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July 20, 2007

President Cheney
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 12:41 PM * 79 comments

Breaking news at CNN:

WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Bush will undergo a routine colonoscopy Saturday, and will transfer power to Vice President Dick Cheney during the procedure, expected to take about two and a half hours, the chief White House spokesman said.
Doctors are attempting to discover exactly how far up his ass George’s head is located.
Comments on President Cheney:
#1 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:51 PM:

Doctors are attempting to discover exactly how far up his ass George’s head is located.

Does the name "Igli" ring any bells?

#2 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 01:00 PM:

Two hours and a half? Mine never took that long.

#3 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 01:01 PM:

Igli Morocco or Igli Jorgo?

#4 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 01:15 PM:

Earl Cooley III: It's a Heinlein reference.

#5 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 01:24 PM:

I would suggest that the timing is set to allow for preparation and recovery, so that nobody can claim that the Shrub isn't competent to resume authority at the scheduled time.

Well, they could, but it may be sufficient that he is no more incompetent than usual.

So Dick hands George his sceptre. "Here you are, George. It's all yours."

"Anything important happened?"

"No, nothing." Dick checks his watch. "One thing though."

"Yes?"

"The nukes land in fifteen minutes." Dick dashes foir the door. Outside, a helicoper engine is running.

#6 ::: gurnemanz ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 01:25 PM:

It's amazing just how many have suggested this procedure is in fact treatment for a cranio-rectal impactment. But how do you sterilize a tow truck and chain? And what if one of those polyps they snip is actually The Head Of State?

Okay, for those of us insufficiently cool, who was Igli in the Heinlein canon?

#7 ::: patchmulberry ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 01:27 PM:

In that short time, Cheney will declare war on Iran.

#8 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 01:27 PM:

Maybe they can extract Cheney's arm while they're up in there...

#9 ::: BigHank53 ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 01:29 PM:

Oh, please, Mr. Bell. We all know that the president will wake up if and when Cheney decides he will. Who do you think picked out his doctors, after all?

#10 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 01:33 PM:

The reference is to Glory Road.

#11 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 01:49 PM:

Igli was a monster slain by the hero in Glory Road by a variation on the technique used to eliminate a demon in Larry Niven's story "Convergent Series." The hero shoved Igli's foot in his mouth; Igli screamed (Heinlein doesn't explain how) so the hero kept pushing.

Ultimately there was nothing left of Igli but a smear of grease on the hero's fingers. When he told the tale, the hearers dubbed him a mathematician.

Personally, I think the comparison to Igli is misplaced. Bush has never shown any distress at having his foot in his mouth.

#12 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 01:51 PM:

It's a standard rule for colonoscopies that the patient is considered to be incompetent to perform standard tasks (such as driving a car) until the anesthesia for the procedure wears off. They allow an hour to an hour-and-a-half for this after the procedure is completed.

#13 ::: gurnemanz ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 02:01 PM:

Lenny Bailes @ 12 - And exactly how will they prove this patient competent? Passage of time hasn't helped so far.

Xopher @ 11 - Thank you. Glory Road is a long time ago for this tired memory.

#14 ::: Dorothy Rothschild ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 02:05 PM:

Well, so Shrub has enough smarts to get his colon checked out. That's a point chalked up in the 'not entirely stupid' column.

There are a lot of things I will be grateful for throughout my life, but the fact that my dad gets regular colonoscopies is way up there on that list, because if he hadn't bothered, I'd be lighting a yahrzeit candle for him.

#15 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 02:33 PM:

So for two and a half hours, Cheney will make all the important decisions in the White House.

Meet the new boss. . .

#16 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 02:38 PM:

#14 Dorothy Rothschild, glad your Dad caught it early, but technically I would guess the Navy Doctors that take care of the health of the President would have ordered the test. There would have been no brain cells used on behalf of the gingerly sitting President.

#17 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Lessee, Cheney will have 2.5 hours in which to implement a new Executive Order signed July 17, which basically says Treasury can freeze the assets of any individual it doesn't like, and the individual can't appeal. Nor can anyone offer to help said individual without being at risk for similar treatment.

Lovely.

#18 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 02:47 PM:

It's my contention that the period of patient irresponsibilty starts much earlier than the anaesthesia. When I had this procedure, I had to take various cleaning-out substances starting at about 11:00 the previous morning. By noon, I was fainting on the floor of the bathroom, and there was no time until after midnight that I was not furiously contemplating the distance (only a few feet) between me and the throne.

#19 ::: Josh ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 02:49 PM:

His brother Marvin has Crohn's Disease, so GW has probably been having his colon checked for a while.

An older generation of medical pros, particularly psychiatrists, still think Inflammatory Bowel Disease is all in yer head. Which shows that they too possess the anatomical confusion alluded to here.

#20 ::: Jon Sobel ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 03:00 PM:

#7: Presidents don't declare war any more. That would involve taking responsibility, and we can't have any of that in the White House, now, can we?

#21 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 03:18 PM:

Wow. Bush isn't a perfect asshole.

#22 ::: Nathan Russell ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 03:22 PM:

The article said he had one in June 2002, and had no problems. I thought that meant he got to wait ten years? I'd assume the President gets better treatment than the recommendations, just wondering if the later have changed (the former isn't likely to *ever* change...)

#23 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 03:23 PM:

I clicked through to the following from Wonkette:

Old-line Republican warns 'something's in the works' to trigger a police state

oh my.

#24 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 03:27 PM:

Teresa 21:

1. He isn't perfect in ANY way.
2. He probably doesn't HAVE a perfect asshole either.
3. I wonder if the doctors will guess right about which end of him to look in?

#25 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 03:41 PM:

Nathan Russell @ 22

Last time I got a colonoscopy I was clean, so they set my next one for 5 years later. That seems to be the standard interval for colon cancer screens.

#26 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 03:43 PM:

Serge @ 2

Two hours and a half? Mine never took that long.

They didn't have to extract the Vice President before running the scope up in your case.

#27 ::: Nathan Russell ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:07 PM:

Hmm, my mom was told ten. Odd.

#28 ::: Skip ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:09 PM:

Transfer of power? Hmm. I wonder if he could give Libby a full pardon in the time. I bet he could, legally.

#29 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:16 PM:

Nathan Russell

I get the distinct impression that Expert Opinion holds that men are at higher risk than women for colon cancer. Whether there's anything to back that up is an open question; it may be the same kind of expert opinion that was so sure that women didn't have heart attacks.

#30 ::: Nathan Russell ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:23 PM:

Bruce @#29,

Interesting. I somewhat wonder if that was due to historic dietary differences that are less the case now, in the case of colon cancer. E.g., women having less alcohol and possibly less red meat.

Of course, there'd be a counterbalancing effect in terms of women living long enough to get colon cancer. This is, of course, all speculation, and I'm not a doctor (in about 5 years I'll be a doctor of computer science, but I *still* won't get to have opinions, except on whether or not students get to pass...)

#31 ::: Nathan Russell ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Skip @#28: Legally, probably yeah, but it'd make him look quite bad.

Honestly, Libby doesn't need a pardon. He is quite likely to get a vaguely defined consulting or "strategic leadership" job from some conservative think tank with Bush Sr. on the board, which will pay his fine and let him work (or, perhaps more accurately, not work) from home for his period of supervised release.

I'm guessing supervised release means an ankle bracelet, and not getting to leave home except under certain circumstances, like Martha got?

#32 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Do you think if we slipped the doctor a couple of bucks, he or she would refrain from anesthetizing Dubya so that he might finally have a good idea as to how Americans have been feeling the last six and a half years?

#33 ::: Nathan Russell ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:29 PM:

Or just strike a match, so he knows how Iraqis have been feeling?

#34 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:29 PM:

Dan 32: I've had a colonoscopy without anesthesia. It wasn't as bad as the past seven years.

#35 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:31 PM:

Oh, wait, that was only a sigmoidoscopy. Never mind. But even so.

#36 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:36 PM:

You're right. It might not be too rough, and there's a chance Bush might enjoy the scope. To fix this, I suggest doing the procedure with an old Sony Handicam duct taped to a six-foot long two-by-four of rough hewn white pine.

#37 ::: Nathan Russell ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:40 PM:

Rough hewn? Surely use the traditional Japanese lacquer.

#39 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:49 PM:

Dorothy #14: There are a lot of things I will be grateful for throughout my life, but the fact that my dad gets regular colonoscopies is way up there on that list, because if he hadn't bothered, I'd be lighting a yahrzeit candle for him.

Alas, they only become routine when you reach a certain age (50?). If they did them for younger people, my brother might've made it past 40. )-:

#40 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:50 PM:

Nathan @ #31, Libby already has that sinecure; never say they don't take care of their own.

#41 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 05:55 PM:

Forgive me Nathan, but wouldn't lacquering take a little too much of the "cruel and unusual" aspect out of cramming a 2X4 hunk of lumber up our Commander in Chief's backside?

I mean, maybe Bush's tax-breaks helped you enough to where you would want to varnish the "probe," but I took it pretty hard this year, and I've still got the funny walk to prove it.

#42 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 05:58 PM:

Well, if the lacquer was still wet...

#43 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 06:07 PM:

Look. If you varnish the president's rectum, I'm thinking you're probably doing him and his subordinates a huge favor.

(sorry for the thread-jack. I'll stop now)

#44 ::: Betsey Langan ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 06:13 PM:

Dan, re-read Nathan's link in #38, bearing in mind that urishiol, present in traditional tree-sap lacquer, is the active ingredient in poison ivy.

You may still think that a laquered probe is preferable to a splintery one. But neither one of them is a favor to the body corporeal. (Now the body politic on the other hand...)

#45 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 06:18 PM:

Betsey 44: Thank you. That was my point.

#46 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 06:23 PM:

Ahh... I missed that bit, Betsey. Thank you very much for pointing it out.

#47 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 06:31 PM:

I was under the impression that once the lacquer has cured the reaction is much less likely. (Not that I'm against applying a probe coated with wet lacquer to that specific piece of anatomy; I think that both Shrub and Darth Cheney deserve the honor.)

It's also the active ingredient in poison oak, which is a spectacular red/orange/gold in the fall. It gets people who go out looking for 'fall color' in California.

#48 ::: Nadai ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 07:43 PM:

Doctors are attempting to discover exactly how far up his ass George’s head is located.

They'll need an Ear, Nose & Throat specialist for that.

#49 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 07:46 PM:

""The nukes land in fifteen minutes." Dick dashes foir the door. Outside, a helicoper engine is running."

Please. They'd hi-five each other and break open a fifth of Jack Daniels.

#50 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 07:50 PM:

Serge #2: Nor did mine, but if you combined us both we'd still not reach the colon size of the president.

#51 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 07:53 PM:

When I had my first colonoscopy, this past winter, they cut out two polyps, but, fortunately, neither was Cheney malign.

#52 ::: Joe McMahon ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 08:28 PM:

Nathan@31: "Legally, probably yeah, but it'd make him look quite bad."

Ar you thinking of the same person I am?

#53 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 10:54 PM:

Nathan@22: I was told 7 years was the standard, but I should come back in 5 due to "quality of the preparation" (e.g., getting the instructions closer to the appointment than I was supposed to start changing my diet); I can easily see Shrub not following doctors' orders.

#54 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 12:49 AM:

I'm so ashamed that I didn't immediately get the Glory Road reference; I'll probably be docked a few hundred egoboo points for that. Ah, well.

As for Libby, as far as I know, the reason he didn't get a full pardon is because that would leave the Administration vulnerable to compelled testimony from him since he'd no longer be incriminating himself over Plamegate. Of course, the response then would likely be another outrage to the dignity of the Constitution over blocked testimony via unlimited executive privilege.

#55 ::: Nathan Russell ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 01:15 AM:

#52: Was before I was born, but yeah, very likely.

#56 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 10:20 AM:

Now why am I starting to think of that Heinlein title as Glory Hole? (Ducks and runs....)

PS: Hmm, even "Ducks and runs" takes on a new meaning in the context of this discussion. Argh! This is starting to segue into one of Jim's medical threads.

#57 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 11:15 AM:

Nathan Russell (31):
"Supervised release" means that Libby will have to report to a probation officer occasionally. Who will be too busy keeping tabs on the drug/alcohol status and recidivism of other probationers. Probably one pace-to-face visit, then a few phone calls a month. It would be amusing for Libby to get a probation officer that would not let him take a job that would put him in contact with the people who were associated with his crime. But that's a pipe dream on a day when the opium is particularly good.

#58 ::: Tim in Albion ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 12:06 PM:

A friend over in the UK suggests the real reason for the procedure is: Blair has gone missing.

#59 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 12:22 PM:

I am a nice person and I would not wish for anyone to die on the operating table. (Especially if the immediate consequence of such a death would be President Dick Cheney.)

However ...

Is it too much to hope that the surgeons subtly botched the polyp removal and that W will hereafter and for the rest of his life suffer from hemorrhoids?

#60 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 01:04 PM:

gurnemanz @ 6, I apologize; I should at least have provided some kind of link to explain the reference.

One of those "I don't really want to find out the answer" questions -- If Cheney ordered something like a nuclear strike as soon as W went under, would he be obeyed? I gather that technically he'd have the authority.

#61 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 08:10 PM:

60: IIRC, in the waning days of the Nixon administration, Al Haig was keeping an eye on Nixon. He talked to others in the command hierarchy, and if Nixon were to 'go nuclear', they were to check with Al first.

Don't know if there is any real adult supervision in the current crowd.

#62 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 10:27 AM:

#59: no, it wouldn't; after all, he's a PITA to the rest of us.

#63 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 10:37 AM:

Charlie @ 59

Well, you could maybe hope that one of the polyps was of a nature that will require chemo for several months. (Not, in fact, an unusual result.) I'm not mean enough to wish him the side-effects my mother had, because then we'd end up with President Cheney, a conclusion devoutly not to be wished.

#64 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 12:20 PM:

PJ Evans #63: I'm not mean enough to wish him the side-effects my mother had

I'll wish him the side effects my mother had: almost uncontrollable diarrhea due to some sort of bacterial takeover, presumably from not-entirely-clean implements. Took them a couple of months to figure out what was going on and feed her the appropriate antibiotics.

#65 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 04:08 PM:

63/64: I have a colonoscopy coming up in a few weeks, and y'all are not helping. :)

#66 ::: Scott D-S ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 04:20 PM:

I am envisioning the Onion headline right now:

"Bush Colonoscopy Normal - Search For Brain Continues"

#67 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 06:07 PM:

I'm kind of hoping Bush will have some facial scarring.

#68 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 04:11 AM:

#61, wasn't that Reagon, rather than Nixon? Haig certainly took a rather public "I am in control" stance when Reagan was shot, but that's been explained as a side effect of confusion elsewhere.

It's the large meteorite scenario that's worrying. I don't think Cheney would wait for evidence, with an excuse like that, while at least reading about goats would give us all a little time.

#69 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 08:26 AM:

68: No, that's the story as I remember it (although I have no memory of where I heard that story). Haig was White House Chief of Staff for Nixon.

He was later Secretary of State for Reagan, where, as you say, he told reporters he was 'in control' when Reagan had been shot.

#70 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 10:42 AM:

joann @ 64

That's what happened to my mother (the first time, it stopped after a day; second time, two days; third time, not) but she got a blood clot in the leg (DVT, probably) and it was downhill from there.

#71 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 10:43 AM:

joann @ 64

That's what happened to my mother (the first time, it stopped after a day; second time, two days; third time, not) but she got a blood clot in the leg (DVT, probably) and it was downhill from there.

(If this is a double post, it's because my compter keeps trying to do an update-restart)

#72 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 11:11 AM:

Rob Rusick @61, 69, about Al Haig being a screen for Nixon's actions.... I believe that you heard that in the same place that I did, which was on NPR sometime in the last year. I have an actual memory of where I was when I heard the interview, but I can't say for sure what show it was on. I think they were talking to someone who had recently published a book, but the details escape me.

#73 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 11:11 AM:

Mary Aileen (65), just tell your guy you favor an aggressive approach to pain management.

If you have to be awake, see if you can talk them into turning the viewscreen so you can see it. IMO, internal scans are always better if you get to watch. (Of course, I also think that about root canal. Your mileage may vary.)

#74 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 11:18 AM:

Xopher @ 34... I've had a colonoscopy without anesthesia

So did I. What they did was give me a drug that scrambles short-term memory so that I basically didn't remember any discomfort. Hmm... Isn't that the normal state of affairs for Chimpy?

#75 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 01:05 PM:

I am informed that I was attempting to hold an erudite philosophical discussion as I went under, and that I attempted to continue it when I came out. Given that my philosophy isn't all that erudite at the best of times, I really wish somebody had thought to write it down.

#76 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 05:15 PM:

#75 joann:

I vaguely racall making some comment to the doctor, while watching the procedure onscreen, about the appendix being intended to digest grass or something. Though IMO, the procedure was not a big deal (and I have to do another one soon), but the preparation for it was very unpleasant. I especially liked when the nurse brought me a pitcher of laxative, and cheerfully told me to "call when this one is out, and we'll bring you another."

#77 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 08:11 PM:

Serge, #74, that's Versed, which doesn't work on me. I haven't had sigmoidoscopy yet because Kaiser won't back off on the prep which would require me to give myself an enema while driving on I-66. I'm actually pushing for prep that doesn't strip liquid like that, since I have trouble staying hydrated. In other procedures, the anesthesiologists just give me local blocks.

#78 ::: Seth Breidbart ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 11:02 PM:

Xopher 24 (question 3): They have to check both, that's why it's taking twice as long as for a human.

#79 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 07:38 PM:

Is it over? Is it ok to open my eyes yet??

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