Most of the time news passes without comment here but I found a few small items of interest this week.
In a letter to the Des Moines Register, a reader suggested torturing administration officials.
Can Dear Abby prevent a reverse honor-killing in the Middle East? Judging by her January 22, 2008 column, she just can’t relate.
Charles Grassley, Republican senior senator from Iowa, is a study in planned irrelevance. He failed to endorse a candidate in this month’s caucuses because there was no clear front-runner. Now he laments the exit of Fred Thompson from the race. Grassley wanted to endorse him but “he just didn’t catch fire.”
And finally, the NPS Morning Report had an interesting update today:
Everglades National Park (FL)
Rangers Remove Python From Visitor’s Car
On Tuesday, January 15th, visitor Ron DeLong stopped his car on the main park road in order to watch a crawling, six-foot-long, exotic Burmese python. As DeLong stepped out of his Ford Explorer, the python began crawling underneath the vehicle and into its engine compartment. DeLong attempted to grab the python with the curved end of his walking cane, but was unable to stop it. After several failed attempts to remove the snake, DeLong decided to drive 15 miles to the main entrance station for assistance. When ranger Willie Lopez, wildlife biologist Skip Snow, biologist’s assistant Alex Wolf and firefighter Henry Delvalle checked the Explorer, they found its hood open, with only the tail end of the python visible the rest of the snake was coiled around various parts of the engine and undercarriage. Several attempts were made to pull it out through the top of the engine, but failed because the snake tightened its hold on the car. The four responders then discussed their options. Snow reported that there had been several published articles about the successful use of tasers to loosen the tight grip of constricting snakes, so that was tried. Unfortunately, it resulted in the python contracting and excreting bodily fluids all over the responders. They then decided to disassemble parts of the Explorer’s undercarriage in order to get to the python’s head, which was then covered with duct tape. The snake’s head and body were uncoiled and maneuvered through the engine compartment, then pulled out the top of the engine. Since Burmese pythons are exotic, prolific and aggressive, the snake was euthanized and taken to a lab to be studied. DeLong’s car was then put back together. [Submitted by Willie Lopez, Pine Island District Ranger]