Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Whittington Was In Drunken Veeps Firing Line


Vice President Dick Cheney shot Texas lawyer, Harry Whittington, from a closer range than previously thought and the presence of alcohol were the reasons why the accidental shooting was reported nearly a day later.

The original story and, quite frankly every subsequent version since, has failed to pass the sniff test.

The New York Times and numerous health experts have reported that the BB-sized pellets lodged in Whittington's chest would have needed a far greater velocity than possible from 30 yards away.

Dr. O.Wayne Isom, the chairman of the heart and chest surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, noted this closer proximity of Cheney to Whittington by excluding the possibility of the pellets reaching the heart via the bloodstream.

"The pellets wre approximately five millimeters, about the size of a BB, and larger than most blood vessels", he said.

Moreover, it's highly unlikely that over the distance of 30 yards that the spraying of Cheney's birdshot would not have dispersed into a far larger area than the relatively small area of wounds on Whittington's body--roughly a portion of his left jaw, neck and over his heart and lung.

The probability that Cheney shot Whittington from close range is very high. The presence of beer with this hunting party may be unrelated to the accident, though.

If anything, the fact that Cheney had one beer at lunch (everyone knows one beer, usually means two or three) only magnifies the inherent comedy of this already infamous storyline. It's quite possible that the effects of alcohol and the shooting are unrelated.

The problem, though, in relation to why it took nearly 18 hours to report the accident, is that the mere presence of alcohol would have vaulted this problem into the stratosphere of full-blown crisis. Although, after Whittington's mild heart Tuesday, it reached those heights anyway.

This is why the local authorities were shooed away from Cheney until around 6am the next day and why the Karl Rove machine was called in.

This story, though, is still missing crucial information, most of which, could probably be derived from a medical point of view. What medications are Whittington currently taking? Was a test done on his blood alcohol? Was he conscious when he arrived at the medical center?

The biggest part of this puzzle lies in why was Whittington shot from such a range that birdshot could embed itself through numerous layers of clothing and lodge itself in his heart.

Many in this press have this completely wrong when they opine that the cover-up of this story over the weekend made things worse. It's pure folly to suggest such a thing when it's been this administration modus operandi to hide facts of potentially damaging national consequences, let alone Dick Cheney blasting his hunting partner.

The national media smells blood like no story in recent memory and will not stop until this story is broken wide open. The surrealness of the entire tale has the potential to become a cottage publishing industry for the next 25 years and that sort of opportunity has happened since two guys at the Washington Post teamed up with a guy named Deep Throat.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cheney Blames The Victim

In OUR sights: VP Dick
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.


Could there be a story more befitting of the Lunatic Fringe as the second most powerful official in America nearly committing a homicide in the fields of South Texas?

Since facts are at a premium in the accidental shooting of prominent Austin lawyer, Harry Whittington by Vice President Dick Cheney we are left to ponder the case through speculation. Maybe that's what Wild Dick Cheney is hoping for?

Why did it take nearly 21 hours for the plugging of Whittington to become known in this age of ultra-quick news? Obviously, to buy time while the White House and Karl Rove concocted a bandaid to the problem.

What they come up was this:

1) Muddle the facts. Initially reports said that Whittington approached Cheney from behind evoking an ancy VP ready to kill at the slightest provocation.

"Boo!" said Whittington. "Bang!" said Cheney.

Next, an odd tale was passed along that implicated the bright sun was the culprit for Cheney not seeing Whittington in the foreground. Plainly, this muddling of the story, leaves out that Cheney quite possibly shot a man cowardly in the back.

2) Blame the victim. Pretty standard at the Bush White House. Bush operatives were passing along the idea that Whittington should have shouted an audible call to denote his location. It fails to pass the plausible stage.

Why would Whittington scream out when the other hunters were coming up on a covey of quail? The scream would have startled and alerted the quail, thereby, scuttling the hunter's target. Besides, the War Room at reported that the NRA's safety manual puts the onus on the shooter as to whether the area is clear of unwanted targets, such as people.

3) Create Sympathy. Not for the victim, but for Cheney. The poor guy just shot what the White House is trying to say was a good friend of the VP, when he was mainly an acquaintance. Why did Cheney not cooperated with the local sheriff? Why because he was so distraught by the mauling of Whittington by his shotgun that he had to accompany the victim to the hospital. If that wasn't enough, act like you're going to cry when recounting the accident to the press.

To the Republicans base, this sounds like an honorable way to own up to his part of the accident. The problem is, that if you or I sprayed ball bearings at another person's face and neck, the local authorities would most likely want to question you at the scene of the possible crime.

When this story broke late Sunday afternoon, the ridiculousness of the tale--Dick Cheney shot a man! What?!--and the absence of any official facts screamed for the wheels of cover-up to begin rolling; and they did. That anything untoward happened on that ranch seems even crazy for even the most conspiracy-minded of us, but why attempt to keep this accident quiet? Is it just standard operating procedure at the White House or is there an important piece of this story that is missing and therefore, making what we know today seem incongruous with a rational mind?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bush's Body Language: Everybody Hates Me!


Eulogists at Coretta Scott King's funeral today gave President Bush an earful. Guess what, George? This is how the whole country talks about you.

That the leader of our country could be so pointedly and brutally criticized from literally ten feet away to national audience shows that our free speech has not yet been demolished.

The unease in the President's demeanor was clearly evident as he withstood biting jabs from Rev. Joe Lowery, Maya Angelou, President Jimmy Carter and Sen. Edward Kennedy. You almost felt sorry for the guy.

The mob smelled blood as President Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton stepped to lectern. The crowd saved their loudest applause for the former president. As the president thanked President Bush and the other ex-president someone in attendance yelled, "You're a real president!" which furthered evident vitriol towards Bush.

Sadly, Bush never hears this contrarian view when his public appearances are meticulously cleansed of any opposition. Last week, war protester, Patty Sheehan, was arrested for attempting to wear an anti-war t-shirt to the State of the Union.

Was Bush surprised? Frankly, he had no business being at the civil rights' leaders funeral other than being the leader of this country. He embodied none of Martin Luther King's philosophy and has been contemptuous toward the entire Civil Rights movement.

It was the soft-spoken former president from Georgia--President Carter--who said it best today when he related the Bush administration's predilection towards spying to the surveillance by the FBI of MLK in the 1960s.

"It was difficult for them personally with the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated, and they became the targets of secret government wiretapping and other surveillance."

The work of Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King has yet to be finished.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Gore Personifies Our Hopes And Fears


Ben Smith's piece in Monday's New York Observer was part tantilizing gossip and part sobering truth on the state of the Democratic party come 2008.

The opposition party usually gears up its possible and perennial candidates during this point of the election cycle. The sitting president's party is typically hampered by respect for the current commander-in-chief and therefore somewhat murky in buzz over which person may take the party's mantle.

Hillary Clinton is a definite yes and everyone's front-runner. Then you have the rehashed candidates--John Kerry and John Edwards. The up-and-comers who lack gravitas but nonetheless serve the sole purpose of pushing along the dialogue of the race. In 2004, Howard Dean played this role. In 2008, Russ Feingold may well take that role with pet issues such as campaign finance reform and a desire to end the war in Iraq.

Then there's Al Gore who fits into every category. He's been a frontrunner. He's a rehashed good ol' boy of the Democratic Party and comfortable advancing a specific agenda--global warming and, of course, a diatribe against everything that is Bush.

Smith's article contains the ubiquitous citation of denial that Gore is even contemplating another run for White House all the while illustrating a fiery orator and issues-orientated vision. The middle ground between whether Gore runs or doesn't is camped out easily and allows Democrats to think, "should we or could we allow our hopes into the hands of this man, again?"

The post 2000 election Gore, or the "New Gore" is hands down much more comfortable, thoughtful, honest and far more brutally honest than the infamous Gore made of wood.

Is there a single individual who encapsulates the exact feelings of torture, embarrassment and raw fire of the American people more than Al Gore?

Gore is the symbol of newly disenfranchised and divided America. He personally stood humiliated as the Supreme Court stole his bid for the Presidency. He went into hiding, grew a beard, ate a whole lot and returned anew with a unique and dead-on view of the destruction thrust upon America during the past six years.

He's the personification of a metaphorical America in darkness only to rise again under sunny and safe skies. He's lived our doubts, our fears and our frustrations ever day since that fateful weeks in November and December of 2000.

The question is: Do we risk it?