The Biskeptical Podcast #50: More Like Disasterpiece Cakeshop

Today on the show, we talk about last week’s SCOTUS ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, find out what exactly happened, and what it might mean for future civil rights cases. We also talk about the North Korea summit, all the wackiness that went down, and whether or not any progress will be made.

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Will the Blue Wave Hit Maryland? — My Latest for Splice Today

The only good thing that’s come from the Trump administration is that progressives are inspired to get more involved in politics. From Indivisible groups to progressives running for office, many on the left sense a “blue wave” will sweep across the nation in this year’s elections, and take back both the Senate and House from the current Republican majority. Maryland is generally a blue state, but given that Republicans Gov. Larry Hogan and 1st District Rep. Andy Harris both have the fate of their respective seats in the hands of voters this November, many wonder if the blue wave will hit Maryland next.

Both Hogan and Harris have plenty of competition. Six Democrats hope to replace Harris’ seat in Congress: Michael Brown, Jesse Colvin, Allison Galbraith, Erik Lane, Michael Pullen, and Steve Worton. Galbraith was the first to announce her candidacy after the presidential election. As a single mother who also owns a small business, she finally got the chance to meet him and talk about his vocal opposition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). When she asked Harris whether or not he’s opposed to rising health care costs for women, he replied, “I don’t think most people would mind if women paid a little more for health insurance.” Healthcare is a major focus in Galbraith’s campaign.

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Why There’s No Straight Pride Month — My Latest for Splice Today

It’s Pride Month. A time to celebrate all things queer and trans, remember those who lost their lives in the struggle for human rights, and explain—again—to straight people why there’s no Straight Pride Month. This false equivalency boils down to the common misconception that LGBTQ people like myself are celebrating something we didn’t achieve through hard work, like being born with a certain sexual orientation or gender identity. What people fail to realize is we’re celebrating something we achieved: all the accomplishments the LGBTQ rights movement has made so far, and that we choose to love ourselves in the face of bigotry.

It’s not as though there is any shortage of current anti-LGBTQ bigotry. President Trump signed a religious freedom executive order last month that would, according to him, “help ensure that faith-based organizations have equal access to government funding and equal right to exercise their deeply held beliefs.” Not only does it hurt church/state separation, but usually “right to exercise deeply/sincerely held religious beliefs” is code for “make it legal to deny services to LGBTQ people.” Case in point, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin recently signed such a bill into law that would permit faith-based adoption agencies to turn down same-sex couples seeking to adopt children, even though there’s no evidence that same-sex couples can’t be good parents.

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The Biskeptical Podcast #49: Ambien’s a Hell of a Drug

Today’s episode is a news roundup episode featuring stories that can be best described as hot messes. We’ll talk about Elon Musk’s war against the media, Roseanne Bar’s racist tweets, and why Starbucks’ racial sensitivity training might not work.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #151: Troll Nation with Amanda Marcotte

My guest for today is Amanda Marcotte. She’s a political writer for Salon.com, and has a new book out called “Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshiping Monsters Set On Rat-Fucking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself.” Today I have her on the show to talk about her latest book, and what the Left can do now with the current political climate.

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ContraPoints is the Hero We Need — My Latest for Splice Today

In a world where YouTube has been taken over by the Alt-Right and classical liberals who accuse everyone who disagrees with them of being postmodern neo-Marxists, one transgender woman rises above to bring reason and nuance to the marketplace of ideas.

ContraPoints, a YouTuber based in Baltimore, currently has over 110,000 subscribers and criticizes both the Intellectual Dark Web and modern-day Marxists. A former philosophy professor, Contra (real name Natalie Parrott) has a ability to dissect topics such as racism, cultural appropriation, capitalism, free speech, and Jordan Peterson with the perfect balance of humor and reason. Even Kinda Funny co-founder and outspoken libertarian Colin Moriarty gave her a mention on a recent episode of The Rubin Report.

Her latest video takes a critical look at Peterson’s claims, especially his “postmodern neo-Marxism is everywhere and ruining everything” line. She first explains the difference between modernism (using the Scientific Method to figure out everything, from the natural world to politics) and postmodernism (skepticism about being absolutely certain about everything), and then explains that technically Marxism is a metanarrative most postmodernists reject. As far as Peterson’s definition of postmodern neo-Marxism, Contra says it’s a nonsensical umbrella term for everything about the Left he doesn’t like. She points out that Marxists and identity politics activists tend to hate each other. I’ve seen many fights on Facebook about this.

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The Biskeptical Podcast #48: O Jerusalem!

Today on the show, we’ll talk about the US recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the violence in Gaza this past Monday. We’ll talk about why the US’ decision is so controversial, what the international response has been to the bloodshed, and if there are any solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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The Biskeptical Podcast #47: The Comey Memos and the Psychology of Trump Supporters

Today on the show, we’ll first take a look at the Comey Memos and find out what kind of tea they spill, and whether or not it’ll have any effect on the Trump administration. Then we’ll discuss a recent Vox article called “9 essential lessons from psychology to understand the Trump era” in order to figure out how exactly we got into this mess.

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China’s Crackdown on LGBTQ Rights — My Latest for Splice Today

The debate about social justice and free speech in the United States burns on. Some argue that asking for more diverse representation is “identity politics,” while I argue that identity diversity often equals idea diversity. I recently came across a news story where social justice and free speech go hand-in-hand.

According to Brendon Hong of The Daily Beast, last week Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo reversed its decision to ban the hashtag #IAmGay from its site after worldwide condemnation. The hashtag ban was part of Sina Weibo’s plan to remove “illegal content” from the site, which included “videos with pornographic implications, promoting violence or (related to) homosexuality.” LGBTQ people and allies in China responded to the ban by using the hashtag even more, until finally Sina Weibo realized this was a battle they couldn’t win. What’s interesting to note is that, according to Hong, while China never outright outlawed homosexuality (except from 1979 to 1997 when it was “indirectly criminalized” under a law that lumped together with sexual assault), the existence of LGBTQ people is still virtually erased throughout the nation.

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The Biskeptical Podcast #46: Scientific Racism and Atheist Movement Drama

On today’s episode, we’re going to first talk about the recent debate between Sam Harris and Vox writer Ezra Klein about Harris’ interview with Charles Murray, co-author of the infamous book The Bell Curve. We’ll talk about what both Harris and Murray got wrong, and go a little bit into the science behind intelligence and genetics. For the second half of the show, we’ll talk about how stress from all the atheist movement drama led me to a suicidal episode last week, and whether or not being part of the movement is worth it.

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