More Mascots

The responses are flooding in on additional federal mascots. Many are coming from USDA, whose agencies clearly have a serious case of mutual mascot envy. The Food Safety and Inspection Service has two: BAC, (short for Bacterium), who teaches kids about the dangers of germs, and Thermy, whose job is to promote the importance of avoiding undercooked food ("It's safe to bite when the temperature is right," is his Johnnie Cochran-esque slogan.) The Rural Utilities Service has Rus the Surfin' Squirrel, a small-town Midwesterner who loves the Internet.

The Energy Department features the Energy Ant, created in 1975 to tell kids about using energy wisely ("Ants are very energy-efficient creatures," the department says.)

The Federal Trade Commission has Dewie the E-Turtle, who "carries his security shell no matter what he’s doing on the Internet."

In the "fading into history" category, there's the Bureau of Land Management's Johnny Horizon, an environmental spokesman. I can't find an official image, but here's an e-Bay posting for a Johnny Horizon patch from 1976. There are other references to him are out there, too. For example, here are the minutes from a 2003 meeting of BLM's Northeast California Resource Advisory Council, in which a participant reports on a recommendation that "BLM needs a new symbol to represent the importance of caring for the land, such as the old Johnny Horizon mascot."

Finally, here's an all-star lineup for you: BAC, Power Panther, Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl, and Thermy at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.