Monday, August 27, 2007

Army “Quick Ship” Bonus: Alternative To A Dead End Job

In an effort to bolster military ranks in time of war the army has instituted a new $20,000 “quick ship” bonus to get recruits to enlist and ship out immediately. In just 3 weeks the army had enlisted 3814 recruits using the bonus. James Hosek, a defense manpower expert at the Rand Corp., said that though the quick-ship bonus is a "very smart move" by the Army, it could attract people who are less motivated to be in the service.”

As with all contracts, it is advisable to consult an attorney before signing, however in the interest of clarity, the fine points are paraphrased as follows:

A) While termed “quick ship,” it is not quick pay. The enlistee will received $10,000 upon completing basic training and advanced individual training, with the remaining $10,000 paid out in even annual sums over the course of their initial active duty enlistment, based on the formula of one year=12 months. (Note: the term of service is extendable solely at the discretion of the army as it deems necessary.)

B) The remaining portion is reducible if the enlistee does not complete service. If said enlistee is killed in action, the remainder of the bonus is reduced by the number of months unserved, as the enlistee did not complete the contracted portion of service, as a result of death.

C) If enlistee is injured: the 10k is reduced per a formula based on “body part lost” (hereafter designated “BPL”) and terms of service (hereafter designated “TOS.”) The BPL formula breaks down as follows: the enlistee is designated as essentially a human body comprised of five major working parts: two arms, two legs, and one head. If an arm or leg is lost, diminishing enlistee by 1/5, enlistee will forfeit 20% of the outstanding bonus, collecting only 80%, further reduced by the amount of TOS unserved, based on the aforementioned BPL. Two BPL: 60%, three BPL 40%, etc… However, in the eventuality of BPL, the army will provide the appropriate prosthesis (prostheses), thus returning the enlistee in essentially the identical working condition as received.

D) Fingers and toes will be considered minor body parts (MBP), and designated as 1/10th of the abovementioned 1/5th BP, however their loss would not necessarily render the enlistee incapable of resuming service. It would be at enlistee’s discretion to continue service, therefore collecting the remaining portion of the bonus (less the per-digit percentage MBPL). If, however, enlistee decides not to continue service, the remaining portion will be reduced by the aforementioned formulae.

E) Further MBP designations include loss of eye (½ of a major working part; see also “ear,” “nostril,” and “testicle”), therefore the enlistee will only forfeit 10% of the outstanding bonus. However, if both eyes are lost (hereafter designated as “blindness”), or both ears are lost (hereafter designated as “deafness”) the entire remaining portion will be forfeited as that will render the enlistee incapable of completing the contracted service. Should both testicles be lost, the remaining portion will be passed on to enlistee’s children.

F) If, however, the head is lost, the entire remaining portion of the bonus will be forfeited, as the enlistee will no longer be fit to complete the contracted portion of service.

G) The money is taxable.

Hosek added: “There's a risk of bringing people in with lesser attachment or commitment to the Army, adding money will, for some people, sweeten the deal enough to persuade them to enter.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


The invasion of Iraq was to remove Saddam from power because he had WMDs, evidenced by the fact that he was buying yellow cake uranium in Niger which it turns out he wasn't, but that was based on faulty intelligence from the Brits which was exposed by a guy sent there by his wife, who was a covert CIA agent, but in any case we had to send in U.S.-led coalition forces because Saddam was part of the evil doers who attacked us on 9/11, which only happened because of a failure to recognize the Al Qaeda threat on the part of George Tenet when he headed the CIA, for which he was fired and given the Medal of Freedom, and if we didn't fight them there we'd have to fight them here, and Iraq would be become a safe haven and training ground for terrorists, unlike Pakistan, which is our ally in the war on terror, and not a safe haven and training ground for terrorists, and we had to rid the world of an evil dictator who gassed his own people even though we armed him for years during his war with Iran, and then didn't remove after the Gulf War because as Cheney said at the time it would have destabilized the region and resulted in a military quagmire, which it isn't now because we finally have the level of troops in Iraq that several generals who were fired said we should have had in the first place but it's all for a good cause that history will bear out because we are witnessing the birthpangs of a democracy in the Middle East and should be thought of as liberators, so the American people should feel proud and know that, after four years of war, and despite hundreds of thousands of people dead and injured, millions displaced, and a country in ruin that there's real progress being made and, as General Petraeus will tell the nation in a neutral and unbiased report -- “the surge is working” -- and any lack of order and stability in Iraq is the fault of the Al Maliki government, which has failed to establish a coalition among people who traditionally hate and mistrust each other, so this war is not a losing effort and we shouldn't compare Iraq with Vietnam, although we should compare Iraq with Vietnam because of the consequences of a troop withdrawal which wouldn't have been necessary if the protestors and liberal media had allowed the military to go in, unencumbered by dissent, and won the damn thing outright, instead of putting the pressure on to “cut and run” from a war we had no choice but to start in the first place.

If you think about it, it's really very clear.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Invasion of the White People!

Riding what they've called the "Mitt Mobile," 96 white Romneys have invaded Iowa armed with a big, white family portrait. And that scares me.

First, let's get rid of the white elephant in the room. An extended family of look-alike white people from Massachusetts, many of whom went to Harvard, who play touch football and have almost identical twilight's last gleaming white smiles? Ring any familiar bells? The Mormon Kennedys? The political Osmonds? Of course there are no war vets to hang the campaign around, no profiles in courage, 'cause according to dad, the five fightin' Romneys are saving themselves for Mitt's campaign. Somehow, electing dad to the White House has become the equivalent of military service. Now, who figured out that equation? But that's not the scary part.

It's the goodness. That perfect, wholesome white goodness. Bible and scripture on Sunday. More scripture on Monday. Touch football. Staff tennis tournament with the championship played on the family court. Now before I'm branded some sort of racist, let me be clear: I'm white. It's nothing I'm proud of. In fact, white people embarrass me. More often than not, I find them clueless, clumsy, soulless, insincere, patronizing, reeking of privilege, occasionally bordering on rude and, quite often, fat. Not just that slightly overweight fat but the take-over-the-buffet-line-with-your-doublewide-ass kind of fat. And all that fat is often accompanied by massive stupidity. That good, old-fashioned "America's a great country 'cause we've got freedom of speech, so shut your mouth and stop criticizing the government" kind of stupidity. But even that's not the scary part.

I'll admit there are some good white people. I've worked with some. I live around them. Hell, my sister even married one. And I guess they've done some good things. But I was sort of hoping that the whiter-than-white perfect family portrait as campaign poster was something we'd transcended here in the 21st century, as some diversity entered presidential politics. Not just with race, and gender, but with every other aspect of life. Multiple marriages. Family problems. A little drinking. Drug problems. Maybe the occasional DUI. Imperfect candidates seem more human. And I want a candidate who's human. A dad who's gotten a call at 8 am to bail their kid out. Someone who's gone through the hell of divorce and climbed out the other side. A mom who's maybe had a drink or two after a hard day. It makes them compassionate. Like they understand the problems regular people have and might like to solve them.

So when I see this 60's Tide commercial photograph, I'll be honest--it scares the shit out of me. Because somehow the notion of the "I'm all-white, you're all-white" candidate is still lurking out there in the minds of campaign managers, which means it's still out there in the minds of Americans. Now, it's not Mitt's fault he's white. It's not his fault he's got religion. While, personally, I think believing that, some 18 centuries after his death, Jesus reappeared in upstate New York is a litmus test for insanity, if that belief gets you through the night, then go with god. And it's sort of nice he's got a big old family. But that big old family picture looks like a throwback to an older, Wonder Bread America, and sticking it out there as a campaign poster of the perfect, Bible-reading, touch football-playing family, as if it's a reason for people to vote for you is scary. Because it doesn't make you look like a man of the people. It just makes you look like a man of the white people.