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June 05, 2013

Your Tax Dollars at Work, Global Edition

If ever we've seen a burning issue that demands immediate Congressional action, it is the reckless and uncontrolled proliferation of.... camouflage patterns:

A Democrat in Congress says he will propose a measure Wednesday to cut down on duplication in the U.S. military’s camouflage uniforms — requiring the services to share one camouflage pattern, instead of the 10 in use now.

Rep. William L. Enyart, an Illinois freshman, said he thought of the idea after reading an article in The Washington Post last month.

The Post story detailed how, before 2002, all branches of the military shared the same two patterns: a green one for the woods and a brown one for the desert. But since then, individual services have produced their own patterns, with varying degrees of success. The Air Force, for instance, created the “Airman Battle Uniform,” but then decided it was not a good idea for airmen in Afghanistan to wear it in battle. They wear Army camouflage instead.

“Congress needs to exercise its oversight to make sure we don’t do silly things,” Enyart said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Sometimes the comedy just writes itself.

If you're wracking your feeble brains to think of a more pressing social issue than unregulated digital clothing patterns, have no fear. The Editorial Staff have got your backs. You see, somewhere in the Multiverse, someone is printing and selling offensive t-shirts:

Matthew Taylor, 35, the owner of Taylor’s clothes store on Emlyn Walk in the city, printed up and displayed the T-shirt with the slogan: “Obey our laws, respect our beliefs or get out of our country” after Drummer Lee Rigby, 25, was killed in near Woolwich barracks in London last week.

But following a complaint from a member of the public, police came to his store and threatened to arrest him unless he removed the Tshirt from sight.

Mr Taylor said: “I had a visit from two CSOs (community support officers) because it has been reported by someone who felt it was offensive.

“It’s not meant to be offensive.

I didn’t produce it to be offensive. It’s what I believe.

“At the end of the day if you don’t like the way a country is run and don’t like our beliefs then go somewhere else, don’t go killing people.

“I don’t care if you Welsh, Scottish, English, go somewhere else if you don’t like it.”

Key quote:

Newport city councillor, Majid Rahman said: “I believe in freedom of speech and defend his rights to say what he wants, but once it starts offending people then it’s a police matter and it’s up to them whether they think it’s broken any laws.”

We dunno... we were pretty offended by liberal bumper stickers, t-shirts and even arm bands during the BusHitler years. Who protected our God-given right not to be offended?


Going for the trifecta of stupid, we've gone beyond threatening breakfast pastries, Hello Kitty bubble blasters and tiny toy weapons smaller than most bullets. Now, even mentioning guns is a looming threat to our collective security that cannot be tolerated:

OWINGS, MD -- The father of a middle schooler in Calvert County, Md. says his 11-year-old son was suspended for 10 days for merely talking about guns on the bus ride home.

Bruce Henkelman of Huntingtown says his son, a sixth grader at Northern Middle School in Owings, was talking with friends about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre when the bus driver hauled him back to school to be questioned by the principal, Darrel Prioleau.

"The principal told me that with what happened at Sandy Hook if you say the word 'gun' in my school you are going to get suspended for 10 days," Henkelman said in an interview with WMAL.com.

So what did the boy say? According to his father, he neither threatened nor bullied anyone.

"He said, I wish I had a gun to protect everyone. He wanted to defeat the bad guys. That's the context of what he said," Henkelman said. "He wanted to be the hero."

The boy was questioned by the principal and a sheriff's deputy, who also wanted to search the family home without a warrant, Henkelman said. "He started asking me questions about if I have firearms, and [the deputy said] he's going to have to search my house. Search my house? I just wanted to know what happened."

No search was performed, and the deputy left Henkelman's home after the father answered questions in a four-page questionnaire issued by the Sheriff's Office.

Now that we think of it, from some angles a penis and testicles could be said to resemble a handgun. The State could confiscate all such threatening equipment too.

You know, just to be on the safe side.

Posted by Cassandra at June 5, 2013 07:30 AM

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Mr. Taylor, apparently is unaware that making inconvenient political statements isn't Obeying their laws, respecting their beliefs and should just get out of that country".

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 5, 2013 09:06 AM

"Community Support Officers"?


I remember William Safire talking about someone back in the Carboniferous, probably the Nixon administration, who had been told he couldn't say the word "recession" in public any more, so he said from now on he would say "banana." Would they suspend the kid for saying, "I wish I had a banana so I could protect people?" That word "protect," it's pretty loaded. Whoops, I didn't mean to use the "l" word. Free therapy on me, everyone.

I think it may be time to disarm the military, and not just on base where they may be shot at by a man of impenetrable motives who just happens to be shouting "Allah ackbar," but in combat as well. Someone could get hurt.

Posted by: Texan99 at June 5, 2013 10:56 AM

1. I need explanation as to why sailors wear camouflage - blue camouflage at that. Who are they supposed to be hiding from? Moby Dick?

2. T-shirts can be an important tool for affecting social behavior. I once saw a t-shirt that said: "Stop looking at my breasts."
And right away, I did.

3. I pity the children - particularly poor little Peter Gunn.

Posted by: spd rdr at June 5, 2013 11:01 AM

So. No hope of concealed carry permits? Transporting unloaded and disassembled? And what of collector's pieces - plugged, mounted and hung? Straight to confiscation – just grab 'em all. What would Charlton Heston say?

Posted by: George Pal at June 5, 2013 11:26 AM

spd, you may have just won Funniest VC Comment Ever.

The Navy blue cammies have been the cause of much interservice mockery. I can't decide whether I like the camouflage or t-shirt comment the best. What the helk - they both win.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2013 12:09 PM

Because I can't resist, the first time I saw the blue cammies, I couldn't help thinking of all the WWII books I read where sailors from torpedoed ships abandoned ship and were desperately hoping that someone would come along and fish them out of the drink.

Which is kind of hard when you're wearing camouflage designed (we can only speculate) to make them less visible whilst floating in the water.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2013 12:12 PM

Uh oh! Call SWAT. Or is it girls just being girls?


Posted by: George Pal at June 5, 2013 01:19 PM

Thanks for the laugh, George. Sorely needed today :)

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2013 03:30 PM

OK, voice of reason here on Camo uniforms:

1. There's a *great* reason for different camo styles (color patterns) to be available for all services; if you're fighting in a green forest, green fields or a jungle then you need a green color base . . . and brown /tan base color for desert / barren mountains . . . plus white for rare arctic/glacier areas.
2. There really isn't a good reason for the services to have different specific patterns, or colors for use in the same theater. Marines chose a digital pattern different than the Army, both because they did a study that 'proves' their pattern works better, and because they don't want to be mistaken as ordinary GI's.
3. Camo for Navy is waay past stupid. Navy needs a working uniform that is flame retardant (every sailor is a firefighter), tear resistant and low maintenance . . . like the old dungarees. Making sailors wear heavy camos (hot on many ships, and need much more washer/dryer and storage capacity) or combat boots w/ pant legs stuffed into boot tops (they have a word for it) actually creates a tripping hazard on a ship.
When sailors deploy in support of Marine units (Corpsmen most obvious example), they wear whatever the Jarheads are using.
Air Farce should do the same when they forward deploy to support the Army.

Best Regards,

Posted by: CAPT Mike at June 5, 2013 08:06 PM

Navy needs a working uniform that is flame retardant (every sailor is a firefighter), tear resistant and low maintenance .

My Dad was a career destroyer guy. He was also in charge of the propulsion examining board in the 70s. One of the things he was horrified by was the polyester uniforms that weren't fire safe in a boiler room.

So I couldn't agree more.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2013 10:20 PM

My guess at the root cause of all this is excess amounts of testosterone and too much Greek yogurt.

I read this somewhere and it seems to make sense to me.

I'm on vacation now and the weather is not being terribly cooperative, which is harshing my mellow.

It's too cold here.
Is Al Gore in Nags Head right now?

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at June 6, 2013 01:39 AM

It's too cold here.
Is Al Gore in Nags Head right now?

Did someone mention My name?

Greetings, Comrade Brouhaha! Maybe now that you're experiencing all these unseasonably cold temperatures for yourownself, you'll finally admit that *I* was right and global warming is melting the icebergs and causing ginormous gangs of intersex fish to do all sorts of kinky things in our drinking water!

Could the cause and effect be any more clear?

If Homo Sapiens continue stomping all over the planet with their oversized carbon jackboots, before we know it the weather may even begin changing from day to day and season to season!

Gotta run - I promised Naomi Wolf I'd greet her dressed in nothing more than a pair of Cole Hahn huraches and a tantilizingly thin layer of Greek yogurt.


Posted by: Al "It Snows Wherever He Goes" Bore at June 6, 2013 07:43 AM

When I was a sailor aboard ship we wore chambray shirts, bell bottomed dungarees, and boots. They were comfortable, cheap, and you looked liked a gaddamned sailor. (Because of the manpower shortage aboard submarines, sub sailors were allowed to wear "poop suit" overalls. That way, it only took two crew members to help a third one get dressed.)

Posted by: spd rdr at June 6, 2013 10:33 AM

"Could the cause and effect be any more clear?"

Goreacle winds got you down?
Blowin' hotcoldwetdry all around?
Harshin' the mellow
Of a vacationing fellow
Just lookin for where the non-intersexed aquatic-watered beer can be found.
Burma Shave!

Posted by: Snarkammando at June 6, 2013 12:34 PM


Posted by: Cass at June 6, 2013 04:27 PM

Hi spd rdr,
Originally enlisted in '78, and can testify that the traditional dungarees were the best ever Navy working uniform. I'm deeply disappointed w/ the Navy Uniform Board.

BTW, the original 'poopy suits' (cotton/poly mix coveralls) on boats were driven by limited washer/dryer capacity . . . and back in the day it was a plus that they required less storage space, and could be stuffed into any available space.

Best Regards,

Posted by: CAPT Mike at June 7, 2013 10:00 PM