I've been doing the headless-chicken routine recently, trying to get everything together for the SCA's upcoming Estrella War, where I'll be running the kitchen for and feeding a bunch of people, so posting here has been light. But a quick look online a little while ago provided a news story that literally made me do a double-take.
Just when you think things can't get any more bizarre, Vice-President Cheney goes and shoots a guy in the face:
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - [edited]Harry Whittington, a millionaire attorney from Austin, was in stable condition in the intensive care unit of a Corpus Christi hospital on Sunday, according to Yvonne Wheeler, spokeswoman for the Christus Spohn Health System.
The incident occurred Saturday at a ranch in south Texas where the vice president and two companions were hunting quail. It was not reported publicly by the vice president's office for nearly 24 hours, and then only after the incident was reported locally by the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
Katharine Armstrong, the ranch's owner, said Sunday that Cheney was using a 28-guage shotgun and that Whittington was about 30 yards away when he was hit in the cheek, neck and chest.
Each of the hunters were wearing bright orange vests at the time, Armstrong told reporters at the ranch about 60 miles southwest of Corpus Christi. She said Whittington was "alert and doing fine."
Armstrong in an interview with The Associated Press said emergency personnel traveling with Cheney tended to Whittington before an ambulance — routinely on call because of the vice president's presence — took him to the hospital.
"The vice president didn't see him," she continued. "The covey flushed and the vice president picked out a bird and was following it and shot. And by god, Harry was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty good."
Whittington has been a private practice attorney in Austin since 1950 and has long been active in Texas Republican politics. He's been appointed to several state boards, including when then-Gov. George W. Bush named him to the Texas Funeral Service Commission.
McBride did not comment about why the vice president's office did not tell reporters about the accident until the next day. She referred the question to Armstrong, who could not be reached again Sunday evening.
Armstrong said Cheney is a longtime friend who comes to the ranch to hunt about once a year and is "a very safe sportsman." She said Whittington is a regular, too, but she thought it was the first time the two men hunted together.
Nedra Pickler reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Paul J. Weber in Dallas contributed to this report.
So... the Bush Administration really is The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight.
(But before I go on to make more smartass remarks, one serious thing: Some people might doubt that Mr. Whittington is really in as good shape as reported, since he's also in "intensive care". My own experience with intensive care, when I had what looked and felt like a heart attack in 1995, was that, even after the ER established that I probably wasn't having a real attack -- I was reacting to intolerable stress from workplace harassment -- I was still sent up to the ICU for 24 hours of monitoring. Because that's where all the monitoring equipment was. So Mr. Whittington is probably being monitored in the same way.) (It would be so embarassing if he developed complications, and wasn't being watched.)
Okay, back to smartass!
Cheney's Secret Service detail is being expanded. Half to protect Cheney, the other half to protect the public from Cheney.
Just goes to show: If you're a Republican millionaire, don't skimp on your party contributions.
And Mr. Whittington is reported to be 78 years old. At that age, he would have been tough and stringy anyway.
It was the first time the two men had hunted together. Gee, you think it might be the last?