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.

Well, it isn’t any worse than that Time-Life image of human evolution

At last, I understand human evolution. It’s all here in this painting.


Working from bottom to top, we witness the ascent of man. First, Homo erectus discovers fire, and stares at a burning twig. This was easier than it sounds, since all he had to do was light it from the volcano erupting over his left shoulder (there’s always a volcano, and it’s always erupting, in these things). If anyone has ever gone on a camping trip with those atavistic boy scouts, you will recognize his expression.

Next, Neandertals invent rocks. Two rocks at once…it’s a triumph!

The next big leap: men invent shaving and art. The subtle revelation in this image is that Cro-Magnon men were also all bronies — notice that he’s drawing a pony.

Civilization arises! Our representative man has invented writing and hats. He has not yet invented shirts, however, and I suspect that what he’s writing is My Little Pony slash fiction. It takes time to progress.

Then, Aristotle. Man has forgotten how to shave. He has, at least, evolved to the point of having half a shirt — clearly, a transitional form. Of course, the most important thing is that he has invented Thinking, or at least, staring vacantly while scratching his neck. He could be thinking about My Little Pony, but at least he’s not being obvious about it anymore.

Darkness follows. The next two and a half thousand years are unimportant and nothing of consequence happens until, at last, with a coruscation of light beams, Ayn Rand invents planets and stars while scribbling Libertarian rape fantasies with Objectivist rationalizations.

In the next phase (not shown), humans worship the god-like Rand to the point of paying $14,000 for cheesy paintings that portray her as the pinnacle of evolution, and thus begins the Fall of Man.

I have to weep at this Art. It tells a grand tragic story.

Jebus, Sam Harris again

As expected, every time I highlight some reactionary idiocy from Sam Harris, I wake up to a chorus of his fan boys urgently typing at me to tell me the rallying cry of the Harrisites everywhere: HE DIDN’T REALLY SAY THAT. Yeah, he did. He really does prefer Republican nutjob Ted Cruz over any of those ‘leftists’ he despises on foreign policy, because Muslims.

But at least it was Cruz, right? He didn’t say anything nice about Ben Carson, I would hope? Sorry to break your illusions, but another reader also told me I had to listen to his recent interview with British neocon, Douglas Murray. He was kind and told me I could skip almost all of it, and just zip up to the 1:56 mark.

Given a choice between Noam Chomsky and Ben Carson, in terms of the totality of their understanding of what’s happening now in the world, I’d vote for Ben Carson every time. Ben Carson is a dangerously deluded religious imbecile, Ben Carson does not…the fact that he is a candidate for president is a scandal…but at the very least he can be counted on to sort of get this one right. He understands that jihadists are the enemy.

Yeah, that’s right. Ben Carson is a religious imbecile, but according to Harris, he’s better qualified than some damn leftist on the basis of his foreign policy expertise, which consists of hating Islam almost as much as Sam Harris does.

Just think about that.

Sam Harris listens to Ben Carson and thinks he makes sense on Middle East policy.

Oh, boy, I’m going to get so much hate mail in the next few days…

“surely they’re not shooting human beings.”

People in Minneapolis have been protesting the murder of a black man, Jamar Clark, near the police where the shooter worked (but of course the killer was a police officer — that’s how these things work). And of course there have been white people counter-protesting, and some of them have been white supremacists, out-and-out racists, and just generally the kinds of terrible people who embarrass us all. And, unfortunately, some of them are strutting around with guns.

So last night, some of the armed racist assholes opened fire on the protest, and then fled, as cowards do.

Jie Wronski-Riley said angry protesters moved the counter-demonstrators away from the encampment at the police station. Wronski-Riley heard what sounded like firecrackers and thought, “surely they’re not shooting human beings.” Two young black men on either side of him were hit, one in the back and leg, the other in the arm.

At least two of the three men who had been taunting protesters were firing guns, said Wronski-Riley, who described the incident as “really chaotic, really fast.”

Minnesota is one of the more liberal states in this country, and that that can happen here, and be unsurprising, tells you how deep the racism goes. It doesn’t help that the Republican party brownshirts have been fostering an atmosphere of resentment and hatred on the national level, either.

What does Sam Harris have in common with the Republican presidential candidates?

Sam Harris is fully supportive of the latest bigotry craze sweeping the country.

Is it crazy to express as Ted Cruz did, a preference for Christians over Muslims in this process? Of course not. What percentage of Christians will be jihadists or want to live under sharia law? Zero. And this is a massive, in fact the only, concern when talking about security. If we know that some percentage of Muslims will be jihadists, inevitably we know we cannot be perfect in our filtering, if we know that a larger percentage, if not jihadists, will be committed to resisting assimilation into our society, then to know that a given refugee, or family of refugees, is Christian, is a wealth of information, and quite positive information, in this context. So it is not mere bigotry, or mere xenophobia, to express that preference.

(He then says he’s not endorsing all of Cruz’s politics, he just thinks Cruz is right on this one thing.)

The fact that we have a president who will not even name the problem is giving the right enormous energy that we really don’t want them to have.

No, guy, making the assumption that being Muslim, the group most lethally targeted by ISIS, makes one more likely to sympathize with fanatical jihadists, is most definitely bigotry. It doesn’t even make sense. Complaining that being Muslim automatically makes one less likely to assimilate assumes that Americans can’t really be Muslim, and is also bigotry.

You need something to cleanse your brain of that awful man now. Here’s John Oliver on refugees.

Feel better now?