795: Liquidity Trap Shows


April 12th – Last week we learned there just isn’t enough water. This week, it’s just too many jellyfish. It’s a fluid situation, just like the oil and money flowing out of Ghana and the American weirdos rushing against the tide. Your bitter, blind, broke, gap-toothed radio host Chuck Mertz just barely keeps up with the current.






Lisa-ann Gershwin: “They can live, well, probably indefinitely through this clonal process. So even if we took out all the jellyfish, tomorrow they’d all be back again.”

Jellyfish are canaries in a coal mine. If the coal mine is the ocean and the canaries are adapted to coal mines and will keep living and multiplying long after the miner drops dead. Lisa-ann Gershwin puts it a lot more scientifically in her new book Stung! On Jellyfish and the Future of the Ocean. She talks with Chuck about why jellyfish are right at home in the hotter, more toxic oceans we’re creating, why the health of the ocean matters to everyone, whether they eat fish or not, and speaking of, the very particular mouth-feel of the jellyfish. This is the most Cnidarian-heavy radio conversation you will hear all week, we guarantee.

Dr. Lisa-ann Gershwin is director of the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services. She has discovered over 150 new species of wildlife. That’s so many species!



Rachel Boynton: “I don’t think it’s as simple as saying ‘oil causes conflict.’ It’s not oil. It’s the money. And it’s not just the money, it’s the advantages that having money and power brings.”

Money, power and conflict are flowing from the ground in Ghana, and Rachel Boynton has been there from the start. With a camera. The filmmaker recorded the discovery and development of the first commercial oil field in Ghana in her new documentary Big Men.  Ahead of its Chicago premier at Facets, Rachel tells the story of her film, from its amazing access to American oil industry and local Ghanian subjects, to the global themes of resource rights, representation and exploitation.

Rachel Boynton is a documentary film maker. Her last film, Our Brand is Crisis, won the International Documentary Association’s Best Feature Documentary Award and Chuck loved it so much. Big Men is playing in Chicago at Facets from April 18th – 24th. Go see it on the big screen.



Paul Buhle: “Bohemianism, minus an organized political left, occupies a space in which people, young people in particular, experiment in various kinds of social forms and try to find something for themselves until a new world can arrive.”

For a special time in our country’s history, America’s biggest export was weirdos. From Walt Whitman’s transcendental verse to Josephine Baker’s trailblazing stage presence, rebels, radicals and free-thinkers expanded our culture’s ideas about identity, freedom and expression. Paul Buhle edited the comic anthology Bohemians: A Graphic History, which illustrates the lives of America’s enduring counterculture pioneers. He calls in to talk about Bohemianism’s Greenwich Village past, economically shaky present and online future.

Paul Buhle is an author of comics and histories. He’s a retired Senior Lecturer at Brown University, he was a member of Students for a Democratic Society and founded their journal Radical America. He also co-edited the Encyclopedia of the American Left which I am ordering after I finish this sentence.

Interview Transcript via AntiDote.


Sarah Kendzior: “Foreign Policy had a little forum where they queried nine people about why there we so few women working in foreign policy. And of those nine people, eight of them were men.”

The more people work for free, the closer women get to wage equality. That’s the reality for writer Sarah Kenzior, and the underpaid, underrepresented women in all fields of work. One of those fields is foreign policy, and it turns out another of those fields is explaining the gender gap in foreign policy. Sarah put this a lot better in her recent post Where are the women in foreign policy? Here’s your answer, from one of them. She talks with Chuck about how the country is hurt by American foreign policy’s white male problem, why it’s only gotten whiter and maler-er after the financial crisis, and the almost anniversary of her post-Boston bombing op-ed The Wrong Kind of Caucasian at Al Jazeera.

Sarah Kendzior is a writer and researcher. She published regular op-eds at Al Jazeera and the Chronicle of Higher Education. You can find her longer stuff on her website and her shorter stuff on her Twitter.

Interview Transcript via AntiDote.


David Skalinder: “I don’t know what it is about old guys on Coronation Street who are now being accused and then acquitted of sex crimes in the 80′s.”

David Skalinder follows the news pretty closely in the UK, and not just the boobs in the newspapers there. He looks up from his newspaper to give a little trans-Atlantic Chicago media analysis, then he gets into why the Pistorius trial grabs headlines while the Heartbleed bug just grabs your passwords, and the weird gender-segregated UK sports scene that only visiting Americans seem to notice. Also Chuck opens the conversation with a Stephen King-worthy anecdote from his own weird life.

David Skalinder dreams of an agile and compelling ideology of the left; but that’s a quiet beat, so he usually reports on the nimble American right, the lumbering institutional left, and the confused frustration of everybody else on both sides of the Atlantic.



Jeff Dorchen: “It could very well be, that by his own definition, Dr. Mathematical is himself insane. A fine kettle of fish we’d be in if someone put him in charge of defining baseline reality.”

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

- Groucho Marx. Or Yogi Berra, or Mark Twain. Who cares, it doesn’t matter. No one agrees on anything anymore and we each get our own realities to yell at each other from. Autism causes vaccines,  creates jails and freedom is slavery.

Jeff Dorchen surveys the end of meaning and tries to tell everyone what’s wrong, but no one can tell what he means.

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.



Newest producer Daniel Cox gets mistaken for a Nixon toady and old producer Alexander Jerri again fails to recognize spoken obscenities within seven seconds.




  • blah lalalalala

    buhie is out of touch. nobody can afford to live in brooklyn anymore, and gentrification is rampant all over the u.s. ethnic cleansing, greed driven tech, fashion and restaurant entrepreneurs, and all various other financial and business sector parasites have taken the place of the bohemian of lore… he’s still talking about jazz being the only music form exported from the u.s. world wide. apparently he missed the more recent export of hip hop internationally, & already fizzling out. well, the guy is just a few decades behind the times…

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