Total Depravity: The High Price of Rage

This report demonstrates what happens when a person is completely curved in on himself.

A man who reportedly had gotten into a fight with his girlfriend drove a box truck through this city’s downtown on Tuesday, police said, crashing into at least 12 cars and a school bus. A woman whose car he hit was hospitalized in critical condition, and at least a dozen high school students and their bus driver were taken to Stamford Hospital. A nurse manager at Stamford Hospital said the truck driver was also hospitalized in critical condition and 22 others were treated for minor injuries. Police identified the truck driver only as a 30-year-old Stamford resident who had taken his employer’s vehicle. The driver “hit everything that could be hit,” including parked cars, signs and parking meters, Stamford police Capt. Brian McElligott told the Stamford Advocate.

Arizona’s Zombie Problem

Arizona drivers were warned of the undead roaming a desert highway near Tucson over the weekend, after a suspected prankster tampered with an electronic road sign, police and news media said.  Someone without a good grasp of spelling reprogrammed a digital road sign on a highway near Marana, northwest of Tucson, to read “Caaution Zombies ahead!,” the Arizona Daily Star newspaper reported on Monday.

Oh my…  Perhaps they should hire some of the dreaded ‘illegal aliens’ to program signs since Arizonans don’t seem capable of it.

Total Depravity: The Homeless Woman Turned Brutal Murderer

Betty Sugiyama was rushing to catch a train for a shopping trip when authorities say the unthinkable happened: A homeless woman leapt from a bench and shoved her onto the tracks.  Witnesses said the woman then calmly returned to her seat as Sugiyama lay on the tracks with a cracked skull. The 84-year-old LittleTokyo resident died soon after, and the suspect was arrested on murder charges.

*Sigh*  Such brutality and senselessly depraved inhumanity.  Ghastly.  And Tom Verenna thinks it’s deplorable as well.  Be warned friends, it’s dangerous to trust strangers… and that’s terribly sad.

The Gay Marriage Question: An Australian Perspective

With many thanks to George Athas for pointing this out on Facebook.

It commences

As proponents for gay marriage turn up the political temperature on this issue, the catchcry has become ‘equal love’ – if two persons of the same sex love each other, who are we to tell them they cannot marry? Greens MP Adam Brandt has this week reintroduced the argument in the Federal Parliament, stating, “It is the power of love that has brought us to this moment in the debate over marriage equality.” This is a persuasive argument for it evokes in us our own needs to receive and to give love, but is ‘equal love’ a valid proposition for legalising same sex marriage?

Let’s think about it. If ‘equal love’ is the only prerequisite for marriage, then why not legalise marriage between uncles and nieces, or between mums and sons, if they are so inclined? I doubt if many people would accept such sexual unions, and yet if love (and take note that love in much of this debate is left undefined) is the only requisite for marriage how can we exclude a union between any two consenting persons, regardless of their status? Let’s not stop there, what if three people love each other, should they not be permitted to marry? And if marriage is so malleable why not introduce, as one newspaper article recently suggested, fixed terms for marriage rather than being for life?

Read the whole. Quite thoughtful.

An Evening Around Atlanta

Well I tried to find some ASOR types at the Sheraton but the place was nearly empty of ’em.  All I could find was some other convention- and they looked pretty unfriendly.

So I toured around on foot.  Here are some photos (including the aforementioned dinner from the sushi bar).

I know these sorts of posts are everyones favorites…

Atlanta is Nice

I’ve spent a good part of the afternoon walking to the various meeting venues, getting my bearings for ASOR which commences tomorrow.  As soon as I finish dinner (which I bought at a nice little sushi bar) I’m going to arm myself with my camera and head to the Sheraton (2 blocks walk) and photograph unsuspecting ASOR looking types.

Your task, should you choose to accept it, will be to identify them!

This should be fun.

More anon.

A Bit More Political Dirt-Baggery: Andy Harris

Politico reports

Greedy Politician Harris

A conservative Maryland physician elected to Congress on an anti-Obamacare platform surprised fellow freshmen at a Monday orientation session by demanding to know why his government-subsidized health care plan takes a month to kick in. Republican Andy Harris, an anesthesiologist who defeated freshman Democrat Frank Kratovil on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, reacted incredulously when informed that federal law mandated that his government-subsidized health care policy would take effect on Feb. 1 – 28 days after his Jan. 3rd swearing-in.

Take that you poor folks who can’t afford insurance and who work for companies too small to do it. Fear not, your politicians who campaigned against your getting healthcare at a reasonable price are getting theirs! And one day, they’ll really get theirs…

Another Reason Why Getting Tattoos is a Bad Idea

Lincoln police said a woman tried to slice a tattoo of her name off her boyfriend’s neck. Capt. Anthony Butler told the Lincoln Journal Star that the 19-year-old woman and her 30-year-old boyfriend had gotten into a dispute around 6:40 p.m. on Friday. That’s when she tried to cut off the tattoo.

Nuff said, right?


Face it, tattoos are weird


Off to ASOR

The Annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research commences tomorrow and I’m heading down to Atlanta today so blogging will be ‘lite’ till this evening.  ‘Lite’ for me that is.  Some posts will appear ‘magically’ throughout the day so don’t despair (thank goodness WordPress allows scheduled posts).

ASOR is a fantastic society and if archaeology and ancient near eastern studies are of interest, you should consider joining if you haven’t already.  As a member, you get the best publication – Near Eastern Archaeology – which makes such rags as BAR look perfectly juvenile.

Total Depravity: The Thief in Priest’s Clothing

Bishop Pates' Ordination.

A 52-year-old Jackson man accused of donning a priest’s robe to steal parishioner donations from a church has been arrested. Sgt. Kevin Hiller told the Jackson Citizen Patriot the man stole an undisclosed amount of money and checks from St. John Catholic Church about 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Hiller said the man used the robe to gain access to a room where the money was located.  Witnesses helped police identify the man, who was arrested at his home.  Police have not released the suspect’s name. They say he is on parole and remains held at the Jackson County Jail pending parole violation and larceny from a building charges.

That’s low.  And totally depraved.

More Political Dirt-Baggery: Mitch McConnell

Official photo of United States Senator and Mi...

Mitch Pocketing Your Tax Dollars

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell yesterday endorsed plans for a moratorium on earmarks, a surprising reversal that could put a halt to the controversial federal spending practice.  Earmarks are provisions added to a bill that direct money to a specific project.  McConnell, who over the past three years has sponsored $458 million in earmarks, said that the elections two weeks ago illustrated the electorate’s desire for changes in how federal tax dollars are spent.

What this proves is that, like all politicians, McConnell really has no central ethic, he simply sticks his finger in the wind and whichever way it’s blowing is the way he’s going.  The Tea-People are opposed to earmarks and they’re exerting pressure on the Repubs and the Repubs are responding as politicians respond.  When the furor dies down and the economy has rebounded McConnell will be right back to his lifelong practice.  And so will the rest of the greasy politicians.

It’s just more proof that politicians are the most totally depraved of all the totally depraved.

Generation Why: Email is Too Formal For the Little Precious Things…

This blew my mind:  email is too formal for the Why generation and that’s why Facebook is offering them the kind of email that will suit their laziness.

Here’s how NPR introduced the story on the radio this morning:

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says e-mail is too formal for many young people — like when you have to “write ‘Hey mom’ at the top to introduce it, write ‘Love, Mark’ at the end to conclude it.” Is e-mail quickly going the way of handwritten letters?

Heavens, what lazy louts the Why generation is turning out to be. They’re already infected with text-itis and actually turn in formal papers with emoticons and texting shorthand (which papers ought rightly be returned immediately with a big fat red F on them). And now it seems that they just can’t be bothered with signing emails – because, what, it takes too much bloody effort?

So of course Facebook is happy to pander to their indolence.

While College Presidents Rake it in, Humanities Get the Ax

State University of New York

Colleges are ‘struggling’ to make ends meet (except when it comes to paying some of their presidents) and consequently, Humanities programs are getting axed.

This very perceptive and very informative report by NPR is very much worth reading.

The State University of New York has had to cut $640 million from its budget, and the president of its Albany campus recently announced the suspension of five humanities programs, including French, Italian, Russian, classics and theater. Although there have been cuts at SUNY Albany in everything from journalism to business, the fact that five humanities programs have been suspended has resonated with the public and the press. Upon learning about the suspension of the foreign language programs, David Wills, a professor of French, was shocked at first, but then he was angry. “None of us accepted that it was something that a university could do and still call itself a university,” Wills said. “This is not a university if you only have one non-English European language program left standing.”

Do continue reading the essay. The good Prof is right, a University isn’t a university if it devalues such important subjects.

Where in the World is Chris Tilling Now?

Like NORAD tracks Santa, we’re tracking Tilling as he makes his way to SBL.  Unfortunately, he can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble.  This time, it seems he got drunk (again!) and did something, well, just unspeakable.  Take a look:

Johnson City police said a man urinated on a police cruiser during a traffic stop for drunk driving. The Johnson City Press quotes the police report’s description of the incident. It said police stopped 23– 66 year-old Darinel Lopez Cruz Christopher Purciful Tilling at about 3:30 a.m. on Sunday after they saw his Chevrolet Blazer weaving in and out of its lane.  Police gave Cruz Tilling a field sobriety test and then arrested him. That’s when he urinated on the cruiser.  Cruz Tilling was charged with DUI and indecent exposure. He was jailed at the Washington County Detention Center on a $4,000 bond. It was not immediately clear whether he had obtained a lawyer.

Chris, Chris, Chris… we’ve warned you about being inebriated…

The Student Kicked out of Class, and the Teacher Kicked out of School- For a Day

Howell High School economics teacher Jay McDowell says he didn’t like where the discussion was going after a student told his classmates he didn’t “accept gays,” so McDowell kicked the boy out of class for a day. In return, the teacher was kicked out of his Michigan school for a day — suspended without pay for violating the student’s free speech rights.

Not surprisingly

The incident has sparked intense debate in Howell, about 45 miles northwest of Detroit, over defending civil rights without trampling on the First Amendment. It’s gained far wider attention since the Livingston County Press & Argus released video of a 14-year-old gay student from another city defending McDowell at a Howell school board meeting.

Free speech and freedom of religion v. political correctness: which will prevail?  (And why is an economics class dabbling in sociology anyway?)

On Oct. 20, McDowell told a student in his classroom to remove a Confederate Flag belt buckle. She complied, but it prompted a question from a boy about how the flag differs from the rainbow flag, a symbol of pride for the gay community. “I explained the difference between the flags, and he said, ‘I don’t accept gays,'” said McDowell, 42, who was wearing a shirt with an anti-gay bullying message.

But didn’t he just ‘bully’ the Confederate wearing buckle girl? And doesn’t the boy have the right to reject homosexuality if he wants to? Just as McDowell has the right to accept it?

McDowell said he told the student he couldn’t say that in class. “And he said, ‘Why? I don’t accept gays. It’s against my religion.’ I reiterated that it’s not appropriate to say something like that in class,” McDowell said Monday. McDowell said he sent the boy out of the room for a one-day class suspension. Another boy asked if he also could leave because he also didn’t accept gays. “The classroom discussion was heading in a direction I didn’t want it to head,” McDowell said.

Why can’t he say he opposes homosexuality? And why didn’t McDowell turn the discussion back to the central question, the question of the individual’s right to hold viewpoints and express them without fear of government (teacher) interference and quashing on the one hand and public civility on the other?

McDowell soon received a reprimand letter from the district that said his actions violated the students’ free speech rights as well as school policy. It also said he “purposefully initiated a controversial issue” by the wearing the T-shirt featuring the anti-gay bullying message. “I thought it was a really great, teachable moment,” McDowell said of his decision to remove the student from class.

A teachable moment teaches. A t-shirt objecting to bullying gays isn’t properly professional attire. That point can, and should be made in instruction, not political campaigning by a member of the faculty.

In any event the punishment doled out seems fair enough and equitable. The boy was unjustly removed from class and the teacher was suspended for just one day. Maybe both learned a valuable lesson.

David and Solomon: Kings of Controversy

King Solomon, Russian icon from first quarter ...

In tandem with the upcoming (Nov 23rd) NOVA special on Solomon’s mines, which was mentioned the other day, National Geographic has published an essay on David and Solomon.

Read the essay and decide for yourself whether NatGeo is doing history or simply retelling the biblical text and calling it history.  And don’t forget to tune in next Tuesday (the 23rd) to the NOVA special.  Or, if you can’t, don’t worry, I’ll be live-blogging it.