Red Squirrels Are Annoying And Mean

Trump the red squirrelRed squirrels can be annoying because they’re so noisy – chattering loudly at anything they don’t like from their perches in the trees. But they can also be greedy, mean and stupid.

I recently visited Michigan and stayed with a friend at his family’s cabin on a lake. At least once a day we enjoyed the beautiful scenery by sitting quietly in Adirondack chairs on the cabin’s lawn. The local chipmunks came up to us to beg for food the first time I sat in one of the chairs, and my friend explained that he often threw handfuls of sunflower seeds to them.

I told him I was a bit confused because there was a small live animal trap near the chairs, and I presumed he was using it to catch troublesome chipmunks. He told me the trap wasn’t for chipmunks, but for red squirrels. They caused a lot of trouble, he said, so he was trying to trap all the local ones. The spaces between the wires on the trap’s cage, he pointed out, were big enough for chipmunks to escape through them, but they were too small for red squirrels to fit through. He said he took the squirrels that he caught several miles away to release them, and they didn’t come back. He added that many of his neighbors on the lake were doing the same thing.

The next day I saw firsthand why he didn’t like the red squirrels. I was sitting in one of the chairs by myself and several chipmunks approached me from different directions. I yelled to my friend about what was happening. He came out from the cabin’s screened patio with a handful of sunflower seeds, threw them onto a nearby bare spot on the ground, and went back inside. The chipmunks immediately ran to the seeds and began stuffing them in their cheek pouches as fast as they could. There were a lot of arguments among the chipmunks about who got the seeds. They chased each other around a lot, while stopping just long enough to pick up another seed or two. One or two of them appeared to be dominant, but all them got at least one chance to grab some seeds.

Then a red squirrel showed up. First, he sat in the tree above the bare spot and yelled at the chipmunks. It was obvious that he was telling them that all of the seeds were his. They ignored him until he ran down the tree and began to chase them. But the way he chased them was different from the way the chipmunks chased each other. He didn’t want to just argue about who got the most seeds, he was trying to hurt the chipmunks. He would charge onto the bare spot and all of the chipmunks would scatter. He’d pick one out and chase it with his teeth bared for a relatively long distance before giving up and returning to the seeds. Then he’d discover the other chipmunks had been busy gathering more seeds while he’d been away, and he’d pick out another chipmunk and chase it while the other chipmunks immediately returned to the bare spot to get more seeds. It appeared that the chipmunks understood they could get more seeds if they took turns keeping the squirrel busy.

In the end, the red squirrel was so busy trying to bully the chipmunks that he got very few seeds.

The Modern Know Nothings

dead republican elephantDuring the 1850’s the Whigs were one of the two major political parties in the U.S. But their organization was disintegrating due to internal bickering caused by their inability to agree upon the major political issues of the time.

The 1850s also saw unprecedented levels of immigration into the U.S. Most of the new residents were poor Catholics from Europe. This alarmed many Americans who were afraid the foreign-speaking immigrants would undermine U.S. democracy because of their religious allegiance to the Pope.

This xenophobia, along with the disintegration of the Whig party, gave rise to a new political group called the Know Nothing Party. Their membership was limited to Protestant men whose goal was to curb immigration and limit the influence of Catholic immigrants. The party’s name came from their practice of responding to questions about their internal operations by replying, “I know nothing.”

Today the Republicans are one of the two major political parties and are also plagued by internal bickering. And widespread xenophobia has erupted again, this time in response to illegal immigration from Latin America. Since the Tea Party movement is responsible for creating the turmoil within the Republican Party, as well as inciting opposition to illegal immigration, it would be fair to call them the Modern Know Nothings.

Confirmation That Immigrant Children Are Causing Disease

Fox News has reported that the recent increase in the number of unaccompanied undocumented immigrant children crossing into the United States may be a public health threat. Anonymous sources have told them that some of these children have serious diseases that could spread to the general population.

While there’s been no confirmation of this, it has been observed that the presence of the children has caused spontaneous outbreaks of xenophobia across the nation, particularly in southern California and Arizona.

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