Leadership! Forward!

Da Debt Bomb

the Pentagon funded an iPhone app to warn about low caffeine levels,
runs microbreweries,
conducts research into how babies and robots interact, and
built a roadside bomb detector with the same accuracy rate as a coin flip.

73-page report titled, “Department of Everything,” [Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma] estimated the government could save at least $67.9 billion over a decade…

…include proposals to reduce the $212 billion that Coburn estimated the Pentagon spends on “overhead”

…the Pentagon has spent more than $1 million on the 100-year Starship Project, including $100,000 for a workshop sure to attract Trekkies. One of the discussions was titled “Did Jesus Die for Klingons Too?”

…more than $1.5 million to develop a beef jerky in roll-up form.

“Beef jerky so good it will shock and awe your taste buds,” the report said. “That is the goal of an ongoing Pentagon project, which is attempting to develop its own brand of jerky treats that are the bomb! Only, the money is coming from a program specially created to equip soldiers with the weapons they need.”

Department of Everything [PDF]


  1. apotheosis
    Posted November 18, 2012 at 11:25 am |

    If that 100-year-starship project is what I think it is – the “century” or “generation ship” idea for interstellar travel, which is really the only sensible solution for a human species with no plausible path toward scifi-style “cryosleep” – then at least it’s not a completely asinine field of study.

    It’s definitely more properly a field of government-funded research than goddamned beef jerky.

  2. mech
    Posted November 18, 2012 at 12:08 pm |

    Oh, I have some stories of ‘fraud, waste and abuse’ I saw as a military contractor. Things built into the system- not even counting proposals or research contracts- Redundancy Departments of Redundancies.

    But I bet others here have even better ones.

  3. Colonel Jerry USMC
    Posted November 18, 2012 at 12:13 pm |

    The Space ship would have to be huge, and would have to be built above Earth`s atmosphere. I can`t imagine how the costs would be spead, since one nation-state could not afford it. Should the ship be one-way only or would it need to be round trip; over centuries?

    The WEAKEST link in the proposal; WE are still monkeys with car keys!!!!!

  4. apotheosis
    Posted November 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm |

    Let’s make it one-way, populate it with mooslims, and send them off to colonize the moon.

    I didn’t say which moon.

  5. DougM (Well, thaaat sucked!)
    Posted November 18, 2012 at 12:55 pm |

    Jesus H Kkkkkrist!

  6. MCPO
    Posted November 18, 2012 at 3:18 pm |

    Meanwhile, out in the field, soldiers and Marines go without needed gear, Sailors on under-manned ships struggle with basic preventive maintenance and airman work extra hours to keep aged aircraft serviceable.

    I hate wasteful stupidity.

  7. iD
    Posted November 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm |

    When you take things out of context, they can look awfully silly. A program to produce a better low-moisture protein source? It must be stupid roll-up jerky! A program to draw tech-savvy nerds? It’s Star Trek stupidity!

    My point is: don’t jump to conclusions. Wasn’t there someone recently who proposed canceling the NASCAR sponsorship program?

  8. Colonel Jerry USMC
    Posted November 18, 2012 at 6:35 pm |

    The choice may be *this Universe* w/o humans or with them. I know, is right up there with buying or not buying Girl Scout cookies……..Genealities kept in grandma`s bible expired a long time ago. Me, I druther my history not be akin to the giant lizards, ala some life form diggin up my fossils……..by that lil black martian with a helmet & sword…..or a fucking Cylon!

  9. mech
    Posted November 18, 2012 at 8:07 pm |

    Regarding iphones.

    friday I watched a 10 and 12 year old girl get on their computer and track their Mom’s iphone with the GPS . . .

    AND listen in on her conversations.

    Just saying.

  10. Fat Baxter
    Posted November 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm |

    The Starship Project sets a goal 100 years from now, of building a working starship. With that set date, the initiative is to investigate promising technologies, with an eye to making them achievable to support that future launch date.

    One of the iron laws of bureaucracy: “Wouldn’t nothing get done, if there weren’t a suspense date.”

  11. Fat Baxter
    Posted November 18, 2012 at 9:24 pm |

    Also, another dirty little secret about the Pentagon budget: Most of the congressional bitching is because someone feels not enough funds are going into his/her district. They don’t care what the money’s really being spent on, just as long as the spigot’s flowing.

    Believe it or not, most of this shit is wedged into the Pentagon budget by all the various committees that review it (a result of earmarks favoring someone’s pet rock back home, as payback for support). The Pentagon didn’t ask for this crap. Been there, seen that.

  12. staghounds
    Posted November 19, 2012 at 3:29 am |

    It’s never waste, because some grateful voter/contributor cashes the checks.


  13. John A
    Posted November 19, 2012 at 11:04 am |

    “Did Jesus Die for Klingons Too?”

    Some years back I read that circa 1926 (Wehrner von Braun limited to a rubber-band slingshot by his parents) there was a “teaching principle” in place at some Catholic seminaries to direct student discussions to conclude that each species is provided its own path, and should not be proselytised. Not doctrine, just a strong suggestion.