Monday, March 28, 2011

Legislation for the Grumpy

Oh, it's been one of those days. A new blog post idea every couple hours. People were finding a myriad of ways to irk me today. In no particular order, here are some of the topics that caused generally higher levels of annoyance than usual (which is already pretty high):

  • Scott Walker
  • Corporate income taxes
  • South Carolina
  • Miranda rights
I also had a couple questions about prayer that I think the web community could help me answer, but I think my blog is a little too young for such sensitive topics at the moment.

So let's spin the wheel and see where we land tonight...............

South Carolina it is!  (Ooh.  It's a theme.  Last week it was South Dakota that was on my list.)

Ok, South Carolina, I know you're one of the redder of the red states, and as such, your general "government get out of my business" hackles are going to be raised a little more easily than they might in some other states, but really? With all that's going on in the country and, I'm assuming, in your state right now, this is where you're choosing to spend your energy?

For those of you who don't know, South Carolina lawmakers have proposed a bill which would allow incandescent bulbs to be made in SC and then sold only in SC, thereby allowing them (they hope) to avoid the federal law phasing out incandescent bulbs in favor of CFL's. (Here's the SC light bulb story on AP if you're interested.) The bill is called the "Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act." Seriously, if the name of your bill sounds like it belongs in an SNL sketch, you should just stop right there.

I get it SC. You don't want the federal government telling you what kind of light bulbs to buy. And CFL's don't fully light up right away. And the color is different. And they're more expensive. And they have mercury. And they're not as pretty.  I know.  And you're right.

Except that there's this: when you use that incandescent light bulb, we have to burn more coal to light your house than we otherwise would. And that pollutes my air. And it uses up what I think we can all agree is a precious and finite resource: fossil fuel. We may not love coal, but it's pretty much what we've got right now, so can't we all agree that we should try to use less of it?

And (IMHO) this is really government at its best. It's making people do things that, if only one person did it, wouldn't amount to very much, but if we all do it, actually has a huge impact. And it's not just "isn't this nice" sort of impact. It's preserving our national wealth and decreasing air pollution, which is something that helps us all, i.e. just what the government is supposed to do for us.  

It reminds me of that kick-ass video where the 1959 Chevy and the 2009 Chevy are used in a crash test. (If you haven't seen it, you totally need to watch it: Crash Test Video. I'm not kidding. It's kick-ass.) The 1959 Chevy is this huge hunk of steel compared to the little plastic 2009 Chevy, but the '59 is completely destroyed.  No crumple zones. No seat belts. No air bags.Windshield goes flying off the car. The entire dashboard moves into the passenger cabin and crushes the driver / impales him with the steering column. In the '09, the passenger area remains almost completely intact. My point? None of that happens without government intervention. Without government safety standards, sure, there would be some cars that hold themselves up as the leaders in safety. But your baseline automobiles wouldn't be the amazingly safe vehicles we all benefit from having today.

So South Carolina, really? Incandescent light bulbs? I know it's a sad day, but it's time to let it go. Their time has come, just like it came for the horse-drawn carriages and Atari video game systems. If you really want to protect people's right to play Pong, fine; have at it. Just realize, it's only a matter of time. And there's probably a few more pressing issues that the people of South Carolina need you to start tending to. So get to it.

Meanwhile, I need to figure out which of those other topics I'm going to bitch about tomorrow.

6 comments:

RaRa said...

I've got a topic for you! Trump was all over the broadcast venues the last few days spouting off on Obama's (lack-of) birth certificate...thoughts??

RaRa said...

Hey, btw, how do you get the "follow by email" option on your blog. I want to put that on mine too, for all my non-facebookers....

OakParkGirl said...

OMG did you hear about the movement to replace the bio-degradeable utensils, cups and plates with plastic and styrofoam? Then there was going to be a fucking feasability study on using real utensils and plates. REALLY? It's feasible, I do it every day assholes!

I hate to pay for that feasability study, but I hate that much styrofoam being used more. I say go to Target and buy a bunch of inexpensive sets of dishware and utensils and a dishwasher... We do both (real stuff we wash and biodegradeable for large functions) at Microsoft!
http://www.npr.org/2011/03/05/134278442/tempest-in-a-foam-cup-lawmakers-spar-over-plastic?ft=1&f=1014&sc=tw

rubyspikes said...

The "follow by email" is great, isn't it? New gadget on Blogger. Just go to the design page and it's now one of the top ones listed.

Trump on Obama? I think he sounded like an idiot. In fact, for such a smart guy, most of what I've heard him say lately sounds pretty idiotic. No one's come forward who knew him in his youth and that's "pretty suspicious." Really? STFU.

Tim said...

Philosophically I see the market as a tool society uses to allocate resources. Government is our hand on that tool. Therefore, I see no reason why it shouldn't push and pull on it for the greater good.

It seems the opposing position is that capitalism is a natural state that regulates itself and interventions of any kind are a corrupting influence. But I'll let Ayn Rand and Allan Greenspan defend that position.

rubyspikes said...

Tim: Well said.

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