The PJ Tatler

Punxsutawney Phil Indicted For False Forecast

Here’s a palate cleanser for a Saturday that may give us an idea of what to do with global warming hysterics who continuously proclaim the sky is falling when it’s actually just a passing flight of pigeons.

A prosecutor in Butler County, Ohio has indicted Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil, the weather groundhog, for making a false forecast about when spring would start:

The indictment, filed by Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Gmoser, alleges that on or about February 02, 2013, at Gobbler’s Knob, Punxsutawney Phil did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that Spring would come early.

“I woke up this morning and the wind was blowing, the snow was flying, the temperatures were falling, and I said ‘Punxsutawney, you let us down,'” said Gmoser.

The suit goes on to say that, “contrary to the Groundhog Day report, a snowstorm and record low temperatures have been and are predicted to continue in the near future, which constitutes the offense of MISREPRESENTATION OF EARLY SPRING, a Unclassified Felony, and against the peace
and dignity of the State Of Ohio.” {See the full indictment here}

“There’s only one person that can do something about this for the citizens of Butler County, and that’s me,” added Gmoser.

The head of the county’s law enforcement says he’ll do what he’s supposed to do to bring justice.

“Hopefully, like I said, Pennsylvania cooperates with our prosecutor. My job is just to carry out the court orders and the indictments. My job is not to question,” said Sheriff Richard K. Jones.

But, one of Phil’s handlers says not so fast!

“If you remember two weeks ago on a Sunday, it was probably 60, 65 degrees. So, I mean, that basically counts as an early spring,” said John Griffiths, one of Phil’s co-handlers.

What’s in store now for Phil? Pending an extradition hearing, Gmoser says it’s curtains for the little guy, suggesting that the penance for such a misrepresentation should be the death penalty.

“Since he’s already serving a life sentence behind bars, as you know. There wasn’t much left as far as a penalty other than a death sentence,” added Gmoser.

The high on Thursday in Cincinnati was 37 degrees.

A wholly American solution to a problem caused by a unique American tradition. We shouldn’t want it any other way.

Also almost uniquely American, Phil is accused of being part of a vast conspiracy:

Some may have thought in the past that his predictions were a vast conspiracy. After all, he is sponsored by two clubs, a handful of corporations and two banks.

On Phil’s website,, his handlers dispute the theory.

“No, Punxsutawney Phil’s forecasts are not made in advance by the Inner Circle,” they write.

The off prediction could have been a mistranslation.

Phil “speaks to the Groundhog Club President in Groundhogese,” according to the website. “His proclamation is then translated for the world.” What if the president can’t hear correctly over the crowd? Is it then still really Phil’s fault?

I know well the feelings about winter of folks in Ohio and Pennsylvania. When I was younger, I used to wonder why older folks went to Florida or Arizona for the winter, or even moved there permanently. Chicago winters can be brutal and wearing — soul destroying cold and snow with the occasional ice storm just to make things interesting. I celebrated Phil’s optimistic forecast, only to have my hopes dashed with no escape from Father Winter’s embrace.

But give the little guy a break. He’s an American icon and deserves another chance.

Forecast for Central Illinois tonight: 5 inches of snow with winds up to 50 miles per hour.

Maybe we could force Phil to participate in another fine old American tradition; tar and feather the little rat and ride him out of town on a rail.

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