Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Torturing the Truth

I completed the Long Island ½ marathon on Sunday with a new PR for the distance-1:47.53. This marks the third consecutive ½ marathon in the last year where my time has improved. I do realize that at some point the limitations of flesh and bone will invariably intersect with the decreasing numbers on the clock and I will be forced to confront the reality of aging and diminishing performance. But not quite yet. Running has saved my more times than I can count so I will keep at it until they carry me off the road kicking and screaming.

Speaking of kicking and screaming, it appears that the Obama DOJ has decided not to prosecute the attorneys who wrote the so-called “torture memos,” which gave the CIA permission under color of law to torture suspected Al Qaeda operatives to extract information about future attacks on the United States. Instead, they plan on wagging a stern finger at the naughty lawyers and suggesting that they be reported to their local bar association for disciplinary action. I don’t know where these lawyers practice, but the only thing that will get you disciplined by the bar where I live is if you flagrantly steal a client’s money. Using flimsy legal arguments to justify torture that ends in death? We call that zealous advocacy ‘round these parts.

I had thought that when I pulled the lever for a Democrat in this last election that I would be doing my part to help reverse the general collapse of the rule of law in the United States. The Patriot Act, warrantless wiretapping, torture were legacies of a reactionary Republican administration, or so I thought. It is worth recalling that we prosecuted Japanese soldiers who used waterboarding in WWII. Why is Obama willing to look the other way while those who perpetrated the act in our name get away with murder?

Friday, May 01, 2009


This Sunday I’ll be towing the line at the Long Island half-marathon; the second year in a row I’ve braved the boredom of the Wantagh Parkway in pursuit of inner excellence. This will be my 3rd ½ marathon in the last year. I discovered that the distance is perfect for the time constraints I have; the training isn’t so onerous that I’m away from the house for too long on the week-ends, and the race (with any luck) is over in less than two hours. At times I wish I could get back into running full marathons, ultras even, but I simply do not have the time to adequately train and also spend enough quality time with the family. Plus, when I’m running a race my 41 year old knees start telling me that 13.2 miles is QUITE enough. Erin is kind enough to allow me an hour on Saturday and Sunday to run, unencumbered by either guilt or a baby jogger, so I have been learning to squeeze as much joy out of my runs as possible.

The north shore of Long Island is a great place to run but it can also be fairly challenging. Despite the relatively empty roads and bucolic scenery-views of the Sound abound-there are also a lot of very wealthy people driving around in big cars while simultaneously talking on cell phones. I have had to jump the curb many times to avoid being flattened by Bentleys and Hummers whose drivers were more intent on their phone calls than on what was going on in the space around their cars. After running for 20 years on the roads you develop a 6th sense of which cars pose the most danger, even if you’re jamming down the road blasting your i-pod. There are also a lot of hills, but I prefer running up hills to running on the flats.

Have a good week-end everyone.