Or something. A while ago, in “Michele Bachmann, Light Bulb Vigilantes, and the Dim Bulbs of the Tea Party“, I described the fear that the psychiatric wing of the Republican Party (and its dominant wing) has towards more energy efficient light bulbs. This is what appears to drive that fear:
On her way out, Dee Hogan of Nashua told me she would gladly vote for Bachmann. “I don’t appreciate that your next-door neighbor is going to start yelling at me, telling me to shut my lights off when they have that shut-your-lights-off thingee. I don’t want people in my face, telling me what to do.”
I really don’t understand this. Soundwaves encoding a phrase like energy efficient light bulb contact Hogan’s tympanic membrane. Then a neurological process that is kinda like cognition, except that it’s really, really fucking stupid, occurs and out pops….a posse of light bulb vigilantes.
This isn’t the kind of ‘centrist’ response one hears in response to a question the respondent is ashamed to answer “I don’t know” to–the ‘well, we just have to stay on the right track and see how it all plays out’ crapola. This is delusional paranoia worthy of the crazy guy on the subway.
Well, the House Republicans are indulging the
Tea Party’s Republican base’s nightmares (boldface mine):
The bill, sponsored by Texas Republican Joe Barton, would strip away any “federal, state or local requirement or standard regarding energy efficient lighting” that uses light bulbs containing mercury. In other words, all compact fluorescent bulbs.
Remember, in May, Barton, denied there was any “medical negative” from mercury emitted from coal power plants. Now he fancies himself a protector of the public from a vastly smaller source of potential mercury poisoning. The reality: There is an extremely small amount of mercury in CFL bulbs. Even after more than 8 hours of exposure to a broken bulb, mercury levels are equal to eating a 6 oz can of tuna.
But that’s not what this is really about.
Barton’s bill targets the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which increases the efficiency of incandescent light bulbs by 27% through 2014. It was a completely non-controversial bill that had bi-partisan support, was strongly supported by light bulb manufacturers (and still is) and was signed into law by George W. Bush.
“When this bill was passed, it was passed by people who knew how to make light bulbs,” says Randall Moorhead, vice president of government affairs at Philips, a leading light bulb producer. “Everyone supported it. And since then, it’s created more choice for consumers – we have two incandescent bulbs on the market that weren’t there before.”
But in an effort to score political points in the 2012 election cycle, Republican lawmakers have made patently false statements about the law – calling it a ban on incandescent light bulbs. Michigan Republican Fred Upton, who supported the law in 2007, is now back peddling and claiming that the efficiency standard is an example of “federal overreach.”
Lunacy? Check. Craveness? You betcha! This is why idiots like Bachmann, who has made this her signature issue (no, really), have to be shouted down. What with the Fox News echo chamber, the inherent lunacy of the Republican base (they’re comin’ to git yer light bulbs!), and the craven acquiescence of politicians and operative who do know better, this insanity has a way of becoming legislative reality.
And, yes, despite the gay Marxian Hitlerist Stalinism of this bill, you will still get your incandescent bulbs (boldface mine):
“We support the notion that efficiency is a desirable thing, and this type of standard has been a part of our body politic for a long time,” says Moorhead of Philips. “The reality is, consumers will see no difference at all. The only difference they’ll see is lower energy bills because we’re creating more efficient incandescent bulbs.”
Moorhead explains the business case for the efficiency standard to Climate Progress:
The 2007 law set minimum efficiency level. That’s it. Everyone in the industry knew that it was set at a point that we could still make incandescent light bulbs. The industry never would have supported a law that would have banned a technology or prevented us from making a light with a certain kind of ambiance.
The reality is, the new incandescent lights were not being made because there was not an economic incentive to make them. And now Philips [and other manufacturers] makes two types that were not made before EISA. Today, under the efficiency standard, consumers have more choices, not less. They still can choose from more types of incandescent light bulbs that will be more efficient.
Because it’s not like more efficient light bulbs would be helpful at all:
The American Council on an Energy Efficient Economy says that the standards would eliminate the need to develop 30 new power plants – or about the electrical demand of Pennsylvania and Tennessee combined.
Only Republicans can make the current crop of Democrats look good…