aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Cheney news management skills (reprise)
In honor of today’s incident, a rerun. I wonder will he do better this time...
Dan Bartlett is on the lecture circuit telling insider’s stories about Vice President Dick Cheney:
There was, for instance, the Cheney hunting incident in south Texas, when he accidentally blasted a buddy in the face with birdshot. Years before, Bartlett had faced another bad-news hunting incident when Gov. George W. Bush was photographed shooting a bird, which upon closer examination by the photographer, turned out to be a protected species.
As soon as he got that news, Bartlett sprang into action, and by the time newspaper presses ran that night with the photo, the incident had already been officially reported to state authorities, a fine was paid and Bush had issued an apology. The result: a one-day story that you, in fact, probably never heard before reading this.
The way Bartlett describes the Cheney incident, it took forever to reach anyone with Cheney, and the White House aide discovered to his horror that the hunting party had already been strategizing for 24 hours. They planned to give the story to a Corpus Christi reporter, except that, it being the weekend, no one could find him.
Bartlett finally reached the vice president and urgently presented another option: getting him on the phone with a national press pool to explain the entire incident in his own words ASAP. There was dead silence. Then, the vice president intoned he would handle it his way. Which Cheney did.
And, not coincidentally, his hunting story is still the subject of talk show jokes.
Cheney: hunting with a menu
Al Sharpton’s chiding Cheney for hunting at a private club that hangs the Confederate flag. The fake news boys will no doubt be joining in the chiding tonight.
A couple weeks back Terry Gross replayed an April 2004 interview with Ben Karlin, former executive producer of both The Colbert Report and The Daily Show. In the interview he discussed how they handled Cheney’s most infamous hunting accident:
[W]hat was most scandalous about the story, in our opinion, as we read reports, was not, you know, what happened between Cheney and Whittington, but actually the fact that the vice president goes on these particular kinds of hunts. The more details were revealed, kind of like deep into the story as we were reading them, we’re just like, `Wait a second. People go and shoot like 70 caged birds, and they’re right there and then they’re just released? That’s not hunting.’ And we just couldn’t get our heads around like thinking about hunting as this, you know, pursuit which is involved with has some skill and you have to go out and you’re in the brush all day. And you, you know, it’s cold and you’re up at the crack of dawn. And all this idea that you have about hunting, and we just kind of said, like, this here is really the scandal of this story, that this thing goes on and is anyway--this is the furthest thing removed from hunting you can possibly imagine. So we said, like, let’s actually try to do--this is the closest to I think actual journalism we really go right up to that point. And so we tried to find a place that would let us come on and do one of these hunts.
Here’s the resulting Nate Corddry piece, splendor in the grass:
Bonus video: brother Rob on Cheney the decisive shooter.
Cheney hunting: costume of choice this year
If it wasn’t before, it will be now:
Vice President Dick Cheney is embroiled in yet another hunting-related controversy.
The vice president made a daylong hunting trip on Monday to the Clove Valley Rod and Gun Club, an exclusive mountainside establishment on 4,000 acres in Union Vale, N.Y., about 15 miles east of Poughkeepsie, in Dutchess County. Only members and their guests may hunt on the property; an annual membership is said to cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Reporters who covered Mr. Cheney’s visit on Monday — including Fernanda Santos of The Times — were not permitted to enter the grounds of the hunting estate. But at least one eagle-eyed photographer captured images of a Confederate battle flag — about 3 feet by 5 feet in dimension — hanging in plain view in a garage attached to the club’s headquarters. The Daily News captured images of the flag. The New York Post stoked the controversy today with the headline: “V.P.’s Hunting Gear: Dead-Eye Dick Cheney in Dixie-Flag Flap.”
Water Wars (continued)
Alabama and Florida have a much different view of things than those inside the perimeter:
Georgia officials said the metro area has less than 90 days of water left. The other states say it’s closer to 260 days, and that’s if it never rains. The 90-day level is the “conservation level” for the reservoir, not the end of the supply.
Georgians said Lake Lanier’s water should go to the people of Atlanta, not to preserve endangered mussels downstream. One Alabaman put it this way: “Sturgeon and mussels are not the only thing downstream.” Turns out there’s a nuclear reactor and whole bunch of jobs.
Georgians claim that a two-decade effort to rewrite the rules for water use have never been completed because Alabama and Florida refuse to cooperate. The others noted that Georgians walked out of a mediation session in September - as they have from numerous other meetings over the past 20 years.
Georgians said they’re willing to work with the two other states. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) once sent invitations to three other senators and both governors from Georgia and Alabama to talk. He never heard back from Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Morgan Spurlock: What Would Jesus Buy?
...what really needs to be made clear, and what no one on the national stage is saying, is that the obesity epidemic and climate change are simply two sides of the same coin-overconsumption. We are sacrificing our nation’s natural resources and polluting our air, soil and water on the altar of More: Big Gulps, Monster Thickburgers, and, from McDonald’s--which has retired the phrase “supersize” but not the concept--the Angus Third Pounder.
Who better to make it clear than Morgan Spurlock:
I’m just praying that Morgan Spurlock’s soon-to-be-released documentary What Would Jesus Buy? will do for overconsumption what SuperSize me did for junk food-that is, get people thinking and talking about it. We’ll have to look to the film’s stars, the Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping, to find out what Jesus would buy, but in the meantime, I’m going to go out on a limb and bet that he wouldn’t turn water into a Big Gulp.
Big gulp, bottomless thirst
So do you really think you need a quart to quench your thirst?
People sat down to a large bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup and were told to eat as much as they wanted. Unbeknown to them, the soup bowls were designed to refill themselves (with empty bottoms connected to machinery beneath the table). No matter how much soup the subjects ate, the bowl never emptied. Many people just kept eating until the experiment was (mercifully) ended.
The general rule seems to be, “Give them a lot, and they eat a lot.” Those who receive large bowls of ice cream eat much more than those who get small bowls. If you are given a half-pound bag of M&M’s, chances are that you will eat about half as much as you will if you are given a one-pound bag. The reason is simple: packages “suggest a consumption norm--what it is appropriate or normal to use or eat.” In fact, most people do not stop eating when they are no longer hungry. They look to whether their glasses or plates are empty.
* It’s behind a pay wall; I quote it liberally here.
Apparently that’s a sensitive subject in the UK today because the Brits are getting fatter fast:
Two just-released reports show that the number of obese adults in Britain has tripled since 1980, earning it the distinction of being the fattest country in Europe.
Government officials and health experts are suitably alarmed, and anxious to find ways to turn more Brits from fat to fit. Britain’s health secretary, Alan Johnson, calls the obesity epidemic a “potential crisis on the scale of climate change.”
How fat are they?
Rates as a percentage of the total population:
Czech Republic 14.8
(Source: Health Profile of England 2007, with data from the World Health Organization’s June 2007 Health For All Database.)
The U.S. remains the fat champion of the world. Could it be because we mistake portion size for quality?
Colbert last night on the comeback of absinthe:
“I, state your name, do hereby pledge to practice absinth-tinence by remaining absinth-tinent from absintheÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ since absinthe incidents in many instances induce incipient synesthetic inspiration and sinister synthetic insistence on sin, I sincerely insist I will be absent from instances of absinthe ingestion this instant.”