Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The changing of the bulb

Regular frequenters to the CSM have probably noticed that we tend to spend a lot of time poking fun at the GOP. However, since they've been in power for so long, and done some truly flabbergasting things, they've painted the bulls-eye on themselves.

But rest assured. With the recent changes in the balance of power, we're starting to see stories from the Democratic party being just as ridiculous, if not more so. A couple of recent bills proposed in California highlight that.

Two different members of the California Assembly are looking to bring a new issue to light. Specifically, Assemblymen Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) and Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) are looking to shed a different light on the state, as they've pieced together bills seeking to outlaw the incandescent light bulb. The bills are both being presented, before being combined into one omnibus package, as ways to facilitate cost- and energy-saving measures on behalf of consumers. Both Levine and Huffman feel that forcing Californians to use fluorescent bulbs by law could go a long way towards both helping the consumer's bottom line, and helping the environment. Meanwhile, across the aisle, California State Senator George Runner (R-Lancaster) is already feeling that the proposed bills are forms of "nanny government", with legislation being made to dictate day-to-day life.

It's actually pretty hard not to see Runner's point, and that's not because of a lack of sufficient lighting. Passing a law to ban the incandescent light bulb in favor of fluorescent light bulbs, while being pitched as a way to phase out "a technology that's obsolete", according to Mark Murray of Californians Against Waste, could be seen as government stepping into the more mundane aspects of life in an attempt to control simple day-to-day functions. Nevermind the point that Runner's already made about the iconic image for when someone's had an idea.

But overall, banning incandescent bulbs seems like something of an empty gesture, and a piece of fluff legislation simply to get a couple of people's names out in the public. What's next? Is the state of Wisconsin going to try to ban a certain type of cheese, because it isn't produced with the newest technology? Will Washington state ban old computer components, forcing people to upgrade their systems because it's better for them? Will New Jersey enact legislation to produce a higher quality of pollution and waste?

Of course, we could just be jumping the gun. This is happening in California. It might not be that long before a group of celebrities bands together to form the group, "How Many Stars Does it Take to Keep the Light Bulb the Same?". Now that K-Fed has turned down a free $25M, he should be available.

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