Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Super Bowl of Child Sexual Exploitation

What do football games, men, and sex with underage children have in common?  The Super Bowl of course.

Pimps will traffic thousands of under-age prostitutes to Texas for Sunday’s Super Bowl, hoping to do business with men arriving for the big game with money to burn, child rights advocates said.  As the country’s largest sporting event, the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers will make the Dallas-Fort Worth area a magnet for business of all kinds.  That includes the multimillion dollar, under-age sex industry, said activists and law enforcement officials working to combat what they say is an annual spike in trafficking of under-age girls ahead of the Super Bowl.

That’s horrific.  I thought child trafficking was something that went on in Thailand.  But given the fact that America has plenty of evil depraved child molesters I’m actually more surprised at my surprise than I am at the fact of fat middle aged guys in Dallas buying young girls for their own entertainment.

Hopefully each and every man who buys a prostitute (of any age) in Dallas will receive the just recompense they richly deserve.

Living in Faith: An Observation

Living in faith is like climbing a mountain where the summit is never reached.

Americans in the United Kingdom: A Warning from the State Department

This email alert just arrived from the State Department-

The Department of State has issued this Travel Alert to inform U.S. citizens traveling to or resident in the United Kingdom (UK) of the continuing high level of terrorist threat, including the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems, aviation and other travel infrastructure in the UK. U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.  This Travel Alert expires on April 30, 2011.

The same type of alert was issued a few days ago for Egypt… if that tells you anything.

(N. T. Wrong Approved) BiblioBlog Top 50 January 2011 (by Alexa Rank) (via The Biblioblog Top 50)

Yes, dear friends, I’m still and unalterably #1. It will be easier for Egypt to oust Mubarak than for me to be dethroned. So take that, you bile smelling angry atheists and frustrated ‘let’s vote for who we want on top’ bibliobloggers…

Well, I think this song probably encapsulates how most everyone is feeling: That's right … "Say it ain't so" … You no longer get (are privileged/are blessed) to go to to get your Biblioblog rankings.  But, just to make sure that I continue to get traffic for this.  I'm going to replace the link for each blog in the Biblioblog top 50 with a link to my website.  Oh w … Read More

via The Biblioblog Top 50

Another Dilettante Wants to Go Noah’s Ark Hunting…

I suppose she believes that being big chested and running down the beach on Baywatch makes her an expert in archaeology and biblical interpretation…

Former “Baywatch” star Donna D’Errico has enjoyed a pretty amazing career arc.  But the 42-year-old actress, who recently turned down a spot on “Dancing With the Stars,” is now focusing on Noah’s ark.  D’Errico, 42, is in training to fulfill a lifelong dream of climbing Mount Ararat in Turkey to search for the frozen remains of Noah’s ark.

Joining her will be the twin sisters- ignorance and stupidity.

Because he hates me and he wants to see my head explode, Eric Cline sent this along.

Tears Don’t Raise the Dead

And Julie Schenecker, the Florida mom who shot her two teenage kids because they mouthed off (according to her) won’t shed enough tears in this life or the next to undo the damage she’s done.

Schenecker, 50, is facing two counts of first-degree murder. Holding a tissue and crying softly, the Army wife appeared in court today via closed circuit cameras from the Hillsborough County Jail. Judge Walter Heinrich ordered her held without bond.  Schenecker was arrested Friday when police, responding to a call from her mother, found her covered in blood on the back porch of her home.  The woman allegedly confessed to the officers there that she had shot her son, Beau, 13, and then daughter Calyx, 16, the day before because they “talked back, they were mouthy and she was tired of it,” police said.

Saying ‘I’m sorry’ doesn’t cut it when someone has brutally murdered children.  Whether they are her own or someone else’s.  And I can’t feel sorry for her.  I do, however, feel sorry for her family and friends and especially her kids.

Was she insane?  Was she just vicious?  Was she purely evil?  Or was she all of the above?  Only God knows.  Whatever her mental state, and whatever her present sense of sorrow, shedding a couple of water driplets from her eyes doesn’t change anything.  Tears don’t raise the dead.

Things Are Looking Grim For the Midwest and Northeast…

Coated in ice, power and telephone lines sag a...


NPR is reporting that the midwest and northeast are facing a historic winter storm set to commence today.

A multi-day, multi-region potentially historic and destructive winter storm will unleash its fury beginning Monday and will last through Wednesday,” The Weather Channel warns.  “When everything is said and done,” the network adds, “the storm may very well impact a third of the population of the United States; approximately 100 million people. Its reach will be felt from the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies to the Ohio Valley to the coast of New England.”

All I can see in my mind is the movie ‘The Day After Tomorrow’.  Eerie stuff.

Antonio Lombatti Dissects the NatGeo ‘Shroud of Turin’ Special

Full-length photograph of the Shroud of Turin ...

And when the dissection is done, the program comes off surprisingly well!

In the last 20 years I have seen many documentaries on the Shroud of Turin. Each of them promised to finally solve the “mystery” of the most controversial Christian relic of all times. I have to say that “Remaking the Shroud,” recently aired by NatGeo TV, is the best one I’ve ever watched so far. It doesn’t want us to be convinced that this medieval relic is the real burial cloth of Jesus. It doesn’t want to convey the message that this artifact is miraculous or mysterious. It simply tries to distinguish if the Shroud of Turin has to be considered an icon made to evoke and inspire the faithful or a hoax forged to fool the gullible and help medieval monasteries to make lots of money.

Why is it so good?

… probably because most of the people who have been involved in it are professional scholars and not “shroudologists”: the medievalist Richard Kaeuper (University of Rochester), who speaks on the first owner of the Turin Shroud — the French knight Geoffroy de Charny; — the archaeologist Shimon Gibson (Texas A&M University), who refers on Second Temple burial cloths and rites, the art historian William Dale (University of Western Ontario), who deals with byzantine icons; and the chemist Luigi Garlaschelli (University of Pavia), the first scientist to remake a full-size shroud.

Read his review.  Quite, as we’ve come to expect from Antonio, excellent.

Cancel Your Subscription to Biblical Archaeology Review…

This is the logo of the University of Chicago....

And use the money as a gift to the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago’s ‘Adopt a Dig‘ program.  Your money will be used to support real archaeology and not archaeology funded by the sale of antiquities sold legally on the open market.  Antiquities from where who knows and how obtained only heaven can tell.

The Oriental Institute is a leader in archeological explorations in the Near East. Every year, our researchers in Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and other countries make new discoveries that vastly enrich our understanding of the ancient civilizations of the Fertile Crescent.  The Oriental Institute’s Adopt-a-Dig program creates a new partnership of discovery between you, our supporters, and the field researchers whose projects are rewriting the history of the rise of civilization. With six active digs in Egypt, Israel, Syria, and Turkey, you now have the opportunity to partner with field projects that closely match your own interests. As a dig “adopter”, you can make a five-year commitment to fund the project of your choice at the level of your choice, enabling each of our excavations to have the stable, predictable support base they need to make long-term excavation plans. In turn, dig directors will involve their supporters more closely and directly than ever before, integrating you into the fieldwork and discoveries they make each season.

Come on people, put your money to good use.

Total Depravity: The Church Pugilists Edition

Authorities say a dispute over leadership at a church in western North Carolina turned from angry words to fist fights.  About 30 police officers from five agencies were called to break up fights Sunday at Greater New Zion Baptist Church in Fletcher, about 94 miles west of Charlotte.  Henderson County Sheriff’s Capt. Jerry Rice says the brawl is under investigation and no one appears to have been seriously hurt.  Rice says there were about 75 people at the church when police arrived, but not all of them were scuffling.  Church members are divided over the recent ouster of the Rev. LeVonia Ray as pastor of the church. The fighting apparently began over whether a vote should be held to reinstate him.

I know what Paul would say to them: το γαρ ονομα του θεου δι υμας βλασφημειται εν τοις εθνεσιν.   I also know what Calvin would say to them: Le nom du Christ est blasphémé à cause de vous.  Why folk do such things as struggle for power in the Church when they should know quite well that in the community of faith ‘he who would be the greatest among you must be servant of all’.

Blame Bob Cargill, He Talked Me Into Twitter…

I know, it’s surely more a sign of the end times than anything the Mayans could come up with, but in a phone call this morning Bob Cargill argued with, berated, mocked, humiliated, and forced me under threat of physical beating to tweet blog posts.  Frankly I’m not even sure how to do that, but since Bob thinks it might be helpful and assures me that I needn’t ever mention such things as lunch or sleeping habits or the other dreckish things for which I despise Tweeting… I have, heck shoot fire, caved.

@drjewest is evidently my secret decoder ring something or other.

Let the apocalypse begin, the sun melt, the moon go dark, and the atheists shudder that I’ll be yet more places than ever before…

UPDATE: Bob has put together a graphic that’s just appalling.  So I’m going to use it…

ASOR’s Statement on Egypt

Please read the ASOR statement here.  The opening paragraph, as a teaser,

The undersigned cultural heritage and archaeological organizations express their concern over the loss of life and injury to humans during the protests in Egypt this week. We support the desire of the Egyptian people to exercise their basic civil rights. We also share their concern about the losses to cultural heritage that Egypt has already sustained and the threat of further such losses over the coming days.

Where in the World is Chris Tilling Now?

I’m sort of glad to say that Chris paid a visit to Knoxville.  Unfortunately, he got into trouble while he was here.

A downtown Knoxville hot spot got a bit more interesting when multiple people reported a naked man walking through the area.  The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that 26-year-old Kevin Coffman Chris Tilling stripped his clothes off as he approached the Market Square area.  Police Lt. Keith DeBow says Coffman Tilling told officers he thought he had snakes in his pants and pain in his legs. Officers gathered Coffman Tilling’s clothes, then detained him.

Oh Chris…

Is America Being Hypocritical About Freedom of the Press?

Everyone (well almost, as noted earlier over in China and the readers of many biblioblogs don’t) knows that Egypt cut the internet off and Americans rose up with others around the world and decried the oppression.

But what about here in the United States?  Aren’t our own media guilty of caving in to pressure from somewhere in rejecting the legitimate place of Al-Jazeera to be viewed on the air?  Why, in other words, has Al-Jazeera been blacked out across most of the United States?  Why can we see the speck in Egypt’s eye while ignoring the beam in our own.

Canadian television viewers looking for the most thorough and in-depth coverage of the uprising in Egypt have the option of tuning into Al Jazeera English, whose on-the-ground coverage of the turmoil is unmatched by any other outlet. American viewers, meanwhile, have little choice but to wait until one of the U.S. cable-company-approved networks broadcasts footage from AJE, which the company makes publicly available. What they can’t do is watch the network directly.  Other than in a handful of pockets across the U.S. – including Ohio, Vermont and Washington, D.C. – cable carriers do not give viewers the choice of watching Al Jazeera. That corporate censorship comes as American diplomats harshly criticize the Egyptian government for blocking Internet communication inside the country and as Egypt attempts to block Al Jazeera from broadcasting.  The result of the Al Jazeera English blackout in the United States has been a surge in traffic to the media outlet’s website, where footage can be seen streaming live. The last 24 hours have seen a two-and-a-half thousand percent increase in web traffic, Tony Burman, head of North American strategies for Al Jazeera English, told HuffPost. Sixty percent of that traffic, he said, has come from the United States.

Al-Jazeera provides excellent and fair coverage of every issue they report.  It should be as available as CNN and Fox and all the other major news suppliers.

Readers can demand Al Jazeera English here. Here are the contact pages for Comcast, Time Warner and DirecTV.

On Antisemitism and The Prophets of Israel: An Observation

If criticizing Israel makes one antisemitic, then there were no greater antisemites than the Prophets of Ancient Israel.

[But of course criticizing Israel isn’t antisemitism at all, in spite of what the Christian Zionists and the Ultra-Orthodox would have you to believe].


Al Jazeera has a fantastic op-ed piece on the propagation of neo-orientalism in the West and its political agenda.

The media continually builds an association of Islam with war,instability and repression, creating a false stereotype. … Since 9/11 rarely does a day go by without hearing, reading, or watching reports of a terrifying Muslim-related event. The presence of Muslim minorities within western capitals has further complicated things, aggravating the intricate interplay of the local and the global. Fears of a perpetual Muslim danger overlapped with deep-seated fears of immigrants, aliens, and strangers. Coverage of Islam has turned into an industry specialising in the engineering of images, scenes, and messages. In a globalised world governed by the power of the image, the question is no longer what has sparked this event or that incident and how it has unfolded on the ground, but how it gets captured by the camera and reported to viewers, listeners, and readers at home.

I commend the entire essay to your attention. It’s a very important subject and one that needs more than a mere glance. Especially since so many Christians have bought into the false belief that Islam is evil and all Muslims are bent on the destruction of Western civilization in general and the United States and Britain in particular.

Equating all Muslims with violence is the same thing as equating all Christians with the hate mongering Westboro Baptist Church and its leader Fred Phelps. Christians don’t wish to be associated with that cult and Muslims, for the most part, in the vast majority, don’t want violence.

More Hardship Ahead for Queensland

Nature's Fury (7200 x 5600 pixels)

some random storm

I feel quite sorry for the people of Queensland, Australia.  They’ve experienced unprecedented flooding and now word that more is on the way.

A strong tropical cyclone roared toward Australia’s flood-ravaged northeast on Monday, prompting evacuations and warnings from officials that the storm could be the worst the already-swamped region has ever seen.  Cyclone Yasi strengthened to a Category 3 on Monday with winds up to 115 mph (185 kph). It was expected to hit the Queensland state coast on Wednesday or Thursday as a fierce Category 4 storm with wind gusts up to 162 mph (260 kph). The storm could dump up to three feet (one meter) of rain on some communities already saturated from months of flooding, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said.  But Yasi is expected to strike somewhere along the state’s north coast, largely avoiding areas to the south — including Brisbane — that have suffered the worst of the recent flooding. Still, Bligh said the storm’s path could change and residents up and down the coast needed to be prepared.

I can’t imagine how stressful it is.  Aussies, I’m certainly going to pray for you.  I hope others will too.

If You Live in China… Or Read Some Theo-Biblioblogs (but it’s the same thing really)

You probably haven’t heard of anything going on in Egypt because the Chinese government is shielding you from being troubled by such unpleasantries (in the same way that lots of theo-bloggers are shielding their readers from being bothered by such insignificant events).  Time reports

Everybody’s talking about a revolution. Except, that is, in China.  As the unrest in Egypt stretches on, China has blocked the country’s name from micro-blogs and is scrubbing related comments from the web. Has all this talk of freedom got them on edge?

[Well, not everybody.  Not, as we all know on certain of the biblio-theoblogs too; but they are like China- all about narrow views and insignificant prattlings].

Yes, but that’s hardly news. The Chinese Communist Party keeps a close eye on the Internet and blocks any content that could constitute a threat.  Typically, that means no references to the ‘three Ts’ (Tibet, Taiwan, Tiananmen) or criticism of one-party rule. Censors also crack down ahead of a special events, such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics, or after a political crisis, like the 2009 riots in Xinjiang.

Wow, China is sounding more and more like lots of blogs.

The message to the Chinese?

In other words, revolution won’t bring democracy. So don’t even try.

Yes, the same message the blogs are preaching: don’t even try to speak out for what’s right.  It won’t bring democracy, justice, equity, or civility.

American Foreign Policy in a Nutshell

As long as you support our agenda we don’t really care how you treat your own people.

England Shows us Why the Separation of Church and State is So Important

40. Members of Parliament follow the processio...

When the state controls the Church, it can impose its will on it as it wishes.  The problem, of course, is that the state knows as much about theology as a flea knows about algebra.

A group of influential MPs will tomorrow call for Parliament to intervene over the historic reform as fears grow that the Church will reject plans allowing female bishops.

So whether the Church approaches issues from a theological and exegetical viewpoint doesn’t matter to the state.  It only desires to control.