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Inside the System

February 24, 2006 | Page 7

On target about Shot-in-the-face-gate

THE DAILY Show on Comedy Central had by far the best coverage of Shot-in-the-face-by-Dick-Cheney-gate. Here, we print excerpts of a segment featuring anchor JON STEWART and senior vice presidential firearms mishap analyst ROB CORDDRY:

Corddry: Jon, tonight, the vice president is standing by his decision to shoot Harry Whittington. According to the best intelligence available, there were quail hidden in the brush. Everyone believed at the time there were quail in the brush. And while the quail turned out to be a 78-year-old man, even knowing that today, Mr. Cheney insists he still would have shot Mr. Whittington in the face. He believes the world is a better place for his spreading buckshot throughout the entire region of Mr. Whittington's face.

Stewart: But why, Rob? If he had known Mr. Whittington was not a bird, why would he still have shot him?

Corddry: Jon, in a post-9/11 world, the American people expect their leaders to be decisive. To not have shot his friend in the face would have sent a message to the quail that America is weak...Look, the mere fact that we're even talking about how the vice president drives up with his rich friends in cars to shoot farm-raised wingless quail-tards is letting the quail know "how" we're hunting them. I'm sure right now those birds are laughing at us in that little "covey" of theirs.

Stewart: I'm not sure birds can laugh, Rob.

Corddry: Well, whatever it is they do...coo...they're cooing at us right now, Jon, because here we are talking openly about our plans to hunt them. Jig is up. Quails one, America zero.

Stewart: Okay, well, on a purely human level, is the vice president at least sorry?

Corddry: John, what difference does it make? The bullets are already in this man's face. Let's move forward across party lines as a get him some sort of mask.
-- The Daily Show, February 13, 2006

When cops sue cops

THE PROTESTERS were threatened with arrest for standing on the sidewalk and herded into pens. The police harassed them for handing out fliers, and a special unit videotaped their faces, stoking their anger even higher, as they dogged the mayor at his appearances across the city. "That's Big Brother watching you," Walter Liddy, one of the demonstrators, said in a deposition.

Liddy's grievances about strong-arm police tactics echo the common experiences of activists all across the U.S. What's unusual about Liddy is that he doesn't fit the typical profile of a protester. In fact, he's a New York City cop.

In the summer of 2004, Liddy and fellow cops organized rallies to protest stonewalling by the city in the negotiations for a new contract. Now the officers--with the help of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association--are suing the city. Their claim is that the police tactics used against them--identical to those used against protests for progressive causes--violated their First Amendment right to freedom of speech and assembly.

Liddy's charge that he and other off-duty cops faced the "constant threat of arrest" duplicate the complaints of social-justice activists, who say the city has essentially "criminalized dissent," especially since September 11.

Two other cases involving similar allegations are pending, but the police case is striking because the people who impose restrictions on other protests are saying that the city's new "antiterrorism tools" have been illegally used to curtail their civil rights.
-- New York Times, February 3, 2006

Not a rocket scientist

NASA PUBLIC affairs officer George Deutsch resigned in disgrace earlier this month, after being exposed for trying to censor some of the country's top scientists.

Deutsch was given a job at NASA after working on George Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, and apparently decided to impose the administration's views about global warming and evolution. He removed information from NASA's Web site showing that 2005 was the warmest year on record, and he forced a Web designer to insert the word "theory" after every mention of the phrase "big bang."

According to Deutsch, the "theory that the universe was created by a 'big bang' is just that--a theory. It is not proven fact; it is opinion. Yes, the scientific community by and large may share this opinion, but that doesn't make it correct...It is not NASA's place, nor should it be, to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator--the other half of the argument."

In January, James Hansen, NASA's top climate scientist said that the Bush administration--and Deutsch in particular--had tried to stop him from speaking out about global warming. According to Hansen, Deutsch rejected a request from a producer at National Public Radio to interview Hansen, called NPR "the most liberal" media outlet in the country, and reportedly said that his job was "to make the president look good."

As it turns out, Deutsch wasn't let go because of his backward pseudo-scientific views or trying to muzzle Hansen. He was forced out after he was caught padding his resumé--saying that he had a journalism degree from Texas A&M university, when he in fact never graduated.
--, February 13, 2006

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