Posted in Quick Hits on April 16th, 2018 by Ed

Extremely Neil Patrick Harris voice, from Starship Troopers.

Let's just consider the Hannity thing a gift. It is not substantive or important, but watching these idiots react when they get cornered is one of the few silver linings of being alive right now. For people who had to suffer through McCarthy, this must be what it felt like when Ol' Joe was on his last legs, done in by alcoholism, hubris, and stupidity.

Also, tonight was the first time I have attempted to watch Hannity in probably fifteen years, and I still cannot believe that people actually watch this. Imagine watching this every night. Think about what that would do to your brain after a couple years.


Posted in Quick Hits on April 12th, 2018 by Ed

On short notice I did a take for The Baffler with probably the best title ever – "Attorney-Tyrant Privilege." Ha. Get it. See what was done there.

My adviser in graduate school was known for her work, which I've mentioned many times here over the years, on the "constructed explanation." That is, when an event happens in politics there is an industry of media and political insiders who work to propose various explanatory narratives. Over time, one or two of these are settled upon as "the" explanation. Similarly, parties as organized coalitions have a running narrative that, in the age of Trump, requires more regular updating than usual.

Check it out, I'm pretty happy with this one.


Posted in Quick Hits on April 6th, 2018 by Ed

I'm very excited about this piece for The Nation. It draws parallels between the contemporary rhetoric around "race and IQ" and other forms of scientific racism and the once wildly popular "racialist" movement in the US. It combined three popular ideas – eugenics, scientific racism, and immigration restriction – into a stew of white supremacist ideology that dominated both high- and low-brow circles from the end of the 19th to the mid-20th centuries.

The idea that scientific racism was repudiated after World War II is a myth that, if at all, only holds true among elites. Belief that there are scientific, genetic, or biological differences that prove the superiority of white Europeans has never gone away. People merely learned that it was not socially acceptable to say it out loud. Now it's becoming more acceptable and people are responding predictably.


Posted in Quick Hits on March 8th, 2018 by Ed

My effort to get the phrase "Cletus Safari" adopted into the lexicon proceeds apace with this piece in The Baffler comparing the media's zeal for covering old white Trumpers to their relative indifference to covering the most significant and largest labor action in the U.S. in decades.

And I didn't write this one, but Drew Magary has a good rundown on the absolutely baffling decision by more than a dozen Senate Democrats to gut Dodd-Frank and deregulate massive lenders. In case you forgot what a bad idea that is, you may want to add David Dayen's Chain of Title to your reading list.


Posted in Quick Hits on March 1st, 2018 by Ed

Episode 002 is now available. Folks on Patreon seem to be enjoying it; feedback on how to make the show better is important so feel free to share.


Posted in Quick Hits on February 28th, 2018 by Ed

Mass for Shut-ins Episode 002 should be available by the time you read this! I took everyone's feedback very seriously on the enjoyable but technically amateurish Episode 001. To emphasize that I am not blowing smoke up your ass, here are the major changes:

1. I invested in some soundproofing panels (not to mention old pillows, towels, and blankets) to cover all the walls in my closet. It became a very effective homemade soundproofed room, which cut the echo down to effectively zero.

2. I installed a number of basic effects and solicited advice from podcasters who get a good sound to figure out the best settings. Noticeable improvement.

3. The segments are in a different order that I think makes more sense.

4. The completed episode is shorter by about 13 minutes (40 instead of 53). I worked with outlines of each segment and got more to the point.

5. One segment was recorded "on location" for variety (You will understand the airquotes shortly)

6. It is mixed better and more consistenly, so there's less variation in volume, tone, etc throughout.

7. I did not have pneumonia for half the segments.

On my wish list of things to improve going forward: recording interviews is still tricky, and you will definitely notice a weird echo or two in the interview with Seth Wilson. However, I'm happy with the content and the technical problems will continue to work out. The more I do this, the more I will be able to avoid problems like that.

If you have no idea what this post is about check out Mass for Shut-ins on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or Soundcloud. Also consider supporting this new endeavor on Patreon because, I guess, money.


Posted in Quick Hits on February 25th, 2018 by Ed

That's the longest gap in posting I've had in a long time. A confluence of events last week created a Perfect Storm of obligations that left me with no time. I'll explain shortly.

Part of the problem was two writing deadlines that resulted in a piece in Rolling Stone about the flawed idea underlying charity from the super-rich followed by a Washington Post piece about the "gun control paradox" in public opinion. I think you'll enjoy them both, although I suspect the latter more than the former since I am being less of a dick in it.

Additionally I'm working feverishly to bring you Episode 2 of Mass for Shut-ins on time and under the gun at the end of the month. More to follow – don't go away yet.


Posted in Quick Hits on January 31st, 2018 by Ed

Quick updates, full post coming soon.

I have a new piece up in The Nation about the importance of the "power behind the throne" role in politics, and how Donald Trump has chosen to fill it with a TV show – the dumbest one on the dumbest network.

Also, Episode 1 of Mass for Shut-ins: The Gin and Tacos Podcast is now available on iTunes, Google Play, and Soundcloud.


Posted in Quick Hits on January 28th, 2018 by Ed

I am finally done and while I'm afraid many aspects of this production are a bit rough, I hope you like the content.

Episode 001 features an interview with Climate Group CEO Helen Clarkson, the history of impeachment before it became part of the Constitution, the story of USPS Missile Mail, the Corpse Reviver #2 for Cocktail of the Month, and a reading by author Andrew Bentley.

Special thanks to Patreon subscribers for their support, Zachary Sielaff for his assistance with the audio engineering, and the bands that graciously allowed me to use their music: Waxeater, IfIHadAHiFi, Oscar Bait, and The Sump Pumps.

It's available on LibSyn and SoundCloud, and yes I'm working on getting it added to other podcast sources like iTunes and Google Play.


Posted in Quick Hits on January 2nd, 2018 by Ed

A new piece at The Week looks at some high-profile research from political science showing how Trump's practice of formally listing potential Supreme Court nominees is likely to put even more pressure on the judiciary to lean right.

And if you haven't done it already, mash that Patreon because a special sneak preview of Podcast Episode #1 will be available soon.