one idea for boosting enrollment at your local community college:

A judge known for creative sentencing has ordered three Spanish-speaking men to learn English or go to jail. The men, who faced prison for criminal conspiracy to commit robbery, can remain on parole if they learn to read and write English, earn their GEDs and get full-time jobs…

“Do you think we are going to supply you with a translator all of your life?” the judge asked them.

The four, ranging in age from 17 to 22, were in a group that police said accosted two men on a street in May. The two said they were asked if they had marijuana, told to empty their pockets, struck on the head, threatened with a gun and told to stay off the block.

How would you like these students in your class, though?

Big bucks in Iraq for experienced border agents

The governors of Arizona and New Mexico are ticked off at the president.  Why?  According to a report in the Associated Press, Bush has asked international company Dyncorp to find 120 people with border enforcement experience to train Iraqi police how to secure their borders. Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (who is also running for president) wrote President Bush this week to say this would hamper security on the Mexican border.

And how does Dyncorp plan to recruit their trainers for the Iraqi border police?

DynCorp is offering recruits $134,100 for a one-year stay, plus a $25,000 signing bonus. The first $90,000 in income is tax free, and housing and food are free, company spokesman Gregory Lagana said.

Border Patrol agents with at least two years’ experience make roughly $55,000.

I wonder if Dyncorp would settle for ESL experience.

Posted in Homeland Security, Immigration, Iraq, Middle East. Comments Off on Big bucks in Iraq for experienced border agents

Thanksgiving: an immigration cautionary tale?


“The Puritans nobly fled from a land of despotism to a land of freedom, where they could not only enjoy their own religion, but could prevent everybody else from enjoying his.” -Artemus Ward, Revolutionary War general and social satirist

This week my students were winding down for the holiday and the vocabulary list got shorter. Pilgrims=peregrinos. Indians=indios. Thanksgiving=dia de dar gracias. Students were showing off their command of American slang by discussing who was a turkey.

As I wrote on the board, “In 1620, the Pilgrims came to America from England… The Indians helped them ….” I started thinking about the Indians’ immigration policy. That first Thanksgiving, it was turkey all around, but I seem to recollect the Indians didn’t do so well after that. Pulling out that authoritative source of travel wisdom, the Insight Guide to New England that I once carried to read on a flight out east, I dredged up the chapter about the Puritans and the Indians.

Sure enough, the Puritans took it on themselves to convert the Algonquin from their heathen ways, but first they quarreled with their non-Puritan fellow Europeans. After several Quakers were hanged, Rev. Roger Williams declared from the pulpit that “forced worship stinks in God’s nostrils,” and was exiled from the colony for his sentiments. He founded a colony in Rhode Island, which welcomed Quakers, Jews, and French Huguenots. And yes, the Bill of Rights was inserted into the Constitution at the insistence of Rhode island.

At first there was enough room for everyone. There had been about 16,000 Indians in New England at the time of the Mayflower. A third of the Indians had died in a plague in the 1600s. By 1660s a fifth of New England Indians lived in “praying towns” along the Connecticut River and near Cape Cod–where Indians had their own “preachers, teachers and magistrates”–.and were expected to give up their language, religion, and all cultural customs. The Puritans, however, were unable to make all the Indians into neo-Europeans, and increased population pressures led to the outbreak of war in 1636, ending with the demise of the Indians in King Philip’s War by 1676.

Contrast this with the welcome given several centuries earlier to the Viking settlers at Vinland.  The Vikings came on a people they named ’skraellings’.  At first the Vikings traded with the skraellings, but when the trade goods ran out, things got ugly and several vikings were killed by skraellings.  Although the vikings had a settlement in Newfoundland complete with boat houses and an iron smelt, after that unfortunate brush with the skraellings, the Vikings  left the new world altogether.  Now, here’s something to ponder as you carve up that turkey. Who had the most effective immigration policy: the Algonquins or the Skraelings?

Posted in Curiosities, English as a Foreign Language, English as a Second Language, ESL, Government, Immigration. Comments Off on Thanksgiving: an immigration cautionary tale?