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.

Monday, May 25, 2009

On Memorial Day

These are letters written in response to Bob Herbert’s column on the ravages that are wrecking our returning soldier’s lives. It is clear that we need to “Support Our Troops” and not in the way we have in the past. It is time to step up to the plate and really honor their sacrifices on behalf of the U.S.A. Platitudes and one day a year are an insult to our Veterans without actual action on their behalf.

May 25, 2009


When the Mind Is a Casualty of War

To the Editor:

I applaud Bob Herbert’s insightful column “War’s Psychic Toll” (May 19).

Having served as a Navy psychiatrist during another unpopular war, Vietnam, I want to underline that much of the political and mental health fallout that we are seeing from this war is the unintended consequence of an all-volunteer military.

Because there is no draft, the sons and daughters of most of our citizens are not being pressed into danger. Our leaders are largely insulated from the political consequences of having involved this country in a pointless and unending war.

The small size of our forces and the length of the war make repeated deployments inevitable. It has been clearly documented that two tours is the limit that most of our soldiers can take without serious psychic damage. With each tour after that, serious mental health problems increase exponentially.

In addition, the very real stigma regarding mental health issues prevent many from seeking treatment. In a professional army, one visit to a psychiatrist, or one prescription for Prozac, can ruin a career.

We have put our people in an impossible situation. Voices like that of Bob Herbert will push our leaders to take this seriously.

Robert L. Pyles
Wellesley, Mass., May 20, 2009

The writer is chairman of the American Psychoanalytic Association’s Committee on Government Relations.

To the Editor:

We at Veterans Across America have watched with dismay as the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have dragged on, knowing the grim result: that thousands of badly scarred (physically and psychologically) young veterans will struggle to readjust to civilian life, wrestling with depression, homelessness, suicide — or murderous rage.

Bob Herbert mentions the “psychic stress of the wars,” which he rightly links to multiple tours of service. We would add that a significant portion of “psychic stress” is often economic stress — which can be overwhelming for returning veterans. The Army sergeant accused of five killings at a counseling center in Iraq, John Russell, had fallen into debt on a $1,500-a-month-mortgage, and feared losing his paycheck and pension.

In our experiences with returning veterans, the stresses of remaking life after military service — in the face of unemployment, lost jobs, crumbling marriages, home foreclosures, long delays in psychological treatment, and the psychic ravages of post-traumatic stress disorder — can make life on the home front just as terrifying as life in a battle zone.

We have conducted research on the need for business mentors as an economic lifeline for returning veterans. As a nation, we owe it to service members to ensure that the overwhelming stresses on them are substantially reduced.

Wes Poriotis
Ray Healey
New York, May 20, 2009

The writers co-founded Veterans Across America in 2002.

To the Editor:

Bob Herbert’s assessment of the psychic toll of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should open the eyes not only of the military in its handling of these cases, but also those of the public.

Unfortunately, the stigma of psychological illness and diagnosis plagues our troops. Mental illness is still treated differently than a physical illness. A number of men and women in the military do not get treatment because post-traumatic stress disorder and depression that develop in war have no quick fixes, and they cannot be seen like an amputated limb and so go undiagnosed (or not believed).

Until there is parity in treatments for all disabilities, both physical and psychological, we will continue to see terrible incidents like the one at the counseling center in Iraq.

Gail T. Waters
Durham, N.C., May 19, 2009

To the Editor:

In psychoanalysis, a good interpretation can have the effect of shaking an analysand out of his defensive slumber. Bob Herbert’s column did just that. Mr. Herbert courageously directed our attention beyond the body count of war to the often hidden psychological effects that can persist long after peace treaties have been signed.

The need for mental health services for our veterans and their families is crucial. Mental health providers must understand the hidden impacts of trauma on families, particularly on developing children, and the potential for the intergenerational transmission of trauma.

One of the difficulties with post-traumatic stress disorder is that the readiness or need for treatment may emerge years after the trauma. Therefore, veterans and their families need long-term treatment options and long-term access to treatment, even if symptoms are not present at their time of discharge.

William H. Braun
New York, May 19, 2009

The writer is a psychoanalyst.

To the Editor:

Bob Herbert says a lot of correct things in “War’s Psychic Toll,” but none more accurate than that “we should all be engaging in some form of serious sacrifice, and many more of us should be serving.” After decades of “volunteer service,” producing the psychological morass we find many of our troops in, it’s past time to reconsider the draft.

Like solving the future of Social Security and Medicare, the draft has been a third rail our leaders will not touch. I believe that if they addressed these problems, they would find, instead of a resentful electorate, one thankful that the veil of doubt and fear of an unknown future is lifted.

Eric Mihan
Oxford, Md., May 19, 2009

What exactly are we as a Nation waiting for? If we can bailout AIG and the Banksters why not our Troops?

Obama on AIG, Etc.

The Team of Rivals and because we could use a little humor:

Hopefully “O” will finally come to the realization that AIG is nothing more than a “Too Big to Fail” Criminal Enterprise. Now that would be “Change” we could believe in.

Indeterminate Preventive Detention!

Can thought crimes be far behind? And this is from a Constitutional Scholar not some dimwit cheerleader. I blame it on the University of Chicago and Leo Strauss, and of course, always, Cass Sunstein.

Rachel, Ms. Coherence, lays it all out:

Just how much “Change” is this we can believe in?

See also Glenzzila’s column on this.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Lighter Side: Irony

How Ironic is it that the best Polska you can buy in a store is made by a German Company: Karl Ehmer. Though it is becoming less and less available; there is now nowhere in Manhattan that you can get it.

However, on the Easter Holiday you can get the very best “Fresh” from the Ukrainian Church downtown if you are willing to stand in line for quite a long time!

I guess that is my Deep Thought for today.

Christian Torture


Why this tolerance for torture?



Between 1933 and 1945, as a series of restrictive laws, brutal pogroms and mass deportations culminated in the slaughter of six million Jews, the Christian church, with isolated exceptions, watched in silence.

Between 1955 and 1968, as the forces of oppression used terrorist bombings, police violence and kangaroo courts to deny African Americans their freedom, the Christian church, with isolated exceptions, watched in silence.

Beginning in 1980, as a mysterious and deadly new disease called AIDS began to rage through the homosexual community like an unchecked fire, the Christian church, with isolated exceptions, watched in silence.

So who can be surprised by the new Pew report?

Specifically, it's from the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life, and it surveys Americans' attitudes on the torture of suspected terrorists. Pew found that 49 percent of the nation believes torture is at least sometimes justifiable. Slice that number by religious affiliation, though, and things get interesting. It turns out the religiously unaffiliated are the least likely (40 percent) to support torture, but that the more you attend church, the more likely you are to condone it. Among racial/religious groups, white evangelical Protestants were far and away the most likely (62 percent) to support inflicting pain as a tool of interrogation.

You'd think people who claim connection to a higher morality would be the ones most likely to take the lonely, principled stand. But you need only look at history to see how seldom that has been the case, how frequently my people -- Christians -- acquiesce to expediency and fail to look beyond the immediate. Never mind that looking beyond the immediate pretty much constitutes a Christian's entire job description.

In the Bible it says, ''Perfect love casts out fear.'' What we see so often in people of faith, though, is an imperfect love that embraces fear, that lets us live contentedly in our moral comfort zones, doing spiritual busywork and clucking pieties, things that let you feel good, but never require you to put anything at risk, take a leap, make that lonely stand.

Again, there are exceptions, but they prove the rule, which is that in our smug belief that God is on our side, we often fail to ask if we are on His.

So it is often left to a few iconoclasts -- Oskar Schindler, the war profiteer who rescued 1,200 Jews in Poland; James Reeb, the Unitarian Universalist minister murdered for supporting African-American voting rights in Alabama; Princess Diana, the British royal who courted international opprobrium for simply touching a person with AIDS in Britain -- to do the dangerous and moral thing while the great body of Christendom watches in silence.

Now there is this ongoing debate over the morality of torture in which putative people of faith say they can live with a little blood (someone else's) and a little pain (also someone else's) if it helps maintain the illusion of security (theirs), and never mind such niceties as guilt or innocence.

Thus it was left to Jon Stewart, the cheerfully irreligious host of The Daily Show, to speak last week of the need to be willingly bound by rules of decency and civilization or else be indistinguishable from the terrorists. ''I understand the impulse,'' he said. ``I wanted them to clone bin Laden so that we could kill one a year at half-time at the Super Bowl. . . . I understand bloodlust, I understand revenge, I understand all those feelings. I also understand that this country is better than me.''

So there you have it: a statement of principle and higher morality from a late nightcomic. That Christians are not lining up to say the same is glaringly ironic in light of what happened to a Middle Eastern man who was arrested by the government, imprisoned and tortured. Eventually he was even executed, though he was innocent of any crime.

His name was Jesus.

Thank you Mr. Pitts I couldn’t have said it better.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I Believe Nancy: That Bright Shinny Thing!

Well once again the old adage that a broken clock is right twice a day, Maureen Dowd has actually hit it right on. And of course she did it by stealing from one of the best.

My sister often makes her son focus by saying, “Bright Shinny Thing” this is usually when he gets off track, and usually when he is driving. And she is right. He will get diverted by something totally inconsequential to the determent of what is important. Her putting him back on track by yelling, “Bright Shinny Thing” works. If only it worked with the MSM. Now beyond the whole plagiarism issue I still think MODO‘s column is worth reading.

I frankly don’t really care what Nancy knew and when she knew it. I am troubled that so many Americans are down with Torture, yes, but that is a reality thanks to Fox News and “24” and our culture of violence.

Rachel and Bob Graham:

Now Pelosi is the latest Diversion from who did what when and how. Because it was’nt Nancy folks it was Dick, George, etc. And they are not Bright Shinny Things. No Distractions there!

Didn’t George Tenant say that “WMD” were a “Slam Dunk”. So who would think that the CIA would lie to anyone never-the-less-Congress?


The Real Reason You Torture!

It is all about False Confessions Folks. But you knew that!

Now if you didn’t know that it is all about False Confessions, think Stalin, Pol Pot, and just ask John McCain.

Because the USDA and the FDA Can’t, or Won’t, Do its Job!

Hopefully this will become “Change” we can believe in. Now we know how far off the rails the whole food safety situation has gone. Because as we all know that the self-regulation system the “Party of Small Government” installed and supports has worked so well and is just as dysfunctional as many of us knew.

That said I am posting this whole article as it is very important for all of the Stouffers purchasers out there, etc. And I am one. I am a fan of Spinach Souffle and Corn Souffle which are both hard to find where I live. So, when I come across them I tend to stock up. Now granted I tend to overcook everything, paranoia don’t you know, but still this article gave me pause.

Mostly I freeze my own cooking and even that scares me. But the fact that the industry and regulators think that it should be left up to the consumers is pretty disgusting and a completely negligent act on behalf of our “Supposed” Regulatory Institutions.

Read the whole article and then open your freezer and take a look.

May 15, 2009

Food Companies Are Placing the Onus for Safety on Consumers


The frozen pot pies that sickened an estimated 15,000 people with salmonella in 2007 left federal inspectors mystified. At first they suspected the turkey. Then they considered the peas, carrots and potatoes.

The pie maker, ConAgra Foods, began spot-checking the vegetables for pathogens, but could not find the culprit. It also tried cooking the vegetables at high temperatures, a strategy the industry calls a “kill step,” to wipe out any lingering microbes. But the vegetables turned to mush in the process.

So ConAgra — which sold more than 100 million pot pies last year under its popular Banquet label — decided to make the consumer responsible for the kill step. The “food safety” instructions and four-step diagram on the 69-cent pies offer this guidance: “Internal temperature needs to reach 165° F as measured by a food thermometer in several spots.”

Increasingly, the corporations that supply Americans with processed foods are unable to guarantee the safety of their ingredients. In this case, ConAgra could not pinpoint which of the more than 25 ingredients in its pies was carrying salmonella. Other companies do not even know who is supplying their ingredients, let alone if those suppliers are screening the items for microbes and other potential dangers, interviews and documents show.

Yet the supply chain for ingredients in processed foods — from flavorings to flour to fruits and vegetables — is becoming more complex and global as the drive to keep food costs down intensifies. As a result, almost every element, not just red meat and poultry, is now a potential carrier of pathogens, government and industry officials concede.

In addition to ConAgra, other food giants like Nestlé and the Blackstone Group, a New York firm that acquired the Swanson and Hungry-Man brands two years ago, concede that they cannot ensure the safety of items — from frozen vegetables to pizzas — and that they are shifting the burden to the consumer. General Mills, which recalled about five million frozen pizzas in 2007 after an E. coli outbreak, now advises consumers to avoid microwaves and cook only with conventional ovens. ConAgra has also added food safety instructions to its other frozen meals, including the Healthy Choice brand.

Peanuts were considered unlikely culprits for pathogens until earlier this year when a processing plant in Georgia was blamed for salmonella poisoning that is estimated to have killed nine people and sickened 27,000. Now, white pepper is being blamed for dozens of salmonella illnesses on the West Coast, where a widening recall includes other spices and six tons of frozen egg rolls.

The problem is particularly acute with frozen foods, in which unwitting consumers who buy these products for their convenience mistakenly think that their cooking is a matter of taste and not safety.

Federal regulators have pushed companies to beef up their cooking instructions with the detailed “food safety” guides. But the response has been varied, as a review of packaging showed. Some manufacturers fail to list explicit instructions; others include abbreviated guidelines on the side of their boxes in tiny print. A Hungry-Man pot pie asks consumers to ensure that the pie reaches a temperature that is 11 degrees short of the government-established threshold for killing pathogens. Questioned about the discrepancy, Blackstone acknowledged it was using an older industry standard that it would rectify when it printed new cartons.

Government food safety officials also point to efforts by the Partnership for Food Safety Education, a nonprofit group founded by the Clinton administration. But the partnership consists of a two-person staff and an annual budget of $300,000. Its director, Shelley Feist, said she has wanted to start a campaign to advise consumers about frozen foods, but lacks the money.

Estimating the risk to consumers is difficult. The industry says that it is acting with an abundance of caution, and that big outbreaks of food-borne illness are rare. At the same time, a vast majority of the estimated 76 million cases of food-borne illness every year go unreported or are not traced to the source.

Home Cooking

Some food safety experts say they do not think the solution should rest with the consumer. Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said companies like ConAgra were asking too much. “I do not believe that it is fair to put this responsibility on the back of the consumer, when there is substantial confusion about what it means to prepare that product,” Dr. Osterholm said.

And the ingredient chain for frozen and other processed foods is poised to get more convoluted, industry insiders say. While the global market for ingredients is projected to reach $34 billion next year, the pressure to keep food prices down in a recession is forcing food companies to look for ways to cut costs.

Ensuring the safety of ingredients has been further complicated as food companies subcontract processing work to save money: smaller companies prepare flavor mixes and dough that a big manufacturer then assembles. “There is talk of having passports for ingredients,” said Jamie Rice, the marketing director of RTS Resource, a research firm based in England. “At each stage they are signed off on for quality and safety. That would help companies, if there is a scare, in tracing back.”

But government efforts to impose tougher trace-back requirements for ingredients have met with resistance from food industry groups including the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which complained to the Food and Drug Administration: “This information is not reasonably needed and it is often not practical or possible to provide it.”

Now, in the wake of polls that show food poisoning incidents are shaking shopper confidence, the group is re-evaluating its position. A new industry guide produced by the group urges companies to test for salmonella and cites recent outbreaks from cereal, children’s snacks and other dry foods that companies have mistakenly considered immune to pathogens.

Research on raw ingredients, the guide notes, has found salmonella in 0.14 percent to 1.3 percent of the wheat flour sampled, and up to 8 percent of the raw spices tested.

ConAgra’s pot pie outbreak began on Feb. 20, 2007, and by the time it trailed off nine months later 401 cases of salmonella infection had been identified in 41 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which estimates that for every reported case, an additional 38 are not detected or reported.

It took until June 2007 for health officials to discover the illnesses were connected, and in October they traced the salmonella to Banquet pot pies made at ConAgra’s plant in Marshall, Mo.

While investigators who went to the plant were never able to pinpoint the salmonella source, inspectors for the United States Department of Agriculture focused on the vegetables, a federal inspection document shows.

ConAgra had not been requiring its suppliers to test the vegetables for pathogens, even though some were being shipped from Latin America. Nor was ConAgra conducting its own pathogen tests.

The company says the outbreak and management changes prompted it to undertake a broad range of safety initiatives, including testing for microbes in all of the pie ingredients. ConAgra said it was also trying to apply the kill step to as many ingredients as possible, but had not yet found a way to accomplish it without making the pies “unpalatable.”

Its Banquet pies now have some of the most graphic food safety instructions, complete with a depiction of a thermometer piercing the crust.

Pressed to say whether the meals are safe to eat if consumers disregard the instructions or make an error, Stephanie Childs, a company spokeswoman, said, “Our goal is to provide the consumer with as safe a product as possible, and we are doing everything within our ability to provide a safe product to them.”

“We are always improving food safety,” Ms. Childs said. “This is a long ongoing process.”

The U.S.D.A. said it required companies to show that their cooking instructions, when properly followed, would kill any pathogens. ConAgra says it has done such testing to validate its instructions.

Getting to ‘Kill Step’

But attempts by The New York Times to follow the directions on several brands of frozen meals, including ConAgra’s Banquet pot pies, failed to achieve the required 165-degree temperature. Some spots in the pies heated to only 140 degrees even as parts of the crust were burnt.

A ConAgra consumer hotline operator said the claims by microwave-oven manufacturers about their wattage power could not be trusted, and that any pies not heated enough should not be eaten. “We definitely want it to reach that 165-degree temperature,” she said. “It’s a safety issue.”

In 2007, the U.S.D.A.’s inspection of the ConAgra plant in Missouri found records that showed some of ConAgra’s own testing of its directions failed to achieve “an adequate lethality” in several products, including its Chicken Fried Beef Steak dinner. Even 18 minutes in a large conventional oven brought the pudding in a Kid Cuisine Chicken Breast Nuggets meal to only 142 degrees, the federal agency found.

Besides improving its own cooking directions, ConAgra says it has alerted other frozen food manufacturers to the food safety issues.

But in the absence of meaningful federal rules, other frozen-dinner makers that face the same problem with ingredients are taking varied steps, some less rigorous. Jim Seiple, a food safety official with the Blackstone unit that makes Swanson and Hungry-Man pot pies, said the company tested for pathogens, but only after preliminary tests for bacteria that were considered indicators of pathogens — a method that ConAgra abandoned after its salmonella outbreak.

The pot pie instructions have built-in margins of error, Mr. Seiple said, and the risk to consumers depended on “how badly they followed our directions.”

Some frozen food companies are taking different approaches to pathogens. Amy’s Kitchen, a California company that specializes in natural frozen foods, says it precooks its ingredients to kill any potential pathogens before its pot pies and other products leave the factory.

Using a bacteriological testing laboratory, The Times checked several pot pies made by Amy’s and the three leading brands, and while none contained salmonella or E. coli, one pie each of two brands — Banquet, and the Stouffer’s brand made by Nestlé — had significant levels of T. coliform.

These bacteria are common in many foods and are not considered harmful. But their presence in these products include raw ingredients and leave open “a potential for contamination,” said Harvey Klein, the director of Garden State Laboratories in New Jersey.

A Nestlé spokeswoman said the company enhanced its food safety instructions in the wake of ConAgra’s salmonella outbreak.

Danger in the Fridge

ConAgra’s episode has raised its visibility among victims like Ryan Warren, a 25-year-old law school student in Washington. A Seattle lawyer, Bill Marler, brought suit against ConAgra on behalf of Mr. Warren’s daughter Zoë, who had just turned 1 year old when she was fed a pot pie that he says put her in the hospital for a terrifying weekend of high fever and racing pulse.

“You don’t assume these dangers to be right in your freezer,” said Mr. Warren, who settled with ConAgra. He does not own a food thermometer and was not certain his microwave oven met the minimum 1,100-wattage requirement in the new pot pie instructions. “I do think that consumers bear responsibility to reasonably look out for their well-being, but the entire reason for this product to exist is for its convenience.”

Public health officials who interviewed the Warrens and other victims of the pot-pie contamination found that fewer than one in three knew the wattage of their microwave ovens, according to the C.D.C. report on the outbreak. The report notes, however, that nearly one in four of the victims reported cooking their pies in conventional ovens.

For more than a decade, the U.S.D.A. has also sought to encourage consumers to use food thermometers. But the agency’s statistics on how many Americans do so are discouraging. According to its Web site, not quite half the population has one, and only 3 percent use it when cooking high-risk foods like hamburgers. No data was available on how many people use thermometers on pot pies.

Most folks do indulge in the convenience of “Prepared Frozen Food” but it shouldn’t be a sentence to sickness or death due to corporate inconvenience and consumer “ignorance.”


Sunday, May 17, 2009

CANF Changes Course

And it is about time. So, here are Carl Hiaasen’s thoughts on the issue. You know that I love him.

Posted on Sun, Apr. 12, 2009

CANF makes sober proposal about U.S. policy on Cuba

In an historic turnabout, the most prominent Cuban exile organization in the country now wants the Obama White House to expand and enhance relations with the Castro regime.
The Cuban American National Foundation, once a fire-breathing opponent of dialogue with Cuba, has produced a comprehensive 14-page proposal for a different -- and long overdue -- approach.
Published last week, the white paper is titled ``A New Course for U.S.-Cuba Policy: Advancing
People-Driven Change.'' It urges the Obama administration to discard the failed strategy of ''containment'' in favor of a ``people-to-
people'' initiative that focuses on improving the lives of Cuban
The paper is a frank acknowledgment that the old hard-line policies have utterly failed to destabilize Cuba's communist leadership, or bring any meaningful reforms to the island.
As foundation president, Francisco J. Hernández, a Bay of Pigs veteran, explained: ``For 50 years we have been trying to change the Cuban government, the Cuban regime. At the present time, what we have to do is change the emphasis to the Cuban people -- because they are going to be the ones who change things in Cuba.''
For the first time, CANF is advocating direct diplomatic engagement between the United States and Cuba. Jorge Mas Canosa, the bombastic leader of the foundation in its early years, must be spinning in his grave.
The idea of communicating with Cuba will be denounced as treasonous by some exile radio hosts, but their time is fading. Polls show that a rising percentage of Cuban Americans are ready for a change, which isn't surprising after decades of frustration and futility.
For many, the tipping point came in 2004 when the Bush administration -- huffing macho, as always -- imposed tough rules limiting how often exiles could visit relatives on the island, and how much cash they could send to family members.
The cold-hearted plan accomplished nothing except punishing the Cuban people. The Castro brothers suffered not one bit. That fairly sums up the story of the long-running botch job that passes for America's Cuban policy.
We have diplomatic relations with many countries whose human-rights records are as bad, or worse. We eagerly converse (and heavily trade) with nations that lock up dissidents and journalists, or have no serious democratic aspirations.
We talk with China, Vietnam, Russia, Saudi Arabia -- even Libya, a regime that had a direct role in blowing up a Pan Am jet full of innocent people.
It's mainly because of South Florida's vocal exile lobby that the United States has persisted on its fruitless course of trying to isolate Cuba. Ironically, the trade embargo turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to Fidel Castro, presenting him with a ready scapegoat for the country's chronic economic mess.
Although the CANF white paper doesn't call for an end to the embargo, the foundation does support a plan for allowing Cuban Americans and others to send cash, building materials and farm equipment to the island. It also favors an executive order allowing direct aid to pro-democracy groups in Cuba, which have struggled for outside funds under rules enacted during the Clinton administration.
As a top priority, CANF strongly supports President Obama's promise to remove the punitive restrictions on travel and remittances, which the White House has said will happen probably this week.
Obama made this one of his campaign pledges, rightly calling it a humanitarian issue. Cuban Americans should be able to visit family members in Cuba as often as possible and send them as much money as they wish, as other immigrants and exiles are allowed to do.
The dramatic about-face by the Cuban American Foundation could bolster current efforts in Congress to broaden contact with Cuba. Both the House and the Senate are considering bipartisan legislation that would basically permit all Americans to travel there.
It's likely that the Cuban-American members of South Florida's congressional delegation will stick to the shrill hard line, but the political tide is turning. Many U.S. companies have been pushing for years to get the trade barriers lifted, and a receding domestic market makes Cuba look even more appealing.
Capitalism works
With Fidel frail and fading, and Raúl seeking to make his own mark, there's an opportunity for the United States to finally start making a positive difference in the country. The best way is to establish a presence, beginning with tourists and then trade.
Nothing promotes capitalism as effectively as saturating a place with products, services and entertainment supplied by a capitalist system. China is still not a democracy, but its people today have more freedom -- and a bigger appetite for freedom -- than ever before.
What happened in Beijing could happen just as quickly in Havana, if the United States ever unleashed its potent weapons of mass consumption: Mountain Dew, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Levi's jeans . . .
Raúl wouldn't know what hit him.

Now I may not agree with everything here, but the overall I do agree with.

She Did It!

Rachel Alexandra is the real deal. It also means that Mine That Bird is also the real deal and not a fluke from the finish.

So there won’t be a Triple Crown possibility this year and many fans are very upset by this, but a thrilling Belmont Stakes is still in the future.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wanda Sykes, Nuff Said.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Eden Ross Lipson


1943 - 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Stand-up Economist.

Yoram Bauman is very funny and this is just a taste of his take as an Economist on the Financial Crisis.

You need to get your laughs where you can.

h/t CR

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Manji v. Aslan

Two of my favorites debate Muslim Reform and it is brought to us by the Economist last year.

Part 2:

Part 3:

Watch the rest on Youtube. You won’t be sorry.

Irshad thinks that empowering women is a major part of the solution and it appears that Reza agrees. And did I mention that she is a lesbian and he is gay (just an aside of course.) Also they are both brilliant and also very funny when given the chance and not being serious as a heart-attack.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Danny Gans


1956 – 2009

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Revisiting the Election With Bill Maher!

Every so often I have to pinch myself.

I still get goose-bumps when I think about the Election. Though, I have many reservations and disagreements with the “O” man’s Administration.

Marilyn French


1929 – 2009

Saturday, May 02, 2009

SCOTUS Replacement for Justice Souter?

I haven’t really investigated most of the supposed “proposed” list of candidates to replace Justice Souter. I would like “O” to pick a progressive dedicated to upholding the U. S. Constitution. That said I have decided on two who I would reject. One is Judge Sotomayor who was appointed by Bush I and now sits on the Second Circuit. And the other is Prof. Cass Sunstein from the University of Chicago Law School.

Judge Sotomayor is a fine person but not a progressive and considered a “Moderate,” which is code-speak for “Center-Right.” My rejection of Judge Sotomayor is based on my 2nd Circuit experience and what her record reflects. And though Cass Sunstein did write a terrific “reality-based” article on the Mythical Balance of SCOTUS. He also supported Chief Justice Roberts which gives me major pause. And here he is in a debate over FISA, and other important issues, with Glenn Greenwald (who I love.)


Treasury to Recall all U.S. Currency?

Give it up for the Onion. They always come through.

Treasury Department Issues Emergency Recall Of All US Dollars

So, have we been outsourcing the printing of dinero to China along with all of our other manufacturing? It gives new meaning to Toxic Assets, I mean Legacy Assets. Or is this just the latest in confiscatory monetary policy and does it mean that we all have to now give everything we have left over to the Banksters. The Onion is so often ahead of the curve and predictive. You’ve really got to love them.

Very funny as usual, however don't laugh yet!

Film at Eleven!

PS One of my favorite articles from our friends at the prescient Onion was “Recession-Plagued Nation Demands New Bubble To Invest In. Truer words could not be spoken!