More on Cheney and Hunting

This editorial in the Charlotte Observer backs up what we said yesterday: it is, unequivocably, Cheney’s fault. The writer goes further, too, in exploring the other questionable aspects to this “hunt.” If he’s such an accomplished and avid hunter, he ought to know all the rules listed therein.

Of course, the White House continues to assert it was Whittington at fault, which is plainly bullshit, and is fortunately being called as such:

Several hunting experts were skeptical of McClellan’s explanation. They said Cheney might have violated a cardinal rule of hunting: Know your surroundings before you pull the trigger. “Particularly identify the game that you are shooting and particularly identify your surroundings, that it’s safe to shoot,” said Mark Birkhauser, the incoming president of the International Hunter Education Association, a group of fish and wildlife agencies. “Every second, you’re adjusting your personal information that it is a safe area to shoot or it’s not a safe area to shoot.” Safe-hunting rules published by the National Rifle Association and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department echo Birkhauser’s advice. “Be absolutely sure you have identified your target beyond any doubt,” the NRA says in the gun-safety rules on its Web site. “Equally important, be aware of the area beyond your target. This means observing your prospective area of fire before you shoot. Never fire in a direction in which there are people or any other potential for mishap. Think first. Shoot second.”

There’s more feedback from real hunters here.

ABA says Bush full of it

From Yahoo/AP:

CHICAGO — The American Bar Association denounced President Bush’s warrantless domestic surveillance program Monday, accusing him of exceeding his powers under the Constitution. The program has prompted a heated debate about presidential powers in the war on terror since it was disclosed in December. The nation’s largest organization of lawyers adopted a policy opposing any future government use of electronic surveillance in the United States for foreign intelligence purposes without first obtaining warrants from a special court set up under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The 400,000-member ABA said that if the president believes the FISA is inadequate to protect Americans, he should to ask Congress to amend the act. Bush and his administration have defended the warrantless eavesdropping, saying it is needed to fill a gap in U.S. security and is allowable under both the president’s constitutional powers and the congressional measure authorizing him to go to war in September 2001. The ABA has urged Congress to affirm that when it authorized Bush to go to war, it did not intend to endorse warrantless spying.

(Thanks to Triple-F, who appears to be recovering nicely.)

What you need to know about Cheney and hunting

If you shoot somebody when you’re hunting, it’s your fault. Period. When you’re holding a gun, the margin of error is pretty slim (though it’s wider with birdshot than with a deer rifle). This means it’s fundamentally your responsibility where your pellets end up. Josh Marshall backs us up on this with feedback from his hunter-readers. The description from (landowner) Armstrong as paraphrased by Marshall sounds right:

The birds ‘flush’. Cheney picks out a bird and starts following it. In the process he basically wheels around doing a 180. So he’s spun around and is now firing backwards relative to the direction he had been facing. And Whittington was just, for whatever reason, where Cheney didn’t expect him to be.

Which is irrelevant or a lie. Cheney was in a group trying to flush birds, and that means you can’t assume someone isn’t behind you. “Doing a 180” means you need to be very, very, very careful, since that means you have or will end up facing your fellow hunters.

The comments provided by Mary Matalin are clearly just more Republican lies:

The vice president was concerned. He felt badly, obviously. On the other hand, he was not careless or incautious or violate any of the [rules]. He didn’t do anything he wasn’t supposed to do.

We don’t doubt that Cheney feels bad. He should. The reason he should, though, is that he did do something “he wasn’t supposed to do;” he didn’t keep his field of fire clear. He behaved carelessly. And as a result, somebody’s in the hospital. He’s very lucky — as is Whittington, who could easily been killed; we suspect his injuries are more serious than they’re letting on, though, since he’s in ICU. Hunting accidents are no means unheard of (though in a lifetime of hunting, we’ve never seen it happen), but when one does happen, an honorable man admits his fault — as he does with any accident. So our takeaway with the Cheney shooting is that, well, he’s not admitting fault. Make of this what you will.

Update: CNN has a bit more data. Apparently Whittington was about 30 yards away, and Cheney was shooting a 28-gauge. If true, these bits of data taken together suggest there wasn’t much danger of Whittington’s injuries being fatal (though, as we said, only one pellet needs to get lucky).

A 28 is <b>very</b> small. Most hunters just carry the all-purpose 12-gauge, which (when paired with the right load) can take anything from whitetail deer down to small game like quail or rabbit. Smaller shotguns (16, 20, 28, and .410) use progressively smaller amounts of powder paired with fewer pellets per load. Some people use 20s for birds or other small game -- they are lighter guns, and the recoil is easier to take -- but only very rich people carry 28s. There are no "utility" 28s like the $200 shotguns most of Red America buys at Wal-Mart. These are exclusively hand-made or hand-finished guns, probably over-and-unders, with price tags to match (more than $1,500 certainly; more than $10,000 isn't unheard of). Traditional American shotgun companies don't even make them; you have to go to Beretta or other high-end manufacturers.

That Whittington is apparently doing well (and never even lost consciousness, according to the story above) is the result of the small loads involved, his distance from Cheney (30 yards is a long way for a shotgun; it's hard to take any game at that range), the small gauge of the gun, and good luck.

Real Christians and the GOP part ways

Slacktivist covers this in two posts:

  • First, he notes the cover story in Christianity Today, which makes clear that torture is never, ever acceptable, and that reminds us that things like extraordinary rendition are no better; and
  • Second, the endorsement by 86 mainstream evangelical leaders of a call to action on global warming. This isn’t just left-of-center people; it’s genuine red-state evangelicals, too.

In case you forgot what useless, craven jackasses they are at Fox News

Media Matters points out (as has Olbermann) their little trick in re: Rev. Joseph Lowery’s remarks during Coretta Scott King’s funeral. Lowery made mention of the failure to find WMDs in Iraq, which got a significant amount of applause (23 seconds, according to MM). Fox edited out the applause in replaying the clip, and then made comments about the audience’s lack of response. You don’t get much closer to just plain making shit up than that.

Welcome to Wingnuttia

Atrios and Josh explore the nutbird landscape inhabited by young GOP functionaries like George Deutsch. Deutsch himself contents that the scientists he was trying to censor have ties “all the way up to the top of the Democratic party” and were obsessed with embarrassing the president. The even scarier bit is in the second piece linked by Atrios:

The coalition government relied heavily on a revolving door of diplomats and other personnel who would leave just as they had begun to develop local knowledge and ties, and on a large cadre of eager young neophytes whose brashness often gave offense in a very age- and status-conscious society. One young political appointee (a 24-year-old Ivy League graduate) argued that Iraq should not enshrine judicial review in its constitution because it might lead to the legalization of abortion.

HBO hates you

Specifically, they want their programming to be unrecordable by DVRs. Not because of piracy, but because they want to be able to charge you more to watch that episode you missed using their on-demand service.

This is why ideas like the Broadcast Flag must be strangled in their crib. It’s an affront to consumers and a blatant money grab by content producers. HBO is doing very well; they make some of the only TV worth watching, and are able to do so because people like the Heathen are willing to pay them directly to watch it (i.e., rather than being beholden to advertisers). We’re very sad to see that their point of view is no more progressive than the jackasses at the regular networks.

Perhaps the only video you’ll see today of Prince and Tom Petty on the same stage

At George Harrison’s 2004 induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Prince stopped by to help out. We suspect this popped up on MeFi because someone saw him kick ass on SNL and remembered “oh yeah — that little dude’s a badass guitar player, too!”

If he comes anywhere near you on tour, pay whatever it costs to see him. Hock something if you have to. Eat ramen for a week or a month if that’s what it takes, but see him. Up close. We saw him in 2004, and it was, bar none, the best damn rock and roll show we’ve EVER seen.

The Things They Carry*

Geek productivity guru Merlin Mann’s talking about what goes in your [ bag | pockets | wallet | whatever], and includes a link to his wiki on the subject, which has some interesting suggestions (plus it reminds us that March approaches, and really cool flashlights are precisely the sort of useful thing Heathen are unlikely to buy for themselves).

Our daily tote burden boils down thusly; we can’t very well leave the house without all these bits:

  • Wallet (minimal assortment of cards, receipts, and ID)
  • Cash (in a clip)
  • Keys (we’ve learned to always take both sets, which makes it easier if one of us wants to go home early)
  • Swiss Army Knife (why we can’t fly without checking baggage anymore)
  • Carmex (shut up)
  • Moleskine (because it’s not real unless we write it down; the notebook also has some 3 x 5 cards, postage, Postits, and sticky flags in it, just in case)
  • Pen (with a nib; for the last year, a Namiki Vanishing Point)
  • Palm (TX)
  • Phone (RAZR)

There’s an additional pile o’crap in the bag, which more or less stays stocked for travel as a holdover from our constantly mobile consulting career. We currently move either very little (working at home) or a lot (on client sites), so this bag stays stocked for real travel — though, honestly, it’s not clear what we’d take out if we were just commuting to an office. In a real sense, the bag IS the office now.

  • Powerbook
  • Cordless travel mouse
  • USB flash drive
  • iPod (15g, old skool, and partly full of a backup build of my company’s product software)
  • Etymotic headphones (screaming kid two rows up? no problem.)
  • Canon Digital Elf
  • Extra business cards
  • Kleenex
  • Extra pen (ballpoint)
  • Gum
  • 3 x 5 cards
  • Moonshine and handiwipes (ok, just handiwipes)
  • Zippercase 1
    • Extension cord (green, because we bought it in December)
    • Power for iPod, Palm, phone, laptop, and Bluetooth headset
    • Digital camera charger + batteries
    • Sync cable for Palm
    • USB cable for camera
    • Length of Cat5, just in case
  • Zippercase 2
    • generic advil
    • decongestants
    • generic antireflux pills
    • contact lens solution

In compiling that list, we discovered we also had a null modem adapter and a dreidel in there, but we’ll chalk that up to happenstance. We’ll also cop to the fact that we certainly never leave for very long without reading material, so the bag will tend to also include a book and a copy or two of the New Yorker.

So, what's in your pockets? What's in your work bag?

(* It was either that or “What has it got in its pockets?”, and we figured Gollum is played.)

Dept. of TOYS

We can’t say we’re sure what this is for, but we’re pretty sure we still want one. I mean, come ON! What’s not to like? It’s called an “Alligator Loper” for crying out loud!

(It, of course, brings to mind a certain earlier post (File foto, from Christmas 2002) about chain saws on sticks. Maybe the Mississippi Heathen Stepfather needs one, too.)

Dept. of Values

Why is this okay? Why do we permit American companies to be complicit in oppression and evil abroad? We think, perhaps, that American companies ought to have to honor the values of America no matter where they operate. If this makes it hard to expand into dictatorial countries, well, we’re pretty sure that’s a feature, not a bug.

Rove threatens the faithful

Insight is reporting that Plame-outing turd Karl Rove has threatened GOP senators with blacklisting from all White House aid if they vote against Bush in Judiciary Committee proceedings in re: the illegal wiretapping program.

This is what “scared” looks like.

What. The. Fuck?


Feb. 13, 2006 issue — In the latest twist in the debate over presidential powers, a Justice Department official suggested that in certain circumstances, the president might have the power to order the killing of terrorist suspects inside the United States.

So now they’re down not just on checks & balances, judicial review, the separation of powers, and due process, but also on the whole idea of a trial. Excellent. What country is this again?

The Bush War on Science Continues

By now, everyone who’s paying attention is aware of the NASA story wherein a 24-year-old political hack tried to get references to Intelligent Design inserted into discussions of the Big Bang, and further attempted to change all references to said Bang to “Big Bang Theory,” etc.

We’ll just point out that it came as no surprise to us to learn that said jackass is an Aggie.

Sometimes you browse the web. Sometimes the web browses you.

The following are actual, no-kidding search phrases typed into Google or somewhere that led actual visitors here in January.

Frankly, given the parameters, we’re pretty sure you can skip it.
“thank you note gluten-free gift”
Possible alternative titles for this site.
“cirque de heathen”
No idea what they’re looking for, but the last item probably means they think RMS is a terrorist.
“signature terrorist spam security spoof emacs”
In which someone looks to us for evening plans, and wisely.
“alice s tall texan”
In which someone looks to us for fashion advice, and badly.
“2006 is velvet outdated?”
Only since October, but it’s not like we blog about it (plus, we’d spell it right).
“matrimonial intercource”
Now you’re just being nosy.
Stop it. You’re scaring us.
“rexella van impe sexy”
Not here, unless you count being touched by His Noodly Appendage.
“nsfw hentaivideos in blogs”
There’s so much wrong with this we don’t know where to start.
“leviticus insest”
We’re leaving the snarky comment on this one to our attorney.
“cuban beastilty”
We think it’s a good idea, too, but do they listen to us?
“advance shipping notification xml”
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
“hunter s. thompson avocado yoghurt wheelchair”
Actually, we’re pretty sure what he does is Hatha, but you’re still in the wrong place.
“mike dorman anusara”
You know search engines log these things too, right?
“state beastiallity laws”
Honestly, it’s level 6 that’s a real pain in the ass.
“level 4 taxing dhtml lemmings”
Must be after that Freedom Porn.
“porno quebeqois”
No he can’t, and you’re a jackass for saying so.
“screw liberty the president can damn well do what he wants”
As the aforementioned Preznit would say, “Bring ’em on!”
“muslim hotties”
No, we will not do your homework for you.
“alienation in ionesco s rhinoceros”
And a Merry Christmas to you, too.
“penthouse playmates advent calendar 2006”
No idea here, but it makes us giggle anyway.
“hong kong airport cling film tamper luggage”
Eric, is that you?
“240 dollars worth of pudding”
At least it’s not IIS.
“apache server garthbrooks”
She’s probably be cute, if she weren’t a Seminole. And a Troll.
“fsu female wow world of warcraft tallahassee girl”
Frankly, we were never much of an authority. Late bloomer, you know.
“cocksucking women/hattiesburg ms”
If you keep searching at work, you may need a new “jop” soon
“blow jop sex”
We’re sure it’s out there, but do you really want to know?
“how do echidnas urinate”
Dept. of Misplaced IBP Referrers, Pt 1
“review for full circle by c. mee in houston tx”
Dept. of Misplaced IBP Referrers, Pt 2
“troy schulze scientology
Erin, we think we know where your dreams are coming from.
“matthew mcconaughey pic texas handcuffs naked bongos oct 1999”
Sure, some of ’em are, but that’s true of any place we’ve been.
“huge boobs louisville”
Dept. of Unclear On The Concept
“uncopy cd”
Just stop being a smartass and mop up the fucking milk, ok?
“it is fruitless to become lachrymose over precipitately departed lacteal fluid”
At least somebody’s looking into it.
“presidential impeachment howto”
As God is our witness, we wish we knew.
“where to find oscelots for purchase”