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Texas Cheerleaders Think God Wants Their Football Team To Win

stupid texas cheerleadersThere’s an unfair stereotype of cheerleaders – that they’re stupid and superficial. In reality, there are many intelligent cheerleaders out there.

A squad of cheerleaders in Kountze, Texas is living up to the stereotype, however. They’re pushing the Kountze School District to fight against complaints that the cheerleaders are using high school football games as a vehicle for promoting attendance at local Christian churches.

It’s an obvious violation of the First Amendment’s ban on the establishment of religion through governmental bodies. It’s inconsistent with the separation of church and state.

Beyond that, however, the religious messages that the Kountze cheerleaders are using are just plain idiotic.

Consider, for example, the message the Kountze High School recently put on a banner for a football game: “Thanks be to God, which gives us victory through our lord Jesus Christ.”

Apparently, nobody on the Kountze cheerleading squad ever thought to raise a doubt about whether the Christian God really is rooting for the Kountze high school football team to defeat its opponents.

What else does God want – to have the Kountze Shop and Go convenience store run the Exxon gas station just up the road out of business? Does God want the Chipotle in Kountze to get more customers than the Captain Ron’s seafood restaurant there? Does God want more rain to fall on some neighborhoods in Kountze more than others?

Is the Christian God really this much of a micromanager?

10 Moral Suggestions Chosen By Panel Of Atheist Judges

These days, you’ll hear a lot of bluster about “The Ten Commandments”, a group of supposedly divine commands that mythology says are thousands of years old. The truth is that there is no single authoritative list of what The Ten Commandments actually are. There’s no list in any ancient Christian or Jewish scripture that is actually titled “The Ten Commandments”.

In spite of this vagueness, many Christian groups insist that what they call “The Ten Commandments” be made the center of American law. That would be a radical change, because from the start, law in the United States has been centered around the idea that no one can be forced to join a religion or obey religious laws.

The people who want to impose the “Ten Commandments” on America are thoroughly opposed to the survival of American democracy. If you think I’m exaggerating when I say this, consider what the Society for the Practical Establishment and Perpetuation of the Ten Commandments, at TenCommandments.org, says on the matter, in its essay, Why Democracy Is Not Right For Man:

“When Jesus returns, isn’t it true that He is going to abolish all rule and authority? That is, He is going to destroy all of the various forms of manmade and demonic philosophies, religions, charters, laws, political philosophies and governments, including democracy, which were all created in defiance of God’s kingdom (Daniel 2:44)?… If Jesus could only be born in God’s kingdom and under God’s laws and could not have been born under another, including democracy, then this teaches us that all forms of government other than God’s theocratic government are not of God, and are not right for any portion of mankind. If God’ theocracy and laws were the only ones right for the Lord Jesus Christ, why shouldn’t they be right for all mankind?… He who disagrees with these facts prove he is on the way to hell. For if he does not want the particular manmade or demonic charter and law of the corporeal nation in which he lives to be annulled and the true God’s laws and theocratic government established over that nation, then how is it that he is going to want to be a citizen of Christ’s theocratic government? If he does not want God to reign over him in this world, how is he going to want Him to reign over him in the world to come? He who does not want God’s theocratic government established over him now will not be worthy to be a citizen of Christ’s theocratic government then.”

Democracy is demonic, according to these Ten Commandments enthusiasts. You can’t get more clear than that.

The thing is, the Ten Commandments aren’t very comprehensive, or . Four of the ten commands in the version of the Ten Commandments offered by the Practical Establishment and Perpetuation of the Ten Commandments are variations on the theme that there is only one acceptable religion, and that no one should be allowed to to practice anything else. How could we actually enforce this law in the multicultural United States, without engaging in horrific violence and other abuses of people’s basic dignity?

Thank goodness, there are alternatives to the Ten Commandments. In the United States, one of them is called the Constitution. Of course, the Constitution isn’t really a moral code of values. It’s a law, designed to make a system work.

If you want an alternative ethical system to the Ten Commandments, you could check out the list of ten alternative commandments assembled by Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart, with the help of a lot of volunteers. As the name of the site suggests, these are moral values put together by a group of atheists – people who don’t believe in the existence of gods.

The items on this alternative list aren’t really commands. They’re really suggestions, and among them is the suggestion that there isn’t any one single right way to live. So, this list of ten core beliefs is not some kind of credo that is held by all, or even to most, atheists. There is no central authority or text for atheists that dictates what they think or feel.

Another important structural distinction between this new set of 10 moral values and “The Ten Commandments” is that the list of 10 values organized by Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart includes an explanation of why it’s a good idea to follow each of the values. The Ten Commandments don’t bother with that, because the implicit “why” to the Ten Commandments is “because God said so”, which is kind of circular logic if you think about it.

The atheist “Ten Commandments for the 21st century” are as follows:

1. Be open minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence. Why: It is essential in order for us to be able to collaboratively work together to find common solutions to pressing world problems.

2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true. Why: We’re more likely to believe what we wish to be true over what we wish not to be true, regardless of veracity. If we’re interested in learning the truth, then we need to actively separate our beliefs from our desires.

3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.
Why: Every time humans have questions this method is used to solve them. If we don’t know, we don’t know but instead of making up the answer we use this method to reach a conclusion/answer.

4. Every person has the right to control over their body. Why: This includes a person\”s right to not be murdered, raped, imprisoned without just cause (violating another person\’s rights), kidnapped, attacked, tortured, etc. This also protects a person\’s freedom of speech and freedom to dress and represent themselves as they so choose.

5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life. Why: When one does a good deed it isn’t because God tells one to do a good deed, but because one simply wants to be good person. As Human beings we are capable of defining our own, different, meanings for our lives, with or without a god.

6. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognise that you must take responsibility for them. Why: It may sound obvious, but negligence and refusal to take responsibility are an immense source of harm in the world, from interpersonal relations to Global issues.

7. Treat others as you would want them to treat you and can reasonably expect them to want to be treated. Think about their perspective.
Why: If everyone did their best to carry this out as far as it can go, everyone would get along much better.

8. We have the responsibility to consider others including future generations Why: As human beings, we have great power. As Voltaire noted “With great power comes great responsibility.” To not consider others would be selfish and petty. We have demonstrated the ability to be magnanimous, are rapidly becoming more so, and will be even more so in the near future.

9. There is no one right way to live. Why: If you look, even a little, you find many cultures living in moral societies that are fundamentally different, with only a few very basic principles being adhered to between them. Just because one group is different, does not mean they are wrong.

10. Leave the world a better place than you found it. Why: The Japanese concept of Kaizen teaches that small incremental improvements can have a profound effect over time. We should all strive to leave the world better than we found it be it through relieving the suffering of others, creating works of art, or passing along knowledge.

Will You Be 1 of 68 in Direct Civil Disobedience to Protest Torture?

How do you feel about recent, far-too late admission by the U.S. Government that it has tortured innocent people to death? Does this bother you?

How much does this bother you? Does it bother you right down to your bones? Have you had enough of it? Are you sick and tired of the United States of America putting on airs as if it were a morally superior nation while behind closed doors it tortures in your name and covers up the act? Are you tired of the lawlessness? To this day the United States government protects torturers from prosecution for their very real and very serious violation of federal law, refusing to prosecute them while it shoves people in jail for decades because they take drugs without a prescription?

On January 12 2015, Witness Against Torture will engage in an act of civil disobedience in Washington DC, a peaceful yet bodily aggressive protest of the United States’ chain of actions and inactions to engage in, aid and abet torture.

Witness Against Torture is looking for 68 people willing to put their bodies in jail to protest American torture. Could you be 1 of the 68? If you think the answer is yes, get in touch with Witness Against Torture today.

P.S. If you’re interested in protesting but can’t afford to get arrested, consider the Witness Against Torture DC rally taking place the day before: January 11 2015.

Hiding Extraterrestrials Shown In Paintings From Across Medieval Europe

Yesterday, I came upon a web site that claimed that medieval paintings are filled with images of extraterrestrials. A painting called The Madonna with Saint Giovannino was given as an example. As you can see here, over the shoulder of Santa Maria is a smudge that appears to be floating in the sky.

santa maria ufo painting

The idea is that extraterrestrials were all over the place in medieval Europe, flying through the sky, and painters recorded them in their works, although nobody bothered to write about the strange events.

To this, I say, wait a minute: This behavior of just hanging out in the sky waiting to be seen doesn’t fit with what we have observed about extraterrestrial behavior in our own time. We’ve seen that aliens from outer space like to hide from view, rather than standing out in the open long enough for painters to study what they look like. As soon as you get out your camera, or fetch your neighbor to confirm what you’ve seen, they’re gone.

So, it logically follows that the best evidence for extraterrestrial visitation of Earth during medieval times would be paintings in which aliens are shown to be hiding.

I submit the following paintings as examples of this evidence.

First, in a work called Meister von San Vitale in Ravenna, we see no extraterrestrials at all – just as we would expect if extraterrestrials were visiting the earth during the artist’s life.

medieval ufo 1

Second, in a panel called the Encaustic Virgin, people are looking up in the sky at something alarming. What is it? Is it a UFO from outer space? We can’t see! That proves it must be a UFO.

medieval extraterrestrials painting

Third, in a painting of Meister der Neuen Hofschule Karls des Großen, we see the Meister looking up in the sky, but once again at something that’s just out of view. It must be aliens!

ufo visitation medieval painting

As a point of comparison, here’s an intricate medieval painting titled Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry février. As you can see, the painting depicts a great chariot in the sky, pulled by winged animals around the sun. We can see this chariot, though, and that’s how we know it’s not a UFO. If you can identify it, then it’s just a FO!

medieval ufo hoax

Searching for McDonald’s in a Strange Land

McDonald's Restaurant invites me to search for locations of its restaurants by town, state or country

The McDonald’s Corporation invites me to search for locations of its restaurants by street, town or country.

Can McDonald's find locations in Belgium?

Let’s search for Belgium.

A Search for McDonald's Fast Food Joints in Belgium leads only to towns inside the USA


Does the McDonald's Corporation Recognize the existence of France

I must wipe off the remnants of this solitary jingoism, this isolationist melange, this je ne sais quoi. I shall search for France.

McDonald's Search for France Cannot Find This Location

France cannot be found? Who stole France? Was it you? … or was it the Hamburglar?

Will a Search for a McDonald's Restaurant in Canada Work

I shall attempt to search for Canada. This is not so unlikely. Canada is the fedora sitting atop America’s national brow. Who forgets her hat?

McDonald's Location Search for Canada goes Awry

That was not a rhetorical question.

Outtakes from the First Jeb Bush For President Campaign Advertisement

Jeb Bush is in the process of making his very first commercial for the 2016 presidential campaign season. Irregular Times has received secret outtakes from the cutting room floor, which we share with you in this video.

A Very Tea Party Exit By Kerry Bentivolio

hammer and cycleNo one was odder than Thaddeus McCotter… until Kerry Bentivolio came along. Michigan’s 11th congressional district has a habit of electing Republican politicians with a tangential relationship to reality, and Bentivolio slipped out of Congress almost as soon as he slipped in, replaced by Dave Trott, a lawyer who made his fortune by helping banks kick families out of their homes.

We’ll have a great deal of peculiarity from Dave Trott to reflect upon in the year to come, but this week, Kerry Bentivolio gave us a parting gift in an exit speech he gave to his Capitol Hill colleagues. Describing what he called a “war for the soul of America,” Bentivolio gave us an beautifully accurate definition of the psychology of the Tea Party:

“There is a genuine feeling today, especially among people who attend the various Tea Party and Liberty Groups that we, our country more specifically, may not make it. Many people consider these folks, the common everyday people who attend the Tea Party meetings `fringe, ring wing nut cases and extremists’. Many of the people who attend the Tea Party meetings, sometimes weekly, most commonly monthly, and more attend intermittently, sense something is drastically wrong. For the most part, they sense it and yet cannot firmly point their finger and claim what exactly is the cause of their discontent, the uneasiness; the fear danger is lurking just around the corner. It is not necessarily a feeling of doom from a nuclear, biological or chemical attack on our country from some foreign enemy or terrorism either. It is more serious than any violence a bad actor can bring. It is something more innate, a sense that they somehow lost something but can’t remember what it was, like when you know you lost something important, an item you need to accomplish a task but can’t remember what it is and where you placed it. You know it’s around somewhere and if you looked hard enough you’ll see it and you can continue with your task.”

Bentivolio continued for some time, and then closed his speech with a declaration that, “I for one will not submit to the
chains of tyranny. I fly the Stars and Stripes in my yard not the red hammer and cycle!”

The red hammer and cycle? That sounds like it might be kind of fun to fly.

Christmas Emoticons for the Whole Family

¯¯\____(ツ)____/¯¯   What to get the Tetrarch who has everything.

  \  /      ***o***       \ /
(X╭╮X)   *****o***    (-╭╮-)     Uncle Bill and Uncle Ted still won't talk to each other.
              ! !

 |  |
  ()          Snowman tried liposuction against advice.
(    )

>}:-)____?       Here comes Krampus, Here comes Krampus, ja ja ja ja ja!

8->                Despairing on the inside.            

* < ( : - { ) }      Santa got run over by a reindeer.

Can Feeling Younger Really Cause Older People To Live Longer?

The results of a study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association this week, have received a good deal of attention online. The research found that elderly people who reported feeling younger than their actual chronological age had a greater rate of survival in the period before a 99-month follow-up than their peers who reported feeling as old or older than they actually were.

The implication, according to the popular press reports, is that our perceptions of our age determine the actual course of our health. So, it has been suggested, if older people could just be convinced that they aren’t really as old as their chronological age suggests, they would live longer lives. The authors of the study have encouraged this interpretation, eagerly suggesting that, “interventions may be possible. Individuals who feel older than their actual age could be targeted with health messages promoting positive health behaviors and attitudes toward aging.”

It’s a great storyline that provides us with inspiration to maintain a positive attitude as we age. In fact, the zeal with which this interpretation has been made should be a signal that some greater caution is called for. Perhaps we have a bias for the idea that feeling younger causes us to become physically healthier.

Another interpretation is possible – and more plausible.

The JAMA study found an association between the variables of perceived age and survival rate. What the study didn’t find, and couldn’t given its research design, is the direction of causation between those variables.

It could well be that a third factor – underlying health conditions, for example – affected both perception of age and survival rate. That is, people who felt older than their age may have done so because of a health problem, even if it had not yet been detected, that also made them more likely to die. If this is the case, encouraging old people to believe that they have retained their youth may be a waste of time, because the positive self-perception won’t change the underlying causes of mortality.

Tim Kaine Reminds America: US War in Iraq and Syria is Unauthorized and Unconstitutional

Yesterday, Tim Kaine rose to speak on the floor of the United States Senate to remind his colleagues of a growing illegality in U.S. foreign policy: The ongoing U.S. involvement in civil war in Iraq and Syria – without the constitutionally required declaration of war. He said,

“Presidents cannot constitutionally start military action without Congress unless there is a direct and imminent threat to the United States.
In this instance, with ISIL’s activities occurring halfway across the globe and with the administration admitting that the organization poses no imminent threat of attacking the United States, a new congressional authorization is necessary.

Now, I regret that the administration started military action — what President Obama called going on offense against ISIL — in August without congressional approval. The White House asserts that the current action is justified by the 2001 and 2002 authorizations, but most outside observers and most Members of Congress believe the current campaign against ISIL needs its own legal authorization. The White House has not proposed authorizing language, and so it is up to Congress to do the job of providing a legal framework for this war.”

It’s been four months since President Obama took the USA into war in the Middle East. In all that time, Congress has been unable to summon sufficient support to pass a legal declaration authorizing President Barack Obama to join the civil wars in Iraq and Syria. Given the lack of legal authority for this new war, to which there is no clear end in sight and for which the Obama Administration has expressed no coherent plan for victory, the most responsible course of action would be for the Obama Administration to bring the American soldiers and machines of war currently in Iraq and Syria back home.

Instead, the Obama Administration and Congress both seem to rely on the hope that the American public will simply forget that the war is taking place at all.

Ben Carson Super PAC Lurches Clumsily Out Of Gate In Iowa

Sometimes, we can learn a good deal about political candidates by observing their supporters.

When the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, run by John Philip Sousa the Fourth, announced the opening of an office in Iowa this week, Ben Carson supporters celebrated the move as a sign of the strength of their favored candidate. Does the group have the political savvy required to make Ben Carson a viable Republican Party presidential candidate, though?

Maybe not, if the comments of supporters are any indication. “Remember [sic],” says one, “who ever wins Iowa will win the nomination!!!! Run ben Run!!”

Whoever wins the Iowa caucuses will win the GOP nomination?

Ah, yes. Who can forget the way that Rick Santorum came so close to defeating Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012, or the way that Mike Huckabee represented the GOP on Election Day in 2008? Bob Dole’s victory in the 1988 Republican nomination contest will stay with us forever. We also remember George H.W. Bush’s defeat of Jimmy Carter in 1980 as well, with Ronald Reagan as his running mate.

Of the last nine presidential elections seasons, the victor of the Republican Iowa caucuses went on to become the GOP nominee only four times.

Given the political ignorance of its supporters, the Ben Carson for President campaign might want to spend a good deal of its resources making sure that they simply know when and where their local caucuses are being held.

A cold splash of reality may hit Ben Carson’s supporters this morning, when they learn that their candidate is in 7th place among Republican candidates in the latest national poll, earning the interest of only 6 percent of Republican voters.