by Unknown | 2/16/2009 02:38:00 PM
Regular PH commenter Maarja Krusten has a great article at HNN on why the Nixon Tapes haven't yet been released to the public in their entirety.

Highlights from other blogs: at Historiann, a pending discussion of feminism and patriarchy in history and a good rundown of the latest, flawed Presidential ranking. At Edge of the American West, a post on Ronald Reagan and the National Spelling Bee and a great denunciation of Stanley Fish.

Finally, Rob MacDougall, who's probably the non-PH history blogger I'd most like to get to know better, announces the retirement of Bill Turkel's blog Digital History Hacks. It's a sad day for the historical blogosphere, though apparently Bill will still be around and working on important digital history projects.

What's on your mind?




Blogger Unknown on 2/16/2009 3:05 PM:

Something in that third-to-last sentence doesn't read right, but I can't figure out why. Need more sleep...


Blogger Ahistoricality on 2/16/2009 3:27 PM:

It's awkward, but clear: go to sleep.

In other news, Battlestar Galactica gets historical. Of course, it's the standard mythohistory common to SF, rather than anything resembling real human affairs, but it's interesting to see people trying to understand the show as the end result of a long historical process. I don't watch it myself, mind you, but it's still interesting to watch the discussions.


Anonymous Anonymous on 2/16/2009 5:33 PM:

Thanks for the very nice words about my Nixon tapes article, Jeremy. Much appreciated. I had to keep my HNN article to a certain word count (not longer than 1500, give or take a little). So I couldn't explain what archival review means. Obviously, NARA doesn't release everything. Its employees screen materials to see what can be opened and what requires restriction. So the tapes never could be released in their "entirely." The disclosable portions from Feb. 1971-July 1973 (the period when the tape recordsrs ran) should have been released by now, however.

Here are the categories for which we screened the Nixon tapes, as copied off of a public withdrawal sheet:
A. Release would violate a Federal statute.
B. National security classified information.
C. Pending or approved claim that release would violate an individuals's rights.
D. Release would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy or a libel of a living person.
E. Release would disclose trade secrets or confidential commercial or financial information.
F. Release would disclose investigatory information compiled for law enforcement purposes.
G. Withdrawn and return[ed] private and personal material.
H. Withdrawn and returned non-historical material.

A-F are typical of restrictions NARA applies to archival records and are based on various federal statutes. G and H were unique to the Nixon records, which were seized in place. Since they didn't come to NARA through normal records management, our first decision in listening to taped conversations or reading documents was (1) does the information relate to governmental actions or (2) is it purely personal. If the latter, we cut it out for return to Nixon as the proprietary rights lay with him (later his estate) rather than with the government. If the former, we decided if A-F applied or if it was disclosable.

It's the same as if you worked for a state entity which operated a records management program and might be responsive to open records requests. Your work related records would be official but any personal material you kept in your desk or in your computer (information about a doctor's visit, family finances, e-mail messages you received from friends and family about non-work related matters, etc.) wouldn't be.

Thanks again!




Anonymous Anonymous on 2/16/2009 5:49 PM:

It's also worth mentioning that my article shows how my thinking has developed over time. Compare what I say this week on HNN to this article from 2004:

(Sorry, guys, but I don't know how to make that a clickable link. :-p Someday I'll have to take the time to Google around and learn how to do that. Age 58 is *not* too old to learn something like that, LOL.)

BTW, if you read the 2004 article I wrote for HNS, you'll see I am wearing a flag pin in the photo. It was taken in February 2004 at a point when I made an effort to wear a flag pin every day. I stopped doing that later that year. By 2009, on the anniversary of 9/11, I actually pinned a flag pin inside my suit jacket, close to my heart, where no one could see it. I had become so tired of the arguments over wearing flag pins that I wasn't going to let anyone see me wearing mine. Wearing a flag pin was just something I did to honor those who acted with courage on 9/11 -- but I did it privately.

But I digress. I learned a great deal about John Taylor from his blog at TNN and at the Episconixonian. We actually became virtual friends over the last year and neither of us uses the type of rhetoric we once did in discussing release of the Nixon tapes. As I noted at an Orange County (California) site last week, times change, conditions change, the views of stakeholders change. The Nixon side handles things very differently now that it did when the former President still was alive and in the years immediately following his death.

That you are able to say in your blog that you have re-thought things as you've learned and considered new information actually gives me confidence that this is a good way to act within the blogosphere. Hooray for Jeremy!



Anonymous Anonymous on 2/16/2009 6:03 PM:

Sorry, obviously "by 2009, on the anniversary of 9/11" should have read "by 2008, on the anniversary." Maybe I need some sleep too, LOL.


Blogger idiosynchronic on 2/16/2009 9:03 PM:

Hey gang - local Iowa blogger JOhn Deeth has written nice lead of 4 articles on bipartisanship.

I think it'd be good for Deeth's work to get more eyes. I'd repost it, but I'm not Deeth. :)


Blogger Ahistoricality on 2/16/2009 10:34 PM:

When was the last time a state went broke? Two states at the same time?


Blogger Scott MacNeil on 2/17/2009 12:00 AM:

Clearly, this is a digital recreation of a 3rd year seminar class. Disjointed and frayed.

Though I appreciated reading the knowledge conveyed in some of the omments; I nevertheless maintain that it is obligatory that all 'thread weavers' should sleep before posting.

Randomly spinning links without a unifying theme do not a thought make!


Blogger Ahistoricality on 2/17/2009 1:15 AM:

Open threads are more like post-seminar coffee and donuts. Or beer and pretzels, though my seminars never seem to have gone that way.


Blogger AndrewMc on 2/17/2009 8:10 AM:

I seem to recall that New York went broke in the late 1970s.


Blogger AndrewMc on 2/17/2009 8:16 AM:

"Peer Review" comments are now working again.


Blogger Ahistoricality on 2/17/2009 8:29 AM:

Thanks, Andrew!

[now watch the site stats drop because I check less often!]


Blogger Unknown on 2/17/2009 9:44 AM:

Yay for comments!


Blogger AndrewMc on 2/17/2009 3:23 PM:

"now watch the site stats drop because I check less often!"

Hmmmmmm. It'd be interesting to see how many click-throughs/page visits there are from the broken week to the fixed week.


Blogger AndrewMc on 3/12/2009 1:25 PM:

Welcome aboard! Great to see you. I hope you feel free to weigh in as you feel the inclination. Cheers!