Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Like I said, George Bush hates bald eagles

Before Bush leaves office, somebody better get a serious surveillance camera set up in Crawford, Texas. Bald eagles just aren't safe from him. Hastily issuing pardons before he vacates his office, Bush made sure to expunge the record of convicted bald-eagle poisoner Leslie Owen Collier. Collier received two years' probation and a $10,000 fine for killing several eagles, which at the time were protected by law under the federal Endangered Species Act. The convicted felon will now be allowed to possess firearms again. Not sure about his continued access to poison though.

Collier set out to poison coyotes, and the toxins went up the food chain and killed the scavenging eagles. Know why Collier wanted to kill the coyotes? To increase the wild turkey population. "I got it in my head that if I eliminated some of the coyotes it would give the turkeys a jump-start," Collier said.

If Benjamin Franklin had gotten his way, the wild turkey would have been our national bird, not the bald eagle. He wrote:
"For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.
I suppose Republicans would view bald eagles as nature's "welfare cheats."

Maybe it is out of respect for Ben that politicians feel compelled to pardon turkeys this time of year. At least Bush's pardon today of two turkeys was slightly less gruesome than Sarah Palin's photo op. There's probably no one that hasn't yet seen the video of Ms. Palin's pardon of a turkey—an act that brought, said Palin, a little "levity" to the holiday. Indeed, nothing could have been a bigger hoot than the bloodbath going on behind her as she mugged for the cameras!

As a footnote, Ben Franklin made an alternative suggestion for the rattlesnake as an appropriate symbol of "the temper and conduct of America."

Hiss. Rattle. Indeed.

Click to view a list of Bush's other pardonees and their crimes.

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