789: Left Behind Shows


March 1st- Remember how good it felt the last time you thought the president was on your side? How many presidents ago was that? Probably too many beers ago for bitter, blind, broke, gap-toothed radio host Chuck Mertz to remember. Maybe it’s a good thing. People who trust a president to fix their problems don’t march in the street for public schools or fight back against spying, they just elect another president.






Adolph Reed Jr.: “If Barack Obama is the standard of the pragmatic leftist, then you can see the failings of pragmatism.”

If you went from fighting with your in-laws about how Barack Obama isn’t a crypto-Marxist to wishing that maybe he was, that says as much about your dissatisfaction with the president as it does theirs. Adolph Reed understands. He sketched out the left’s decades long slide from political power in his Harper’s essay Nothing Left: The Long, Slow Surrender of American Liberals. Adolph talks with Chuck about why the left lost the president but the president never loses the left, what we should be doing with the energy we put into electing presidents, and how he knew Rahm Emanuel was an unpleasant little expletive the first time he met him.

Adolph L. Reed Jr. is a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught at Yale, Northwestern and the New School for Social Research. Adolph is a founding member of the US Labor Party.



Julia Angwin: “Look, information is power. So a place like the NSA that has massive amounts of information about us has a lot of power. Whether we have the right checks and balances to restrain that power is really the question that we have to ask – of all government.”

Think about everything you looked at or wrote on the internet before you knew it was likely all being recorded by the government. If doing that makes you slightly nervous, Julia Angwin knows the feeling. In her new book Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless SurveillanceJulia tries to find her way around the massive Hoovering (both meanings intended) over all your online activity. She calls in to talk about the burden surveillance places on the watched, why confidentiality is important in a free society, and the glee of using a search engine that remembers nothing about you.

Julia Angwin is a senior reporter at ProPublica, and author of the new book Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance. From 2000 to 2013, she was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, where she led a privacy investigative team that was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2011 and won a Gerald Loeb Award in 2010.

Interview Transcript via AntiDote.


Micah Uetricht: “The primary task of the CTU, and one of the primary tasks of the left, is to create the kind of movements where it doesn’t matter whether there’s someone friendly to them in office. It’s whether they’re capable of posing a credible threat to those people and being able to push them to wrest concessions out of them.”

You can tell that children are such a valuable resource by the gigantic extractive industry built around their education. Chicago is where a lot of those neoliberal experiments in mining public resources happens, but it’s also where public school teachers fight back. Micah Uetricht tells the story of the 2012 Chicago Teachers Union strike in his book, Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity. He joins Chuck in studio to discuss what the strike means for organized labor, and why confrontation works when conciliation doesn’t.

Micah Uetricht is an In These Times contributing editor and an assistant editor at Jacobin. He he also co-hosts the Jacobin Radio Chicago podcast with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.



Krys Bigosinksi: “Vermont doesn’t have any known natural gas reserves, so banning fracking in Vermont is a little bit like banning tartar sauce on Devon Street.”

OK so the above quote is a callback to an old This is Hell! episode and Chuck’s search for America’s whitest condiment in his South Asian neighborhood, but everything else in this interview is super current. Krys Bigosinski checks in from a literal mountain top somewhere in the Green Mountain state, and from his perch he can see Vermont’s impending universal health care being a good thing, the state’s fracking ban being a good but pointless thing, and the year 2050 being the best year ever for vague aspirational reasons.

Dr. Krys Bigosinski is an expatriate of Chicago, living in Burlington, Vermont. In his spare time, he practices medicine.



Sarah Jaffe: “I really think this is something that’s shifting. I think we have hit peak testing, and parents have had enough, and students have had enough, and teachers have had enough.”

Class war correspondent Sarah Jaffe has been busy lately. San Francisco landlords are evicting tenants to keep their properties empty, truck drivers got scammed out of a billion dollars in wages and there’s not enough room in this sentence to talk about what’s happening in schools. Sarah calls in to talk about all her recent work at In These Times, from the market logic of keeping a rental property empty for five years to why elementary school students are spending 15% of their school days taking standardized tests. There’s good news – teachers and parents are fighting back. That’ll keep Sarah busy.

Sarah Jaffe is an independent journalist, rabble-rouser, and frequent Twitterer. She’s co-host of Dissent magazine’s labor podcast, Belabored, and her writing can be seen in publications like In These Times, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and many more.



Jeff Dorchen: “Galoshes? Does that sound cool? Galoshes? A house coat? House slippers and a house coat? Prune juice maybe? Maybe you want to play a hand of pinochle or a nice game of cassino? Have a piece of cantaloupe, you wouldn’t believe how sweet it is. Like candy.”

I’m in my 30s and Jeff Dorchen is in his 50s. Guess which one of us had to look up how to spell pinochle. In this new Moment of Truth, the old Jeff Dorchen travels backwards in time (demographically,) runs from Mad Men, dresses down grandparents, critiques the state of modern assassination, and offers up absolutely no wisdom to pass to the next generation.

According to his contacts on LinkedIn, Jeff Dorchen can do just about anything. He’s a visual artist, songwriter/musician, actor, essayist, poet, playwright and screenwriter. He’s also an amateur scholar of Judaic, Hindu and Japanese spiritual lore. His many unfinished novels are still unfinished.



Producer Theron Humiston does not care at all how much Producer Alexander Jerri is into Emerson, Lake & Palmer these days.




  • IndyRadio

    great show, but why is the web layout so retarded?

  • http://www.thisishell.com/ Alexander Jerri

    Well first of all that word, but also what do you mean?

  • whatmoney

    I don’t know what the derogatory-term-using-guy means, but here’s a coupla things. Once you click on a specific show, I think it would be better if it were real clear that you have gone to the page for that show (where downloads and full rundown are available) instead of still having the list of shows displayed at the top of the page so that it looks like maybe the link hasn’t worked. Maybe this is just a just a problem for those of us with vision issues who have to zoom the page a lot…dunno. Second, the link to download the whole show could be more prominently marked. I do like the sectioned-off interviews with the teaser quotes from those interviews, however.

  • whatmoney

    Also, whoever wrote the blurb for this show (CM?)…Preeeeach!!

  • http://www.thisishell.com/ Alexander Jerri

    Ahh I see what you mean. Thanks for the feedback.

    Are you looking at the show on a phone or computer? I’m just trying to figure out where the top bar is causing you problems.

    As for the show download display, I’ll look into what I can do there. It’s built into our current podcast setup, but I’ll try to make it more noticeable.

  • http://www.thisishell.com/ Alexander Jerri

    It’s me, Producer Alex. I’m the blurber!

  • whatmoney

    On a computer. Thanks Alex.

  • Pingback: 1989: Not the ‘End of History’ in Venezuela Either | aNtiDoTe

  • Pingback: An Assault on the Mind: Education and Culture Under Neoliberalism | aNtiDoTe

  • Pingback: Julia Angwin on Dragnets, “Pre-Crime” | aNtiDoTe