Monday, February 13, 2006

That's right, you're not from Texas....

Since this happened in Texas, I suppose some comment on it is necessary.

But the fact is, the best posts on it are elsewhere. Firedoglake rounds up the critiques better than anyone else I've seen (I'm not a hunter, but even I know you don't do a 180 degree spin on your heels while pointing a gun; and why was Cheney shooting low enough to unload into another hunter?), and the fact is, Whittington was wearing blaze orange and walking up behind Cheney, not off in the grass (Armstrong is still the only witness to speak about this, but she's not keeping her story straight).

And I think Molly Ivins has already told us where it all ends:

We don't have a sunshine law in Texas; it's more like a partly cloudy law. But even here a major state appointee has to fill out a bunch of forms that are then public record. When the governor's office put out the forms on the Enron guy, members of the press, that alert guardian watchdog of democracy, noticed that the question about any unfortunate involvement with law enforcement looked funny. The governor's office had whited out the answers. A sophisticated cover-up. The alert guardian watchdogs were on the trail. We soon uncovered a couple of minor traffic violations and the following item: While out hunting a few years earlier, the Enron guy accidentally shot a whooping crane. As a result he had to pay a $15,000 fine under what is known in Texas as the In Danger Species Act. We print this. A state full of sympathetic hunters reacted with, "Hell, anybody could accidentally shoot a whooper." But the press stayed on the story and was able to report that the guy shot the whooper while on a goose hunt. Now the whooper is a large bird--runs up to five feet tall. The goose--short. Now we have a state full of hunters saying, "Hell, if this boy is too dumb to tell a whooper from a goose, maybe he shouldn't be regulatin' public utilities." He was forced to resign.
Either Cheney had a physical problem holding the gun up (always possible; he keeps an ambulance on call, and is a heart patient), or he simply shouldn't be allowed to hunt.

Or he can't tell the difference between a quail and a fellow hunter in an orange vest.

Now if we can just get a press corps as persistent as the press in Texas was back then.

E&P indicates there's some chance of that, too:

On Sunday, the Chicago Tribune's James wrote on the Washington bureau's blog at the newspaper's site, "When a vice president of the U.S. shoots a man under any circumstance, that is extremely relevant information. What might be the excuse to justify not immediately making the incident public?

"The vice president is well known for preferring to operate in secret. ... Some secrecy, especially when it comes to the executing the duties of president or vice president, is understandable and expected by Americans.

"But when the vice president's office, or the White House, delays in reporting a shooting like Saturday's to the public via the media, it needlessly raises suspicions and questions of trust. And it may just further the impression held by many, rightly or wrongly, that the White House doesn't place the highest premium on keeping the public fully and immediately informed."
So, we'll see.

Update: well, clearly, it has started. This may be a sign of a more aggressive press corps.

P.P.S. I think another word for what jane is saying is "FUBAR."

Okay, one more: we know have a "pellet count" (via jane, via Josh Marshall): 200 or so, some of which won't be removed. The attending physician is being quite circumspect about this. And Karl Rove spoke to Ms. Armstrong within an hour of the incident, which tells me the staff with Cheney wasted no time passing this hot potato off.

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