Monday, September 14, 2015

On Behalf Of Patriots Nation, This Fan Confesses

GOUVEIA: A confession on behalf of Patriot Nation

He admits to everything the team's been accused of - and a lot more
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Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2015 10:46 pm | Updated: 11:04 pm, Sun Sep 13, 2015.
As a longtime Patriot fan and 44-year season ticket holder, I am pleased to announce Patriot Nation has collectively agreed to confess.
We can't keep denying it any longer. The pressure has become too much for us. The preponderance of circumstantial, undocumented, unreliable and unattributed "evidence" presented by those we keep destroying on the field and in the courtroom has simply overcome us. It is time for all of us to finally admit it.
Yes - we cheat. We cheat constantly. There is simply nothing we won't do to gain a competitive advantage over you. You've got us. All the things ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and Paranoid Monthly Magazine said in their recent articles are true. We do it all.
We have all your playbooks. We have videotapes of every strategy session you've ever had. Your homes are bugged. The Patriots secretly own the company that picks up your trash. There is nothing you can do to hide from us.
Bill Belichick knows every play the other team is going to run before they even call it. Your footballs contain microscopically small pumps that inflate the balls when you are on offense. The maids in your hotels rooms when you come here go through your bags for information while you are practicing.
Yes Pittsburgh, we messed with your headsets. We hope you appreciated the irony of having to listen to our play-by-play broadcast instead of hearing your coaches. We were going to make you listen to Donald Trump speeches or "Having My Baby" by Paul Anka, but hey - even we have limits.
It's true, we warm up the energy drinks in your locker room on purpose. And those healthy snacks we supply are actually almost 2 pounds per square inch under the legal sugar limit. Not only that, but we put a diuretic in those chocolate chip cookies that said "Courtesy of the NFL."
Hope you enjoyed them.
In case you haven't noticed, the grass on our side of Gillette Stadium is actually 1/32nd of an inch higher than on your side, thus enabling us a softer practice surface. The water bubbler in your locker room is actually one inch lower than in our area, forcing you to pull back muscles bending over.
The buses that bring you to the stadium are hooked up to closed-circuit television. The drivers are all Kraft family cousins. We have the DNA of every player on your team, and review your medical records to determine any weakness we might exploit.
Judge Berman got us all of your legal records so we can use them for blackmail purposes. Your therapists are all on our payroll. We have 4-year-old spies planted in your kids' preschool. Every time you change the TV channel at home with your remote control, we know about it.
Ted Wells actually works as a ball boy for the Patriots during our super-secret practice sessions no one knows about. And it is time you all knew that the rumors are true: Tom Brady is actually a cyborg who was constructed in a laboratory by Belichick while he was still employed by the New York Jets.
What's that, you say? You can't believe the lengths we have gone to in order to be the best, most competitive, most winning franchise in any league over the last 16 years? Well, they have to be true - right?
I mean, it couldn't have been because we are the best-run organization in professional sports. It can't be that we had players who were tremendously skilled and worked selflessly together toward a common goal.
It can't be possible that we have had the best owner in football, not to mention the greatest quarterback who has ever played the game.
And, of course, our record of excellence can't possibly be due to having the best coach in the history of football. He's a pain to deal with and mean to the media. He designs sneaky plays to fool the other teams. He's just not nice.
And it certainly can't be that we are in your heads, that we psychologically destroy you before the games are even played.
No, that makes no sense.
We must be cheaters. Let's just go with that.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime Patriots fan. He can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Some 9/11 Changes Were Good, Some Were Not

GOUVEIA: Steep price in liberty paid since those attacks

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Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2015 10:17 pm | Updated: 11:02 pm, Thu Sep 10, 2015.
It's September 11th - the day that changed America.
It was 14 years ago today a group of suicidal terrorists hijacked airliners and crashed them into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, killing thousands of Americans. Thanks to the actions of some heroic passengers, their other stolen plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field before it could reach its intended target.
America lost a lot that fateful day, beginning with the innocent victims who died. This included passengers, people on the ground, and the brave first-responders who put themselves at risk by running in when most were running out.
But the other part of 9/11 is the effect it had on those of us fortunate enough to survive. Or perhaps more accurately, the effect it had on our country, our idea of safety and security and our approach to life and politics in general.
It would take more space than is available here to fully detail all the ways the United States changed that day. Some effects were obvious and immediate. Others were more subtle and took longer to materialize. And some were good, while others were at best questionable.
For those who remember flying prior to late 2001, going to an airport is a completely different experience. Checking bags and carrying things on an airplane is regulated far beyond what it was then. Accompanying your loved ones to the gate is a thing of the past. Heck, even carrying a bottle of mouthwash in your carry-on can get you branded as a security problem.
Because of that tragic day, you can't bring a pocketknife on a plane. Yet after several school shootings, we can't come close to renewing a previous ban on assault weapons. Go figure.
But the political changes are what most directly affect our lives, even if they seem a bit less obvious than the travel restrictions. September 11th enabled and ushered in a new era of conservative activism, social reform and aggressive foreign policy attitudes, which have greatly affected the current status of America.
It is no coincidence that our last federal government surplus was in 2001. The initial increase in defense and security spending was totally understandable and necessary. No one really knew what was to follow the attacks on our homeland back then, and our government had a clear responsibility to ramp up our preparedness.
But the Patriot Act (a politically-charged naming if there ever was one) went far beyond mere security. It made basic changes in the freedoms and privacy most Americans enjoyed. It allowed government unprecedented access to our personal lives, and was supported by those who had spent a lifetime generally opposing what they now advocated.
And Americans were much more supportive of making someone else pay for our pain - even if they weren't really to blame for it. The Bush administration and our intelligence community (both previous and subsequent) acted out on behalf of America.
At the cost of thousands of American lives, we attacked and toppled Saddam Hussein, a ruthless dictator who we ultimately discovered had little or nothing to do with attacks on America. We attacked Afghanistan, where many of the true terrorists were hiding with the support of some governments in that area.
Our federal spending soared to new heights. Military budgets saw a revitalization. More than 250 governmental agencies have been created since 2001, according to the Washington Post. The budgets of the TSA, the Coast Guard and the Border Patrol have all more than doubled.
And we as citizens have pretty much just accepted it.
We now tolerate behavior from public officials (or those seeking office) that we never would have accepted before. We willingly sacrifice parts of our constitutional rights to gain some security, a move Benjamin Franklin warned us against centuries ago.
The people who died that fateful day 14 years ago deserve to be remembered and mourned. The strength of our country in rebounding from that day deserves to be celebrated.
America has changed since then, and not always for the better. But we still have the ability to shape the future.
As I submit this, I am awaiting my fifth grandchild. His/her anticipated arrival date is today - September 11th.
I believe that to be a sign of better days.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime local official. He can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Kim Davis Is An Example - For Change

This column appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Monday, September 7, 2015.

GOUVEIA: Kim Davis controversy reminds us we should appoint, not elect, clerks

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Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2015 8:45 pm | Updated: 11:33 am, Tue Sep 8, 2015.
Thank you, Kim Davis. You made a point I have been advancing for decades far better than I have ever done. Good job.
For those who don't know, Kim Davis is the elected county clerk in Rowan County, Ky. At this writing she is residing in the Carter County Detention Center because she refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay couples despite the fact that is part of her job.
To the far right and conservative politicians like Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, she is a hero standing up for her fundamental Christian beliefs. To the courts, she is a disobedient elected official who is in contempt of court for failing to follow the law.
To me, she is Exhibit A in the list of reasons why town/city/county clerks should be appointed rather than elected. That is a battle I have been fighting for the better part of the last three decades. But Kim Davis has brought all the reasons supporting it into much clearer focus than I could have ever done.
Davis is a fundamentalist Christian who believes gay marriage is a sin and an abomination. She says it goes against her conscience and beliefs to award marriage licenses to gay couples. She claims she should not have to go against her beliefs in issuing said licenses.
The courts have ruled she is a municipal employee who is refusing to do her job. The Supreme Court has ruled such licenses are legal, and Clerk Davis believes she has the right to ignore that.
Let's give Davis the benefit of the doubt and assume her religious beliefs are honestly and closely held. If they mean that much to her, if she cannot possibly allow herself to grant wedding licenses, she has a few valid options.
She could refuse to do it personally and have others in her office handle the licensing. Or she could truly follow her conscience and show that the religious beliefs are at the heart of her objection - and resign. She could just refuse to be a part of what she believes to be wrong.
But Davis doesn't feel THAT strongly about it. She has demonstrated she's willing to go to jail over the issue, which certainly speaks to her commitment (or her intelligence, depending on your point of view).
She has clearly stated "God's authority" supersedes the law in this instance. Which makes her totally unfit for the position she holds. Being a clerk has nothing to do with God, religion, or personal beliefs. It is a job. The person holding it is a paid employee. They are subject to the rules and laws of the land.
If Davis were an appointed official, she could be fired for failing to do her job. But because she is elected, the process to remove her is political, long and arduous. She knows this, or she would not be taking the hardline position she currently holds.
This is exactly why local clerk positions should also be appointed and not elected - because their personal beliefs have absolutely nothing to do with the job they must perform.
Think about it. We don't elect school superintendents, who spend the lion's share of our local budgets. We don't elect police and fire chiefs, who are responsible for our safety and that of our families. We don't elect the town managers/town administrators who oversee them.
But for the most part, we still elect clerks. Why? Because we always have. Because it seems more democratic. Because "they can't keep taking away our right to vote".
But when we elect a clerk rather than hiring one, we lose a large amount of control. We can't set firm hours. We can't insist the operation of the office comply with town procedures and rules. And more importantly - we can't easily fire them if they screw up.
So I would like to publicly thank Kim Davis. By being a bigoted scofflaw who places herself above the law and those she serves, she has perfectly illustrated why I and others have fought to make town and city clerks appointed. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Let's hope our local communities learn a lesson from Kim Davis.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime local official. He can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.