Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Be all that you can be

So, one of the things we hear about the War on Terror is that it is an unfair burden on lower-class Americans because they oftentimes joining the military is their only option. Especially since they can't afford or can't get into college. We hear this all the time, that somehow if there was no war these poor, uneducated Americans wouldn't be over in Iraq dying, for no reason. Ok, no problem. Obviously, the United States Military is not the safest job in the world. Surely the people that join know the risks. Right?

Well no, at least not according to the people who tell us this stuff. According to the anti-war crowd, military recruiters frequently lie to prospective recruits. They minimize the actual dangers of the service and downplay the chances they'll go to Iraq. God damned evil military recruiters. Taking these poor Americans out of the jobs they could be doing without a college education and putting them into a deadly job where they risk their lies on a daily basis. Terrible.

But then I heard something about this TV show called Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel. I never saw the show (which is about fishermen catching crabs in Alaska), but supposedly every year they have a near-100% injury rate. Meaning just about EVERYONE on these ships is getting seriously hurt (or KILLED) EVERY YEAR. And this got me thinking, if so many of our soldiers are so underprivledged, untalented and uneducated (which is an absolutely ridiculous notion by the way) that they agree to get shot at on a daily basis, what other jobs are out there that the army is the most appealing choice to them?

I thought about it a little. And the more I thought about it, the more I could not understand why someone would rather be around weapons and explosives (which are pretty god damn dangerous even when they're NOT being fired at you from 30 different angles in some back alley of Falluja) then say be a fisherman. I mean, ok so people get hurt on boats while fishing but it can't POSSIBLY be as bad as being in the middle of a combat zone...right?!?!?! I mean it CAN'T be. These guys have to be morons to think that they were less likely to die in the military than they would being garbagemen or steel workers or lumberjacks or some other job that doesn't require any post-high school education. Or even high school education because I keep hearing that so many of our soldiers are high school dropouts (again, ridiculous...but whatever). And not to go off on a tangent or anything, but when did becoming a high school dropout become something great un-preventable tragedy that they should be pitied or something. Gimme a break.

Anyway, getting back on topic, I figured I would settle this for myself once and for all. What are the odds that you will die if you join the United States Military? And how does that stack up against other "non-skilled" or "non-degree required" jobs that that apparently are the only other options for these people?

According to Wikipedia (which I hate and am only using because I verified the source material by checking with the Department of Defense), the United States Armed Forces claims 2,685,713 total servicemen and women of which 1,426,713 are considered "active troops."

These numbers include the following branches of the military:

United States Army
United States Navy
United States Marine Corps
United States Air Force
United States Coast Guard

Source: Wikipedia

According to the Department of Defense, as of 10 am on January 20th, 2007, 3,410 United States Military servicemen and women have died as part of operations related to the "War on Terror" - including Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

Of those 3,410 soldiers 3,057 have died as part of the Iraqi campaign and the rest have died as part of operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Phillipenes and elsewhere. And of those 3,410 deaths, 757 of them were non-hostile deaths.

Example of a non-hostile death: Private Johnson slips in the shower on his military base and cracks his head open. The whole non-hostile deaths thing is something else that drives me crazy, because they include them in their calculations of people who are killed in Iraq (or Vietnam or any war) without bothering to tell you that 500 of those 3,000 Iraqi war deaths occurred while driving home drunk from the local hookah bar in downtown Baghdad (or some other non-combat related reason). But again, I digress...

Take 3,410 total soldier deaths since 9/11 out of the 2,685,713 and you get 0.0012696, or 0.127%.

Source: Department of Defense website

So, just a little more than one tenth of a percent of our armed forces have died in the past 5+ years due to all these horrible wars we've been fighting.

Therefore approximately 99.87% of soldiers have not gotten killed as a result of their job over the course of FIVE years.

Let's compare that to other jobs that people without college educations fall into:

Fishers and related fishing workers
Fatality rate (per 100,000 workers): 118.4
(0.118% fatality rate)

Logging workers
Fatality rate (per 100,000 workers): 92.9
(0.093% fatality rate)

Structural iron and steel workers
Fatality rate (per 100,000 workers): 55.6
(0.056% fatality rate)

Refuse and recyclable material collectors
Fatality rate (per 100,000 workers): 43.8
(0.044% fatality rate)

Farmers and ranchers
Fatality rate (per 100,000 workers): 41.1
(0.041% fatality rate)

Electrical power-line installers and repairers
Fatality rate (per 100,000 workers): 32.7
(0.033% fatality rate)

Truck drivers
Fatality rate (per 100,000 workers): 29.1
(0.029% fatality rate)

Miscellaneous agricultural workers
Fatality rate (per 100,000 workers): 23.2
(0.023% fatality rate)

Construction laborers
Fatality rate (per 100,000 workers): 22.7
(0.023% fatality rate)

Source: MSN Careers

Conspicuously absent from this list is "high-rise window washer" - I don't know what the fatality rates are for that job, but I can't imagine they'd be too much better than being a farmer.

And FYI - all those fatality rates for the other jobs are over the course of ONE YEAR (specifically 2005). So assuming they stay constant, you'd probably have to multiply them by five to compare them the US Military fatality rates. Or at least by four because obviously, since March/2003 the US fatality rates are way up.

Which works out to:

Fishers and related fishing workers - 0.47% fatality rate (over four years)

Logging workers - 0.37% fatality rate (over four years)

Structural iron and steel workers - 0.22% fatality rate (over four years)

Refuse and recyclable material collectors - 0.18% fatality rate (over four years)

Farmers and ranchers - 0.16% fatality rate (over four years)

Electrical power-line installers and repairers - 0.13% fatality rate (over four years)

Truck drivers - 0.12% fatality rate (over four years)

Miscellaneous agricultural workers - 0.09% fatality rate (over four years)

Construction laborers - 0.09% fatality rate (over four years)

So what's the conclusion here? Even during this supposedly terrible Vietnam-level disaster of a war in Iraq I'm still more likely to survive as a soldier, then I am as a fisherman, lumberjack, steel/iron worker, garbageman or farmer. And I have the same or slightly worse odds for survival than a truck driver,"miscellaneous agricultural worker" (whatever that is) or construction worker. If I do die, I get a hero's burial. And even if I don't agree with the politics of the war at least I died trying to protect my buddies in combat. Add in the health benefits, free college education and decent pay...

(especially when compared to what the average miscellaneous agricultural worker makes)

Where do I sign up?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

You can't make this stuff up, folks

Straight from the "you can't make this stuff up file" - while waiting for the train after a rare Knicks win my friend says he wants to pick up a snack at Hudson News. So we go inside and I realize that my (admittedly humble) shot glass collection does not include one from New York City. So I go into the tourist section to pick one up and I decide I want one that has the Twin Towers on it. After searching around for a while...I finally come across an older shot glass that I assume (I HOPE) was made before 9/11.

Obviously this caught my eye...


You just can't make this stuff up, folks.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Anti-Zionist = Anti-Jewish

For my first serious post, I figured I'd start off with something I already posted on an Internet forum. One debate that always seems to pop up is whether or not you can be anti-Zionist without being an anti-Semite (or anti-Jew, seeing as how the biggest anti-Semites today, are Semites).

The reason why all Jews MUST support Israel and why anti-Israel (anti-Zionism?) = anti-Jewish is the exact same thing is very simple.


Well, not exactly...more like 73-2007.

Since the Romans scattered us to the four corners of the globe, we have relied on other nations to protect us, to shelter us. For 2,000 years our people migrated from country to country, from Asia to Africa to Europe to the New World in search of peace and freedom. Not freedom to vote or freedom to speak...just freedom to live. Let's not pretend that people only started persecuting Jews in 1948. In the end, every nation that promised to give us a home and guaranteed to treat us as normal members of society turned their backs on us.

The French took us in...they committed massacres against us. The Spanish took us in...they brought us the Inquisition. The Poles took us in...they put us in ghettos (which was probably the nicest treatment out of anyone). The Russians took us in, they started pogroms against us. The Muslims took us in, they treated us as second-class citizens and tried to forcibly convert us (although for a long time they were much better than the Christians). The Germans took us in...they assimilated us. And then World War 2 rolled around.

Who protected us during World War 2 when Hitler decided we were the scum of the Earth and needed to be exterminated? The Poles? No...they sold us out and then massacred the survivors who returned home. The glorious, cultured, French? They couldn't WAIT to surrender to the Germans and send us into the ovens. The Russians? Well sure they liberated the camps...and then promptly shipped us off to Siberian gulags for 50 or so years. The Americans and the British? Well...they did liberate us and allow us to live with the same freedoms as everyone else, but where were they during the war? Where were they when our grandparents came to them on ships as refugees as they fled the coming Nazi menace? Where were they when word of the astonishing massacres reached their governments?

Did they take us in? No, they turned us away because their "quotas" were full. Did they bomb the gas chambers or the train tracks that led to them? No, because they "couldn't spare" the ammunition. Everyone stood by and let it happen. Every nation in Europe has Jewish blood on its hands. And it surprised us because these were enlightened societies bound by the rule of law and morality.

But it shouldn't surprise us. It's nothing new. It's been going on since the Romans walked into Metzada and realized there was nothing there but dead bodies. We killed ourselves instead of fighting to the death. And our people have been kicked around by the rest of the world ever since. We have no one to rely on. No one will protect us, unless it serves their own interests. That doesn't make them evil, it just makes them human. The evil ones are those that seek to destroy us, as they always have, for the simple reason that we are Jews.

And that is why...when for the first time in over 2,000 years...there is an entirely independent Jewish state, with an independent Jewish army, that is powerful, we MUST support them. Whether we choose to live there or not. Whether we agree with the government's policies or not. Whether we believe we must wait for the messiah or not. We MUST support them. Because without them...when the world turns their backs on us again...who will be there for us? To take us in. To protect us.

Without a home...we're just nomads who have to hope and pray that others will protect us. With our own country, we are a nation. Proud, to control our own destiny. That's why it's simple.

Jews must support Israel under any and all circumstances. I don't care what your politics are, what your religious views are, we are all united in one way. We're all Jews and we can only rely on ourselves and each other.

All Jews must support Israel.


Welcome to RonMossad Land

Hey everyone, welcome to my world.

Most of the blogs you read on the internet will be pointless, boring and just a way for the self-absorbed author to feed his/her need for attention. This will be no exception.

All I can hope for is that you, my dear readers will find my ramblings about this screwed up planet we live on (and occasionally my own personal life), entertaining/informative enough to keep checking back and feeding the aforementioned need for attention.

So now, without further adieu let's get the show on the road.