Archives For November 2005

Mandatory Term Limits

Christopher Hurtado —  November 19, 2005

I am vehemently opposed to mandatory term limits, especially at the state and local level, and find great weakness in the argument made for them by their advocates. Mandatory term limits were first considered by our Founding Fathers at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and rejected by its delegates. They didn’t make sense then and they don’t make sense now. What does make sense, and was chosen over mandatory term limits by our Founding Fathers, is short terms, or in other words, frequent elections. James Madison, who was one of the Constitutional Convention’s delegates who opposed mandatory term limits recorded in his notes the words of another delegate, Roger Sherman, who also opposed them: “Frequent elections are necessary to preserve the good behavior of rulers. They also tend to give permanency to the Government, by preserving that good behavior, because it ensures their re-election.” This argument makes sense. The argument for mandatory term limits doesn’t.

Given mandatory term limits, a politician ineligible to run for re-election would be stripped of his incentive to please his constituency and would become easy prey for special interests. Our Founding Fathers not only recognized the need for frequent elections to keep politicians responsive, they recognized as well that this was most important at the level of government closest to the people – the House of Representatives. It stands to reason, therefore, that this is what is needed at the state and local level as well. Our Founding Fathers knew that the best way to restrain a politician would be to periodically put his performance on trial by the electorate. What better way to keep politicians loyal to their constituency? What need have we for mandatory term limits? What more could they do for our system of government than the frequent elections instituted by our Founding Fathers? This system has kept in office for as many terms as was deemed appropriate by the people of the United States, according to their performance in office, the likes of John Quincy Adams, John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, Sam Houston, James Madison and Daniel Webster.

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The 2004 Democratic and Republican party platforms have a lot in common. In fact, they arguably have more commonalities than differences. Each party is apparently attempting to appeal to the middle. Nevertheless, each party’s leanings are still evident to the discerning reader. Each of the two platforms discusses many of the same issues, each using it’s own rhetoric to dance around them in a non-committal way. The similarities between the two parties’ platforms is evident from the start in the striking resemblance between the title of each party’s platform, both of which make reference to national security and foreign policy. Additionally, each platform deals with “the war on terror,” the economy, healthcare, community, family, and energy independence. There are, however, notable differences between the two parties’ platforms. These difference show up mainly in the way each party addresses the issues at hand.

Notable among the differences in each party’s rhetoric is their take on how to strengthen the economy. Although both parties speak of creating jobs to strengthen the economy, the Democratic party’s rhetoric regarding the economy focuses on job creation and retention from offshoring through tax reforms. The Democratic party emphasizes the worth of America’s working middle class and claims that it is underserved and overtaxed by the Republican party. This, they say, the Republican party does to inure to the benefit of America’s upper class and big businesses. Their solution: add tax cuts for the middle class and eliminate those for the wealthy and for big businesses. The Republican party speaks of tax reform also, but its rhetoric contradicts the Democratic party’s. The Republican party claims that it is already working on cutting taxes for the very same “hard-working Americans” the Democratic party claims it disdains.

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Marketing Bad translation has been the cause of many international marketing blunders. When Hunt-Wesson introduced its Big John family brand in Canada, it was translated as “Gros Jos.” Unfortunately, this turned out to be French slang for a woman with large breasts. Fortunately, this actually helped the brand sell. Apparently, a number of Canadian men were interested in “Gros Jos.” A United States (U.S.) airline got lots of attention in Brazil when advertising its swank “rendezvous lounges” on its Boeing 747s. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the kind of attention that leads to increased revenues, since Brazilians didn’t want to be seen entering or leaving an airliner with rooms rented out for prostitution, which is what “rendez-vous” means to them. In Miami, where a number of Spanish dialects are spoken by Hispanics from all over Latin American, a company advertising a bug spray that kills all “bichos,” meaning bugs to Mexicans, didn’t fare so well among Puerto Ricans since, to them, “bichos” are men’s private parts (Ricks 87-88). The proliferation of the Web as a medium for international marketing and commerce underscores the importance of good translation to international marketing success.

Translating Web content is key to capturing global markets. According to Forrester Research, “shoppers are three times more likely to buy products from Web sites in their own language” and over 65% of Internet users shy away from Web sites in a foreign tongue (Heckman 1). However, it takes more than just translation to capture global markets. Translation means converting text into another language, taking into account its full meaning and paying special attention to cultural nuances and style (Esselink 4). According to James Heckman, director of publishing,, “the message and presentation must be tailored to the audience.” (Heckman 2). Tailoring the message to the audience is known as localization. The Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA) defines localization as “taking a product and making it linguistically and culturally appropriate to the target locale (country/region and language) where it will be used and sold” (Esselink 3).

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