As we went to press, news outlets were reporting that Harry Whittington, the man "sprayed" by Vice President Dick Cheney, had suffered a minor heart attack. This put something of a chill on the initial joking reaction to the incident proffered by everyone from Jay Leno to press secretary Scott McClellan.
"Peppered" became "shot." "Badabump" became "Uh-oh."
It was the theme of the week for Republicans. They began by putting indicted Representative Tom DeLay on the House subcommittee that oversees the Justice Department, which is -- wait for it -- investigating DeLay's partner in crime, indicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. DeLay replaced former Republican congressman Duke Cunningham, who resigned when he was caught accepting bribes. I think they call that a circle of jerks.
You couldn't make this stuff up. And there was more: A government report on Hurricane Katrina revealed that the White House knew New Orleans was being drowned a day earlier than it had previously admitted; Scooter Libby testified that Cheney had "ordered" him to leak classified information; Paul Pillar, the CIA's national intelligence officer for the Middle East from 2000 to 2005, said the administration misleadingly used data to assemble a case for the invasion of Iraq; Abramoff revealed to Washingtonian magazine that he and the president had met on more than a dozen occasions and that he had the photos to prove it. (The president says he "didn't know" Abramoff -- who raised $100,000 for Bush's campaign and who was in the White House 200 times during the first 10 months of his administration.)
Finally, the GAO issued a report stating that the administration had spent $1.6 billion on PR to promote its policies. And that's not even counting the free PR they get on Fox News every day.
Well, maybe you can make this stuff up. Somebody sure is making up something. Where's Oprah when you need her? She sat disgraced author James Frey down and made him come clean on his "memoir," A Million Little Pieces. Frey has now agreed to retitle his book 617 Regular-sized Pieces.
Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor
P.S. Tim Sampson's Rant is on page 65 this week.
According to a report released this week by the Pew Research Center and Knight Foundation, more than 40 percent of American adults get news through Facebook. What's left unsaid in that study is that the definition of "news" is pretty loose — and getting looser ...