28 November 2010

Presidential Pardons and Turkeys

Many Russian readers did not understand the turkey reference and the related presidential pardon.

The US president, like many heads of state, has the legal authority to forgive someone who is either accused or convicted of a crime.  In 1989, President George H. W. Bush officially pardoned the White House turkey, setting a precedent that has since become an annual American tradition.

The word "turkey" as multiple meanings, one being a large and rather tasty domesticated bird, another being a person who does something thoughtless or annoying. In the latter sense of the word, the first presidential turkey pardon dates back to 1974 when President Gerald Fold pardoned President Richard Nixon for any crimes that may have been committed against the United States in the Watergate scandal.

Other presidential turkey pardons have included George H. W. Walker's pardoning of Kasper Weinberger and Bill Clinton's pardoning of Marc Rich.

And so, this Thanksgiving, President Obama conducted his second presidential pardon which, like the first, was to save yet another turkey.  President Obama, being an intellectual sort, and as reported by The Onion, apparantly deliberated long and hard before picking the right turkey from the lot of them out there.

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