Thursday, 14 February 2013

A Little Medal Story

The US military kinda operates like the Boy Scouts.  We have a bunch of medals that we give out, for various things.

We have fifty-odd medals.  There's the marksmanship medal.....which you get if you do well on your yearly shooting opportunities 

There's the Good Conduct Medal....which you get for being a good individual and not getting into trouble (this is not joke).  The Air Force tried to get rid the medal after thirty years....mostly because they felt it was your obligation to be good.  But after three years, they discovered that a fair segment of the Air Force weren't that good, and we needed to make a statement.

There's the Medal of Honor when you go out put yourself in mortal danger to help save folks (usually, you're six feet under when you get awarded this).

There's the short-tour medal, which you get for mostly just taking a crappy twelve-month tour to some isolated place that no one else wants to go.  You get recognized for wasting twelve months in Greenland or some island in the Pacific.

There's the Presidential Unit Citation, when you and your whole squadron went off on some massive mission and did a damn good job and the President himself wants to honor the whole gang.  There aren't that many units today that get that medal.

There's the Organizational Excellence Medal, which means you passed an inspection or two over the past two years and some Air Force general wants to recognize your commander mostly, but also note that these two hundred extra man-hours that you put in over two years in over-time and weekends.....were worth it.

The list goes on and on.

Well....since the drone wars have been going on....the pilots that they drag out to Las Vegas and make sit in Lazy-Boy recliners (it's probably actually $200 office chairs).....have been doing a bunch of flying....in chairs.

The way this drone business works is Gus and the drone crew sit out on some remote spot where it's pretty hot and miserable.  Gus and the boys don't have much to sip on and rarely eat anything but chowhall prepared food.  Gus and the guys make sure that the drone is fueled up each morning, and they launch it.  The key deal is that once it's airborne.....it starts to link up with a satellite and get commands.  And the real pilot?  He's sitting back in Vegas.

As the drone wars started up.....the Air Force wanted to reward these special pilots, who were mostly computer simulator pilots but on wartime missions. They started out with real flying medals, and the real pilots got pretty hyper about that.  It's not the same thing.

Time passed, and you can imagine five or six chair-pilots sitting there.....devising various strategies to fix this problem.

This week, the Air Force invented the newest medal.  It's the Distinguished Warfare Medal.  You can only get it....by sitting in a chair and flying a drone half-way around the world.  Real pilots can't get it.  Just the drone pilots can get it.

The thing that riles folks is the position that you wear it with the other medals.

You see....it does fall after the Distinguished Flying Medal, which only real pilots can get.  I suspect that real pilots set some rules down on this.  But it comes right before the Bronze Star with Valor medal....which you typically get when you were in some combat action, with bullets flying, and did some semi-heroic stuff, but nothing fancy like you'd get with the Medal of Honor.

Naturally, the guys with Bronze Stars are a bit upset and yanking on the chain of their leadership.  This just ain't right....you can imagine the comments and hostility of chair-pilots being a step above the Bronze Star guys.

This is the problem with medals.....you can't make everyone happy.

Oh, and you might be interested in this.  We even have a service medal called the Antarctica Service Medal.  Typically, it means you and a bunch of guys were ordered to take a vessel down near the land of Antarctica, and you stayed for thirty days or more.  Typically, it's only the navy guys who get this one.  I asked a guy about this, who had earned one.  He said they went in the right months when it wasn't that cold and he didn't even think it was a big deal.

And yeah, we did have the World War I Victory Medal, along with the World War II Victory Medal....which aren't seen much anymore.....mostly because all the guys wearing them have passed on.  Some medals just don't get seen much because of the event having passed.

Simply Observations

It will now be tomorrow, when this cruise boat finally docks in Mobile, and this mad rush to get off occurs.  The best that Carnival is offering?  This cruise is repaid, with a full-cruise in the future offered, and $500 in cash.  It appears that they will have buses ready to go....but most all destined to New Orleans, but not the Mobile airport.  So you can figure at least three hours to drive over New Orleans before you can even start to think over messing with TSA or spending three hours at the airport, or jumping through hoops for a two-hour flight to Philly.  I think I'd just get off the ship....find a taxi to take me to Gulf Shores hotel, and spend three days chilling before I make my way back to find a lawyer and sue the cruise-line.

Yeah, it's true....some idiot journalist at CNN asked if the sipping of water by Rubio in his response to the President....was a career-ender.  My question would be.....if viewers are turning off CNN hour-by-hour, is there any hope for the media-midget to survive?  I'm pretty sure you know the answer.

The Commander of the prison at Gitmo....got called in to testify.  It seems....that various microphones have been placed in rooms where the prisoners would discuss matters with their lawyers.  The Commander says.....he just didn't know about those dang microphones or that intelligence organizations (unknown which)....were behind it.  Yep, your prison and loaded with microphones  and maybe even the Commander's office having a hot mic.....and you just don't know it.  My prediction is that no court case will ever conclude successfully...with almost all results thrown out by some federal panel eventually because of the screw-ups.

Finally, the news media jumped up quickly as Governor Perry of Texas finished up his recruitment trip to California, and noted that not one single company signed up to leave California.  A bold failure.  Yep....course, they didn't want to mention that companies don't make irrational and hasty decisions.....and that four months from now.....some companies will quietly in the night just pack up and note a move out of the state of California.  You really don't want to give intentions ahead of time to those pesky California state tax revenue guys.

My Wage Idea

I sat and watched the Union Address from last night, and the one interesting piece mentioned....was bringing the minimum wage up to $9 an hour.

Some business folks spoke out today....noting this was not a brilliant idea in a weak economy like we have today.

I paused over this and actually came to a vastly different conclusion.  I'd actually like to bring the minimum wage to $17 an hour.  Here is my logic.

We've built up this great society deal where you have all these poverty folks, with various state and federal programs....rigged up to billions in aid, that we slip into cheese, welfare, and other brilliantly orchestrated programs.

Well....let's admit that if it was $17 an hour....there'd be no poverty.  So the orchestrated programs would dry up quickly, and there's around 150k Americans working for the federal government in various capacities that we could just let go.  We wouldn't employ them.....we wouldn't provide any welfare aide....we'd just let the American system carry everyone.

Then we come to this odd thing.  Immediately a McDonalds Quarter-Pounder meal would jump from $5.50 to $10.50.  That $49 room at Motel Six would go to $64.  The beer you sip at the sports bar for $5 would be $10.

The thing is....all that write-up....would exist, and taxes on you would disappear because of the government social programs disappearing.

Then we'd come to this odd thing.....all of these folks would be making $30k or more, and now start to fall into taxable territory.  They'd actually have to toss $500 to a $1000 to the federal government.  They'd start to contribute money just like regular middle-class people.

The odds of us accepting $17 an hour for the minimum wage?  Zero.  It'll never happen.     The odds of the President getting $9 an hour?  This year?  Zero.  But I could see it going up to $8.50 by the end of 2014....an election year.  That's going to make sense for both parties to make it happen.