The Crowhill Weblog - Content

Thoughts on life — News, culture, politics, beer, art, science, education, religion and ethics

Sites endorsed by Crowhill:
Crowhill Publishing
The Krehbiel Report on Publishing

Can “just be nice” become self-indulgence?

by Crowhill on 27 October 2016

There’s a “just be nice” meme that floats around Facebook in various forms. It goes something like this.

You don’t know what secret struggles other people are dealing with, so just be nice.

I agree with that. The world is full of trouble, and many people that you meet are going through very difficult stuff, which is why you should cut people some slack and not get all bent out of shape if somebody acts like a jerk. We all need to be forgiving and lenient with one another.

But I believe there’s a corresponding obligation that goes the other way. Despite the fact that you’re going through tough times, you should try not to ruin everyone else’s day and spill your trouble all over them. We have an obligation to be civil and kind even when we’re dying on the inside.

I mention this because sometimes people use “you should be forgiving and lenient” as a weapon, or as if it’s their right to expect it. I think that’s childish.

Everyone should overlook offenses, but we shouldn’t think we have a right to expect people to overlook them.

It’s somewhat like birthday presents. You should bring a birthday present to a party, but the birthday boy doesn’t have a right to expect them.

2 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-27  ::  Crowhill

Obama on rigged elections

by Crowhill on 26 October 2016

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it a thousand times — in politics it’s all a matter of whose ox is being gored. Both sides flip back and forth on issues depending on which side serves them that particular day. It’s not about principle. It’s about power.

Bill Clinton and Donald Trump can say the same thing about immigration. Clinton gets applause and Trump is called a racist.

Right now Trump is catching heat for saying that elections are rigged, and now we find out that Obama said the same thing before the 2008 election.

Of course nobody “says the same thing” as The Donald. Not precisely. Trump’s version always comes with his characteristic bluster, braggadocio and ignorance. Obama is far more articulate and thoughtful. But it’s amusing to listen to the video and hear what candidate Obama said about rigged elections.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was his claim that Democrats controlled the voting machines in Ohio, which should shock any sensible person. How the heck did we get to a place where a political party controls the voting machines? Holy Moly.

He said that both sides monkey with elections, and that the power in party is usually better at it, which may be true. And that is an illustration of my fundamental political principle, which is that we can never trust anybody with power, but should always have somebody watching over them.

Obama seems to agree, but his chosen watchdog is “a division of the Justice Department.”

Ha. What a laugh that is, after all the foolishness with Loretta Lynch and Hillary’s emails.

What we need is a truly independent body, but I have no idea who or what that would be. And whatever it is, it would be corrupted after a couple elections.

7 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-26  ::  Crowhill

“Megyn Kelly is obsessed with sex”

by Crowhill on 26 October 2016

I’ve never trusted her. She’s fairly reliable on many issues, but whenever a story has anything to do with “women’s issues,” she sounds like a typical liberal media person to me. IOW, she lies and all pretext of objectivity goes out the window. Gingrich is right, Megyn Kelly is obsessed with sex.

In case you missed it, last night Gingrich made Kelly look like a monkey.

While Kelly is generally conservative, she has a tendency to parrot the left’s talking points when it comes to women. But Gingrich didn’t cut her any slack. When she said “if Trump is a sexual predator,” Gingrich pounced. He repeatedly challenged her to use similar language about Bill Clinton. It was a surprisingly hostile encounter.

Perhaps I should cut Megyn Kelly some slack since she did say “if,” but … I don’t think so. Often just making the accusation and saying the words is enough to change minds. Remember Harry Reid and his accusations about Romney’s taxes?

Another of the left’s talking points — that Kelly repeated — is that Trump bragged about kissing women “against their will.” That’s not true — at least if they think he said that in the Access Hollywood tapes. I’ve read the transcript of those tapes and it doesn’t say anything about moving on women “against their will.” Actually, it says the opposite. In the beginning of the interview he said he tried to move on a married woman but failed.

I’m not defending Trump, of course. He’s a crude, rude person and I don’t approve of the way he speaks. But the radical unfairness from the media has to be challenged. We have two awful candidates, but they’re obsessing on half of the awfulness and largely ignoring the other half.

In the Access Hollywood tape, Trump says “when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” That’s not “against their will.” His claim is that they let him do it. It’s true that women have come forward with accusations that he did things against their will, but those are just accusations — which he has denied. They can’t be reported as facts.

Again, I’m not defending the man. I have no doubt he has done some rotten and inappropriate things with women. But we have to hold these news monkeys to account.

Megyn Kelly doesn’t seem to care about the truth when it comes to this sort of story, and IMO she’s shown that tendency many times.

Now — just to be fair — in another segment on that show they weren’t fair to President Obama on the issue of Hillary’s server. (Big surprise, right? Fox News isn’t fair.)

Yes, here I am defending both Obama and Trump. Bad start to the say, I guess.

Anyway, new Wikileaks documents show that Obama sent and received emails from Clinton’s private server. So, if he noticed her address, and if he knew what that meant, he would have known she was not on a government server.

Those are two big ifs, IMO.

First, many email clients hide the actual address and only show you the “friendly name.” So he might not have even seen her address. Second, even if he saw it, he might not have thought through the implications. Not everybody knows how email and servers work.

I suspect that Obama knew what was going on and that he lied in the interview when he said he learned about it when everybody else did — from the news. But to be fair, nothing I’ve seen from Wikileaks proves that he was lying.

7 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-26  ::  Crowhill

Life without caffeine, and good decaf teas to try

by Crowhill on 25 October 2016

I used to drink lots of coffee. Lots. And it never bothered me, even if I drank it in the evening. I’d drink coffee and sleep like a baby. But then God decided He didn’t like me any more, and I began my life without caffeine.

life without caffeine

Avoiding unnecessary details … it just didn’t agree with me any more. The doc said I had an irritated colon, and it would go away after a while. That was about 20 years ago. From time to time I’ve started drinking caffeine again, hoping the problem had gone away, but while it’s much better, it’s still an issue, so unless I really need the caffeine, I avoid it.

(Another doctor, who specializes in colons, said the first doc was wrong. Such things don’t go away.)

But I can’t spend my life boo-hooing, so I have to adjust. I’m stuck in a life without caffeine, which is a drag because I love coffee and tea. As my dentist has noticed.

Life without caffeine — Any decent teas?

There’s a difference between no caffeine tea — like peppermint, or camomile — and decaf tea. I’ve never been much of a fan of the herbal teas, with one exception I’ll mention below.

Decaf teas — where they start with actual tea and remove the caffeine through some ghastly process — are almost always terrible. They remind you of something almost, but not quite, exactly unlike tea. You’d be better off putting garden mulch in a cup of hot water.

But there are some good ones. The best two I’ve found are Barry’s and Yorkshire. They’re stronger than most teas so they actually taste like tea, although they do lack that caffeine bite.

You might be thinking that if it’s just a matter of strength, why not use two bags on those other decaf teas. Nope. It doesn’t work. It’s not how strong you brew it, it’s something else about the tea. The variety, I suppose.

If you want a flavored tea, Davidson’s bulk decaf Earl Grey is good.

The only non-tea tea I’ve found that’s worth considering is rooibos. Straight rooibos is fairly boring — it’s simply too mild for my tastes — but there are some interesting blends, the best of which is Good Earth Original Tea. It’s sweet and spicy and doesn’t need any sugar. It’s really good on a cold morning when you’re camping.

Life without caffeine — decaf coffee isn’t so bad

Coffee isn’t as much of a problem. Tea loses a lot of its flavor when you remove the caffeine, but coffee has enough other flavors that it’s still decent — especially if you drink a stronger coffee.

Decaf coffee is definitely not as good as regular, and … honestly, it’s somewhat embarrassing to drink the stuff. It’s like drinking no-alcohol beer, or wearing a clip-on tie. But … it’s not terrible.

I wish someone could come up with a replacement that gave the drink that caffeine bite without the caffeine. Who knows? Maybe when they invent replicators.

(And yes, regular readers, in case you’re wondering — this is an experiment.)

6 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-25  ::  Crowhill

Polls as propaganda

by Crowhill on 24 October 2016

You’ve probably seen the headlines. “Hillary up 12 points.” “Trump up 2 points.” “All tied up,” etc.

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that there are polls and there are polls. Internet polls are useless, as are polls of the general public. Polls of “registered voters” are mostly useless. Only polls of “likely voters” are worth much, and then only if they are done well.

Any competent journalist or news site should know this, but … they keep citing these ridiculous polls. Why?

The general answer that applies to why news sites do anything has to apply here as well. I.e., to cause a stir, get eyeballs and sell advertising.

But I think it goes beyond that in this case. People aren’t reporting on polls to tell us what’s going on, but to push us in a certain direction.

3 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-24  ::  Crowhill

Should I should have scared her?

by Crowhill on 22 October 2016

Greenbelt Park is one of my favorite places. I spent a lot of time there as a lad, and these days I run the perimeter trail when I can make the time. I love it.

When I run the trail I usually take someone with me for a long chat. The “someone” is, of course, one of my inner interlocutors. The chat might be between the believer and the skeptic, or the conservative and the liberal, or just my mental reconstruction of a particular person that I know.

This morning on part of my jog I was joined by an old professional colleague (a liberal woman I’ve known for years) and we were discussing this and that. During out chat a young woman came running by in the other direction, and I smiled as nicely as I could and said hello. She beamed at me with a smile that would melt an igloo, and my jogging partner said, “Despite being a complete Neanderthal, you are a nice guy.”

I thought, “Really? If I was a nice guy I would have tried to scare her so she wouldn’t go jogging alone in the park.”

Of course I want to live in a world where everyone is perfectly safe no matter where they are. Children should be able to play with cobras and I should be able to leave my wallet in my unlocked car.

And some people — like perhaps this woman running alone in the woods — seem to believe that wishing the world is like that, and behaving as if the world is like that, will make it like that.

To some extent that’s true. Kindness breeds kindness — among normal, decent people.

Unfortunately, there are far too many people who are neither normal nor decent, which is why women should not be running alone in the woods. And no, I don’t believe I should have scared her, but if I had the opportunity to chat with her I would have tried to convince her to get a running companion. And not just an inner interlocutor. Maybe a dog.

18 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-22  ::  Crowhill

Rigged elections, and pre-accepting them

by Crowhill on 21 October 2016

In politics, it’s all about whose ox is being gored.

It’s not about issues or high-minded principles. It’s about power. Each sides flips and flops depending on whether it will help them at the moment.

For much of this year, Democrats have been warning that Russians hackers might be compromising the integrity of the election. (They probably hyped the story because they wanted a federal takeover of state and local control of the elections.) But when Trump says the election is rigged, somehow that’s going too far.

There is a distinction, of course. The complaint about Russian hackers has to do with outside interference, while Trump’s complaint implies corruption on the inside. But they are similar complaints in that they will cast doubt on the validity of the results. But somehow when Trump raises that doubt, it’s an emergency and a betrayal, but not when Clinton and her cronies do.

The other interesting contrast is all this business about pledging to accept the outcome of the election. As I recall, many prominent Democrats didn’t want Al Gore to accept his defeat in 2000. And many still don’t.

I, for one, have already accepted the outcome of this election. We will get an awful president.

4 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-21  ::  Crowhill

Nothing you say or do is private ever again

by Crowhill on 19 October 2016

Marco Rubio is warning Republicans not to use the Wikileaks material because “tomorrow it could be us.”

Oh. So if Republicans don’t use it today, Democrats won’t use it tomorrow?

Yes, that is how stupid the Stupid Party is. It’s unbelievable.

We’re learning a lot from the Wikileaks material. First, how corrupt our government is, and second, how the lapdog media has snuggled in the White Witch’s sleigh and eaten her food.

But most importantly, we’re learning that you can’t consider any email to be private. Ever.

The same is probably also true with phone calls, your internet search history, … everything.

6 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-19  ::  Crowhill

European socialism and the crappy stone work in the District of Columbia

by Crowhill on 18 October 2016

The sidewalks within a few blocks of my office in the District of Columbia are a disgrace. The stones are broken, uneven, and they wobble when you step on them. It’s very easy to trip on them, and when it rains the water pools up in the cavities underneath so that when you step on the wrong spot they send a little eruption of water up your pants leg.

The DC government clearly did not hire the right people to do this work, and it’s been like this for years. It’s ridiculous.

I just had coffee with a friend who is an advocate of European socialism. We discussed the messy sidewalks and she said this sort of thing would not happen in Europe. The government would hire competent stone workers and get the job done right.

4 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-18  ::  Crowhill

Taking catastrophes seriously for a moment

by Crowhill on 17 October 2016

While I think Obama has done a lot of damage to U.S. power, and as a general rule I believe weakness invites attack, I still think no rational nation would be stupid enough to go to war with us. We’re still the big kid on the block.

Having said that, if we had to lose, who would you rather lose to?

  • Russia
  • China
  • Islam
  • Right-wing nationalists
  • One-world government bland secularism
  • ???

18 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-17  ::  Crowhill

2016-10-07 :: Crowhill // General
A quick Obama scorecard