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The Loose Nukes is an attempt (by people who should probably be under 24 hour supervised psychiatric care) to bring attention to somewhat serious issues like nuclear weapons, militarism and other seemingly random, unrelated issues through vain attempts at social satire and other futile gestures of total contempt for a fading empire that continues to employ nuclear weapons, the ultimate instruments of an erectile dysfunctional national security state, as instruments of foreign policy. OK, you probably get the idea by now. We are obsessed by run-on sentences, peace and justice, having fun, and don't know when to quit. At any rate, we don't think nuclear weapons are a very good idea, and are most definitely unhealthy for living things. We also think the folks running this Empire should just get over it.

And now the NOT SO FINE PRINT: Read further at your own risk... and remember, DON'T PANIC; this is all SATIRE at its worst (or best, depending on one's mental state)! And some of the stuff in here is even true!!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

$26.5 MILLION Spent: ZERO Recruits Joined

Charlotte, NC, May 19, 2012:  NASCAR racing champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced plans to drive solo from Kabul, Afghanistan to Islamabad, Pakistan in an effort to bolster pentagon recruiting efforts.

Earnhardt announced his bold plan immediately following his 5th place finish at the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 19th.

Just the day before Earnhardt's announcement Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) expressed her outrage and disbelief at the level of waste in the National Guard’s recruitment budget.

In 2012, the National Guard is spending $26.5 million to sponsor Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #88 car in NASCAR races for the purposes of recruitment. Over the past five years Earnhardt’s racing team has received over $136 million in taxpayer funds from the National Guard – making him the highest paid military contractor in professional sports.

In response a spokesperson for Earnhardt said that the National Guard is just "one of our many partners that include Hellman's, GoDaddy.com and Whiskey River Beer & Wings."  The spokesperson stressed that it was the National Guard that approached Earnhardt regarding sponsorship.

A May 18th online USA Today story by Dustin Long cited the National Guard’s contracts manager for recruitment, Maj. Brian Creech, explaining the effectiveness of this taxpayer investment in military recruiting.

“In fiscal year 2012, the National Guard has been contacted by more than 24,800 individuals interested in joining because of the race sponsorship. Of those, Creech said 20 were qualified candidates and that none joined,” according to the USA Today story.

That’s right, ZERO RECRUITS JOINED. The National Guard spent $26.5 million for ZERO recruits.

“The Pentagon’s NASCAR sponsorship program is an outrageous waste of taxpayer money and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta should terminate these sponsorship programs immediately. Spending $26 million on a NASCAR racing team – in the name of national security – for zero recruits tells me the Pentagon can painlessly absorb some serious budget cuts,” McCollum said.

“This Pentagon failure is particularly outrageous in light of the fact that last week House Republicans voted to kick 200,000 low-income kids out of the school lunch program and eliminate funding for “Meals on Wheels” for home-bound seniors in order to add $55 billion to the defense budget.”

Earnhardt responded that he felt badly about the lack of success in the recruiting effort tied to the Pentagon's sponsorship of car #88. "I want to make this right," said Earnhardt of his plan to drive solo along some of the most dangerous roads in the world. "Through this effort I can demonstrate my support for the war effort and hopefully generate some qualified recruits for the National Guard."

On May 17th, an amendment to stop funding Pentagon sponsorship of NASCAR and other professional sports was offered by Rep. McCollum and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) to fiscal year 2013 Defense appropriations bill. The amendment passed on a voice vote and will now go to the House floor as part of the $608 billion defense spending bill.

Earnhardt hopes his Kandahar to Islamabad solo marathon journey will show a return on the taxpayers' $136 million 5-year investment, and cement the partnership between NASCAR and the National Guard. 

Earnhardt plans to drive a specially outfitted Humvee that in addition to the standard military paint job, will sport the number "88".  Earnhardt will drive from Kabul to Kandahar, and then from Kandahar to Islamabad, a total distance of approximately 850 kilometers.  Earnhardt does not expect any difficulties entering Pakistan.

Earnhardt's pit crew will follow in a specially outfitted Stryker Vehicle. Before leaving for Afghanistan the entire crew will undergo weeks of training by National Guard troops in small arms handling, detection of roadside bombs and how to handle wayward livestock and hitchhikers.

Earnhardt will be shadowed during the entire drive by close air support supplied by the National Guard.  The dates of Earnhart's marathon drive have not been released for security reasons.


(Sources for real information used in the post: McCollum: National Guard’s $26 million Sponsoring NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. Results in ZERO Recruits, May 18, 2012, http://mccollum.house.gov/press-release/mccollum-national-guard’s-26-million-sponsoring-nascar’s-dale-earnhardt-jr-results; Dale Earnhardt Jr. Website: http://www.dalejr.com/default.aspx)

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