Saturday, August 29, 2009

The News Sucks

I've been trying my best to ignore the ongoing disposal of "The Swimmer," tubby Teddy. Luckily, I don't watch a lot of television, but even the news sites are infested with that crap. Why so much hoopla over the death of yet another career creep?

I guess that because that entire clan has such a reputation for being slimy crooks, above the law, and somehow better than YOU, the lamestream media feels the need to try and make The Swimmer's corpse more important than it really is. Just dump that sucker in the ground already!

Mary Jo Kopechne unavailable for comment...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Today's Youth and Leadership

Some of today's military leaders have been promoted on the merits of things other than their own potential. Ask any military man if this is true, and you will get a universal answer: Stupid and incapable people get promoted too. Call it a "good ol' boy network," or whatever you want; it happens.

The sad part of this situation is that the entire Marine Corps suffers as a result of a stupid, or incapable, Marine getting selected for an advanced leadership position. Leaders influence subordinates, in both positive and negative ways.

Today, I had a Gunnery Sergeant brief me on an incident that occurred, and it caused much head shaking, and a true sense of disgust. My Gunny (we'll call him Gunny Smith) was driving on base, and saw a young Marine that was in direct violation of our uniform regulations. My Gunny parked his car, and walked over to where the young Marine was, then proceeded to say, "Hey! Come here Marine!"

Nothing wrong here, yet.

The young Marine then rolled his eyes, slacked his shoulders, sighed heavily, sucked spit through his teeth, and spewed a belligerent attitude through every pore of his skin. My Gunny got a little upset at his insubordinate action. Gunny Smith proceeded to chew the young Marine's a$$, and threw a couple of colorful expletives in for good measure. This is par for the course when you draw the attention of a Gunny in a negative way.

Enter Gunny Boone. Gunny Boone happened to see Gunny Smith (my subordinate) chewing the young Marine's a$$, and went over to investigate. Gunny Smith was done correcting the young Marine by the time Gunny Boone arrived, but Gunny Boone was adamant about finding out why some "strange SNCO" would be yelling at one of his Marines. He proceeded to take the side of the young Marine. He later called Gunny Smith at work, and tried to argue his point. He insisted that the young Marine had done nothing wrong.

Let's back things up a bit...Can you imagine a United States Marine, in uniform, riding in a tactical vehicle, with pink earphones plugged into his head? Me neither. Not only is it a direct violation of a Marine Corps Order, but it's also a safety issue. "Gunny Boone" saw nothing wrong with this, and insisted that the young Marine did nothing wrong. Pink earphones? WTF?

I let the telephone conversation, that I could only hear one side of, go on to completion. Gunny Smith briefed me, which he should have, because he thought there was a chance that Gunny Boone would pull a chicken $shit move and go crying to his command. Gunny Boone even emailed Gunny Smith, and tried to argue against the Marine Corps Order on uniform regulations. This idiot even quoted the part of the order that the young Marine was in violation of! This guy shouldn't be allowed to breed, let alone get promoted! This situation should have ended with the a$$ chewing that Gunny Smith provided for the young Marine.

I decided to intervene. Not only was my Gunny doing the right thing by correcting the young Marine, but Gunny Boone needed to be corrected too. I hated to do it, but I contacted Gunny Boone. The issue ended, I think, with that correspondence, but the guy is still a Gunny. He still has influence on young Marines. He's helping to raise a generation of "sea lawyers." This is disturbing.

When you reach a certain rank in the Corps; you really need to stop offering PFC answers for the shortcomings of others (and yourself). This guy makes me want to vomit, and I hope that he leaves the Corps very soon. I also hope that he doesn't influence many young Marines.

That's my rant for the day.

Semper Fidelis.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Gunny-- An Old Joke

This is an old joke that I remember, but it still gives me a giggle now and then:

One sunny day in the desert "paradise" of 29 Palms, California, an old crusty Gunnery Sergeant (aka: Gunny) decided to award two of his young squad leaders, both Corporals, by treating them to lunch at the USO.

After an uncomplicated meal that was slightly better than the fare at the chow hall, the three were walking back to the company area when one of the Corporals nearly tripped over a piece of brass sticking up out of the sand. Upon closer inspection (initially thinking it was an old piece of UXO), the piece of brass turned out to be the handle of an antique lamp. Pulling the lamp out of the sand, the first Corporal rubbed the dirt off with the sleeve of his uniform. This was met with a look of disdain from the old Gunny. "Drop that old piece of junk in the $hit-can over there, and let's get going," said Gunny.

The Corporal was about to comply when smoke started coming out of the brass lamp. He dropped the lamp and, a moment later, a genie, who looked a bit haggard and disheveled, appeared before the three Marines. "I've been trapped in that lamp for thousands of years. I'll reward the three of you by granting you each one wish. Choose wisely," said the genie.

The first Corporal thought for a moment, wiped the summer sweat from his brow, and said, "I wish I was relaxing on a beach in Hawaii with swimsuit models serving me cold beers."

"Done!" said the genie, and the young Marine disappeared with an audible 'poof.'

The second Corporal liked the wish of the first and said, "I wish I was relaxing on a beach in the Bahamas with swimsuit models serving me cold beers."

"Granted!" said the genie, and the second young NCO disappeared with an audible 'poof.'

The genie turned to the crusty old Gunny, and said, "Well, what would you like me to grant you?"

The salty old Gunny offered a wry smile and said, "Chow time is almost over; I want those two sumbitches back at the company office by 1300."

The moral of the story: If you ever encounter a genie, let the Gunny choose first.

Health Care Bill Facts

Here's just a couple of little facts about the 1k+ page bill that most of our lawmakers haven't even read:

1 The bill will cost the average person $460 more in premiums each year.1

2 As many as 114 million Americans may lose their current coverage if the bill passes.2

3 Up to 5.5 million jobs may be lost, according to a model developed by President Obama’s own chief economic advisor.3

4 While the Congressional Budget Office claims the bill will cost $1.28 trillion, it will actually cost $9.2 trillion over the next 75 years.4

5 The bill contains $820 billion in tax increases, the largest tax increase in history.5

6 Companies that do not provide their employees with a government-approved health insurance plan will be taxed at 8%, forcing many employers to drop coverage for their employees.6

7 Individuals that do not obtain a government-approved health insurance plan will be taxed an additional 2.5% of their income, or $1,000 for every $40,000 they earn.7

8 After increased income taxes on those making $350,000 or more, the top tax rate in 39 states will be more than 50%; the highest wage earners in New York will be taxed at 58%, more than any country in the world, including Sweden.8

9 A family of four with an income of $88,200 will qualify for taxpayer-funded subsidies.9

10 Even after the plan takes effect, 34% of the estimated uninsured will still lack coverage.10

This analysis is not designed to endorse or oppose this or any other proposed legislation. Its sole purpose is to discuss the bill’s components in the context of the Center’s research into the topic. The statistics cited herein are current as of August 19, 2009, but are subject to change due to amendments made to H.R. 3200.

1 Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., “The House Health Care Bill: A Blueprint for Federal Control,” Heritage Foundation.
2 “Analysis of the July 15 draft of The American Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,” The Lewin Group.
3 Rep. John Boehner & Gov. Tim Pawlenty, “Capital Malpractice: How the Washington Takeover of Healthcare Will Hurt States,” p. 5.
4 “Financing Health Care Expansion with ‘Surtaxes’ on High Incomes,” Joint Congressional Economic Committee. July 20, 2009.
5 Chuck Blahous, “Plan still $820 billion above target,”, July 29, 2009.
6 H.R. 3200, 111th Cong. § 412.
7 H.R. 3200, 111th Cong. § 401.
8 “If Health Surtax is 5.4 Percent, Taxpayers in 39 States Would Pay a Top Tax Rate Over 50%,” Tax Foundation, July 2009, No. 178.
9 H.R. 3200, 111th Cong.
10 Lewin study.

This is courtesy of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. This is the real "inconvenient" truth that the left ignores.

Put as much lipstick on this pig as you want, it will still stink. Our fat, bloated government has a sick sort of Midas Touch; everything it touches turns to crap, and health care will be no different. Just look at medicare, medicaid, USPS, Social Security, and any other program that they've messed with over the years. You can't deny it, no matter how loudly you shout, "hope and change." Wanting something very badly won't make it so.

The actual bill (HR 3200) can be read here: click link to read the bill

Facts and link to TCPR shamelessly stolen from Ol' Broad.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Sweatshirt Story

Have you ever gone out and done the exact opposite of what you should have done, and then tried like hell to "fix" it? You too?

When I was stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, my unit would go up to Fort Pickett, Virginia every winter for gunnery. The ranges at Lejeune were not capable of supporting the weapon systems that we used, so we turned to the Army for support. What we got for support was the use of a decrepit old base that had almost zero infrastructure in place. It was perfect! Who needs all of those luxuries like hot food, a base exchange, or real medical care?
We had our own field mess to serve us up some heated "k-rats" on a daily basis, and our Corpsmen to identify the cause of death. In a sense, it was just like a deployment, and it suited us just fine.

There was a skeleton crew of civilians on base there, and they kept the electricity on, and that's about it. One thing that they did have, and our (the Marines) first order of business was to inquire about it, was an enlisted club. We didn't have the opportunity to visit the club the first week or so that we were there, but the green flag finally came on a cold Friday afternoon. We were all instructed, very clearly, that we needed to be on our best behavior, and that any "incidents" would result in our unit being banned from the club. Hell, what could go wrong?

My immediate circle of buddies consisted of a Sergeant (Sgt) who thought everyone was plotting against him (this was when he was sober), and a Corporal (Cpl) that was a state champion wrestler with a bad temper. Oh, the wrestler was also a really mean drunk.
I donned some jeans and a sweatshirt for what I thought would be a pretty tame night at the local beer joint. Sgt Winn, Cpl Patterson, and I headed for the club at 1700 on a chilly Friday evening. We were in good spirits, and were looking forward to finally drinking some beer, feeding some quarters into the juke box, and maybe shooting some pool. I reminded both of them that we needed to not get out of hand, or it would be our only night out while we were here; both of my companions were in agreement.

We walked through the frozen mud between the old movie theater and the enlisted club, and discovered that the club was actually pretty nice, in an old, battered, campy kind of way. The jukebox was fairly loud, they had a couple of pool tables, and there were plenty of tables around the ample bar. They also had a very well stocked bar, run by a pleasant man with an older woman helping out.

We sat down at a table and ordered a couple of beers, and then put some money on the pool table. We ended up playing a few games of nine ball with some mortarmen from one of the battalion's line companies. This was our first bad move. The mortarmen didn't share our desire to stay out of trouble, and they were on a mission to get as drunk as possible. They began ordering shots for all of us, and I did what came naturally: I downed shot after shot of cheap tequila. I felt great! I didn't want these shots to interfere with my beer drinking, so I swaggered over to the bar and took up station close to the taps.

I ordered a beer, and struck up a conversation with the bartender. I have no idea what it was about, but I think it involved horses. I was doing just fine with my beer when mortarman number one brought me two more shots of tequila and said, "You're falling way behind, Devil Dog. Get on it." Well, hell. I'm not going to be made a mockery of for turning down free tequila.

Fast forward about 15 minutes, and the same mortarman is back with another couple of shots. I can't remember if the idea that this might end badly ever crossed my mind, but I certainly didn't put up much of a fight.

A few minutes later, I discovered that bar napkins will completely dissolve if you slop enough beer on them. The bartender wasn't nearly as impressed as I was. He still brought me another beer though. Cue the mortarman with another couple of shots.

Mortarboy comes back yet again, and I told him that we needed to stop meeting like this. He laughed and said, "Don't be such a wuss; these shots aren't going to drink themselves!"

I'm now invincible, and have decided to tell anyone within ear shot that I can drink more liquor than any of them! Cpl Patterson, the mean, short tempered wrestler, says, "What? Bullshit! It's on now motherf#^&er." He orders more shots for all of us, and moves the entire party over to the bar, where it's much more convenient for me to indulge in the debauchery.

I'm unsure of how many shots I did after that, or how many beers I drank. Suffice it to say that I consumed far more alcohol than I should have. I found myself sitting (sort of) at the bar, alone, and drunk as I could possibly be while still remaining conscious. For the uninitiated, that's pretty drunk. Then, as if being drunker than the town whino at a wine tasting festival wasn't enough, I soon realized that I was going to vomit. I didn't think I was going to vomit, I knew I was going to vomit. I also knew that I probably couldn't walk very well. This all happened in the span of what seemed like half a second, and before I knew it, I had spewed chunky puke all over the top of the bar.

Now, remember, I was supposed to be on my best behavior, so that we didn't get banned from this bar. I somehow doubt that spraying the bar top with slimy vomit would be considered good form. The Marine in me came through. I had enough of a sense of mission accomplishment and Esprit de Corps to know that I had to somehow fix this social misstep.

I stretched the bottom portion of my sweatshirt out in front of me, just under the edge of the bar (just as if I was going to scrape a few crumbs from a table). I then reached out my other arm and began swiping all of this puke off the edge of the bar, into my sweatshirt. I vaguely remember a warm sensation in my lap, as the liquid portion made it through the sweatshirt. To my credit, I cleaned the top of that bar off so well, the bartender never said a damned thing about me puking on it (he was otherwise occupied dealing with mortarman #1 and Cpl Patterson in the other end of the room at the time; Cpl Patterson had reached "mean drunk" condition). I then hobbled over to a large plastic trash barrel in the corner, and emptied the contents of my sweatshirt into it. It felt like I was carrying a wet bowling ball in my sweatshirt! I tried to scrape the chunks off as best I could, remarked to a passerby that, "We had chili-mac tonight, and I ate a shitload of that slop!" and then headed toward the restroom to try and finish the cleanup effort.

I don't remember much after that, but I know I made it back to the barracks, and so did paranoid Sgt and mean wrestler Cpl. The Army contacted our CO the next day and said that they didn't appreciate the mayhem that ensued. Our CO placated the Army liaison enough that we weren't banned, yet, from the club. What a sense of relief that I felt! I was so worried that I would be the one to get us thrown out! Now it would surely be someone else...Maybe.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Twitter Down, Earth Keeps Rotating

I yawned as I read a small news story about Twitter being down. I checked and, unbelievably, the sun did indeed come up this morning, despite no updates from twits, twats, tweets, whatever, telling it to do so.

This came on the heels of Wired reporting that the Marine Corps has finally issued a policy statement about not using such crap as Twitter and Myspace on government networked computers. Is that really tech news? A good friend sent me an email about it, and his email in response was actually read during a podcast by a couple of allegedly tech savvy folks during their show.
The story on Wired is a bit poor, in that it tries to make it sound like we Leathernecks cannot access social networking sites, while the only restrictions are actually to the government networks. We can still access all of the stupid sites that we want to from our "homes," barracks, even the USO. Yep; rest assured that your young PFC can still do a search for "midget wookie porn" and probably view such crap from the relative privacy of his shared barracks room...Go ahead and shudder along with me on that one! Those of us that are a part of this gun club have known about this since Chesty was around. I guess they've simply issued a policy statement about it. Did anyone twit that on Tweeter/Twitter/Whatever?

I just have to ask, where is your "I don't give a damn" line drawn on such things? Do you care if your friend had a few beers and is watching the sun come up? Are you concerned if an acquaintance cannot access their bank account from their cell phone? Do you need to know about it while sitting on the toilet?

I've always sort of thought that Twitter was a bit silly, but this just seals the deal for me. I'm trying to come up with a way to quantify how much I don't care about Twitter's epic fail, but I guess there's no terminology yet. Does my blog post indicate that I really do care? If someone were to ask me how much I don't care, and I replied, "toaster oven," would that do the trick?

Perhaps we need a new language for these things...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Burial At Sea

A fellow Marine by the name of Taco has posted a link to a very moving story, and re-printed it on his blog. I strongly suggest you read it.

You can find it here: Click this link