A Compendium of Crazy – Keith Olbermann on the Tea Party

Normally I wouldn’t post something from Keith since he’s sorta like the left’s Glenn Beck lite in the hyperbole department,  but nobody else has collected all of the craziness from the Tea Party candidates in one spot. Once you watch this you won’t wonder anymore why the Tea Partiers are dodging the media at all costs. I trimmed the intro a wee bit so you can get to the red meat right away.

For the record I am one of those abandoned Republicans, now registered Democrat for the first time in my life.

What Juan did Wrong

Juan Williams, purportedly a news analyst, expressed an irrational fear on the Bill O’Reilly show while trying to back up Bill’s Muslim bashing recently on The View. The fact that Juan expressed a fear is not the problem, the fact that he might have offended people is not the problem — rather it’s the act of expressing an irrational fear and not explaining that it’s irrational or downplaying the puerile instinct that’s the real problem. *

Juan still got on the plane – if the fear was rational, then should Juan have gotten on the plane? Yet Juan did get on the planes, as do we all. Whenever you have fears it’s pretty childish not to examine them objectively – and it’s also childish not to recognize which are reality based, and which are unreasonable. As a news analyst if you must use your own anecdotal emotions then it’s a pretty heinous journalistic omission to express base fears about large groups of people without objectively analyzing them and realistically explaining them away. By not doing so, Juan communicated that it’s A-ok to fear other religions, which is pretty un-American if you read our Constitution.

Juan has confused his momentary xenophobic pangs with real news — it’s obnoxious at minimum, and dangerous if it ever becomes the norm. Of course that will fit right in with the fear and loathing factory of our times that promptly hired Juan after he was fired, Fox News.

* We all have some immediate base fears developed in our long social evolution as a species; one of them is that any out-group generates fear on sight but those fears are easy to overcome, just as fear of falling and fear of fast motion is easily overcome by anyone who has learned to ride a bike.  Most of these old evolutionary twinges are very quickly mediated by higher social and hierarchical judgment centers in our fore brains. When a journalist fails to do that and further fails to explain that the fear is not rational, then you have to wonder about the journalist’s motives in mongering it.

Patio update

We haven’t done more on the patio because the weather’s been cold, and I can’t walk so well with the nail hole in my foot. So the doc has me on antibiotics, and things are getting better. I was able to put a shoe on today for instance, however  it’s been five days without my morning walk, and Kasey is starting to get mad.

Paving the patio

We’ve got all the pavers down and now just have to fill a 2″ stripe between the outer edge pavers and the second row with concrete and something decorative. In the process I stepped on a board with a nail in it, and now my foot’s swollen. If it’s still bad in the am I will head in to the doctor’s office.

Qualia Soup on Atheism

As stated in previous posts, I’m an atheist – I don’t believe in god(s) or the supernatural. Lack of belief is not the same as denying the possible existence of god(s) however, as Qualia Soup explains in the following  excellent presentation. It sums up pretty well where I am at – I don’t care whether you believe or not, I don’t care which god(s) you believe in, I just can’t believe myself. Some consider me a militant atheist because I often point out the abuses of extremists who are religious, but to me it’s part of my job as a rational human to speak up when I see evil.

The French Propensity for Burnt Coffee

The French are world renowned for their cooking – it was the Gauls who quested hardest for deep savory flavors by cooking things down to their utter essence to create that “umame” flavor. That works for some things like rich sauces, gravies, and creamy soups – however for coffee it just sucks. French roast coffee is an utter sin; not as bad as murder but somewhere between that and stealing candy from babies on the scale of measurable sins.

Roast much darker than this and it's a sin

Why is it such a sin? Every second of roasting the coffee bean beyond light/medium robs it of caffeine by breaking it down. Worse still it embitters the coffee – the darker the bean the more bitter and decaffeinated the brew. The French roast their beans to the point of absurdity — making it sure to wake you up because it tastes so damned awful but not because it has a lot of caffeine. Drinking a good light roast Arabica coffee grown in volcanic mountain soil just straight up black is a joy, while drinking French roasted coffee black is like punishment, a sure way to wreck your day by getting bile flowing. Perhaps this is why the French have that infamous temperament, who knows?

The best coffee to me comes from volcanic mountainsides between 15 degrees North and the Equator  — everything else is just wannabe coffee. If you are going to be picky about where your coffee comes from, you should be careful about the cooking of the bean as well.