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Dick Cheney: No Fish Left Behind, Or Alive

That Dick Cheney: He's not exactly John Muir. Not exactly Henry David Thoreau. The final installment of the Gellman/Becker series shows us a man who loves the smell of rotting salmon in the morning.

When he sees a photo of dead fish roasting in the sun, he thinks, "Quick, get me some wasabi."

His Secret Service code name is Angler, because he likes nothing better than to put on his waders and stand in a crystal clear mountain stream with a rod and reel and a few sticks of dynamite.

Gnawin' on a little home-made spotted owl jerky.

Dreamin' of that retirement home with the lovely view of the strip mine.

He'll be there pretty soon: Putterin' around the yard, setting leg traps for coyotes and the neighbor's cats. Always with the canister of DDT in the hip-holster. Clearing brush with the flamethrower and the napalm.

Planning those RV trips to Yucca Mountain.

"Because of Cheney's intervention, the government reversed itself and let the water flow in time to save the 2002 growing season, declaring that there was no threat to the fish. What followed was the largest fish kill the West had ever seen, with tens of thousands of salmon rotting on the banks of the Klamath River."

Cheney read that passage this morning and thought, "They make it sound like that's bad."

Scientists green-lighted the diversion of water to farms. Here's their study. I am sure the deaths of 77,000 salmon did not in any way represent an invalidation of their conclusion. (The operation was a success, but the patient died.)

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I always thought the U.S. should have a Minister of Culture. France has one, right? And so does Iraq. Though this story on the Iraqi culture minister doesn't tell us anything about his artistic interests or literary history, only that he's being sought in an assassination plot. (Maybe that's now just part of the culture.)

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This Ken Auletta piece on Rupert Murdoch is rather ominous. (And very long, but worth the read.) Murdoch has a history of promising to be hands-off, and is anything but. American newspapers have enough problems already.

' In 1995, I spent several months reporting for a Profile of Murdoch for The New Yorker. During ten days in his offices, I attended meetings, witnessed negotiations, listened to his phone calls, and conducted about twenty hours of taped interviews with him. At least a couple of times each day, he talked on the phone with an editor in order to suggest a story based on something that he'd heard. This prompted me to ask, "Of all the things in your business empire, what gives you the most pleasure?"

' "Being involved with the editor of a paper in a day-to-day campaign," he answered instantly. "Trying to influence people."

'I portrayed Murdoch then as a visionary who could make a large company move with the speed of a small one. I also saw him as a modern pirate, a press lord in the tradition of men like James Gordon Bennett, who created the New York Herald in 1835 and also became an adviser to politicians; or William Randolph Hearst, Henry Luce, and Lord Beaverbrook, who used their properties to try to influence events throughout the last century.'

[FYI, the Journal yesterday had an excellent take-out on Tony Blair's exit. Subscription only.]

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A while back I interviewed some lobbyists for a story that never ran (or, um, hasn't yet reached fruition, let's say). One thing that jumped out was the sheer number of lobbyists in Washington today compared to, for example, 40 years ago. One lobbyist told me he remembers when there were only about 60 lobbyists in the entire city. Today, according to this piece in The Politico, there are more than 35,000. And they make big money:

"These sums are changing typical Washington career arcs. And they are transforming the professional culture of a capital city that historically has been defined by comfortable salaries but not by genuine wealth and its gilded accoutrements. Lobbyists and consultants who even a decade ago typically had distinctly upper-middle-class lifestyles now dine at trendy restaurants run by celebrity chefs (like BLT Steak, where the Japanese Kobe beef costs $26 an ounce), assemble modern art collections (Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta has one of Washington's best), wear suits tailored in London or Milan and, like Hillary Clinton pollster Mark Penn, own first homes in Georgetown and second ones by the Chesapeake."

[Am I in the wrong business???] [At $26 an ounce, don't you have to chew that steak awfully slowly? Give me the cheap stuff that I can wolf down.]

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Boodler bc speculates that the CIA was behind the infamous Ten Cent Beer Night in Cleveland.

Here's Jennifer Ouellette on roller coaster physics. (She has a link to a site where you can design your

own coaster, and then be graded on how well you did.)

And for those of you with a possibly brilliant, possibly crackpot scientific theory, here's the Alternative-Science Respectability Checklist.

Mickey Kaus is blogging up a storm on the immigration bill.

Here's Phil Kennicott on Iraqi insurgents using the Web:

'An entire category of narrative -- the view of the war through the eyes of those fighting the United States -- has mostly eluded American media outlets. Those stories are available in abundance in the insurgent media...

'The basic communications climate for genocide is already in place -- the ability to spread information rapidly, a pool of suspicion and animosity, a tendency to inflate grievances into hysterical rhetoric.'

John Paul Stevens on Prohibition and Pot:

"[T]he current dominant opinion supporting the war on drugs in general, and our anti-marijuana laws in particular, is reminiscent of the opinion that supported the nationwide ban on alcohol consumption when I was a student. While alcoholic beverages are now regarded as ordinary articles of commerce, their use was then condemned with the same moral fervor that now supports the war on drugs."

Now this from Ana Marie Cox: Romney's dog's wild ride.

Tina Turner doing Proud Mary in 1982: This'll make your day.



By Joel Achenbach  |  June 27, 2007; 6:58 AM ET
 
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