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, June 28, 2009

With a Little Help from the Onion and the Marx Brothers

Reverend Moyers puts it all in perspective.

Thank you Reverend for making it all come together.

Bipartisanship Bullshit!

Barack Obama’s desire for “Bipartisanship” is so bizarre that I can’t get my mind around it. It is as if he has missed the last 9 years of governance in this country. He watered down his already watered down “Stimulus Package’ and got three votes in the Senate for his efforts. It strikes me that you can only do bipartisanship if there is a group that has some desire to be bipartisan. Now it seems to me that the Right, whether Rebubs or Blue Dogs, has no desire to make meaningful compromise other than to say “No!” So, why is he, and his Administration, so desirous of their imprimatur?

Take Health Care Reform, these are the same people who were opposed to Medicare and Medicaid and still are. Why would they change their stripes and want a “Public Option?” They were opposed to it in the 60’s and they are using the same talking points to be opposed to it now. Their argument that it is “Socialism” is no different now than it was then. Obama and his Administration may be truly DLC, and not interested in real reform, or completely stupid. Those are my two choices.

Prof. Krugman is much kinder than I am:

When it comes to domestic policy, there are two Barack Obamas.

On one side there’s Barack the Policy Wonk, whose command of the issues — and ability to explain those issues in plain English — is a joy to behold.

But on the other side there’s Barack the Post-Partisan, who searches for common ground where none exists, and whose negotiations with himself lead to policies that are far too weak.

Both Baracks were on display in the president’s press conference earlier this week. First, Mr. Obama offered a crystal-clear explanation of the case for health care reform, and especially of the case for a public option competing with private insurers. “If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality health care, if they tell us that they’re offering a good deal,” he asked, “then why is it that the government, which they say can’t run anything, suddenly is going to drive them out of business? That’s not logical.”

But when asked whether the public option was non-negotiable he waffled, declaring that there are no “lines in the sand.” That evening, Rahm Emanuel met with Democratic senators and told them — well, it’s not clear what he said. Initial reports had him declaring willingness to abandon the public option, but Senator Kent Conrad’s staff later denied that. Still, the impression everyone got was of a White House all too eager to make concessions.

The big question here is whether health care is about to go the way of the stimulus bill.

So the question before the “O” man is whether or not he has the Stones to get this job done right. Because without a strong “Public Option” there is no Health Care Reform not even a Band-aid. So you either vote with the American Public or with the Medical Healthcare Industrial Complex. It is just that simple. Of course Single Payer would have made the dialogue so different.

Medicare for all!

Update: Here is Robert Reich on the Journal to explain how the whole process works. It is not a pretty picture of our “democracy” and how it works. Follow the link.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

We Are the World!

Turn up the sound:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Worst Slide Story

I am a West Side Story fan so I particularly loved this takeoff. Walt Handelsman has done it again. Check it out, and you will get a laugh as naturally Walt, as usual, delivers.

Sorry about the lack of embed but you can do the link.

Lab Analysts Must Testify

The sixth Amendment may rule after all as the SCOTUS ruled in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts 07-591.

“The court’s holding,” Justice Kennedy wrote, “is a windfall to defendants, one that is unjustified by a demonstrated deficiency in trials, any well-understood historical requirement, or any established constitutional precedent.”

Yes, and the last thing that we can have in a “Justice System” where you are presumed innocent until proven guilty is a “windfall to defendants.” So Justice Kennedy, the usual favorite procedural efficiency argument is the wasting of the judicial system’s resources. That argument lost this time when it comes to a defendant’s right to meaningful confrontation of the evidence presented to the jury.

Oh, and what a weird group of folks: Scalia, Stevens, Souter, Thomas (concurring), Ginsberg, w/ Kennedy, Roberts, Breyer and Alito dissenting.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson


1958 – 2009

This is such a shame. He was a truly damaged soul and a genius. The term “Dysfunctional Family” is so redundant.

Here is the link.

Appalachian Trail or Argentinean Coast Line, What’s the Diff?

They both start with “A” after all. But, really, is anyone really shocked that this Right-wing “Family Values” guy was cheating on his wife. At least it was with a woman and she is alive. I bet there are an awful lot of very relieved Repubs out there. After all it could have been worse. Just ask Foley and Craig!

Gov. Sanford’s second — and final — term leading the state of South Carolina ends in 2011.

Surrounded by more than 50 reporters, photographers, aides and spectators in the rotunda of the South Carolina statehouse, the governor spoke with a quiver in his voice and was visibly shaken, tearing up at times [emphasis mine] and rocking on his feet at the podium. It took him more than a few stumbling minutes to get to the crux of the matter.

“The bottom line is this,” he said. “I have been unfaithful to my wife.

“I developed a relationship with what started as a dear dear friend from Argentina,” Gov. Sanford said. “It began very innocently, as I suspect these things do, in just a casual e-mail back and forth. But here, recently, over this last year, developed into something much more than that. And as a consequence, I hurt her. I hurt you all, I hurt my wife. I hurt my boys. I hurt friends like Tom Davis. I hurt a lot of different folks.”

And because I can’t resist a Cheap Shot:

File this, once again, under “Hypocrisy!”

President as Nerd!

I have been meaning to post this for some time now. It is from the Radio & Television Correspondent’s Association Dinner last Friday. Now I disagree with many of the “O Man’s” policies on Civil Liberties, etc., but that said I do prefer having a President who is a Nerd! So thank you John Hodgman, the man who knows everything (I know from where he speaks), for speaking the unspeakable. Because Nerds and Geeks (I have a Geek son) should rule. Now this doesn’t mean that we agree with everything they say or do, but at the very least they are curious and thinking. How refreshing is that?

So in the war between the Jocks (and cheerleaders) and the Nerds (and their inherent generalized definitions) I am so happy that the Nerds have finally won even if I don’t agree with all their nerdy conclusions. But the “O Man” is also quite the jock. Hmmm! A thinking jock, whocudathunkit? And in the anti-intellectual U.S.A. of all places! I guess that is where the jock comes in! The jocks are just like our cultural comfort food! Sort of an offset to all that Arugula and thinking don’t you know!

Better late than never. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Tinderbox!

As the events in the Islamic Republic of Iran unfold there are two sites that are a must read. One is the Washington Note of Steve Clemons fame and the other is Juan Cole’s Informed Comment. So, if you are interested and care about what is going on and what the possible ramifications are I suggest you visit these sites to keep abreast of the situation. This has huge International implications. Oh, and in case you didn’t know it is not all about the United States of America, but don’t tell that to the Congresscritters.

Rep. Eric Kantor: Blithering Idiot on MSNBC about Health Care with Katrina Vanden Heuvel

Yes Representative, the Free Market has been so successful in HealthCare. Though as a federal employee you enjoy subsidized HealthCare coverage under FEBP. Now what exactly does your plan do and how does it work? I notice there are no specifics, why is that?

Carlos Watson on MSNBC:

Once again no plan, just Talking Points, because they are just the party of “No” and the status quo.

Medicare for all!


Update: When we talk about Innovation and the Free Market we might want to talk about Merrill Lynch. We know that worked out so well.

Modern Media Madness

I guess that you have probably figured out that I am a dedicated viewer of the Very Rev. Moyers’ Journal. He always has a program that is so pertinent and fascinating to me. And like Martha says, “Learn something new everyday.”

The consolidation of the Mass Media is totally antithetical to a functioning democracy. But a functioning democracy is the last thing the corporatist media is concerned with. Just ask Rupert Murdoch of “Fair and Balanced” Faux News.

Judy and Where We Might Be Going!

This is of course a favorite and a classic.

Maybe they invested with Bernie Madoff. Something to think about!

Daniel Goleman on Environmental Intelligence.

Daniel Goleman is also the author of Working with Emotional Intelligence which is easier said than done. We are all carrying a lot of baggage or suitcase as Keb’ Mo’ would say. That said, Goleman is quite the thinker and I would dismiss him at my peril.

So if you are even slightly interested in lowering your carbon-foot-print through what you consume watch this video as you won’t be sorry.

Who would have thought that I was actually purchasing and consuming the best rated yogurt? Dumb luck!


Because in these fragile economic times we can all use a laugh, the Onion is right on the case. Frankly it’s as good as any other plan we’ve seen so far.

US To Trade Gold Reserves For Cash Through Cash4Gold.com

The Onion never fails to amuse while making you think.

Iran, the U.S. and Protesting an Election.

Ironic isn’t it that hundreds of thousands of Iranian citizens are risking their lives and demonstrating in the streets all across the country when they think the election was stolen. It is being covered by the U.S. media 24/7. Perhaps I have forgotten or missed the mass demonstrations protesting the 2000 Election in our much lauded Democracy and the U.S. media's coverage 24/7. Of course there was the Brooks Brothers Riot in Florida but that was a faux riot and demonstration.

In the end our much lauded Democracy chose to stop the counting of ballots via a 5-4 vote of the SCOTUS. I guess that is how a “Real Democracy” rolls. I guess we are such a sophisticated republic that we don’t need no stinking citizen involvement in our democracy.

I think that irony is the best that can be said.

Jeremy Scahill on the Moyers Journal

For a very long time Jeremy Scahill has been all over the Blackwater issue and the privatization of fighting war, etc. The Very Reverend Moyers has him on the Journal and in case you hadn’t thought of the serious and long term implications of this privatization of our “Warrior Class” you should watch this program.

I don’t think that this is a road we should be going down. Though I do know it is a very lucrative path for the mercenaries via their contracts. And let’s not forget our political class via campaign contributions.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dan Froomkin Fired!

So, once again the Washington Post under the leadership of Fred Hiatt and the rest of the NeoCons and their march to the Right has made another brilliant decision in these trying times for newspaper survival. They have cancelled Dan Froomkin’s contract to present the “White House Watch” on a daily basis. For those who don’t know, Dan’s column is probably the most popular column, or blog, the WAPO has. Dan writes with hard hitting and an unrelenting journalistic search for real clarity, transparency and facts, no matter Repubs or Dems. I guess we can’t have that. Canning him has created quite the uproar in the blogosphere and among WAPO readers.

Here is Politico’s announcement which includes the WAPO’s opaque reasoning:

POLITICO learned today that the Washington Post has terminated its relationship with liberal columnist/blogger Dan Froomkin. Froomkin authored the "White House Watch" blog and was told today that the blog had essentially run its course.

Washington Post Media Communications Director Kris Coratti tells POLITICO that "our editors and research teams are constantly reviewing our columns, blogs and other content to make sure we're giving readers the most value when they are on our site while balancing the need to make the most of our resources. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes features must be eliminated, and this time it was the blog that Dan Froomkin freelanced for washingtonpost.com."

Froomkin was none too happy with the decision, telling POLITICO that he's "terribly disappointed."

"I was told that it had been determined that my White House Watch blog wasn’t 'working' anymore," said Froomkin. "Personally, I thought it was still working very well, and based on reader feedback, a lot of readers thought so, too. I also felt White House Watch was a great fit with The Washington Post brand, and what its readers reasonably expect from the Post online. As I’ve written elsewhere, (http://www.niemanlab.org/category/themes/danfroomkin) I think that the future success of our business depends on journalists enthusiastically pursuing accountability and calling it like they see it. That’s what I tried to do every day. Now I guess I'll have to try to do it someplace else."

Many Froomkin fans took to the blogosphere to denounce the decision.

Andrew Sullivan called Froomkin the paper's "best blogger" and wrote: "Dan's work on torture may be one reason he is now gone. The way in which the WaPo has been coopted by the neocon right, especially in its editorial pages, is getting more and more disturbing. This purge will prompt a real revolt in the blogosphere. And it should."

Salon's Glenn Greenwald echoed Sullivan's praise of Froomkin and said: "All of this underscores a critical and oft-overlooked point: what one finds virtually nowhere in the establishment press are those who criticize Obama not in order to advance their tawdry right-wing agenda but because the principles that led them to criticize Bush compel similar criticism of Obama. Rachel Maddow is one of the few prominent media figures who will interview and criticize Democratic politicians 'from the Left' (and it's hardly a coincidence that it was MSNBC's decision to give Maddow her own show -- rather than the endless array of right-wing talk show hosts plaguing television for years -- which prompted a tidal wave of 'concern' over whether cable news was becoming 'too partisan'). In general, however, those who opine from the Maddow/Froomkin perspective are a very endangered species, and it just became more endangered as the Post fires one if its most popular, talented, principled and substantive columnists."

On DailyKos, "numediaman" writes: "In the end, Donald Graham and Fred Hiatt are moving the Post hard right. Their support for war was not just a kiss up to power, but a real commitment to the neo-con way of looking at the world."

Gawker: "The Washington Post, which pays money to opinion writers such as Bill Kristol (smarmy) and Richard Cohen (smarmier), has fired blogger Dan Froomkin, one of the only WaPo opinion writers who pointed out that the Bush White House was crooked."

The snark kings at Wonkette protested as well: "Everyone give it up for your capital city’s hometown newspaper, the very liberal Washington Post, which has abruptly fired its only liberal pundit, Dan Froomkin, who in past years did more than the rest of the Post op-ed staff combined to show how our beloved leaders George W. Bush and Richard 'Dick' Cheney were careless law-breaking criminals from Hell."

Froomkin's work for the Post has, at times, been amongst the most popular, but he has also ruffled some feathers internally at the Post, including former ombudsman Deb Howell, who used a column to field complaints over the labeling of Froomkin's "highly opinionated and liberal" "White House Briefing" column, which was subsequently changed to "White House Watch."

Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer even took Froomkin to task in one of his columns, calling Froomkin's analysis "stupid."

Froomkin was a frequent target of the right, but the left welcomed his voice within the Washington Post's umbrella and Froomkin said that his mission was to "watch the White House like a hawk."

Please read the WAPO Ombudsman’s piece and the comments and you will get the picture.

The first thing I thought of was Judy and her trademark “What’ll I Do.”

Because Dan, just like what some folks think about Coke, you are the “Real Thing.”

Here is to a better and editorially more appreciative platform for your work!

Update: Krugman Weighs in.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Howard Dean is on the Case!

On the Public Plan for Healthcare:


Thank you Dr. Dean for keeping your voice loud, clear and upfront! The American people need you more than ever.


Thank you Yes Men!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Are We Doomed?

From Leonhardt in the NYT’s:

There are two basic truths about the enormous deficits that the federal government will run in the coming years.

The first is that President Obama’s agenda, ambitious as it may be, is responsible for only a sliver of the deficits, despite what many of his Republican critics are saying. The second is that Mr. Obama does not have a realistic plan for eliminating the deficit, despite what his advisers have suggested.

How about we get rid of all those very costly government contractors what with the profit motive, etc. That could put a dent in the budget not to mention the contributions to the Republican Party.


So What Exactly was Napolitano Apologizing For?

From Fox Faux News:

Who could have known this would happen?

And how long will Shep Smith keep his job at Faux News Corp.?

The So Called Health Care Debate

Listen to Avedon as she is all over this debate.

And here is the Freshman Senator Merkley on the Floor in the Debate.

I’d much rather have faceless insurance toadies decide my health care needs than my doctor, wouldn’t you? And of course I want to pay through the kazoo for the privilege. In fact I want to pay more than any other industrialized country for that privilege and only get to receive healthcare that places our system as 37th in the world. Must be time to move to Costa Rica (number 36) for Healthcare.

Now I say that because I think it is great that most Bankruptcies are the result of Medical bills. And as we all know Medicare for Everyone, say a Single Payer Plan, is Socialism and wholly Un-American. And that Canadian System that out performs ours is down right awful. And all of the Health Care Industrial Complex really does have my interests at heart and not their profits.

And then there is Dave Johnson and Kristof because this is the Debate of our Century about whether or not the United States of America will move into the industrialized world and the 20th Century even if it is the 21st Century.

And we all know that Dr. Dean is so totally uniformed that who could believe a thing he says because after all he “Howled.”

Now just to be clear, if there is no “Public Plan” at the very least, there is no reform.

Cheap Shot Rachel!

Cheap but "Good" none-the-less.

I love me some snark.

Edie and Health Care for America NOW!

I never watched the Sopranos. Now I wish I had!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Why Are So Many Congress-Critters Opposed to Subsidized Healthcare?

All Federal Employees get really good and heavily subsidized Healthcare choices (the best coverage I ever had was as a Federal Employee.) That includes Congress as well (that means you Senator Grassley, who by the way qualifies for Medicare, our ultimate "Public Plan.") And I can bet that if they were able to access, prior to the age of 65, a really good “public plan” ala Medicare, they would jump at it. So, why do so many of them want to deny their constituents the very same choices? Do you think it might be because they are bought and paid for by Big Pharma and the “Healthcare” Industrial Complex?


Update: If there is no “Public Plan” there is no point. The “Trigger Plan” is just plain bullshit and cowardly all you “Moderates” out there. Interesting don’t you think that we can come up with the money to bailout Wall Street and for two counterproductive Wars but not the money to join the rest of the Civilized World to provide Universal Healthcare to our citizens? Oh, and here is ‘Froomkin’s post on the latest.

American Empire and What it Means.

The Very Reverend Bill Moyers has brought together a very unlikely duo. Mark Danner of the New York Review of Books and Bruce Fein a staunch Conservative to discuss Torture and the American Empire. Once again Rev. Moyers presents a wonderful and thoughtful program.

Much food for thought! Though, from my perspective they are both stating the obvious. And I remember a time when I thought that Bruce Fein was odious but he is actually right here.

Who Wudofthunkit!

I have been remiss by not posting this sooner. Bob Barr is a staunch proponent of the Death Penalty so needless to say this comes as quite a surprise. His entreaty to the SCOTUS on behalf of Troy Davis is quite heartening. His obvious Libertarian streak is showing here.

Read the whole piece it is well worth it.

June 1, 2009

Op-Ed Contributor

Death Penalty Disgrace


THERE is no abuse of government power more egregious than executing an innocent man. But that is exactly what may happen if the United States Supreme Court fails to intervene on behalf of Troy Davis.

Mr. Davis is facing execution for the 1989 murder of an off-duty police officer in Savannah, Ga., even though seven of the nine witnesses have recanted their testimony against him. Many of these witnesses now say they were pressured into testifying falsely against him by police officers who were understandably eager to convict someone for killing a comrade. No court has ever heard the evidence of Mr. Davis’s innocence.

After the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit barred Mr. Davis from raising his claims of innocence, his attorneys last month petitioned the Supreme Court for an original writ of habeas corpus. This would be an extraordinary procedure — provided for by the Constitution but granted only a handful of times since 1900. However, absent this, Mr. Davis faces an extraordinary and obviously final injustice.

This threat of injustice has come about because the lower courts have misread the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, a law I helped write when I was in Congress. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee in the 1990s, I wanted to stop the unfounded and abusive delays in capital cases that tend to undermine our criminal justice system.

With the effective death penalty act, Congress limited the number of habeas corpus petitions that a defendant could file, and set a time after which those petitions could no longer be filed. But nothing in the statute should have left the courts with the impression that they were barred from hearing claims of actual innocence like Troy Davis’s.

It would seem in everyone’s interest to find out as best we can what really happened that night 20 years ago in a dim parking lot where Officer Mark MacPhail was shot dead. With no murder weapon, surveillance videotape or DNA evidence left behind, the jury that judged Mr. Davis had to weigh the conflicting testimony of several eyewitnesses to sift out the gunman from the onlookers who had nothing to do with the heinous crime.

A litany of affidavits from prosecution witnesses now tell of an investigation that was focused not on scrutinizing all suspects, but on building a case against Mr. Davis. One witness, for instance, has said she testified against Mr. Davis because she was on parole and was afraid the police would send her back to prison if she did not cooperate.

So far, the federal courts have said it is enough that the state courts reviewed the affidavits of the witnesses who recanted their testimony. This reasoning is misplaced in a capital case. Reading an affidavit is a far cry from seeing a witness testify in open court.

Because Mr. Davis’s claim of innocence has never been heard in a court, the Supreme Court should remand his case to a federal district court and order an evidentiary hearing. (I was among those who signed an amicus brief in support of Mr. Davis.) Only a hearing where witnesses are subject to cross-examination will put this case to rest.

Although the Supreme Court issued a stay of execution last fall, the court declined to review the case itself, and its intervention still has not provided an opportunity for Mr. Davis to have a hearing on new evidence. This has become a matter of no small urgency: Georgia could set an execution date at any time.

I am a firm believer in the death penalty, but I am an equally firm believer in the rights and protections guaranteed by the Constitution. To execute Troy Davis without having a court hear the evidence of his innocence would be unconscionable and unconstitutional.

Bob Barr served in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003 and was the United States attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986 to 1990.

Let’s hope he, with the other Amici, can sway Justice Kennedy.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Koko Taylor


1928 – 2009

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Doris Schuyler Harris

RI.P. Agnes

1945 - 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

Talk Rage and Perhaps the Consequence.

Unfortunately this weekend there is an example of perhaps the effect of Talk Rage. I speak specifically of Bill O’Reilly and his tirades about Dr. Tiller. The doctor was one of the few OB/GYN’s in the States who performed abortions to save the life and or health of a woman in the last trimester. Now I happen to be of an age when women who were pregnant and their pregnancy was determined to be a danger to their lives and or health had to carry the pregnancy to term. One friend of mine in the 60’s had to carry a dead fetus to term. She was then induced and faced both physical and emotional trauma that scarred her for life.

Now I happen to support the First Amendment, however I don’t believe in yelling “Fire” in a theater. And this “Talk Rage” is, I believe, at that point.

Here is a piece from The Very Reverend Moyers’ Journal on PBS:

I guess that the Right-Wing Moralists missed and or didn’t agree with Obama’s “Notre Dame” speech. Not to mention that Murder, whether ironically in a church or not, is not all that Moral or Pro-Life.