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Shooting Things in the Face Again

This is probably an entirely insignificant story. You are excused in advance for not reading it, but god damn if I can let it go without any notice whatsoever. It's just such a quintessential "Bush Appointee Sleaze" tale...sort of like Mike "Mustang" Brown but with the only casualty being a decrepit old buffalo rather than thousands of dead people in New Orleans.

Sound interesting after all maybe? Read on.

David P. Smith resigned last Friday from his position as deputy assistant secretary and counselor to the assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks for the Department of the Interior, a position he had held* department to which he had been assigned since Jan. 2001. What were his qualifications for this job? As the linked puff piece tells us:

Smith was a member of the Bush-Cheney Transition Team following his service in the Texas governor's office under then-Gov. George W. Bush. He was an advisor to Gov. Bush on agency policy and appointment issues in the fields of natural resources, conservation, real estate, housing, finance, water and river authorities.

Before devoting his career to public service, Smith was an attorney in private practice in Austin, where he concentrated on federal, state and municipal environmental and land-use regulatory issues.

So his job was to gut environmental laws for the benefit of private landowners. Check. What other kind of "avid hunter, fisherman and outdoorsman" would Bush appoint to enforce hunting and parks regulations for heaven's sake?

So why did he resign? There's where the weird comes in. The Interior Department, it seems actually has an Inspector General. One imagines that employees of this office are among the most overworked on the face of the earth, but they did eventually get around to looking into a little incident of Mr. Smith's. Here's what they found"

The official, David P. Smith, was deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, when he shot and killed the buffalo during the first weekend of December 2004.

It was a buffalo whose health was failing due to old age, according to the report. Smith drove to about 30 yards to 40 yards away from the buffalo -- the official symbol of the Interior Department -- and shot it in the eye.

After the department's internal watchdog began investigating, Smith reimbursed the ranch $3,170.54 for the buffalo's shoulder mount, skull, tanned hide and 20 pounds of meat in a cooler. He also had the dead animal's hooves made into bookends.

Oh, mighty hunter! To have driven such a long way, and made such a superb shot from an amazing distance of 30 yards! I am sure this proves his worth as a provider of meat for the clan. Surely his penis is massive and the young maidens of the tribe are lining up to bear him strong sons.

Ahem. The buffalo, of course, is the freakin' symbol of the Department of the Interior, which must have given him a special little quiver in the loins as the gun blasted and the mighty beast sank to its knees and fell before him. But what is the symbol of the BushCo regime? The dollar sign, of course. Now note the date above of this "hunt". Then see what the real payoff was, and we don't mean that no doubt exceedingly tasteful set of buffalo-hoof bookends:

The department on Jan. 5, 2005, designated Houston, along with Memphis, Tenn., and Louisville, Ky., as official ports for bringing exotic wildlife animals and trophies into the United States. The ports can save hunters and other noncommercial importers time and about $200 in fees for each shipment.

The other unnamed party here is the owner of the ranch where this "hunt" (I fucking gag to use this term for what Smith did there) took place. We know only that it was on "a billionaire's private ranch."

Hmm. Even in Texas the number of billionaires must be finite. The subset of those who own ranches, and the number of ranches where they keep buffalo, would limit the number still more. (I am assuming here that all members of the set "Billionaire buffalo-keeping Texas ranchers" divided by the number who are Bush supporters=1) And those who are willing to do "favors" in exchange for utterly trivial savings on fees for import of exotic animals or trophies thereof is probably not going to cut out too many candidates either.

But wouldn't it be funny if it turned out the ranch was also the place where Dear Vice Leader likes to go quail hunting? After all, we have a common factor of "shooting things in the face" to consider. Just speculatin' mind you.

*poor phrasing first time around. Details of his time at DoI are in that press release linked above.

And it would be interesting, if we had an infinite supply of flunkies to assign to these sleazebags, to find out what his next career move will be. Back to TX to rake in the big bux as an "environmental lawyer" no doubt.

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