Tag Archives: sequestration

Furlough fun day! A blog post with 20 percent fewer jokes

Hi and welcome to the first installment of Furlough Fun Day!*

I guess I could have called it Furlough Monday but it doesn’t have the same ring to it. Come to think of it, federal employees who are furloughed on Fridays have all the good names.  Furlough Friday people get all the breaks.

Anyway, this is the first in a series of what I hope is only one blog written on my furlough day.

If you haven’t been following along with the news let me bring you up to speed.

FurloughDepartment of Defense employees are being forced to take a day off every week, which is awesome. We are also being forced to take this day off with no pay, which is not awesome. All told it equals a 20 percent pay cut.

As a result, this blog is going to be 20 percent less funny. (Math jokes are tough to write. That was the best I could do.)

I think technically during the furlough day, I’m not legally employed by the government. I can’t get another job during that day, but I’m not “technically” not a federal employee on furlough day either. That fact opens a lot of creative windows actually.

*Cough* Is it just me or does Gen. Dempsey look just a little bit like Gollum from

I'm just saying if you were viewing a line up could you tell who stole the elf bread?

I’m just saying if you were viewing a line up could you tell who stole the elf bread?

Lord of the Rings?

There. I’ve committed an act of civil disobedience and I feel awful.  Gen. Dempsey is a great man and a great leader.  I suck at civil disobedience.

Anyway, it would have been great if Dagmar and I had the same furlough day off but we don’t. She has Fridays off and I have, as you know, Mondays off. At first, the lizard part of my brain thought, HA! This is awesome, PORN PARTY on my day off. But after some rethinking, it kind of sucks because three day weekends together would rock harder than even the best porn party. Actually porn party sounds really, really pathetic.

But, as I said, we don’t have the same day off. This fact highlights a basic difference between us. She spent her day off in productive productivity and I spent my first day off curled up on in a ball of “damaged-dignity-hangover-smell” on the couch. That’s why I didn’t write this last Monday.  Between dry heaving into the toilet, crying and fiendish masterba … well I was really hung-over.

I did wash the windows though. She told me that was my chore and by-god I did it. By contrast she did five loads of laundry, the dishes, dusted the upstairs, mopped upstairs, ironed four of my shirts, extensively cleaned the cat litter box (extra hard because I had neglected it), changed the bed linen, called her daughter and purged the bar of old and no longer drinkable spirits.

So I’m feeling pretty good about my accomplishment.

Anyway I think the only thing from this point forward is to have a contest between Dagmar and I. Call it: Who used their unpaid day off the wisest. I’ve taken the liberty of drawing up a quick score sheet for everyone reading so they can keep track of who is winning.

Category Todd Dagmar
Hours of Porn Viewed 2 0
Windows washed All of them 0
Windows rewashed because of the shitty job done the first time 0 All of them
Episodes of Family Guy viewed 7 0
Episodes of Family Guy not viewed because of napping 3 0
Naps 3 0
Legs shaved 0 2
Episodes of the Today show about summer flip flop fashion   viewed 0 1
Number of dry heaves in the toilet 8 0
Crying silently 4 0
Video Games played 3 0
Number of balls scratched 2 0
Poops 3 1
Floors mopped 0 5
Beds made 1 1
Beds changed 0 1
Shirts ironed 0 4
Cat poop cleaned 0 All of them
Retarded decisions 7 0
Total 4,659 14

So clearly, as you can see (math doesn’t lie friends) I’m winning the furlough fun day competition.

*I’m really, really not smart enough to comment on the politics of furloughs. I’m not. I know my wife and I can weather it and be OK. I know a lot of my friends can, and will. But I also know that a lot of my friends and co-workers out there are seriously affected by this and I hope they don’t take offense to what I just wrote. Furlough and sequestration is, at the end of the day, not very funny at all. To a lot of folks, a 20 percent pay cut is no laughing matter. At the end of the day, it isn’t to us either. If I’ve offended anyone, I’m sorry.

Thank god military tuition assistance is safe … meanwhile in Afghanistan.

I don’t know if you’ve been following the recent issue with the Department of Defenses’ decision (since overturned by congress) to possibly suspend service member’s tuition assistance.

If you haven’t, here is a synopsis provided by a guy who has had a few beers.

The government told the Department of Defense to cut XXX-percent of its budget and the DOD made plans to cut that percent. One of things that the DOD decided to cut was “free college,” or in more recognizable terms, tuition assistance.

After that decision was made a lot of service members lost their minds and cried.


Look, who wouldn’t want more free money? (Photo credit: Tddy)

They cried a lot. They cried on Facebook. They cried on Twitter. They cried on the internet in general. They cried to the media and they cried to their elected officials. Their tears were so great that the decision was reversed and their collective cheeks were dried with soft, fluffy tuition-assistance dollars.

So in its place, something else was cut. It was training. Training dollars in the U.S. Military have gone to shit.  If you weren’t deploying in support of Afghanistan (or even if you were – read on!) we have left our military with enough training funds to draw shit on a dry-erase board and call it training.

While those service members safe at home protested the cutting of tuition assistance, those same monetary worries might actually force their comrades-in-arms to remain in theater past their scheduled redeployment date.

To be clear, according to the Washington Post, “Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army’s chief of staff, recently warned that the cuts may curtail training for 80 percent of ground forces, including some in the deployment pipeline, forcing him to extend the deployments of troops already in Afghanistan.”

Did you get that?

“Forcing him to extend the deployments of troops already in Afghanistan,” remains an option, but because “Sgt. Smith” yelled loudly enough that tuition assistance became the news story of the day.

Where was the outcry for slashing the training budget?  Where was the Facebook rage at that possibility?

There was none. The very service members who should have heard that and offered up their tuition assistance as a way to offset training costs, remained oddly silent.

“Hey, I got mine,” right?

Overnight, the training budget went from fully funded to I’ll pay you tomorrow for a hit off the crack pipe today. Instead of training on how to be a military, the training dollars just fucking left the building and no one noticed.

Much like the National Guard Cpl. (and convicted criminal) Jesse Thorsen who intentionally wore his uniform to a political rally, some of today’s military members have to remember it’s not about them individually, it’s about the unit as a whole.  Readiness really doesn’t suffer when school funds dry up. But when there aren’t enough funds to buy bullets for the rifle range, it’s a real fucking problem.

I retired from active duty service in 2009. I served a tour in Iraq and another in Afghanistan. I remember the lean days of military funding during the ’90s and recall that money tends to fall from the sky when the military is at war, but is a scares commodity in times of peace.

That’s as it should be. If the nation as a whole is asking its service members to serve in harm’s way then the nation has an obligation to ensure that every resource is spent making certain service members are safe, well supplied and well trained.

To my mind, tuition assistance is nice, but it doesn’t really fall into any of those aforementioned categories. College classes are nice, but they do little to ensure you and your battle buddy come home safe from a war zone.

In times of peace, the nation, rightfully, expects the budget of the U.S. Military to shrink.

I’m not saying that the federal gun to the military’s head demand that they “lose

A Headquarters and Headquarters Troop , 6th Sq...

What do you mean we’re out of bullets? (Photo credit: U.S. Army)

$46 billion dollars,” right now, is the best way to go about reducing defense spending. I am saying that these cuts were visible on September 12, 2001.   Anyone who thought the spending could go on, and on, and on just wasn’t paying attention.

Tuition assistance is exactly one of the first things you cut when faced with  budgetary reductions during a war and attempting to prepare for tomorrow’s fight. Tuition Assistance is a ‘nice to have’ benefit, but it’s in no way an entitlement. An entitlement is decent body armor, a weapon your trained to shoot or a medic who knows what the hell they’re doing.  Those my friends are entitlements.

I know, I know.  Tuition assistance only costs the military $300-400 million and that’s a percentage of $43 billion that someone who is good at math will have to tell us. I’d counter with — that money is coming out of somewhere else now that your bachelor-degree funding is secured.

That cash would buy a lot of bullets for a rifle range, pay for a lot of fuel during a training exercise, fund a lot of medic training, and in short, save lives the next time we ask you to go into harm’s way.

But degrees are important too …