Texas Unconstitutionally Attempts To Nullify Federal Law On Incandescent Light Bulbs

How many Texas politicians does it take to screw in a non-communist light bulb?

For some reason, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which includes a phase out of incandescent light bulbs over a seven year period ending in 2014, has become a focus of conservative ire over the past few years. Michele Bachmann made a big deal earlier this year when she introduced a bill to repeal the light bulb ban. Now, the State of Texas, whose Governor may soon be a candidate for President, has passed a law that effectively purports to nullify the Federal law:

Want to keep buying traditional incandescent light bulbs and avoid the federally mandated phase-out? Consider moving to Texas.

Texans can keep buying traditional incandescent light bulbs, under a bill allowed to become law this week by Gov. Rick Perry. It was authored by State Rep. George Lavender of Texarkana.

Lavender and supporters said the bill protects individual freedom against an unwarranted expansion of government authority.

Environmentalists and editorials from some mainstream media outlets such as the Austin Ameican-Statesman bewailed the bill because it undercuts the goal of increased energy efficiency.

The bill, HB 2510, states that it avoids the federal phase-out specifying that traditional incandescent bulbs are legal to sell in Texas as long as they are manufactured in that state. That means the bulbs are not part of interstate commerce, removing the rationale for their regulation under the U.S. Constitution, according to the bill.

Of course, the law runs afoul of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Gonzalez v. Raich, where the Supreme Court held that medical marijuana that was grown and sold in California under the states medical marijuana law was still subject to Federal laws dealing with illegal drugs. In that case, Justice Antonin Scalia authored a concurrence that lays out just how broad the Commerce Clause power extends: 

The authority to enact laws necessary and proper for the regulation of interstate commerce is not limited to laws governing intrastate activities that substantially affect interstate commerce. Where necessary to make a regulation of interstate commerce effective, Congress may regulate even those intrastate activities that do not themselves substantially affect interstate commerce.

(…)

Our cases show that the regulation of intrastate activities may be necessary to and proper for the regulation of interstate commerce in two general circumstances. Most directly, the commerce power permits Congress not only to devise rules for the governance of commerce between States but also to facilitate interstate commerce by eliminating potential obstructions, and to restrict it by eliminating potential stimulants. See NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp., 301 U.S. 1, 36—37 (1937). That is why the Court has repeatedly sustained congressional legislation on the ground that the regulated activities had a substantial effect on interstate commerce. See, e.g., Hodel, supra, at 281 (surface coal mining); Katzenbach, supra, at 300 (discrimination by restaurants); Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, 379 U.S. 241, 258 (1964) (discrimination by hotels); Mandeville Island Farms v. American Crystal Sugar Co., 334 U.S. 219, 237 (1948) (intrastate price-fixing); Board of Trade of Chicago v. Olsen, 262 U.S. 1, 40 (1923) (activities of a local grain exchange); Stafford v. Wallace, 258 U.S. 495, 517, 524—525 (1922) (intrastate transactions at stockyard). Lopez and Morrison recognized the expansive scope of Congress’s authority in this regard: “[T]he pattern is clear. Where economic activity substantially affects interstate commerce, legislation regulating that activity will be sustained.” Lopez, supra, at 560; Morrison, supra, at 610 (same).

(…)

The regulation of an intrastate activity may be essential to a comprehensive regulation of interstate commerce even though the intrastate activity does not itself “substantially affect” interstate commerce. Moreover, as the passage from Lopez quoted above suggests, Congress may regulate even noneconomic local activity if that regulation is a necessary part of a more general regulation of interstate commerce. See Lopez, supra, at 561. The relevant question is simply whether the means chosen are “reasonably adapted” to the attainment of a legitimate end under the commerce power. See Darby, supra, at 121.

In addition to Gonzalez, there’s also the Supreme Court’s decision in Wickard v. Filburn, where the Court ruled that wheat grown by a farmer for his own use which never actually entered the stream of commerce was still subject to federal regulation under the Agricultural Adjustment Act. So, the fact that the light bulbs might be manufactured and sold only in Texas is irrelevant, Congress still has the power to regulate them.

More importantly, as James Madison acknowledged as far back as 1800 during the crisis over the Alien and Sedition Acts, there is no Constitutional authority granted to the states that would allow them to nullify a Federal law: 

Nor can the declarations of either [the citizens or the legislature of Virginia], whether affirming or denying the constitutionality of measures of the Federal Government, or whether made before or after judicial decisions thereon, be deemed, in any point of view, an assumption of the office of the judge. The declarations, in such cases, are expressions of opinion, unaccompanied with any other effect than what they may produce on opinion, by exciting reflection. The expositions of the judiciary, on the other hand, are carried into immediate effect by force. The former may lead to a change in the legislative expression of the general will; possibly to a change in the opinion of the judiciary; the latter enforces the general will, whilst that will and that opinion continue unchanged.

And if there be no impropriety in declaring the unconstitutionality of proceedings in the Federal Government, where can be the impropriety of communicating the declaration to other states, and inviting their concurrence in a like declaration? What is allowable for one, must be allowable for all; and a free communication among the states, where the Constitution imposes no restraint, is as allowable among the state governments as among other public bodies or private citizens. This consideration derives a weight, that cannot be denied to it, from the relation of the state legislatures to the federal legislature, as the immediate constituents of one of its branches. . . .

John Kelso, a columnist for the Austin-American Statesman isn’t very impressed by his home state’s latest action:

Apparently, word on how we’re losing our state’s rights over a light bulb hasn’t made it all across the Capitol. Julie Fields of the State Preservation Board reports, the Capitol “started eliminating incandescent lamps approximately eight years ago and replacing them with compact fluorescents.”She says the board estimates 98 percent of the Capitol’s lamps are either compact fluorescents or high-intensity-discharge lamps.

But the House and Senate seem dead set on stepping back in time anyway.

Remember those gigantic cellphones we used to carry around in the old days, instead of these little units with pictures on them that we use today? If the Legislature wants to stay out of touch, how about a bill backing those old phones that were about the size of a tasseled loafer?

Only in Texas could people get worked up about using a certain light bulb because the other bulb is too liberal. But I’ll bet there are people out there who don’t use the new fluorescents because they think members of their bridge club will call them commies.

Maybe what the Legislature ought to do to send a message is get a great big incandescent light bulb and screw it into the Goddess of Liberty’s head on top of the Capitol.

Well, it would be about as useful as the idiotic law they just passed, which you can expect to be tossed out by a Federal Judge in the near future.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Chad S says:

    If you want to pick a fight over “states’ rights”, pick an issue that matters.

  2. lighthouse says:

    To paraphrase the Casablanca movie, we “incandescent lovers” will always have Paris, or maybe at least Paris, Texas…
    Updates on all current US State repeal ban Bills, Canada, EU and Australia information http://ceolas.net/#li01inx

  3. ponce says:

    For some reason, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which includes a phase out of incandescent light bulbs over a seven year period ending in 2014, has become a focus of conservative ire over the past few years

    For some reason?

    The prime motivation for Republicans is their daddy issues.

    Which translates into: “Nobody tell me what to do!”

  4. Dale says:

    Are you sure you want to support a law regulating light bulbs with a ruling that allows DEA stormtroopers to imprison people over a harmless plant?

  5. Gulliver says:

    Incandescent light bulbs are not a controlled substance – such as heroin or morphine – and therefore the Federal government has no authority over the intrastate manufacturing or selling of light bulbs. Any inclinatin to categorize them as a controlled substance is not only seriously flawed, but ludicrous.

  6. Jay Tea says:

    I’ve had a little civil disobedience idea for some time. What would happen if I were to take a couple of those federally-mandated CFCs into the Congressional offices of some of the ban’s sponsors and deliberately break them?

    Doug, I might need a good lawyer…

    J.

  7. anjin-san says:

    Wh

    at would happen if I were to take a couple of those federally-mandated CFCs into the Congressional offices of some of the ban’s sponsors and deliberately break them?

    As has been noted before, you are a brave guy indeed when talking smack on a blog. My guess is that you don’t have the nerve to raise your voice in a library in the real world.

  8. Scott O. says:

    If you want my incandescent light bulb you’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

  9. Jay Tea says:

    Consider it a thought experiment, anjin. What would you consider an appropriate response from the DIstinguished Member (or, far more likely, his or her staff) to such an action?

    Let me go into greater detail: said bulb hurled into a trash can with sufficient force to break it (to avoid any chance of the actual breakage causing injury) or broken in some other physically safe fashion, accompanied by a sarcastic “OOPS! I just accidentally broke a CFC bulb! Oh, my, I am so sorry!”

    Hey, said member mandated their use. I’m just using it in a non-standard fashion.

    J.

  10. wr says:

    Jay Tea — Just wondering if your life is so empty of actual challenges and ideas that this “thought experiment” is worth even a second of consideration to you. It’s the mentality of a dim fifteen year-old — “ooh, if I do this useless, stupid prank, I will make several people’s lives momentarily less pleasant, and thus I will have proved that I have had some impact on this earth.”

    Of course, the only people you’ll inconvenience are low paid staffers and much lower paid janitors — but then Republicans think it’s hilariious when they can do harm to people with no power and influence in the world.

  11. JKB says:

    Oh, what’s not to like. It’ll be fun to re-litigate. Of course, the Department of Energy could send their SWAT teams against Texas homeowners using incandescents. They’ll have to be careful or they might smash all the evidence.

    They could even argue the lack of impact on commerce since there’ll be no market elsewhere. Texas on the other hand has their own sand, their own fuel for the glass kiln, their own electricity. Does Texas have their own ore deposits for the filament? Perhaps they could recycle?

    In any case, Texas has a growing economy so they can afford a little legal case which is more than the DOJ can say.

  12. Jay Tea says:

    wr, think about it for a moment. I am using a Congressionally-mandated product — one I am forced to buy if I want a light bulb — in a way that replicates accidents that happen in the home all the time. And I will quite possibly trigger a biohazard alert.

    Whoops, I forgot who I was talking to. Asking you to “think about it for a moment” is far beyond your ken. My sincerest apologies.

    Anyway, if you could think about it, you might realize that the kind of civil disobedience I’m talking about here is bringing a bit of ugly reality to those who are forcing us to take those bulbs into our own homes. Let them deal with the problems they’re inflicting on all of us.

    I’m talking one light bulb in one office. If you have a problem with that, then you have a problem with the light bulb. And I’m not the one making all alternatives illegal.

    J.

  13. Neil Hudelson says:

    Since a CFL has about 5 miligrams of mercury (a thermometer has 2 grams, a watch battery 25 miligrams, and a tilt thermostat 3 grams) I think the reaction would be “Someone put this in the trash and open the window just in case.”

    Yeah, really scary prank you pulled there.

    Of course since 40% of mercury released into the air comes from coal plants, and since CFL’s will pretty drastically reduce the amount of coal being burned (all things staying equal, and compared to incandescent of course), you’re still better off with a broken CFL or two than a world lit by incandescents.

  14. Jay Tea says:

    Neil, I can give you a dozen reasons why some people prefer the incandescent bulbs. Not that they are superior across the board, but why individuals, when given a choice, will choose the incandescent one.

    But your side can’t have that, can you? Can’t have people making choices — because they might make the WRONG choice.

    That’s “wrong” by your standards, of course. Which are infinitely superior to ours. So, naturally, we must be protected from ourselves.

    We’re so glad to have you folks as our benevolent masters, protecting us from making “wrong” choices. Light bulbs, seat belts, transfats in NY restaurants, smoking, buying decongestants… my goodness, if people were allowed to make their own choices, it would be CHAOS!!!!!

    J.

  15. anjin-san says:

    Consider it a thought experiment, anjin.

    Ok. Well now we know a little more about the workings of your mind. It’s about as interesting as cardboard.

  16. anjin-san says:

    Now maybe Perry can get back to the serious business of begging the evil federal government for more money.

  17. ponce says:

    If you want my incandescent light bulb you’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

    When incandescent light bulbs are outlawed, only outlaws will have incandescent light bulbs!

  18. nbcnbcn says:

    you idiot, “liberal” light bulbs are poisonous. If you want to talk about unconstitutionality talk about obama’s ilegal war in Libya, or his ramming through of the dream act by executive order ignoring what the Senate decided months ago.

  19. Scott O. says:

    When incandescent light bulbs are outlawed, only outlaws will have incandescent light bulbs!

    Jay Tea’s sign at the next tea party rally, “We left our CFLs home, this time”.

  20. Franklin says:

    Neil, I can give you a dozen reasons why some people prefer the incandescent bulbs. Not that they are superior across the board, but why individuals, when given a choice, will choose the incandescent one.

    I think Neil was just pointing out the ridiculousness of anti-environmentalists sudden love of the environment, but only when it is threatened by a CFL bulb breaking. But in fact it’s not a real threat to the environment at all: the tiny amount of mercury will evaporate in a few minutes, during which you’ll probably want to avoid sucking in the fumes too heavily or having your dog lick it up.

    As for whether incandescents are aesthetically superior, probably so, and in fact I think the law is a bit ridiculous. But don’t let your conservative rags fool you into thinking the CFL somehow causes more pollution, because it doesn’t. It’s not even close.

  21. ponce says:

    Jay Tea’s sign at the next tea party rally, “We left our CFLs home, this time”.

    Thread winner.

  22. Jay Tea says:

    Scott, that could stand a bit of tweaking, but I like that idea…

    I wonder if I could take a CFL on to an airplane? Into a federal building?

    J.

  23. john personna says:

    If you ask me, it’s the marshmallow experiment in action. If you can’t understand how an incandescent is like “marshmallow now” there’s not much we can do for you.

  24. lighthouse says:

    CFL mercury is indeed worse….

    RE the comment that coal power plant release of mercury from incandescents is worse than CFL mercury, that is a bit of a rat-in -the pizza tale:

    Apart from being release outside rather than inside a home,
    it does not hold up (and only ever did where coal dominated) also given new EPA stats with the enforcement of mercury emission reduction mandates using recent cheaper technology, under new admin Lisa Jackson
    Also see http://ceolas.net/#li198x for a full acoount of the issue

  25. Rock says:

    I use my burnt out CFL bulbs as targets at a local pistol range. Just screw them into the backstop berm and light them up with a .22LR or .45 cal .230 grain ACP ammo.

  26. Herb says:

    “Only in Texas could people get worked up about using a certain light bulb because the other bulb is too liberal. ”

    Ha! That was funny, but the Pavlovian response from the right isn’t just a local issue. This has two elements that trigger the mouth-watering: energy efficiency and a government mandate. The merits of the policy are not even germane. It’s simple: We don’t need no energy efficiency. We don’t need no government mandate.

    Meanwhile the market for incandescent bulbs is slowly, globally, inevitably disappearing and no amount of legislative hijinks in Austin will preserve it.

  27. Scott O. says:

    Any wuss can take out a CFL with a .45. I rip mine apart with my bare hands.

  28. Bob says:

    How about the law is plain idiotic and the bulbs it produces are vastly inferior and very costly. How about the goverment just get the hell out of making deciions for me.

  29. wr says:

    Jay Tea — Clearly you, like the leaders of your party, have decided that being a jerk is the ultimate political statement. As you say, it’s one lightbulbt. It would be a completely meaningless nuisance for the congressional janitorial staff. And since you’ve already declared that even the super-brave version of you that exists only in your fantasy would have to claim this was an accident for fear of prosecution, it would get no publicity or attention. (Newsflash: Jerk accidentally drops light bulb! Yeah, even Drudge wouldn’t be bothered with that.) So some janitor has to clean up broken glass so you can feel good about yourself. I’m so impressed with you. Such a freedom fighter.

  30. Bernieyeball says:

    The representatives of the people of the Perry Republic are not the only ones to take up this noble cause.
    Apparently South Carolina is willing to spend it’s taxpayers donations to keep the home lights burning.
    At least South Carolina is home to American Light Bulb Manufacturing Inc. in Mullins according msnbc.com.
    The only other USA maker of incandescent bulbs is OsramSylvania, a German enterprise that makes the old time bulbs in Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
    So what is Texas going to do?
    “We will make our own bulbs in Texas and all the citizens of Texas will be duty bound to buy them. Remember the Alamo!”
    Will the Dim Bulb Boys in Austin assist some Lone Star community in the construction of a new factory? Will the factory be mandated to use raw materials only mined in Texas? Will Texas ban the sale of CFLs to create a market for their home grown brilliance? What other forms of artificial light will be allowed to compete with light bulbs from Lubbock? How much will the exclusively Texan labor force at these shops be paid and how will the employers know for sure the workers are Texan?
    You can buy a Ten Gallon Hat in Oklahoma.

  31. Neil Hudelson says:

    When someone challenges Jay Tea on facts rather than on vitriol, he has apoplectic fit.

    Someone call the waaaambulance, quick!

    We’re so glad to have you folks as our benevolent masters, protecting us from making “wrong” choices.

    Judging by the rational thinking you’ve displayed in this thread, someone needs to.

  32. An Interested Party says:

    First they came for the incandescent light bulbs,
    and I didn’t speak out because I didn’t use incandescent light bulbs.

    Then they came for the trans fats,
    and I didn’t speak out because I didn’t eat trans fats.

    Then they came for the guns,
    and I didn’t speak out because I didn’t use guns.

    Then they came for me
    and I should have know this was inevitable since they already took away the incandescent light bulbs, trans fats, and guns.

  33. Tlaloc says:

    I’ll make the same comment I made on another blog:
    Texas insists on being backwards… this is news?

  34. Julie Fields of the State Preservation Board reports, the Capitol “started eliminating incandescent lamps approximately eight years ago and replacing them with compact fluorescents.”She says the board estimates 98 percent of the Capitol’s lamps are either compact fluorescents or high-intensity-discharge lamps.

    Perhaps because the state can priortize and implement its ideological initiatives without as much concern for the cost as its citzens?

  35. Neil Hudelson says:

    And by “costs” you mean a product that is cheaper during its lifetime?

  36. ken says:

    Abandoning incandescent light bulbs in favor of ones that produce more light with less energy waste is just one of the changes we will be making as a society as we grow more aware of the possible ways to protect the environment for future generations.

    No one individual has enough influence to protect our future from the degradation caused by the misuse of resources so it is absolutely necessary that we act together to force compliance equally from all, both the willing and unwilling alike. Only by acting together can we have enough influence over the course of events to preserve the environment for future generations.

  37. Bernieyeball says:

    No one individual has enough influence to protect our future from the degradation caused by the misreading of the Constitution so it is absolutely necessary that we act together to force compliance equally from all, both the willing and unwilling alike. Only by acting together can we have enough influence over the Legislatures and Courts to preserve the Constitution for future generations.

    “Words are just a plaything to me.” Tommy Smothers

  38. mantis says:

    Notice how Jay Tea immediately abandons his “compact florescent bulbs are dangerous biohazards” argument when presented with some inconvenient facts by Neil? He then goes down the tired old childish libertarian path of “we should be able to choose to do anything we want.” Want to buy plutonium, or burn a huge woodfire in your front yard in a dense residential area? Want to dump whatever you like in public waterways? Want to carry a loaded weapon into a school? Well dammit, that’s your right as an American to choose, and anyone who thinks different is HitlerStalin!

    Your arguments may be convincing to middle schoolers, Jay, but try to step it up a bit when dealing with adults, would you?

    The need to eliminate a horribly wasteful product from the marketplace when a host of far more energy efficient alternatives exist is unfortunate, Jay. If it weren’t for short-sighted, spiteful pricks like you, this sort of thing would just happen naturally. That said, one hopes the boot of lightbulb oppression does not kill your spirit entirely. Fight on, brave light warrior of freedom!

  39. Bernieyeball says:

    Mantis: “…this sort of thing would just happen naturally.”

    And the state of nature is….???

  40. Brian Garst says:

    Both Raich and Wickard are terrible decisions that should be challenged over and over again until they get it right. Is the Texas law unconstitutional? Well that depends on if you think modern day constitutional jurisprudence is at all related to the constitution. I do not.

    As for the mysterious reason conservatives are upset with the law, can you really not understand it? It’s Big Government run amok, and represents perfectly the wasteful stupidity that conservatives see with the ever growing meddling of the nanny state into all matters of what used to be considered the private sphere.

  41. anjin-san says:

    Look mantis, Jay wants the right to continue to use technology that dates back to the horse and buggy era, regardless of the consequences to the environment. So step back. He is totally prepared to have more fantasies about carrying out a really, really lame campaign of “civil disobedience”, or more accurately, what an 11 year old thinks civil disobedience is.

    Such is the stuff that today’s conservatives are made of!

  42. An Interested Party says:

    It’s Big Government run amok, and represents perfectly the wasteful stupidity that conservatives see with the ever growing meddling of the nanny state into all matters of what used to be considered the private sphere.

    Oh? So how many conservatives want to end the War on Drugs, allow people to have pornography, not reinstate anti-sodomy laws, get rid of most consensual crimes, etc….

  43. Jay Tea says:

    mantis, I abandoned the entire internet for the day (apart from half an hour for e-mail), and it felt good.

    I never said they were a dangerous biohazard, merely implied that they’re nastier to clean up than standard bulbs. You wanna argue that?

    I realize this is a foreign concept to you, but my default position is to NOT take choices away from people unless there is a very compelling reason. A vocal group saying “we think A is better than B, so we’re making it illegal to do/use/buy B” breaks that principle to me.

    Your side’s attitude seems to be “we think this is better, we don’t care about your reasons for why you don’t want to change, you’ve got to abide by our way because we say so.”

    I understand why you think your beliefs are correct and mine are wrong — that’s just plain human nature. What I don’t understand is why you are so compelled to force everyone else to comply with your beliefs, no matter their objections? Why can’t you let others make what you consider “wrong” choices? Don’t people have the right to make “wrong” (by your standards) decisions?

    I guess your philosophy boils down to “everyone has the right to agree with me, and live by my rules.” Sorry, I reject that.

    J.

  44. Neil Hudelson says:

    So, Jay essentially never actually answers to the argument at hand, but just changes tones and arguments?

    Great strategy.

    I suppose you’ll never officially lose an argument, but you’ll never win. Pretty good metaphor for your life thus far.

  45. mantis says:

    Get that strawman, Jay. Get im good!

  46. Duracomm says:

    These comments do a very nice job of showing that under a thin, untrue, facade of support for choice democrats show their true nature with an authoritarian habits that are miles deep.

    This quote by a guy named Tim J from another blog sums it up pretty well

    The idea tends to be that while liberals want to tell you what insurance to buy, how much salt, fat, and what kinds of fat you can use in cooking, what kinds of lightbulbs you can use, how much water you can use each time you flush, how much carbon you can exhale, and at what point you’ve made enough money and need to have it spread around, conservatives don’t want you to have sex with other men.

    So the two sides are basically the same, you see.

  47. mantis says:

    The idea tends to be that while liberals want to tell you what insurance to buy

    Liberals wan’t everyone to have access to health care, whereas conservatives are happy to see health care for people without medical insurance either be paid for by taxpayers when their diseases have progressed far enough, or to just see them die.

    how much salt, fat, and what kinds of fat you can use in cooking

    Duracomm, are you unable to buy and cook with whatever quantities of any kind of salt or fat you like? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

    what kinds of lightbulbs you can use

    Actually, we just want the most horribly wasteful lightbulbs to be off the market, as we are having a bit of a problem with energy these days and certain portions of the population can’t act responsibly, because Jesus. Conservatives, on the other hand, would rather ignore reality, and want to see energy prices go up and up until only the ultra-rich can afford electricity. Utopia!

    how much water you can use each time you flush

    Keep flushing, lard ass.

    how much carbon you can exhale

    You exhale carbon? Go see a doctor, man.

    and at what point you’ve made enough money and need to have it spread around

    Oh right. Conservatives don’t believe in taxes at all. The government should run on magic fairy dust.

    conservatives don’t want you to have sex with other men.

    A) A lot of homosexuals are not men, dumbass.
    B) Conservatives want absolute control over Americans’ sex lives, yes. Thank you for admitting that.

    So the two sides are basically the same, you see.

    No. One side ignores reality, strives to make life more miserable for everyone but the rich, and thinks the law should govern all sexual choices. Liberals think people should be free to do what they want, as long as that’s not screwing up society for the rest of us and flushing our future down the toilet (and let the water fun forever because America, F*ck Yeah!).

  48. Jay Tea says:

    Duracomm, don’t forget legalization of pot. (I got one of those nuts commenting on my blog.) The right tends to be upfront about their opposition; the left occasionally makes noises, but when it comes down to it, they weasel out every time.

    Personally, I couldn’t care less about the issue, but it’s certainly illustrative as an example.

    And don’t forget conservatives also don’t care for the destruction of fetuses/slaughter of babies, either.

    J.

  49. Jay Tea says:

    Also, Duracomm, note how they show how compassionate they are by prioritizing others’ rights for them. We don’t “need” certain rights, as they’re just silly.

    Hmm… that does seem to be a theme. If enough liberals think a right isn’t important, it kinda sorta stops being a right for everyone. And they have no problems using the full power of the federal government to shut down that right.

    J.

  50. Neil Hudelson says:

    Just so I understand conservative thought:

    Health care isn’t a right, lightbulbs are.

  51. Jay Tea says:

    Sorry, Neil, close, but no cigar.

    Health care is a right. Just ask any hospital ER.

    FREE health care is not a right, like FREE light bulbs aren’t.

    You want free health care? Repeal the 14th Amendment and make medical workers slaves.

    You want everyone else to pay for your health care? Personally, I say no. And I say that as someone who probably has a hell of a lot more health issues than you do.

    And what I’m saying is, for my own personal enjoyment of life, I want to buy and use incandescent bulbs. For my own reasons. You, as the one who wants to take that choice away from me, are obligated to make the case why I shouldn’t be allowed to. You get to argue why my ability to choose here is so damned dangerous, you need the full force of the federal government to force me to comply with your wishes and abide by your preferences and give up my own.

    What’s your case there, sport?

    I know what it was in Congress — “because we say so, and we know better, so shut up and do what we say.” You wanna be that honest, or you wanna take a whack at spinning something else?

    J.

  52. An Interested Party says:

    This quote by a guy named Tim J from another blog sums it up pretty well…

    Not really, as conservatives appear to want to do far more than just stopping men from having sex with each other…nice try, though…

  53. WR says:

    Jay Tea — The only person talking about “free health care” is you. Those who are in favor of reforming the system believe that health care should be primarily funded through taxation, as Medicare is. We don’t believe this makes it “free,” anymore than we believe that highways and prisons and wars are “free.”

  54. Jay Tea says:

    Then, wr, what’s the problem? We have the right to health care right now. You can’t be denied health care — hospitals have been sued over it. So, what’s the problem?

    Oh, you don’t like how it’s paid for, and want to separate the costs from the payers as much as possible. You don’t want people to see how much health care costs, just let them pay for it without really seeing the relationship. Kind of like income tax withholding.

    How kind of you to take that burden off of people. Why SHOULD they care about costs — “the government” picks up the tab!

    But where does “the government” get that money?

    “The problem with socialism is, you eventually run out of other people’s mioney.”

    But back to the light bulbs — let’s set aside Neil’s attempt to derail things. I have no problems with CFLs — you want to use them, fine. Be my guest. I don’t like them, but I don’t think they should be made illegal.

    Why can’t I be afforded the same courtesy? I like incandescent bulbs, for a variety of reasons. Why the hell can’t I keep using them (and buying them)? What is so damned important that you need the federal government to take away my choice on that matter?

    J.

  55. Tracy Beamish says:

    We live in a country where you can choose to have an abortion, but you can not choose what type of lightbulb you prefer? And, you’re pushing the bulb that costs more, made in china and contains mercury?

  56. WR says:

    Wow, Jay Tea. You’ve completely convinced me. I was dubioius about your claims, and then you repeated that same Thatcher quote that every right-wing drone uses at least twice in every thread, and it’s just impossible not to be persuaded by the repeated use of a cliche. Way to argue.

    Remember what your mother said — if you don’t have anything to say, don’t say anythng at all.

  57. Jay Tea says:

    Actually, WR, my mother never said that. The advice of hers I’m ignoring right now, with you, is “never argue with idiots. They drag you down to their level, then beat you through experience.”

    And there’s a reason some phrases become cliches. It’s because they’re true. Calling it old and tired, if it escaped your notice, in no way challenges its accuracy.

    J.

  58. An Interested Party says:

    The problem with socialism is, you eventually run out of other people’s mioney.

    If Thatcher believed this, why didn’t she try to dismantle the socialist NHS…

  59. Jay Tea says:

    Interested, she had other priorities. You might recall things like the economy, the Cold War, a little disagreement with Argentina…

    Even Maggie couldn’t take on everything all at once. “A pig like that you don’t eat all at once.”

    J.

  60. An Interested Party says:

    Or rather, the NHS was so popular that she knew she couldn’t dismantle it…I’m sure that’s the fear of conservatives in this country concening the PPACA…if they fail to strangle it in its infacy, they’ll never be able to dismantle it, like they haven’t been able to get rid of Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid, as much as they’d like to…

  61. WR says:

    In other words, Jay Tea, you actually have no thoughts behind your “beliefs,” just a collection of stale cliches. Not that this comes as a surprise to anyone here.

  62. Jay Tea says:

    I realize this sort of thing is anathema to you, WR, but my thoughts are that I should have the right to exercise my choice in as many ways as possible, unless a compelling argument can be made that it somehow infringes on the rights of others. Not just my right in matters related to sex, but in all aspects of life.

    For example, I live in New Hampshire. We have no seat belt laws for adults. Which means every time I get in my car and buckle up, I’m exercising my choice to protect myself. And I’m a seat belt militant. I ALWAYS buckle up. But it’s my choice.

    I like incandescent bulbs. I don’t like CFLs.

    I like a lot of foods that are bad for me. I like buying them.

    You, on the other hand, think that anyone who doesn’t agree with you is an idiot. And you feel you have not only the right, but the duty to protect idiots from making bad choices.

    You’re a fascist with a heart of gold.

    In other words, a fascist.

    And you don’t even realize it.

    J.

  63. WR says:

    Thank you, Jay, for attempting to read my mind from across the country. Of course you failed, but that just puts you back in your comfort zone.

    Among the many things you’ve gotten wrong here is the notion that I think anyone who disagrees with me is an idiot. I think people whose sole mode of argumentation is to repeat a thirty year-old cliche and believe that will convince anyone of anything tend to be idiots, but I would think that if the cliche spouted were “War is not healthy for children and other living things,” too.

    I don’t care what you do with your life until it affects me. What you seem to be incapable of understanding is that in a nation of 300 million people, what you choose often has a greater impact than simply on your choice. For instance, you might decide that you love lead in your paint and your gasoline. Does the government have a right to make you stop using lead?

  64. Jay Tea says:

    WR, if I want to use lead paint in my home, for whatever reasons I like, why shouldn’t I? I am single, I have no children. If I find a certain shade of paint that I really, really like and can’t get in a lead-free paint (I dunno if that’s even possible, but I’m going hypothetical here), why shouldn’t I be able to use that paint in my own home?

    I know — because it’s BAD FOR ME and I must be protected from making BAD choices. Even if I do so in full knowledge of the risks, and choose to do so anyway.

    As far as leaded gas… that was a horrible idea from the outset, back in the 20’s. But if you wanna bring up ethanol-blended gasoline, hell yeah, I’ll fight that one. The ethanol is wrecking a lot of engines, the manufacturers are saying the warranties don’t cover that kind of damage, and you can’t get out of buying it — at least here in New Hampshire. And don’t get me started on MTBE — that’s been an even bigger nightmare here in NH when the federally-mandated gas additive started corroding underground tanks and leaking into ground water.

    Your next point? Anywhere else where you think your wisdom is so far, far superior that it should be legally mandatory for everyone else?

    J.

  65. WR says:

    Leet me guess why you can’t use lead paint:: Because one day you will not live in that house and the next owners will not know about the dangers you’ve left behind. Because the manufacture of that paint you like so much puts more lead into the environment we all share.

    And of course you completely ducked the question about leaded gas. Sure, you don’t like it, but maybe some other guy does. Why shouldn’t he be able to use it, under your philosophy? For that matter, why is ethanol or MTBE any of your business? Go find a source that sells the kind of gasoline you like.

  66. Jay Tea says:

    For that matter, why is ethanol or MTBE any of your business? Go find a source that sells the kind of gasoline you like.

    You insanely dumb stupid FSCK.

    The point about that is, I CAN’T. The law DEMANDS that gas stations only sell gas with Ethanol, and the MTBE was another MANDATED additive. There ARE no other “sources” for gas that’s just gas, and won’t wreck engines. And if someone did try to sell that, the government would come in and shut them down — and, possibly, arrest them.

    As far as the lead paint — I’ll put a big notice in the house that says it’s got lead paint. Everyone who comes in will have to see it. Any future buyer will have to know about it.

    But back to the gas… my god, you just made MY argument for me, while insisting that it was for your side. Why don’t I just go buy gas with no ethanol or MTBE? Why don’t I just go buy the lightbulbs I like?

    Because compassionate fascists like you WON’T LET ME GET THEM.

    J.

    (Apologies to the site’s authors/owners for my outburst; I plead incredulity that someone could actually type that.)

  67. mantis says:

    “Fight fascism. Give brain damaging lead poisoning to kids!”

    That’s good, but I don’t know if it’s catchy enough to beat the Huns.

  68. WR says:

    Once again, you completely ducked the question about leaded gas, although this time you tried to hide the fact with cuss words. Do you believe that the government SHOULD be able to stop you from buying and using leaded gas even if that’s the gasoline you prefer? You’ve run away from this answer about three times now. If you need to use more obscenities to frame your anwer, be my guest. You can even tell me that hilarious knee slapper about Thatcher and socialism.

  69. Jay Tea says:

    I dumped the leaded gas because it was a bad example — lead was added to gas as a government mandate, and a horribly inefficient one. That said, there are a lot of cars on the road today that still require leaded gas (I’d wager you don’t even know what it’s there for), and you can get lead additives. It’d be simpler if gas stations could choose to carry leaded gas, but that ain’t gonna happen. Especially since leaded gas would wreck new engines even more than the ethanol is.

    I adapted your question to be more relevant — because you don’t really grasp those sorts of issues.

    And as for the “strong language” (which I still censored) — I repeat: your comment about “find a source” is the very crux of MY point. Your side of the argument is specifically about outlawing all such sources, forbidding me from obtaining what I want because YOUR side has problems with MY using what I want. You don’t like it, you think it’s bad, so NOBODY gets it.

    J.

  70. WR says:

    No, Jay Tea, you ducked the question because your philosophy is either incoherent or insane. The queston is: Do you support any government restrictions on what you consume based on the damage these consumables cause to the environment? You can dance away all you want, but you simply refuse to answer this.

  71. mantis says:

    It’s much easier to call people fascists than seriously address an issue, WR.

  72. Jay Tea says:

    WR, that wasn’t the question. That version presumes a hell of a lot — that the CFLs are, in the long run, significantly better for the environment. From what I’ve read, on top of their other drawbacks, the answer is no — they’re manufactured in China, so they have to be imported; they use a LOT of nasty chemicals and toxic metals to produce; and they have to be disposed of quite carefully.

    Now, don’t try to say I want them banned. I say let them compete on the marketplace against the incandescent bulbs, and let people make their own choices. If they’re better all around, then they’ll be more popular.

    Which has been my position all along, and recently became your position — “Go find a source that sells the kind of gasoline you like.”

    I support REASONABLE restrictions. I don’t think the CFL mandate is reasonable. Another restriction I find unreasonable are the environmental regulations that are currently causing Minot, North Dakota to be flooded.

    Conversely, do you consider ANY other concern as potentially outweighing environmental ones? Or does that trump everything?

    It’s obvious that “I’d really rather not fill every socket in my house with a crappy, slow, sickly, dimmer-switch-resistant, expensive, mercury-laden curly fry of a bulb” doesn’t meet your standards. What does?

    J.

  73. Jay Tea says:

    Oh, and for the record, the lead in gas was a bad idea from the start — when it was a government mandate, much like the CFLs are now. Sadly, we have about 50 years of vehicles that need it.

    J.

  74. WR says:

    Mantis — Yes, but at least he called me a nice Fascist.

  75. WR says:

    Jay Tea — Rain is now an environmental regulation? Of course, I’m sure the Grand Forks Herald is a Soros-influenced lefty rag that’s covering up the truth…

    “Lt. Col. Kendall Bergmann, head of the corps’ St. Paul District, said he is well aware of everyone’s frustration. But even if he knew then what he knows now, he said, he would still be helpless to lessen the flood level. The corps controls a dam upstream at Lake Darling and works with Canadian partners who control three more reservoirs upstream in Saskatchewan, he said, and all the reservoirs are maxed out and the water must be released.

    “I could release the entire amount of Lake Darling out of it, and let’s say I could do it without affecting Minot, and I close the gates to protect Minot from the crest that’s coming down, the lake would fill up in less than one day, but the water would not stop,” he said.

    Blame it on the rain, he and and Steve Buan, a hydrologist with the weather service’s North Central River Forecast Center in Chanhassen, Minn.

    Saskatchewan, the source of the Souris River, has seen record rains from the beginning of May to the middle of June, saturating the soil so it can’t hold much more water, Buan said. The projections had accounted for all that, he said. What they hadn’t accounted for was 4 to 6 inches of rain falling over a broad area earlier this week, he said.

    Bergmann drew a rough map of the river basin to illustrate the point. If 4 to 6 inches had fallen in this small area over one of the reservoirs, the others could take up the slack, he told the Herald, drawing a small circle. Instead, it fell over several of the reservoirs, he said, drawing a larger circle over them all. There’s flooding downstream of the reservoirs in Canada, too, he said.

    Compounding the problem is the reservoirs are already straining, he said, so when they must release their water, that flow is joined by water draining from the rest of the basin downstream, adding up to an enormous volume of water.

    In short, this may be a flood that’s too big for the reservoir system to contain.

    “Everything is full and there’s no where to put it,” Bergmann said.

    Why so late?

    But why couldn’t federal officials say that sooner?

    Data is hard to come by, Buan told the Herald. There are few residents on the sparsely populated south Saskatchewan plains, and, consequently, few observers to gauge rainfall, he said.

    “I don’t know what’s going on in every square inch of the environment,” Bergmann said. He doesn’t know the exact absorption rate of the soil or the exact evaporation rate or what holes the water may go into, he said, “that’s why there are estimates.”

    http://www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/207641/

  76. matt says:

    It’s sort of funny that you should mention lead paint. My cousin lives in Missouri and her town is so contaminated with lead that it’s considered unhealthy for her to plant a garden. This is all thanks to a lead smelter that has refused to clean up their act and have been fighting the EPA and such for 20 something years now. They were quite surprised to find this out after they had bought a house in the afflicted area.

  77. matt says:

    Lead in gas isn’t much of a big deal since most of the engines made during the leaded days can run fine without lead. Lead was used as a cheap and effective octane booster by the gas companies so all that matters are the valves and what they are made out of. I’m sure there’s some clunkers somewhere running the old valve material but any rebuilt engine using the really old blocks won’t need lead either. I’m reasonably sure that the government never mandated lead but they sure mandated lead free gas after studying the effects of leaded gasoline. Since the lead pollution basically leaked out everywhere you went the damage wasn’t restricted to the user.

    As for CFLs my oldest bulb is 5 years old now and is still working fine with a click turn on and no flicker.

  78. Jay Tea says:

    matt, I’m glad you appreciate your CFL. Too bad they don’t work as well — or last as long — outside in a New Hampshire winter. Or work with a dimmer switch.

    I’m not saying they should be banned, but they should be up to the individual’s choice. Why do you think they shouldn’t be? Why do you think that your preference is so much better, it should have the force of law behind it? Why can’t you just leave us Lightbulb Luddites alone to enjoy our vastly inferior bulbs?

    Which, by the way, were almost exclusively made in the US. CFLs come from China. And if you look at England, as soon as they made the switch, the prices on CFLs went up quite sharply.

    Funny thing when you have a monopoly… especially one enshrined in the law.

    J.

  79. matt says:

    I’m glad you appreciate your CFL. Too bad they don’t work as well — or last as long — outside in a New Hampshire winter. Or work with a dimmer switch.

    A normal incandescent wouldn’t work worth a crap outside during a NH winter either. There are CFLs that work fine with dimmers and I highly suggest you look into those once you start having issues finding “normal” bulbs.

    I’m not saying they should be banned, but they should be up to the individual’s choice. Why do you think they shouldn’t be? Why do you think that your preference is so much better, it should have the force of law behind it? Why can’t you just leave us Lightbulb Luddites alone to enjoy our vastly inferior bulbs?

    I don’t have the answers for that. I obviously made my choice and you made your choice on this matter and it’s probably better off being a personal choice.

  80. matt says:

    I would like to amend my earlier post by changing “work fine” into “work great” because I’ve seen them in use myself and it worked just like an incandescent bulb.

    There are CFLs out there that are capable of operating in the harshest of winters but there is still the issue with the start up light only being around 75% output at start up with the normal increase in output. Personally I’d stick with a halogen floodlight for outdoor lighting like that.

    I am a bit of a fan of incandescent because currently they are better in situations where the light is turned on and off within 5 minutes. I actually had to retrain myself to not shut off the living room lights when walking out into another room for 10 minutes..

  81. matt says:

    Oh and BTW I like a lot of people rely on bulbs for heating my pets. I have two turtle environments and I”m currently using outdoor halogen flood lights for heat generation but I know some people that use incandescent bulbs since they are so cheap (I’m scared of water causing a break).