Daily Archives: 7 Apr 2011

Mark Stevens is in a Commercial!

I’m not kidding!!!  Here he is in an Air New Zealand spot.  Looking good man, looking good!

There’s Something Fishy in Wisconsin…

NPR reports

A conservative-leaning Wisconsin county on Thursday corrected its count and gave an unofficial 7,500-vote lead to the incumbent in the hotly contested state Supreme Court race seen as a referendum on Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s divisive union rights law. Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus said the votes weren’t reported to The Associated Press on Tuesday due to “human error.” “This is not a case of extra votes or extra ballots being found,” she said. “This is human error, which I apologize for.” Before the announcement, it was assumed 68-year-old conservative Justice David Prosser’s race against liberal assistant state attorney general JoAnne Kloppenburg was headed for a recount. But Prosser’s lead is likely to stand if the new numbers hold up through canvassing in all of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.

Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it. A conservative county finds loads of votes for a conservative judge just in the nick? It’s baloney. Someone needs to be investigated.  Next they’ll dig up extra votes for McCain and the birthers will say that he’s rightfully the President.

UPDATE:  Seems there have been issues with that county and it’s election officials before.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus’ decision to go it alone in how she collects and maintains election results has some county officials raising a red flag about the integrity of the system.  Nickolaus said she decided to take the election data collection and storage system off the county’s computer network – and keep it on stand-alone personal computers accessible only in her office – for security reasons.  “What it gave me was good security of the elections from start to finish, without the ability of someone unauthorized to be involved,” she said.  Nonetheless, Director of Administration Norman A. Cummings said because Nickolaus has kept them out of the loop, the county’s information technology specialists have not been able to verify Nickolaus’ claim that the system is secure from failure.

Dirtbaggery?    Oh YES!   Whoever she is, she can’t be trusted.  With thanks to Craig in comments for mentioning it.

New in the Review of Biblical Literature

It’s been a while since I posted any of these but there are finally a couple that sound quite interesting.

Hannes Bezzel — Die Konfessionen Jeremias: Eine redaktionsgeschichtliche Studie, Reviewed by John Engle

Gary N. Knoppers and Lester L. Grabbe, with Deirdre N. Fulton, eds. — Exile and Restoration Revisited: Essays on the Babylonian and Persian Periods in Memory of Peter R. Ackroyd, Reviewed by Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer

Terry Jones to be Handed over to Muslim Fundamentalists

The Onion (the premier news source) reports the good news-

In response to the uproar surrounding Terry Jones, the Florida pastor whose Koran-burning last month sparked riots in Afghanistan that have so far claimed at least 24 lives, the State Department announced today its plan to “just pack [Jones] up and ship him over there” so that fundamentalist Muslims can take out their anger on him directly. “We just want to let followers of Islam across the globe know that, hey, we’re totally with you on this one, so do your worst,” said U.S. deputy secretary of state Thomas Nides, who spoke to reporters this morning shortly after CIA agents secured Jones with duct tape and tossed him face-first into the cargo bay of a DC-9 aircraft.

Read the rest. It’s such a good thing to be able to report good news these days.

Best Goal Ever

Scott Walker’s Overpaid Drunk Rich Donor’s Kid Quits

The HuffPo has the tragic news that the kid without a college degree but with two drunk driving arrests to his credit and who was hired as a political favor to a big donor has quit.  Hold on a second, I have to wipe the tears from my eyes….

Ok I’m better, thanks for caring.  Back to the tragic story…

More bad news for embattled Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as Brian Deschane, the only man he trusted to be the state’s administrator of environmental and regulatory matters, resigned his position amid — what else? — controversy.  It was just a couple of days ago that we learned of how Walker took a shine to Deschane. In the young man’s lack of management experience and two more drunk driving convictions than college degrees, Walker saw untapped potential. Another thing he saw in Deschane was the way his father — Jerry Deschane, the executive vice president of Wisconsin Builders Association — skillfully managed to stack dollar bills in the amount of $121,652 for Walker’s gubernatorial campaign.

It seems the poor kid couldn’t handle the humiliation of a demotion…

Walker announced that Deschane would return to his previous position as a bureau director at the Department of Regulation and Licensing. He was appointed to that $64,728-per-year position in mid-January at the recommendation of Walker’s chief of staff, Keith Gilkes.  It is not clear why Deschane chose to resign rather than accept the demotion.

And then the HuffPo writer gets a tad sarcastic…

Maybe Deschane will appeal this decision with the help of the International Cronies Union Local 182, or something.

I’m sure dad has lined him up a better paying job out of the public eye.  Oh gosh, here come the tears again.  I’ve got to go…

OK I’m better.  And I’ve learned what new cushy job he’s getting!  He’s going to be a Mennonite!!!!!!

Academics, Fraudulent Pseudo-Archaeology, and the Feckless Press Corps

The recent Lead Codices idiocy has reminded me of something that I’ve known for a good while: if academics don’t speak out, as individuals and corporately, then the lunatics in the Press will continue to peddle and pimp the most absurd nonsense in the quest for money and sales of papers and advertisement space.

I just today wrote this note to others concerned with the lead codex silliness in response to a request that academics ‘team up’ and get the straight poop out when ‘biblical archaeology stuff’ hits the news –

It’s quite a struggle believe me. For three years ASOR has had a ‘media relations committee’. Jodi Magness, Bob Cargill, Eric and Carol Meyers, me, Bob Wright, Andy Vaughn, Eric Cline, and a few others have been trying to get the media to contact ASOR when such things come to the attention of the news people. News outlets simply do not care about accuracy nearly as much as they care about peddling (or in Joe Zias’ word, pimping) nonsense for the sake of sales.

This is precisely why individual scholars need to get the word out. And waiting to publish in the Journal of Hoity Toity isn’t getting it done. By the time journals publish, no one cares anymore. Such is the world we live in. And if the press ever does get it right and retract bad info (have you EVER seen them do that when it comes to biblical archaeology? I haven’t. Not once) I’d drop over with a coronary.

No- the time is past for waiting for some committee or some group to do something. Like the rebellion in Egypt, it’s up to the internet savvy to correct misinformation. The rest, well, tragically, no matter what they may or may not know, they are now irrelevant to the discussion.

That’s how I see it. The press, frankly, does a LOUSY job covering things biblical and archaeological. An absolutely miserable job. So they must be usurped and the general population disabused of the nonsense the Press fumblingly peddles and pimps.  At least until they take the time to do a little research and interview people who really know the subject.  But I’m not holding my breath.

A Headline You NEVER Want to See: Bibliobloggers Pose for Lingerie Calendar

And I’m not sure you want to see the headline in the Telegraph either: Kremlin activists pose for lingerie calendar.  Unless, that is, You’re Jim Linville.  And then slinky babes are right up your alley!

Still, ‘bibliobloggers pose for lingerie calendar’ is totally depressing and I pray each day we never see it (unless it’s for some worthy fundraiser, and then I insist on being Mr. August).

Total Depravity: The Trip Chaperones Edition

Tom Verenna mentioned this

Two Roman Catholic school workers from New Jersey have pleaded not guilty to charges of having sex with female students during a high school’s class trip to Germany.


They look like pedophiles because they are


Thirty-one-year-old Artur Sopel was vice president of operations at Paramus Catholic High School and 27-year-old Michael Sumulikoski was a substitute teacher and assistant football coach until they were suspended last month.  Sumulikoski is accused of have sex with one female student on the February trip.  Sopel is accused of engaging in sexual activities with two female students in Germany and having sex with another female student in 2010.  Both are charged with sexual assault, child endangerment and hindering apprehension.

Sickening depravity.  Inexcusable.

And the Killing Goes On and On…

Endlessly, in a despairing loop of groundhog day-esque insanity and inhumanity.

An antitank rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a school bus in southern Israel on Thursday, seriously wounding a teenage boy and prompting Israeli helicopter and artillery strikes that killed a Palestinian, the army and medical officials said.

What kind of barbarians fire at a school bus????

The bus driver had nearly finished dropping off all the schoolchildren, with one left in the vehicle, when it was hit. A 13-year-old boy was seriously wounded and the driver was lightly injured, according to a doctor at Soroka hospital in the southern city of Beersheba, where they were being treated.  Shmuel Bar-Ziv, a motorist at the scene, told Israel Radio that the boy was badly wounded in the head and that the bus caught fire after being hit.

Inhuman.  The Palestinians are not helping their cause by countenencing and aiding this kind of cruelty.  Murdering or injuring little children is evil no matter who does it and no matter what their ‘reasons’.

The Repubs Are Going to Pay, Dearly, For the Shutdown

Just like they did in the mid-90’s.

The last shutdown, which occurred into two short phases in late 1995 and early 1996, is still regarded as a disaster for the Republican Party, then led in Congress by Speaker Newt Gingrich, and a triumph for Bill Clinton, who within 12 months was re-elected by a landslide.

Then, as now, a newly-elected Republican majority clashed with a Democratic president about how much to cut spending. Gingrich, now a probable presidential candidate, led the charge against big government, a role being played today by the Tea Party-backed ranks of freshmen in the House of Representatives.

In the end, a compromise was reached and the budget was balanced. But it was Clinton who won the battle of public opinion, as he managed to portray himself as the force of moderation against the irresponsible dogmatists in the Republican ranks.

And that’s exactly what will happen this time.  The tea-people’s dogmatism is going to come back to bite them and their toadies in the Republican party in 2012.  So in the long run, the Dems should thank the Repubs for their idiotic short sighted intransigence.

Philip Davies on the Thonemann Essay

Philip posted on the Biblical Studies list the following (which I repost here with his permittance) in response to the essay posted yesterday.

[Peter] Thonemann has been very helpful indeed in pinning down one of these. But I find it more important than he does to find out what has been going on. If he really can point us to a workshop, great. But I am a bit wary of his tone. There are aspects of this whole affair worth the trouble of finding out, especially if a serious deception is being practised on the Jordanian Dept of Antiquities – perhaps not the original purpose of these objects, nor even of those who first hawked them around to various institutions (including the British Museum).

I am really worried that unless we can trace the whole history it will be difficult to prevent something seriously stupid happening. So I would like Thonemann to share what he knows, and not worry so much about scholars wasting their time. I do not think much time is actually being wasted. I am retired and can devote a bit of time and energy to exploring this whole thing. Not too much, though.

But I do love a good story and there is one here – not about early Christians, though.

Philip Davies
Professor Emeritus
Biblical Studies
University of Sheffield

Horror in Brazil

So very sad.  And so very heartbreaking.  The evil which people are capable of…

At least 15 children were shot by a man who entered a classroom in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, the state-run Agencia Brasil reported.

It has just happened not long ago so there will be many more details to come, doubtless.  One fact we do know even this early- the person responsible is vile and despicable and totally depraved.

Congratulations to Eric Cline!

Eric has been awarded the GWU Trachtenberg Prize for Faculty Scholarship. Here’s the letter (acquired through one of my many secret sources. I.e., FB)-

The Holy Towel of Jesus

I’m not making that up and it’s not a spoof on the holy hand grenade of Antioch. It’s a real relic the Vatican is putting on display

A towel claimed to be used by Jesus Christ to dry his face – and which now bears his image – will be one of the star attractions at an exhibition of Christian relics to be held in the UK this summer. The Holy Towel Of Jesus – otherwise known as the Mandylion Of Edessa – is normally kept at the Pope’s private chapel in the Vatican. But the British Museum has acquired the relic as the centrepiece of its Treasures From The Vatican display, which opens in London in June.

Oh boy. Just. Oh. Boy… People, get a grip.  People don’t leave images of their faces on towels when they dry off!

Honestly, how stupid are people that they believe such relics are real?  With thanks to Dot King on FB for the tip.

Happy Birthday Internet!

Your daddy, Al Gore, is getting you some cake!


View Internet and over 3,000,000 other topics on Qwiki.

How Did a 6 Year Old Get a Gun to Take to School?

Well from the gun owner of course, who evidently has no idea how to secure deadly weapons.

A Shelby County elementary school student is in trouble with the law after he brought a loaded gun to school.  A spokesman for the Shelby County Schools says, the 6-year-old kindergartner brought a loaded .38 revolver to Southwind Elementary School Wednesday. After school, kids on his bus noticed the gun and told the bus driver. The driver took the gun from the child and contacted the principal.

As if Memphis wasn’t already riddled with more than enough crime, let’s leave guns lying around where little kids can get them.

The principal notified the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the child’s parents. The child was taken to juvenile detention and is now in DHS custody.

Because the parents are inept perhaps?

School leaders say the boy found the gun in a drawer at home.

Oh nice.  People can be so utterly senseless.

What Happens When a Faker Fakes from a Fake?

You get a ‘lead codex’ which pretends to be from the time of Jesus… and plenty of gullible souls willing to lap it up.  But there’s clear evidence that the lead codex so much discussed lately is total nonsense and any claim to antiquity simple fraud.  Robert Deutsch sends along this fun fact-

Unaware of it, the faker used a fake coin to fake his fakes:   The quadriga on the top left side of the attached cover of the lead “codices” has been copied or impressed with  a very famous and common FAKE Medallion of Lucius Verus which one can buy for few cents on the Istanbul bazaar.

Here are the photos Robert mentions:

Click to enlarge

The faker used a fake coin, apparently not aware it was a fake, that anyone could pick up at some tourist trap, and used it as his exemplar…  Now that’s silly fakery.