Archive for October 2011

Latino Atheists Podcast

Latino AtheistsThere is now a Latino Atheists podcast. One of the meetings was recorded. Jose gives a presentation on atheism in general. I was not there, but I did listen to it.

We have talked about expanding the group beyond just meeting in a cafe and talking. We have discussed giving a presentation or having a panel every month. We have also talked about recording a Skype call on one of the off-weeks as well. There is some debate on the off-week call. It might just be two of us and not the full crew.

Image from Latino Atheists Twitter profile

Updating My Site

I am changing my site. I changed the theme. At some point things got messed up. For some reason, no matter which theme I use all of the widgets show up at the bottom on the front page. But when you go to a post or a page, the widgets show up properly on the right side. I am tired of messing with it, so for the time being I will just leave it as it is.


UPDATE: One of the posts was causing some problems, so I changed it. The offending post was a list of all the Twitter accounts I follow related to Texas. I removed all the Twitter icons.

Occupy Wall Street

I saw an article on the New York Times which explored the opinions of Wall Street on Occupy Wall Street.

There was one quote that I thought was pretty interesting:

Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it. If you want to keep having jobs outsourced, keep attacking financial services. This is just disgruntled people.

Whoever said this needs his head examined. If a country of 310 million only does financial services well, then there is a serious problem. And part of the reason we don’t do as much in this country as we used to is because of-wait for it-the financial services industry. They are the ones who have wanted everything outsourced.

And now they expect people to be grateful. Unbelievable.

What About North Dakota?

Map of North Dakota In the past I  have thought about going to North Dakota for a job. I have no idea if there is a need for software developers in North Dakota, or if my options would be oil rigs or nothing.

I saw an interesting article on Business Insider (the original article is here) about some of the things North Dakota has done over the past decade to improve their economy and stop the brain drain. It’s more than just oil.

One interesting tidbit was that people are moving there from many states, and some people are moving there from Texas. So it looks like my Plan B is someone else’s unsuccessful Plan A.

Image from Wikimedia


Texas Twitter Update

Here are the Twitter accounts that I follow relating to Texas:

MyABJ Austin Business: The Austin Business Journal is the business authority for Central Texas


Austin_Monthly Austin Monthly: THE Magazine of Austin. Style. Dining. Scene. Events. Travel. Shopping. People. Music. A dash of weird. Subscribe today!



thedailytexan The Daily Texan: Serving the University of Texas at Austin and beyond since 1900. Check out: @texansports @DTlifeandarts & @dteditorial


AustinChamber Austin Chamber: The Austin Chamber of Commerce serves Central Texas through its highly successful initiatives, programs, volunteer committees and events.


DBJinsight Dallas Biz Journal


HOUBizjournal Houston Biz Journal: Strictly Houston. Strictly business. Part of American City Business Journals. Email:


SABizJournal SA Business Journal: Weekly Business Newspaper providing daily Twitter updates and weekly in-depth analysis


Texanomics Texanomics


TFN Tx Freedom Network: Join us Oct. 20 for TFN’s Epic Evening. Tickets, info at


austinrb Austin.RB: A community for Ruby programmers in Austin. Meetups on the 3rd Thursday of the month.


InsideTheACA The ACA: Semi-official tweets from The Atheist Community of Austin.

The images are taken from the Twitter profile of each account.

The Old About Page

Here is the original About page that I posted 2009-06-20 08:04:23:

Welcome to Everyday Freethought. Everyday Freethought is a podcast where ordinary, everyday atheists, agnostics, skeptics and freethinkers can share their stories and talk about what is going in their hometowns.

If you refer to yourself (either seriously or facetiously) as an Agnostic, Atheist, Bright, Freethinker, Humanist, Infidel, Irreligious, Non-Theist, Rationalist, Secular, Skeptic, or Unchurched, and you want a place for ordinary, everyday people to talk about the local atheist/skeptic/freethought scene in their communities, then this podcast is for you. Everyday Freethought is a podcast dedicated to providing a place for freethinkers all over the USA to share their stories.

The feed for the podcast can be found at Feedburner here.

I live in Illinois, so I will also talk about events and groups in Illinois. I will divide up the state as follows:

  • Chicago, The City That Matters
  • Chicago Metro: The suburbs surrounding Chicago
  • Northern Illinois: Anything west of Illinois 47 and north of Interstate 80 (although parts of Will County will be included in Chicago Metro)
  • Central Illinois: Anything between Interstate 80 and US Route 50
  • Southern Illinois: Anything south of US Route 50; this will also include the St. Louis Metro Area

I started a podcast in 2009. I wanted to start an atheist/skeptical podcast based in Chicago, since I felt that Chicago was not well-represented in the atheisosphere. I noticed that a lot of other podcasts were by or featured as guests what I call the “Professional Atheist” class: professors, journalists, lawyers, people running national advocacy organizations. I wanted to do a podcast featuring ordinary people with regular day jobs, the sort of people I was meeting at the local meetups.

But over time I decided the podcast was too much work. I called people on Skype, and Skype picked up a lot of noise on my end: breathing, lip and teeth noise. These sounds were never present on the part I would record of myself talking.

I was also going to keep track of meetups and events in Illinois. But that was too much work as well.

Over time I would change it. I am just posting it here for archiving purposes.

Image from Wikipedia

Military Opinions

USS John C. Stennis CVN-74 and HMS Illustrious R 06.I listened to a podcast episode of The Takeaway from January, 2010. There was a segment on an officer on the USS Enterprise who was demoted due to some controversial videos he made for the crew.

One caller (I assume she was either currently serving or a vet) said that people who have never been in the military would not understand, and presumably have no business expressing any sort of disapproval.

It reminded me of the period leading up to and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. People who doubted the Bush Administration’s contentions about whether Saddam had weapons of mass destruction or ties to Al Queda were told that they were wrong. They had not seen all the intelligence that the Bush Adminstration had. Oh, and they should either just support our Dear Leader or be quiet.

I noted that people who believed the Bush Administration’s contentions were never told THEY had no business supporting the war since they had not seen all the intelligence either.

In fact, people who “support the troops” or the war or some other military policy are NEVER told that since they are not in the military they have no business expressing their opinion. It is only the people who express doubts or skepticism who are told their opinion is invalid due to their lack of relevant experience.

In all seriousness, why is that?

Image from Wikipedia


September Dividend Income

1870 Centimo CoinI read quite a few dividend investing blogs. A lot of them post the income they get from dividends every month. I have decided to do this as well. I will list them in the order that I got them.

The grand total for the month is $243.26. The YTD total is $2121.78. All I need to do is increase my assets to ten times their current size and I will be all set.

  • Aflac: $15.33
  • American States Water: $14.44
  • Black Hills Corp: $11.63
  • Bemis Corp: $14.73
  • Intel: $9.83
  • Vectren Corp: $17.93
  • Archer-Daniels-Midland: $9.82
  • Emerson Electric: $7.13
  • Sonoco Products: $18.00
  • Exxon-Mobil: $26.34
  • Chevron: $16.27
  • 3M Corp: $6.81
  • Questar: $7.69
  • Walgreen: $12.15
  • Johnson and Johnson: $17.87
  • Dover Corp: $6.78
  • Consolidated Edison: $15.95
  • RLI Corp: $14.56

Image from Wikimedia.


NYTimes Article on Reinvesting Dividends

S & P 500There was a post last week on the New York Times Bucks Blog about whether or not people should automatically reinvest their dividends. It is pretty timely. I first saw a link to it the day before the Fed announced Operation Twist and the market went down 3% in one day.

The argument is that reinvesting dividends is the reason that dividend investing can be so successful. By doing it automatically, you do not have to engage in market timing. If you reinvest when a stock is going down, it can lower your cost basis.

I was automatically reinvesting, but now I am having my dividends go to cash. Reinvesting lower can lower your cost basis, but you could also throw money down a hole. Bank Of America paid a good dividend for a while, but it cut its dividend and kept going down.

Dividend investors are not as concerned about price as are investors who invest for capital gains. But you could still lose money. For the time being, I plan on having my dividends go to cash for a while. I do not think that we will have a depression or a deep recession, but I do think that stocks could go lower for a while. I think that going to cash for now is the way to go.

Image from Wikipedia