Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What happened to all the pardons?

Thanks to Magnus Fiskesjö, I am vaguely obsessed with all things dealing with the Thanksgiving turkey pardon. Make sure you read his short book, The Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon, the Death of Teddy's Bear, and the Sovereign Exception of Guantánamo. The longest title for the shortest book. Also, make sure to read his follow up article, "The reluctant sovereign: New adventures of the US presidential Thanksgiving turkey." Well, this article from the Washington Post continues that (though the stuff about eating humanely raised turkeys is obvious nonsense). In it, we also discover that:
After tomorrow, Obama will have "pardoned" 10 turkeys in all (turkeys that, as best we can tell, haven't actually committed any crimes). By contrast, he will have only pardoned or commuted the sentences of 40 actual living human beings.

Indeed, if you look at the graph in the article, you will notice that there is a huge drop off in pardons and commuting of sentences by Bill Clinton. So, basically around the same time that we have the rise of thanksgiving turkey pardons, we also have a significantly huge decrease in actual pardons.