adBlockCheck

U.S. Renews Contract With Spotted Ground Squirrels Through 2015

Top Headlines

Politics

Financially Struggling Trump Campaign Holds Fundraising Riot

NEWARK, NJ—Having raised only $3.1 million last month despite clinching the Republican nomination and with just $1.3 million on hand, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign sought a much-needed injection of cash Wednesday by holding a fundraising riot in Newark, sources confirmed.

Trump’s Potential VP Picks

Here is a guide to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s potential running mates in the 2016 presidential election

47 Weak-Willed Senators Bend To Interests Of Powerful American People

WASHINGTON—Saying the closely watched Senate vote clearly demonstrated where the elected officials’ loyalties lay, political observers confirmed that 47 weak-willed lawmakers bent to the interests of the powerful American public Monday by voting in favor of measures that would bar anyone on government terror watchlists from purchasing firearms.

Nation Clinging Desperately To Brief Inspirational Moment Before Being Thrust Back Into Raging Election Maelstrom

WASHINGTON—Following Hillary Clinton’s primary victories Tuesday that presumably secured her place as the first woman in U.S. history to receive a major party’s presidential nomination, citizens across the nation admitted to reporters they were desperately clinging to the brief moment of inspiration before they are inevitably thrust back into the raging black maelstrom of the 2016 election.

Campaign Announces Clinton Has Entered Incubation Period After Securing Nomination

Candidate Transitioning Into Mature Presidential Form Inside Cocoon, Aides Say

NEW YORK—Immediately after she clinched the 2,383 delegates needed to secure the Democratic presidential nomination Monday night, campaign aides announced that Hillary Clinton had retreated to a dark corner of her Brooklyn headquarters and entered the beginning of a 16-week incubation period.

The Arguments For And Against Bernie Sanders Staying In The Race

Bernie Sanders is ramping up his efforts in the presidential race despite long odds, while sharpening his criticisms of a Democratic Party increasingly focused on the general election with Hillary Clinton as their presumptive nominee. Here are the arguments for and against Sanders staying in the race

Donald Trump’s Campaign: Myth Vs. Fact

Donald Trump’s political positions, personal history, and potential governing style have been the subject of much debate throughout the 2016 election. The Onion separates myth from fact in this breakdown of Trump’s campaign:

Report: Well, Here We Go

WASHINGTON—With Donald Trump’s two remaining GOP rivals suspending their candidacies and clearing a path for the billionaire businessman to assume the Republican presidential nomination, reports indicated Wednesday that, well, hoo boy, here we go.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next

U.S. Renews Contract With Spotted Ground Squirrels Through 2015

The species is now the nation's third highest-earning ground dweller.
The species is now the nation's third highest-earning ground dweller.

WASHINGTON—The Department of the Interior announced this week that ongoing negotiations with the nation's population of spotted ground squirrels have been resolved and that the rodents are now contracted to continue activities on U.S. soil through Dec. 31, 2015.

"We're happy to have finally reached an agreement with this vital American species, and we thank all the ground squirrels who have been carrying on in good faith for the past 18 months while we worked this out," a jubilant but visibly exhausted Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters at a press conference Tuesday. "Their continued participation in our forests, meadows, and prairies is an integral part of our natural world, and I think our generous offer reflects that fact."

Under the terms of the agreement, which was conducted through third-party labor mediators, the ground squirrels will be responsible for scurrying up and down trees; rustling in undergrowth; chittering; and eating a variety of seeds, berries, and nuts.

The contract stipulates the nation's spotted ground squirrels be paid $345 million over five years and also provides for performance-based bonuses.

"This amount is well in line with the compensation of other North American wildlife, and when you factor in the spotted ground squirrels' vast range of distribution across the country, it's actually quite a value," said Ray Chen, who represented the squirrels during arbitration. "The government is getting a tremendous bargain on Xerospermophilus spilosoma, especially when you consider what they're currently paying the white-tail deer."

Negotiations between Chen's firm of Hannigan, Chen & Falbaum and the Interior Department took nearly two years, and at one point reportedly grew so strained that the government considered opening the bidding to blue jays, marmots, and Lockheed Martin.

A deal was reached only after the ground squirrels acquiesced to signing a non- compete clause that forbids the animals from pursuing foraging opportunities in the Asian or Latin American markets.

"We think this was a deal that had to happen, and both sides are satisfied," said assistant secretary for wildlife Tom Strickland, who originally balked at the ground squirrel's terms and was chastised by the pro-squirrel-labor lobby for his use of the "disparaging and insensitive" slang term "gopher" during a television interview early in the negotiations. "I admit the road here was rocky, and we wish they had given a little on the three-month's hibernation. But no one wanted a return to the strike years of the 1970s, when unburied nuts were piling up on curbs by the thousands."

Because government representatives were unable to move the ground squirrels on several key points, including nesting in attics and garages, and appearing suddenly in the middle of the road for no apparent reason, the contract is essentially the same as the previous agreement, which held from 1998 to 2009.

The Interior Department denied that national-park fees would increase to cover the ground squirrels' new contract and insisted that the cost of the most hotly contested portion of the agreement, a provision for comprehensive heath care extending well into retired squirrels' fourth year of life, was included in the total divulged cost.

"Worse comes to worst, we're not locked in to anything, since it's just a five-year deal," Salazar said. "And now that this is behind us, we can turn our attention to making sure we get that contact signed with the bald eagles, who have been threatening to move their operations to Mexico since June."

Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close