The United States Yankee Corps

I was raised to revere the Marine Corps my entire life. I have always harbored the greatest respect for the many Marines I have met through the years. But I have absolutely no doubt that my grandfather, who fought in WWII and Korea and was declared a Marine’s Marine by the Commandant of the Corps himself, would be bewildered by the rejection of the American South by what should apparently be renamed the United States Yankee Corps:

Straight out of high school, one 18-year-old Tennessee man was determined to serve his country as a Marine. His friend said he passed the pre-enlistment tests and physical exams and looked forward with excitement to the day he would ship out to boot camp. But there would be no shouting drill instructors, no rigorous physical training and no action-packed stories for the aspiring Marine to share with his family. Shortly before he was scheduled to leave Nashville for boot camp, the Marine Corps rejected him…. When the young recruit didn’t go to boot camp, Andrews learned of his rejection based on his tattoo of the Confederate battle flag on his shoulder.

It would be educational to see what would happen if Southerners refused to enlist and re-enlist until ludicrous ban on Southern heritage and Southron pride is rescinded. Without the South, the Marine Corps would find itself transformed into a mercenary force largely populated by gangsters looking to acquire combat training and Mexicans seeking citizenship. Of course, if that’s the ultimate objective of the policy, then we can expect that the ban on the Confederate Battle flag will only be the first step and it won’t be long before other patriotic symbols such as the Gadsden Flag and the Betsy Ross Flag are banned as well. Does anyone believe a UN or Mexican flag would be cause for similar rejection?

Speaking of Mexico, it is already on the verge of civil war violent revolt in the north. This makes me wonder, how long will it be until Round Two?

Burning the banks

There are flames in Athens now. How long will they take to reach Wall Street and the City?

Three people died when an Athens bank went up in flames Wednesday as tens of thousands of Greeks took to the streets to protest harsh spending cuts aimed at saving the country from bankruptcy. Tear gas drifted across the city’s center as hundreds of rioters hurled paving stones and Molotov cocktails at police, who responded with heavy use of tear gas. At least two buildings were on fire. The fire brigade said the bodies were found in the wreckage of a Marfin Bank branch, on the route of the march in the city center.

Demonstrators chanting “thieves, thieves” attempted to break through a riot police cordon guarding Parliament and chased the ceremonial guards away from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the building.

Now, what is the point of “saving the country” from bankruptcy? Will Greece simply cease to exist if it goes bankrupt? Does a junkie die when he is no longer permitted to keep purchasing narcotics from his pusher? The molotov-throwing rioters chanting “thieves” appear to have a more accurate perspective on the global financial system than the hand-wringing editorial writers at the Wall Street Journal. Not a correct one, mind you, but one that is nevertheless more accurate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking forward to the chaos since it isn’t going to be fun for anyone who isn’t young, male, unprincipled, and heavily armed. But it certainly isn’t going to be averted or ameliorated by stealing more money from the public and handing it over to bankers.

I just want to know one thing. Where is the techno remix? And as for Max Keiser, well, you can’t help but think of Chuck D listening to him lay down that heavy rap.

An interesting note relating to the connection of today’s Greek riots to the historical Cinco de Mayo from Wikipedia: “In late 1861 Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, under the Treaty of London (1861) sent troops to Mexico, alongside Spanish and English forces, to collect debts owed by a previous Mexican government. President Benito Juárez had announced the annulment of these debts, and vowed to pay nothing to European powers. Napoleon’s troops occupied the port city of Veracruz on December 8, 1861…. The Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862, was a single, important victory for the Mexican people over the occupying French Army.”

Given the general European disarmament, I can only conclude that bin Laden will soon be spotted in Athens, thereby requiring an immediate invasion and occupation.

Attacking the metric

School choice advocate Charles Murray attacks standardized testing:

The evaluation by the School Choice Demonstration Project, a national research group that matched more than 3,000 students from the choice program and from regular public schools, found that pupils in the choice program generally had “achievement growth rates that are comparable” to similar Milwaukee public-school students. This is just one of several evaluations of school choice programs that have failed to show major improvements in test scores, but the size and age of the Milwaukee program, combined with the rigor of the study, make these results hard to explain away.

So let’s not try to explain them away. Why not instead finally acknowledge that standardized test scores are a terrible way to decide whether one school is better than another?

This is tremendously amusing to me, as a longtime opponent of school vouchers and the various permutations of the conservative goal to fix the public schools. But you cannot fix that which is working precisely as designed! Murray simply doesn’t understand that group schooling doesn’t work any better than group reading or group training does.

Imagine if the only way you could read was to get together in a group of 30 and have a professional reader read out loud to you. How often would you read? How fast would you read? How much would you read? The excellence of the reader, the mellifluousness of his voice, would be largely irrelevant. The primary problem with education is the group fetish that has pervaded it ever since the Prussians pioneered the one-size-fits-all approach.

The failure of school choice to provide results was bound to end up in an attack on the standard, just as the many failures of various teacher-based programs always have. As Rothbard explained, empiricists always abandon their empiricism in favor of ex post facto rationalizations whenever they don’t get the results they expected.