Once again, it’s been awhile since I was featured on a radio program – my last edition of “Radio Days” was in 2009. (I was a guest a few times on Melody’s show in 2010 as well.)
But, out of the blue on Wednesday I was invited to go national for the first time as a guest on the Thom Hartmann program. Ironically enough, one would gather he’s the liberal answer to Rush because he occupies the same time slot during the day. But they wanted to discuss my Pajamas Media piece on regulation, and I received a message from Danielle Howe (who works for Black Rock – they handle PJM promotional appearances) asking me if I’d do the show and warning me that I could be ambushed since Thom is a ‘progressive.’ Didn’t faze me any.
So now you have the background – how did it really go?
Well, first of all, the people I worked with at Hartmann’s show were as nice as they could be, and, to be honest, so was Thom. We had a relatively civil conversation and I worked to get my points across. It wasn’t exactly how I’d have scripted it but I thought I was decently effective fighting behind enemy lines, as it were.
Something much different about this experience was working the Skype video in. I have used Skype audio before for a writing client of mine, but in this case I had to drag out an old webcam of mine and hook it up to my laptop. Well, I got that figured out but then they didn’t like the fact I had a window in the background so I had to turn the camera (and place my chair) at a more awkward angle – I was squished up against my bookshelf. At least my closet door provided a darker background.
Then, I had assumed that I would need a remote microphone but instead the call was on my cel. So Skype provided the video feed but my phone the audio. Hopefully that was in sync for the viewing audience.
So once the logistics worked out, they called me twice – once to test the Skype and the other to go on the air. That was about 1:00, so I was treated to Thom’s top-of-the-hour reading and remarks on the news of the day. Yes, it was a Republican-bashing festival, and if I have one thing to say about how Thom reacts – well, he’s exceptionally hyperbolic. Everything is a disaster to him. It’s why I started right out, right after he introduced the piece with his lengthy contention about the bad old days when there was no regulation whatsoever, saying he’s occupying an “extreme” position that’s not reflective of a normal view of costs vs. benefits.
One case in point was when we were speaking about the offshore wind turbines. (I thought it funny how he misunderstood me to say “windows” – is my diction that bad?) Thom was all up in arms about oil, coal, nuclear, and natural gas and the health maladies they allegedly caused. I understand the principle behind fracking, and obviously there is a slight amount of risk behind the technology. But that risk can be easily mitigated, while the benefits of clean-burning natural gas to create electricity (at a far cheaper cost than wind power) are much greater. Had I thought quickly enough I could have ticked off a number of drawbacks to wind turbines – they’re noisy, bad for aviary life, and not nearly as reliable as other forms of power generation because the wind has to blow AND it has to blow within a certain speed range.
And what was that about the 5% more moisture in the atmosphere causing storms and brought on by global warming? (Maybe that was on the news.) Since we all know there have been other warm periods in Earth’s history (well before the invention of the SUV) can we establish if those periods were overly moist as well? Or is Thom and his listeners just looking for any port in a storm (pun intended)?
But the final point was the one where I wished we had a few more minutes, because I was making the argument that Thom and I were essentially on the same side but had a completely different idea about the solution. Thom would get rid of the lobbyists (I think he said “arrest” or “imprison” them?) through a particular means but I would take care of the problem in another fashion by draining the money swamp. If there’s less money and power to be given out, then there’s less need for lobbyists and they can return to making a more honest living. My contention wasn’t completely addressed, and perhaps that’s my fault for not steering in that direction more quickly. (Hey, ten to twelve minutes on the radio flies by in a heartbeat.)
Still, I would imagine that opening that door will give me a better opportunity at round 2 at some future date. As I said in my wrapup thanking the staff, I’ll just have to keep writing good stuff and surely they’ll want me back.
Like I said to them, I had fun. I guess that’s what counts.