It appears that Compassionate Conservatism, the muddled sound bite that was supposed to guide activities early in the reign of George II, has made a comeback, at least insofar as it applies to killers of wildlife.
On November 24, right before Thanksgiving and right after Sarah Palin pardoned a holiday turkey and then proceeded to be interviewed on TV with full-scale turkey slaughter raging right behind her (I’m not putting in a link; it’s just too gory), the president (can we say "lame-turkey" president?) issued 14 pardons. Here’s the Associated Press And here’s USA Today.
The first involved a Missouri farmer who set out poisoned hamburger to get rid of some pesky coyotes, but wound up killing three bald eagles, a red-tailed hawk, and a great horned owl. He got two years’ probation and a $10,000 fine. The money will not be refunded, but the record is wiped clean.
The second was a South Dakota man convicted of transporting illegal deer carcases in violation of the Lacey Act. He too was fined and put on probation.
Small potatoes compared to the likes of Scooter Libby (sentence commuted but no pardon), Duke Cunningham, and Governor George Ryan, whose names have been mentioned as possible pardons, but telling nonetheless.