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Cop-Out List Post (Thoughts before Bed)

Things I read about, think about and would like to comment on if I didn’t also need sleep so badly:

  • I’m a big fan of libraries and archives, mostly because I love books, the physicality of them, and I love to sort and organize stuff, but I also recognize that libraries perform an important function in preserving our cultural history. And now a lot of our cultural effects are in digital form and we haven’t really confronted the question of how to preserve all of this. Because digital formats are changing so quickly, a lot of stuff gets lost as it becomes technologically obsolete and therefore unreadable. Floppy disks anyone? Jim Barksdale and Francine Berman championed Saving Our Digital Heritage in Wednesday’s Washington Post and while I want to say I can’t believe $47 million of funding from a 2000 programme for digital preservation was rescinded I also can’t say I’m surprised.
  • Torture is still an abomination and a horrible idea as far as strategies go and waving around 24-style fright scenarios of ticking bombs and nukes in L.A. doesn’t change that (yes, Republican Presidential Candidate Debate #2, I’m looking at you here). Do we really need our own military  to remind us of this? Say it with me (and  Charles  C. Krulak and  Joseph P. Hoar):  torture is still bad, it betrays us and breeds new enemies, and it’s our cage too.
  • In a similar vein: Army Officer Accuses Generals of “Intellectual and Moral Failures”
  • And one more from the military: General Petraeus reminds the troops (and us all – White House, are you listening? Presidential candidates, are you listening?) that “Our values and the laws governing warfare teach us to respect human dignity, maintain our integrity, and do what is right. Adherence to our values distinguishes us from our enemies.” If you couldn’t repress a cynical snort while reading this quote, please take a moment and think about what this means. Have we lost our values so completely in our scramble for perceived security? Are we so afraid that all we have left are empty phrases and false patriotism? Well, yeah, it looks like it but at least seeing that there are a few people left in the upper ranks of those we have burdened with actually fighting for us who still recognize integrity and human dignity gives me a small measure of hope.

And that’s all I’ve got for now, although there’s plenty more. Like the showdown between NYC and Virginia over gun law enforcement, the demographic changes DC faces due in part to gentrification, Wolfowitz finally resigning from the World Bank, and Paris Hilton’s jail sentence reduced (sigh).  But since I need sleep I cannot dwell on this stuff now. There’s always more tomorrow.


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