Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Saturday, February 18, 2006

Photo: Reuters
Friday, February 17, 2006
Cover Still Not Nailed Down
"That's what happened last Friday."

Take a look at this Washington Post video of Whittington speaking and particularly notice the young fellow behind Whittington.
At 50 seconds in to the tape the young guy winks and nods to someone off camera right.
At 56 seconds Whittington says he was shot "last Friday."
And, at 58 seconds the young guys eyes rapidly pong camera right and make contact with his off-camera PR buddy before they guiltily return to regular level eyes.
Thusfar, the eagle eyes in daytime cable TV "media" have not noticed.

EVENING UPDATE--MSNBC's Keith Olberman opened his program with Whittington's "Friday" slip...NBC's angle was different from the Washington Post video link above and failed to show the young bug-eyed fellow behind Whittington.
Mr. Olberman was also concerned that the proof of some of Whittington's injuries to the right side of his face and neck contradict previous statements of the Vice President, Mrs. Armstrong and
the local sheriff's report.
By the day's end only a
handful of print publications even carried the "Friday" quote and those that carried it drew no special attention to the fact that all previous parties had described a late Saturday afternoon accident.

Too funny...and that's funny strange and funny ha-ha.
Damage-wise, as the hard-boiled say, and according to a terrific article on trauma by Robert O’Connor:

When objects collide with each other, their kinetic energy is dissipated in several ways…- sound waves, heat, and deformation or disruption…leads to tissue damage. The more dense the tissue, the greater resistance it offers and thus the damaged sustained is worse.

To my eye, even considering that the elderly bruise easily, Mr. Whittington sustained considerable distance-shortening trauma from blast effects as well as from the increasingly more curious birdshot pattern itself.
Whittington saying that the "accident" happened "last Friday", even if a completely innocent flub, coupled with ever more apparant evidence that Cheney significantly over estimated his distance and his angle regarding the victim makes this barn continue to burn.

Hot Rethug Puppies

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Modified Images:,,,
Thursday, February 16, 2006

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Poor Dick Cheney's valued privacy has been bothered by pesky wire service photographers.
In fact, the reclusive Mr. Cheney has been photographed more in the last two days than in the last six years.
No matter the private wishes of the 4 seperately married men and women who made up the 4 person/3 lobbyist overnight hunt party that resulted in what is being called an "accidental" shotgun blast, the VP's half-hearted admission of alcohol consumption, rumors of a Monica problem, and indications that Cheney was actually 7 to 10 yards from the victim, proves beyond any reasonable doubt that this new scandal has the tabloid sensation aspects of a cranky old caucasion OJ headlining in an old-fashioned, barn-burning and theatrically political firestorm.
For example, here is a snippet of Cheney waltzing around the number of non Secret Service people at the accident scene with him in the FOX interview:

THE VICE PRESIDENT: ...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. There were three of us who had gotten out of the vehicle...each of us got a bird. Harry couldn't find his...The other hunter and I then turned and walked about a hundred yards in another direction --

Well, let's see...there was "eyewitness" Katherine Armstrong already placing herself in the "vehicle" at the time of the accident and I do not recall her mentioning six other people Cheney's convoluted remark implies should be there.
Were these six other non Secret Service people really present at the accident scene and if so where are their testimonials?
And could Cheney's "other Hunter" actually be US Ambassador to Lichtenstein Pamela Willeford, the Veep's rumored tyrolean strudel?
Stay tuned and strap on your seatbelts, kiddies!
This one will be bumpy...

Photos: AFP, AP, Reuters
Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Lucky Lauren Burke of the AP snapped the first picture of a fuddish (as in Elmer) and guilt-stricken, or is that a plea for mercy, Richard Bruce Cheney stalking the corridors of Capitol Hill yesterday.
Still, the Whittington plot thickens as details emerge through the thin tissue of official prevarications made even more serious by the administration's reported efforts to quash any Congressional investigation of the Domestic Wiretapping Scandal.
Cheney’s bejeweled and smoking Perazzi Brescia most likely had a factory installed “straight rifled choke” to ensure lethality.
According to an item description of a “rifled choke tube” from OutdoorSuperstore .com:

If you are looking for improved accuracy from a smooth bore barrel, these fine choke tubes will improve your groups.

According to the excellent information at “straight rifled chokes”:

Reduce the spin of the shot column and produce better patterns., with his penchant for upper case, says:

Shotgun barrels are CHOKED, or constricted at the end. This CHOKE determines whether the pattern or spread of the shot is wide or tight…[A] Full [choke]. Very tight choke for producing tight patterns. Very good for duck, goose, or turkey hunting…ANY shotgun can be made to accept interchangeable choke TUBES, thereby creating essentially a whole arsenal of different shotguns with only ONE gun and ONE barrel. By simply changing choke tubes, you can make the shotgun MISSION SPECIFIC.

A “pattern” is the mark left on the target by the metal bearings that were packed into and exploded out of a shotgun shell casing.
The ideal or best shot “pattern” would be all balls within a 30” diameter circle when fired from different positions and distances.
An average full choke, according to, normally achieves 70% of its pattern in a 30” circle at 40 yards.
The Vice President’s custom, hand-made Italian rifle would have fired a consistent compact and deadly “pattern”.
As far as birdshot is concerned, according to AlphaRubicon, “the LARGER the #, the smaller the size of the shot. Effective range is USUALLY no more than 40 yards...depending on choke.”
The Game Warden’s report on says, “Cheney was using a 28 gauge shotgun loaded with 7 ½ shot.”
This 7-½ birdshot, according to this chart, would be between .10 and .09 inches in diameter and, normally, comprised of lead.
It would seem that Mr. Whittington, immediately following the shooting, would have evidenced the bloody signs of a compact high-velocity "pattern" and consequently a very serious medical condition.

Image: Associated Press,
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
"Pepper" Craze Sweeps GOP

When hot news "pellets" of a kinda freshly wounded Harry Whittington lodged in the eardrums of of God-fearing Bush loyalists Sunday, who could have imagined the peppering fad that is now sweeping churches and family gatherings across America?
True blue red state Bushistas are lining up before tipsy rifle-toting relatives and friends and begging to be "peppered".
One conservative Ohio soccer mom said, "When I heard how Mr. Whittington was laughing and telling jokes, why it sounded like so much clean Christian fun that I just had to ask my husband to "pepper" me with one of his shot loads."
The Indiana youth minister, pictured here, echoed similar sentiments, "Wow, like the tiny pellets hitting my face and chest were like so refreshing and tingly...the gentle impact instantly made me happier and more satisfied with my stalled life."
Washington sources are reporting that the Vice President was happy to have energized Whittington's dull Texan life and is pleased his popularity has generated a new family-friendly American fad!

Modified Image:,
Extremely Imperial Arms

According to The Smoking and to a Texas Parks and Wildlife Hunting Accident and Incident Report filed by Game Warden Jason Duke, Vice President Dick Cheney shot Harry Whittington with a 28 caliber Perazzi Brescia.
What is a Perazzi Brescia, you ask?
A quick Google shows that this small Italian firearms company manufactures the world’s premier competition and game rifles.
At Perazzi “expert stockists customize your new gun to your exact specifications”.
And what specifications!
Producing only 12 weapons per day these highly personalized pieces of art can be adorned with elaborate hand-engraved gold and silver mounts of any type or design and range in price from $6,300 to $9,413.
Can you imagine this past weekend's pampered imperial shoot?
The limo rolls slowly along side the advancing “hunters” insuring a steady and comforting supply of hot and iced beverages, gourmet nibbles and lemon-steamed hand towels…
Oh, and gauze, tourniquets and emergency life support, if needed...

Monday, February 13, 2006

The next box office smash Japanese anime explores the dark and subterranean world of an enigmatic politician turned underworld enforcer…

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times, the infamous “local paper” first informed of the Cheney shooting mishap by “ranch owner” Katherine Armstrong, has breaking developments:

The…Sheriff’s Department did not investigate the accidental shooting…by Vice President Dick Cheney until the next morning.
Cheney, Whittington and U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Pam Willeford were hunting quail…Katharine Armstrong, one of the owners of the ranch, said…it didn’t occur to the family to contact the authorities.
"The sheriff came the next morning and took a statement." Armstrong said…None in the hunting party was drinking alcohol, Armstrong said.
"No, zero, zippo and I don’t drink at all," she said. "No one was drinking."

And CBS News is reporting:

Texas authorities are complaining that the Secret Service barred them from speaking to Cheney after the incident. Kenedy County Texas Sheriffs Lt. Juan Guzman said deputies first learned of the shooting when an ambulance was called. But the Secret Service told a different story, saying agents had informed the local sheriff of the shooting about an hour after it happened and that the vice president had been interviewed about the accident by local authorities on Sunday morning. elusive at great heights.
Meanwhile, further sober doings at the big house on Pennsylvania Avenue via today's White House Briefing:

Q What time on Sunday morning did you learn that Vice President Dick Cheney was the shooter?

MR. McCLELLAN: It was early. I was woken up.

Q Do you have any -- was it 6:00 a.m., 5:00 a.m.? Can you give me at least just some sort of sense of how early --

MR. McCLELLAN: It was probably in the 6:00 a.m. range or so. Usually I'm up at 5:00 a.m., but it was Sunday…

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…And so we didn't know who was involved…

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…

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 Scott, it's getting very confusing to try to figure out who knew what when, and why…it sounds like everything just shut down. Was there no staff member with the Vice President --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, actually, as I pointed out, there was information that was coming into people back here, all the way at 3:00 a.m…additional information was coming to light from what occurred down in the Corpus Christi area of Texas...

Q Over the roughly 12 hours or so, none of that information -- it took 12 hours for someone to tell someone up here that the Vice President had fired the weapon?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, Jim, keep in mind two things. One…medical care…secondary to that is gathering the facts…and so they gathered facts together…

Q Who was gathering the facts? Who was doing that?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think there's the information on the ground there, as well as information then being provided -- from the ground there being provided back here.

Q Right, and who was doing -- who was doing the providing, and who were they providing it to?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, people with the Vice President's Office. I think…

Q So when did the President definitively know that the Vice President had shot somebody?

MR. McCLELLAN: He was learning additional details into that evening on Saturday --

Q It wasn't a detail that it was the Vice President that pulled the trigger? When did that detail --

MR. McCLELLAN: We didn't know the full details…

Q Wait, wait, hold on…was the Vice President immediately clear that he had accidentally shot his friend, or not? Or did that information become available later? You make it seem like there's all this information that had to develop.

MR. McCLELLAN: I wouldn't suggest that at all. I'm sure that that was the case…

Q But that's ridiculous. Are you saying that you don't know within the White House? What took you so long?

MR. McCLELLAN: Listen again to what I said. The first priority is making sure Mr. Whittington is receiving medical care. Secondary to that is making sure you get the facts together…

Q Scott, when you consider the chronology you're trying to go through here, and all of the various wrinkles of how long it took for the primary information that the Vice President was the person who shot this fellow to get through to the President, himself, is there any notion here of reviewing your own communications apparatus? I mean, this is sort of reminiscent of the levee story, frankly, you know?

MR. McCLELLAN: I reject that. I disagree with that fully, Peter. I don't know what you're referring to there, but I reject the insinuation there…there are certain facts that you don't know necessarily immediately…

Modified Image: AP,
Duck & Cover!

This morning, the understated global tittering was evident in the lead sentence of South Africa’s Mail & Guardian:

Never sneak up behind Dick Cheney when he has a gun in his hand.

Laughter aside, the seriousness of Saturday’s quail "hunt" hijinks, the historic nature of a Vice Presidential shooting, it’s obvious tabloid news value and the failure of the White House to report the Vice President’s wild shot, should provoke our slumbering emotion-addicted punditocracy to new heights of Runaway Wife/OJ-inspired excess.
However, a careful reading of Google results shows a most unOJ-like divergence of press coverage following the Corpus Christi Caller-Times' breaking of the historic non duel-related shooting.
The majority of press accounts say that Cheney’s victim is “in stable condition” and “in good spirits” but fail report Whittington’s presense in the Intensive Care Unit of Corpus Christi Memorial Hospital or initial White House silence regarding the shooting.
Indeed, whispers are wafting over the web that gender-neutral White House spinners, today, will hair-split and parse and insist that Cheney “sprayed” Whittington with “tiny metallic pellets” and most certainly did not “shoot” the victim.
I’m curious how this shoot-free “spraying” tack will play with the NRA/NASCAR/hunting crowd.

Here’s a picture of the “tiny metallic pellets” more commonly referred to as “birdshot” along with gunpowder and a shell casing.
Birdshot, in the United States, is made of highly toxic lead and ranges in size from 0.135 to 0.32 inches in diameter.

I found a December 9, 2003 statement by the Humane Society of the United States reacting to the Vice President’s 2003 Ligonier Township, Pennsylvania pheasant slaughter that I linked to yesterday:

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported today that 500 farm-raised pheasants were released yesterday morning at the Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier Township for the benefit of Cheney’s 10-person hunting party. The group killed at least 417 of the birds, illustrating the unsporting nature of canned hunts. The party also shot an unknown number of captive mallards in the afternoon…The Humane Society of the United States deplores the shooting of captive birds and animals where traditional “fair chase” hunting ethics are discarded and kills are guaranteed.

Sunday, February 12, 2006
Veep Bags Senior Citizen

Cheney draws a bead on a Social Security recipient

According to the Associated Press:

Cheney...shot and injured a man during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas...Harry Whittington, 78, was "alert and doing fine" after Cheney sprayed him with shotgun pellets [buckshot].

According to a 2003 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report on a Cheney Pennsylvania hunting trip:

[In] a day's shooting at the Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier Township...Cheney shot more than 70 ringneck pheasants and an unknown number of mallard ducks. The birds were plucked and vacuum-packed in time for Cheney's afternoon flight to Washington, D.C.

The AP doesn't say if Whittington was "plucked and vacuum-packed" prior to arriving at the hospital.
Two years ago this past January, as detailed here, the Bush dynasty made news with other tales of quail and duck.

Modified Image:

The Moorman and Kickapoo photos.
Click on above image for a larger version.
Tinfoil stunner atop grassy knoll...

NOTE--With much uncontrolled blushing and a heartfelt "Aw, shucks!", I guess I should mention this blog's nomination for a 2005 Koufax Award for Most Humerous Blog.
Blue-finger voting doesn't seem likely so I would urge you to vote early and often...
Thanks, "truth".

Images:, WhiteHouse/Time/NYT

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