Thank you all for the nice present!


Oh, you didn’t know you got me a present? You did! I’m in the Amazon Affiliate program, you see, and occasionally I include a link to that evil empire in my blog entries, and you click on it, and maybe you buy something, and then I get a tiny cut of what you spent. Once a month I get a little gift certificate from Amazon. I’ve been saving them up for about 8 months so I could splurge on a toy, and last week the total finally reached what I needed to cover all of the costs, so you got me an early Christmas present. It’s very nice.

I got myself a DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Quadcopter Drone, because every mad scientist needs devious surveillance equipment. Also, when I was a kid I used to lust for RC airplanes that I could never afford, and now I can get something even better.

It’s slick and easy to fly, and the software is reasonably sophisticated. I did have a bit of concern when I first set it up and it told me I needed to update the firmware…and the stupid installation procedure failed utterly. I thought for a while I was doomed to have a plastic brick that could sit on the table and buzz, because DJI has a notoriously terrible reputation for customer service, but fortunately they released a brand new software update the day after I got it that worked perfectly.

So that’s how I spent Thanksgiving morning: I took it up for a couple of flights and went spying out the local neighborhood.

Here’s an ugly example. I just went across the street to the UMM parking lot and zoomed it up to a 100 meters and fumbled about with the controls. It was fun! It’s hard to get smooth movies that show what I want — partly because there were a few times I was wiggling the wrong joystick, and because when it was high and drifted away on this blustery day, I sometimes lost track of the orientation and had to scan around to figure out where I was and what way I was pointing. Don’t feel obligated to watch it — it’s just me noodling about in the sky.

Practice makes perfect, though, unless on one of these practice flights I crash it and then have to save up gift certificates for another 8 months to get a new one.

Now I just have to figure out how to mount lasers or a missile launcher on it, and I’ll have everything a boy could want, a real stress-reliever.

I get email, Sam Harris edition

I should go back to desecrating communion wafers. That’s less aggravating than pissing off a pack of uber-“rational” atheists. Quoting Sam Harris directly is an act of such disrespectful temerity that I’ve been flooded with messages that are mostly about how feminine I am, or how I possess a female reproductive tract, or my social status as a cuckold.

But I also get messages trying to explain how, in very polite terms, I am totally wrong on everything, and Harris is totally right, and here is the math to prove it. Here’s one example; the highlighting is all mine.

[Read more…]

Stop me if you heard this one before

Trump is arguing with historians. He’s claiming that some golf course he owns is also the site of a historic Civil War battle (if so, good job of historical preservation, guy); real historians are saying he’s wrong, the battle he’s talking about took place miles away. But Trump has a rebuttal!

Trump waved off the historians’ criticisms in his own interview with The New York Times Tuesday.

How would they know that? he asked of regional experts. Were they there?

Maybe this particular battle is written up in the Bible. I don’t know how we could know anything about it, otherwise.

Botanical Wednesday: Plants for dinner

I’m hearing occasional gasps of disbelief at the notion of a vegan Thanksgiving, so clearly I need to show you something to make you salivate.

That’s just an example — we’re having something different — but honestly, you can have a tremendous variety of textures and flavors, all delicious, without killing an animal.

Also not shown: Lefse is vegetarian, don’t you know.

A vegan Thanksgiving

Surprise! My daughter Skatje decided to join us for Thanksgiving on the spur of the moment, so she’s in town with plans for dinner tomorrow, which makes this cartoon particularly appropriate.

Except, unlike Lio’s dad, I’m not at all glum about this — vegetarian food is really good, and she mentioned a few of the things she’s planning to fix, so I’m looking forward to it.

She also promised to conjure up Ol’ Scratch, Satan, himself. Or was it that she was going to show us how to make saitan, from scratch? Either way, it works.

It’s never a good day to read about Doug Wilson

Remember Doug Wilson? I’ve never met him, but I met a few of his creationist acolytes when I visited the Palouse a few years ago, and they were a remarkably slimy bunch. I couldn’t even imagine how slimy, though. Doug Wilson is known for founding a particularly regressive church in Idaho, and also for a debate tour he did with Christopher Hitchens (they made a documentary about it), which was a total mystery to me. I don’t know whether Hitchens wanted to give Wilson a platform for his conservative ideology, or whether he thought Wilson was an obliging punching bag.

Here, though, is a brief introduction to Wilson’s version of Christianity.

In addition to his role as pastor, Wilson is also a co-founder of New St. Andrew’s College and Grayfriars Hall, a vocational seminary for young men. He has developed a reputation for being a harsh and constant critic, spilling tons of digital ink on issues from LGBT inclusion in the church (he’s against it) to his favorite topic, the implausibility of Christian feminism. Wilson makes his reputation as a shock-jock theologian; in his tendency to bloviate, he brings to mind a certain presidential candidate: “Make Christianity great again!”

Wilson is one of the figureheads of a set of beliefs known as Biblical Patriarchy, devoted to the idea that “father rule”—the literal meaning of patriarchy—is a guiding principle for the Christian life. He is convinced the Bible teaches that a woman’s primary domain is in the home, and only after her responsibilities are satisfied there can she think about going out to get some volunteer work or, perhaps, a part-time job. Female preachers are, naturally, out of the question. “Christian women ought to be domestic,” he once said. “Everything is directed toward home and family and kids.”

You may not want to read further into the article, because it gets even uglier. One of the cheap tricks of Wilson’s seminary is that he gets community members to house his budding seminarians for him. So picture this: this predatory, misogynistic church attracts predatory, misogynistic students, who are then housed with the trusting faithful of his congregation and their families, and then…well, this isn’t a sitcom, so I can’t cheerfully say that mirthful hijinks ensue. It’s more like sexual abuse of minors, stalking, and destruction of families. Or, in other words, typical Christian family life.

And, you will not be surprised to learn, the kicker is that Doug Wilson defends his students who are molesting 13 year old girls, and blames the parents in those households. He has a point: you are a bad parent if you let a Wilson-endorsed student anywhere near your children.

Racist cowards indulge in a little dick waving

Some of the idiots who have been harassing the Black Lives Matter protests in Minneapolis uploaded a video of their behavior. They posted a video of themselves waving a gun and engaging in racist banter. That’s so incredibly blatant — it mean either that they’re really stupid thugs, or that they have so much support that they think they can get away with it, or both. Most likely both.

Above are the dudes Black Lives Matter protesters say came to their Minneapolis police demonstration — and shot them. They identify themselves as “Saiga Marine” and “Blight Power Ranger.”

“We’re gonna go see what these dindus are up to,” they say, and you excuse yourself real quick to look up “dindu” on the Internet and find that it means an “innocent African American who din du nothin’,” haw haw haw, great one, 4chan assholes!

That’s right, it’s 4chan. They were planning the harassment in chatter on 4chan. Look, if you’re on 4chan at all, you’re too stupid to bear.

White supremacists have discussed various strategies online for sparking confrontation at the demonstration, which they described as a “chimpout.”

“Do you know if the BLM n*****s are planning to protest again tomorrow, and if so, at what time?” one white supremacist asked in an email chain.

They agreed to wear camouflage clothing and display a four of clubs to identify each other, and the white supremacist agitators argued over whether they should carry guns or wear Guy Fawkes masks.

The white supremacist mocked “social justice warriors” and other anti-racist whites, who they described in psychosexual terms.

“Best to act as much like a beta white cuck as much as you can,” one the racists said.

All the racist and MRA slang blurs together so well, don’t you think? I’m finding it increasingly difficult to tell those guys apart.

The connections between the dorky jerks in the video and the actual shooters are weak right now — there were shooters, and there were harassers who were flaunting their racism but maybe not shooting, and there are freakin’ hordes of pretentious nasty typers on 4chan who’d brag but never do anything. But in this case, the police have made arrests. I hope they’ve also seized computers and are busily connecting the dots.

Minneapolis police said Tuesday that they have arrested three men in connection with the shooting. Allen Lawrence “Lance” Scarsella III, 23, was arrested in Bloomington. Sources said Nathan Gustavsson, 21, of Hermantown, and Daniel Macey, 26, of Pine City, were taken into custody after they turned themselves in. All three suspects are white. Earlier Tuesday, police arrested a 32-year-old Hispanic man in south Minneapolis, but he was later released because, police said, he was not at the scene of the shooting.

Authorities are weighing whether to treat Monday’s shooting as a hate crime, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

If they are at all connected to the video or the email, then this was definitely a hate crime. Actually, even if they did it without gloating on the internet, going to a protest by black people, shouting racial slurs, and opening fire on the crowd ought to be considered a hate crime.

Everything you need to know about the Minneapolis police

It opened my eyes. The ACLU has a lengthy breakdown of police discrimination in Minneapolis. But wait, I say, I am an enlightened white person, and I never see any of this!


I wonder why?

I’m also beginning to understand why right-wingers hate the ACLU so much. They keep documenting the unpleasant facts!

Actually, you need to know a little more. Here’s an eyewitness account of what happened at the recent Minneapolis shooting.

I was at the ‪#‎4thprecinct‬ tonight when white supremacists shot 4 (maybe 5) protestors.
I sat in the hospital for a little while talking to the girlfriend of one of the men shot. He was where he was because he was trying to keep protestors calm in the face of those racists. He just turned 19. He was in surgery when I left (his family showed up).
It took 20 minutes for the ambulances to get there after the shots happened. I had to call 911 twice to get someone to pick up. When protestors screamed at the cops inside the precinct that people had been shot, the cops answered with “this is what you wanted” before shutting their doors. Four armed men got away after shooting up a crowd outside of a precinct.

“this is what you wanted”. Fuck you too, Minneapolis police.