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14 February 2006

This is a guest entry written by "Mr. Furious," whom I've never encountered before, but I read his comments in a guestbook entry and felt they deserved a wider audience.

I had my laughs at Cheney & Co's expense along with everyone else, but after reading this, I'm no longer laughing...

Monday's hunting trip to Pennsylvania by Vice President Dick Cheney in which he reportedly shot more than 70 stocked pheasants and an unknown number of mallard ducks at an exclusive private club places a spotlight on an increasingly popular and deplorable form of hunting, in which birds are pen-reared and released to be shot in large numbers by patrons. The ethics of these hunts are called into question by rank-and-file sportsmen, who hunt animals in their native habitat and do not shoot confined or pen-raised animals that cannot escape.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported today that 500 farm-raised pheasants were released yesterday morning at the Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier Township for the benefit of Cheney's 10-person hunting party. The group killed at least 417 of the birds, illustrating the unsporting nature of canned hunts. The party also shot an unknown number of captive mallards in the afternoon.

"This wasn't a hunting ground. It was an open-air abattoir, and the vice president should be ashamed to have patronized this operation and then slaughtered so many animals," states Wayne Pacelle, a senior vice president of The Humane Society of the United States. "If the Vice President and his friends wanted to sharpen their shooting skills, they could have shot skeet or clay, not resorted to the slaughter of more than 400 creatures planted right in front of them as animated targets."

I’m not a hunter, and never will be, but my wife’s grandfather and uncles duck-hunt and I suppose that’s fine. But what Cheney does is the equivelent to shooting fish in a barrel. That’s not hunting—that’s skeet shooting with living targets. Does one get bored after shooting their 30th pheasent? 40th? 60th?

That’s a callous disregard for life that speaks of sociopathy. That’s not a kid killing or torturing animals that’s the supposed moral leadership of the country gunning down living birds for shits and giggles.

A serious question: When somebody can suit up for the day and kill fifty to a hundred of anything—where does one draw a line? Birds only? Or would Cheney and pals shoot deer in a corral? Big game in a zoo? It’s the stuff of science fiction—but these are the kinds of maniacs that would be hunting people if they could.

As far as the guy he shot, if this was one of those expeditions and he was a party to it, any sympathy for him just flew out the window. Every one of them deserves a nice “peppering” of birdshot.

A 78 year old asshole is every bit as deserving as a cage-raised quail.

So much to be upset about on a Sunday.   The Cheney incident was a welcome bit of levity until I read about the conditions of his hunting accident...then it just became one more layer of things to depress me.

60 Minutes brought reports on the billions of dollars which are being lost and squandered and embezzled in Iraq, there being no oversight or accounting responsibility and demands of investigation are being squelched by the Republican congress.

The second report was on the thousands of frozen embryos which are being destroyed because they are never going to be used, are taking up space, and the president won't allow them to be given to scientists to maybe find a cure for Alzheimers or MS or a host of other diseases.  One wonders what exactly "pro-life" means.  If Barbara were drooling in a rest home, wearing diapers, unable to recognize G.W., unable to know her name, would it change his opinion about one of those unused, unwanted embryos if it might improve her condition?

But GW doesn't have a mother with Alzheimers or a daughter in danger in Iraq...and God forbid he should read about all this unpleasant stuff.

Then there was the third report on soldiers being blown up in Iraq.  The news today says that we have doubled the amputation rate so far in this war from any other war.  And, of course, part of the reason (definitely not the only reason, I admit) is that our soldiers are being sent into battle without proper protective gear.  Gee...maybe if they'd actually look into some of the funds that have been embezzled and overcharged by the good ol' boys who have all the contracts, they might be able to know...give the soldiers some protective gear?  But I guess I don't understand the way war works.

Finally, there was this extremely moving video, an interview with the owner of an art gallery in the 9th Ward, who has nothing good to say about FEMA, The Red Cross or the soldiers in the overseeing the cleanup following the levee break.  You'll have to watch it to get his comments, but it was a real eye-opener.

I'm going to be 63 in a few days.  I'm glad that I'm nearer the end of my life than the middle of it.  The direction this world is turning is a constant source of either depression or irritation -- usually both.

I sometimes feel like Lloyd Bridges' in Airplane:   "I picked the wrong time to give up drinking."


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My latest PhotoShop effort for the SPCA
(the fixed eyes came from a different cat!)


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