The Dimming of the Bulbs

There has been lots of chatter on this blog lately about a serious and pervasive problem that faces this nation.  Oh, not that silly debt-ceiling nonsense. Or Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! No, none of that. It’s the light bulb. You know, as in dimwit. Did you read the story that our House of Representatives has been hard at work this summer with important legislation that affects the lives and livelihood of millions of our fellow citizens? Apparently a light bulb went off in the heads of the GOP as this article from the LA Times suggests: House Republicans move to thwart lighting efficiency rules. Yes, the GOP is hard at work saving the incandescent light bulb.  Wow! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!  If only I were working in a light bulb plant…

Yes, that’s what the GOP has been working on this summer. Doesn’t that give you a warm glow all over?

Extending the metaphor to an idiotic distention,  isn’t this exactly the serious and pervasive problem facing the future well-being of our nation- dimwits both in Congress and their equally dim constituents at home? Light bulbs off upstairs.

We’ve referred to these as low-information voters. LIVers for short. Apparently there are at least ‘thousands of them’ because, as the LA Times reports says, “thousands of consumers who have contacted Congress upset about their inability to buy 100-watt light bulbs,” said Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R-Texas), author of the measure.” I wonder if a similar pool of citisens were equally upset in the early 60’s when the radio tube was replaced by the transistor? Or, further back, when the mule-team was replaced by the truck?

This time it’s all about ‘government interference’ in their lives. Damn it! The ‘gumment.’ The LIVers. The Kansans. Today’s Tea Party.

Low-information voters drive today’s GOP-like the twenty-mule-team- back into the pages of history. A time when law was settled at the end of a gun. No need for deep-thinking or weighing of alternatives. No gray areas. Nor deciding what’s best for The People.  Rugged individualism. I want mine and the hell with you! Gimmme!

Is that the raw nerve that today’s GOP and Tea Party continually tap into in today’s low-information voters? The sense of individualism? The narcissistic meme? The backwards-looking, bygone days? What used to be?

Frequent commenter UptheFlag said recently, Why do the 98 PERCENTERS continue to accept losing income ground in getting ahead and tolerate the ONE or TWO PERCENTERS who take home huge income increases at the detriment of the 98 PERCENTERS in food, clothing, and shelter?

Hopefully, not all 98 PERCENTERS accept this.  Yet, from the results of the recent congressional election, quite a large percentage of The People are continually bamboozled into voting away their best economic interests. That reality is stunning. And devastating for the Common Welfare of The People.

The light bulb. Dimming, but not totally burned out, at least in the electrical sockets. More likely, though, in head-sockets.

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18 thoughts on “The Dimming of the Bulbs

  1. Absolutely.

    Who was it leading the charge against the tyranny of efficient lighting?
    Our own Minnesota embarrassment, Michele Bachmann.

    Thomas Edison’s descendants have come out with a statement asserting that if he were alive, Edison would be the first to applaud and support the innovations on his original design, not try to stay in the dim and distant past.

    Has anyone else noticed the desire of the right to prevent progress, change, anything that differs from their idealized rather than factual notions of a golden ‘olden days of yesteryear’ view of the world?

  2. The problem is that the reality was that business would cut corners and not care about safety–hence the pure food and drug act of 1906. During the nineteenth century, much of the food consumed by the working-class family was adulterated by foreign substances, contaminated by chemicals, or befouled by animal and human excrement. A.S. Wohl points out that

    to look back nostalgically and assume, for example, that the bread which formed the staff of life was home-baked, or, if bought, was wholesome and nutritional, is romantic nonsense. By the 1840s home baked bread had died out among the rural poor; in the small tenements of the urban masses, unequipped as these were with ovens, it never existed. In 1872 Dr. Hassall, the pioneer investigator into food adulteration and the principal reformer in this vital area of health, demonstrated that half of the bread he examined had considerable quanities of alum. Alum, while not itself poisonous, by inhibiting the digestion could lower the nutritional value of other foods.

    The list of poisonous additives reads like the stock list of some mad and malevolent chemist: strychnine, cocculus inculus (both are hallucinogens) and copperas in rum and beer; sulphate of copper in pickles, bottled fruit, wine, and preserves; lead chromate in mustard and snuff; sulphate of iron in tea and beer; ferric ferrocynanide, lime sulphate, and turmeric in chinese tea; copper carbonate, lead sulphate, bisulphate of mercury, and Venetian lead in sugar confectionery and chocolate; lead in wine and cider; all were extensively used and were accumulative in effect, resulting, over a long period, in chronic gastritis, and, indeed, often fatal food poisoning. Red lead gave Gloucester cheese its ‘healthy’ red hue, flour and arrowroot a rich thickness to cream, and tea leaves were ‘dried, dyed, and recycled again.’

    As late as 1877 the Local Government Board found that approximately a quarter of the milk it examined contained excessive water, or chalk, and ten per cent of all the butter, over eight per cent of the bread, and 50 per cent of the gin had copper in them to heighten the color.

    Indeed, as Wohl further points out, even luxury items for the relatively well off were hardly any better. The London County Country Medical Officer discovered, for example, the following in samples of ice cream: cocci, bacilli, torulae, cotton fiber, lice, bed bugs, bug’s legs, fleas, straw, human hair, and cat and dog hair. Such contaminated ice cream caused diphtheria, scarlet fever, diarrhoea, and enteric fever. “The Privy Council estimated in 1862 that one-fifth of butcher’s meat in England and Wales came from animals which were ‘considerably diseased’ or had died of pleuro-pneumonia, and anthacid or anthracoid diseases.”

    Do you trust private industry to safeguard the health and environment given its track record?

  3. Here in the EU, we are dealing with the switchover to newer low energy light bulbs with style! In fact, with a little ingenuity, any existing fixture can be adapted to use the new bulbs. I have a few of the old fashioned ceramic pulley glass lampshaded farmhouse fixtures…all over 60 years old. I just replaced the hardware…any one can do it, except if you are a brain damaged tea bagger, I suppose. The up side is that the new lights are much longer lasting as well.
    On the other hand, new lighting fixtures are being designed all the time. I have LED encased lights in my bathroom ceiling. It’s now the norm here in Europe. You can still buy the old lamps, but gradually the various wattages and shapes are being phased out.
    Wait till you see photos of the Champs Elysees in Paris this Christmas…the seasonal lighting has been totally converted to LEDs and the effect is totalment feerique!
    Talk about a phony gasbag timewasting non issue…that’s what the GOP has unfortunatley become the Time wasting party of the Gasbag Old Pharts! Time to pull the plug.

    1. Here in the EU, we are dealing with the switchover to newer low energy light bulbs with style!

      Microdot- your comment re the EU compared with the US is exactly what’s wrong with this nation. It’s all about maturity. Yes, maturity. The nations of the EU are like the wise, elderly chieftains of the Native American tribes. They accrued much wisdom over their years and understood what was best for their people.

      Here in the U.S., we often disregard the wisdom of the ages, and go with the young, wild buck who has little real-world experience. I think of Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan in the GOP as perfect examples.

      The additional anchor weighing down the U.S. is the ignorance factor. Yesterday my wife and I had a voter registration booth at a festival. It was astounding that so many people told us, ‘I never vote!’

      The political scoundrels quiet enjoy that fact. They thrive on the fact that a large swath of our citizens do not participate in the electoral process.

      The third contributing factor to the wide EU-US gap is the pervasive 24/7 right-wing propaganda that floods the air waves of our nation. And we are an easily propagandize-able set of people!

  4. Hello All,
    I was not aware that my Republican Party in Congress was trying to save the incandescent light bulb. To the best of my knowledge, there is not one incandescent light bulb being produced in the U.S. The last I know of was In Winchester, VA. which the last major GE factory that produced incandescent light bulbs in the United States closed in September 2010.

    Where the problem truly lies is in the corporate mentality. Instead of retooling manufacturing at these plants, they just laid everyone off. As the trend has been for the last decade, the leading replacement lights are compact fluorescents, or CFLs, which are made almost entirely overseas in China. Yes the multi-national corporations established the production plants in China for the latest in technology once more pissing on the heads of American Workers. Rather than setting off a boom in the U.S. manufacturing of replacement lights, they exported the middle class manufacturing jobs to China.

    Tracing the roots to the innovative Thomas Edison this invention of the 1870’s should have been upgraded to the CFL bulb production, instead built new facilities investing in China’s future economic wealth.

    I could understand if one took the view that instead of the Supreme Court recognizing corporations with the rights of citizens; should have looked into acts of treason against the United States.

    1. To the best of my knowledge, there is not one incandescent light bulb being produced in the U.S.

      Exactly, Engineer. Yet the dopey Tea Party representative from Texas said in his speech to Congress, ‘Just think of how many jobs could be saved right here in Texas…’ The fact that there is no light bulb factory in that state is of no consequence because the LOW INFORMATION VOTERS don’t know that.

  5. Hello Microdot,
    You have brought up a good point of the use of LEDs. (Light Emitting Diode) In essence just another transistor. A very low electric usage product producing a truer light source. The main production of LEDs in the U.S. is located in Tennessee. Yes building American Jobs!!

    I did a study for a municipality in Delaware of replacing street lights with LEDs. The savings was quite a bit over several years. The better use of the electric generated, the less that needs to be burned to produce the new demands for electric. Just like the cars that get 40 MPG is a better solution and a better return on investment than looking for more sources of oil or finding ways to extract oil by questionable means.

    1. The city of Ann Arbor Michigan [University of Michigan] has replaced all of its downtown street lamps with LEDs. They are amazingly bright and effective.

  6. My spouse pointed out that people accepted unleaded gasoline to improve our lives, so what’s up with the light bulb controversy?

    P.S. I live in the woods where mosquitoes rein. The bugs are NOT attracted to LED lights so life is so much better here now. I can also put more lights on the same electric line because each bulbs draws a fraction the the equivalent incandescent wattage.

    1. Jeff- I did not know that about bug-attraction to LEDs. Thanks for that information. The point about amperage-pull on the wires is an equally important point. Keep those ideas flowing here!

      1. When I was a kid, I remember at least two house fires caused by hot light bulbs. LEDs don’t get hot; not even warm. Just the peace of mind from that is enough to get ’em.

  7. Dick Armey, former Congressman from Texas and leader of FreedomWorks, said it best on July 12, 2011 as to what is wrong with the today’s political environment …
    “Because we got a government that will not be serious about their work and want to use the resources of governance for partisan political purposes, neglecting their duty, while they tend to their political haggling.

    The BULB Act is proof … instead of processing the legislation through committee process, Joe Barton (R-TX) opted to have the House vote directly … now with the committee process, the Republicans with their overall majority would have passed this legislation (only 10 Republicans opposed it) … but by bypassing the process, a 2/3 majority is required … Barton knew this would fail, but he just wanted to tell LIV that he tried … no he didn’t, he just wasted two days on the House floor.

    It is important to recognize that the law that President Bush signed does not eliminate “Edison’s bulb” … it just requires that bulbs have to meet an efficiency standard.

    Regarding US production of light bulbs, to the best of my knowledge prior to President Bush signing the legislation, no “Edison bulbs” were being produced in the US … (FYI … Ohio used to be a major producer of light bulbs predominately at General Electric Nela Park campus in Cleveland) … but because of the new legislation, CFL bulbs are now being produced in Pittsburgh and a few other states … Ohio should be returning to producing light bulbs soon as there is a new factory that should be opening soon.

    BTW, I do recall drivers being upset about the elimination of lead from gasoline … but eventually that became just a memory as more cars were built to use unleaded gas … the same should happen as a result of the new light efficiency standards … but this is more of an issue for politicians to exploit than anything else … the Defense Resources Board issued a study earlier this month highlighting the dollars that would be saved but that did not stop the Republicans from pushing the issue … add light bulbs to abortion, guns, gays and religion to the Republican playbook.

  8. Speaking about our new buzz word, LIVers, lol…
    They are everywhere, aren’t they, M_R? Would you and I be one?
    I am reminded about the current ad running that is done by the Oil and
    Gas group that asks the question, “Have you ever owned a mutual fund?”

    We are shareholders of numerous corporations in a mutual fund. By not
    exercising our voting rights in mutual funds, we support the big pay for
    company executives. The CEO and upper management are looked upon
    as a hero by stock holders. Stock holders gather every year to vote “their”
    interests. Yet, they don’t question the trade off between the money paid
    to executives or how that inflated compensation could have been used to
    compensate the workers, blue and white collar, or to re-invest to grow
    the company. Everybody goes with the status quo…Create no waves….
    keep my job(Just Over Broke). We 95ers have been serious handicapped,
    and we have done it for all the suggestions in a post below…

  9. Hello Minnesotacentral,
    Thanks for passing in the update of CFL bulbs are now being produced in Pittsburgh and a few other states. This is good news. Is the producers GE or another company? As I do have CFLs throughout my home now but I would be interested in making sure I pruchase only those produced in this country. I have always tried to purchase products made in this country even if it meant paying a little more but redently even more so.

  10. THANKS for reading my comment.

    Regarding where production is occuring :
    Osram Sylvania has retooled its current St. Marys, Pennsylvania incandescent factory to produce new energy saving incandescent bulbs that will meet the standards.
    In 2011, TCP—one of the world’s largest makers of CFLs—is opening a new factory in Ohio to help meet the new demand.
    GE recently invested $60 million to create a Global Center of Excellence for linear fluorescent lamp manufacturing in Bucyrus, Ohio—an action that will double the number of jobs at that plant.
    But the big job producer is Cree. President Obama toured their North Caroline facility in June.
    Others include Lighting Sciences Group Corp in Florida, and Philips Lighting (the world’s biggest lighting company) to produce the next generation of efficient LED light bulbs.

  11. FYI … the Edison Light Bulb has been saved … read how … Dr. Michel Burgess (R-TX-26) snuck it into an appropriations bill as an amendment … which was debated for seven minutes by Dr. Bugress in favor and one Congressman opposed … then was approved on a voice vote at 6:46 on a Thursday evening … wanna guess how many were there ?

    BTW, if you wish to read more about Ohio businesses producing, or planning to manufacture, light bulbs, read this.

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