Critics will no doubt say I am accusing the Bush administration of being Hitler. I’m not. There is no comparison between the political system in Germany in 1937 and the U.S. in 2007. What I am reporting is a simple empirical fact: the interrogation methods approved and defended by this president are not new. Many have been used in the past. The very phrase used by the president to describe torture-that-isn’t-somehow-torture — “enhanced interrogation techniques” — is a term originally coined by the Nazis. The techniques are indistinguishable. The methods were clearly understood in 1948 as war-crimes. The punishment for them was death.
The folks behind the Ontario Reptile Expo (hi there, Grant) had their second Ottawa-area show in Kemptville yesterday: they changed locations to the local arena, which I promptly forgot until I arrived at the empty former location. It’s the wrong season for me because the colubrids I’m interested in have yet to hatch — most animals for sale were lizards, boas or pythons — so at least we came home unscathed with only a big bag of aspen shavings and a whole whack of photos. The main reason for attending such events is social (much to the vendors’ chagrin, I think).
I’ve never seen such wide aisles at a reptile show: usually the vendors’ tables are packed in so tightly that if people are stopped at a table on each side the aisle is completely blocked. Nice to be able to circulate.
I volunteer for the Pontiac Archives, which mostly involves me opening and staffing the Archives on Saturdays. It’s usually pretty quiet: many days I go without a single customer, but I believe it’s important to be available. Frequently I get people coming in hoping to use our Internet access, which, of course, we don’t let them do.
Today, though, it got weird. Shortly after I opened this morning, a youngish woman entered looking quite flustered. She wanted to check the Internet for something. More precisely, she wanted to check the Internet to see if something had occurred that would, as near as I could gather from what she was saying, be the sign of the imminent Apocalypse or something.
That’s right: she wanted to check to see if the Rapture was nigh. And she was quite agitated about it.
I suggested she try one of the public terminals upstairs in the library. She asked me whether it would matter if she didn’t have a library card.
Now really, if you’re expecting Götterdammerung, shouldn’t you be better prepared than that?