Tuli Can't Stop Talking

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

My Photo
Location: New York City

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

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sarah Vowell on EMK’s Legacy

Sarah Vowell, the author of Assassination Vacation (a must read), is a favorite of mine so I was pleased to see that the NYT’s re-ran her Op-Ed after the DNC Convention and Senator Kennedy’s speech.

She uses the Pell Grants and his support for Education as the hook but she includes so much more.

ON Monday night at the Democratic National Convention, Caroline Kennedy introduced a tribute to her uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, by pointing out, “If your child is getting an early boost in life through Head Start or attending a better school or can go to college because a Pell Grant has made it more affordable, Teddy is your senator, too.”

To my surprise, I started to cry. Started to cry like I was watching the last 10 minutes of “Brokeback Mountain” instead of C-SPAN. This was whimpering brought on by simple, spontaneous gratitude.

I paid my way through Montana State University with student loans, a minimum-wage job making sandwiches at a joint called the Pickle Barrel, and — here come the waterworks — Pell Grants. Thanks to Pell Grants, I had to work only 30 hours a week up to my elbows in ham instead of 40.

Ten extra hours a week might sound negligible, but do you know what a determined, junior-Hillary type of hick with a full course load and onion-scented hands can do with the gift of 10 whole hours per week? Not flunk geology, that’s what. Take German every day at 8 a.m. — for fun! Wander into the office of the school paper on a whim and find a calling. I’m convinced that those 10 extra hours a week are the reason I graduated magna cum laude, which I think is Latin for “worst girlfriend in town.”

Twenty years after my first financial aid package came through, I have paid off my college and graduate school loans and I have paid back the federal government in income taxes what it doled out to me in Pell Grants so many, many, many, many times over it’s a wonder I’m not a Republican.

But I would like to point out that my perfectly ordinary education, received in public schools and a land grant university, is not merely the foundation on which I make a living. My education made my life. In a sometimes ugly world, my schooling opened a trap door to a bottomless pit of beauty — to Walt Whitman and Louis Armstrong and Frank Lloyd Wright, to the old movies and old masters that have been my constant companions in my unalienable pursuit of happiness.

I’m a New Yorker now. Every now and then when I have time to kill in Midtown, I duck into the Museum of Modern Art to stare at Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” I love looking at the picture, but I also love looking back on when and where and how I first saw it — on a slide in a first-year art history course in which some of my fellow students were ranchers’ sons who wore actual cowboy hats to class. It was a course I paid for, in part, with a Pell Grant, a program always and as ever championed by “my senator,” Ted Kennedy, a program so dear to Barack Obama’s heart that increasing the maximum amount of Pell Grants for needy students was the first bill he introduced upon arrival in the United States Senate.

I am a registered Democrat. That first night’s convention speech by Senator Kennedy about his life’s work reminded me what being a Democrat means. I have spent the last eight years so disgusted with the incompetent yahoos of the executive branch that I had forgotten that I believe in one of the core principles of the Democratic Party — that government can be a useful, meaningful and worthwhile force for good in this republic instead of just an embarrassing, torturing, Book of Revelation starter kit.

Read the whole piece. It is well worth it. And it is in keeping with all of the other tributes from observers of EMK’s life’s work and just as personal. He really did touch all of us whether he knew us or didn’t, he still cared.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Moyers on Maher on Healthcare

Check it out before Youtube takes it down!

What does it say about this Nation that we are the only industrialized country to not have Universal Healthcare and that those who run our system are led by profits not patient and healthcare outcomes?

It says something about our Country that is so sad and pathetic about our sense of community and responsibility to our fellow citizens. And he is right this isn’t about the Republicans because they are opposed to Healthcare Reform in any form. It is about the Democrats and why they aren’t supporting Healthcare Reform. Why are those Democrats on the side of the Republicans and those who are behind rationing and decide who lives and who dies?

Is this CHANGE we can believe in?

Are we really that uncaring?

Katrina Four Years Later

The Billionaires on “Big and Easy Money in the Gulf” which was first aired in 2007 and nothing has changed:

Are we going to be seeing this very same situation in four more years. Promises, Promises!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Miss Molly!

Here is a post I did from back in the day and she nails it. I wish she was here to set everyone straight this time around.

Pearlstein Has Had It!

This column is over the top and very entertaining. His smack down on Michael Steele is so deserved. This isn’t the first time he has called the RNC and their brethren out on their lies and distortions, but it is the funniest.

After reading his broadside, one is left wondering exactly what health reform plan Steele thought he was attacking. At one point, Steele claims that Democrats would prevent Americans from keeping their doctors or an insurance plan they like. Later, he warns that government will soon be setting caps on how many heart surgeries could be performed in the United States each year. Where is he getting this stuff? Has the chairman of the Republican Party somehow gotten hold of a top-secret plan for a government takeover of the health-care system that GOP operatives snatched during a break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters?

If all that sounds spurious and unsubstantiated, it is. And like many of the overstated claims in this column, its purpose is to highlight the lies, distortions and political scare tactics that Steele and other Republicans have used to poison the national debate over health reform.

Have you no shame, sir? Have you no shame?

It seems to me that when a mild-mannered MSM Business Columnist starts to really call you out and ridicule you, it might just be time to rethink your plan and approach to one of the most important economic problems of our time.

I’m not saying, but I think you know what I’m saying!

Edward Moore Kennedy


1932 – 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Don Hewitt


1922 – 2009

So Who Did CNN Piss Off?

CNN has now gone from Channel 10 in Manhattan on Time Warner to Channel 78! This suggests to me that CNN has made someone very unhappy. I could be wrong but from Channel 10 to Channel 78 (right next to channels that don’t even exist)?

This tells me that something is really changing and not quite right. Though of course, I could be wrong. It took me an inordinate time to find it. Time Warner gets to make any change they want as they have a monopoly on cable in Manhattan. Do you remember the Disney and Channel 7 (ABC) debacle?

Just asking!

I Blame Direct Deposit!

I am constantly amazed by all those Protesting Folks, who are over 65, who want Government to keep its hands off their Medicare. For some reason now that they no longer get a U.S. Treasury check every month they no longer notice their deductions from Social Security for their Medicare premiums and that Medicare is a U.S. Government Single-Payer Program. You know, just like that Socialist Country North of our Border which incidentally calls its Single-Payer healthcare deliver system “Medicare.”

Maybe we should start issuing U.S. Treasury checks again as a little reminder of where that money actually comes from.

Sadly H.L. Mencken was right, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." Just ask Big PHARMA, AHIA, and AHIP. And I would be remiss if I didn’t add the Republican and the Blue Dog Democratic Coffers as well.

Medicare for All!

I Love the Billionaires!

Here they are protesting with Teabaggers (you know, the keep “Government out of Medicare Crowd”) for “Wealthcare Not Healthcare.”

They were great during the Republican Convention here in NYC.

Glad to see them getting back on their game.

h/t C&L

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Health Care as a Civil Right!

In his article Jonathan Alter sort of echoes my idea on a previous post that our rights, just like Gideon v. Wainwright did for defendant’s rights, should be extended to include the “Right” to Health Care.

He sums it up beautifully:

The core principle behind health-care reform is—or should be—a combination of Social Security insurance and civil rights. Passage would end the shameful era in our nation's history when we discriminated against people for no other reason than that they were sick. A decade from now, we will look back in wonder that we once lived in a country where half of all personal bankruptcies were caused by illness, where Americans lacked the basic security of knowing that if they lost their jobs they wouldn't have to sell the house to pay for the medical treatments to keep them alive. We'll look back in wonder—that is, if we pass the bill.

We can only hope that we can be proud of our fellow citizens and legislators when we look back on this historical moment for our country.


40 years seems like yesterday. And I still have my tickets! History, don’t you know!

Wow, 40 years ago and still relevant. I guess the “Times” aren’t as “Changing” as we thought. In case you aren’t sure please check out what passes for dialogue on the Healthcare “Debate.

And let us not forget Sha.Na.Na which frankly blew a lot of minds.

Yep, all that rain, mud, drugs, lack of food and water and it was far more civil than the Healthcare “Debate.” You think maybe it was all the really great music? Back in the day nostalgia don’t you know!

Just speaking for myself as a DFH of course.

A Very Good Development

I think this is a very good sign of reality finally sinking in and effecting policy.

The Obama administration, in a major shift on housing policy, is abandoning George W. Bush’s vision of creating an “ownership society’’ and instead plans to pump $4.25 billion of economic stimulus money into creating tens of thousands of federally subsidized rental units in American cities.

The idea is to pay for the construction of low-rise rental apartment buildings and town houses, as well as the purchase of foreclosed homes that can be refurbished and rented to low- and moderate-income families at affordable rates.

Analysts say the approach takes a wrecking ball to Bush’s heavy emphasis on encouraging homeownership as a way to create national wealth and provide upward mobility for low- and working-class families, especially minorities. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan’s recalibration of federal housing policy, they said, shows that the Obama White House has acknowledged that not everyone can or should own a home.

In addition to an ideological shift, the move is a practical response to skyrocketing foreclosure rates, tight credit, and the economic crisis.

“I’ve always said the American dream should be a home - not homeownership,’’ said Representative Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and one of the earliest critics of the Bush administration’s push to put mortgages in the hands of low- and moderate-income people.

Conservatives, however, believe that President Obama and HUD shouldn’t head too far in the other direction; in some cases, rent can be more expensive than a mortgage payment.

Done properly, they say, homeownership can bolster the tax base and bring stability to neighborhoods and families, reducing crime and helping people achieve financial independence.

The $4.25 billion set aside for the creation of rental housing will come from $14 billion that HUD has received from the federal economic stimulus package. Another $4 billion of the money will be used to fix up the nation’s existing public housing stock of 1.2 million units.

The funds for new units will be available under competitive grants, and officials in Massachusetts said they will be among the states aggressively competing for the money.

In Boston, more than 20,000 households are on a waiting list for affordable rental housing, said Lydia Agro, a spokeswoman for the Boston Housing Authority. “There’s definitely a need out there,’’ she said.

City, state, and federal officials said they could not yet estimate how many new rental units will be created with stimulus money, but HUD said the “tens of thousands’’ of apartments and town houses it will produce nationwide will ease an increase in homelessness that has resulted from the foreclosure crisis.

Carol Galante, HUD’s assistant secretary for multifamily housing, said HUD will still be in the business of helping people buy homes using existing lending subsidies.

The difference from the Bush administration, she said, is “we’re trying to have a balanced policy. We’re not trying to say homeownership isn’t important, because it is. But we have to be sure we’re helping people get into homes that are sustainable for them.’’

RealtyTrac, a private company that follows homeownership trends, reported Thursday that the number of foreclosure notices issued to homeowners nationwide increased 9 percent during the first half of 2009. At the same time, the US Census Bureau reported that the vacancy rates for homeowner housing nationwide crept up for the second consecutive quarter, further signs of the ongoing mortgage crisis. The foreclosures are displacing large numbers of families, who will need new housing.

“People who were owners are going to be renting for a while,’’ said Margery Turner, vice president for research for The Urban Institute, a Washington think tank that studies social and economic policy.

“There is a housing stock that is sitting vacant. There is a real opportunity here’’ to use those homes as rental property and solve both problems, she said.

Duh! To say this is obvious is so very obvious and not to mention that it is about time.

Mr. Pitts on Beck

It is such a good thing that the Miami Herald still carries his columns.

Last week on Fox & Friends, Glenn Beck, the Fox News host, declared President Obama a ``racist'' with ``a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.'' Bare seconds later, Beck turned around and said, ``I'm not saying he doesn't like white people. . . ''

Maybe we should blame his confusion on the stress of being discriminated against. Nobody knows the trouble he's seen.

But seriously. Beck is just the latest conservative caught trying to manipulate race in a naked appeal to the resentments of the white underclass. It's a breathtakingly cynical campaign that has gathered steam in recent years. From branding Sonia Sotomayor ``racist'' on ground so flimsy as to be nonexistent, to claiming racial solidarity led Colin Powell to endorse Barack Obama, to an absurd Patrick Buchanan epistle (`'A Brief For Whitey'') that has gained wide traction online to the racially tinged ugliness that infected the McCain-Palin campaign toward the end, the extreme right has worked with fervor to convince white Americans of a thesis also, not coincidentally, advanced by David Duke: that they are victims of black and brown oppression.

Playing with fire

If you didn't know better, you might be confused as to who brought whom over here on slave ships.

Plainly, this newfound concern about ``racism'' represents an attempt by conservatives to claim and neutralize the language of racial complaint, to do to it what they did to words like ``liberal'' and ``feminist'' -- i.e., to render it unusable.

But they are playing with fire in a dynamite warehouse.

What wound in all American life is more raw than race? What is more likely than race to suddenly flare into conflagration? Our most ruinous war was about race. Our greatest social revolution was about race. We have seen a hundred riots and rebellions fueled by race. Race is a major component of our most vexing issues: healthcare, education, the environment, crime. It is our most profound and oldest regret, a tender spot on the American psyche.

Which is why it's often difficult even for thoughtful people to have thoughtful discussions about it. One is at pains to tread carefully, to probe the issues, seek enlightenment and, yes, to dissent -- without blowing up the dynamite warehouse. Then, in walks Glenn Beck carrying a torch.

Rousing the rabble

Because where race is concerned, the aim of unthoughtful people is not to probe issues, to seek enlightenment or even to dissent. It is to rouse the rabble, validate their fears. This gets politicians elected. It gets TV hosts ratings. And if in the process the warehouse is blown to smithereens, so be it.

Read the whole column as it is very clear, just like he usually is, on Beck and his ilk.

You Really Have to Love Carl Hiaasen!

I just can’t help myself sometimes. And Carl is often “Just What the Doctor Ordered.” You know you have to get your laughs where you can.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Les Paul


1915 - 2009

So, You Have Health Care Insurance!

Now if you are 65 or older and have Medicare you have the choice of straight Medicare (the Single-Payer Government Plan) or Medicare Advantage (which the Federal Government, via taxpayers, subsidizes because those Private Insurance carriers can’t compete with straight Single-Payer Medicare.) Now say you are a Federal Government Employee you get to choose from several Private Insurers that are federally subsidized as they compete against each other in the form of an Exchange (FEHB). But say you get your Insurance from your private employer, what kind of choice do you get? Does your employer give you a choice as to a number of plans you can choose from or do you get to have what ever plan your employer has decided on? Just asking, but this doesn’t exactly sound like the free market at work to me.

Unless you are on a government plan you usually don’t get to choose. Someone, usually your employer, chooses for you. Some free market huh!

And oh, by the way, that private insurance can be rescinded at any time, by your employer who can no longer afford to pay the exorbitant premiums or the insurance company by refusing to pay your claims. The Government plans can’t be rescinded.

So, those are just some of the reasons why we need a very strong and available Public Option. I would prefer a Single-Payer system like Medicare, you know socialism, for everyone including those who opt out of Private Insurance for the obvious reasons.

Medicare for All!

UPDATE: I have to ask who are all these folks, who appear to be elderly white folks, that want the government to keep its hands off their (Government Provided) Medicare railing against? Could it be our changing demographics or just that Colored Guy and his evil plans for our Republic? Once again, I’m not saying, I’m just saying!

Oh, and by the way the Canadian Single-Payer system is named “Medicare” after our “Medicare” Plan. Their system was developed after our Single-Payer “Medicare” System and their “Socialized” system emulates ours. I could say “So There,” but I won’t. Well actually, maybe I should!

Dan’s Back!

Here is his email with the appropriate links.


I just wanted to let you know that I’m writing again!

As you may have heard, not long after The Washington Post and I parted ways, I accepted a new job as Washington Bureau Chief at The Huffington Post. I’ve spent the last few weeks getting up to speed on how things work around here.

Today I’m publishing my first piece for HuffPo: Our Fuzzy President Is About To Come Into Focus.
Here’s the URL: http://nl.huffingtonpost.com/link.php?M=797169&N=99061&C=95c4a84f7e88a6d110419e902fc3fbfa&L=6135

I'll be writing occasionally from this point forward. I’ll send out alerts to this list for a while – but I would encourage you to either subscribe to my new RSS feed or sign up with Huffington Post to “get e-mail alerts from this reporter”. Those links are in the box at the top of every post, near my little mugshot. Here's a direct link to my new RSS feed:

I’d also like to encourage you to visit Huffington Post regularly, to look for the work of the Washington bureau and its reporters Sam Stein, Ryan Grim, Arthur Delaney and Jason Linkins.

And allow me to thank you all once again for your supportive words over the last month. They meant the world to me.


Dan Froomkin

Washington Bureau Chief
The Huffington Post

And Not a War Criminal in the Bunch!

Obama honors all 16 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in spite of Israeli criticism of the former President of Ireland.

"I think the president is recognizing [Mary Robinson] for her leadership on women's rights and equal rights. And as I've said before, he doesn't agree with each of her statements, but she's certainly somebody who should be honored," Gibbs said.

Obama, in the East Room ceremony, said the 16 honorees represent "what we can achieve in our lives . . . [and] the difference we can make in the lives of others." The rest of the awards, several of them accepted by the relatives of deceased or ill recipients, went to: Sidney Poitier, Jack Kemp, Stephen Hawking, Nancy Goodman Brinker, Pedro Jose Greer Jr., Billie Jean King, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Harvey Milk, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, Joseph Medicine Crow, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Muhammad Yunus, Janet Davison Rowley and Chita Rivera.

"Each of their stories stand as an example of a life well lived," Obama said.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

What Digby Says!

Yes, another episode. This one is about the criticism of Matt Taibbi’s “Bubble” article. Now as you probably know I have been a Matt Taibbi fan for years. And I also always thought that Digby was a woman (and of a certain age) there was never any question for me. That said, I present you with another episode of “What Digby Says.” And as usual she is right.

And if you get the chance read Taibbi’s article which is filled with hyperbole and is quite colorful in its language while being very clear and oh so informative. You might learn something new.

I am not saying, I am just saying.

Is the Bloom Off the Rose!

Here is Frank Rich’s column from today asking the question “if we have been punked by President Obama?” There does seem to be quite a bit of evidence, don’t you think? And the comments are quite interesting as usual. I must say that I am constantly amused by all of the “conservatives” that read his columns and then comment on them.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

John Hughes


1950 - 2009

Justice Sonia Sotomayor

From Judge to Justice.

68 to 31

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Welcome Home

Laura Ling and Euna Lee.

And thank you President Clinton, et al.

Naomi Sims


1948- 2009

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Secret Government Series

The Iran-Contra Scandal and more and narrated by Bill Moyers.

History's lesson suggests that we need to learn from it and look back not just forward because we have and are repeating it.

Now if I were in Saratoga . . .

I present the McKrells at the Parting Glass in Saratoga Springs, New York.

And this is the very first song of theirs that I heard. I can’t embed it but the link works.

I love Kevin and his band. I think that beside the music part of it is that he always greets and welcomes me with a big hug and much joy from his Irish heart.

A visit to Saratoga Springs and the Parting Glass without seeing Kevin and the McKrells just isn’t right.

Gideon v. Wainwright and Universal Healthcare.

In 1963’s Gideon v. Wainwright the SCOTUS engaged in the dreaded “Judicial Activism” by overruling its precedent in Betts v. Brady. Thus, it showed that “Judicial Activism” can be a good thing. By extending the Sixth Amendment right to counsel to the States these Judicial Activists guaranteed all indigent defendants the right to counsel during a felony proceeding. The SCOTUS created a new “Right” for all Americans and made our Country fairer and more egalitarian.

So, maybe what we need now is a new “Right” for Americans: Universal Healthcare. I am not suggesting that we need a Gideon for Healthcare, it would take too long to work its way through the courts. But I do think that we need “Congressional Activism” to extend a new “Right” to us. You know “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Life would seem a paramount “Right.” Extending Universal Healthcare to all Americans as a “Right” would also make our Country fairer and more egalitarian, just like Gideon v. Wainwright did.

Don’t you think?

Go Anthony Weiner!

This Democratic Rep. from New York has a spine. He challenges the Congressional Republicans to vote to repeal Medicare, because they are opposed to that “evil” government run healthcare.

That is right, put up or shut up.

So, needless to say, all of the Repubs voted for Government Run Healthcare.

Hell, they’re going to need it in the not-too-distant future.


So, speaking of “Back in the Day.”

That would be in the Seventies and they would be: Eric Gale, Cornell Dupree, Richard Tee, Steve Gadd and my neighbor Gordon Edwards. They were regular entertainment at Mikkells and everyone from Ralph MacDonald to Stevie Wonder and even Bill Cosby joined with them. Phyllis Hyman was a regular there also. It was back when Jazz and Cross-Over was King. It was “Musical Nirvana.”

And they sure could “Groove.” Stuff was a group of the BEST “Studio Musicians” in the World. And I was lucky enough to experience them nightly. Not to mention Phyllis singing standards. How young everyone was then.

What ever happened to Creed Taylor and CTI Records speaking of Cross-Over?

Yes, I am feeling nostalgic!

Lawrence Welk is Still on TV!

It’s on WLIW channel 21 on Long Island, did you know that? Whowudhavthunkit?

I mean really, on Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. it’s “Lawrence Welk,” who knew?