Friday, February 26, 2010

I know this doesn't even rank in the 1,000 most frivolous and idiotic pieces of legislation proposed this year...

...and I know it's probably going to piss off SNLII and others, but that doesn't stop me from thinking that this piece of legislation (registration required) is frivolous and idiotic:

A quiet, nine-year effort to give the Marine Corps equal billing in the Department of the Navy went high profile Thursday with a Capitol Hill news conference featuring retired Marine generals, a wounded Marine, parents of Marines and a Hollywood star.

The event was aimed at giving momentum to a perennial effort by Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., to expand the name of the department and its secretary to the "Navy and Marine Corps."

Jones, whose district is home to two Marine Corps facilities, Camp Lejeune and the Cherry Point air station, has introduced legislation to change the department's name every year since 2001.

Although the proposal has been included in the House defense authorization bill every year, it has never been accepted by the Senate, largely because of the opposition of former Sen. John Warner, R-Va., a Marine Corps veteran and former Navy secretary who was Senate Armed Services chairman or ranking member for many years. With Warner retired, the main obstacle may be Senate Armed Services ranking member John McCain, R-Ariz., a retired Navy captain.

Ok, so why exactly would we expect McCain to oppose the bill... just because he was in the Navy? I mean, that's only peripheral to the story, but it seems like a silly assumption to me.

But really, who out there feels burnt up about the fact that there's no Department of the Marine Corps? Well, I guess this guy:
"We'll always be part of the Navy, but we'll always be Marines," said retired Marine Sgt. Eddie Wright, who lost both hands in Iraq. "We're out there fighting, putting our butts on the line. I don't see anything wrong with a little recognition."
See, that's the thing, though: the Marine Corps is not "part of the Navy." (Interestingly, the British Royal Marines are a part of the Royal Navy). It's just part of the Department of the Navy. The Navy is a service, and the Marine Corps is a service. The Department of the Navy is a military department, and there is (obviously) no Department of the Marine Corps.

I don't suppose I'd have any big problem with it if they changed the name, but really, why bother? I guess I just have a difficult time understanding why anyone feels slighted about this.

I wonder if anybody's asked Jim Webb what he thinks about this. Sen. Webb, after all, was a Marine officer in Vietnam, and later served as SecNav in the Reagan administration.


  1. I don't favor the legislation for the simple reason that the agency should be named "The Department of the Marine Corps and the Navy."

    I bet C.J. Chivers (he's soooooo dreamy!) would support me on this.

    The co-sponsors of the Senate version of the bill are both from North Carolina's delegation, Sens Burr and Hagan (it's bipartisan!). There's widespread support for the measure so close to Lejeune.

    See also on the House side HR 24 (Jones). I should mention that there are 367 co-sponsors in the House, including such firebrand warmongers as Ed Markey and Ron Paul.

    So it's a fairly popular measure, even if you think it's silly.

    Webb, a former Secretary of the Navy, has Norfolk in his district, and there probably are more sailor voters in that area (especially retirees) than in Quantico, which explains why he won't publicly support it.


  2. I don't exactly oppose the measure, I just don't understand why anyone would be particularly worked up about it. I don't understand why anyone (John McCain or Jim Webb or the sailors and retired sailors among their constituents) would get particularly worked up about keeping the name limited to the Navy, either.

    It's got nothing to do with "firebrand warmongering," really. I don't much care about that, either. You'd think Marines would be more fired up about the fact that they're a part of the Department of Defense, considering the aggressive mindset.

    Maybe we ought to change back to the Department of War? Or better yet, the Department of Offense, Defense, Stability, and Support?

  3. Really? You fail to understand the cultural divide between sailors and Marines on nonsensical naming experiments? Perhaps you also failed to note the strife involved with sticking an Air Force monument so close to the USMC one in Arlington?

    Service parochialism is a lasting phenomenon, despite all the talk of "jointness," and it's especially lasting when you're retired or otherwise discharged from duty.

    You might lament the fact that people get worked up about this (pick up a copy of Leatherneck and you'll see that Marines past and present give a crap about it), put that doesn't change that they do, and the forum in which to debate these parochial issues is, naturally, before a political body such as Congress.

    McCain probably doesn't want to change the name.

    If you want to know why so many representatives nationwide have voiced support for it, you should know that not only is it because Marine vets are so vocal about things like this but that maritime enlisted organizations such as the Fleet Reserve Association also back it.

    The problem, I submit, is NOT with those who served as enlisted tars in the USN. It's been with the former (and current) officers.

    In the spirit of honoring them, I would say that the Navy voluntarily embraced openly gay service members long before DADT, and they should be commended for this with a bit more of an homage than one of the Village People decked out like a sailor.


  4. Maybe we ought to change back to the Department of War? Or better yet, the Department of Offense, Defense, Stability, and Support?

    Hahaha. Maybe it should.

    This is much better than their gaining full autonomy. Of course, this might cause the Naval Academy to become the Navy and Marine Corps Academy. That Army-Navy-Marine Corps game might confuse some people... and make the Air Force feel left out of the menage a trois.

  5. This reminds me of a command and staff meeting where we spent over half of the meeting discussing the formatting of the fonts, colors, and charts on our slides. Me and the OPS SGM spent the entire meeting doodling pictures of dildos.

  6. I favor the Department of Shooting, Moving and Communicating.

    That this forms "DSMC," under which shall be the USMC, makes it doubleplusgood.

    Schmedlap, I find it odd that when your subconscious wanders alongside a SGM in the Three, the pair of you doodle pictures of dildos.

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and, uhhh, sometimes we just shouldn't ask so that you and your SGM don't have to tell.

    Once you concede your openly gay lifestyle, I suggest you take your commission over the USN where that sort of conduct not only is tolerated but honored in Diesel ads, submarine duty and those inverted dog bowl hats the salts favor.


  7. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and, uhhh, sometimes we just shouldn't ask so that you and your SGM don't have to tell.

    Schmedlap and the SGM just call it "moving and communicating." That's within the regs.

  8. Oh dear. I think you are going to be teased a bit for the above, Schmedlap. And with that, I steer clear of the topic. Wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole.

    Aesthetically - not that that means much - Department of War is the most pleasing, no? Well, maybe pleasing is not the correct word to use. Most imposing? Most direct? Most "old-school"?

  9. Maybe he wants to get teased by that pole, Madhu. Maybe his SGM is a complete pole tease in that regard.

    But we don't have to ask, and he doesn't have to tell.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.


  10. Well, you raise a vital point about said anecdote, SNLII. The use, or imagined use, of such instruments may vary widely and tells us nothing about the inclinations of the user.

    So, that whole thread where I mentioned that pathologists have good stories? The classic ER-surgeon-pathologist-nurse work-related story typically involves the various objects that may be removed from certain anatomic locations - because the patient just happened to "sit on it." You would not believe the range of items personally witnessed. Or, maybe you would?

  11. Ok, this is starting to creep me out.

  12. In my current profession, Madhu, we tend to find the article stuffed so far north is the person's own head.

    I'm not applying a physician's exactitude to the nature of Schmedlap's dildo doodling because it can't be done. Instead, we must traffic in the necromancy of psychoanalysis, anthropology or, perhaps, art criticism to arrive at the cause of his day dreamed phallus obsession alongside his SGM (SgtMaj to Marines).

    Perhaps his dildo drawings are manifestations of a fear of castration, embodied by his overseers' discussions of fonts and the trivialities of formatting (an exercise that's actually reflective of power relations).

    Perhaps his dildo drawings express a repressed lust for his SGM, or reflect back the SGM's lust for him, a love that must be hidden in the masculinist cult of the Army officer ranks.

    Perhaps his dildo drawings reveal only a lifelong hobby of collecting and rendering into the plastic arts the detritus of sexual aids, kind of a Kinsey Institute perspective on human behavior as signified by mass manufactured gadgets. He could just as easily be doodling car bumpers or TV sets, should he (and I guess his SGM) collect those.

    I'm simply conjecturing why Schmedlap does this behavior. Certainly it's not illegal, so I find no reason to castigate his artwork. Indeed, had I been his commanding officer I would have mounted (don't read into that, Schmedlap) his pictures so that everyone might have appreciated his unique contribution to art.

    I mean, if he really was all that gay, those dildos would have "Texas A&M" written on them, right?


  13. I mean, if he really was all that gay, those dildos would have "Texas A&M" written on them, right?

    There are easier ways to take shots than that. I'm disappointed.

  14. I just wanted to really creep you out.


  15. Schmedlap is going to be so pissed when he revisits this thread.

    Gulliver - I was exaggerating my "war stories". It was ONE item to be recorded in the lab (any foreign object removed from the body must be documented as to type, whether a bullet - following chain of evidence rules - or, say, a balloon duct-taped many times over into a sort of dark, lumpen mass. For instance.)

  16. Wow. Now I know how to get people's attention.

    Side note: the battalion commander actually did put the drawings on display. I'd give the explanation, but I'd hate to interrupt.

  17. Yeah, you want to hear more about that "balloon duct-taped many times over into a sort of dark, lumpen mass."

    Not that there's anything wrong with that. Heck, they probably issue it at Great Lakes.


  18. This thread hijack (which I participated in quite enthusiastically, I admit) seriously cracked me up. I LOLed 'til the tears came into my eyes.

    I don't know the story behind the lumpen mass. My job is not to judge, but to document, and document I did.

    Final, and, er, parting note for the thread: another term that came up in work today? Pruritis Ani (chronic itchy butt).

    I will regret this thread, I am sure.

    Later folks.

  19. This reminds me of a joke that George HW Bush told while sharing a stage with Bill Clinton. Some people can get away with saying some things that other people can't.

    I don't know if this is PC, but I'm going to type it anyway. This is BS. If I had typed the things that SNLII typed, then I would be accused of homophobia. If I were to have drawn a connection between "sex toys" and homosexuality then I would be accused of equating homosexuality with perversion and deviance. But SNLII can get away with it just because he's a homosexual. Why does that matter? I'm so sick of identity politics and the double standards that go with them. He does this on just about every thread. He disagrees with something and then he makes a snarky retort and then hides behind his gayness. You can't criticize gay people because they're "oppressed" and "discriminated against." As soon as you disagree with a gay person, you’re suddenly a homophobe. You know what? Go ahead and call me a homophobe. SNLII has no original ideas. My advice to him is this: until you can come up with a better argument than your sexual preference, put the dick back in your mouth.

    As for the rest of the peanut gallery, flame on with your allegations of homophobia. See if I care.

  20. You people are so defensive, Schmedlap.

    I am NOT homophobic. I have long advocated for ending DADT and believe you and your life partner, the SGM, deserve to serve openly.

    Indeed, I applaud your bravery in outing yourself before your commanding officer.

    I'm only suggesting that the USN, of all our branches, is most tolerant of your once-hidden love. I don't have your gene, but I respect it!

    There's nothing "deviant" or "wrong" about your openly gay lifestyle. Indeed, it's the hallmark of our maritime service and it what makes you so special.


  21. Break, Break, Break...

    This thread is gay.

  22. MikeF, not that's there anything wrong with that.

  23. Whoa. What happened here?

    Hey, I was making fun of the others more than you, Schmedlap, because I knew they'd run with it. And I did, too, I guess. Also, I better not be a homophobe since my best friend is gay. He'd be pretty disappointed in me, that's for sure, and I'm sure he (being a pathologist, too) would point out that there are many uses for many things (heterosexuals and gays both which some how has escaped some of you!) and that that stuff is private. Which is why I said, "I don't judge. I just document."

    Yikes, SNLII - knock it off and tease me about my creepy job and weird sense of humor or something.

  24. Madhu, I'm not a homophobe, which is why I take such delight in teasing Schmedlap. He seems to be a bit prickly about it.

    OK, OK, I'll lay off of the poor man. I'm beginning to fell like SGT Hulka and Schmedlap is Francis.


  25. Well, I guess I feel bad about participating in this thread, now, because everyone here has always been so nice to me and explained military concepts when I asked questions.

    Gulliver - if my last comment was a bit too much (at 4:08) was over the top (and it was, I admit shamefacedly), please delete it. Actually, maybe you should delete it.

    Look, this is why I say I hold back. It IS a weird job and it does weird people out and a lot of the stuff I see just IS. I mean, biology is biology and I just don't see patients, or people, as anything other than individuals. That I want to be happy, healthy and safe. But I don't know. Maybe it does make you a little earthy to see this stuff all the time.

    Sorry everyone.

  26. Madhu, half the people on this spent time in the most un-PC place on earth, the combat arms of the US military.

    Are you really sure that you addled anyone with a bit of rectum humor taken from real casefiles?

    Come on. They're made of stronger stuff than that.


  27. Now, how would I know?

    And, now, I really am done with this thread which I have taken all the fun out of with my dorky earnestness.

    I wouldn't have lasted two days in the Army or whatever.

  28. I don't know what the blog owners think, but this is the best Ink Spots thread ever.

    SNLII - I know you are, but what am I?

  29. You know how I know you guys are gay? Because you macramed yourself a pair of jean shorts.

    And because of this thread.

  30. Schmedlap


  31. I reread some of the above (naturally, and it was equally entertaining the second time around!), but of course SNLII is correct (irritatingly correct, I might add):

    "Madhu, half the people on this spent time in the most un-PC place on earth, the combat arms of the US military.

    Are you really sure that you addled anyone with a bit of rectum humor taken from real casefiles?

    Come on. They're made of stronger stuff than that."

    Of course. The thing is, and this seems strange even to me, but I forget sometimes. Because I haven't done any of the things some of you have and reading about some of it, and so far removed from such things, is like reading about the moon-landing or something equally remote. I actually do kind of forget. Bizarre.


    And, now, on a side note: did you all just give me permission to go to the case files? Because I have got such a story for you all, but the thread looks like it's kind of running out of steam so maybe I'll save the anecdotes for later.

    (Teaser for future: it involves a penectomy specimen, a tumor, and me getting hauled into my attending's office. And with that....)

  32. Because young Tintin asked:

    During my residency, in my PGY-4 or 5 year, I received in the gross pathology lab a penectomy specimen - partically amputated for squamous cell carcinoma. This is, generally, an unusual specimen. So like a good senior, I set up the specimen on a table in order to photograph it, looked up how to properly cut the specimen so that I could submit correct sections for diagnosis and staging, and then set about collecting other residents to show them. I wanted them to see an unusual specimen, a tumor you don't see every day, and to make sure the younger folk new how to handle such a case if they encountered it.

    So they all gathered around and a group always makes some noise, talking, laughing, whatever. I didn't think about it.

    Someone complained about me to the director of surgical pathology. Apparently, I had been accused of running around the lab with an amputated penis like a crazy person.

    I have no idea why anyone complained, how the complaint arose, and I WAS HORRIFIED. That does not look good on anyone's permanent record.

    Well, it was all cleared up, a misunderstanding, and I tell this story the medical students - or have - when I lecture. You think you are doing everything by the book and correctly, and you are handling yourself well - and your behavior can still lead to confusion.

    Seriously, the complaint was me RUNNING AROUND WAVING STUFF AROUND AND LAUGHING. Not true. So not true.

    I was kind of upset, actually. That is not a good visual and certainly not professional. How did that happen?