Bloggers have declared open season on the vice president's hunting misadventure; they're also keeping an eye on leaked information about a new Katrina report and discussing Michelle Kwan's departure from the Winter Olympics.
Cheney's got a gun: Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot 78-year-old Texas lawyer Harry Whittington during a quail-hunting jaunt Saturday. Whittington was rushed to the hospital by Cheney's medical team and is in good condition. Editor & Publisher notes that the press found out only because ranch owner Katharine Armstrong alerted a local reporter. She claimed that Whittington "came up from behind the vice president and the other hunter and didn't signal them or indicate to them or announce himself."
Many bloggers are heaping scorn on Cheney. Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall polled several hunters on the believability of Armstrong's account and concludes, "Cheney screwed up—a relatively common hunting accident, based (as most accidents are) by not following basic safety guidelines and being careless. Trying to blame it on the guy who got shot just doesn't wash." Alphecca's Jeff Soyer, a "libertarian, gay gun nut" gripes, "Another 'friend' of gun rights makes a fool of himself (and by extension, all of us) by forgetting the rules of safe gun handling." And liberal Upyernoz writes, "[T]his non-story echoes a very serious concern i have about the administration: how quickly it is willing to keep information from the american public."
Even some administration supporters are upset about the quail contretemps. "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," claims John Podhoretz of the conservative National Review's The Corner. "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." At CastleArgghhh!,conservative John Donovan concedes that Cheney should pay whatever penalties Texas law imposes on such incidents. But Cheney-admirer Michelle Malkin laments, "[T]he biography of a man who has served this country so well and so honorably for so many years will be overshadowed by a single, ill-fated hunting mishap."
Read more about Cheney's hunting misadventure.
Katrina redux: The Washington Post summarized a House GOP investigation into the government's response to Katrina three days before the report's official presentation. The report suggests that President Bush and Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff could have done more and that disaster preparedness in the U.S. is still inadequate. "If 9/11 was a failure of imagination then Katrina was a failure of initiative. It was a failure of leadership," the report states.
Squeefully Yours' left-leaning Hanncoll notes, "While at first glance this headline got a 'well, DUH' response from me, it's interesting to note that this is a congressional report by an 11-member Republican committee." Liberal Stygius claims, "In legislation, Congress had anticipated the bureaucracy's need for top-level, central guidance when state and local resources were overwhelmed by a catastrophic storm or event. But when it was game time it was bungled badly. How the White House then translated that into a need for more authority, when it couldn't competently exercise what it already had, compounds the absurdity."
Adding fuel to the fire is this story, which details FEMA mismanagement of Katrina aid and notes that "up to 900,000" aid recipients had applications "based on duplicate or invalid Social Security numbers, or false addresses and names." Jiblog's conservative Jib concludes, "There was a lot of money being made available and the critical response to the Government's handling of things meant that people were probably more likely to get the benefit of the doubt or slip through when they should not have gotten anything." And "conservatively liberal" Polimom is outraged by both stories: "[W]orst of all—FEMA and the Red Cross were actually doing the right thing there by cutting red tape and moving money into the hands of people who needed it. I'm thoroughly disgusted that people apparently took stole money so desperately needed—still—in the region.
Read more about the House Katrina report.
Arrivederci, Michelle: Bloggers are avidly following the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, and have mixed responses to American figure skater Michelle Kwan's decision to withdraw because of an injury. Kwan, 25, is a five-time world champion but never won Olympic gold.