WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush told reporters at a hastily called press conference this morning that health officials have launched a nationwide search for boneless chicken feet-an Asian delicacy that was smuggled into the United States recently despite an ongoing ban against the importation of birds and poultry products from Asia. The ban had been enacted, said Bush, in order to protect America from the ravages of a bird flu epidemic.
"We've got to nip this epidemic in the beak," said the president. "Therefore I plan to ask Congress to enforce the Patriot Act and to order all Asiatic restaurants to stop serving Chicken Feet, General Tso's chicken, Kung Pao Chicken, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Lemon Chicken, and Sesame Chicken until further notice."
By invoking the little-known None from Column A subsection of the Patriot Act, the president acknowledged the seriousness of the impending Bird Flu virus, which is spreading throughout Southeast Asia like a tsunami, if you'll pardon the expression.
The initial symptoms of the virus, which appear within forty-eight to seventy-two hours after eating contaminated chicken, include pecking madly at food, flapping both arms violently, and crowing in a loud, screeching voice. From there it's only a matter of hours until victims begin running around like chickens with their heads cut off before finally dropping to the ground dead with their legs sticking straight up in the air."
Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona, M.D., F.A.C.S., H.M.F.I.C., the 17th surgeon general of the United States, warns that the Bird Flu virus is especially dangerous because it can be contracted not only from eating contaminated chicken but also from exchanging bodily fluids with an infected individual before that individual becomes symptomatic.
"Fortunately, there's little danger of contracting the virus from persons who are already symptomatic," Carmona said, "because only a pervert would find that sort of behavior attractive."
According to White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, "Once the None from Column A edict goes into effect, any restaurant owner or employer caught preparing or serving Chicken Feet, General Tso's (or General Tsao's) chicken or any other Asian chicken-related dish can be imprisoned indefinitely at a secret location without legal representation, proper food, adequate shelter, or toilet paper for as long as the president shall deem fit. These measures, however, do not apply to North Korean restaurants."
The president's declaration met with instant approval from America's poultry elite. Jim Bob Perdue, chairman of Perdue Poultry Farms, interrupted a theater vacation in Branson, Missouri, to speak with reporters.
"America is at war with terror," said Purdue from the steps of his Gulf Stream Sun Voyager with spacious slide out room. "Our citizens, like our soldiers, march on their stomachs; and those citizens can't march very far if they're bent over a toilet."
Although he praised Mr. Bush for not behaving "like Chicken Little" in a time of "grave national crisis," Purdue suggested he would like to see the poultry ban extended to include Peking Duck, Crispy Duck, and Duck L'orange.
In related news, shortly after President Bush's announcement, vandals threw a rock through the front window of the China Palace restaurant in Reading, Pennsylvania. Similar attacks were reported at the China Garden, China Empress, and China Delight restaurants in the surrounding area.