Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Adweek: "The Bush administration spent $1.4 billion in taxpayer dollars on 137 contracts with advertising agencies over the past two-and-a-half years, according to a Government Accountability Office report released by House Democrats Monday."

I've gotten several emails like today. This one's from TPM Reader RK ...

From the AP article you cited on Monday:

"Katharine Armstrong, owner of the ranch where the shooting occurred, said it happened toward the end of the hunt, when it was still sunny but as darkness was encroaching and they were preparing to go inside. She said Whittington made a mistake by not announcing that he had walked up to rejoin the hunting line, and Cheney didn't see him as he tried to down a bird.

Armstrong said she saw Cheney's security detail running toward the scene. "The first thing that crossed my mind was he had a heart problem," she told The Associated Press."

She talks like she SAW what happened at the scene, but she clearly had no idea what happened because she thought it was Cheney's heart. So where exactly was she and what did she ACTUALLY see?

I think it's important for us to realize -- as investigators quickly do -- that even good faith eyewitnesses often come up with very jumbled accounts of things they did see happen. But this is a good question. Did Armstrong really see what happened?

One factoid and one question on the Cheney shootout.

I asked earlier how big an outfit the Kenedy County Sheriff's Department is and how thorough their investigation was, if there was one.

Turns out it's a pretty big outfit, at least relative to population. There are 414 residents of Kenedy County. And according to the local paper, there are 11 people on the Sheriff's Department staff.

Now, on to another matter. All of the speculation here centers on what actually happened when this accident took place. Were they really 30 yards apart, were there obvious signs of negligence, etc.

Cheney, Armstrong and even Whittington are all interested parties. But as TPM Reader JS notes there's another source of information.

Secret Service personnel were, or should have been, with Cheney when this all happened. There must be an incident report about what happened. It should be fairly detailed. And it could clear up a lot of questions. Will the White House release the report?

Thirty-seven, the age I turned today, seems like the most unremarkable of ages -- stranded out there between landmark numbers like thirty-five or forty, with nothing particular to say for itself. But my mother died when she was thirty-seven -- just a touch less than twenty-five years ago. So, for me, thirty-seven has always been an age mixed with awe, fear and wonder -- like a lamppost or beacon that I was slowly approaching in my own life.

These gets fairly deep into the weeds of the Whittington case. But one point that garnered a lot of discussion yesterday was just how the birdshot got lodged in or near Whittington's heart.

What most people seemed to be saying yesterday was that the most likely possibility was that it was from a wound to the neck. Pellet goes into the neck, gets into an artery and then makes its way to the heart.

But Whittington's doctors said yesterday that they had known there was a pellet lodged near his heart from the beginning. So that seems to complicate the migration theory.

Now the Times has an article quoting Dr. O. Wayne Isom, the chairman of heart and chest surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, saying that it is much more likely "that the pellet lodged in or touched the heart when Mr. Whittington was shot."

A question: How big is the Kenedy County Sheriff's Department? They rapidly concluded that "this was nothing more than a hunting accident."

But how big an outfit is it exactly? Kenedy County has a population of 414 people, which makes it the fourth smallest county in the United States.

The 50,000 acre Armstrong Ranch is in Kenedy County. So I figure the Armstrongs probably have a lot of pull in county government. So, just a question: how thorough was the investigation of what happened?

Here perhaps we're in need of some expert insight from hunters and doctors. But the latest round of news raises this question in my mind. Would the weapon and ammunition Dick Cheney shot have the force to imbed pellets near Whittington's heart at 30 yards? A hunter wears a decent amount of clothing over the chest, remember. So these pellets would have to have pierced his clothing, his skin and then lodged inside the body cavity, somewhere near or around his heart. The shot came from the right and the heart is on the left so that might add to the amount of tissue needing to be traversed -- but without more specifics that's hard to know for sure. That takes a decent amount of force at 30 yards. Any thoughts from our TPM hunters and clinicians?

As we've been telling you for a few weeks, now-former Ohio senate candidate Paul Hackkett was scheduled to be our guest this week at TPMCafe's Table for One. You've probably already heard that last night Hackett announced that he's dropping out of the race. He's got a post up at Table for One now explaining his decision to drop out.

Sometimes message is just really hard to formulate in real time. This AP story is running juxtaposed with news of Whittington's heart attack on many news sites ...

The White House has decided that the best way to deal with Vice President Dick Cheney's shooting accident is to joke about it.

President Bush's spokesman quipped Tuesday that the burnt orange school colors of the University of Texas championship football team that was visiting the White House shouldn't be confused for hunter's safety wear.

"The orange that they're wearing is not because they're concerned that the vice president may be there," joked White House press secretary Scott McClellan, following the lead of late-night television comedians. "That's why I'm wearing it."

The president's brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, took a similar jab after slapping an orange sticker on his chest from the Florida Farm Bureau that read, "No Farmers, No Food."

You can read the rest of the piece here.