Friday, April 26, 2024

Vegan Lentil Soup in the Kitchen

An instant pot recipe and a vegan one.   Boyd notes The Gracious Pantry's Vegan Lentil Soup:


  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 cup chopped red onions
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 cup brown lentils (dry)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • salt to taste at serving


  • Put the carrots, celery and onions into the IP insert. Press the sauté button.
  • Dry sauté (no oil) the onions by stirring constantly. Once they start to get some golden color to them, add the spices, lentils and the broth.
  • Stir well, then secure the lid and vent on your IP.
  • Press the Manual button and adjust time to 16 minutes and pressure to high pressure.
  • Allow for a 10-15 minute natural release before releasing the remaining steam with the steam valve. Careful! There will still be plenty of steam!
  • Once all steam has been released, remove the lid, season the soup with salt and serve.
  • Don't forget to remove the bay leaves! (They are not edible)

On soups, it's around the time that I stop cooking as many soups due to the weather.  That's me.  (Hot soup on a hot day isn't my thing.)  But unless I hear otherwise from all of you, I'll continue to note soup recipes.  If you're like me and don't do a lot of hot soups in the summer, just ignore the recipe or bookmark it for later.  This one is an instant pot and, like a crock pot, the really good news there is that it won't heat up the kitchen and then the house.  

I love lentils and I don't believe I have a lentil soup recipe for my instapot yet.  So I will probably make this Saturday morning in place of a pot of beans.  A pot of beans?  Saturdays and Sundays -- even in the hot summer -- I do pots (plural) of beans starting in the morning.  We've got grandkids now but this started with the kids.  There'd be something to snack on.  It was inexpensive and it would be healthy.  Fiber.  Beans have a lot of fiber.  That helps with so many health issues.  They also are dense in protein and have vitamins and nutrients.  It became a pattern for the kids.  "I'm hungry!"  There are red beans on the stove or there are black eye peas on the stove or there are whatever.  So they got used to it and we form our eating habits early on.  We can try to improve them later in life but it can be difficult.

If any of you are adults over, say, 30, think back to when you first lived on your own.  College or when you got your first job or got married or whatever.  A lot of us end up eating what we want.  And skimping on what we need.  So you like pizza and at home someone would make sure you had a salad or a vegetable with that pizza.  Now you're on your own and you want pizza so you eat pizza.  And nothing with it.  And that's when you start to see 'the freshman 15' and other things.  It's easier to return to healthy patterns than to develop healthy patterns later in life (but it can be done).  So that's something the kids were raised with and now the grandkids and the kids learned -- especially the females -- to return to healthy eating about two years after being responsible for their own meals.  

More than 400 current and former NCAA athletes – including longtime partners and LGBTQ+ greats Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird – have signed on to an open letter urging the collegiate athletic association to stand up for trans inclusion in sports.

The letter to the NCAA Board of Governors opens by reminding the group that the NCAA is “meant to serve athletes and our wellbeing, to ensure the lifesaving power of sport is accessible to all athletes who compete in the championship and emerging sports and for NCAA-member institutions – including transgender athletes.”

It continues, “To deny transgender athletes the fundamental right to be who they are, to access the sport they love, and to receive the proven mental and physical health benefits of sport goes against the very principles of the NCAA’s Constitution.”

The NCAA’s current policy on trans athletes has been in place since 2022 and allows the national governing bodies for each sport to set their own standards. For the decade or so prior to that policy, trans women were required to have been undergoing testosterone suppression for at least a year before competing.

The letter comes as the NCAA Board of Governors is set to meet on Thursday at a time of year that is often a “key rules-making period for the NCAA,” according to The Washington Post. 

I hope all of the people who spew hatred at transpeople get their hate returned to them in a grand karmic rebuttal.  At USA Today, Nancy Armour explains:

The NCAA must have the courage, and common sense, the NAIA lacked.

The NCAA’s Board of Governors meets later Thursday and is under heavy pressure to ban transgender women, as the NAIA did earlier this month. But to do so would give in to the fear mongering and misinformation that would have you believe transgender women are overrunning women’s sports, snapping up trophies and scholarships and relegating cisgender women to the sidelines like they were before the passage of Title IX.

None of which is happening.

Though the NCAA doesn’t publish the number of openly transgender athletes, it’s believed to be between 30 and 40, said Anna Baeth, the director of research at Athlete Ally, which works to create safe and supportive environments for LGBTQ+ athletes. That’s out of the more than 523,000 NCAA athletes who competed in Divisions I, II and III in 2022-23, the most recent data available.

Do the math, and that works out to less than 0.008%.

“We are talking a very, very small number of athletes,” Baeth said.

But demonizing transgender people, transgender women athletes in particular, has become the new favored blood sport of the right wing.

Half of the states now have laws barring transgender girls and young women from playing sports — even though many of the politicians who passed them couldn’t cite a single instance where this was happening. Nor is there actual science to support the exclusion of trans athletes. Why? Because there haven’t been enough of them to conduct a study of legitimate scientific rigor!

A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine last month found transgender women were actually at a disadvantage in certain physical categories, including lung function and jump height, but said further studies are necessary. And that “these results should caution against precautionary bans and sport eligibility exclusions that are not based on sport-specific (or sport-relevant) research.”

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Thursday:

Thursday, April 25, 2024. Student action on campus increases across the US, Amnesty International  notices the violent response by officials to peaceful protests.

As protests continue across US campuses, brutal thugs think the appropriate response is violence.  At least one human rights organization has stepped up to call out the officials attempting a crackdown.  Apurva Chakravarthy (COLUMBIA SPECTATOR) reports:


Amnesty International published a news release on Wednesday urging universities “to safeguard and facilitate all students’ right to peacefully and safely protest or counter protest on their campuses.”

The release comes after University President Minouche Shafik authorized the New York Police Department to sweep the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” last Thursday, which led to the mass arrest of 108 individuals. Multiple universities have since called in police to clear out protests and encampments pitched in solidarity, including Yale University and New York University.

“Protests in support of Palestinian rights in and around college campuses have been met with obstructive and repressive responses by university administrations,” Amnesty International’s release reads. “Instead of facilitating and protecting their students’ right to protest, universities’ administrations have gone to great lengths to quash it, even involving local authorities and demanding arrests, while suspending students who engage in peaceful demonstrations.”

Exactly.  Yesterday, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson went to Columbia University to hawkeye the young men apparently.  He also whined for the students to 'stop wasting your parents money.'  I'm sorry, Mike does realize Columbia University is not in his district and that he doesn't represent it so, therefore, he was the one wasting money and it wasn't his parents' money, it was our money.  The US taxpayer is not paying him to travel the country.  He needs to get back to work and stop wasting our money.

NBC NEWS notes, "Protests encampments are now in place on at least 20 college campuses across the U.S., including Harvard University, Brown University, the University of Michigan, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt."  Lex McMenamin (TEEN VOGUE) explains:

The nation's colleges are set for another day of pro-Palestinian protest and disruption with sit-ins, rallies and walkouts planned across the country.

Activists at Georgetown, Penn State and Syracuse universities are all due to hold rallies or protests at 10.30 a.m. ET, while more are planned throughout the day at Fordham, Purdue, Indiana, Brown, Stanford, and many more.

Events are expected to continue at least until a teach-in at the University of Virginia at 7.30 p.m.

Events are also planned for tomorrow, in a sign that the protest movement is not slowing down.

It is taking place across the nation.  Days, weeks and months of enaction by a government that would rather be an apologist for War Crimes has forced the young adults to this point and to take this stand.  

REUTERS notes, "In Texas on Wednesday, state highway patrol troopers in riot gear and police on horseback broke up a protest at the University of Texas in Austin. The Texas Department of Public Safety posted on X that 34 people had been arrested."  

Civil rights advocates on Wednesday expressed alarm at a rapid escalation by Texas state troopers who descended on a student-led protest at University of Texas at Austin, which was organized in solidarity with Gaza and other U.S. college students taking part in a growing anti-war movement.

UT students gathered on campus at midday and were promptly given two minutes to disperse by state troopers, who had already been called to the scene.

The troopers were equipped with riot gear, with some carrying assault rifles and several stationed on horses.

Erick Lara, a 20-year-old sophomore, told The Dallas Morning News that the nonviolent protest transformed "within minutes" after the police began arresting demonstrators.

"I didn't think it would escalate this far," he told the outlet. "And I didn't think there would be this much police intervention from what's supposed to be a peaceful protest. Not very peaceful when there's a bunch of aggressors around, especially on horses." 

As AP notes, "Student protests over the Israel-Hamas war have popped up on an increasing number of college campuses following last week’s arrest of more than 100 demonstrators at Columbia University."  CNN’s Cindy Von Quednow reports:

The California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt campus will remain closed through the weekend as protesters, including "unidentified non-students," continue to occupy two buildings, school officials said in an update.

Work and classes will remain remote, and officials are considering keeping the campus closed for longer.

At the USC campus in Los Angeles, efforts by students to set up an encampment were also met with force.

Campus security scuffled with students as they took down tents, and dozens of police officers holding batons and wearing helmets later moved in to arrest the protesters as helicopters hovered overhead. The crackdown came after USC Provost Andrew Guzman sent a campus-wide email, saying protesters had “threatened the safety of our offices and campus community”.

Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds, reporting from the university, however, said that “this protest against the war on Gaza was entirely peaceful”.

“We did not see any confrontations or harassment among the students,” he said.

Reynolds said some of the students later staged a sit-in with their arms linked.

“One by one, protesting students are being handcuffed with zip ties and led away by Los Angeles police officers, under arrest and taken away to a vehicle on the campus. They did not resist arrest and we did not see any violence on the part of the police,” he added.

The Los Angeles Police Department said some 93 people were arrested in and around the USC campus.

Jody Armour, a law professor at the university, said officials were using claims of anti-Semitism to try and silence the protests.

“We have lots of Jewish, and Muslim, and Palestinian, and Catholic like I am, Protestants too, intergenerational, coming together. Everybody should hate anti-Semitism and fight anti-Semitism, but being opposed to Israel’s slaughter in Gaza that the UN has said may plausibly be genocide, does not mean that you’re anti-Semitic, and we need to stop allowing people to weaponise anti-Semitism against real valid protests.”

THE GUARDIAN has a photo essay of the campus actions here.  Marc Lamont Hill spoke with the Columbia University students yesterday.


A group of Jewish Barnard and Columbia students detained during Thursday’s New York Police Department sweep of the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” held a press conference on Tuesday to restate their demands for the University and speak on how their Jewish heritage informs their decisions to stand in solidarity with Gaza.

The press conference took place in front of the President’s House on 60 Morningside Drive as the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” neared its one-week mark.

Sarah, a Columbia student who is participating in the encampment, began the conference by highlighting the ongoing situation in Gaza.

“Right now, Israel is literally starving millions of Palestinians in Gaza, killing children, bombing homes, hospitals, and universities, where there are thousands of young students just like us,” Sarah said. “We are here today as Jewish Columbia and Barnard students who were arrested and suspended for peacefully protesting in support of Palestine.”

They then reiterated CUAD’s three demands of the University, which include financial divestment from all companies that “profit from Israeli apartheid, genocide, and occupation in Palestine”; financial transparency of all of the University’s investments; and “amnesty for all students and faculty arrested or fired in connection to the movement for Palestinian liberation.”

While they took it in front of the university president's home, Tuesday saw a number of activists take their action into US Senator Chuck Schumer's neighborhood.  From yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

Thousands of Jewish Americans and allies gathered in Brooklyn on Tuesday for a “Seder in the Streets to Stop Arming Israel” on the second night of Passover, held just a block from the home of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, to protest ongoing U.S. support for the Israeli assault on Gaza. “Too many of our people are worshiping a false idol,” said award-winning author and activist Naomi Klein, one of several speakers at Tuesday’s rally. “They are enraptured by it. They are drunk on it. They are profaned by it. And that false idol is called Zionism.”

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Among those who addressed the crowd during the seder was award-winning author and activist Naomi Klein. This is some of what she had to say.

NAOMI KLEIN: My friends, I’ve been thinking about Moses and his rage when he came down from the mount to find the Israelites worshiping a golden calf. The ecofeminist in me has always been uneasy about this story. What kind of god is jealous of animals? What kind of god wants to hoard all the sacredness of the Earth for himself? But there is, of course, a less literal way of understanding this story. It is a lesson about false idols, about the human tendency to worship the profane and shining, to look to the small and material rather than the large and transcendent.

What I want to say to you this evening at this revolutionary and historic Seder in the Streets is that too many of our people are worshiping a false idol once again. They are enraptured by it. They are drunk on it. They are profaned by it. And that false idol is called Zionism.

It is a false idol that takes our most profound biblical stories of justice and emancipation from slavery, the story of Passover itself, and turns them into brutalist weapons of colonial land theft, roadmaps for ethnic cleansing and genocide. It is a false idol that has taken the transcendent idea of the Promised Land, a metaphor for human liberation that has traveled across faiths to every corner of this globe, and dared to turn it into a deed of sale for a militarist ethnostate.

Political Zionism’s version of liberation is itself profane. From the start, it required the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and ancestral lands in the Nakba. From the start, it has been at war with collective dreams of liberation. At a seder, it is worth remembering that this includes the dreams of liberation and self-determination of the Egyptian people. This false idol of Zionism has long equated Israeli safety with Egyptian dictatorship and unfreedom and client state. From the start, it has produced an ugly kind of freedom that saw Palestinian children not as human beings, but as demographic threats, much as the Pharaoh in the Book of Exodus feared the growing population of Israelites and thus ordered the death of their sons. And as we know, Moses was saved from that by being put in a basket and adopted by an Egyptian woman.

Zionism has brought us to our present moment of cataclysm, and it is time that we say clearly it has always been leading us here. It is a false idol that has led far too many of our own people down a deeply immoral path that now has them justifying the shredding of core commandments — “Thou shall not kill,” “Thou shall not steal,” “Thou shall not covet” — the commandments brought down from the mount. It is a false idol that equates Jewish freedom with cluster bombs that kill and maim Palestinian children.

Zionism is a false idol that has betrayed every Jewish value, including the value that we place on questioning a practice embedded in the seder itself with its four questions asked by the youngest child. It also betrays the love that we have as a people for text and for education. Today this false idol dares to justify the bombing of every single university in Gaza, the destruction of countless schools, of archives, of printing presses, the killing of hundreds of academics, scholars, journalists, poets, essayists. This is what Palestinians call scholasticide, the killing of the infrastructure and the means of education.

Meanwhile, in this city, the universities call the NYPD and barricade themselves against the grave threat posed by their own students asking them —

CROWD: Shame!

NAOMI KLEIN: — students embodying the spirit of the seder, asking the most basic question, asking questions like “How can you claim to believe in anything at all, least of all us, while you enable, invest in and collaborate with this genocide?”

The false idol of Zionism has been allowed to grow unchecked for far too long. So tonight we say it ends here. Our Judaism cannot be contained by an ethnostate, for our Judaism is internationalist by its very nature. Our Judaism cannot be protected by the rampaging military of that ethnostate, for all that military does is sow sorrow and reap hatred, including hatred against us as Jews. Our Judaism is not threatened by people raising their voices in solidarity with Palestine across lines of race, ethnicity, physical ability, gender identity and generations. Our Judaism is one of those voices and knows that in this chorus lies both our safety and our collective liberation.

Our Judaism is the Judaism of the Passover Seder, the gathering in ceremony to share food and wine with loved ones and strangers alike. This ritual, light enough to carry on our backs, in need of nothing but one another, even with — we don’t need walls. We need no temple, no rabbi. And there is a role for everyone, including especially the smallest child. The seder is portable, a diaspora technology if ever there was one. It is made to hold our collective grieving, our contemplation, our questioning, our remembering, and our reviving and rekindling of the revolutionary spirit.

So, tonight — so, look around. This here is our Judaism. As waters rise and forests burn and nothing is certain, we pray at the altar of solidarity and mutual aid, no matter the cost. We don’t need or want the false idol of Zionism. We want freedom from the project that commits genocide in our name. We want freedom from the ideology that has no plan for peace, except for deals with the murderous, theocratic petrostates next door, while selling the technologies of robo-assassinations to the world. We seek to liberate Judaism from an ethnostate that wants Jews to be perennially afraid, that wants our children afraid, that wants us to believe that the world is against us so that we go running to its fortress, or at least keep sending the weapons and the donations.

That is a false idol. And it’s not just Netanyahu. It’s the world he made and the world that made him. It’s Zionism. What are we? We, in these streets for months and months, we are the exodus, the exodus from Zionism. So, to the Chuck Schumers of this world, we do not say, “Let our people go.” We say, “We have already gone, and your kids, they are with us now.”

AMY GOODMAN: Award-winning journalist and author Naomi Klein, speaking at what was called the “Seder in the Streets to Stop Arming Israel” on Tuesday at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, a block from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s home. Special thanks to Hana Elias, Eric Halvarson and Ishmael Daro of Democracy Now!

In a desperate search for missing loved ones, Gazans have been gathering in the hundreds at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, where emergency workers are on the fifth day of exhuming bodies from mass graves found on the hospital grounds.

"The hospital smells of rotting corpses. I cannot stand here for long," Ahlam Salama, a 43-year-old mother who went to the hospital to find her son, told ABC News.

"We are all mothers here searching for our children," she said, holding back tears and pointing to the other women who had gathered at the hospital.

Salama is among the hundreds of people who have assembled at Nasser Hospital, hoping for news about missing family and friends.  

             The United Nations has called for an “independent, effective and transparent investigation” into the discovery of mass graves at two Gaza hospitals that were besieged and raided by Israeli troops this year.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said in a statement he was “horrified” by the scenes reported from both the Nasser and Al Shifa medical complexes in the besieged enclave.

“Given the prevailing climate of impunity, this should include international investigators,” Türk said. “Hospitals are entitled to very special protection under international humanitarian law. And the intentional killing of civilians, detainees, and others who are hors de combat is a war crime,” he added, referring to non-combatants.     

Palestinian hospital officials say Israeli airstrikes on the southern city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip have killed at least five people.

Among those killed in the strikes overnight and into Thursday were two children, identified in hospital records as Sham Najjar, six, and Jamal Nabahan, eight.

More than half of the territory’s population of 2.3 million have sought refuge in Rafah, where Israel has conducted near-daily raids as it appears to be preparing for an offensive in the city.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 202 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse." THE NATIONAL notes, "The Palestinian death toll in Gaza rose to 34,305 on Thursday, the enclave's Health Ministry announced, after 43 people were killed in the 24-hour reporting period. About 64 others were wounded, taking the total number of injured in the war to 77,293."  Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:


April 11th, Sharon Zhang (TRUTHOUT) reported, "In addition to the over 34,000 Palestinians who have been counted as killed in Israel’s genocidal assault so far, there are 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza who are missing, a humanitarian aid group has estimated, either buried in rubble or mass graves or disappeared into Israeli prisons.  In a report released Thursday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the estimate is based on initial reports and that the actual number of people missing is likely even higher."

As for the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."

The following sites updated: