McCain Watch – Geneva Shmeneva

So you think that McCain is against the use of torture? After all, he was tortured so he must be against it. He says he’s against it, so he must be against it (because politicians never ever lie).

Well, not quite:

In September, 2006, McCain made a melodramatic display — with great media fanfare — of insisting that the MCA require compliance with the Geneva Conventions for all detainees. But while the MCA purports to require that, it also vested sole and unchallenged discretion in the President to determine what does and does not constitute a violation of the Conventions. After parading around as the righteous opponent of torture, McCain nonetheless endorsed and voted for the MCA, almost single-handedly ensuring its passage. That law pretends to compel compliance with the Conventions, while simultaneously vesting the President with the power to violate them — precisely the power that the President is invoking here to proclaim that we have the right to use these methods.

[From John McCain and Bush’s torture powers – Glenn Greenwald –]


In 2005, McCain led the effort in the Senate to pass the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA), which made the use of torture illegal. While claiming that he had succeeded in passing a categorical ban on torture, however, McCain meekly accepted two White House maneuvers that diluted his legislation to the point of meaningless: (1) the torture ban expressly applied only to the U.S. military, but not to the intelligence community, which was exempt, thus ensuring that the C.I.A.—the principal torture agent for the United States—could continue to torture legally; and (2) after signing the DTA into law, which passed the Senate by a vote of 90–9, President Bush issued one of his first controversial “signing statements” in which he, in essence, declared that, as President, he had the power to disregard even the limited prohibitions on torture imposed by McCain’s law.

McCain never once objected to Bush’s open, explicit defiance of his cherished anti-torture legislation, preferring to bask in the media’s glory while choosing to ignore the fact that his legislative accomplishment would amount to nothing. Put another way, McCain opted for the political rewards of grandstanding on the issue while knowing that he had accomplished little, if anything, in the way of actually promoting his “principles.”

[From John McCain and Bush’s torture powers – Glenn Greenwald –]

So yeah, McCain can talk all he wants to about how awful torture is as long as he doesn’t stand up against the White House and its culture of violence, lawlessness and torture. Not exactly the type of courage and strength I want in my President. What about you?

Rush Limbaugh in Love with Fascist Political Tactics

How do you think Mr. Limbaugh would respond if a bunch of Democrats started riots at the Republican National Convention in order to sow fear and chaos in the minds of the American public? Don’t you think he would find that kind of behavior to be un-American at best? In fact, I would bet money that if Democrats used violence in pursuit of political power, Mr. Limbaugh would be quite shrill in his condemnation of such tactics. And yet . . .

Talk show host Rush Limbaugh is sparking controversy again after he made comments that appear to call for riots in Denver during the Democratic National Convention this summer.

He said the riots would ensure a Democrat is not elected as president, and his listeners have a responsibility to make sure it happens.

“Riots in Denver, the Democrat Convention would see to it that we don’t elect Democrats,” Limbaugh said during Wednesday’s radio broadcast. He then went on to say that’s the best thing that could happen to the country.

[From Rush Limbaugh ‘Dreaming’ Of Riots In Denver – Denver News Story – KMGH Denver]

When you start urging violence as a political tool, as a tactic to disrupt a political party you don’t agree with, you are heading down a path that leads straight to the heart of fascism. As “has_te” points out over at Pandagon’s discussion of Limbaugh’s statements, political violence was the modus operandi of Hitler’s Brownshirts. For those who don’t remember:

They were the thugs Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) used in their drive to power: beating up opponents; destroying polling booths; driving off opposition party voters at the polls; stealing ballot boxes; attacking and trashing opposition party headquarters; and generally brutalizing anybody who dared to oppose their beloved fuehrer.

[From Brownshirts on the March]

There should be a public and non-partisan outcry over Limbaugh’s statements. As a mouthpiece for Conservatives and the Political Right, Limbaugh wields considerable influence – and increasingly that influence is being crafted in the language of violence and fascism.

I was really disgusted to hear his call for the riots, and I couldn’t just do nothing, so I decided to create a petition that I am going to deliver to the Republican National Committee’s Chair, Mike Duncan. The petition urges the RNC to publicly denounce the tactics urged by Limbaugh in order to ensure the public that the Republican Party still has some semblance of respect for the democratic process.

Below is the link to the petition. I hope you will take a few moments to read the letter and sign the petition and maybe even a few more extra minutes telling some friends about it. I really do see this as a non-partisan issue, even though I see myself as a progressive, and I hope that people of all political persuasions will join with me in urging the RNC to distance itself from the brutish, bullying and un-American voice of Rush Limbaugh.

If you don’t have Java enabled on your browser, you can go to to see the petition and the letter.

Updates & Errata

The chain, sadly, does not remain unbroken. But I’m averaging exercise five times a week. Sometimes the gym, sometimes getting off at Dekalb Ave & walking, briskly, home, sometimes doing aerobics at home, and sometimes going for a walk up to Prospect Park. While I do not have an unbroken chain of Xs on my calender, I do have the majority of days marked off and am feeling good about it.



I have started a new short story, tentatively entitled "The Empty Space." In under a week, I've written almost 3000 words and while there are some tricky elements to the story, I'm feeling good about getting it going and pretty certain that I'll see it through. It's the first in a planned series of stories that combine science fiction and theatre history/critical theory. The idea came to me when I sent this bio into the Drabblecast as I was submitting a story:
<blockquote>Living the American Dream, [LtL] is in debt and living beyond his means on a daily basis. Starting his own podcast at <a title="Letters to Lost Friends" href=""></a>, trying to get freelance work as a <a title="LtL Sound Design" href="">sound designer</a>, and coming up with cunning plans to avoid working for "The Man," he expects to somehow pay off all his debt a few years after he dies. In the meantime, his plans include moving to New Mexico, reading Marx's <span style="font-style: italic;">Kapital</span>, attempting a vision quest, and writing a huge science fiction epic based on theatre history and critical theory (that Master's degree has to come in handy somehow).</blockquote>
Maybe I'll get a corner on the underserved theatre history/cricital theory/science fiction market.



I received a card in the mail today from New England Reunions. This year marks 20 years since I graduated high school. Oh my god. No. I mean, no. I mean, really no, it can’t be. Ah but it is. Age happens, my friend, age happens.



Speaking of age, if you were a teen during the 80s, if you were slightly on the nerd/geek side of things, if you like podcasts, Merlin Mann, Jonathan Hodgeman, or obscure humor that borders on the banal, you should subscribe to the new podcast called “You Look Nice Today.” Sometimes scatological, sometimes clever, sometimes stupid, yet always amusing. Go ahead, the first hit is free:


That Old Beast Nicotine, Revisited

So, I hesitate to say that I’ve quit smoking. In part because I’ve said that before and it was only true in very limited terms and didn’t remain true for very long. However, I can say that I have significantly cut down on my smoking. Very signficantly. The last time I bought a pack of cigarettes was November 8 and I only finished that pack about two weeks ago. One pack in five months a pretty big accomplishment for me (though certainly not as big as Jo Cose’s which deserves an overdue congratulations!).

In all honesty, I don’t feel like I’ve quite smoking, but more like I am in a state of deferment when it comes to cigarettes. There is no question, I smoke at considerable risk considering my family history of heart disease and I am proud that I seem to have kicked the habit in a very real way. That’s not to say I am never going to have a cigarette again in my life, but I feel free from the compulsion to smoke, or to turn to cigarettes in a moment of crisis. Actually, that’s not quite true, I still feel, in moments of storm and stress, the desire to smoke. What I have figured out is that the cigarettes don’t help and so, while I may find myself really wanting a smoke, even really, really, really wanting a smoke, I can remind myself that it will just make me feel slightly shitty and have no really positive effect on my life. Most days I get by without even thinking about smoking.

So yeah, I might have a few more cigarettes in my life, but I’m fairly confident that I can, from now on, resist falling into the habit of smoking. And I feel pretty darn good about that.

OS X Keyboard Trick of the Day

Ok, so this is probably not new to most of you, but I just found out that “Cmd + ~” will switch between windows of an application.

Now, I’ve been using “Cmd + Tab” forever, both on Window’s boxes and on the Mac. In fact, I use Proteron’s “LiteSwitch X” because it beefs up the “Cmd+Tab” capabilities. For some reason, I’d never gotten around to figuring out how to switch between windows of an app until today.

Now I know. And, if you didn’t, you do too. Ain’t knowin’ stuff cool?

A New Meaning to “Hair of the Dog”

But one man’s problem is a nation’s opportunity. Has any scientist researched the practicality of replacing coal-fired power plants with new versions fueled by a never-ending supply of dog hair? Other promising possibilities: (1) automotive fuel additive (great opportunity for catchy brand name – Petkinol, Labrodiesel, or PetroK-9); (2) compressed pellets for use as mail padding to reduce styrofoam production; (3) wall and attic insulation (marketing slogan – “Turns your home into your second-best friend”).


I would gladly add my cat’s hair to this project, although I wonder if the cat hair would react badly to the dog hair?

Letters to Lost Friends

So I’ve been remiss in writing here in part because I’m starting a new project called “Letters to Lost Friends.” This is going to be my first podcast and I’m hoping to get the first, introductory episode out by Thursday and follow that with a weekly release schedule. I promise I’ll not forsake my Liminal site, however!

For more info though, check out Letters to Lost Friends as well as the LtLF Forum.

Here’s the opening theme song for the podcast:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Late to the Dance: Mad Hot Ballroom Review

“Mad Hot Ballroom” (Marilyn Agrelo)

J & I watched Mad Hot Ballroom last night and came to the same conclusion: the kids were fun and interesting to watch, they made some fairly profound statements, and seeing how this ballroom dancing program touched some of their lives was pretty darn inspirational and lovely.

But the movie itself was kinda crappy. Not horrible, but just not well edited and, more importantly, didn’t seem to have any kind of narrative muscle. Introducing the previous year’s champions 4/5ths of the way through the movie seemed a huge misstep and drastically undercut the potential strength of the stories being told. We also wondered why there were so few interviews with the parents of these kids. Yes, seeing them all practicing the tango and swing dancing is cute, but they could have sacrificed a good deal of that in order to make the story of these kids and this program far more compelling.

I would recommend it as “supper time” watching, if you are the type of person who, like me, watches tv during the cooking and eating of supper. The kids are enchanting at times, and seeing the hope and determination of 10 year olds always touches something special in our memories of ourselves and our hopes for the future (well, at least it does so for me), but the movie ends up feeling a bit slight and empty if you sit down and give it your full attention.