Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another Goddamned Podcast #33:
September 25, 2008

THIS WEEK - Eric Kampmann on The Jewel of Medina

Original audio source

This week we have a web-exclusive interview with Eric Kampmann of Beaufort Books - the company that showed the heart we all wish Random House had. For background, listen to our discussion on how Random House caved into the fear of Islamic reprisal, canceling publication of The Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones in Podcast #26: Muslims, Publishers, and Free Speech. We were all hoping someone would come to the rescue and Beaufort, led by Kampmann, did just that.

Ex asks what Eric thought upon hearing of the Random House disgrace. What we get is some real inside-baseball on the corporate politics that may have been behind their decision, as Eric has been in the business many years and knows some of principals involved. He goes on to explain how Beaufort made the decision to get involved. We talk a little bit about what the book is about and why the book may be a "seller", even though Sherry Jones is a first-time author. Find out if Beaufort has any plans in place in the event of terrorism.

Eric talks about the support he has received from retailers. We get a peek inside the publishing industry and the likelihood of self-censorship in the future. Finally, the positive changes that have taken place within the publishing industry - something every free-thinker should be heartened by. Eric gives better than an iTunes 5 Star Review to Another Goddamned Podcast and gets a prize. You can probably guess what it is. (00:00)

We come back from the interview and the Herd and discuss it a little further. Ex wonders which of us is very likely to buy the book. Is a historical fiction about a religion going to be of interest to people like us? Is it bad if there were no real Islamic threats that Random House thought it was OK to use claims of threats as their reason for not publishing? (35:49)

It's puzzle time. Do any of our listeners know how to interpret Faithfreeists and Christians? Then, see what you can do with some biblical names. Ex gives the results of our "God Bless America" poll. Evo has two quizzes this week. One is just for the Herd, but you can play along! It gets better. The one for you is sweet. But click off of the podcast immediately after the quiz or listen to Evo sing. You've been warned. (51:50)

UPDATE: The European publisher of The Jewel of Medina had his home firebombed in an apparent terrorist attack.

Opening Music [00:00]: excerpt from "Another Goddamned Draft"
Bridge Music [34:25]: excerpt from "One of Many"
Bridge Music [50:45]: excerpt from "Swing to the Left"
Bridge and Closing Music [1:04:54]: excerpt from "As Jazzy as I Get"
(All music: copyright 2008 by Rachel Murie)

This Week's Goddamned Links
Jewel of Medina at Amazon
Beaufort Books

Puzzling Listeners

Another Goddamned Puzzle:
Krystian Kyhl, Yunshui

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Another Goddamned Podcast #32:
September 18, 2008

THIS WEEK - It's the Faith-Based Economy, Stupid

Original audio source

Evo plays host this week, and everyone's invited to his anti-Republican party. He kicks off the festivities by explaining the origins of the "free market" in America, and we discuss why it's built into the nation's psyche. Does that still make sense today? Or is free-market worship just a "faith" position. Ex thinks the "American Dream" is a nightmare perpetrated by the GOP. (00:00)

How did we get into the economic mess we're in? Surprise: It wasn't just the Republicans. Incompetence and greed may not know party lines, but certainly the drive to deregulate has come from the Right, allegedly in defense of "free markets" — that don't even exist. Aren't all economic philosophies somewhat "faith-based"? After all, there's no scientific evidence that any system would work under all circumstances. However, there's plenty of evidence that the system now in place doesn't work. (Hint: Peek in your wallet.) (14:06)

In the beginning of the last segment, Evo asked if a defense of "free markets" could be supported Constitutionally. Do people confuse our individual rights with the rights of corporations? Philly goes back to that question and shares (at no cost!) his insights. The government bails out businesses, but not individuals; that's "corporate socialism," of course. While the Herd isn't happy with the deregulators, are some of us right to label their ideas as "faith"? What's the difference between faith and opinion, anyway? Chappy says that with supportable opinions, we can rationally attack a notion — but not with faith. OG does the impossible when she makes Ex reexamine his position. (30:36)

Ex grabs back the mike and takes us through puzzles, polls, and quizzes. Even as a rational thinker, you may find that you are CONfounded, but you should have no trouble CONfining your CONfusion to this podcast only! Remember, Ex is a bit of a CONman. By the way, you won't want to miss SI do his short stand-up comedy routine. (42:34)

Opening Music [00:00]: excerpt from "Another Goddamned Draft"
Bridge Music [13:18]: excerpt from "Heathen Boogie"
Bridge Music [29:38]: excerpt from "Latin Down the Hatches"
Bridge Music [41:54]: excerpt from "Highway 45"
Bridge and Closing Music [59:06]: excerpt from "As Jazzy as I Get"
(All music: copyright 2008 by Rachel Murie)

This Week's Goddamned Links
Wikipedia on "Free Market"
An Example of Faith-Based Free Market Nonsense
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
Phil Gramm Calls America "A Nation of Whiners"

Puzzling Listeners

Another Goddamned Puzzle:
Krystian Kyhl, J-Mil, Thorum

Evo's Science Quiz:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Goddamned Podcast #31:
September 11, 2008

THIS WEEK - 9/11 and Its Religious Ramifications

Original audio source

So the U.S. is attacked and the very first thing Congress does is sing "God Bless America." Great for freethinkers, eh? Ex wonders whether fundy political clout increased after 9/11. Did lots of people believe that our country was attacked specifically because we're a "Christian" nation? Chappy thinks that for many conservative Jesoids, Christianity is conflated with Americanism. Philly says the ever-growing atheist community should thank George Bush. Is he right? (00:00)

Evo sees an ugly face peeking out of an open window. Relax, though -- it's probably not you. In response, SI teaches the Herd about the "buttfer" test. Ex asks: Is it possible to imagine a world free of religion? Philly can imagine something, but it involves flatulation and butterflies. OG, channeling evangelicals, compares rejecting religion to rejecting Americanism. Are moderate-to-liberal theists partially responsible for the acts of 9/11? Or does the morality of a society shape its religion rather than vice versa? And what does a Chinese menu have to do with anything? (14:10)

Which came first: the disgusting chicken or the rotten egg? Are nationalism and religion related? Who's persecuting whom? More important question: Can people ever stop playing "the Game"? And why does everybody hate atheists -- particularly Chappy?(30:22)

Another Goddamned Puzzle is solved with the help of some fictional characters, but Ex imagines having to console some puzzlers about his con job for next week. Talk about wack-a-doo ideas: Amazingly, 51% of the world's population believes that Evo exists. Whoever "Evo" is, he (or she) poses a science question about climate change. Why not give it a try while you're still comfortable? (48:19)

Opening Music [00:00]: excerpt from "Another Goddamned Draft"
Bridge Music [13:10]: excerpt from "Waltz of the Dead"
Bridge Music [29:05]: excerpt from "Child of the 80s"
Bridge Music [47:17]: excerpt from "Jesus Loves Me feat. Satan"
Bridge and Closing Music [1:03:57]: excerpt from "As Jazzy as I Get"
(All music: copyright 2008 by Rachel Murie)

This Week's Goddamned Links
Sing along with the U.S. Congress (start around 4:10)
George Bush talks about a crusade
FFRF full-page ad in The New York Times
Hey, Sean, your check is in the mail!

Puzzling Listeners

Another Goddamned Puzzle:
Krystian Kyhl, J-Mil

Evo's Science Quiz:
Krystian Kyhl

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Another Goddamned Podcast #30:
September 4, 2008

THIS WEEK - Funny, She Doesn't Look Woo-ish

Original audio source

Sarah Palin likes shooting defenseless animals. Let's see if she can handle the Herd! Does experience matter? If so, how? Philly and Evo argue that Palin used her little bit of experience in a very authoritarian way, but Ex calls "bullshit" on them. Who's right? Meanwhile SI doesn't think 120,000 total votes and being governor for a year and a half is much experience. Ex sees an insidious strategy that the GOP may be using. (00:00)

OG would rather talk about issues than experience, and the Herd agrees. Obviously, that's a signal for a segue to a conversation about Palin's religiosity. How might her love of Jesus inform her decisions? What will be its effects on separation of church & state? Is (are?) the Assemblies of God scary? (Do moose shit in the woods while they're hiding from Sarah Palin?) Chappy and Evo sound very, very afraid. Believe it or not, Ex tries to assuage their fears. How fucking reassuring do you think that is? Yikes! (19:00)

Can Democrats attack Palin on her fundy ideas? Or have they painted themselves into a church corner? Philly would like to see the Dems go straight for her craziness, but understands it ain't happening. Instead, he offers a few politically feasible tactics. Can Obama/Biden just practice what they preach and let the public judge the difference between their particular god and Palin's? And do atheists have to bite the Christianized bullet? (Will it bleed if we do so?) (33:44)

Three Goddamned Solvers cracked last week's puzzle, one with the help of his ... well, we can't give everything away in these notes. Hint: zombies were not involved. Want to be deliriously happy for the rest of your life? The results of our poll may tell you how! And Evo wonders: Where are the science lovers in our audience? (Possible answer: getting happy?) (49:40)

Opening Music [00:00]: excerpt from "Another Goddamned Draft"
Bridge Music [17:37]: excerpt from "One of Many"
Bridge Music [32:32]: excerpt from "Crouching Christian Hidden Atheist"
Bridge Music [48:37]: excerpt from "Swing to the Left"
Bridge and Closing Music [1:02:31]: excerpt from "As Jazzy as I Get"
(All music: copyright 2008 by Rachel Murie)

This Week's Goddamned Links
Sarah Palin's Acceptance Speech
Sarah Palin Church Video, Part 1
Sarah Palin Church Video, Part 2
Assemblies of God: "Our 16 Fundamental Truths"
[Update] Reason Magazine: "Tracking the Palin Rumors"
Sarah Palin Action Figures

Puzzling Listeners

Another Goddamned Puzzle:
Derek, EnoNomi, Krystian Kyhl

Evo's Science Quiz:
No one

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Another Goddamned Podcast #29:
August 28, 2008

THIS WEEK - Atheist Woo?

Original audio source

Do non-theists believe their own sets of weird things? The Herd says "yes," but you don't have to take our word on faith; just listen. First of all: Does Evil exist? Chappy falls into Ex's evil trap. SI says it's just an adjective, but Evo isn't willing to go even that far. Wasn't Hitler evil? Find out why Evo would answer "no". (00:00)

How do conspiracy theories fit into our question? Are some conspiracies worth being agnostic about, while others are clearly fantastic? We learn from Chappy why people might either believe in a god, or some other form of woo — but not both. What is it about the human mind that makes even us rationalists seem to need some sort of woo? Ex tries to put words in SI's mouth, but SI spits them up and demands a break. (13:55)

SI believes that we're hardwired to believe something. Was he the subject of an anal probe? Ex hears many faith-based statements — and not necessarily the ones that mention "faith" or "God" — at the political conventions. Chappy sees that kind of "faith" as just wanting to be with the winning team. One of us fulminates about the irrationality of sports fans. [Hint: It's not Philly.] Does Jesus have anything on Roger Maris? (29:08)

Ex reveals that we had no correct answers to Another Goddamned Puzzle. Evo says there was a similarly empty email bag on the Science Quiz. Even the poll results were closer than normal. SI thanks god for sunshine, while Evo thanks a listener for a plug. Only one of them gets a "you're welcome," though. Can you guess which one it is? (45:02)

Opening Music [00:00]: excerpt from "Another Goddamned Draft"
Bridge Music [12:45]: excerpt from "Child of the 80's"
Bridge Music [28:31]: excerpt from "Middle Earth Shortened"
Bridge Music [44:21]: excerpt from "
Highway 45"
Bridge and Closing Music [59:04]: excerpt from "
As Jazzy as I Get"
(All music: copyright 2008 by Rachel Murie)

This Week's Goddamned Links
Live Science Article: "Monsters, Ghosts and Gods"
Yeti and Bigfoot: a Genuine Photo
Roger Maris's Record Explained
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Anal Probes
What Problem of Evil?

Puzzling Listeners

Another Goddamned Puzzle:
No one

Evo's Science Quiz:
No one