Eagle nuggets & politically correct energy – Tribune

December 24, 2013 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

I can’t remember ever getting reader feedback from hunters, but my column last Monday — “Politically correct ‘Bird-O-Matics’â€� about eagles being killed by wind turbines — produced some good on-the-ground responses from the gun guys in the backwoods.

“Eagles aren’t so smart,â€� emailed one hunter. “They’re looking down for rabbits while flying at 100 miles an hour and not looking at what’s ahead of them.â€�

It’s like a crazy teenager pressing the pedal to the metal while he’s looking down to do some texting.

The hunter’s feedback was right about the speed. Golden eagles can dive at prey at speeds of 150 mph, while the tips of the gigantic spinning blades on wind-energy farms can reach speeds of 180 mph.

The result is a top-speed slice-and-dice operation. Eagle nuggets.

Regarding the reader’s comment about eagles not being “so smart,â€� here’s what Benjamin Franklin wrote from France on Jan. 26, 1784, in a letter to his daughter, Sarah Bache of Philadelphia, a year and a half after the Great Seal of the United States was adopted by Congress on June 20, 1782, with the bald eagle as its honored centerpiece: “For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly.â€�

Explaining what he meant, Franklin continued: “You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bringing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from Him.�

It’s a case, in short, of income redistribution.

If that weren’t enough to get this crummy and pilfering bird removed from the Great Seal, Franklin additionally stated in the letter that the bald eagle was too frequently a triple loser — poor, lousy and gutless: “With all this injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping and Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward. The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest … .â€�

Franklin wasn’t short of ideas for the eagle’s replacement. “The Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird,â€� Franklin declared. “He is besides, though a little vain silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a Red Coat on.â€�

Additionally, Franklin suggested in 1776 that an action scene of Moses and the Pharaoh be used on the Great Seal. In 1775, he wrote that the rattlesnake would be a fitting symbol for “the temper and conduct of America.â€� Step on us and you’re dead?

In any case, the Obama administration, by removing penalties for the killing of golden eagles and bald eagles by wind turbines for the next 30 years, “wrote the wind industry a blank check,â€� stated National Audubon Society President David Yarnold. “It’s outrageous that the government is sanctioning the killing of America’s symbol.â€�

Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University and a local restaurateur (rrreiland@aol.com).

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