Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mission Accomplished

Well my friends, the Patriot has had a good run over the course of the past two years but I think it’s time to pull the plug. From the day I started hacking away at this blog in 2006 to the present day my life has changed in ways that would have seemed inconceivable to me then. The country has also gone through a lot of changes, very few of them positive ones, and whether we survive with our principles intact is a very open question in my mind.

I have decided to continue to blog, although postings on politics and political ideology will take a back seat to comments on the far more frustrating (yet rewarding) job of parenting little Jack Becket. I invite you all to stop by the new blog, “Who’s Your Daddy” and have a look around. The blog will primarily be concerned with, “Meditations and musings on being a single dad in New York. “ What this means exactly isn’t quite clear to me yet. Stay tuned. And thank you, dear readers, for your support over the last two years. It has been a real treat foaming at the mouth with all of you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Now I don't care that Spitzerwas sleeping with hookers, although to do so on Valentine's Day seems the height of bad taste when you are married and have three daughters waiting at home with heart-shaped cards and all that. What I do care about is how cavalierly he was shuffling money around and how his outsized ego seemed to warp his capacity for critical thinking. Did he really think that noone was watching? The man made a lot of enemies and all of them were lined up waiting for him to fuck up in some way. The hubris! I never really liked him personally; he was a bully and abused his office as attorney general, even though the net result of his prosecutions was generally positive for the people of New York. But he is also a lawyer, and the State Bar takes a dim view of lawyers who commit felonies. In fact, upon conviction they are instantly disbarred. Spitzer is familiar with what charges one can bring down on the heads of high priced call girl agencies through his moralistic crusade against them while he was attorney general, so he must have been aware that he was in violation of the Mann Act when he was arranging for Kristin to hop on the 5:39 Amtrak to DC. (The same train, incidentally, that I used to take home when I was commuting from to Philadelphia a few years ago). He also must have known that "stacking" your financial transactions to avoid raising the attention of the IRS is also a felony. This incredible lapse of judgment makes me question whether he is suffering from some sort of mental illness. The Republicans will have some fun with this one, but they probably shouldn't get out the knives until they find out who clients 1 through 8 were. What a flameout. See ya Spitzer.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Police State, Useless Congress, The Usual Stuff

I haven’t posted in a while. Mostly this is because I have not had any time, but it’s also partly because I have come to realize that living life is more interesting than writing about it. So what’s new? Things have been slow at work and I’ve taken a step back from distance running. I’m back to 5 miles per day for 6 days per week. I found that when I was running 10 on Sunday and continuing my weekly mileage I was pretty sore and I was also shoving a fair amount of high calorie food into my face because I was constantly hungry. As a result, despite getting my mileage up around 40 a week, I was incrementally gaining weight. This was not the result I hoped for so I’m circling in a running holding pattern until I can figure out when to up the mileage to better prepare for the Long Island ½ Marathon in May. The runner’s term for what I’m doing is accumulating “junk miles,” but I never liked the term. Holding pattern is more descriptive.

So, what has the government been up to lately? Let’s see, the Democratic controlled Congress is circulating a draft of its FISA bill which essentially gives Bush everything he asked for. The current draft does not contain telecom immunity (solely for temporary strategic reasons), but incorporates every substantive warrantless surveillance provision of the Rockefeller/Cheney bill passed by the Senate. The bill was drafted by Pelosi and Reyes, may they rot in hell, and is expected to be signed by the President without any complaints. Your opposition party at work in the Brave New World folks.

What else? Well, the Washington Post is reporting that the DOJ has created a domestic intelligence system set up through computer networks which will gather together broad new categories of behavior of Americans, from the suspicious to the innocuous. Federal authorities hope that The National Data Exchange, or N-DEx. DEx will become a "one-stop shop" enabling federal law enforcement, counterterrorism and intelligence analysts to automatically examine enormous caches of local and state records for the first time. But wait, doesn’t this violate our constitutional privacy rights? The answer is it depends on what your definition of “privacy” is:

"As Congress debates new rules for government eavesdropping, a top intelligence official says it is time that people in the United States changed their definition of privacy.
Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information. . . . "

You can trust us, we’re from the government! Remind me again why I should care who wins this election.