Category Archive 'Un Autre Jolie Cadeau de la Revolution Francaise'
11 Dec 2017

“That’s Why I Toured Yale”

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Alumni cringed back in 2010 when the Admissions Office released its execrable “That’s Why I Chose Yale” recruiting video. (Reviled here and here)

Well, Time replaces the jejune just as it does the superb, and the Yale Admissions Office (seven years later) has issued a brand new video with only a slightly modified title.

The guides are computer major Simone (who needs to wash her hair) and double major Classics and Political Science Sam (who seems a little gay). From the very start, biases toward the demotic and the “diverse” are pronounced. As the tour begins moving away from Phelps Gate on the Old Campus, guide Sam calls for musical accompaniment and a string quarter batting out “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” appears out of nowhere, only to be rejected in favor of “something with a beat.”

We had already previously been promised that, at Yale, one could study with “a renowned Shakespeare scholar” and “perform slam poetry at a cultural center.” When we get to the libraries, we are informed that Beinecke contains “one of the world’s largest collections of rare books and manuscripts, including ancient Egyptian papyrus, one of Beethoven’s original scores, and (inadvertent crashing anticlimax) manuscripts written by Langston Hughes.” (!)

Clearly, we are being given to understand that Yale is a fashionista establishment institution, only too eager to reject standards and judgment, trivialize the canon, and concede equality of cultural prestige to tokens. “We don’t want Mozart, we want something with a beat.” “Shakespeare wouldn’t do without some slam poetry on the side.” “Langston Hughes is purportedly somehow on a par with Beethoven.”

At Yale, the sciences we learn are “hands on,” and you won’t just sit through lectures, struggle through your labs, and get hammered with quizes and exams, no, no no. Why Yale science students “innovate solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.” Back in my day, all we did was try to pass the exams. We did, however, avoid the joke explosion ending the laboratory portion of the tour.

It gets painful to watch when they start touting the Yale residential college system. Today, college assignment, we are assured, is totally random. But residential colleges all have individual distinctive identities and traditions. (Presumably random ones.)

The college we get to see is Silliman, infamous site of the Christakis lynching and the shrieking student. There is no Master of Silliman now. The title of Master was deemed offensive and changed to “Head.” In the old days, college masters were male, aged, and distinguished scholars. Silliman’s “Head” these days is Laurie R. Santos, obviously a two-fer token (female and Hispanic), barely 40, and a canine cognitive studies specialist from the Psych Department. The video assures us that she ensures that each student feels welcome and gets to know every single one of them personally. She even apparently beats them at chess. In my day, most of us were on nodding-and-saying-hello terms with our College Master. He never specifically made any of us “feel welcome” nor did he tuck us in at night.

The residential colleges seem even more loaded with amenities today. They still have pool tables and ping pong, but there was no mention of squash courts. Colleges seem to have in-house non-dining hall after hours food facilities, which they call butteries. In the old days, there was one Buttery, on the ground floor of Durfee, which sold candy and such like during very limited evening hours. The colleges now all have their own work-out rooms, the Yale Gym clearly being too far to walk.

And so on.

This video is not as actively embarrassing, I suppose, as its predecessor, but it still leaves the alumni viewer slightly nauseated.

It is so offensively self-congratulatory, politically correct, and millennial-ish. One sort of feels like alien beings from the Planet of PC Tools have taken over Yale. They smile all the time. They think all the right thoughts. They worship materialism and success, but they are strangely empty. They have no dignity, no gravity. Ideas, Art, Culture are all just names and baubles to these people, ornamental trinkets lying around a grand nest of human magpies.

There is all this goody-goody-ness, but there is no sense whatsoever of Tradition, History, Duty, Honor, or Respect for the Past.

If I’d seen this video in high school, I would not have wanted to go to Yale.

27 Aug 2016

50 Years On

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Yale2020
The Yale Class of 2020 arrived yesterday.

I felt older than dirt yesterday, when I (a member of the Yale Class of 1970, which arrived in New Haven in early September, 1966) got to read, via the Yale News:

(emphasis added)

Members of the Yale College Class of 2020 will arrive on campus today, taking part in one of the university’s most beloved traditions: freshman move-in day. The 1,373 new freshmen traveled from all 50 states and 50 different foreign countries to New Haven, where Yale President Peter Salovey, Dean of Yale College Jonathan Holloway, the deans and heads of the 12 residential colleges, and hundreds of student volunteers will officially welcome the newest members of the Yale community. …

More than 12% of the class attended high school abroad, and more than 60% of students from the United States attended a public high school [Up a whopping 2% in 50 years! –JDZ].

Students in the class speak more than 60 different languages, and 36% of freshmen speak a language other than English at home. Their hometowns range in size from fewer than 200 to more than 10 million. More than 200 freshmen are eligible for a federal Pell grant for low-income students, and 52 will receive a new Yale College Start-up Fund as part of the new $2 million undergraduate financial aid initiative announced last December. …

The Class of 2020 will include more U.S. citizens or permanent residents who identify as a member of a minority racial or ethnic group (43%), more students who will be the first in their family to graduate from college (15%), more international students (12%), and more students who are planning to major in a science or engineering field (46%) than any previous class in the university’s history. The class was selected from Yale’s largest-ever freshman applicant pool, which saw record numbers of applications in all of the above groups. A detailed profile of the Class of 2020 is available on the undergraduate admissions website, admissions.yale.edu. …

[T]he new freshmen all share an impressive record of academic success, extracurricular accomplishment, and community engagement, said Quinlan, noting that admitted students have reached some of the highest possible levels of achievement in the performing arts, scientific research, creative writing, global and community-based service leadership, athletics, entrepreneurship, technology, and political activism.

Members of the freshman class hold patents and run their own businesses. Their scientific pursuits have earned recognition from Intel, FIRST Robotics, the Siemens Foundation, Google, and Apple. They have performed at the White House, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. They have designed software that thousands of people use around the world. Their activism has spurred the creation of new academic courses, new laws, and new international organizations. Their writing has reached thousands of people through international publications and prestigious award programs. They have won state, regional, and national athletic competitions. Many have balanced their academic and extracurricular pursuits with extensive paid work experiences and caregiving responsibilities to support their families.

Yale 1970 differed from Yale 2020 in being about a third smaller. Our class was made up of 1025 “male leaders.” No coeducation yet back then.

But Yale was no less boastful back then about Yale’s commitment to meritocracy:

[T]he Class of 1970, arrived on campus in the fall of 1966. It was composed of 58 percent public school students, the highest percentage of high school students of any class in Yale history, and a jump from 52 percent the previous year. The class drew on more public schools than any other class (478), but also more private schools (196).

For the first time, the rate of matriculation of financial aid applicants was higher than for non-financial aid applicants. Financial aid jumped to nearly $1 million, 30 percent above what it had been the year before; gift aid from the University increased by almost 50 percent. The class included more minorities of every kind. …

The Class of 1970 entered with the highest SAT scores in Yale’s history; a student who scored its mean SAT verbal mark of 697 would have been in the 90th percentile of the Class of 1961, and the 75th percentile of the Class of 1966. Put in a national context, half of the incoming freshmen scored in the top 1 percent nationally on the verbal SAT. These SAT marks were higher than those scored by the incoming class at Harvard, also a first for Yale. By year’s end, the Class of 1970 would score an average mark of 81, another school record. [Grades were numerical and very stingy back then. -JDZ]

How else were things different?

I expect you would have seen a lot fewer freshman moving in dressed in short pants.

There were a lot fewer African Americans, and those who were admitted got in much more on the up-and-up. Totally blatant Affirmative Action had yet to arrive. There were basically no Asians or Hispanics or Amerindians at all. A 43% class composition today of self-identified whiny minorities vulnerable to trigger warnings and looking for safe spaces, lest somebody fail to protect them from uncomplimentary Halloween costumes, strikes me as very possibly excessively large.

We certainly had nothing like a third of the class coming from non-English-speaking homes.

We had, we thought, pretty good geographical distribution from all over the United States, but nothing like 12% of foreigners. When, one wonders, did Yale acquire such a major and distinct responsibility for supplying international leadership?

Looking at the detailed 2020 Class profile, I see that 13% are legacies. I am smiling reading that, because the 1999 “Birth of a New Institution” article was bragging that Inky Clark reduced legacy admissions (for my own era) to between “14.5 percent and 12 percent.”

1970 vs. 2020:

58% public school vs. 60% public school

“between 12 and 14.5% legacies” vs. 13% legacies

La plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!

28 Apr 2016

From Yale: Mixed News

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JohnCCalhoun2
John Caldwell Calhoun; Y’ 1804; Vice President of the United States, 1825-1832; Secretary of State, 1844-1845; Secretary of War, 1817-1825; Senator from South Carolina, 1832-1843 and 1845-1850; Member House of Representatives representing 6th District of South Carolina, 1811-1817; Author, Disquisition on Government (1849), Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States (1851); defender of States’ Rights and proponent of the “Concurrent Majority” doctrine holding that minorities ought to have the right in extremis to block majority rule; and member of the all-time Great Triumvirate of the U.S. Senate.

1) Calhoun College stays Calhoun College.

Yale President Salovey announced yesterday afternoon, the Oldest College Daily reported, that the residential college named for Yale’s greatest political thinker and statesman would retain its name, despite John C. Calhoun having held, in the first half of the 19th century, positions on Slavery and inherent Racial Inferiority generally regarded with abhorrence today.

Salovey justified this decision on the part of the Administration and the Corporation, saying:

Removing Calhoun’s name obscures the legacy of slavery rather than addressing it. Erasing Calhoun’s name from a much-beloved residential college risks masking this past, downplaying the lasting effects of slavery and substituting a false and misleading narrative, albeit one that might allow us to feel complacent or, even, self-congratulatory.”

I suspect that, unreported, unacknowledged, and unsung, somewhere in the decision-making meeting rooms in Woodbridge Hall a dramatic last stand was taken by someone on behalf on history, tradition, and sanity, and that there must have been some terrible threat of a grand financial legacy being withheld were Calhoun’s name to be removed.

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MastersHouseTrumbull
Master’s House, Trumbull College

2) The Title of “Master” of a Residential College Will Be Changed to “Head.”

Salovey wrote:

The use of “master” as a title at Yale is a legacy of the college systems at Oxford and Cambridge. The term derives from the Latin magister, meaning “chief, head, director, teacher,” and it appears in the titles of university degrees (master of arts, master of science, and others) and in many aspects of the larger culture (master craftsman, master builder). Some members of our community argued that discarding the term “master” would interject into an ancient collegiate tradition a racial narrative that has never been associated with its use in the academy. Others maintained that regardless of its history of use in the academy, the title—especially when applied to an authority figure—carries a painful and unwelcome connotation that can be difficult or impossible for some students and residential college staff to ignore.

Among the many comments considered on this matter, the thoughts and recommendations of the current Council of Masters, the twelve heads of the existing residential colleges, were especially salient. The council deliberated at length, informed by a multitude of discussions with students, staff, faculty, and fellows, as well as by reflections submitted to an online site open to all members of each residential college community. The council also monitored similar discussions at other colleges and universities, although its members were determined to arrive at their recommendations bearing in mind Yale’s distinctive traditions and culture.

The council found that making a recommendation to change the title was far from simple. People held a wide range of views, not as strongly correlated as some might have predicted with circumstances of age, race, or position in the college community. Nothing about the term itself is intrinsically tied to Yale’s history prior to 1930, or to the relationships that students of each generation have formed or will form with the individuals who lead their colleges. Moreover, a decision to stop using the term “master” does not compromise the study of larger historical issues. In short, the reasons to change the title of “master” proved more compelling than the reasons to keep it, and the current masters themselves no longer felt it appropriate to be addressed in that manner.

Not incidental to the discussion was the task of finding an alternative title that speaks to the definition and responsibilities of the office. In this respect, “head of college” is the most logical and straightforward choice. In its favor is that archival records show that “head” and “headship” were placeholders for the title in the original planning documents. Heads of college may be addressed as professor, doctor, or Mr. or Ms., as applicable or as they prefer.

Alumni, particularly those of Calhoun College, actually cared about their college’s name being changed. Nobody particularly cared about the Master title, so Master was obviously the perfect sacrifice to fling upon the PC bonfire to appease the mob.

Yalies tend to be pedantic and good at research, so one does wonder why Peter Salovey and his powers-that-be confreres did not trouble themselves to consider “Warden,” “Rector,” or even “President” (as at Magdalen College, Oxford), but instead followed sheepishly along in the lame footsteps of Harvard and Princeton in changing that title to “Head.” It rankles, I think, that the pathetic creature occupying the chair in which John Hersey once sat, set the contemptible policy which the entire set of residential college will be proceeding to follow.

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BenjaminFranklinKite
Benjamin West, Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky, 1816, Philadelphia Museum of Art

3. The new residential colleges will be named for Benjamin Franklin and Pauli Murray (whoever the hell she is).

Peter Salovey explained:

Benjamin Franklin College will recognize the recipient of a Yale honorary degree (1753 Hon. M.A.) whose immense accomplishments span the arts, the sciences, government, and service to society. The 41 published volumes of his papers, which contain the record of Benjamin Franklin’s life correspondence, are among the Yale University Library’s most important collections. The Franklin Papers represent the work of many Yale scholars and editors and, among the historical insights they offer, shed light on Franklin’s relationship with Yale University. He carried on a decades-long correspondence with Yale President Ezra Stiles on subjects ranging from scientific research to the growing collections of Yale’s library.

John Adams, I guess, would have disagreed with this choice. He said of Dr. Franklin, in a 1783 letter to James Warren: “His whole life has been one continued insult to good manners and to decency.”

But most of us today are nowhere nearly as censorious of Franklin’s illegitimate son and illegitimate grandson or of Franklin’s (1747) The Speech of Polly Baker, defending a fictional woman for bearing illegitimate children.

Franklin’s accomplishments in literature and scientific experiments and as a founder of the United States are so great that nobody could deny his worthiness as the namesake of a college.

The only problem is that he really had no genuine substantive connection to Yale.

Apparently, what really went on here was was explained in a letter from Salovey:

[A]dopting his name for one of the new colleges, we honor as well the generosity of Charles B. Johnson ’54 B.A., who considers Franklin a personal role model. Mr. Johnson’s contribution to enable the construction of the new colleges is the single largest gift made to Yale. Pauli Murray College and Benjamin Franklin College, which will open Yale’s doors to thousands of additional future students, would not have been possible without his philanthropic vision.

Money talks. It isn’t really appropriate, but the man paid for the piper, so he gets to call the tune. It could be worse. We could have a residential college named “Pforzheimer.”

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PauliMurray
Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray, Y ’65 J.S.D., ’79 Hon. D.Div., four-fer, maybe five-fer

And, then, of course, we come to the pièce de résistance, the inevitable jolie cadeau de la révolution française, the big, fat chunk of tokenism:

The northern-most college, sited closest to Science Hill, Pauli Murray College will honor a Yale alumna (’65 J.S.D., ’79 Hon. D.Div.) noted for her achievements in law and religion, and for her leadership in civil rights and the advancement of women. Pauli Murray enrolled at Hunter College in the 1920s, graduating in 1933 after deferring her studies following the Great Depression. Later, she began an unsuccessful campaign to enter the all-white University of North Carolina. Murray’s case received national publicity, and she became widely recognized as a civil rights activist.

A graduate of Howard Law School, Murray had an extraordinary legal career as a champion of racial and gender equity. United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall cited her book, States’ Laws on Race and Color, for its influence on the lawyers fighting segregation laws. President John F. Kennedy appointed her to the Committee on Civil and Political Rights of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women.

Awarded a fellowship by the Ford Foundation, Murray pursued a doctorate in law at Yale in order to further her scholarly work on gender and racial justice. She co-authored Jane Crow and the Law: Sex Discrimination and Title VII, in which she drew parallels between gender-based discrimination and Jim Crow laws. In 1965, she received her J.S.D. from Yale Law School, the first African-American to do so. Her dissertation was entitled, Roots of the Racial Crisis: Prologue to Policy. Immediately thereafter, she served as counsel in White v. Crook, which successfully challenged discrimination on the basis of sex and race in jury selection. She was a cofounder, with thirty-one others, of the National Organization for Women.

Murray was a vice president of Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina; she left to become a professor at Brandeis University, where she earned tenure and taught until 1973. She was the first person to teach African-American studies and women’s studies at Brandeis.

The final stage of Murray’s career continued a life marked by confronting challenges and breaking down barriers. At age 63, inspired by her connections with other women in the Episcopal Church, she left Brandeis and enrolled at the General Theological Seminary. She became the first African-American woman ordained as an Episcopal priest..

And you’ve got to hand it to Salovey, the Yale Administration, and the Corporation. When they set out to truckle and to pander to contemporary whiny left-wing identity groups, they do it good and proper. Obviously, in reality, there are no females, there are no African-Americans associated with Yale so eminent or of such accomplishment as to be even close to being genuinely worthy of being the namesake of a Yale College. Hilariously, as well, nobody outside the organized left has ever actually heard of Pauli Murray but, upon looking her up, one finds that, if you are going to pander, she is the cat’s pajamas. Pauli Murray was merely a minor left-wing public nuisance and lived and died in obscurity, but she combines in one small dusky package absolutely everything: she was female, African-American, queer, an Episcopalian priestess, and a transgender wannabee. What a deal! Let’s hope Yale, in future, treats Murray College as its own equivalent of California, and sends all of its commies, fruits, and nuts to go live there at the remote extremity of the campus.

29 Feb 2016

Demos Likes Trump

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TrumpFinger

Paul Kengor sums up the embarrassing spectacle which has constituted the Republican Presidential Nomination Campaign thus far

The whole thing is depressing. Consider, Rubio and Cruz, the two genuine conservative front-runners, are the hardworking sons of extraordinary immigrants from Cuba. They are quintessential American success stories. They are both solid Christian family men. And into the race comes a sudden self-proclaimed born-again conservative who laughs at them and eviscerates them, and is rewarded for it. It’s hard to watch.

All of which brings me back to Trump’s mastery of an altogether new campaign tactic of non-stop rapacious ridicule of opponents within one’s own party. The New Jersey casino founder brashly accused Ted Cruz of everything from being a closet Canadian citizen to cheating when the Donald lost Iowa. Schoolboy-like, Trump threatened lawsuits. Of late, he jumps in the sandbox and taunts Marco Rubio: “choker, choker!”

Can you imagine Ronald Reagan doing this? Reagan’s “11th commandment” was never to speak ill of another Republican. Donald Trump’s commandment is to speak ill of every Republican.

Do Republicans want this as the party’s new face and standard-bearer? Apparently those on the Trump side do. Many of them even assume the insult-king’s persona, dealing with dissenters with similar levels of obnoxiousness, blow-torching Republicans in the way of their Donald.

12 Feb 2016

House of Lords Ends 1000-Year-Old Tradition To Save £80,000

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Vellum

The Telegraph is justifiably indignant.

The thousand year old tradition of printing Britain’s laws on vellum has been scrapped to save just £80,000 a year despite concerns from MPs about ending the historic practice.

The House of Lords have confirmed that from April all legislation will printed on simple archive paper instead of the traditional calfskin vellum.

All of Parliament’s legislation and some of the country’s most important historical documents have been printed and written on vellum, including the Domesday Book of 1086, Magna Carta and the Lindisfarne Gospels.

In October last year John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, said that MPs should be able to block the plans with a vote on the floor of the Commons.

It came after a number of MPs who oppose the move warned that Britain will lose an important part of its tradition and that new archive paper will not last as long.

They warned that while velllum lasts for 5,000 years, archival papers last for just 200 years.

09 Feb 2013

Everything Must Be Equal

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From Humans of New York:

Did I have an experience today…

I was in the lobby of the Parsons School of Design when I had the sudden urge to pee. So I located the restroom, and discovered THIS SIGN on the door. I pondered my predicament for a moment, when someone noticed my hesitation and said: “Go on in, it’s for everybody.”

I opened the door slowly. This was no single-occupancy restroom. This was a multi-stalled bathroom complex. Inside there were three girls, who all made awkward eye contact with me when I walked in. One of them shrugged her shoulders: “Yep,” she said, “we’re all in here together.” She didn’t seem too excited about the fact.

I chose a stall and shut the door behind me. Aiming for that sweet spot right above the water line, I tried to pee as quietly as possible. The toilet had an automatic flusher, so when I finished, I turned around and left the stall. I heard no flush behind me. Outside, ANOTHER girl was waiting to use my stall.

I’ve seen the future.
And it’s awkward as hell.

01 Sep 2011

Another Victim of Environmental Insanity: Yale’s Distinctive Residential College Plates

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Before and after images of one of the former Berkeley College plates, bearing the residential college’s coat of arms. They used to put the “Y” on the waffles.

The era of gracious living at Yale began to perish, before my time, sometime I believe late in the 1950s or early in the 1960s, when Yale’s residential colleges removed the white linen tablecloths and ceased using waitresses in the dining halls, and switched over to cafeteria style dining.

The late 1960s delivered another blow, when the silver sugar bowls and water pitchers disappeared. Too many were being appropriated as souvenirs by representatives of the new, more democratic Yale admitted by Dean of Admissions R. Inslee Clark.

In 2009, even the humble modern style of Yale dining experienced a seismic shock, when the Yale administration, responding with Pavlovian obedience to the preposterous demands of environmentally-minded whackjobs, suddenly removed all the plastic trays used for conveying your food and drinks from the cafeteria serving line to your table in the University Commons dining hall, used by Yale’s freshman class. No trays to run through Yale’s dishwasher would save some infinitesimal percentage of the water making up more than 70% of the planet’s surface from temporary contact with detergent.

Gaia would have been so pleased, but those inconsiderate freshmen rebelled at being asked to juggle plates, glass, and silverware, and demanded that the offending trays be brought back into service.

Director of Dining Rafi Taherian announced, after only a week of dissension, that it did not make sense to continue an initiative that seemed contrary to the wishes of the Yale community.

“Yale Dining listens,” Teherian said. “We don’t have ego. We’re responsive.”

But the Student Taskforce for Environmental Partnership (STEP) remained determined. Trayless dining might no longer be obligatory, but it could still be encouraged. STEP nagged students to try trayless dining.

Food waste measurements performed by STEP determined that people who dine trayless waste half as much food as tray users. That adds up pretty quickly. Trayless dining also looks classier. And the dining halls save a lot of water when they don’t need to wash as many trays. These are all awesome thing.

And as this new academic year opens, Yale students found that one more traditional distinctive feature of life in Yale’s residential colleges was gone. The twelve Yale residential colleges’ individual dining services had been removed, replaced by a new, generic service, specifically designed to promote the “voluntary” trayless dining movement.

Oldest College Daily:

Yale Dining has replaced the custom china sets in the residential colleges with a uniform set that will be used all across campus. The new china set features white plates with an outline and a “Y” on the bottom.

The new set also has considerably fewer pieces than the old set – it includes only a big plate, a saucer, a mug and a bowl.

The new plates are bigger, and allow students to take more food without having to take a tray.

Isn’t it typical of the left? If open coercion is ever effectively resisted and fails, you then get constant nagging, nibbling away and step-by-step subversion until choice is finally eliminated and the petty dictators get their way.

The old Yale plates were smaller than conventional dinner plates, being designed for ease of handling in cafeteria style dining. They were made by Syracuse China. Though they weren’t luxurious fine china, the old services were sturdy and durable, visually gratifying, and individual to each residential college.

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I found the photograph of the plate from my own residential college here. The last six pictures feature the outside and the interior of the Berkeley Dining Hall.

08 Jun 2010

Department of the Navy… AND Marine Corps

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USMC officer’s cap badge

The Hill reports that the US Marine Corps’ traditional popularity with Congress has gotten completely out hand and more than adequate support currently exists for the hideous innovation of modifying the name of the Department of the Navy to “the Department of the Navy and the Marine Corps.”

That’s just about as bad as changing the name of the War Department to the Department of Defense.

If the politicians want to do something nice for the Marine Corps, why not do something useful like giving marines back their Model 1911s chambered in .45 ACP? If they want to do something nice and symbolic, how about giving the marines back their summer dress whites?

The Marine Corps is factually a branch of the Naval Service, and the Department of the Navy should stay the Department of the Navy.

The Pentagon is opposing a popular provision that would change the name of the Department of the Navy to the Department of the Navy and the Marine Corps.

The provision, which Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) has pushed for years, has a record 425 co-sponsors in the House and recently passed by unanimous consent as a standalone bill.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), a former Marine, has introduced a similar provision in the Senate that has attracted 78 co-sponsors — more than enough to pass as a standalone bill or as part of the pending defense bills as an amendment.

In a letter released by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the Pentagon’s general counsel, Jeh Johnson, called the effort to rename the Department of the Navy “unnecessary.”

“A re-designation could be viewed as more than symbolic, and could easily be misinterpreted as a step away from the heritage and tradition of a strong Navy and Marine Corps team,” Johnson wrote to Levin. …

Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee and a former Navy pilot, has been one of the strongest opponents to the change of the department’s name.

18 Mar 2010

No Cheese Rolling Surrender Monkeys

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Young men of Brockworth in Gloucestershire have from Time Immemorial, at least for a couple of centuries, possibly even from Roman or Phoenician Antiquity, been celebrating the arrival of Spring with the annual Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, a peculiar local competition involving a hazardous madcap pursuit down a steep hill after a large round block of Double Gloucester cheese.

The London Times reports that safety, insurance, and traffic considerations, in other words bureaucracy and general poltroonery, have caused this year’s cheese-rolling to be cancelled.

A centuries-old cheese rolling contest has fallen victim to health and safety — but not because of the broken bones and dozens of other injuries sustained each year.

Organisers of Gloucestershire’s annual competition have cancelled the event due to be held on May 31 because of concerns raised by the police and local authority over traffic and crowd control.

Good blog article on the tradition

Cheese-Rolling in Gloucestershire web-site

Maccabees “Can You Give It” 3:18 Cheese-Rolling song video

Hat tip to No Pasaran.

24 Oct 2009

34% Pregnant Sailors at Some Stations

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Spook86 discusses the impact of egalitarianism-at-all-costs on the Navy presently. Just wait until Obama makes his move and abolishes Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell for even more unintended consequences.

As the Navy brass prepares for a “co-ed” submarine force, they might consider the impact of human biology on other elements of the service.

Navy Times reports that some shore commands in Norfolk, Virginia are heavily staffed by pregnant sailors, and some commanders are complaining about the lack of proper manning to carry out their missions.

The problem–and leadership complaints–resulted in an investigation by the Navy IG. According to the IG report, some of shore-based organizations in the Norfolk area have pregnant sailors in up to 34% of their billets. And due to restrictions associated with their medical condition, the sailors (in many cases) cannot perform all of their assigned duties, placing an added strain on shore commands. …

Talk to Navy officers and senior NCOs and you’ll get a real earful on the effects of this problem. While acknowledging that many female sailors are simply trying to balance a naval career against their desire to start a family, others are gaming the system, they say. In some cases, they say female sailors become pregnant to avoid a projected deployment, or get out of an assignment they don’t like.

Years ago, sailors who became pregnant while on active duty were immediately dismissed from the service. By comparison, today’s family-friendly Navy goes to great lengths to accommodate pregnant sailors, and there’s not much a Captain or Master Chief can do except grit their teeth and suck it up.

You’d think the IG report would offer a cautionary tale for the submarine force and its plan for mixed-gender crews. Running an attack boat or a boomer takes an exceptionally well-trained, cohesive team of officers and enlisted members. Simply stated, the silent service can’t afford the kind of turnover caused by pregnancies in other Navy organizations.

But such concerns are being ignored in the rush to break down one last bastion of male service.

29 Jun 2008

If It Dances, Regulate It

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France is just a little further along the same path of progressive statism we ourselves are headed down.

Dominique Poirier (our European correspondent) forwards a recent item from the London Times demonstrating that the ambitions and the potential scope of a state regulatory regime are limitless, as well as humorless.

Country and western has become so big in France that the country’s bureaucrats have decided to bring the craze under state control.

The French administration has moved to create an official country dancing diploma as part of a drive to regulate the fad. Authorised instructors who have been on publicly funded training courses will be put in charge of line dancing lessons and balls.

The rules, which come into force next year, come after the rapid spread of country and western in France, where an estimated 100,000 people line dance several times a week. Jean Chauveau, the chairman of the country section of the French Dance Federation, said: “It’s growing at a crazy rate. There are thousands of clubs and more are springing up all the time.”

He said the French shunned the square dancing that is popular among country and western fans in the United States because it involved physical contact. “They don’t want to take anyone by the hand or anything like that,” he said. But they were passionate about line dancing, where participants follow the steps without touching anyone else. “I think this corresponds to the individualism of our times,” Mr Chauveau said.

Village associations boast dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of members; competitions are flourishing, and a country music festival is expected to draw 150,000 people this summer, he said. “Britain caught the line dancing bug a long time before us, but now we are really going for it,” Mr Chauveau said. “It’s complete madness here.” …

In a peculiarly Gallic approach to the phenomenon, French civil servants say line dancing should be submitted to the same rules as sports such as football and rugby. This means imposing training courses for line dancing teachers and a state-approved diploma for anyone who wants to give lessons or run clubs.

Amateur instructors will have to take 200 hours of training under the new rules. Professionals will get 600 hours, including such subjects as line dancing techniques, “the mechanics of the human body” and the English (or at least Texan) language. They will also learn how to teach line dancing to the elderly.

The cost of the courses, about €2,000 (£1,570) for the professionals and €500 for the amateurs, will be largely met by taxpayers. Mr Chauveau said the regulations highlighted the French state’s obsessive desire to organise all public activity. “France is the only country in Europe apart from Greece where sport is controlled through the state,” he said. “Line dancing is now considered a sport, so it is being controlled, too.”

11 Apr 2007

Britain’s Shame

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Former RN Officer Toby Harnden observes that the behavior of some British Naval personnel recently was a bit less that England traditionally expects.

In case you missed it, let me give you the highlights of what our brave sailors had to say. Leading Seaman Faye Turney opted for The Sun and ITN (“I chose The Sun because it is the Forces’ paper. You are always on our side. I trust you.” – Oh, nothing to do with the reported check for the sum of £100,000 then?)

Little Operator Maintainer Arthur Batchelor, 20, nicknamed “Mr Bean by his dastardly captors, was bought by The Mirror for an “undisclosed sum”. Good thing the Iranians didn’t think of offering them cash – who knows what they’d have done.

Readers, if you were brought up on tales of Horatio Nelson and Winston Churchill, if you believe Britain is still Great and should be feared in the world, then steel yourself.

Read the whole thing… and weep.

22 Feb 2007

Can You Believe They Tore It Down?

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nyc-architecture.com has a photo collection on New York City’s lost Pennsylvania Station:

Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves. Even when we had Penn Station, we couldn’t afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.”
– “Farewell to Penn Station,” New York Times editorial, October 30, 1963

Hat tip to The Barrister, who writes:

There was a fervor for tearing down old buildings in urban American during the 1960s and early 70s. Many historic, but dilapidated, downtowns were bulldozed, as were countless wonderful “Union Stations” – and anything else that seemed “old”.

Today, we cherish towns like Savannah which were left untouched by the government scourge of “urban renewal.”

19th century housing was replaced by “modern” Soviet-style planned and government-subsidized housing projects (which finally are beginning to be dynamited themselves, for good reason). And the buildings were replaced with parking lots and sterile semi-high rises, and malls – that horrible concept which turns its back on the town in an effort to create an unreal, soul-less consumer paradise for the masses.

When you drive through downtown Bridgeport, CT, Hartford, or Nashville, you will be hard put to find an old building. Lucky towns escaped this frenzy of “modernization,” which I term “dehumanization.” Nobody wants to be in those sorts of downtowns.

Pennsylvania Station on the West Side of Manhattan – one of the masterpieces of the beaux-art movement – did not escape the epidemic of destruction. Grand Central Station escaped – but only barely. Just tell me – where would you rather wait 40 minutes for a train to meet your girlfriend or boyfriend – the new Penn Station, or Grand Central?..

Who would have the nerve to knock this thing down and replace it with the new (and truly terrible in every way) Madison Square Garden?

28 Sep 2006

French Jokes

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From Marty Peretz in New Republic:

France has neither winter nor summer nor morals. Apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country. France has usually been governed by prostitutes.” –Mark Twain

“I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me.” –General George S. Patton

“Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion.” –Norman Schwartzkopf

“We can stand here like the French, or we can do something about it.” –Marge Simpson

“As far as I’m concerned, war always means failure.” –Jacques Chirac, President of France

“As far as France is concerned, you’re right.” –Rush Limbaugh

“The only time France wants us to go to war is when the German Army is sitting in Paris sipping coffee.” –Regis Philbin

“You know, the French remind me a little bit of an aging actress of the 1940s who was still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn’t have the face for it.” –John McCain, U.S. Senator (AZ)

“I don’t know why people are surprised that France won’t help us get Saddam out of Iraq. After all, France wouldn’t help us get Hitler out of France either.” –Jay Leno

“The last time the French asked for “more proof” it came marching into Paris under a German flag.” –David Letterman

“War without France would be like … uh … World War II.”

“What do you expect from a culture and a nation that exerted more of its national will fighting against Disney World and Big Macs than the Nazis?” –Dennis Miller

“It is important to remember that the French have always been there when they needed us.” –Alan Kent

“They’ve taken their own precautions against al-Quaida. To prepare for an attack, each Frenchman is urged to keep duct tape, a white flag, and a three-day supply of mistresses in the house.” –Argus Hamilton

“Somebody was telling me about the French Army rifle that was being advertised on eBay the other day–the description ‘Never shot. Dropped once.'” –Rep. Roy Blunt (MO)

“The French will only agree to go to war when we’ve proven we’ve found truffles in Iraq.” –Dennis Miller

“Raise your right hand if you like the French. Raise both hands if you are French.”

“Question: Do you know how many Frenchmen it takes to defend Paris?
Answer: It’s not known, it’s never been tried.” –Rep. Roy Blunt (MO)

“Do you know it only took Germany three days to conquer France in WWII? And that’s because it was raining.” –John Xereas, Manager, DC Improv.

“The AP and UPI reported that the French Government announced after the London bombings that it has raised its terror alert from ‘Run’ to ‘Hide.’ The only two higher levels in France are ‘Surrender’ and ‘Collaborate.’ The rise in the alert level was precipitated by a recent fire which destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively disabling their military.”

“French Ban Fireworks at Euro Disney. … The French government announced today that it is imposing a ban on the use of fireworks at EuroDisney. The decision comes that day after a nightly fireworks display at the park, located just 30 miles outside of Paris, caused the soldiers at a nearby French Army garrison to surrender to a group of Czech tourists.” –AP Paris

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