Today's Blogs

Orange Alert

Bloggers, unsurprisingly, are still talking about Vice President Cheney’s hunting mishap after victim Harry Whittington suffered a minor heart attack. Additionally, they are amused at jailed dictator Saddam Hussein’s hunger strike.

Orange alert: The victim of Vice President Cheney’s errant birdshot, Austin lawyer Harry Whittington, has suffered a minor heart attack today after one of the pellets migrated to his heart. He has been moved back to intensive care at a Corpus Christi hospital. The development put a damper on attempts by many, including White House spokesman Scott McClellan, to find humor in the incident. Bloggers are reacting to the latest news and mocking some television commentators for dressing up in reflective orange gear.

On his blog, Vanity Fair contributing editor James Wolcott jokes about the shooting, before taking a more serious tone after news broke of the heart attack. “[T]he words ‘heart attack,’ even prefaced with ‘minor,’ change the dynamic and deepen the significance of Cheney’s misfire. The most ludicrous thing [Fox News’ Brit] Hume said was that though this new information made Whittington’s condition more serious, it didn’t alter ‘the underlying facts of the case.’ It seems to me that if Whittington suffers permanent injury or dies from the accidental shooting, that would create an overlying fact that renders the ‘underlying facts’ irrelevant.” At liberal Daily Kos, contributor Dave J muses on how the news of Whittington’s heart attack has foiled McClellan’s attempt today to deal with the situation humorously. “Sometimes reality just gets in the darn way of a good propaganda point,” he writes.

At Crooked Timber, liberal sociologist Kieran Healy wonders what would have happened had Cheney been the victim: “How would things be playing out amongst the VP’s defenders? Would they be blaming him for being stupid enough to walk into a hail of shotgun pellets? Do you think we’d have seen no more than a quick photo of Whittington skulking back home, with no word of apology or expression of embarrassed regret? Do you think Cheney would be accepting responsibility for the accident from his ICU bed?” Garrett Graff at Fishbowl DC comments on Cheney’s image problem: “By staying in the shadows, Cheney has cultivated a dark mystique that has left many wary of him—he’s come to be the administration’s enforcer—but the hunting accident plays into every caricature of him and leaves him a self-written punch line to everything the administration does going forward.”

On the right, bloggers are complaining about the liberal media’s outrage at being kept in the dark about the “hunting mishap.” At Captain’s Quarters, conservative Ed is weary of the White House press corps’ outrage over the 18-hour delay of release of information. “It’s not a cover-up, people. It’s not even a crime to have a hunting accident, and it’s certainly not a crime not to report it to the Exempt Media, no matter how mad it makes them,” he writes. At Power Line, conservative lawyer John H. Hinderaker blames the media frenzy on the press corps’ hatred of the Bush administration and deep ignorance of firearms. “If Cheney had been trout fishing and a companion had walked behind him as he started to cast, so that he inadvertently snagged his friend, resulting in a hospital visit, would we have seen this kind of frenzy?” he asks.

Wonkette, who readWashington Post columnist (and Slate contributor) Dana Milbank his fashion rights for appearing on TV in a bright orange stocking cap and vest, has a different issue with the coverage of the shooting, pleading with the media to stop being punny:“People, please: In discussing the Cheney hunting accident, can we stop with all the repetitive and tortured shooting metaphors? And now that Harry Whittington has taken a turn for the worse … the need to avoid gun puns has only intensified.” And Michelle Malkin makes fun of Paul Begala for donning orange like Milbank.

Read more about the hunting accident.

How about that muffin, Saddam? At his trial today, Saddam Hussein announced that he and his co-defendants are on hunger strike in protest of how the new judge has been treating them. His claim that he was into the third day of his hunger strike could not be independently confirmed, according to the Washington Post. For Saddam the hunger strike marks an apparent break from his well-publicized prison activities, which previously included eating muffins and writing poetry.

“Somebody should clue in Saddam that hunger strikes work only when a lot of people don’t want you to die. Gandhi he isn’t,” J Kelly smartly observes at Irish Penants. At Merlot Democrats, Jason is skeptical of Saddam’s claim that he isn’t eating: “Maybe ‘hunger strikes’ these days have gone the way of the ‘filibuster.’ Back in the day, when you wanted to have a filibuster in the Senate, you had to—you know, filibuster. … I guess Saddam has taken a page from the modern Senate on this and simply declared a ‘Procedural Hunger Strike.’ He’s definitely still eating. No doubt about it, judging by his chins.” At Right On Peach Tree, Mike, a conservative from Georgia, offers his support of the hunger strike. “Keep up the good work! And those hunger pangs you will be feeling? View them as little daggers that you’re hurling at the West. Be strong, take your stand, and see it all the way through!”

At Fried Green al-Qaedas, Mark Hoback jokes about Hussein’s dietary habits: “Saddam Hussein today told the Iraqi court overseeing his trial that he was “so hungry I could eat a cow,” but that instead he had settled the previous day for “a nice piece of halibut and a small salad. No desert [sic]. Oh, and a muffin about mid-morning.”“

Read more about Saddam Hussein’s hunger strike.