Daily Archives: 2 Feb 2011

Britons Are Too Big For Their Ambulances

Some patients are getting so fat that ambulance bosses are having to revamp their fleets to cope, the BBC has learned.  Every service in the UK has started buying specialist equipment, data from freedom of information requests show.  This includes wider stretchers, more lifting gear and reinforcing existing vehicles.  Many have also bought specialist “bariatric” ambulances – costing up to £90,000 each – to ferry the most obese.  These are designed so that double-width trolley stretchers for patients up to 50 stone (318lb) can be accommodated. They also tend to include hoists and inflatable lifting cushions.

America has even exported obesity.  Yeah us. Conquering the world one Big Mac and Large Fries at a time…

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Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in Modern Culture


Goliath’s Skull Found in Holy Land! (via Remnant of Giants)

It looks like the folk digging at Safi have been beat to the big discovery punch. Sorry Aren.

Goliath's Skull Found in Holy Land! Mark kindly emailed me a link to Ben Witherington III’s blog post of 27 January 2011: ‘Finally, Archaeological Proof– Goliath Got Stoned’. In the post, Ben Witherington digs up the following ‘proof’ of Goliath’s existence, from the 25 May 1993 copy of The Weekly World News, a publication which claims to be  “The World’s Only Reliable Newspaper”: … Read More

via Remnant of Giants


Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in pseudo-archaeology


Pakistan: Fundamentalism and Insanity All in One Place

Human Rights Watch logo

How desperate is the US for Pakistan’s allegiance that our government is willing to partner up with these barbarians?

Human Rights Watch has called on the Pakistani government to release a teenager who has been charged under the country’s controversial blasphemy law. Muhammad Samiullah, 17, is under arrest in the southern city of Karachi. He is accused of blaspheming against the Prophet Muhammad in an examination paper. Human Rights Watch called the boy’s case “truly appalling”.

What horrible thing did the kid do to deserve being tossed in jail by his barbaric state?

“Pakistan has set the standard for intolerance when it comes to misusing blasphemy laws, but sending a schoolboy to jail for something he scribbled on an exam paper is truly appalling,” said Bede Sheppard, senior children’s rights researcher, at Human Rights Watch. “It’s bad enough that a school official flagged it, but for police and judicial authorities to go ahead and lock up a teenager under these circumstances is mind boggling.” The alleged incident, reported by an invigilator, took place during high school final examinations, called intermediate exams, in Karachi’s North Nazimabad neighbourhood. Police officials said they arrested Muhammad Samiullah after a complaint was lodged by the chief examiner of the intermediate board on 28 January.

That’s just insane.

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Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in Modern Culture, Total Depravity


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The World’s Most Depraved Parents…

Words fail …

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Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in Total Depravity


Must One Be Totally Bereft of Brains and Sense to work for a President?

Apparently so.  Surely even the most deranged sycophant of the far right hawkish death lovers would have to admit that Bolton’s ideas are off the scale stupid.  On Fox’s ‘Hannity’ this exchange took place-

HANNITY: Do you think that the Israelis are going to have to strike — they are going to have to take action. … As you pointed out, El Baradei, you know, ran cover for the Iranians for all those years that he was with the IAEA. And, I just don’t think the Israelis have much longer to wait…they’re going to have to act in fairly short order.

BOLTON: I think that’s right. I don’t think there’s much time to act. And I think the fall of a Egyptian government committed to the peace agreement will almost certainly speed that timetable up.

They’re talking about striking Iran and going to war as though their own children wouldn’t pay the price with their lives.  Oh wait, no wonder they can be so idiotically cavalier, it won’t be their children dying.  That explains it.

I’ve never known people dumber than Bolton and Hannity. And Bolton used to work for Bush!   I wouldn’t hire that dangerous imbecile to clean a septic tank.


Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in Total Depravity


The King James Bible at 400: Scripture, Statecraft, and the American Founding

The title page to the 1611 first edition of th...

1611 title page

That’s the title of a new essay by Bernard Levinson and Joshua Berman in the History Channel Magazine.

The King James Bible is about to celebrate its 400th anniversary. While millions have sought spiritual and literary inspiration in it, an overlooked aspect of its history is its ongoing connection to national politics. Born in the first decade of the 17th century amid a controversy in England over the relationship between church and state, the King James Bible came to prominence in the 1660s with the restoration of the monarchy after the English Civil War. More than a century later and an ocean away, its role in national politics continued in the genesis of the United States of America.  The Founders employed its rhetoric in writings to support the Revolution and drew upon ideas going back to the Bible to design the Constitution. Politics brought the King James Bible into being and established its popularity, and it in turn was used to help spawn a political revolution.

The rest is nicely illustrated, and written.

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Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in Bible, Church History, Politics


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Speaking of Advocates of Death…

CNN has reported

A shooting has been reported at an elementary school in Placerville, California, according to El Dorado County Schools.  “We have word that there has been a school shooting and Schnell Elementary School is on lockdown,” said Assistant Superintendent Jeremy Meyers.  Law enforcement is actively looking for a suspect, he said.

So sad.  I guess what the NRA says is true- ‘you can take my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hand’.  That wish will soon enough be fulfilled for us all.

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Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in Modern Culture, Total Depravity


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Avalos the Evangelist

Joseph Tyson (no relation to Mike, though he does bite Avalos’ ear off that’s where the similarities end) has an op-ed addressing Hector Avalos’ hate-spiel concerning the Bible over at Bible and Interpretation which is worth reading.  Noteworthy is this salient point-

Indeed, relevance becomes a major test for Avalos, and at this point he seems to be wearing clerical rather than academic garb. A Christian preacher wrestles with the relevance of the Bible, or some part of it, every Sunday morning. Even if he may see himself as taking a side opposite to that of most preachers, Avalos is still working with the same issue as they. But is this an appropriate question in the academy? Clearly many non-biblical fields might fall short if relevance is set as a test for academic appropriateness.

The clerical garb Avalos wears is the garb of the atheist high priest functioning at the altar of unbelief whilst sacrificing truth to the lie of human arrogance and self-aggrandizement  [Though sometimes he pretends to be a scientist, but when he does, he’s schooled at that too].

Enjoy Tyson’s essay.

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Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in Bible, pseudo-scholarship


Total Depravity: The Newly Released Con Who Raped and Robbed

Barbed tape at a prison

the desirable permanent home for violent cons

A man who was recently released from prison is back behind bars, charged with robbery and rape.  Knoxville Police officers were called to a residence on Baker Avenue around 11:40 am on Tuesday.  The two women who lived there said two men came into their home looking for money and prescription drugs.  They said while one ransacked the house, the other forced them into a bedroom at gunpoint, where he raped them.  Investigators tracked down and arrested that suspect, Nikos Burgins, 30, around 7:30 pm Tuesday.  Burgins is charged with 2 counts of Especially Aggravated Kidnapping, 2 counts of Aggravated Rape, 1 count of Possession of a Firearm in Commission of a Violent Felony,1 count of Aggravated Robbery, and 1 count of Aggravated Burglary.  He is being held under a $370,000 dollar bond.  Burgins was recently released from federal prison and was living in a half-way house.

And so depravity uncorrected by salvific grace remains corruption.  And further proof that you just can’t trust a con with a violent past.  What’s the recidivism rate these days, 70%- 80%?  The cancer cure rate is higher for a number of different cancers.

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Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in Total Depravity


Violence Against Antiquities…

Cairo Museum

The Cairo Museum

I suppose because antiquities can’t fight back.  Whatever the mad reason these thugs have for attempting the destruction of ancient artifacts, none are sufficient to justify their evil.

Petrol bombs were thrown in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Wednesday, a Reuters witness said. An Egyptologist said some had landed in the gardens of a museum housing the world’s greatest collection of Pharaonic treasures.  The Egyptian museum itself however was unscathed.  The Egyptologist, who had been in contact with Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said it seemed the petrol bombs were being thrown by protesters demonstrating in favour of President Hosni Mubarak. “So far the museum is safe, but we don’t know what’s going to happen, because the Mubarak supporters are out of control,” the Egyptologist, who declined to be identified, added.

I’m so glad the museum is unhurt and hope it remains so.  It’s a fantastic place, and after the Zurich Museum and the British Museum, my absolute favorite in all the world.

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Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in Archaeology



the problem with “fun” youth groups (via XKV8R: The Official Blog of Dr. Robert R. Cargill)

Bob’s take on the topic I mentioned earlier is very much worth reading.

the problem with "fun" youth groups My wife (a former youth minister) has said this repeatedly (screamed it in fact), but now national studies are supporting her experiences with evidence. Too many church youth groups are making three fundamental mistakes: The youth group is about having fun and entertaining teens, rather than educating them about the biblical text, its possible interpretations, and modeling proper Christian behaviors of service and compassion. Ski trips and pizza … Read More

via XKV8R: The Official Blog of Dr. Robert R. Cargill


Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in Modern Culture


He Really is the Biggest Loser

The Associated Press reports

An Olympic champion wrestler has been serving a 1.5-pound hamburger at his Wyoming restaurant, even while competing to be “The Biggest Loser” on TV.  The mighty Rulon Burger at Rulon Gardner’s Burger Barn restaurant is so big it’s molded in a pizza tin. It comes on a bun with all the toppings.  Gardner won gold at the 2000 Olympics by beating Alexander Karelin, a Russian who hadn’t lost in 13 years. Gardner’s challenge to all comers now: Finish the burger plus a basket of fries and a 44-ounce drink in 20 minutes.  …  This year, Gardner has been competing to lose weight on the NBC show, “The Biggest Loser.” He weighed in at the beginning at 474 pounds, more than 200 pounds heavier than when he won gold.

Nice.  Nothing like words and deeds going hand in hand is there…  I guess as long as he gets ‘better’ what happens to his customers isn’t all that important.

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Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in Total Depravity


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Fake Christians: The Latest Teen Craze

This is a very unsettling CNN report.  But those of us who have seen churches pander to kids just to get them to attend know all too well that as soon as they’ve had their fill of the gifts and pizza and trips and fun, they’re gone, just like their dedication to Christ.

If you’re the parent of a Christian teenager, Kenda Creasy Dean has this warning:  Your child is following a “mutant” form of Christianity, and you may be responsible.  Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls “moralistic therapeutic deism.” Translation: It’s a watered-down faith that portrays God as a “divine therapist” whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.  Dean is a minister, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and the author of “Almost Christian,” a new book that argues that many parents and pastors are unwittingly passing on this self-serving strain of Christianity.  She says this “imposter” faith is one reason teenagers abandon churches.

Self serving Christianity isn’t Christianity at all.   It is a distortion of Christianity.  And shame on all those who peddle it just to boost their numbers.


Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in Theology, Total Depravity


Neither Hot Nor Cold… The Church at Laodicea Discovered?

Antonio Lombatti points out a news report that may interest a number of people:

An ancient church mentioned in the Bible has been discovered in western Turkey, according to the head of the excavation.  Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay visited the ancient city of Laodicea on Sunday in Denizli province and was briefed by Professor Celal Şimşek, head of the excavation team. The professor said they have discovered the Laodicea Church, one of the seven mentioned in the Bible. Şimşek said the church from the fourth century A.D. was found by underground radar search, a system they have tried this year for the first time. “The major part of the church, which is built on an area of 2,000 square meters, has kept its original [status].”

I need to go to Turkey.  I’ve never been there.  Greece, yes.  Egypt, of course.  Israel, a number of times.  But not Turkey.  I need to go to Turkey, to Laodicea.


Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in Archaeology, Bible



US Influence in the Middle East is Coming to an End

The British Empire in 1919.

The British Empire in 1919-- dead.

For a while now the US has been ever weaker in the Middle East.  Iraq will soon spurn us in favor of close relations with Iran; Israel is the most uncooperative ‘partner’ we have anywhere in the world; and now Egypt too will go its own way in spite of any ‘US interests’.  All of these points and much more are made in a fine report on NPR this morning.

The protests in Egypt pose a challenge to the Obama administration. U.S. officials need to support the rights of protesters, who are demanding things the U.S. supports: freedom of speech and more responsive governments. But as leaders in the region start listening to their people, they might also be more reluctant to support other U.S. policies in the region.

The British Empire ended a century ago and now the American Empire is slowly but surely dying.  And there’s absolutely nothing that can be done about it.  Nor should there.  Nations are free to chart their own course whether Americans and America like it or not.  We can either come to our senses and end our dependence on foreign resources, or we can be at the mercy of a world that isn’t exactly friendly to American power.

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Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in Modern Culture



The Koch Brothers Reaped Huge Profits and Laid off Thousands…

No wonder they are members of the Tea Party- they’re greedy and self absorbed, caring nothing for their employees and everything for their money.

David and Charles Koch, co-owners of Koch Industries and primary financiers of the Tea Party, have amassed one of the world’s largest private fortunes and Koch Industries is the second largest privately held company in America. …  In the last two years, David and Charles Koch have jumped from each being worth $16 billion to now being worth $21.5 billion. That means together they went from being worth $31 billion dollars to being worth $42 billion today. David is now the richest man in New York City, and the pair are now on the nation’s top ten list for richest Americans. However, at a time when the Koch brothers were enjoying spectacular financial gains, Koch Industries laid off well over 2,000 people. Using the same approximate “jobs multiplier” Koch Industries used in its study last week, that means Koch Industries extinguished nearly 8,000 jobs in recent years:

Sure, they’re free to make money.  But they’re simply immoral in making so much and still laying off people who aren’t as fortunate or wealthy.   They aren’t creating jobs as the tea-people constantly assert, they are destroying lives.  Immoral.  God willing their immorality will be measured back to them pressed down and shaken together.

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Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in Total Depravity



The Egyptian Army is Stepping In

An Egyptian Army M60A1 Main Battle Tank (MBT) ...

The Egyptian army has called for protesters rallying for a ninth day against President Hosni Mubarak’s
regime to go home and “return to normal life.”  In a call for protesters to leave the streets, Ismail Etman, a military spokesman said on state television on Wednesday: “The army forces are calling on you … You began by going out to express your demands and you are the ones capable of restoring normal life.  “I call on the conscious youth of Egypt, honest men of Egypt, we should look forward to future, think of our country, Egypt. Your message has been heard, demands understood, and we are working day and night to secure our homeland for your interest, the honourable people of Egypt.”

Whether or not the army is willing or able to enforce a return to normalcy will be seen Friday when protesters plan to march to the Presidential Palace to demand Mubarak’s resignation.  Let’s hope the protests are peaceful, and the army restrained.

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Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in Politics


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Congratulations to Eugene Ulrich!

Prof. Ulrich has been honored, again, and rightly so, with an NEH Fellowship-

Notre Dame theology professor Eugene Ulrich received a fellowship this year in Ancient Languages to pursue his book, “The Bible in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” a compilation of his previous work on the topic.  “The Dead Sea Scrolls … open up a period that we had lost sight of, a period that had just been lost to history,” Ulrich said. “Which is part of the period of the composition of the Scriptures.”  Ulrich’s career has been focused on exploring this era through the scrolls, and therefore gaining a greater appreciation for and understanding of the Biblical texts.  His work began as a graduate student at Harvard under Frank Cross, one of the two original American editors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. His dissertation became an analysis of one of the major scrolls.  “It was being in the right place at the right time,” Ulrich said.


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Posted by on 2 Feb 2011 in Modern Culture