Rush Limbaugh Abducted by Dung Beetles, Presumed Eaten

New York, July 29, 2007 -- Rush Limbaugh, the widely distributed right-wing radio and television commentator, was apparently abducted by a large swarm of dung beetles from his Manhattan studios yesterday. The abduction interrupted Limbaugh's regular afternoon live radio broadcast, resulting in several minutes of dead air which were subsequently filled by a Pat Robertson "700 Club" rebroadcast suggesting gays in the military should be used for target practice.

Rush Limbaugh, Dung Beetle (left, right)Rush Limbaugh, Dung Beetle (left, right)

Entomologists believe the Rush Limbaugh abduction may be a signal the dung beetle has developed new adaptive modes of reacting to its changing environment, and plan to embark on intensified study of the species.

Rush Limbaugh, a self-described "ubersexual" whose loyal followers are known collectively as "doody-heads", was into the third hour of his regular program, a guttural rant entitled "Why Iraq is Clinton's Fault", when what were estimated to be several thousand brown, slow-moving dung beetles forced their way into his soundproof studio through cracks in the paneling.

According to eye-witness accounts, the beetles swarmed over Limbaugh's posturepedic chair, toppling the corpulent crusader to the floor. The insects, who are known to work collaboratively when confronted by tasks beyond their individual strength, shaped Limbaugh into a ball and slowly rolled him from the premises, down the fire stairs, and into the parking lot. They were last seen moving slowly across 6th Avenue in the direction of Central Park.

"It was about the freakiest thing I've ever seen, and hanging around here I've seen a hell of a lot, I can tell you," said Steve Jivvers, an intern on Rush Limbaugh's radio program. "The bugs just clustered all over him like mold on an old piece of fruitcake. You couldn't even see his face. Next thing you know, they're rolling him out the door just as casual as you please. We were all pretty much paralyzed. It was fascinating. Some of the women helped a little by moving desks and furniture out of the way."

Rush Limbaugh is currently one of the most widely listened-to AM talk radio show hosts in America, with an estimated 20 million listeners. His current popularity grew over time from more humble beginnings, starting as a teenage broadcaster under the name "Rusty Sharpe" at a radio station owned by his father. He then progressed to a brief and unimpressive educational stint at Southeast Missouri State University, from which he dropped out during the height of the Vietnam War after failing two speech courses. In a stroke of luck, he remained ineligible for the draft due to an unspecified "football knee", from which he miraculously recovered shortly following the cessation of hostilities.

Limbaugh received criticism for violently racist on-air remarks while working once again as a radio broadcaster under the name "Jeff Christie", but after being fired several times from both radio and television positions has since focused most of his singularly vituperative glare on liberals, Democrats, feminists, homosexuals, women, defenders of the Constitution, the United Nations, the rest of the world, and non-whites. Mr. Limbaugh, who has admitted to repeatedly buying illegal prescription drugs to feed a painkiller habit, also suffers from serious hearing loss in both ears, a condition he has found helpful in discussions with radio show call-in listeners. A vocal proponent of so-called "family values", Mr. Limbaugh has been divorced three times. He remains childless.

Rush Limbaugh's diminutive abductors, the gazella dung beetle, or Onthophagus gazella Fabricius, are small brown insects of the order Coleoptera, generally between one half and one inch long. The species that abducted Limbaugh was introduced in Texas in the 1970s by USDA scientists to aid in the removal of cattle droppings, a task at which the tireless workers are eminently successful, handling nearly 80% of the waste.

Dung beetles, however, are not generally known for pursuing large or living prey, and most entomologists are baffled by this seemingly unprecedented incident. Dr. Alice Hanaford, Professor of Entomology at Case Western University, however, has a theory:

"We've been studying response patterns in Onthophagus gazella for a number of years, sparked in part by Oliver Weedrich's compelling doctoral thesis, 'Eat Shit and Live!', and have found some really unexpected behavior," Dr. Hanaford said. "Onthophagus gazella, in seeking recycled fodder, has been shown to respond to physiological signals in much the same way as a polygraph machine – in layman's terms, a lie detector. It is able to sense heartbeat and blood pressure changes and galvanic skin triggers in an animal from as far as 100 feet away. These physiological responses are known by the beetle to frequently coincide with the act of excretion – that they also occur when someone is lying is merely a coincidence. When a dung beetle recognizes the signals, it will home in on them."

"Another amazing thing we've discovered is that the small horns mounted on the dung beetle's head function very much as small radio antennae," said Sheldon Smyth, a dung beetle specialist who works closely with Dr. Hanaford on the Case Western entomology group. "Based on our analysis, the dung beetle can decode radio signals and extract the same types of physiological data from, for example, a voice, as from a live mammal in its immediate proximity."

Rush Limbaugh's abduction may therefore have been triggered by a possibly mistaken belief in the instinctive minds of the dung beetles that the talk show host was, essentially, defecating on air, according to Dr. Hanaford.

"These little guys aren't politicians," she says. "If they think they hear someone vacating their bowels, all they're thinking is 'Lunch!' ".

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor

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