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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.
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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.
FUN WITH NATIONAL REVIEW'S CORNER, and more Cheney round-up. Over to J-Pod and company (I'll reverse the time sequence so it's chronologically down, for reading ease):
WHAT CHENEY MUST DO [John Podhoretz]
This story is a very big deal, despite all the mitigating factors -- the accident involved a friend, his medical team was right there to help, and all that. Something like this has never happened before, and it is a genuinely disturbing thing to think that the vice president of the United States actually shot somebody last weekend, even for fans of his. It's disturbing as well that there was a news blackout that lasted nearly a day about this serious incident. It seems beyond question that the vice president is going to have to go before the cameras, explain what happened, and show genuine remorse for his actions, however inadvertent. It's a difficult challenge for someone as reticent as Dick Cheney. But unless he does so, and makes a good showing of it, he will be damaged goods for the remainder of the Bush presidency.
Posted at 01:03 PM
RE: WHAT CHENEY MUST DO [John Podhoretz]
E-mails are flying fast and furious, most of them criticizing me for living in a "concrete jungle" and not understanding that, hey, hunting accidents are very common, every hunter has been peppered with buckshot, the accident was probably Whittington's fault, and that this is all a media frenzy and the last thing the Vice President need do is apologize or say anything. To which I have to reply: Wow. You people are tough. Tougher than the White House is going to be, I assure you, because Dick Cheney will have to say something about this, and the tone he will have to strike is one of rueful sorrow for having caused -- even inadvertently -- a serious injury to a friend. It is the appropriate and proper thing to do, by the way. You are free to consider this unjust and unfair. I assure you that any argument that begins, "So the Vice President shot somebody, big deal," isn't going to prevail.
Posted at 01:41 PM
OH, AND BY THE WAY... [John Podhoretz]
...accusing me of being either a liberal or in a liberal bubble or being manipulated by the liberal media for saying that it's a big deal when the vice president shoots somebody isn't a rational response to what I've said about the Vice President's hunting accident. And saying that, hey, people get shot all the time when they're out hunting and it's no big deal really isn't an argument you want to be making if you are a supporter of gun rights.
Posted at 01:49 PM
HEY, CITY BOY, IT'S NO BIG DEAL... [JPod]
...to be injured by birdshot or buckshot or any other kind of hunting-shot. That's what a great many of you are telling me. It's no worse than a football injury, some of you say. Great. Forgive a city boy his ignorant presumption, but let me suggest to all my fellow Americans that it might be a sensible idea for you to refrain joining people on hunting trips who think getting shot during a hunting trip is no biggie.
Posted at 02:10 PM
Note: birdshot and buckshot are different. Nutshell: birdshot -- small, for small game (like quail); buckshot -- larger, for large game (like deer). HTH! Back to J-Pod:
THE BAD ANALOGY OLYMPICS [John Podhoretz]
I'm about to start a contest for the worst possible exculpatory analogy to the Vice President's hunting accident. Previously I mentioned e-mailers who said football injuries were almost certainly worse. Here are a few more: "It's not that being shot while hunting is not a big deal, it that it is no more of a big deal than when a golfer is hit in the head by another golfer, or when a hockey fan is hit in the head with a stray puck, or when bicyclist causes a car accident." Another: "This event is equiv to Cheney backing out of his garage and running over the paper boy--breaking his leg." Go on, people. Knock yourselves out. You're only making my argument stronger.
Posted at 02:28 PM
J-Gold speaks up!:
CHENEY & HUNTING [Jonah Goldberg]
I just caught a bit of the White House presser with Scott McClellan on the whole Cheney timeline thing. I have no problem with journalists being as confrontational as they feel necessary at an event like that, though David Gregory certainly seems to mug for the cameras with a lot of bottled outrage. But the assault on McClellan and the White House for dragging its feet on telling the American people "that the Vice President shot somebody" was way over the top. When you say "the Vice President shot somebody" of course it sounds like the public should know right away. But it also sounds like Cheney filled some guy full of lead for having a fifth ace in his sleeve. I'm not really defending the White House so much as expressing sincere confusion. Is it really a threat to all we hold dear that the administration waited 24 hours before releasing the news that there was an unfortunate hunting accident? Where, exactly, was the harm in waiting to get the guy to a hospital, waiting for his condition to stabilize etc? Of course, politics probably played a role in the delay but does anyone think it wouldn't in any other administration? This isn't the sort of news that hits the White House over the weekend that the system automatically knows how to handle. Anyway, by all means demand answers from the White House, but color me un-outraged.
Back to J-Pod, starting to quote some of his mail:
SOME OTHER TYPES OF RESPONSES [JPod]
"Don’t let red-state identity politics derail you, JPod. I’m not from the East. I’ve hunted my whole life. All of my friends have also hunted all of their lives. There is NO excuse, period, for ANY hunting accident. I think, as you mentioned, that hunters need to be mindful of their public image. This doesn’t help, and any attempt to explain it away as common, routine or inevitable will only hurt our image with the public."
"There have to be some of us “country folk” who agree with you. I do.
Growing up in rural Nebraska, I was into the Junior NRA and Boy Scouts big-time – emphasis on gun safety was paramount. (However, I lost interest in hunting itself – my eyesight isn’t very good (glasses have to be perfectly clean) and I like my sleep.)
As much as I admire the VP, what happened was STUPID and reckless, whatever the details happen to be."
"A relative accidentally shot his own son in a similar hunting accident - but in the face - resulting in permanent loss of sight in one eye and more than 50% loss in the other eye. So, sorry - like any accident - it CAN be a big deal!!"
Bush aide Karl Rove told the president just before 8 p.m. Saturday about Cheney's involvement in the shotgun accident, McClellan said, adding up to two and a half hours that no one told Mr. Bush the vice president had shot someone, reports CBS News chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod.
McClellan was informed Saturday night that someone in the Cheney hunting party was involved, but he didn't know that Cheney was the shooter until the next morning, the spokesman said.
McClellan said when he learned, around 6 a.m. Sunday, he urged the vice president's office to get the information out "as quickly as possible."
But decisions effecting who knew what, when, weren't being made at the White House by the president, Axelrod reports, but instead, on the ground in Texas by the vice president.
Ranch owner Katharine Armstrong said no one discussed notifying the public of the accident Saturday because they were consumed with making sure Whittington was treated. She said the family realized in the morning that it would be a story and decided to call the local newspaper, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. She said she then discussed the news coverage with Cheney for the first time.
"I said, 'Mr. Vice President, this is going to be public, and I'm comfortable going to the hometown newspaper,"' she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "And he said, 'You go ahead and do whatever you are comfortable doing."'
McClellan said: "The vice president thought that Mrs. Armstrong should be the first one to go out there and provide that information to the public, which she did. She reached out early Sunday morning to do so."
The White House did not inform the national media of the accident. The vice president's office confirmed the story after journalists called to ask about the report on the Caller-Times Web site nearly 24 hours after the shooting.
When asked if he was satisfied with how the situation was handled, McClellan said, "I think you can always look back at these issues and look at how to do a better job."
And David Gregory, the chief White House correspondent for NBC News, was warmed up.
Why was the White House relying on a Texas rancher to get the word of Cheney's hunting accident out over the weekend, asked Gregory, accusing McClellan of "ducking and weaving.''
“David, hold on… the cameras aren't on right now,'' McClellan replied. "You can do this later.''
"Don't accuse me of trying to pose to the cameras,'' the newsman said, his voice rising somewhat. "Don’t be a jerk to me personally when I’m asking you a serious question.''
"You don't have to yell,'' McClellan said.
"I will yell,'' said Gregory, pointing a finger at McCellan at his dais. "If you want to use that podium to try to take shots at me personally, which I don’t appreciate, then I will raise my voice, because that’s wrong.’’
‘’Calm down, Dave, calm down,'' said McClellan, remaining calm throughout the exchange.
"I'll calm down when I feel like calming down,'' Greogry said. "You answer the question.'
"I have answered the question,'' said McClellan, who had maintained that the vice president's office was in charge of getting the information out and worked with the ranch owner to do that. "I'm sorry you're getting all riled up about.''
"I am riled up,'' Gregory said, "because you’re not answering the question,''
McClellan insisted he understood that reporters deserve an answer.
"I think you have legitimate questions to ask,'' the press secretary said. "The vice president’s office was the one that took the lead to get this information out… I don’t know what else to tell you... That's my answer.''
Hey, Cheney's not running for anything again, and he's long-damaged goods. Best notion from the White House, clearly: walk the plank, Dick, or we throw you overboard. Don't mind all these chains of responsibility for everything else that has gone wrong that we also load you down with; we have to get them off the ship somehow.
President Bush was informed within three hours that Vice President Dick Cheney had shot a fellow hunter in South Texas on Saturday afternoon, the White House said today.
The shooting, which occurred at about 5:30 p.m., left a prominent Austin lawyer and Republican campaign supporter, Harry Whittington, wounded by shotgun pellets in the neck, shoulder and chest.
"Chief of Staff Andy Card called the president around 7:30 p.m . to inform him that there was a hunting accident," a statement released late today by the White House said. "He did not know the vice president was involved at that time. Subsequent to the call, Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove spoke with Mrs. Armstrong. He then called the president shortly before 8:00 p.m. to update him and let him know the Vice President had accidentally shot Mr. Whittington."
In a contentious briefing with the White House press corps earlier about a subject that captivated the capital and news reports today, Scott McClellan, the president's spokesman, said he himself did not learn until about 6 a.m. on Sunday that it was Mr. Cheney who had shot Mr. Whittington, 78, when the two were on a weekend quail hunting trip along with several others at the Armstrong Ranch. Mr. Whittington is still listed in stable condition at the intensive care unit of Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital in nearby Corpus Christi, Tex. Peter Banko, the hospital administrator, told reporters today that Mr. Whittington would be moved out of the intensive care unit later in the day but that no date had yet been set for him to leave the hospital.
[...] Who cares? I don't. It's not as if there's some cover-up, or need for a cover-up. The local sheriff's office has investigated and concluded it was an accident — which, of course, it was. And don't give me "the public's right to know." Not from this media — which still refuses to publish those Danish cartoons. I'll leave it to others to split hairs about who knew what and when, as I know they will, but I just don't care. [ 02/13/2006 02:03 PM ]
"This was a very private party," Katharine Armstrong told NRO. "These were very close, old, old friends. We entertained the vice president because he's been our friend for many years. It's always extremely personal and extremely private." Armstrong said that after the shooting, her top concern — and that of the vice president — was that the victim, Texas lawyer Harry Whittington, receive medical care. "We were completely and totally focused on making sure Harry was okay," Armstrong told NRO. "The vice president was focused on it."
"Once we were sure that Harry was okay," Armstrong continued, "I called my hometown newspaper to say that this is what happened. I said, 'I know this is going to get out, and I want you to know exactly what happened.'"
Armstrong said that members of the vice president's protection detail reacted instantly after the shooting. "The second this happened, the detail from the vice president's car just poured out," she said. "They went immediately over to Harry." According to an administration official familiar with the accident, there was no ambulance on the scene where the hunting was going on, but there was an ambulance with the vice president's detail on the 50,000-acre Armstrong ranch. Katherine Armstrong said it took about 20 or 25 minutes for the ambulance to reach Whittington. "We don't have paved roads," she said. "It's going to take a little bit of time...the distances are pretty great out here."
Whittington was first taken to a small-town hospital not far from the ranch. He was later taken by helicopter to a hospital in Corpus Christi.
Katharine Armstrong said she did not coordinate with the vice president's office before calling the Corpus Christi paper. If Armstrong had not made the call, it is not clear when, if ever, the vice president's office would have told the public about the incident. Asked what would have happened if the accident had happened another way — if, for example, Whittington had accidentally shot the vice president — the administration source told NRO that it would have been handled in a similar fashion. "The priorities would have remained the same — first medical care, then law enforcement alert," the source said. Still, in the case of Saturday's shooting, those matters were taken care of on Saturday, and the press was still not notified until after Katharine Armstrong made the decision to call her local paper.
Two points from the gaggle I find of particular interest; #1 is the question of why Cheney didn't call Bush directly; #2 is why did the prior statement from Katherine Armstrong contradict that later word from her and Cheney?:
Q You said this morning that the President was informed Saturday night by Karl Rove and Andy Card.
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, initially by Andy Card.
Q At that point, what was he informed? Was he informed that the Vice President had accidentally shot somebody?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think initially, again, Andy had the same report that I had, or a very similar report to what I had. And so we didn't know who was involved. But then there was additional information that was coming in later in the night, or later in the day and on into the morning.
Q They knew exactly what happened --
Q -- to not reach the Vice President to find out that he was the shooter? How is that possible?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Kelly, I can only tell you what the facts are.
Q This doesn't make any sense, though. This happens at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, and you're saying that until the morning, the President of the United States --
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I didn't say that. I said there was additional information coming in later that evening and into the morning hours of Sunday.
Q You've got to clarify this timeline, Scott; it just doesn't make any sense.
Q When did the President know that the Vice President was the shooter? What time?
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, there was additional information coming in that night. And the details continued to come in throughout the morning, into the Sunday morning time period.
Q The Vice President did not call the President to tell him he was the shooter?
MR. McCLELLAN: Suzanne, go ahead.
Q Katherine Armstrong talked to CNN Sunday evening. She said that she thought this was going to become a story, so she was going to go to the local press. She also told CNN that she did not believe the Vice President's Office was aware that she was going to go to the local press. How do you square that with your account that they were coordinating their --
MR. McCLELLAN: The Vice President spoke with her directly and they agreed that she would make it public.
Q So you're saying that she is lying, that her statement is not correct?
MR. McCLELLAN: No. You ought to check with her.
Q Well, we did check with her. So you're saying that's not correct?
MR. McCLELLAN: The Vice President spoke directly with Mrs. Armstrong and they agreed that she would make the information public.
My prior post, made at 3:35 p.m on Sunday, with an addendum 4:32 p.m pointing out the day's delay in releasing the news, and many other addenda, info, and points, is here. Naturally, nobody has linked, and every blog that is finally on the story -- aside from the Bush-backing ones that pooh-pooh it all -- all credit other blogs and sources for being "indispensable," and the like.
Don't mind me; I'll just sit here in the dark and eat worms, as usual. Being dispensable.
The victim, Harry Whittington, a 78-year-old lawyer, was transferred from the intensive care unit to a private room in a Corpus Christi hospital on Monday. He was listed as stable, with wounds to his face, neck, chest and rib cage from the pellets sprayed at him from 30 yards away by Mr. Cheney's shotgun.
Calls to Mr. Whittington's room were routed to the hospital's marketing department, which said it was taking messages for him, but he did not return a call.
Texas officials said on Monday night that Mr. Cheney would be issued a warning citation for hunting without a proper game stamp on his license.
I guess the people with the most experience dealing with the press are in the hospital marketing department (and who doesn't want to see hospitals spending money on "marketing"?; wouldn't want salaries wasted on nurses or health care, after all); I assume it's not because they're planning a new campaign: "Shot By The Vice-President? Come To Our Hospital, For The Best Facial Reconstruction Surgery!"
At the White House, Mr. Cheney made no statement on Monday and remained out of public view. At the beginning of a meeting with Secretary General Kofi Annan of the United Nations, Mr. Bush laughingly told Mr. Cheney that reporters would later enter the room; the vice president left before the journalists arrived.
He so funny!
[...] The local sheriff, Ramon Salinas III of Kenedy County, said the Secret Service called him shortly after the shooting occurred.
Sheriff Salinas said he sent his chief deputy, Gilbert Sanmiguel, to the Armstrong Ranch that night. He said Mr. Sanmiguel interviewed Mr. Cheney and reported that the shooting was an accident.
The sheriff said Sunday that they had yet to speak to "the victim." "But you could say it's closed," Mr. Salinas said of the case.
In a statement on Monday night, Mr. Cheney's office said a member of his staff had asked the Parks and Wildlife Department for all of the necessary permits for the vice president to go quail hunting in Texas and had paid $140. But, the statement said, the staff member was not informed of the need for an additional stamp, costing $7, to allow hunting of upland game birds.
It said Mr. Cheney has now sent a $7 check to the department.
This past weekend brought Mr. Cheney together with a group of old friends, friends of friends and political supporters in the kind of private setting he relishes. The guests included Pamela Pitzer Willeford, a Texan who was appointed ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein in 2003. She was with Mr. Cheney at the time of the shooting, as was Ms. Armstrong, whose mother, Anne, is a prominent Republican supporter and whose family ranch is a familiar destination for Republican politicians.
According to Texans for Public Justice, a watchdog organization, Ms. Armstrong first registered as a lobbyist in 2003. She registered in 2004 as a lobbyist for Parsons, an engineering and construction firm that has done extensive work in Iraq, and listed the contract size at more than $100,000, according to lobbying records from the Texas Ethics Commission provided by Texans for Public Justice.
Ms. Armstrong's business partner, Karen Johnson, spent several years lobbying for Parsons, including procuring contracts with the State Department, the Department of Transportation and the United States Agency for International Development, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks federal lobbying. Ms. Johnson also lobbies for major corporations, including Lockheed Martin, and has been one of Mr. Bush's leading fund-raisers.
Ms. Armstrong has a relatively limited list of lobbying clients in Texas and in Washington. Public records show that she has worked for Baker Botts, the law firm; Prionics AG, a biotechnology company; Trajen, a firm that performs aviation technical support for the United States military; and the King Ranch, the property next to her family's ranch.
Records in Texas indicate that she has lobbied at the state level for three companies: Avex Group, the Dannenbaum Engineering Corporation and Ecocreto USA.
Ms. Armstrong played down her role as a lobbyist and suggested that she had not brought up business during Mr. Cheney's visit. She was appointed to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in 1999 by Mr. Bush, who was then the Texas governor.
"You need to understand that the Cheneys are our friends maybe for a couple of decades, maybe 30 years," Ms. Armstrong said, adding that she did not personally represent Parsons. "I represent a couple of Texas companies, not a large lobbying practice," she said.
Ms. Armstrong said she did more public relations and consulting work than lobbying, but she declined to disclose her clients. She said none were involved in Iraq "that I know of."
Asked if she was concerned that Mr. Cheney's visit could create the appearance of impropriety during the lobbying investigation involving Jack Abramoff, which has brought to light the often close personal and professional ties between lobbyists and public officials, Ms. Armstrong said: "Oh my God, he's a friend. I don't believe I've ever lobbied the vice president, nor would I be comfortable doing so."
Good to have one more detail on who else was in the hunting party; be nice to have a full list, but I'm hardly going to hold my breath; even a number of the total would be nice, but again with the desire for continued oxygen.
ADDENDUM, 11:42 p.m.: Jonah Goldberg, whom in my purely personal, and, um, conservative, estimate, tends to be about 80%-85% a schmuck gets off one funny line (my natural and unfair suspicion is that someone told it to him):
WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOVE THE V.P.'S DOOR? [Jonah Goldberg]
Two men enter, one man leaves.
ObObvious: is Cheney Master or Blaster? Yes, "Master" is the obvious choice. But that's all part of his cunning plan, you see.