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.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


Well it's do or die time for the Pistons tonight. Though it's not the first time they have been behind in a series, this has certainly been the most frustrating. There have been many strange calls in this series always going against the Pistons. Of course the Pistons haven't risen above the officiating either to play like the champions they are. Now in this crucial game 6, that is exactly what they must do. CNNSI has an interesting piece on Detroit's legacy as a champion. And especially, with Larry Brown on his way out, the Piston's future is full of uncertainty.

Personally, I think Detroit can win both games. However, it will take some hard work and a fair shake from the officials. Everybody knows Shaq is going to come right out and take it to Ben Wallace. This year our one-on-one coverage has not been able to limit Shaq. Thus we end up in the confusion of Miami's full forced offense. On the plus side Shaq becomes increasingly ineffective with only one day of rest. So the longer this series goes, those circumstances favor Detroit. Ole Tondar would come out with Elden Campbell and let him grind and shove against Shaq. I'd like to see Elden have 3 fouls at the end of the first half. In addition, we need to knock Shaq on his ass once. Sure we will probably collect a flagarant, but that is Detroit basketball right there. The man is hurting and a message has to be sent he's going to have to work hard if he is going to walk away with this victory. With Shaq neutralized, the Pistons can then focus on shutting down the injurred Wade and the rest of that jabroni crew. Stopping the crew is crucial for a Pistons victory. If Damon Jones, Eddie Jones, Rasul Butler, or Udonis Haslem end up in double figures, it significantly reduces Detroits chances of winning because there are too many weapons at that point for the Pistons to cover.

In addition, on the offensive end, the Pistons have to get 'Sheed going early. So goes Sheed, so go the Pistons. In addition, with a comparative advantage of Rasheed Wallace over Udonis Haslem, they have to take better advantage of him on the offensive end. To keep him in the game, we will thus need strong support from Ben Wallace, Antonio McDyess, and Tondar's key to winning, Elden Campbell. If these guys can be effective on defense, Sheed won't have to worry about picking up cheap fouls and can concentrate on sticking it to the Heat on offense.

With European Union "no" votes in France and The Netherlands, economic instability has now joined the political situation...

" On Wednesday, the euro fell by about 1.40 cents against the dollar as the Dutch voted on the EU constitution and markets reacted to uncertainties created by France’s “no” vote. That brought the single European currency to an eight-month low of $1.2202."

Not only does this reinforce the dollar as the most important holding currency in the world (not that anyone was losing faith, whew!), but it also has created dissent amongst some groups. Most notably the Italian right's Roberto Maroni, has called for a referendum to bring back the Lyra. Afterall, the currency has increased prices affecting poorer locations such as Sicily, Greece, and Spain, while really only benefiting the European Central Bank.

I stumbled upon this Andante article about the madness and greatness of Beethoven. It's actually quite interesting to see the man revealed for who he was, and not just what he composed. Worth a read if you're into what the kids would call classical music. Though like Beethoven, I consider myself more of a romantacist.

Where else could this happen? Just another day this week in the A. T. L. Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 02, 2005


From Paul...

"Just to let everyone he phoned me last week and he is no longer the BIG V! In fact, he even had a little jungle fevah these past few weeks.

The times are a changing, boys..." Posted by Hello



It must have been an evenly called, close game!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Remember the guy on the crane last week in Atlanta? Well the police went looking for Carl Edward Roland but thought it was too much work so they ransacked the home of the vacationing Carl Anthony Rowland.

"Police raided a home belonging to a man named Carl Roland, but it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.

The owner of the home, Carl Anthony Rowland, who was in Florida on vacation during the standoff, says police turned his home upside down for no reason."


From Drake...

"My brother got married and lenny was there. Guys, i wont lie, the highlight of the night was when i goosed lenny's mom on the dance floor! Can anyone say COTTAGE CHEESE ASS (Sackett I'm looking in your general direction!)!?" Posted by Hello

From Frank...





If you check out Peter Vecsey's latest column (some registration may be required), it is all but official that Larry Brown will be leaving the Pistons bench at the end of the season for a new job in Cleveland's front office. If that's true I just hope the NBA remembers what happened with Miami when they stole Pat Riley away and ended up compensating the Knicks with a first round pick. Most likely though, that flag only flies over the NBA flagship.

Yeah, it's a bit late, but I was outta the country. DEAL WITH IT...

Going into Episode III I think we have to remember what kind of director George Lucas is. His strengths are in cinemotagraphy, special effects, and a creative genius that allowed him to create and to welcome us all into his own universe. I have to admit I was a big fan of Episodes I and II. Lucas' cinematography was front and center in Episode II, whether he was revealing the love story between Padme and Anakin or the kickbutt action of the Clone Wars, much of his tale could be told without dialogue. I especially liked the moment where Anakin and Padme are taken into the Geonosis arena to be executed. If you ignore the dialogue, it's a very beautiful moment.

However, speaking of dialogue, George Lucas could not write his way out of a brown paper bag. This is a true mark of his ultimate weakness and probably the biggest knock against the second trilogy. George Lucas is the worst actors director of our day. When it comes to the visuals, these can be touched up by Skywalker Ranch in postproduction. However, actors require immediate attention while filming. This problem was especially true in Episode I when that whiney brat had some groaner lines and delivered them with the dedication of a 16 year old listing off the Burger King pop selection for the gazillionth time.

With Episode III, I expect this to be a very dark but excellent movie. Remember the second trilogy was not chosen to be made in 1977 for a reason. Nobody wants to see a tragedy where a bunch of bumbling fools destroy the Galactic Republic and are allowed to be seduced by the evil of the Dark Side. From the retarded Gungan to the whiney senator from Naboo, to even the not-so-wise Yoda, it must be noted that these characters are flawed and end up failing the cause they serve, either due to stupidity, selfishness, or some other manifestation of their weakness. If you accept the fact that evil must triumph, it will be easier to sit back and enjoy the ride.
SETH ON 2008

From Seth...

There's a buzz in the Democratic Party according to my mother over Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. A moderate Dem who's Pro-Life but has a reputation for tax-and-spend, he was on the short list for John Kerry's VP candidates.

Looking ahead to 2008, Vilsack looks like a guy who could position himself to the right of Hilary without compromising his party affiliation. In electoral math, he could put the Plains states back in play if he faces the right Republican.

Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Arkansas, Ohio, Colorado, Florida and Michigan are where the battles will be fought in '08, so a candidate from a Plains State seems to make sense.

Sounds like a great candidate that can really get to the middle. But would the hard liberal left go for a pro-lifer? NOW won't even let pro-lifers speak at the convention. Seems the base would want a more hardcore liberal. Or are they going to be that desperate to win after 8 years of GOP rule, that they can compromise their values for Vilsack.

Sean Hannity--If I get you off, will you come?

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


I don't know if I'd walk on water to follow this beardo. But it can't be denied that he does have a voice like an angel. Posted by Hello

Wanna be the best Den leader in all of Boy Scouts? Just fudge the numbers until you have all the recruits you need. Oh Atlanta, you gotta scam up every sleeve (excluding the 200 Boy Scouts that don't really exist).

Monday, May 30, 2005


YEAH! break it! BREAK IT! Posted by Hello

From the Seth Archives 5/20/05...

"The Torch is Passed
by Seth

AUBURN HILLS, MI -- With only a few seconds left in Game 6, Detroit Head Coach Larry Brown called a 20-second timeout. He didn't do it to discuss strategy, settle his players down, or engineer a comeback; his Pistons were leading the series-clinching game 87-79 between a pair of victory foul shots. Rather, Larry Brown called timeout to honor the passing of a legend.

After 18 years with the Indiana Pacers, Reggie Miller was leaving the floor, for the last time. So Brown and his squad called timeout, stood center-court, and along with about 20,000 other Miller fans in Conseco Fieldhouse, wished the 13th all-time leading scorer, and most prolific free-throw and 3-point shooter in NBA history, a respectful farewell.

For his part, the almost certain future Hall of Famer played more like it was the prime of his career than its end. Each one of his 27 points came at a clutch moment, his four 3-pointers especially. They also came against great defense. Not once did Miller get a good look. Not once did he shoot with fewer than two hands in his way. Shooting 9 for 12 in the first half, Reggie was making a point: if it's going to be the end of Miller time, you're going to have to beat Reggie Miller at his own game.

Enter Detroit's Rip Hamilton, who has been widely acknowledged as the "next" Reggie Miller for their similar style of play. In the first half, Hamilton scored sparingly, looking for shots off the dribble that sometimes fell and other times did not. He watched as Miller hit one low-percentage shot after another. He was sending a message: If Rip wanted to inherit the Miller legend, it wasn't going to be handed over; he would have to take it.

Hamilton and the Pistons overcame game-long double-digit deficits in the 2nd half, whittling the Pacers lead down to 1 by the end of the 3rd period. But Miller wouldn't give it up. After hitting Jackson for a slam dunk to put the lead back to 3, Miller executed a brilliant shot: dribbling around the baseline with two Piston defenders in tow, then putting up a perfect three-point shot from center while his momentum was still carrying him to the right. The Pacers were up 6, and the state of Indiana rocking so loud that Gene Hackman almost fell out of the Hoosiers photo.

Was it Miller Time again? Nay. It was Rip Time.

He'd gotten the message.

Hamilton scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half, giving up his off-the-dribble layup attempts for vintage Miller button-hook jump shots. And soon, Miller's Pacers did something they hadn't done all game: they gave up the lead, a rare turnover leading to a layup by Hamilton.

By the late 4th quarter, the Pistons had built their lead to 6 points. But Reggie nailed another triple to put his team within 3 with just over a minute left. Rip Hamilton answered with 2.

Pistons by 5.

Next possession, the ball came to Miller on an in-bound. He broke free from his defender. He put up for a fadeaway triple. It was blocked by Ben Wallace. The ball came to Chauncy Billups, who was fouled and made 2.

Pistons by 7.

Reggie tried again. His shot bounced off the rim. Into Rip Hamilton's hands. Miller fouled him, with 15.9 seconds remaining in the game. Rip shot his first. Pacers coach Rick Carlisle pulled his star. The crowd rose to their feet. And Larry Brown called a timeout.

After the game, every player, coach, official, and towel boy wanted to shake Miller's hand, wish him luck, thank him for what he'd done for the game. But Reggie sought out one face, a masked face in a Pistons uniform, and embraced him. "You've got the torch now," he told Hamilton. "Hold it for as long as you can."


Reggie Miller 11-16 4-8 1-1 2 27
Rip Hamilton 10-16 0-0 8-9 6 28

From Dawn and the Episode III discussions...

"I was thinking: are we being selfish in believing that Star Wars truly belongs to Generation X -- that because they talk about the sagas in Clerks, we're the official critics on Jar-Jar Binks, young Anakin, et al."

The Baby Boom generation is pretty firmly established as being roughly between 1945 and 1965. After 1966 the birth rates dropped sharply, signaling the end of that generation. The dates of Generation X are much more in dispute, but I'd say the most agreed-upon dates are 1966 to 1976 for Generation X. In 1976 the birth rates began to climb again until about 1982, so most demographers use those dates for Generation Y.

The statistics for these three groups are pretty interesting:

Baby Boom Generation (1945-1965): around 40 million

Generation X (1966 to 1975): about 47 million

Generation Y (1976 to 1982): about 74 million.

Other people define these three generation more culturally, and use dates links to historical/cultural events. Some say that Gen X and Gen Y are really the same generation and should be lumped together.

From Wikipedia:
Generation X is a term used in demographics, the social sciences, and more broadly in popular culture. It generally consists of persons born in the 1960s and 1970s, although the exact dates of birth defining this age demographic are highly
debated. It has also been described as a generation consisting of those people whose "teen years touched the 1980s", born after baby boomers.

Though popularly associated with the people born during 1961–1982, in the broader socio-economic perspective the concept of "Generation X" describes those people who grew up in a period of transition (1945–1990), beginning with the end of World War
II and the decline of colonial imperialism—to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. Thus, the experience of a global transition between colonialism and globalization, brings together roughly two diverse generations—the baby boomers
and the baby busters—under the rubric of "Generation X". However, many older Generation Xers frown upon the classification of those born in 1980 or 1981 as "Generation X".


Here are some definitions I found:

1) A cohort-group (all persons born in a limited span of consecutive years) whose length approximates the span of a phase of life (about 22 years) and whose boundaries are fixed by peer personality (a generational persona recognized and determined by
common age location, common beliefs and behavior, and perceived membership in a common generation).

2) A group of people who can be, 1) demographically identified by biological trends and 2) have shared experiences.

3) All the people living at the same time or of approximately the same age.

I guess it's easy to see why there is dispute, since the definition of "generation" isn't defintine, but I tend to stand with the demographers and their use of birthrates to calculate the dates of Baby Boom, Gen X and Gen Y. Of course people are not easy to categorize, and just like any stereotype you may not fit into how people think of Gen X and Gen Y. I think it has a lot more to do with who your parents are and if you had older or younger siblings (or none at all) than the year of your birth.

For example, I had two older brothers that by all defintions were Gen X, but they were much more like my parents than the "slacker" that most Gen Xers are thought of as. I also think it makes a difference if your parents were "early" or "late" Baby
Bommers -- in other words, did they identify with the values of the fifties and sixties and pretty much "miss" the social upheaval of the late 60's and 70's? Or did they demonstrate and smoke pot and beleive (for a little while) in free love? My
parents missed the 60's and 70's. And then it makes a difference if you want to be like your folks or completely different. My brothers wanted to be like my parents -- non-drinking, non-smoking, hard workers, not challenging the social system. I
wanted to be anything *but* like my parents. My brothers don't seem much like Gen Xers, but I do (hehe). My sister is a complete Yuppie: doesn't want to work very hard but is all about the materialism. Though she's born in 1976 I'd say she's a
pretty typical Gen Yer. Parents are the primary source for children's values, whether they accept them or reject them.

I think the generations label is kinda silly, personally. It's too broad to use as any part of one's own identity. There are too many cultural groups spanning all ages to make one's birthdate define who they should be.

Sorry about this lengthy digression on generations, but I don't think it's a very good way to categorize people, or movies.

As far as Star Wars -- I think the appeal of the original movies was that it was *non*-generational. Kids and adults alike enjoyed it. The "folklore" of the movie was taken from many different cultural sources from many different time periods,
which also helped it mass appeal. Lucas was in effect following in Tolkien's footsteps (or at least trying).

The new set of movies lacks this broad appeal. They are directed more at children, and the folklore of the movie is way too messianic and less broad and epic (less original). I really feel Lucas lost sight of the creativity that drove the first
three movies and fell prey to the monster called Marketing in the last three, and as a result they are not as broadly appealing. They can't be, because he was pandering to too many specific groups while making these last three movies."

From Seth and the Episode III discussions...

"I saw the Wikipedia entry when I was doing research on generations awhile back.

The problem is, "Generation X" comes from a marketing term, not some standardized system of calculating generations.

What I actually managed to do when I was going over this stuff was to break each generation into subsets. That way, we can keep a 20-to-25-year span together for parentage purposes, but also include distinct generational divides, such as that between the Generation Y, the blessing of this Earth, and their pathetic, reject, loser predecessors of Generation X, sometimes called the "Get out of my" Generation.

I just put this all together last year from primarily Internet resources, so feel free to pick me apart.

The numbers correspond to a book current to 1900 concerning the generations of America.

15th Geneartion: Millenium

Info: Not to be confused with Millenials. Currently babies.

14th Generation: Millennial 1981 to 1999

1983-1990 - Millenials I (Pepsi Generation, "Punk Generation")

1991-1999 - Millenials II ("Pop Generation")

Info: "Pop" v. "Punk" comes from a Rolling Stone article.

13th Generation: Generation X 1965-1980

1965-1973 - Generation X or "Generation Me" (1)

1974-1982 - Generation Y or "Echo Boom"

Info 1: Known in academic circles as the "Whiny Bitches" Generation.

12th Generation: Baby Boomers 1946-1964

1946-1955 - Baby Boomer 1
1956-1964 - Baby Boomer 2

11th Generation: Silent 1927-1945

1927-1940 - Depression Generation
1941-1945 - Beat Generation

Info: Not old enough to go to WWII. Beats were born during it.

10th Generation: G.I. 1901-1926

1901-1914 - Century Generation (1)

1915-1926 - Greatest Generation (2)

Info 1: So-named by a famous article in 1900 (also in Jules Verne)

Info 2: So-named by Dan Rather.

9th Generation: Lost 1883-1900

Info: Sometimes called the "Flu" generation or WWI generation.

8th Generation: Missionary 1865-1882

7th Generation: Progressive 1843-1864

6th Generation: Gilded 1822-1842

5th Generation: Transcendental 1792-1821

4th Generation: Compromise (1767-1791)

3rd Generation: Republican (1742-1766)

2nd Generation: Liberty (1724-1741)

Info: Founding Fathers Washington, Adams, Jefferson, et al.

1st Generation: Awakeners: (1701-1723)

Info: First generation to consider themselves non-European

European generations (various sources):

-Enlightenment (Hanoverians and Salem witch accusers)

-Glorious (William & Mary time, Salem witch accused)

-Cavalier (Charles II's time)

-Puritan (Fought English Civil War)

-Parliamentary (Argued with James Stuart)

-Elizabethan (Learned to read, Elizabeth not one of 'em, though)

-Reprisal (Born Protestants v. Born Catholics. Henry VIII's kids)

-Reformation (Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, et al.)

-Humanist (Fought/survived Wars of the Roses)

-Arthurian (Led Wars of the Roses. Joan of Arc, Richard II)

-Plague (John of Gaunt, the Black Prince, etc.)

From the Book of Kings (pub. Circa 1370):

-Last (funny name, huh? At the time, they figured it was. Edward III)

-Peasant (named "Nationalist" by later people. William Wallace is one)

-Oxfordian (Somerset, Edward Longshanks)

-Henry III (Yeah, Henry III is one)

-Crusader (Actually the 3rd crusade. Richard Lionheart, Robin Hood?)

-Angevin (Henry II, Thomas Beckett)

-Norman II (Queen Maud)

-Norman I (William Rufus, Robert of Normandy, Henry I)

-Conqueror (William the Conqueror, Harold II)

-Confessor (Edward the Confessor, Godwin of Wessex)

From here, the book gets the Anglo-Saxon kings all mixed up and so doesn't serve us very well in attributing generations."

I think James really hit the nail on the head with regard to CEO salaries. If you're going to support the beast that is capitalism then you have to allow J.P. Morgans, Henry Fords, and Bill Gates to become filthy stinking rich.

However, I think a bigger issue these days is the ever growing gap between the rich and poor. As automation and globalization take their toll on the post-industrial economy of our day, this problem will continue to have an increased impact on our society. Though members of the left and right, such as our labor unions and Pat Buchanan offer an isolationist answer, these detract from capitalistic exchange at its fullest. Though is this the only answer? Just ask yourself what is our economy going to look like when all our computers are made by the Indians, our automobiles are made in Latin America, and America dominates finance and service industries. Are the less talented Americans going to be happy working as janitors, waitresses, and truck drivers, where once they would have been welcomed into the middle class thanks to industrialized factory work. It's a tricky situation and actually may represent the next spector to haunt economic progress.

From Seth...

"Actually Ernie Harwell, the Detroit Tigers do have a National League rival. It's just that baseball likes to ignore it in order to create some sort of regional rivalry within Missouri.

I'm talking about St. Louis. They've met twice in the World Series. We already have a great hockey rivalry with them, but the Tigers/Cardinals one is more classy because they have to win their pennants to play each other.

They're both really old teams, too. And while St. Louis has historically won by pitching, the Tigers were always the hitters franchise. Plus, that 1968 World Series is generally considered one of the best in history (all 7 games were close, featured great plays, and were won in dramatic fashion).

But the bigger point is, the Cardinals and Tigers always got good around the same time. In the '80s, they were the team to beat in the National League, as we were in the American league. Really, though, historically the Tigers have always been Yankees Light -- if you can't get the Bronx Bombers, play Detroit. We were so similar that Yankee Stadium was modeled after Tigers Stadium. And if there's any great World Series rivalry, it's Yankees/Cardinals. Well, the Yanks get the Mets in interleague. So the Cards get the next-best historical franchise in baseball.

If we're to have an interleague rival to play every year, that's who I would pick. Screw Kansas City; they barely have a ballclub as it is. I know it's a bit far for people to drive as far as boosting attendance with out-of-town help, but I think it would draw a lot more home-town interest, especially if you could get Al Kaline and Bob Gibson to attend together. And it's not like there's a million Royals fans in St. Louis anyway, right?

As far as rivalries in our own league, though, it drives me NUTS that people don't talk about Yankees/Tigers anymore. The problem is that our team has been a sad-sack franchise since the mid-'90s, so nobody can take us seriously anymore. From about 1900 to 1909, if you talked about the American League, you talked about beating Ty Cobb and the Tigers. Then a rivalry blossomed between us and Connie Mack's A's in the 'teens. By the 1920s, though, a new rival for the Tigers had grown up: the Yankees. In the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s,. it wasn't Boston that the Yanks always played in the last series of the season. It wasn't Boston who was always challenging the Yankees for a pennant. It was Detroit.

In the '60s we developed a rivalry with Cleveland, and got one going with Toronto in the '80s. When you're good, people want to be rivals with you. But if we have one true rival in all of baseball, it's hands-down the Yankees. It's like Minnesota/Michigan -- just because one team isn't the program it used to be doesn't mean we don't pass around the Brown Jug anymore, right? Boston was always the Yanks' Michigan State -- the rivalry meant a lot to the BoSox fans but not as much to New Yorkers. At least from the days of the Babe through Mickey Mantle, Detroit was their real worry.

I don't want to diminish the Boston/New York rivalry at all, because that's one of the best rivalries in sports. Had the Babe (and the rest of the good players on that Boston team) not left for New York in 1920, the whole century could have belonged to Beantown rather than the Bronx. But I'd at least like some mention of the decade upon decade in which the Yankees had to fend off the Bengals."

From Dark Lord Denise...

* Never take a beer to a job interview.

* Always identify people in your yard before shooting at them.

* It's considered tacky to take a cooler to church.

* If you have to vacuum the bed, it is time to change the sheets.

* Even if you're certain that you are included in the will, it is still considered tacky to drive a U-Haul to the funeral home.

Dining Out
* When decanting wine, make sure that you tilt the paper cup, and pour slowly so as not to "bruise" the fruit of the wine.

* If drinking directly from the bottle, always hold it with your fingers covering the label.

Entertaining in your home
* A centerpiece for the table should never be anything prepared by a taxidermist.

* Do not allow the dog to eat at the matter how good his manners are.

Personal Hygiene

* While ears need to be cleaned regularly, this is a job that should be done in private using one's OWN truck keys.

* Proper use of toiletries can forestall bathing for several days. However, if you live alone, deodorant is a waste of good money.

* Dirt and grease under the fingernails is a social no-no, as they tend to detract from a woman's jewelry and alter the taste of finger foods.

Dating (outside the family)
* Always offer to bait your date's hook, especially on the first date.

* Be aggressive. Let her know you're interested: "I've been wanting to go out with you since I read that stuff on the bathroom wall two years ago."

* Establish with her parents what time she is expected back. Some will say 10:00 PM; Others might say "Monday." If the latter is the answer, it is the man's responsibility to get her to school on time.

Theater Etiquette
* Crying babies should be taken to the lobby and picked up immediately after the movie has ended.

* Refrain from talking to characters on the screen. Tests have proven they can't hear you.

* Livestock, usually, is a poor choice for a wedding gift.

* Kissing the bride for more than 5 seconds may get you shot.

* For the groom, at least, rent a tux. A leisure suit with a cummerbund and a clean bowling shirt can create a tacky appearance.

* Though uncomfortable, say "yes" to socks and shoes for this special occasion.

Driving Etiquette

* Dim your headlights for approaching vehicles; Even if the gun is loaded, and the deer is in sight.

* When approaching a four-way stop, the vehicle with the largest tires always has the right of way.

* Never tow another car using panty hose and duct tape.

* When sending your wife down the road with a gas can, it is impolite to ask her to bring back beer.

* Do not lay rubber while traveling in a funeral procession.

In an effort to try to understand the no-vote in France be sure to check out what French author Michel Houellebecq had to say about the outcome of the Sunday's EU vote...

"Probably 95 percent of the professionals of representative democracy had one opinion, and 57 percent of the people had the other opinion. It's a great moment, really.... It's a growing phenomenon -- representatives don't represent any more the people. [...]"

It's interesting that 2 groups that have very different visions for France knew better than to cast their lot and sovereignty with the EU superstate.

Check out this Marx-driven piece by David Brooks that highlights the difference between the haves and have-nots in the information age. Of course the big diffentiating factor is the amount of education...

"The information age elite exercises artful dominion of the means of production, the education system. The median family income of a Harvard student is $150,000. According to the Educational Testing Service, only 3 percent of freshmen at the top 146 colleges come from the poorest quarter of the population. The educated class ostentatiously offers financial aid to poor students who attend these colleges and then rigs the admission criteria to ensure that only a small, co-optable portion of them can get in."

So does this explain the left's reliance on affirmative action instead of an egalitarian system where the top ranking students are automatically selected for college admission?

Sunday, May 29, 2005


With a 56% majority, the EU Constitution has been defeated by the French. Though it is most likely they will be forced to vote "until they get it right," this is a major deafeat for Chirac.

"Opponents feared it would strip nations of sovereignty and trigger an influx of cheap labor just as powers such as France and Germany struggle to contain double-digit unemployment.

Left-wing opponents argued that the treaty would not protect France's cherished social protections and public services, and would open the door to unfettered capitalism and trample on workers' rights."

Personally, I wonder what set the French against it. Was it the wealth redistribution from France to Sicily, Greece and Ireland? Maybe it was the elimination of sovereignty, though after 5 Republics, I can't imagine the French taking much pride in their form of government. Finally, maybe it was globalization and in a Pat Buchanan/Ross Perot rebuke the people stood up for French jobs. Anyways, it will be interesting to see what exactly drove the coalition of the left and right to come together for the no-vote.

On the other hand check out this quote that made me LOL...

"Backers said the constitution, which European leaders signed in October, would streamline EU operations and decision-making, and make the bloc more accessible to its 450 million citizens."

hehe, so the EU was going to be streamlined by creating an even LARGER government entity? *shaking head*

Recently I sent this John Leo piece to Seth. In it, Leo blames the blunders by Newsweek, CBS, and the NYTimes on a lack of diversity and liberal leaning group think within their newsrooms. It's an interesting hypothesis. Could having some journalists and editors with differing views have prevented some of these media errors? Or are all the problems inherent and just compounded by what Seth would call the "Republican Attack Machine?"

From Seth...

"I read an interesting op/ed piece in yesterday's New York Times on the subject of how journalism can repair its PR image. He compared news with Tylenol's 1980s fight to win back the public trust after a few pills were laced with cyanide.

The thing is, like pharmeceuticals, media is a business that needs to be 100 percent infallible. One mistake in a million is cause for firings, re-structuring of protocols, etc.

What I'm saying is that it's not an institution, like Democracy, for which oppositional wrongness works. If The Nation makes a mistake that helps a Democrat, and Fox News makes a mistake that helps a Republican, what you have is two mistakes that hurt the democratic process, not an evening-out factor.

You won't find a business that takes credibility more seriously than journalism. But you also will be hard pressed to find one that's under more scrutiny.

The biggest problem is that it's not the motivations of reporters that are cause for the most scrutiny, but those of the scrutinizers, especially in politics. A politician isn't out to tell the truth; they're out to win elections.

"Intellectual diversity," isn't the problem, because media is not some Jeffersonian construction of competing truths. Honesty is the currency, not ideas. Ideas ar e on the editorial page. Good journalism is supposed to be a window to the happenings of the world. Shading the windows all sorts of colors just gives you a hundred different shaded views, get it? The tinted windows serve their purpose in being able to shed a new light on the news, but like a having Creationist Scientist in a discussion on evolution, biased press serve to stand as more of a watch-dog than a sole provider.

The problems are inherent. News sources need to compete, and news reporters need to compete to move up in their industry. A big headline is tough to pass up, and good sources can be hard to come by. News as entertainment is the biggest problem facing journalistic credibility.

But it's the news consumers, not the news writers, that are at the root of media distrust. Because the most sensationalist sources are not the ones feeling the heat. Who goes after USA Today? Who goes after CNN? They're the most sensational of the un-biased media. When you get into The Nation, Fox News, Blogs for Bush, etc., where bias and bad reporting are the norm, there's no heat at all. With politics, the sensationalism goes so far as to throw out reporting altogether in favor of Crossfire/Harball-style battling.

If you're trying to fix journalism, you go after the big offenders first. If you're trying to fix an election, you go after the paragons. And that's what's happening. Of all TV news programs, 60 Minutes is by far the most journalistic (and hence, most boring). People watch it for quality, not entertainment. So it became target numero uno on TV. Has NBC News made as many gaffes in sources? Has not CNN? If forged documents were really the line we draw before burning a reporter in effigy, every news channel out there would be off the air. Fox News doesn't even bother to HIRE journalists, let alone FIRE them. They get like-thinking liberal arts majorts who know PR. That's not healthy for an understanding of the news. They're entertainers. I don't even think the channel's really out there to change minds; Rupert Murdoch is content enough to simply entertain those who don't want their minds changed.

Iimagine where the Watergate investigation would have gone if Deep Throat had to have his name revealed. The White House denied everything at first. Had it happened today, after 30 years of the kettle calling the silver black, fewer people would believe the Washington Post over the president's word. This isn't any fault of WaPo; the paper since then has improved its credibility safeguards tenfold.

The problem lies in the public trust. A PR campaign takes lying, partisanship, and misrepresentation, which is why journalists, even if we could manage even a semblance of organization, can't fight back for our names like Tylenol did. We still think our honesty can speak for itself. It's noble, but it's a weakness, isn't it.

Because no matter how a journalist really feels, someone like this prick is going to come by and call us all haters. Oh, we can hate alright. I'd like to give this fella the barrel treatment for how he potrays me. There's no truth in his comments about the media. There's nothing approaching truth. He makes up stereotypes of college baby boomer hippies with a romantic view of Castro.

A diversity of opinions is welcome on the opinion page. But there should be one, and only one thing we judge a news journalist on: integrity. This guy's line of reasoning sounds about as bad as BAMN's manifesto on Affirmative Action."

From Seth...

"Romanticism of Fidel Castro? You know, of the people in my news room, there's only one person who was in college in the 1960s, and he's far from someone who romanticized Castro. John-Paul II, maybe.

As for me, Reagan was singing "Evil Empire" when I was singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," and I was far too busy tapping kegs in college to figure out where these indoctrination stations were.

Oh, and while I failed to learn bias in political reporting, I did manage to figure out how to solve a Rubics Cube while covering my beat. It's not all that complicated.


Flinging fantasized stereotypes doesn't help make your point. But they could have been a bit more accurate. If I may, media isn't lacking for a diversity of ideas; you get any 10 news reporters in room, I'll guarantee you 30 opinions (seven of whom will be smokers; four probably learned the Rubic's cube). But when we go to work, and I swear this for myself and everyone I work with, opinions go out the window. We cannot do our jobs without that ability.

I'm guessing you're not a big fan of Affirmative Action. Neither am I. A journalist should be judged on integrity, writing skills, integrity, intelligence, integrity...and...did I mention integrity? If it's hard to find a non-moderate with integrity, it's no accident.

Have you considered the possibility that, perhaps, the reason for Bush receiving three times the coverage of Kerry in 2004was that he is, in case you missed this, the President of the United States?

Boy, you liars sure can figure, huh?

Sensationalism is a problem in journalism, from the top-down. But the instances of political bias versus the instances of bias claimed are not anywhere near proportional to each other. And I'm with you on the claim that much of time, we only report if there's something bad to say. Well, sorry. We are trying to sell papers, you know. If there's good news to print, i.e. the people of Iraq holding free elections, we plaster it over the front page. We also dance, by the way, and not particularly well. But the fact is, sad or not, that it's hard to sell papers with the tagline:

"WASHINGTON, D.C. -- May 1, 2005, -- Everything was hunky dory today. -AP"

I know I can't stop you from believing that print media has bias. Neither can I convince you and that all people who didn't vote for Bush aren't pinko group-think sheep who want to take away your guns and use them to shoot fetuses.

But if you choose to respond with the word, "Naive," save it. I've met smarter clap-traps than you who can be patronizing with much more eloquence.

Suffice it to say that, my mouth to God's ear, you have my colleagues and myself pegged wrong. Whatever self-aggrandizing pith you use to justify the war on truth, whatever fallacy you use to comfort like-minded readers, whatever friend you misquoted into giving up Lizzy Proctor, you and I both know it's not truth you're really after.

Another stone, sir."

From Pigpen...

"Is it proper to say he's left the left....Bam!

I think this guys opinion is a good barometer as to what real people think about the downward leftist spiral.

Question: Why in racing do the cars always turn left, yet race fans are predominantly right wing....weee-doggies!"

From Seth...

"The New York Times thinks the deal helps Bush, if not the GOP.

Though it really eems the self-styled "grass-roots" GOP isn't in favor of the deal, either.

One thing to note as well: She speaks about Republican Big-Whigs. Now look at her hair. Woof!

Amazing that she says the GOP doesn't know how to act as the majority. They've been picking off one-by-one every minority party right in the House and Senate since the mid-'90s, targeting minority leaders in elections, gerrymandering the whole country, and most recently decided to use their powers to stack the courts in their favor. This is the most partisan majority we've had since Reconstruction.

Anyway, I think a compromise is something nobody's happy with, so calling this a victory for one side or the other doesn't explain why both party bases are pissed off.

But if one side compromised more, I'd agree with Tondar that it was the Democrats. Case in point, some of the judges are getting an up-or-down vote, and at least Owen's not going to be filibustered. Basically, the compromising Senators re-established a status quo, for now.

P.S. In his farewell address, Washington warned Americans not to get caught in party spirit, having spent the last 8 years with Jefferson in one ear and Hamilton in the other. He said having tried out the new Constitution, the only weakness he could see was if partisanship replaced the public good as a reason behind decisions. Prophetic words.

He also, by the way, warned us not to get involved in affairs beyond our borders. While he could prophesize the political parties, I guess he couldn't envision the United States becoming a superpower."

Those are wise words from Washington. However, I don't quite understand how he could expect partisan camps not to form when the new Constitution relied on the outcome of winner take all popular elections. Seems to ole Tondar the problem is inherent to any form of representational democracy.

After some time to reflect and read up on the senate judicial confirmation deal, I stand by my original point. Though I do agree that the Republicans once again rolled over to placate a radical liberal minority, I also didn't see much choice in the matter. The GOP came out flat on this issue and allowed the Democrats to gain the upper hand when bringing this fight to the American people. After all, in a negative focused media words like "illegal," "unfair," "radical nominees," and "minority rights," carry far more weight than "partisan obstructionism" and "Constitutional obligation." When you really think about it, the judiciary and Congress have spent the last 70 years trampling on the Constitution. So if that once great piece of paper doesn't really matter with regard to abortion, affirmative action, socialist wealth redistribution schemes, or states rights, why should it suddenly become so important in this case?

On the other hand, this deal can only hurt the Democrats. Over time, the GOP will only strengthen their position with the public. In addition, they reserve the right to break any future filibuster of a nominee. Of course everybody knows that eventually the far left will triumph within the Democratic caucus and this deal will be broken for some arbitrary partisan matter. At that point, Frist can restore majoritarian rule, and the Republicans will look like the peacemakers for having made this earlier effort at compromise before the Democrats flew off the handle again. And at that point (most likely to replace Justice Rehnquist on the Supreme Court), the Republicans will have the high ground and will be able to dispose of Democrat opposition much easier.

Nevertheless, I am still disappointed with reports that some of Bush's nominees will be thrown under the bus. Also I find it a bit odd that the mainstream media sources aren't trying to root out the exact nature of the quid pro quo of the deal. You'd think that'd be the media's job, to inform us of what clandestine deal America's senators have exactly cooked up.

Seth made sure to pass along this McNews piece that points out the new lows for Bush's approval rating. However, if you look at the internals one has to question the validity of the poll and its sample pool...

"In the sample of 1,006 adults, 36% call themselves Democrats, 29% Republicans. Including those who "lean" toward a party, 51% are Democrats, 40% Republicans. The survey isn't "weighted" for party ID, which fluctuates from poll to poll. Tracey Schmitt, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, says the poll findings are "dubious" because the breakdown "does not accurately reflect the partisan makeup of America."

John Podhoretz takes a look inside the numbers as he follows Amnesty International's outrageous comparison between Guantanamo Bay and the Soviet gulags to their logical conclusions. Money quote...

"Number of prisoners at Gitmo: approximately 600.

Number of prisoners in the Gulag: as many as 25 million, according to the peerless Gulag historian Anne Applebaum.

Number of camps at Gitmo: 1

Number of camps in the Gulag: At least 476, according to Applebaum.

Political purpose of Gulag: The suppression of internal dissent inside a totalitarian state.

Political purpose of Gitmo: The suppression of an international terrorist group that had attacked the United States, killing 3,000 people while attempting to decapitate the national government through the hijack of airplanes."

Sure it's fun and the MO of our day to use outrageous rhetoric to get your soundbite on the air. However, you only lose credibility when you use absurd analogies such as this one.

Well it looks like the Gwinnett County district attorney has decided to indict Jennifer Willbanks, the run-away-bride for lying to the police. I would be more understanding and forgiving if she hadn't been a Hall and Oates style "Rich Girl" (not of the nana na naa Gwen Stefani breed). In addition, I think Gwinett and Atlanta sentiment would have been more forgiving if she had simply apologized immediately. Let this be a simple lesson about sayin' sorry when you F-up. After all, it worked for Bill Clinton!

"Welcome to Atlanta where the players play" and there's always something crazy going down. In fact, things are so crazy I'm starting a new Daily Rant feature so all y'all can get a TASTE of THIS A.T.L. STYLE. I can now chronicle all those crazy things from the run-away-bride, the courthouse shooter, to the Buckhead crane climber. By the way, the police got him down just fine. It only took 3 days and shutting down one of the Atlanta's busiest roads. You can even see the evolution of the story if you want to go back and check out this older article from when he first shutdown Peachtree Street.

Sure NYC had big city depravity. However, ATL has a bunch of crazies and one party government. Talk about a recipe for delightful mayhem.