February 13th, 2006
You’ve all heard about it, of course: Cheney shoots fellow hunter in Texas accident.
From my little bro’ David, who thinks he’s a comedian:
Cheney was hunting Quail and shot his buddy instead…
Dan said he was relieved
And from the Washington Post and some folks who really are, “Cheney’s got a gun…” and others…
10. Sick and tired of Whittington’s “Hey, I’m having a heart attack” jokes
9. Pushed over edge by Dixie Chicks and Streisand blasting on pick-up truck stereo
8. Ongoing dispute over whether it’s acceptable to torture quail before shooting them
7. Thought he saw Michael Moore on other side of tree line
6. Bombed out of his gourd on Wild Turkey and Lone Star Beer
5. Companion’s ill-advised decision to wear Moveon.org sweatshirt
4. Was trying to impress Jodie Foster
3. Whittington’s repeated ribbing that Bush is actually the “real president”
2. Targeting scope on rifle made by Halliburton
And the number one excuse given by Dick Cheney for almost blowing away hunting companion Harry Whittington:
1. Because he’s a wartime vice president, damn it
Here’s my bet on the REAL reason: Just last month, Whittington made some headway in challenging the legal issue of the day — eminent domain!
A board initially told the city to pay Whittington $3.6 million for the land, which Whittington rejected. Austin built the garage anyway and opened it last year. So far the city has earned about $181,000 charging for parking there, which helps pay back bonds used to build the facility.
Whittington lost Round One of his legal battle in 2002 when a county court judge ruled that the garage was a public use â?? the legal standard for condemnations â?? and a jury ruled that the block was worth $7.7 million. The city has set aside that money, but Whittington can’t take it unless he stops appealing. And he doesn’t plan on quitting now, especially with a few wins under his belt.
In June, the Third Court of Appeals agreed with Whittington that Austin failed to prove it needed the land for a public purpose.
In January 2005, a district judge ruled in Whittington’s favor in a second lawsuit, saying Austin failed to condemn an alley on the block. That case is still pending in an appeals court.
The city faces a bevy of gloomy outcomes if it keeps losing, such as attempting to condemn the land again, demolishing the garage or giving Whittington a cut of the parking-garage profits. Both sides say they are willing to try to settle the case instead, yet neither seems willing to make the first move.
Whittington is always coy when asked how long he plans to fight, or exactly what he’ll do with the land or garage if he wins them. At this point, he seems more invested in the battle itself.
“We’re right on the law,” he said. “And we’re not in any hurry.”