One of the many things I like about the blogosphere is how it has allowed readers to rediscover what I call the basic journalistic virtues or characters. Chief among these is the news magnet—this term describes a person who seems to draw significant news toward her or himself, kind of the way a game will naturally form around a gym rat on the basketball court. The blogosphere has grown up around characters like these, from Drudge to Daily Kos to Smoking Gun.
One of my favorite news magnets goes by the name Exoplanet, and he is the gathering force behind Deficient Brain. Today, he is featuring a story he found at Guardian Unlimited. It's about secret torture camps run by the Brits in the post-WWII era. The story itself is very unsettling, and the pictures are not the sort of thing you'd want to view while digesting dinner. Yet we have to know about it.
I'm betting that if our governmental and military leaders had studied stories like the one revealed today in Britain, and the horrors perpetrated by America against Japanese Americans during and after WWII, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, and Gitmo might never have happened.
You'd be amazed at the strength that simple awareness has on the mind. You can show a man pictures like I saw at Exo's blog today, and they will make more of a mark on his soul and his subsequent behavior than if you got him to memorize the entire text of the Geneva Convention by rote.
Just a thought for the future; not to mention another perfect illustration of that old saw first coined by George Santayana—presented here in its original context (see if anyone jumps to mind at the phrase "infancy is perpetual"):
Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Speaking of progress, another of my favorite news magnets is American Progress and its sterling blog, Think Progress. Today they exposed the efforts of noted climatologists George Will and Robert Novak and their campaign to debunk the global warming myth.
I have frequently had occasion to see the error that nuts like Will and Novak are attempting, in their distorted, malinformed way, to communicate to us; and it boils down to more than mere semantics. For the problem is not global warming, but global poisoning; and every responsible and independent scientific and climatological organization and consortium known to me has validated its ominous reality. In fact, I've been collecting links on this issue, and have a fair few to offer. If you have more, and especially if you have some links to valid, peer-reviewed scientific research that was not funded by oil companies supporting Will and Novak, then by all means send them along.
The Millennial Assessment: news story | original documentation.
Polar Melting: news story | NASA graphics | scientific data sheet |
Northern Exposure: news story | book reviews | UN Report
That, I am sure, is merely the tip of the melting iceberg that Will and Novak choose to ignore or suppress. But give them credit—they're the ones that get the ink.