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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Rope a dope

Ed SchultzBelow is a series of emails I exchanged with “progressive” talk radio host Ed Schultz last week. Schultz bills himself as “America's #1 progressive talker.” He also calls himself “Big Eddie,” hoping to reinforce his image of formidability and manliness. Other slogans are “Straight talk from the Heartland!” and something to the effect of “A real man's man, a hunter and fisherman who votes Democratic.”

As the Friday show began he recounted how he was on a TV show with “conservatives,” wherein he demolished the “right-wingers” in argument. Then he declared “Damn, I'm good!” several times. Shortly afterwards he delivered one of his diatribes, this time against someone who said that windmills are threatening bird populations because the birds fly into them in great numbers. Schultz was really trashing the guy, calling him things like stupid, ridiculous, etc. He finished by proclaiming that wind energy is good, period! End of story. Whoever it was Schultz was trashing had no opportunity to respond, since he was not on the show. I thought this was pretty cheap, and thus began the following series of emails:
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From: John Hamilton
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 11:43 AM
To: ed@edschultzshow.com
Subject: Tilting at windmills

Greetings

I've been listening to your show lately, mainly because I work evenings, and have been getting up too late to hear much of Stephanie Miller. You've actually been pretty good for the most part, and I have been able to stand it for two whole hours.

Today I had to turn it off sooner than expected. When you went into a rant about wind power, you sounded like a complete _________. (Fill in the blank. I find namecalling counterproductive.) You give yourself away at times like this, getting more heated than usual or appropriate. You are out of your depth in dealing with complex issues. You might want to make the acquaintance of a good scientist of one kind or another. I'm sure they have a few at Moorehead, or even NDSU.

Birds flying into windmills is a real concern, an unresolved problem that is actually being researched by real scientists. Maybe you could learn a little about the problem, and then fulminate some more, shaking the rafters, huffing and puffing, blowing houses down.

Put another way, your show has value, but severe limits. In the present forum of ideas, a good blowhard can play a meaningful role. I just wouldn't get too carried away with it. People will get tired of you. Now, back to the bluegrass show.

John Hamilton
Madison , Wisconsin
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From: "Ed Schultz"
To: "John Hamilton"
Subject: RE: Tilting at windmills
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2007 11:48:49 -0500

WHAT A NICE GUY….
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From: John Hamilton
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 12:01 PM
To: "Ed Schultz"
Subject: RE: Tilting at windmills

Dish it out, take it. Pot, kettle. Goose, gander. Nicer than you.
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From: "Ed Schultz"
To: John Hamilton
Subject: RE: Tilting at windmills
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2007 12:07:37 -0500

WHAT did I DISH OUT TO YOU ?

HATEFUL JERK.
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Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2007 09:01:04 -0700 (PDT)
From: John Hamilton
Subject: RE: Tilting at windmills
To: "Ed Schultz"

Touchy, touchy. You dish out. It doesn't matter to whom. I've heard you bully people on the air for a couple of years now. There was Greg Palast, for example, in absentia. The windmill dissenter yesterday, again in absentia. A woman who called in once, who really got a tongue lashing for having a dissenting view. It started with something like "What kind of democrat are you? - Yelling. It descended from there. Many more times.

I find it amusing that you are so easily reduced to name calling. It kind of takes a bit of the luster out of the persona of "progressive." One could even say it gives the lie. I will still listen on occasion, but for the information, not the persona. It's free, and it's a free country. Keep on rockin' in the free world.
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This was one of the easier disputes I have had in my life. Surprisingly easy. Schultz's own bad temper got the better of him, which happens often on the air. He excuses himself by bragging that he is a "redhead," as if this were some exceptional type of person who deserves special absolution.

It's a pretty lame excuse. Ed Schultz is a bully, not unlike his counterparts on "conservative" talk. Like Newt Gingrich's strategic choice of "conservatism," Schultz's "liberalism" was brought on by an ulterior motive. By his own admission, his attraction to a "liberal" woman caused him to change his "views." She is now his wife. I know the temptation.

The problem with views inspired by career goals or animal attraction is that they are subject to the shifting winds of political vogue on the one hand, or fresh lust on the other. As I have written before in this blog, the important thing for the grandstander is not the beliefs, but the self-projection. Such a person is not to be trusted.
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I sent an email to Ed Schultz previously, last July. He didn't respond. It can be seen here.

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