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Above email address currently deprecated! Use gary underscore farber at yahoodotcom, pliz! Sanely free of McCarthyite calling anyone a traitor since 2001!
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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?
I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.
Thanks for any understanding and support. I know it's difficult to understand. And things will change. They always change.
I'm sometimes available to some degree as a paid writer, editor, researcher, or proofreader. I'm sometimes available as a fill-in Guest Blogger at mid-to-high-traffic blogs that fit my knowledge set.
If you like my blog, and would like to help me continue to afford food and prescriptions, or simply enjoy my blogging and writing, and would like to support it --
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"The brain is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson
"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin
"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton
"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan
"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to
trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule --
and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt
"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley
"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss
"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire,
the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind;
and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise
the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his
expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were
respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon
"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify
the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.
They show disrespect for elders and they
love to chatter instead of exercise.
Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They
no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize
"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook
"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.
We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect
disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest
and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the
land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion
"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him
an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this
or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages
to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also
to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing,
with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess
and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion
and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson
"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices,
intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to
improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation;
a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most
tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition --
to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri
"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the
poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke
"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology;
it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to
understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit
and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant
"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is
but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest
winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville
"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon,
but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without
being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant
"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand
"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.
"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible,
and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and
man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and
after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus
"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814
"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort,
are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true,
the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated.
This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944
"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News
"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
-- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson
"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example."
-- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance."
-- H. W. Fowler
"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place."
-- Kate Wilhelm
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein
"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).
"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128
"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)
"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days
"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs
"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden
"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit.
He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.
The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cutepanda. Don't you lovepandas?
Current Total # of Donations Since 2002: 1181
Subscribers to date at $5/month: 100 sign-ups; 91 cancellations; Total= 9
Supporter subscribers to date at $25/month: 16 sign-ups; 10 cancellation; Total= 6
Patron subscribers to date at $50/month: 20 sign-ups; 13 cancellations; Total= 7
...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow
I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber
Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow
One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.
Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's
face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged
We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott
Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal
If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.
Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks
I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes
Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this? -- Natalie Solent
People I've known and still miss include Isaac Asimov, rich brown, Charles Burbee, F. M. "Buzz" Busby, Terry Carr, A. Vincent Clarke, Bob Doyle, George Alec Effinger, Abi Frost,
Bill & Sherry Fesselmeyer, George Flynn, John Milo "Mike" Ford. John Foyster, Mike Glicksohn, Jay Haldeman, Neith Hammond (Asenath Katrina Hammond)/DominEditrix , Chuch Harris, Mike Hinge, Lee Hoffman, Terry Hughes, Damon Knight, Ross Pavlac, Bruce Pelz, Elmer Perdue, Tom Perry,
Larry Propp, Bill Rotsler, Art Saha, Bob Shaw, Martin Smith, Harry Stubbs, Bob Tucker, Harry Warner, Jr., Jack Williamson, Walter A. Willis, Susan Wood, Kate Worley, and Roger Zelazny.
It's just a start, it only gets longer, many are unintentionally left out.
And She of whom I must write someday.
BB BS. So, the Sphinx speaks. Some points: first, it's interesting how critical of Vice-President Cheney even the Republican house-channel, FoxNews, is in this article (I don't have cable tv, much as I'd like to be able to afford it, and so won't be able to see the entire original interview on video).
One element I'm immediately struck by in the story is this:
Speaking to reporters alongside Dr. David Blanchard, director of emergency services, Banko said that Whittington was tired but able to sit up and eat food. Banko would not comment on how many BBs remained in Whittington's body, but said of the ammunition lodged in Whittington's heart, "We're 100 percent satisfied that where the BB is it will remain."
Now, as I stated here, on Sunday, I'm scarcely an expert on hunting -- I've never been, and all I know about hunting is what I've read over the years, which isn't a tremendous amount; neither am I any sort of expert, even remotely, on weapons, or shotguns, although I've read a bit more on that topic over the years, including as a sometime editor of crime fiction, crime nonfiction, and as a copyeditor.
But I'm unfamiliar with anyone who is familiar with shotguns referring to shot, including birdshot, as a "BB." A "bb gun," according to every reference I double-check with, is an air-gun. Mostly kids use them, as I did slightly myself circa age 11-13. They're fired via either CO2 cartridge, or pumping the air yourself. The pellets are fired at a grossly lower velocity than you'd find with aPerazzi Brescia shotgun, or with any such28 gauge shotgun. (The "gauge" is the bore diameter.)
Now, as any kid is famously warned, you can put someone's eye out with a BB gun. But an air-gun isn't remotely as dangerous or powerful as a traditional shotgun, no matter how small your shot is, including 7 1/2, the size Vice-President Cheney is reported to have used (which is what you'd use for quail, particularly since as I've reported, it is illegal in Texas to not preserve your shot quail in "an edible state" -- quail are, be it noted, pretty small birds). (Note that BB-size is smaller than "2" on the shot-size scale, where a 9 is used for skeet [the only kind I've ever fired, myself, last done at age 13 or so].)
Now, of course, we can be charitable, and assume that "Peter Banko, administrator of Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial," who briefed the press, as above, on Whittington's condition, doesn't know what he's talking about. Of course, that makes him a peculiar choice to be briefing the press, and renders suspect everything else he says.
An uncharitable person might have an unreasonable suspicion that the administrator is spinning to minimize, just as Katharine Armstrong did in her original account of Whittington's shooting that:
["]It broke the skin," she said of the shotgun pellets. "It knocked him silly. But he was fine.["]
Someone splitting the difference might suggest that "Peter Banko, administrator of Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial," simply seized the limelight because he's the administrator, and wanted his moment in the sun, even though he didn't know what he was talking about as regards shotguns and "BBs." He may not even be a doctor, let alone have ever treated a gun-shot victim, for all I presently know. (The "Find A Physician" function at the CHRISTUS Spohn Health System website returns "No physicians were found matching your search criteria" for a search on "Banko.") (Mr. Whittington's spiritual well-being should also be provided for, incidentally.)
This Caller article from January, 2005, doesn't indicate Peter Banko is, in fact, a physician, though it's not dispositive in either direction:
Peter Banko, vice president and administrator of Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial [...] worked [...] in New Jersey.
Beyond that, hard to say without further investigation, although Peter Banko does have a record of speaking to the press for the Hospital system.
I couldn't say. You can evaluate the information for yourself.
Onward, or backward towards earlier in the Cheney interview:
"Ultimately I'm the guy who pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry," Cheney said in his first interview since the incident. "I'm the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend, and that's something I'll never forget."
Okay. He takes responsibility. That's both politically wise, and the responsible thing to do. Not being a mind-reader, I couldn't possibly say it's not merely Richard Cheney doing the latter. Again, you'll judge according to your own predelictions and prejudices, in most cases, anyway.
"The image of him falling is something I will never be able to get out my mind," Cheney said, somberly. "It was one of the worst days of my life."
"It was not Harry's fault," Cheney said. "You cannot blame anybody else."
Okay, good, fine. The right thing to say.
Now, the Vice-President's explanation for his handling of the story, and the 22+ hour delay?
[...] . Cheney said he and Armstrong agreed to let her take the lead.
"I thought that made good sense because you can get as accurate a story as possible from somebody who knows and understands hunting," Cheney said. "Then it would immediately go up to the wires and be posted on the Web site, which is the way it went out. I thought that was the right call. I still do."
"The web site"? Okay, charitably, let's assume he either is referring to some specific, unstated, website, or perhaps he said "websites," and the transcript/story garbled the quote, or, still innocuously, Richard Cheney is as clueless in knowledge of them there online-computer thingamajiggies as President George W. "the internets" Bush is. Hardly difficult to believe the latter, after all.
"The responsibility for handling this, of course, was Cheney's," Fitzwater, who served as presidential press secretary for George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, told E&P in a phone interview from his Maryland home. "What he should have done was call his press secretary and tell her what happened and she then would have gotten a hold of the doctor and asked him what happened. Then interview [ranch owner] Katharine Armstrong to get her side of events and then put out a statement to inform the public.
"They could have done all of that in about two hours on Saturday. It is beyond me why it was not done this way."
Back to this very Fox News story:
The timing demonstrated another instance of disconnect between the White House press office and the news of the day. McClellan was not notified about Whittington's heart attack until long after the fact, too late for him to withhold a joke he made during the morning press report about a "hunter's" orange tie he was wearing in anticipation of the University of Texas football team's visit with President Bush.
Despite McClellan's apparent ignorance of Whittington's condition, he should have refrained from laughing about the situation at all, said Jerry Swerling, a public relations expert and director of the USC-Annenberg Strategic Public Relations Center in Los Angeles.
"To be making light of an incident in which somebody's life could have been at stake is an error for a variety of reasons," Sperling said of light-hearted statements coming from the White House.
Journalists who were flabbergasted at the way Cheney's office handled the incident will probably not be satisfied by his explanation.
"Katharine suggested, and I agreed, that she would go make the announcement. ... First of all, she was an eyewitness, she'd seen the whole thing. Secondly, she'd grown up on the ranch, she'd hunted there all of her life. Third, she was the immediate past head of the [Texas Parks and Wildlife Department], the game control commission in the state of Texas," Cheney said.
But Cheney is also a hunting expert and longtime frequenter of the Armstrong Ranch, said media critic Eric Burns. And as the shooter and victim, Cheney and Whittington were the best eyewitnesses to say what happened.
"There isn't one thing, actually, that he said that made sense to me," said Burns, host of "FOX News Watch."
Really, nothing more need be said on this point, save: damn those liberal Fox News journalists.
Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5. Endless more commentary from everyone in creation to follow, of course, including endless voices from Bush-Cheney enthusiasts explaining that everyone else should "shut up" and quit talking about this "non-story," while on the farther ends of the other side, we'll learn that Cheney was drunk out of his mind (had he been drinking?; how the hell would I know?).
Previous stories on the Vice-President taking to shooting Republican voters here, here, here, and here.
ADDENDUM, 6:17 p.m.: Here is the official transcript of Brit Hume's interview with Cheney. Some other clarifying details, at least of what the Vice-President's account is:
Q How long have you known him?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I first met him in Vail, Colorado, when I worked for Gerry Ford about 30 years ago, and it was the first time I'd ever hunted with him.
Q Would you describe him as a close friend, friendly acquaintance, what --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, an acquaintance.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's in south Texas, wide-open spaces, a lot of brush cover, fairly shallow. But it's wild quail.
And a group of us had hunted all day on Saturday --
Q How many?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Oh, probably 10 people. We weren't all together, but about 10 guests at the ranch.
The other hunter and I then turned and walked about a hundred yards in another direction --
Q Away from him?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Away from him -- where another covey had been spotted by an outrider. I was on the far right --
Q How far away from you was he?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'm guessing about 30 yards, which was a good thing. If he'd been closer, obviously, the damage from the shot would have been greater.
Q What did you think when you saw the injuries? How serious did they appear to you to be?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I had no idea how serious it was going to be. I mean, it could have been extraordinarily serious. You just don't know at that moment. You know he's been struck, that there's a lot of shot that had hit him. But you don't know -- you think about his eyes. Fortunately, he was wearing hunting glasses, and that protected his eyes.
Q His eyes were open when you found him, then, right?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes. One eye was open.
Q So this is several hours after the incident?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I would say he was in Kingsville in the emergency room probably within, oh, less than an hour after they left the ranch.
Q Now, you're a seasoned hunter --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I am, well, for the last 12, 15 years.
Q Was anybody drinking in this party?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: No. You don't hunt with people who drink. That's not a good idea. We had --
Q So he wasn't, and you weren't?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Correct. We'd taken a break at lunch -- go down under an old -- ancient oak tree there on the place, and have a barbecue. I had a beer at lunch. After lunch we take a break, go back to ranch headquarters. Then we took about an hour-long tour of ranch, with a ranch hand driving the vehicle, looking at game. We didn't go back into the field to hunt quail until about, oh, sometime after 3:00 p.m.
The five of us who were in that party were together all afternoon. Nobody was drinking, nobody was under the influence.
Q Now, what thought did you give, then, to how -- you must have known that this was -- whether it was a matter of state, or not, was news. What thought did you give that evening to how this news should be transmitted?
That evening there were other considerations. We wanted to make sure his family was taken care of. His wife was on the ranch. She wasn't with us when it happened, but we got her hooked up with the ambulance on the way to the hospital with Harry. He has grown children; we wanted to make sure they were notified, so they didn't hear on television that their father had been shot. And that was important, too.
But we also didn't know what the outcome here was going to be. We didn't know for sure what kind of shape Harry was in. We had preliminary reports, but they wanted to do a CAT scan, for example, to see how -- whether or not there was any internal damage, whether or not any vital organ had been penetrated by any of the shot. We did not know until Sunday morning that we could be confident that everything was probably going to be okay.
His story is that he didn't want to contact the press until he was "confident that everything was probably going to be okay." Um, interesting.
[...] But we really didn't know until Sunday morning that Harry was probably going to be okay, that it looked like there hadn't been any serious damage to any vital organ. And that's when we began the process of notifying the press.
Q Well, what -- you must have recognized, though, with all your experience in Washington, that this was going to be a big story.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, true, it was unprecedented. I've been in the business for a long time and never seen a situation quite like this. We've had experiences where the President has been shot; we've never had a situation where the Vice President shot somebody.
Q Not since Aaron Burr.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Not since Aaron Burr --
Q But there were some things you knew. I mean, you knew the man had been shot, you knew he was injured, you knew he was in the hospital, and you knew you'd shot him.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Correct.
Q And you knew certainly by sometime that evening that the relevant members of his family had been called. I realize you didn't know the outcome, and you could argue that you don't know the outcome today, really, finally.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: As we saw, if we'd put out a report Saturday night on what we heard then -- one report came in that said, superficial injuries. If we'd gone with a statement at that point, we'd have been wrong. And it was also important, I thought, to get the story out as accurately as possible, and this is a complicated story that, frankly, most reporters would never have dealt with before, so --
Q Had you discussed this with colleagues in the White House, with the President, and so on?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I did not. The White House was notified, but I did not discuss it directly, myself. I talked to Andy Card, I guess it was Sunday morning.
Q Not until Sunday morning? Was that the first conversation you'd had with anybody in the -- at the White House?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q And did you discuss this with Karl Rove at any time, as has been reported?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, Karl talks to -- I don't recall talking to Karl. Karl did talk with Katherine Armstrong, who is a good mutual friend to both of us. Karl hunts at the Armstrong, as well --
Q Say that again?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I said Karl has hunted at the Armstrong, as well, and we're both good friends of the Armstrongs and of Katherine Armstrong. And Katherine suggested, and I agreed, that she would go make the announcement, that is that she'd put the story out.
And I thought that was the right call.
Q What do you think now?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I still do. I still think that the accuracy was enormously important. I had no press person with me, I didn't have any press people with me. I was there on a private weekend with friends on a private ranch. In terms of who I would contact to have somebody who would understand what we're even talking about, the first person that we talked with at one point, when Katherine first called the desk to get hold of a reporter didn't know the difference between a bullet and a shotgun -- a rifle bullet and a shotgun. And there are a lot of basic important parts of the story that required some degree of understanding. And so we were confident that Katherine was the right one, especially because she was an eye-witness and she could speak authoritatively on it. She probably knew better than I did what had happened since I'd only seen one piece of it.
What the Vice-President believes his Press Secretary's job is supposed to be is unclear to me.
[...] Q Now, it strikes me that you must have known that this was going to be a national story --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Oh, sure.
Q -- and it does raise the question of whether you couldn't have headed off this beltway firestorm if you had put out the word to the national media, as well as to the local newspaper so that it could post it on its website. I mean, in retrospect, wouldn't that have been the wise course --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, who is going to do that? Are they going to take my word for what happened? There is obviously --
Q Well, obviously, you could have put the statement out in the name of whoever you wanted. You could put it out in the name of Mrs. Armstrong, if you wanted to. Obviously, that's -- she's the one who made the statement.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Exactly. That's what we did. We went with Mrs. Armstrong. We had -- she's the one who put out the statement. And she was the most credible one to do it because she was a witness. It wasn't me in terms of saying, here's what happened, it was --
Q There is reporting to the effect that some in the White House feel you kind of -- well, look at what Scott McClellan went through the last couple days. There's some sense -- and perhaps not unfairly so -- that you kind of hung him out to dry. How do you feel about that?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, Scott does a great job and it's a tough job. It's especially a tough job under these conditions and circumstances.
Q Well, perhaps so, but isn't there an institution here present at the White House that has long-established itself as the vehicle through which White House news gets out, and that's the pool?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I had no press person with me, no coverage with me, no White House reporters with me. I'm comfortable with the way we did it, obviously. You can disagree with that, and some of the White House press corps clearly do.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: All the way. It was recommended to me -- Katherine Armstrong wanted to do it, as she said, and I concurred in that; I thought it made good sense.
Q Let me ask you another question. Is it your view that a Vice President has the authority to declassify information?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: There is an executive order to that effect.
Q There is.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Have you done it?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I've certainly advocated declassification and participated in declassification decisions. The executive order --
Q You ever done it unilaterally?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I don't want to get into that. There is an executive order that specifies who has classification authority, and obviously focuses first and foremost on the President, but also includes the Vice President.
All quite interesting. I look forward to finding out which executive order he is referring to, and to reading it.
Executive Order 12958 on "Classified National Security Information" was promulgated by President Clinton on April 17, 1995.
This Executive Order "prescribes a uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information."
In this 1995 Executive Order, the VICE PRESIDENT is mentioned only one time -- and only in such a way that the automatic, 25-year declassification of historically important documents can be preempted if declassification would "impair the ability of responsible United States Government officials to protect the President, the Vice President, and other individuals."
Now, let's move to the March 25, 2003 Executive Order by President Bush, No. 13292, that amends President Clinton's Executive Order on National Security Information.
The Vice President's "presence" in the Executive Order increased by 1000%. Instead of just one mention in the Executive Order, Cheney's office is referred to eleven times.
Well, Cheney did say that he'd been drinking beer at lunch.... Given the dodging of the sheriff until Sunday morning and the absence of a blood alcohol test.... There would have to be a *very* good alibi to raise a reasonable doubt.... If I were on a jury, I would find that alcohol was a contributing factor