Good evening. Tomorrow's hump day so hang in there until the weekend. (Leigh Ann wrote, "Will this week ever end?") It can be a rough day if you don't have a honey. Let's get things going with Democracy Now!
Cheney Cited For Hunting Violation in Shooting Incident
The Bush administration is on the defensive over Vice President Dick Cheney’s accidental shooting of hunting companion and Republican fundraiser Harry Whittington at a Texas ranch Saturday. Whittington is reported to be in stable condition. It took the White House at least 19 hours to inform the public -- and only after a local Texas newspaper broke the story. Cheney is also coming under criticism for violating Texas game law. On Monday, state officials said Cheney had not purchased a stamp required for bird hunting.
So let's sketch this out. Whittington supposedly walked behind Cheney. How did he get shot in the face then? Cheney was hunting without the necessary papers. Cheney shot Whittington. Cheney didn't want the public to know and Cheney didn't want to talk to the cops. Was he drunk?
C.I. passed this on to me and Elaine, Juan Gonzalez's "Why Put Silencer on Story?":
Since when does the massive White House spin machine permit a little-known South Texas rancher to give vice presidential press briefings?
McClellan said yesterday he did not even learn the vice president had been the shooter until Sunday morning.
Even the normally docile Washington press corps wasn't buying that line. Angry reporters repeatedly demanded to know exactly when Bush learned about Cheney's errant shot.
Later in the day, the White House revealed that deputy chief of staff Karl Rove was the first to know. Rove spoke by phone with Armstrong on Saturday evening, then informed Bush around 8 p.m. of the vice president's role.
In other words, both Bush and Rove knew the essential details within hours of the incident, yet the White House kept things quiet until the next day.
At yesterday's briefing, McClellan repeatedly referred further questions to Cheney's office, and late in the day the information dribbled out that Cheney hadn't bothered to pay for the proper permit to go bird hunting in Texas.
Local sheriffs in Kenedy County reportedly complained that Secret Service agents prevented them from talking to the vice president immediately after the incident.
The Secret Service, on the other hand, says that it reported the shooting to the sheriff's office an hour after it happened, and that Cheney eventually did talk to local authorities.
The Cheney interview, like so much of this story, was delayed until Sunday morning.
Vice President shoots someone, it's news. Accident or not. C.I. noted the Pravda like coverage in the New York Times. Cheney's a sick man, we all know that or should. During the 2000 recount, they tried to act like he was fine but he had to go into the hospital. Are we supposed to believe that six years later, he's healthier than he was then? What if the Bully Boy bulge in the October 2004 debate wasn't a wire but some health related device? What if we've got two people in the charge who are both a lot sicker than the press has ever told you? Think about it.
GAO: Bush Admin. Spent Over $1.6B on PR
And finally, a new report from the Government Accountablity Office says the Bush administration has spent over $1.6 billion on advertising and public relations contracts in the last two years. Of this amount, the Pentagon has been the biggest spender, paying $1.1 billion for recruitment campaigns and other public relations efforts.
What can I tell you? Press whores cost money. They probably have a price they can quote you. Like Elisabeth Bumiller probably charges more for a press snowball (where she spits out -- in print -- every "fact" you gave her) than she does for fluffing. 1.6 billion dollars? A drop in the bucket compared to how much the wars are costing us but what if they took that money and gave it to the school systems? While they're starving off all the programs that are supposed to help people, they have a lot of money to toss out on spin. This administration spends so much Bully Boy must be so dizzy he passes out each night.
That's it. Elaine and I both promised to be brief tonight. We both have dates for Valentine's Day. I hope you do too but if you don't, it's not the end of the world. Treat yourself to something fun and make it a good Valentine's Day regardless. Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz. And check out this by Kat on the need to use your voice.
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