Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Friday, June 25, 2004


Well, the unemployment train rolls on but there possibly could be light at the end of the tunnel. Next week I have set up several career related interviews in Atlanta. I certainly am not very optimistic about my chances, but that's not stopping me from giving it my all. So this weekend I will be driving down to Atlanta to put the rubber to the road. Not since Sherman has anyone hit Atlanta with such an agenda. Hopefully, with a bit of luck this will be a turning point in the story of Dar.

And as for the blog, better get it out of your system now Seth because when ole Tondar gets back online the Rantation will crush your Spectacular and put your conspiracy theories back where they belong in the dustbin of history behind the burnt down Shonies of Liberalism.

From the Seth Archives 6/17/04...

Say goodbye to sexy infidelity reality TV shows. Now that prairie voles aren't playing the field, so to speak, it shouldn't be too long before you're getting your goodbye shot instead of goodbye kiss from the old lady.

This could also really change high school dating:

"Hey, Julie, I think you're swell. Will you wear my ring?"
"Sure Joey. Will you take my pill?"

As if women didn't already have enough control over our sex lives.
E. J.'s TAKE

From the Seth Archives 6/16/04...

"E.J. responds to specific critics of campaign finance reform who want to throw the baby out with the bathwater or those who simply want to undermine reform altogether by pointing out the ineffectitude of the current law.

A good, short rant, he touches on a number of subjects.

As I told James last night after getting labeled a "Union Lover" that I'd trade them all for campaign finance reform.

One thing that E.J. didn't touch on was the legal debate on the issue, namely, the money equals speech fallacy.

Money does not equal speech. Money is quantifiable, currency. Speech is incalculable and inherently of variating value. A dollar is a dollar, of dollar worth. A voiced opinion can be thoughtful, well researched, fallacious, or an outright lie and either way the listener can still decide the opinion's value on an individual basis. Campaign Finance in no way restricts what you can say. Rather, its goal is to thwart the use of money to drown out the voice of opposition.

But more importantly, money is spread very unequally through the populace and in a democratic society, it's absolutely imperative that the ability to voice your opinion is shared as equally as possible among the population.

When AEDCo. or Ohio Energy gives an $800,000 donation to the Bush re-election campaign, it's not because they want to get their voice heard - tell their side of the story. They're buying the president's ear - not toward them but away from the demands of the democratic society who want the grossly lawbreaking polluters to clean up their act or pay the penalty of not doing so. The ads they buy don't say anything about the politics of these companies. They're favors. Hey, Mr. President, here's 800 grand to beef up your re-election campaign so when it's over, you'll owe us. You can't tell me that's free speech. It's pure corruption.

And the final rub is, as E.J. points out, the corruption goes two ways. Most donaters aren't criminals trying to get around the law by purchasing the law. They're corporations or organizations who are directly affected by the law and get pulled in so they won't be forgotten. I'm willing to bet that most labor groups are damn sick of local and national Democrats calling up and saying "are you with me this time? Please respond in green." I'm equally sure that coal-burning power companies would have a lot more in the budget to purchase air toxic control equipment if the local Republicans weren't demanding "pay up, or we throw you to the mercy of the millions you gave bronchitis to."

And it's so easy to accomplish: give the candidates free air time.

We own the broadcast networks. But UPN, CBS, NBC, ABC et al. and their parent companies channel a massive flow of campaign cash to both parties so that we won't balk at them charging Superbowl rates for a spot during Law & Order reruns. Why do we accept their table scraps when the dinner table belongs to us, the American people.

Give the candidates free air time.

Suddenly, labor unions don't need a tenth of their current cash flow from their members - generally people who will spend a hundred dollars on consumer goods if they get it. Suddenly, religious organizations can take their big donation plates and put it toward researching methods for fetal transfer to a maternal surrogate - you know, give pregnant women an alternative to abortion instead of financing some right wing looney who passes "groundbreaking" legislation to outlaw a procedure used once every 10 years.

Give the candidates free air time

Simply imagine the boon to the economy and our capitalist system if the billions spent in campaign TV ads never left the wallets of the contributers. Bill Gates can't pay off high ranking politicians to allow Microsoft to maintain a monopoly on all computer programming - aw, shucks, I guess he'll just have to take the corporation's $9 million budget for campaign donations and put it into developing an OS and browser that are simply better than their competitions'. Or call it profits and watch the corporate stock soar; it's a free country. MTV can't stick their money deep enough into the FEC to curb an investigation into their non-voting, extortionary system for choosing which video airs on TRL; darn. rats. I guess they'll just have to go back to finding good music and rewarding artists for their work. Don't worry too much for the recording companies - not having to win an auction on behalf of their bands to get them on TV might make it a lot more economically feasible for their bands to earn some press for themselves. Earning. Competition. Innovation. Isn't that the goal of a solid economy?

Give the candidates free air time, and watch how fast we become a what we should have been all along: a great, wealthy and free society. Or, you know, ignore the corruption, mouth the rhetoric that so much money was spent to smear on your lips, let the pursuit of wealth be granted only to those who have it, and forget the first truth that we once held self-evident."

Not so fast this time Seth. James has disagreement with the Kremlin...

"there are a few errors here:
1. just because money is quantifiable and speech is not doesn't necessarily break the correlation. printed words are easily quantifiable, every book has a price tag. does that mean then that books aren't protected under free speech because they are quantifiable? limiting an individual's ability to contribute to a campaign limits their ability to participate in government; its just like limiting the number of books a year a person may write and publish.

2.ohio energy's donation isn't at all related to individual campaign contributions, so your example isn't really relevant. air time is a bad idea because implementing it is so problematic. on what channels? to whom? to individual candidates? there were over 100 candidates in the california governor's election alone. what about all the individuals running for state and federal congress? or would you give it to parties? which parties? do the greens get time? can the yeza party get as much time as the democrats? i still don't see it solving any of the problem inherent in the current electoral system."

Thursday, June 24, 2004


From the Seth Archives 6/16/04...

"If Bush were to run for president in Iraq, he'd lose in a landslide. But then again, we already knew that, didn't we."

This strikes Tondar as odd because 18 months ago polling data was hard to come by in Iraq considering they had no freedom of speech. Though this poll makes sense considering that Saddam was re-elected a few years ago with over 99% of the vote. He must have truly been a man of the people to be that popular.

From the Seth Archives 6/14/04...

"He's not your Clinton, he's not a Bush, he's certainly not like Reagan. The knock on John Kerry to date is that he's a on-the-fence guy - a flip-flopper on issues to his political enemies and "cerebral" to pundits.

Ol' Tondar dismisses this personality trait as a negative - or at least something to make Kerry unelectable. But look through history at the other presidents who were considered "cerebral." Franklin Roosevelt was the last one. Before him, Woodrow Wilson and Abraham Lincoln. Thomas Jefferson fits the mold, too. C'mon, I'm not just tossing names out here. Think about it: Stiff, intellectual, elitist, reserved but passionate, few friends but much respect from colleagues, bookish, quietly hung around politics until making his run at the White House.

To be honest, I think if Kerry's going to win, it will be on the wave of disdain for Bush more than anything else. So goes a re-election campaign year. Certainly, even if Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar and George W. Bush was a Texas oil Yaley, none of the candidates since, well, FDR, have won without painting themselves as a man of the people, and in the age of the Sound Bite, whoever's the more "Cerebral" candidate isn't going to be the deciding factor for a lot of people (wait until the pissed-on, pissed-off and turned-off Generation X turns middle aged and I think this might become a factor again).

Kerry certainly doesn't have his name on a wealth of bills - what Democrat does with Republicans controlling Congress for the last decade? What he does have is his name on studies, investigations, and oversights - the executive (and often more effective, especially for the minority party) pursuits of the Capitol.

As the attached article mentions, Kerry's takes on issues are difficult to explain in 10 words or less, and you're lucky to get even that many in today's politics. How he manages to articulate these decisions without Gore-ing people will be a good indicator of his chance for success in October. I think it's at least guaranteed, however, that such insight and ability to consider the world as more than black and white suggest that he'll make a supurb president.

What I'm saying is we might be on the verge of answering that age-old question: What would FDR or Lincoln have been like as peace-time presidents? Then again, with the EU getting slammed in its own elections last night and the world seemingly beginning to unravel from its fragile post-Civil War high, perhaps the Kerry administration, like Lincoln, FDR, Jefferson, and Wilson, will come in right before the storm breaks."

From the Seth Archive 6/14/04...

"I personally agree with this doctor that there have been numerous cases of medical malpractice suits going too far.

But that DOES NOT recuse ANY doctor from a Hippocratic Oath.

Medicine isn't just a consumer good. You come to a doctor at your weakest - fearing for your life or the quality of it and forced to put all-encompassing trust in their abilities at their craft. It's that trust that makes the Hippocratic Oath so important and has made it so since the birth of classical civilization. I also think that's why medical malpractice suits become so heated (and expensive) - if the greatest betrayal is to leave someone when they're counting on you the most, then this certainly qualifies.

But to fight back against outrageous malpractice suits by refusing care is the absolutely ugliest poltics a doctor can play at. Even in cases that are not life-threatening, as in cosmetic surgury on a burn victim in this instance, you have to treat the patient to the best of your abilities, allowing for no conflicts. What happens if every doctor refuses to treat medical malpractice lawyers? Can a cop refuse to investigate the murder of a defense attorney? Can a local judge refuse justice to a man who voted for the judge's opponent in the last election?

This doctor claims that his feelings toward the medical malpractice attorney would jeopardize his work - human nature being what it is. That's a load of horse crap. We're capable of beating human nature, as evidenced by the fact that we're not all running around naked and fornicating all day long. For a doctor, such ability to put your feelings aside to deliver treatment is paramount. You don't get bad days. You don't get whoopsidaisies. And society made you go through a decade of schooling and training to make sure you could pull that level of perfection off.

I am infuriated by this asshole who thinks he can pick and choose how good of a job he's going to do one day or the next based on how much he likes the client. If it's Mother Teresa or Hitler on your table, you give them the same treatment, even if the man just shot Lincoln or worse, levied a civil suit against your colleague.

Afterall, Doc, you swore an oath."

From the Seth Archives 6/14/04...

Can you believe the Free Press is just catching onto this now? I think every student in Ann Arbor knew about that place.

From the Seth Archives of June 9th...

"Check out this editorial piece that discusses the findings and beliefs of the Ph.D. candidate who was plagiarized in the British/American intelligence synopsis before the war."

Seth's June 8th rebuttal to Running On The Night Train...

"I want to personally thank everyone for keeping me up to speed with on-the-minute reports of last night's doings, goings on, and happenings.

As you know, due to work constraints I had to retire around midnight during the Tondar Returns, Open-Shirt Train Wreckathon of Monday evening.

However, although I had to miss Tres falling into the garbage then blaming Angeline for it, Tondar, James and Angeline chasing a pink-shirted deuchebag around town, SBP showing up only to be met quickly with footwear in the eye, the ensuing jumping of the Ass Master General who couldn't find his glasses, Shank showing up to discover Mig's hot neighbor, Tres trying to explain why he was so hungry and how the green stuff in his hair wasn't his fault, and any number of other events great and small, fortunately, my friends are of such caliber that they dutifully slammed the door open in my room every five minutes to make sure I was well aware of everything that transpired.

Sometimes, as with the above-mentioned jumping of the troll, you guys were even thoughtful enough to bring the action right to me. I may have not been there to train wreck in person, but I was with you in spirit.....the spirit that's sitting there for four hours with a pillow over his head and bitching to himself about how he's going to slaughter you all.

Moment of the night: when I finally shooed the last drunken creature from the confines of my chambers and out onto the porch, I returned to find that Tres had somehow snuck back in the window, went right to my room, stuffed a burger bun in his mouth, and semi-passed out on my bed - seriously, with the fur sticking out of his open shirt and full maw, he did seem awkwardly like the Little Red Riding Hood Wolf in Shrek as he looked up at me and gave a muffled "what?" Five minutes later, the same drunk T-bagg managed to crash through the door I'd sworn I'd locked with Angeline and a trash can in free fall with him.

Ahhh, 308, our time together was too short by far."

Tuesday, June 22, 2004


From the Seth Archives 6/8/04...

The mainstream evolutionary thinkers still hold to a form of the Out of Africa theory - which, for Neanderthals, means that humans were a separate species with whom they could not reproduce. The model often includes some sort of substantive and drawn-out war between the Neanderthal residents of Europe and Cro-Magnon Homo Sapiens.

The newfangled people are starting to take up a theory proposed by Michigan's Prof. Wolpoff, which says that modern features in humans came about as an amalgymation of various regional traits. In other words, the Homo Erectus and Homo Sapien were the same animal - just altered over a million years of evolution working on a population that spread across the globe but still managed to share genes. In this scenario, Neanderthals and Humans are both Homo Sapiens.

The battles between proponents of these theories are fierce, with every scrap of new evidence we find interpreted to support whichever theory you go with. One of the biggest battles is over how we view the Neanderthal. If he was indeed part of our ancestral line, he must be intelligent, brilliant really. His burials were elaborate, his society complex, his ability to develop language and think ahead roughly congruous with our own. That huge braincase had to have something in it, right? Plus, Neanderthals had freckles and red hair, which in humans is genetically a trait much older than the 250,000 ya date that Out of Africa people set for human invasion. Unless we developed the same exact trait in sun-soaked Africa, more than a few of the Cro-Magnon invaders had to, at one time or another, have been rolling in the grass with a biggun.

If you think humanity came out of Africa only 250,000 years ago or so, then there's no need to be so kind to our former nemeses. The Neanderthals lost to our great species because they were stupid, unable even to produce enough vowels with their strange voiceboxes to develop language. Plus, Broca's area might be smaller than ours. Those burials might not be all that elaborate - certainly they don't demonstrate religion (a uniquely human concept). Oh, and they were brain-eaters...cannibals. The bastards. The hairy, gruesome, heavy-browed, big-nosed bastards all - Curse our fallen enemy, har!

But the battle just recently took a unique twist. The minority, such as myself, who believe in the multi-regional theory, recently got a new ally:


Talk about your strange bedfellows. Here we thought we were the radicals and all of a sudden the Christians are coming to our defense. Creationists are funding digs and research for Muli-Regionalists across the globe.

The reason: the Creationists can call the habilenes, australopithecines, and paranthropuses extinct ape cousins, but there's really no mistaking the relationship between Homo Erectus, Homo (Sapiens) Neanderthalensis, and Beethoven. So they say they're humans - just like us in every faculty. Now, don't get me too far into their science because it's pretty irrational and certainly not scientific. Suffice it to say that the Creationists and Multi-Regionalists share a common goal of keeping the Neanderthal name impeccable. We both love showing you pictures of our first concepts of Neanderthal - the sluggish, apish, hairy beast - and using that to represent the Out of Africans who are still on a quest to discredit our grandpa's grandpa's etc. We both love pointing out the genetic similarities we have with Homo Erectus (2 million years older than us) and how human their lives were.

Of course, if you put the authors of "The African Victory" , "The Pond Theory" , and "God Made Kitty" in a room together, the anthropologists would certainly hit it off better with each other than the Evangelical bible-thumper. But when it comes to money for digs, we have no such allegiances.

I feel a bit strange that my side is actively doing research to help creationists publish - ironic how taking money from Christians feels more than anything else like sleeping with the devil. But the simple fact of the matter is, fringe theories in science have few financial backers while Creationism has oodles of donations to dole out.

In the end, I don't think it will matter much. Just because the Creationists are funding the Multi-Regional Theorists does not mean that they're under any obligation to publish as a Creationist. The two fields are so far apart from each other, I can't see how the belief systems could possibly commingle. So I'll give my (wary) okay to this new development. If the creationists' cash allows us to learn more about ourselves - who we really are, where we really came from, and how we became what we are today - I don't mind if they use our findings on the Neanderthal lifestyle to support their wack-job ideas. Afterall, evolution is a scientific theory, creationism is religion. They can pick-and-choose what evidence to follow all they want to; it's still not going to be science.

As for the now-funded multi-regionalists, whoever said we're going to find what we're looking for. If there's anything we know about digging, it's that very few finds ever support an existing theory, so the chances of it supporting the digger's theory is fairly unlikely. That's why we keep looking.

Thanks for the cash, pals.

From the Seth Archives 6/7/04...

Oh, drat, you mean the two top candidates for the President of the United States are not being abnoxious enough in their campaign ads? Wow, I'm sooooo disappointed. I mean, why should they use the money people gave them to get their message across to actually deliver an intelligent message instead of entertain people?

I mean, how silly of the two men who wish to be the leader of the free world and make decisions every day that affect millions of people dramatically to actually try to provide evidence in their campaign advertizements. Statistics? If we wanted statistics we could tune into Bloomberg and watch the ticker. Enough of this dull "discussion on the issues," and boring "provision of evidence." The American people want action and know, like a duck that waddles around and yaps "Kerry '04" at everybody. Or how about a lame dude who goes around as an "unofficial Bush spokesman" to the chagrin of his embarrassed wife. Oh, better yet, instead of talking about the policies, show video of the policies riding around in open country, chasing jaguars, and performing perfect turns around hairpin mountainside roads. Then, two iguanas start getting into a political conversation while sitting in a tree overlooking Washington.

Actually, scratch all of that and just put a bunch of hot, scantily clad females grousing over a good-looking dude who just voted Kerry. Then, Bush can counter with Shaquille O'Neil slamming baskets and then standing in uniform with a basketball and saying "President Bush's tax plan is a slam dunk." How's that for pizazz?"

All I have to say about this one is, what a tool. From the Seth Archives 6/7/04...

"Okay, so he didn't name his website but if you're wondering what ol' Dan Chen's been up to, why not just let him tell it."

From the Seth Archives 6/7/04...

Is the fight with North Korea getting easier?

Do we have new technology that requires a third less troops to keep the DMZ stable?

Do we have a deal of disarmament with North Korea in place that means they won't take a big pullout as a sign that Seoul is ripe for the taking this summer?

My gut instinct is no. We know our troops are getting precariously thin in Iraq at a time when we need all the thickness we can muster. In fact, our troops are thin everywhere according to reports. And Bush isn't the type of fellow who seems likely to come to a compromise, even secretly, with the North Koreans, who he trusts about as far as Cheney can throw them. Rather, it looks like a physical manifestation of the fear we've held so long about the Iraq initiative: it's deferring American military attention from the places where we need it most.

The American people have a hard time passing judgement on foreign policy. It's a lot stickier than domestic policy with more smoke and mirrors, more subtlety, more compromise, and greater risks. We can't be given all the facts so we can't say anything for certain. Do we really know what went into the decision to redeploy our Korean troops to Iraq? Of course not, and we're not likely to be filled in anytime soon. So judging foreign policy becomes a trust issue. We have to believe they know what they're doing and that things are not what they look like. But I can't help this feeling that we're getting completely jerked around by this administration. Our guys keep dying everyday. The military keeps saying they're undermanned and overworked. The little truth that keeps coming back from our overseas operations too well fits the model proposed by those of us with reservations about the initiative from the get-go.

And the message that keeps coming back from the White House is the same - and quite honestly the only one they can give. Afterall, this is foreign policy. Stay the course. The guys attacking us are evil, well-organized men who hate Freedom. We're winning and on track. We're confident in our current deployments' ability to get it done. We have no more peaceful options. Things will get better. The bad news you're hearing is from muckrakers and not representative of the situation.

However, the little evidence that has come to the public says just the opposite. We need a policy change or a new idea. The guys attacking us think they're doing right, they're haphazardly organized, and they think they're fighting for what they consider to be freedom. We're losing and trapped in a mire. We're underdeployed and losing morale, effectiveness, and comrades every day. There were and are more peaceful and better solutions on the table that we're ignoring in a quixotic fetish of doing things our own way. The situation's worsening. The news we're hearing is only a fraction of the horrific reality occurring there and the U.S. news agency is working under a wartime propagandist ethos to try to rosy the picture for home viewers.

This is foreign policy. It's too big for the voter to judge on anything more than a hunch because it's too impossible to get the whole picture. However, everything we do know points to this administration being as inept at the great balancing act as we predicted and as callous about their ineptitude as we feared. Either we're missing a very big part of the picture, or we just moved a third of our troops from the hottest border left in the world in an attempt save a nation-building initiative that's precariously close to failing. I can't say for sure, but I think our worst fears about the administration are true.

I'm not just talking about October here. I'm not. Foreign policy is bigger than the election, even if allegations that Bush doesn't see it that way are true. Whether or not Bush wins re-election, we as a country need to win Iraq. We need to win Korea. We need to win Afghanistan. There are always going to be rogue nations, but emboldened rogue nations is something the world cannot have.

We're going to need friends and strong, non-oil economies in the Middle East in 10 years. Our dependence on crude is going to fall - the technology is too close not to succeed even if it's delayed politically. And when that happens, the oil economies are going to crash. They'll be destitute, they'll be angry, and their rancor will be turned West. Look at Saudi Arabia - who produces more than their fare share of anti-American terrorists, including bin Laden. If our economic ties crumble, they'll go rogue in heartbeat and we'll have to invade. Can you imagine? Christian and Jewish troops marching into Mecca and Medina? It could spark a war - a real war. Arab world united against the Western world. India could start abusing their large Muslim population. Pakistan goes over the edge. A bomb goes off. We need Iraq. They alone have the resources to become a strong economy and weather the loss of the oil boon. They alone have the potential for Sunni and Shi'ite to live together harmoniously while their government convinces both North Africa and Iran not to take the opportunity to stick it to the West.

We need Afghanistan to start developing a city economy. They need to start making electronics to sell in Russia and China while buying resources from their troubled neighbors. They need to develop tourist resorts and historical societies and top engineering schools and everything else that makes a country decide they have too much to lose in engaging in war or letting extremists take over.

And we need North Korea to know that they have no friends left and their brand of Communism has had its day. We need them to understand that Korea will be reunited one day, but that day will only come when their increasingly oppressive government runs out of patriotic rhetoric and the millenial generation of North Koreans who never knew the Soviet Union decides they got a raw deal.

And the only way to accomplish these goals is to win the fights we started. If what I think has happened has happened, we're taking an awful risk in taking the Iraq initiative for Bush and co.'s selfish benefit instead of conducting it for the future of mankind. But it's also apparent that eventually we were going to have to take out Saddam. We need to win whether or not the current administration gets their own victory out of it. Considering the data we have in front of us, we're heading toward failure. Best case scenario is that we knock Bush out of power this fall, Kerry gets the ship righted, and we can thank W in our history books for being dumb enough to do wrongly at the wrong time that which we were equally stupid enough to be waiting around for a right time to do.

This is beyond rhetoric and guesswork now. We're at the wrong time in history for a leader who's inept at foreign policy, who will overestimate what being the world's lone superpower really allows us to do, who will make the same mistakes in overcomitting that we made in Vietnam. We need to re-establish that trust in our government that foreign policy is measured, precise, and calculating, and cannot afford a president who doesn't have a better plan than his people. All we know right now is that our dark predictions on the results of Bush's foreign policy keep manifesting themselves in actuality. But we're supposed to know less than the President of the United States, not more. Today we're moving troops off the line in Korea to bolster our defenses in Iraq. And unless there's a good reason why we don't need them in the DMZ anymore, another dark prediction just came true. And that's a truly scary thought.

And until that day, they need to be trapped behind their line, their military unable to make any gains, their foreign policy makers unable to accomplish any initiatives without finding a way to demonstrate outright to America that they can be trusted in negotiations. They need to be economically cut off from bettering their way of life, the goods their people longing for unable to penetrate their borders, and with no way to feed their growing bellies for consumerism beyond coming to the West with their hats in hand and ready to leave the list of nuclear powers. They need to be trapped within themselves with fewer and fewer friends and no conceivable benefit apparent to use their nuclear devices and little chance of successfully implementing it besides. They need to be trapped in their little hole and left to rot and fester until the ugly boil of oppression finally pops.

From the sent Seth Archives of 6/7/04...

They just launched this site but it's got a moderately humerous "survivor" parody of major Republicans. If you love Bush, Cheney, Delay, Coulter, Harris, and Ashcroft, I'm sure you'll be hurt by your heroes being so callously made fun of and find the cartoon itself despicable. I personally don't think it contributes much to the modern political debate but I'm also of the mind that the six people have been so egregiously screwing the American people that I don't mind seeing them picked on any more than I minded seeing a couple calls blown in
tonight's game that would have helped the Lakers.

However, the cartoon isn't the true gem on this site. If you skip all else, go to the biography of Ashcraft and watch the real Johnny sing his patriotic ditty. Whether you think he's good or bad as an Attorney General, I think we can all agree in no uncertain terms that he makes an awful songwriter.