PATRIOT UPDATE….Here’s some good news. It looks like PATRIOT II is dead:

The sequel ? dubbed Patriot Act II by critics but never officially proposed by the department ? would have made it easier to hold suspects and deny them bail and included provisions that would set up a DNA database for people associated with terrorist groups and lift court orders barring police from spying on dissidents, among other features.

But the recent release of a joint congressional report investigating the Sept. 11 attacks ? and the nearly 900-page document’s portrayal of the intelligence community as stunningly inept in tracking down clues before the attacks ? has given some members of Congress pause about giving the same agencies much new clout.

The Justice Department already seems to be adjusting its sights. One person familiar with the department’s agenda said the original Patriot II proposal is now “dead.”

In addition, an amendment that would eliminate the “sneak and peek” searches authorized in the original PATRIOT Act seems to be gaining ground. As one unnamed Democrat put it, “I had no idea that we had so many Republican friends on this issue. It shows a lot of discontent on their side.”

Good for them.