Vanderboegh: Lipstick on a Pig
The other day I was taken to task by a defender of the conduct of Special Agent Jody Keeku in the Olofson case for referring to her agency by the shorthand ATF and not the rather more cumbersome BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). The agency is very sensitive about that "explosives" bit, believing (not without reason) that the public will be more likely to support them if they are perceived to be going after mad bombers instead of hapless gun owners, cigarette tax cheats and unlicensed beer makers.
As for me, I've always thought those extra letters were lipstick on pig -- useless adornment accomplishing nothing. It is still the same pig, after all, as anyone can tell at a glance.
The ATF themselves must think this, for when they procured their Leatherman tools recently they had them engraved with "ATF -- Always Think Forfeiture." They didn't say "Better Always Think Forfeiture, Excrement-head" or any other combination.
No, they referred to themselves as ATF.
They are right to do so. Anything else is lipstick on a pig.
And an ugly pig it is at that.
PO Box 926
Pinson, AL 35126
13 June 2008