WASHINGTON, DC (UP News Service)– In a move that supporters say shows sensitivity and compassion, President Bush today commuted the sentence of the planet Pluto, which was demoted to a “dwarf planet” by the International Astronomical Union in August of 2006. Under the President’s new order, Pluto will once more be regarded as a full-fledged planet, though he left unchanged the part of the decision in which the astronomical object must share its name with a cartoon dog.
“Pluto’s crimes have been well-documented,” said the President in a short statement from the Oval Office, citing in particular the once and future planet’s crossing of Neptune’s orbit every couple hundred years. “However, we feel that having to live in an eccentric orbit in the outer regions of the solar system is punishment enough. Also, removing Pluto totally screws up the memory thing we learned: My Very Elegant Mother Just Sat Upon Nine Porcupines. Heh. That’s funny.”
Conservatives hailed the decision as a visionary act. Noted writer and blogger Jonah Goldberg interrupted his busy writing schedule to post about the decision, saying “I’m pretty sure this is the most brilliant thing Bush has done yet. Maybe some readers could help me out by sending in a few reasons why that’s the case? Pretty please?”
Democrats, on the other hand, were quick to say that the decision show’s Bush’s increasing disengagement from reality.
“Honestly,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid (D- Nevada), “The man wouldn’t know a Kuiper Belt object if it fell on him. And he’s talking in the first person plural now? Is that a royal ‘we’? Is he talking about Cheney? Does he have a mouse in his pocket?” Reid hinted that Congress would consider holding hearings on the subject. Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, in training for a basketball game in Schenectady, NY, dismissed the decision as an attempt to boost the President’s sagging approval ratings. “At this point,” he noted, “frozen chunks of methane four billion miles away are more popular than this President and his failed policies.”
Scientific reaction to the decision ranged from bafflement to frustration. “We have to talk about Pluto again?” whined Neil de Grasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. “Things were just starting to settle down from last year, and now this starts up again? Am I going to have to go on the Colbert Report again?” A spokesman for the International Astronomical Union noted that President Bush has neither relevant scientific expertise, nor any authority over international scientific organizations. “Anyway, what’s he going to do about the other dwarf planets? Announce that Ceres is harboring Al Qaeda terrorists and blow it to rubble?”
The White House insisted that the President’s authority to overrule IAU decisions was a well established power deriving from his position atop the Great Chain of Being. They dismissed Democratic claims as mere partisanship. “Harry reid is just jealous that he didn’t think of it first,” said White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, continuing “Nyahhhh, nyahhh.”
Snow refused to comment on the possibility of Al Qaeda fighters on Ceres, saying only that “It’s something we’re considering very seriously.”