Marines deploy an enormous layer cake to celebrate the Corps' 233rd birthday in 2008.
Yesterday was the United States Marine Corps' 239th birthday. Jarheads and leathernecks celebrated as they long have—with big-asscakes like the one above, which commemorated the Corps' 233rd birthday in 2008.
The Marines' big birthday cake bashes date back to at least 1935. They're such a part of Marine tradition that there's even a protocol for cake serving, including the ceremonial use of the Mameluke sword (below) and who gets the first slices (the guest of honor, followed by the eldest and youngest Marines present).
And it's not just Marines who love their cake. The entire military appears to be preparing for the day when the Pentagon has to hold a bake sale. That means plenty of sheet cake with white frosting—but also some more elaborate creations like the ones collected here.
(How much of the Pentagon's $600 billion budget goes to cakes? It's not clear, though this 2010 Marines memo notes that there are strict rules for pastry funding: Only three to four slices of each cake may be paid for with appropriated funds.)
Now, 10 delicious deployments of military cake:
1. For the Army's 237th birthday in 2013, a cupcake tank rolled into the Pentagon. The confection included 5,000 cupcakes, more than 200 pounds of camouflage fondant, and a functioning "cupcake cannon." It also came in massively over budget at a total cost of $1.2 billion. (Not really.)
2. The 40th anniversary of the Air Force Defense Support Program is observed with a cake shaped like a missile-detecting satellite. (According to the after-action report, "an anomaly prevented the cake from entering the ballroom as planned.")
3. To welcome the USS Theodore Roosevelt in March 2002, the commissary at the Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, Virginia, baked this 750-pound, 12-foot cake, complete with "an edible aircraft carrier layer on top."
8. An enormous, creepy George Washington hovered behind Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno (third from left) as he engaged in a show of symbolic bureaucratic redundancy at the Army's 239th birthday party.
9. Two Air Force service members slice an otherwise ho-hum cake with an airplane propeller to commemorate the 59th anniversary of Special Operations Command Europe (whose acronym, SOCEUR, is clearly meant to test the loyalty of our European allies).
10. If a propeller isn't handy to make your cake ceremony more exciting, there's always a guest appearance by Vice President Joe Biden, who popped up at Camp Liberty in Baghdad in January 2010 just to make Dick Cheney jealous that he'd found the missing Iraqi yellow cake.
The Great Recession officially ended five years ago, but that's news for millions of Americans: A stunning 95 percent of income growth since the recovery started has gone to the superwealthy. If an average household currently earning $71,000 had enjoyed the same gains as the 1 percent since 2000, it would now make more than $83,000. And the widening income gap is not just about the 1 percent anymore: Take a closer look, and you'll see that it's really a tiny fraction—the 1 percent of the 1 percent—that hoovers up the lion's share of the nation's wealth. With Washington paralyzed on bread-and-butter issues and the midterms ahead, we put together a primer on the state of America's frozen paychecks.
We're still posting a new chart on the current state of income inequality every day over the next week. Yesterday's looked at how top tax rates dropped as top incomes rose.
Today, a closer look at how income inequality splits along racial lines. Whites' average household income is 56 percent larger than that of African Americans and 39 percent larger than that of Hispanics. But the discrepancy is even greater when it comes to wealth: The median white family holds nearly 20 times more assets than he median black family and 74 times more assets than the median Hispanic family.
We're still posting a new chart on the current state of income inequality every day over the next week. Yesterday's looked at how the top 1 percent of Americans have captured half of all income.
Today, let's talk taxes. In the past few years, we've heard a lot about overtaxed "job creators" and freeloading "takers." But consider this: As the income rates for the wealthiest have plunged, their incomes have shot up.