Saturday, February 27, 2010

The end of David Paterson

As you may have heard, New York Gov. David Paterson has announced that he will not seek re-election. (Or, rather, will not seek election. He was, after all, not elected to the office of governor but appointed, by succession, following Spitzer's scandal-fueled resignation.) He pulled out, following a good deal of justifiable speculation in the New York media, "amid crumbling support from his party and an uproar over his administration's intervention in a domestic violence case involving a close aide."

It is not clear what he did or didn't do in the matter of that "close aide," David Johnson. State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, himself with designs on the governor's mansion in Albany, will investigate.
And it could very well be that LG&M's Scott Lemieux is right:

One thing worth noting is that, while it will get much less attention (especially nationally), the scandal that seems to have ended Paterson's political career would in any rational world be considered much more serious than those that have presumably ended the political careers of the likes of Mark Sanford or John Edwards. (Or, although the commercial transaction makes it slightly trickier, Elliot Spitzer.) Without getting in to moral comparisons, abusing the powers of your office to protect a domestic abuser strikes me as much worse than consensual adultery from the standpoint of one's fitness to stand in office.

Again, there's a lot we don't know yet. And I'm not so sure the moral/ethical distance between Paterson and Sanford is all that great, given that the latter lied about his whereabouts and used state resources to conduct his, er, affairs. Still, Paterson almost makes Spitzer look good, in retrospect -- at least Spitzer, after all, knew what he was doing, was a compelling figure (and remains one today), and didn't seem thoroughly incompetent, and worse.

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  • Fanfare for the Common Crook [Today's News Poem, March 3, 2010]

    “Mr. Johnson also attended the World Series game in question and was involved in soliciting the tickets from Yankees officials. The tickets, with a face value of $425 each, were for seats a few rows behind home plate.”
    --Nicholas Confessore, and David M. Halbfinger, The New York Times, March 3, 2010

    “For the second time in two days, Racine police arrested a shoplifter who went on the attack when confronted by store personnel... Reports said the 23-year-old security guard watched Budner take the $179 coffee maker and then walk past the last point of purchase at JCPenney Tuesday just after 6 p.m. The guard told officers he chased Budner, who fled out the northwest doors of the store, across the parking lot into the Applebee's restaurant parking lot. ”
    --MARCI LAEHR TENUTA, The Journal Times, March 3, 2010 12:46 pm

    I) A Fine Distinction
    Accusing me of being high? I'm low!
    And lower all the time. So what? I took
    A piece of crap. It wasn't worth much dough.
    You treat me like another sort of crook!
    Just look at David Patterson. He stole
    From New York state enough to burn in hell:
    Indulging him because he rode a poll
    And throwing desperates like me in cells
    Because confusing rules of theft and gift...
    I will admit my ignorance of laws.
    I might not know the proper ways to sift;
    To play the legal code and use its flaws
    But isn't there a code all thieves can use?
    To see what is legit and what's abuse?

    II) Why the River Lethe
    A puff of weed destroys the pain
    Of traumas pent within the brain.
    A snort of coke for richer folk
    Will lace a harshness in their jokes.
    With both, a drug is just the means
    By which they glimpse at better scenes.
    We own whatever we obtain.
    Since loss is pain, we must sustain
    Our gains—though loss is life's great crux,
    We stave its rush with lots of bucks.

    We yearn and so we die in bits
    And bored to death between the scares
    We drink whatever gives us fits:
    As life denies us, takes our wares

    In increments too small to note—
    A tiny death by desk: a rote
    And wearing task of paper null.
    This prison has no outer hull:
    Its bars are codicils of ink,
    And lawyers form its monied links.
    And when another fucker's crashed
    And tossed in bins as if he's trashed
    He'll seek that perfect cup of joe
    He has an image he must show

    The world: that he loves only pleasure—
    Or fears life's pain: they've equal measure.

    By Blogger Khakjaan Wessington, at 2:31 AM  

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