Tuli Can't Stop Talking

These are just my thoughts on contemporary issues and an attempt to open up a dialogue.

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Location: New York City

A citizen who cares deeply about the United States Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Life and Death Conundrum!

I have shied away from the Schiavo-Schindler tragedy for personal reasons.

In 1980 the doctors told me that I should pull the plug on my son. He was on a respirator and they were convinced that he had no prospects for survival. This was after only 48 hours in a coma. I demurred and with a group of friends we engaged in stimulation therapy, much to the hospital's dismay. We physically stimulated him and asked him to come back because, “He could do it.” And he did, and his first words, at the age of two, were, “See, I did it.” A miracle of course, and one which the hospital staff celebrated.

Now, he did suffer some brain damage, but 25 years later, I refer to him as the “Fooking genius.” He is a brilliant artist both digitally and otherwise, a brilliant computer geek, a great writer, and a math genius. Lucky him, he started out smarter than the average bear. Miracle don’t always work out, this one did!

However, during that tragedy, I had many religious folks, of conservative stripes, tell me to let him go to “God.” I, in fact, got into a screaming fest with one employee of the hospital who insisted that I was thwarting God’s will by keeping him on life support. She was at my insistence removed from the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

To this day I am confounded that a person who didn’t know me, or my child, and knew even less, though an employee, about his medical condition, felt it was her “God Given Right” to tell me what to do and what God wanted!

So, here we are today with the situation of Ms. Schiavo. This is a family tragedy and I am so sorry that there is a conflict within this family. I truly understand both sides of this issue. But it has been 15 years. The doctors made their decision in my son’s case after 48 hours and they were wrong. The doctors in Ms. Schiavo’s case maybe right. My son was on a respirator, unable to breath on his own. Ms. Schiavo is able to breath on her own, but unable to eat and swallow and thus needs a feeding tube.

Let me bring my dear friend Wayne into this picture. In 1990 he was stricken with the end stages of AIDS. He was suffering dementia from tuberculosis of the brain. He stopped eating and his family had a feeding tube installed in his body. He, none the less, decided to die, though we did not know this. He wanted three of his friends to come and see him. We came to Massachusetts from Virginia, and New York. When the last one he wanted to see left the hospital he died within 10 minutes. I think he chose to leave. And I respect that choice.

Now maybe Wayne, though suffering from dementia, and unable to eat, had more brain function than Ms. Schiavo. But, I believe that even while he was on a feeding tube he decided to pass on. Maybe because Ms. Schiavo doesn’t have any brain function left, as one neurologist said her EEG is “flat-flat,” she is unable to make that decision to let go. This leaves me conflicted.

I truly wish that Mr. Schiavo would give up his guardianship and let the Schindler’s take custody of their child. They may, or may not, have her best interests at heart, but then he may not either. None of us know what she wants and never will.

My son’s doctors were not evil or uncaring people. I don’t think that the hospital employees who implored me to let him go to his maker were evil people. They just didn’t know what he wanted to do.

Neither did I. But I knew that I wanted him to come back. And I knew that it was his choice.

I made the decision to come back in 1968. So, you see, I felt that it was his choice to make.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Call to U.S. Citizens Who Care about this Country.

Where are the US citizens who care about this country? That is the question that makes me crazy!

Are we so uninformed as a citizenry that we don’t’ know what is going on? What about the social security debate? Do we want to eliminate the new deal and turn everyone’s future over to the “free-market,” which recently tanked?

How about Iraq and the war on terror? Is it okay that we are engaging in torture and rendering folks to countries that we consider our enemies?

What about the deficits? Do most Americans think that giving the upper-class a free ride is okay and that mortgaging the country’s future for their benefit is morally right? What exactly is the policy reason or moral reason that unearned income should be taxed at a lower rate, or no rate, than earned income? No one has yet been able to explain this to me other than that it will expand savings. But, as the past two years have shown, this is not factual. The savings rate is at an all time low, though corporate profits are at an all time high.

The spread between the wealthy and the middle class is widening. Risk is being moved more to the shoulders of the worker class and lessened on the corporate class.

We have record deficits, which the PRC are financing and threatening the U.S. with economic consequences regarding policy decisions by the U.S. The PRC is threatening to dump all of its U.S.Treasury Notes if the U.S. doesn't do what they want with their demands on the Taiwan situation. This sounds scary as China is the major financier of the U. S. Debt.

Those who are in charge in Washington are not Republicans or Conservatives. They do not hue to either of those sets of principles or philosophies. They are Corporatists. They do not believe in America, the U.S. of A., they merely believe in their bottom line, and this Administration is doing their work.

As our jobs are being outsourced, so are our values. Folks no longer have pensions. Folks no longer have a stable relationship with their employer. As workers are being downsized the CEO’s are reaping disproportionate rewards. The corporate bottom line is what is most important.

And it seems that the corporate bottom line, and this administration’s, is a government that doesn’t regulate corporate behavior or care about patriotism and the future of the US of A. We have tort reform to protect corporations, but no corporate reform to protect citizens. We have an immoral bankruptcy bill that gouges the middle class and poor, but protects the wealthy and the banking industry that has handed out credit to dogs.

Okay, so I have said some of it!

And I didn’t even go into the whole Faux News and propaganda thing!

Nor, did I go into the whole proto-fascism and religious thing!

All I did was touch on the light subjects.

I am bereft. Where is the Citizenry?

"What is the Matter with Kansas? " Exactly!

Anthrax and Who Done it?

Anthrax is back in the News. No answers, of course, just many more questions about how prepared our “Homeland Security” system is, or isn’t prepared to do its job.

John at Americablog asks some very good questions. Why is it that some “Terrorist Threats” get press and follow up and others don’t. The cyanide threat by one of our own home grown terrorists in Tyler Texas, where real actual WMD were found never caused much of a stir. But, the non-existent WMD in Iraq, which many Americans believe were found, does get MSM coverage.

HMMMM! What could be going on here?

Calling Oliver Stone!

PBS under Attack!

I am a fan of PBS. So, to that end, I suggest that everyone out there who watches any of the great, or not so great, PBS stations pledge this weekend (if you haven’t already) to help promote more independent news and programming.

I live in NYC and watch Channel Thirteen regularly. As a former Massachusetts viewer I truly miss the Boston station for their wonderful programming and development. Some of it does find its way onto Channel Thirteen so I am still willing to put my money where my mouth is. I would be bereft, even more than I already am, without the NewsHour (even though it makes me crazy with its only two sides of the story bit). But, where else on television can you find one of the VIPS espousing their point of view?

So, as pledge week, month, year is underway, please contribute to our mostly independent media which is under attack from this administration.

Democracy (what is left of it) requires it.

The Threat from China or is it from the Bush Administration?

Ralph at Newsfare links to a TBRNews.org article on the situation with the PRC over Taiwan and the U.S. debt, which The People’s Republic of China is financing. I have been, for sometime, concerned as to what this means for the future of the U.S. economy, etc. I have also been concerned that there does not seem to be much interest in the MSM about this convergence of moves by the PRC and the USA.

The Bush Administration continues to run up deficits, which are being supported by the PRC’s purchase of our debt. The PRC continues to peg their currency to ours. The US dollar is weakening. The Bush Administration continues to increase the trade deficit with China. China and Russia enter into agreements to engage in joint military exercises as well as entering into agreements concerning oil purchases.

And now the PRC is publicly threatening the USA.

I have to think that this is not being widely mentioned or reported because it portends a very scary future. The deficits are bad enough, but the fact that China may hold the USA’s future in their hands is even scarier. And who wants to be the one to suggest that the Bush Administration is handing the US future to China on a platter!

Well, that would be suggesting treason wouldn’t it?

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Greenspan and the Right-Wing Conspiracy!

Brad Plummer, standing in for Kevin Drum, has a good piece on Greenspan, “Film at Eleven”, the “Hack.”

It seems that Hillary was right, there is a right-wing conspiracy and Greenspan, not just Grover Norquist, et al., is part of it.

I remember when the changes in Social Security were made. I also remember thinking, “This is a raid on the working class for the benefit of the wealthy class.” It is why the “Lockbox” discussion of the 2000 election resonated with me. This is the classic Class Warfare that the right has always engaged in. The very same Class Warfare that they have always accused the left of engaging in. Though it seems, in political discourse these days, that as long as the distribution is of wealth from the bottom to the top, it isn’t Class Warfare in this Orwellian World we now inhabit.

This is made even scarier by the Bush Administration, and their supporters, comments which lead many to believe that the Treasury Notes in the SS Trust Fund will not be honored.

I would imagine this must make the Chinese Government, and others, who are funding our most recent Republican Deficits very uncomfortable, and skittish, as they hold a treasure trove of Treasury Notes. Maybe this explains the recent decision by many of our debt financiers to diversify and start purchasing more euros, instead of dollars.

Why does the Right hate America and want to destroy it?

Dear Bradford Plummer, thanks for the vindication.

I am bereft.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

It is a Bankrupt Law!

Here is the link to Oliver Willis tag.

Here are the numbers that Atrios has put up.

Call and email and mention Presidential aspirations.

Here is my email:

Dear Senator Biden:

I have always been a supporter of yours. However this Bankruptcy Legislation, and your support for it, turns my stomach. Please reject this class warfare and do the right thing for the average American. If you can’t get the loop hole for the trusts eliminated then you should reject this bill and the class warfare that it will enforce.

I have always thought that you would be a wonderful President. If you support this bill I will be forced to do everything in my power to oppose your presidential aspirations.

Though I am a resident of NYC, I have extensive influence in Delaware and thereabouts. The reach of Thoroughbreds is boundless.

Hopefully a continued supporter,

Tuli Taylor

Monday, March 07, 2005

A Message for the Progressive Movement!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

What Does Martha Coming out of Prison Mean?

Martha is coming out of prison. That is a good thing. But what in the zeitgeist, and for the rest of us does it mean? I think that Maureen Dowd 's column lays it out. So, many of you out there are not Martha fans. That is okay. But, she is an icon, so it is important that we deal with what her situation means in the larger picture. The bad girl versus the good girl has always been the standard for political discourse in this Country. Martha versus Hillary, indeed!

Here is Maureen’s Column:
March 6, 2005
Taming of the Shrews

Arabs put their women in veils. We put ours in the stocks.
Every culture has its own way of tamping down female power, be it sexual, political or financial. Americans like to see women who wear the pants be beaten up and humiliated. Afterward, in a gratifying redemption ritual, people like to see the battered women be rewarded.

That's how Hilary Swank won two Oscars. That's how Hillary Clinton won a Senate seat and a presidential front-runner spot. And that's how Martha Stewart won her own reality TV show and became a half-billion dollars richer while she was in prison.

We've come a long way, baby, from the era of witch trials, when women with special power who knew how to curse were burned at the stake. Now, after a public comeuppance, they are staked to a lucrative new career. In this century, the scarlet letter morphs into a dollar sign.

Maybe temperamental, power-mad divas always needed to be brought down a peg. They used to do it to themselves. Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe were gorgeous monsters, but were so self-destructive there was no need to punish them further.

But Hillary and Martha - the domestic diva with the new ankle bracelet echoed Judy Garland on her Web site yesterday that "there is no place like home" - are not self-destructive. They are brass-knuckled survivors who elicit both admiration and an enmity that Alessandra Stanley memorably dubbed "blondenfreude."

From pornography to "Desperate Housewives," women being degraded has an entertainment value far greater than men being degraded. People liked Hillary and Martha a lot more once they were "broken," like one of Martha's saddle horses, ice queens melted into puddles of vulnerability.

Maybe it's because both women sometimes overreached, treated the help badly and displayed an unseemly greedy streak. Maybe it's because a dichotomy about their roles made them seem disingenuous: they gained renown for traditional feminine roles, and apron-and-hearth books, assuming guises to achieve male power and taking a route to the mahogany epicenter through the kitchen.

Hillary was America's first lady, photographed smiling in her designer dress as she oversaw table settings and placement for state dinners, even though we knew she did not care about such domestic piffle and was instead maneuvering to take over huge chunks of domestic policy.

Martha was America's first lady of gold-leaf designer lifestyle nesting, even though we knew that her über-nest was so scary that her husband had flown the coop. Though she was the ultimate professional homemaker and nurturer, she left her daughter out of the litany of things - cats, canaries, horses, chickens and dogs - she would miss in jail.

Obviously, many men are uncomfortable with successful women, so when these women are brushed back, alpha men can take comfort in knowing that alphettes are not threateningly all-powerful and that they had better soften those sharp edges.

I learned covering Geraldine Ferraro's vice presidential bid that the reaction of women to extraordinarily successful women is also ambivalent, with as much hostility as sisterly pride. An Icarus crash can mitigate the jealousy, while intensifying the feminist attachment.

After her husband's philandering with Monica, Hillary played the victim card all the way to the Senate. After her own bad judgment about her stocks, Martha metamorphosed from jailbird to phoenix.

Why don't we need to see Oprah, another titan known by her first name, slapped back? Probably because Oprah never had an icy or phony side to her public persona and because her struggles in her childhood and with her weight take the edge off any animus that might be leveled at her for a net worth of $1.3 billion.

And what about Condi, who's now being touted for the Republican ticket in 2008? Perhaps she does not need to play the victim to make people feel better about her power because she was never seen as a termagant, pushing people around and bending them to her will. She always seemed subservient to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, a willing handmaiden and spokesman for their bellicose bidding.

One Democratic image maker admiringly predicts that, having survived their virago and victim phases, our two most relentless blondes will outlast everyone: "When the world ends, there will be left only a few cockroaches, Cher, Hillary and Martha."

So, are you a good girl or a bad girl? Cockroaches!

What a Display of The Ten Commandments Means.

Aside from the Constitutional ramifications of displaying the Ten Commandments on government property, I have long been troubled by the dichotomy between the Old Testament/New Testament expressions of the "Religious Right" out there.

Amanda at Mouse Words does a terrific job of breaking this down. This view of Christianity without Jesus is most confusing for me. I find it curious that most of the “Christian Right” does seem to be so enamored of the God of the Old Testament, and frankly devoid of any reference to the New Testament which was about Jesus.

Every time I hear another pronouncement from the “Religious Right” I wonder, what would Jesus think?

Well, I think that he would be, and probably is, rolling over in his grave.

As someone put it, not so delicately recently and I can’t remember who, the “Religious Right’ is less about Christianity and more about the “Politics of Resentment.”

Just what exactly to they resent about the liberal Jesus? That he is Liberal?

Say you wanted a humorous take on this dichotomy, you would of course go to J.C. Christian. The Patriot Boy relentlessly tracks this trend. Very insightful, and very funny, and very sad on the state of Christianity today.

How can they call themselves “Christians?”

It’s Women’s Blogging Month at Pen-Elayne!

Okay, so it should always be Women’s Blogging Month, just as it should always be Women’s History Month. Just like misogyny should be a thing of the past.

Will we live that long?

So, go there and revel in the women’s blogosphere! As you undoubtedly know, it is just as rich and vibrant as the female race.

Enjoy Estrogen Month!

Surprise, Greenspan is a Hack! Film at Eleven!

Congratulations to Senator Reid. He spoke the truth. I guess that is a gaffe in D.C., home of Republicans and the Chattering Class, who we know are so fond of Politically Correct dialogue. The Bull Moose has more to say on the subject.

Greenspan gives his okay to the tax cuts, which lead to the obvious deficits, and then has the temerity to decry the deficits. Which planet, indeed, does he live on? It is obviously not one of the “reality-based” planets.

Shocking, simply shocking! And, I bet there is gambling in Casablanca!

Go Moose!

Addition: I have to add what Wolcott has to say on this.

Cruel and Unusual, Exactly!

Well, civilization won in the SCOTUS this week, but not by much. The US will finally stop executing people who have committed what is called a capital crime when they were minors.

If you want to read the whole pretty, or not so pretty, picture, here it is.

“Baby Steps, Bob, Baby Steps!”

Who Gets to Regulate Free Speech on the Internet?

Blogging maybe attacked by both the Right and the Left, if there is any truth to this piece on C/Net. It looks like there will be regulations codified as to what and how we blog.

The First Amendment is about Free Speech: Political Speech.

What a tangled web we weave.

Special thanks to Atrios for keeping up on this.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Every Vote Should Count!

Voting in Democracy is invaluable. Unfortunately, recently the system has been under attack. This bill, I think, will work to deal with some of the problems. I don't think it deals with everything that needs to be done. But, it is a start. Do with it what you will. Democracy is in trouble and we need to make every effort to move toward more transparency. I am publishing the whole email here to make it as simple as possible.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones and others recently unveiled a sweeping federal election reform bill, the Count Every Vote Act of 2005 (H.R.939/S.450). This bill is what we've been working toward since November 2, and it needs your support now. The Count Every Vote Act addresses an impressive number of the problems that Election Protection volunteers documented in 2004, and there's good reason for that. People For the American Way and the Election Protection coalition advised the bill's authors after spending weeks and months pouring over the incident reports and voter testimonials that Election Protection volunteers helped gather. We were proud to showcase these efforts and to be among the handful of organizations asked to speak at the bill sponsors' press conference.

This bill is proof that Election Protection's hard work to protect voters' rights does pay off, but it is also a reminder that we have unfinished business.

This legislation faces an uphill battle in Congress. The first step is getting a strong, bipartisan group of senators and representatives to co-sponsor it. Urge your members of Congress to sign on to the Count Every Vote Act immediately! http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=16842&action=1887

Or call your members: Rep. Charles Rangel (202) 225-4365 - Sen. Charles Schumer (202) 224-6542 - Sen. Hillary Clinton (202) 224-4451

Forward this alert to your friends and ask them to support the Count Every Vote Act. We need to get out of the gates quickly and build momentum around this bill for two major reasons.

First, because of the breadth of the reforms proposed by the bill, we are sure to meet resistance. It took two full years to pass the last federal election reform bill, the Help America Vote Act, and 2004 proved just how inadequate those reforms are.

The second reason is time. The bill sets the goal of implementing these overdue reforms in time for the November 2006 federal elections. To realistically meet that goal, we must create a groundswell of public support that makes the Count Every Vote Act into a must-pass priority this year.

The Count Every Vote Act is a truly ambitious proposal for giving all Americans the fair, free and transparent elections they deserve (see the summary below). This is comprehensive legislation, and it deserves our whole-hearted support -- yours, your friends', and your Congressional delegation's.

Tell your members of Congress to get on board and co-sponsor the Count Every Vote Act.

Despite our incredible efforts, tens of millions of voters were outside the reach of Election Protection in 2004. No voter is outside the reach of this landmark bill. To expand participation and restore faith in our elections system, we must pass the Count Every Vote Act -- a bill that you, in effect, helped write. Please continue the fight for fair elections by taking action today.

Thank you,Ralph G. NeasPresident
P.S. - You can support our efforts to help pass this legislation and restore faith in our elections system with a contribution at: http://pfaw.kintera.org/counteveryvote

P.P.S. - Here is a summary of the reforms proposed in the Count Every Vote Act of 2005.

More Accountable and Accessible Voting SystemsThe Count Every Vote Act would:
1. Require that all voting systems produce a paper record that can be verified by the individual voter and that would constitute the official record for any recount;

2. Require a mandatory recount of voter-verified paper records in 2 percent of all polling places or precincts in each state;

3. Set minimum standards for the number of voting systems and poll workers at each precinct, and require that every precinct have at least one machine that can provide audio and pictorial verification and that is accessible to language minority voters;

4. Establish new security standards for voting equipment manufacturers, including a ban on using undisclosed software and wireless communications devices in voting systems.

More Opportunities for Citizens to Register to Vote and Cast Their BallotsThe Count Every Vote Act would:1. Allow voters to register and cast a ballot on election day;2. Require states to provide in-person early voting opportunities before Election Day;3. Prohibit states from demanding excuses from voters who request absentee ballots;4. Give voters more options for proving their identity to election officials;5. Prohibit election officials from rejecting voter registration applications that are missing information which has no effect on the specific voter's eligibility.

Discourage Partisan Manipulation and Deceptive Practices in ElectionsThe Count Every Vote Act would:1. Make certain federal election campaign activities off limits to chief state election officials and top-level executives and owners of voting system manufacturers;2. Require states to act in a uniform and transparent manner when attempting to purge voters from state registration lists;3. Provide for the prosecution of those who engage in deceptive practices to keep people from voting in federal elections.

Expand the Right to VoteThe Count Every Vote Act would:1. Require states to allow ex-felons who have completed their prison, parole and probation terms to register and vote in federal elections.

Ensure That All Votes Are CountedThe Count Every Vote Act would:1. Require that provisional ballots be counted state-wide, allowing voters who are registered in a state but cast provisional ballots in a wrong precinct to still have their votes counted for all eligible federal races.

Call your represenatives and senators and make a difference. If we are a democracy we need to be a democracy.

Act Now.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Better Late than Never!

Congratulations to all those who won the awards and especially to those nominated. I always learn so much from the nominations. Most of the winners are already on my favorites list. But, the nominations are always a gift.

Congrats to all.