It has been a busy week for me. First, I have a thing up at The Baffler that looks at the last time we turned schools into fortresses because the political process was unwilling to question any of its fundamental assumptions (even if it meant embracing lunacy). Here's a real shocker – it includes tales from the Cold War!

Even more exciting, Episode 003 of Mass for Shut-ins is now available. Here are the episode notes. The audio is available via iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and other podcast providers (give it a moment to update if you're trying to find it Friday morning. It'll be there soon if not already). Podcasting is FUN AS HELL but also a lot of work. Each episode is an improvement on the one before! If you tried a previous episode and didn't like it, give this one ten minutes – I'm confident you're gonna dig it.

Story: DEATH BY UMBRELLA: The Georgi Markov story. A tale of intrigue and covert operations from the late Cold War that John Le Carre couldn't have scripted any better. 

Guest: Mike Konczal (@rortybomb), Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and contributor to Vox, The Nation, Dissent, and other fine publications. Mike and I discuss the art of punditry, appearing on TV without pants, the myth of a democratized economy, and stock buybacks. We also do Professor Brothers voices.

Performance by ANDREW BENTLEY. See below for information on Andrew's upcoming live performances in Chicago.

Topic: Why we're living in the Golden Age of Gerrymandering. Hint: It's not just because Republicans are assholes. But it's definitely partly because Republicans are assholes.

Cocktail of the Month: Lime Rickey (aka Gin Rickey, but we'll get into the complicated nomenclature soon enough)

Support Mass for Shut-ins via Patreon. Contact me via Facebook, Twitter (@gin_and_tacos), or the venerable website Gin and Tacos.

Thanks: Mike Konczal, the bands that contribute music (Waxeater, IfIHadAHiFi, The Sump Pumps, Oscar Bait), Zachary Sielaff, Question Cathy, and all Patreon supporters, subscribers, and listeners. Hear more of Andrew Bentley on 3/31 at the American Writer's Museum as part of International Tom Hanks Day, at Write Club Chicago on 4/17, and on 4/7 at C2E2 in a musical comedy on the Cards Against Humanity stage.

8 thoughts on “EPISODE 003 – MARKOV CHAINS”

  • Better-than-ever podcast. Bentley is a treasure and Gerrymandering needs all the attention it can get. How do questions get submitted? I'd like to ask whether you think our oligarchy has reached the point of no return? I.e., the "level playing field" was never level but now it's at an 80˚ rake and I can't see how it could begin to return to even where it was when I was young and oblivious in the 50s. The courts would have to become less compromised by arch-conservative jurors, Citizens United would have to be reversed, and voters would have to stop shooting themselves in their private parts, just to name three almost-impossible changes. These are the times that try optimists' souls, I think, but I beg you to show me some way out of this hellhole.

  • Great job, Ed! The sound quality was so much better, you didn't sound rushed or nervous, and the topics were all interesting.

  • Finally got around to making a dent in my podcast backlog and got to this one. Just wanted to drop in and say that it keeps getting better. Nice work!

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