Zera's Blog

A Citizen's View from Main Street

112th Congress HR2417 – Better Use of Light Bulbs Act


This Bill has already failed, but it illustrates how the priorities of the republicans stray from the priorities of the country. It also serves as a commentary on the technical competence of knee-jerk legislation.

The Bill:

[Congressional Bills 112th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 2417 Introduced in House (IH)]
112th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 2417
To repeal certain amendments to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act 
  with respect to lighting energy efficiency, and for other purposes.
_______________________________________________________________________
                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
                              July 6, 2011
Mr. Barton of Texas (for himself, Mr. Akin, Mr. McClintock, Mr. Flores, 
   Mr. Hultgren, Mr. Turner, Mr. Wolf, Mrs. Lummis, Mrs. Capito, Mr. 
Scalise, Mr. McKinley, Mr. Burgess, Mrs. Blackburn, Mr. Goodlatte, Mr. 
 Poe of Texas, and Ms. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas) introduced the 
   following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and 
                                Commerce
_______________________________________________________________________
                                 A BILL
To repeal certain amendments to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act 
  with respect to lighting energy efficiency, and for other purposes.
    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
    This Act may be cited as the “Better Use of Light Bulbs Act”.
SEC. 2. LIGHTING ENERGY EFFICIENCY.
    (a) In General.–Sections 321 and 322 of the Energy Independence 
and Security Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-140) are repealed.
    (b) Application.–The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (42 U.S.C. 
6201 et seq.) shall be applied and administered as if sections 321 and 
322 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (and the 
amendments made by those sections) had not been enacted.
SEC. 3. MERCURY-CONTAINING LIGHTING.
    No Federal, State, or local requirement or standard regarding 
energy efficient lighting shall be effective to the extent that the 
requirement or standard can be satisfied only by installing or using 
lamps containing mercury.
SEC. 4. STATE REGULATION.
    No State or local regulation, or revision thereof, concerning the 
energy efficiency or energy use of medium screw base general service 
incandescent lamps shall be effective.
SEC. 5. DEFINITIONS.
    In this Act, the terms “general service incandescent lamp”, 
“lamp”, and “medium screw base” have the meanings given those terms 
pursuant to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (42 U.S.C. 6201 et 
seq.), as applied and administered pursuant to section 2.
                                 <all>

Analysis

Section 1:

A cute use of an acronym, but it does not really apply to the Bill. The Bill is about choice, not best practices.
HR91 and S395 use the same name.

Section 2:

A sweeping statement that a section of law is repealed does not actually modify the law. Rather, it complicates the law with conditional statements. This bill creates the very same burdensome bureaucratic rat’s nest legal code that everyone wants to simplify and streamline. The final modifications of 42 U.S.C. Chapter 77 (a.k.a. 42 U.S.C. 6201 et seq.) are not specified here, but left vague and open to interpretation. This bill represents the legislative laziness that creates problems and drives up legal costs.
What they should have written might have looked more like:
 (a) In General.–Sections 321 and 322 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-140) are repealed.
 (b) Application.–(precise instructions on how to unwind 110-140, Sec. 321 and Sec. 322)
 (c) Rulemaking.–(precise instructions on how to unwind rules required by or based on 110-140, Sec. 321 and Sec. 322)
 (d) Expenditures.–(precise instructions on how to remove funding for programs enacted by 110-140, Sec. 321 and Sec. 322)

Section 3:

This section is curious for a few reasons:
  1. With the development of full-spectrum LED lights, this section is rendered useless. LED lights can meet any requirement of standard that florescent lights could. The exception would be for ballast requirements that have nothing to do with bulb choice.
  2. Supposed protection from mercury in the bulbs (less than a thermometer’s worth) would be more than offset by the extra coal ash generated. Coal ash contains mercury, some of which goes into the air. Light bulbs containing mercury must be recycled, they cannot be put in the trash. The whole mercury-in-landfill argument is false.
  3. It explicitly prohibits state or local government from setting a higher standard. Setting a minimum national standard is one thing, preventing the states from improving on it is another thing entirely.

Section 4:

Another mindless anti-state/local sovereignty restriction. Interestingly, it may also be anti-innovation.
“There’s a massive misperception that incandescents are going away quickly,” said Chris Calwell, a researcher with Ecos Consulting who studies the bulb market. “There have been more incandescent innovations in the last three years than in the last two decades.”
and
“Due to the 2007 federal energy bill that phases out inefficient incandescent light bulbs beginning in 2012, we are finally seeing a race” to develop more efficient ones, said Noah Horowitz, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Constitutional Authority Statement:

By Mr. BARTON of Texas:
H.R. 2417.
Congress has the power to enact this legislation pursuant to the following:
This bill is enacted pursuant to the power granted to Congress under Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution.
U. S. Const., Art I, Sec. 8, clause 3:
[The Congress shall have Power] “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;”
I might add:
U. S. Const., Art I, Sec. 8, clause 18:
[The Congress shall have Power] “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”
Seems to be an incomplete Authority without the power to write the laws that exercise the allotted powers.
I would also like to note that this Bill was written under the assertion that the Federal government lacks the authority to write the law it is attempting to repeal, while using the same allegedly non-existent Constitutional Authority for this Bill.
It has been estimated that this Bill would directly cost consumers $6-12B in additional energy costs in order to feed anti-government sentiments. The indirect costs of additional air pollution and energy-dependence have not been calculated, to my knowledge. This is a very high cost for no purpose other than partisan politician gain.
{UPDATE} The republicans seem to have found a way to temporarily defund enforcement.
Oooopsy. GOP attack on light-bulb efficiency irks manufacturers
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July 18, 2011 Posted by | Legislation, Strangelove | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Huck Going To Sarah’s Turf



So that’s a “no” to civility? Coming from a religious zealot, I am not surprised. People fighting for their own religious rights are the enemy? American citizens standing up for democracy and the Constituti­on in the face of theocracy are the enemy? I don’t think so!

Huckabee is the type of republican who will never accept the Constituti­on of the United States as the highest law of the land. He has no business being in politics.

This Constituti­on, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constituti­on or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithsta­nding.”
Article VI

Oh, look, it is unconstitu­tional to put the Bible – or any other basis of law – above the Constituti­on.

And while we are at it, Mikey; Article I, section 9 says:

“No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.”

Which means that it is unconstitu­tional to put a national sales tax, or even a national VAT tax, on products exported from a state. You can go ahead and scrap your Fair Tax Act any time, it’s worthless.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

January 16, 2011 Posted by | Elections, Religion | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Michele Bachmann Raises Record $5.4 Million In Three Months


Her support has nothing to do with her qualifications as a Representative and everything to do with her notoriety. She is a standard-bearer and symbol for the far right, a leader of their extremism and embodiment of their ineffectiveness and irresponsibility in matters of true governance.

She believes that we should be a theocracy, and her success is a testament to the incompatibility of theocracy and democracy. Christian fundamentalist money loves her.

She wants to dismantle government of the people in favor of corporate domination, no matter how irresponsible and destructive that is. Corporate money loves her.

Her district has the highest foreclosure and unemployment rates in the state. Little of her money comes from actual constituents.

She has formed a Tea Party Caucus in the House, and effectively dared republicans to join or else. She is accumulating power without any real accomplishment behind it. She says and does anything for political gain. She is the embodiment of what is wrong with American politics.

Those who vote for her fall into three categories:
1) Those who share her extreme ideology. They will vote for her no matter what.
2) Hardline republicans who vote the party no matter the candidate. Long-time republicans are starting to defect in her case as she becomes too extreme for them to accept anymore.
3) Those who don’t pay attention to politics and just vote the party or the name they remember or the ad they believe. A few facts make all the difference for them.

Michele Bachmann is antithetical to our survival as a country. She is pro-religious persecution and pro-corporatocracy, and anti-everything else.

  • Anti-worker
  • Anti-consumer
  • Anti-environment
  • Anti-freedom of religion other than hers.
  • Anti-civil rights that offend her personal prejudices.

Her economic policies have never worked, even for her, yet she clings to them like stone tablets.

She is exactly the sort of politician that we need to get out of government.

More on 2010 Elections
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

October 15, 2010 Posted by | Campaign Finance, Candidates, Capitalism, Constitution, Direction, Elections, Government, Religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sharron Angle Makes Light Of Media Timidity: ‘If The Press Comes Knocking, Don’t Say Anything’



The Tea Party claimed that Washington was not listening to the people. One primary victory and they fully adopt the founding justification for their party.

They have not yet been elected and they are already turning their backs on the non-sycophant majority of America.

They have already proven they will not build a responsive congress. The good news is that we do not have to throw them out, all we have to do is keep them out.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

October 11, 2010 Posted by | Candidates, Direction, Elections | , , , | Leave a comment

Meg Whitman’s Campaign Rocked With More Domestic Drama As Ex-Nanny Backs Up Housekeeper


When our forefathers gained independence from England and formed the United States, they eschewed both the forms and trappings of aristocracy. We were to be a country of the people, not kings or lords or bishops. Such is the extent to which we rejected aristocracy that the Constitution explicitly forbids the government from granting titles of nobility, and designates the chief executive as “President” – deliberately rejecting the title of “Lord” or “King” as was common at the time.

Meg Whitman represents a domestic insurgence of that aristocracy so antithetical to our founding principles. The names of the titles may have changed, but aristocracy has come to America nonetheless. They are now called CEOs and COOs and Directors instead of Princes and Lords, but their grip on the levers of power is the same.

Follow the money.

Whitman is putting more of her personal wealth into this race than the vast majority of Americans will ever see in their lifetimes. Are we to believe that she is so philanthropic that she would spend such sums for the chance to help the poor and the middle class? Is there substantial evidence of this in her past actions? How much evidence to the contrary exists? How much would this contradict the principles of her party?

It is easier to believe that she seeks to subdue California, and cause it to submit to the will of the aristocracy.

This is in no respect why we had a Tea Party so long ago.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

October 7, 2010 Posted by | Campaign Finance, Candidates, Elections | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Angle Suggests Free Market Could Solve Pre-Existing Conditions Coverage


Sharron Angle’s pronouncement shows a curious lack of understanding of the subject. I attribute this to too many talking points and too few white papers.

During the 2008 election, McCain put forth a reform plan tat failed to show basic understanding of the concept of insurance, the complexities of health care, sound business practices, and human nature. In short, it could not have worked.

Nevertheless, republicans have clung to those ideas ever since – including Sharron Angle.

The insurance companies created the problems that necessitated reforms. They had things the way they wanted them, and it would be insane to think they would make meaningful changes on their own. Especially changes that favored consumers.

She makes about as much sense as a first down in the fifth inning.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

September 22, 2010 Posted by | Economics, Health Care, Regulation | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Right Nation 2010 In Chicago: Glenn Beck Headlines, Journalists Not Invited (VIDEO)


Fear-mongering seems to be what passes for honor in his world. The free press, as the eyes of the people, is critical to a healthy democracy – what we are seeing here more closely resembles a conspiracy. I call them Fifth-Column Republicans.

We have a clear choice here:
Fiscal conservatives would have us submit to the power of money and the authority of unelected officials – Corporatocracy – under the baseless belief that, without government, problems will fix themselves. This is the path of taxation without representation.

Social conservatives would have us submit to their fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible, in defiance of the Constitution and the core principle of our founding – the “Great Experiment” – that people could govern themselves well, independent of king or clergy. They believe they have a divine right to rule the rest of us. They do not. I call them The Religious Reich.

The Tea Party is driven by emotion, easily manipulated. I name them Political Vigilantes. They want to “take back” their country without understanding what that truly means. You cannot solve a three-dimensional problem with one-dimensional thinking, but they have been kept focused on the one dimension and do not perceive where their actions could lead. The freedom they seek, they instead surrender to Corporate America – which will disavow their support and betray their hopes. Caveat Emptor.

Then there are the Democrats, who have been demonized for doing what they were elected to do: make the hard choices – albeit clumsily and inefficiently.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

September 20, 2010 Posted by | Candidates | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jim DeMint: Tea Party Candidates Can Win Midterm Election Races



What gets lost in all the propaganda and political vigilantism is the fact that it is not enough to “throw the bums out.” First, you have to sort out the baby from the bathwater. Second, you have to replace them with competent people or you are just trading gridlock for havoc.

As in the private sector, a strict adherence to seniority perpetuates a “business as usual” mindset that must be replaced with a policy that favors skill, experience, and expertise over stagnation.

Nor is a change of the guard sufficient when the external forces that dominate Congress remain strong. Campaign finance reform and lobbying reform must be achieved before we can expect real change in Washington.

We also need people in the Administration who believe that government has a role in America, that it has responsibilities that private people and private organizations cannot or will not take on, or cannot be trusted with.

Too many people in government want the government to fail, heedless that the country will fail with it. They call themselves “patriots”. I do not.

Government should be no bigger or smaller than the scale of it’s responsibilities. It must be necessary in action and efficient in execution.

The Tea Party is too driven by rage over reason, too narrow of focus, too short of vision. They mean well, but they have been fed a diet of fear and disinformation. This is a bad combination that might likely have disastrous results.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Campaign Finance, Direction, Elections | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Content of our Foolishness


“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”
– Sinclair Lewis

This seems to have been a rally of people running on emotion and a vague understanding of what they support and what they oppose. A group of people who have not thought consciously about the American Dream until they felt it slipping away. And along comes Glenn Beck, a conservative shock-jock turned revivalist preacher/snake oil salesman, telling them it is patriotic to do as he says, to follow his lead. It’s OK to be a religious zealot. You do not need facts or comprehension if you have faith. You need to restore the dream. Not the dream of MLK. Not the American Dream. The dream of theocracy, of One Nation Under God. The Christian God. The Republican God.

I look at the crowd, and I see people literally and figuratively wrapping themselves in the Flag. Paraphernalia Patriots trying to reassure themselves that they are the true Americans who represent the will of the people. People who know what’s best for the country based on their emotions and “common sense“, and not a deep understanding of the problems we face as a nation. Our Country, Right or Wrong. One Nation, Under God. Give Me Liberty, or Give Me a Gun. Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition. God Bless America, the land of Sloganites and Sheeple.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

August 30, 2010 Posted by | Religion | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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