Your Goddamn Tax Dollars at Work


The Secret Service meets Mark Trail. Banality ensues.

The Secret Service, which has the job of guarding the president and other dignitaries, now has a new temporary duty—protecting a mother duck and her nine eggs.

The duck, a brown mallard with white markings, has had several names suggested by Treasury Department people, including "Quacks Reform,""T-Bill," and "Duck Cheney." It has built a nest in a mulch pile right at the main entrance to the Treasury Department on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Whole thing here.

Doesn't the Secret Service have anything better to do–like protecting their own data?–with their time and our tax dollars?

Update: Reader Alan Vanneman notes: "OK, maybe you'd like to get your picture in the paper as the guy who killed a mommy duck and squashed her nine babies. This is a 'Culture of Life' Administration, dude. If you want some duck l'orange, go to fucking France."

Even More Update: In the comments below, reader Dave Straub points to a great site that provides fun meta-commentary on Mark Trail and other godawful comic strips. It's online here. These strips would no doubt make Dorothy Parker actually reach for the cocaine.

NEXT: End Times, Koranic Edition

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  1. Well…. honestly, if i had to pick, i’d rather they use my tax dollars to protect the duck.

  2. Y’know, reading the article, I kept expecting some sort of reasoning behind this tripe. But, no dice. Obviously a waste of time and money, such is par for the course…but, goodness, couldn’t the author of the article have at least asked someone, “hey, um, WHY!?”

  3. I suggest it be named “Fiscal Foul”, I mean if it looks like a duck and it quacks…

  4. …”hey, um, WHY!?” – Evan W.

    You mean “Vy a duck?” Vy not a duck?

    I suspect Mallard Fillmore has been getting busy.


  5. I consider myself pretty libertarian, but I don’t see the big deal here. The article says they put metal guard rails to protect the nest, and gave the duck a bowl of water. Since they likely have the guardrails just lying around and water is cheap, what’s the big deal?

    Now if they have an Secret Service officer guarding the duck 24-7 I would have a problem.

    On the other hand, if it water from the DC water system they probably have a case of duck abuse on their hands…..

  6. Pro duck. Definitely. The world is bleak enough as it is.

  7. This is typical PC-coddling of minority fowl. Need I remind you that this nation was founded on judeo-chicken values? Won’t somebody stand up for the chickens?

  8. You know what I don’t get? Donald Duck never wear pants, but he’s always in a towel when he gets out of the shower. Why?

  9. guardrails?

    that’s messing with its natural habitat.

  10. E. Steven-

    Also, I guess back then, they didn’t have access to that master piece of western literature “Ducks Don’t Get Wet.”

  11. Just because some of the more educated, sophisticated waterfowl can get by perfectly fine without guardrails, is no reason to abandon dumber, lesser avians like ducks to the life-destroying freedom of living without guardrails.

    I blame Madonna.

  12. What’s really a waste is the time that was wasted in coming up with the names “Quacks Reform”, “T-Bill” and “Duck Chaney.” Ugh!

  13. Well if those guard rails were installed with the competence normally exhibited by this administration, those ducks are trapped inside and will likely starve.

    “We had to kill them to save them.”

  14. The natural habitat of duck is on my plate with little steamed buns and plum sauce. Problem solved.

  15. If you haven’t already seen it, here’s a great blog about Mark Trail and other bizarre behavior on the funny pages.

  16. I’d tell Mrs. Fillmore to be careful. I think the Treasury Building is the Beagle Boys secret hideout!


  17. How about Plucky? I think Plucky is a good name.

    Maybe they could name it Feathers McDuck.

    Maybe I should STFU.

    The natural habitat of duck is on my plate with little steamed buns and plum sauce. Problem solved.

    I hear that. If the government needs any help, I have a small nest in my kitchen that I can provide for their safe harbor. Some people call it an “oven”, but I prefer the term “nest”.

  18. In the comments below, reader Dave Straub points to a great site that provides fun meta-commentary on Mark Trail and other godawful comic strips.

    Can’t possibly top the good ol’ Dysfunctional Family Circus. I wonder if it will avoid the same fate.

  19. Perhaps the only way the Democrats will pass a bill…

  20. I have a really hard time seeing what’s the controversy here. It’s really just some guys adopting a duck, I seriously doubt it pulling them away from their real duties, and it probably improves moral.

    But hey, blast away. If you get paid by the gubmint and somehow manage to have fun, I guess that’s wrong.

  21. I could reach for some cocaine right now.

    …Was I thinking out loud again?

  22. I am an unabashed Mark Trail fan. It’s the funniest comic in the paper these days, even if (or is it because?) the humor is inadvertant.

  23. I’m firmly in the “big hairy deal” camp.

    I’m sorry, remind me again. What’s being wasted?

  24. The natural habitat of duck is on my plate with little steamed buns and plum sauce.

    Marinated in orange juice with rosemary leaves and then roasted is also good.

  25. Nick, lighten up — as pointed out above, it’s just a couple of guardrails and some water, and probably some crackers or such brought in from home by staffers. This is not something to complain about, or somehow relate to government waste. I’m sure that no taxpayer funds have gone towards this duck.

    It’s just a cute human interest story. Er, duck interest story.

  26. smacky:

    Plucky is a drake’s name.


  27. thoreau

    Be sure your recipe is for wild duck.

    I’m told that recipes for domesticated duck do not work well for wild ducks. 🙂

  28. Good point, Isaac. I’ve never cooked wild duck.

    But here’s another cooking tip for those who don’t like the greasiness of water fowl: Before you roast it, pierce the skin in several places and put in a boiling marinade for a few minutes. The boiling water won’t cook it thoroughly, but it will help drain a little bit of the grease.

    I’ve done it with duck, where I immersed the duck in boiling orange juice for a few minutes, and I’ve done it with goose, where I immersed the goose in boiling brine for a few minutes. Brining also improved the flavor of the goose and made for a very nice Thanksgiving.

  29. I walked by the duck yesterday. The uniformed Secret Service officers aren’t really guarding it. It’s more a case of the duck being in a place that is already very heavily guarded. Smart duck. The awful Matthew Lesko ( would no doubt praise the duck for taking advantage of federal tax dollars.

  30. uniformed Secret Service officers aren’t really guarding it.

    Yeah, but who’s to say that the homeless guy across the street isn’t undercover Secret Service? ;->

    I still think that the best place for that duck is marinading in orange juice with some rosemary leaves.

  31. I think that the The Migratory Bird Treaty Act probably protects Mrs. Duck from any future menus. I don’t believe D.C. has a duck season.


  32. Wabbit season!

  33. Also, check out the bulletin board at the Official Mark Trail What Th’?! Page for more searing and entertaining commentary on Mark Trail.


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