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Dim Light Bulbs and Dimmer Politicians

Left to ourselves, we might pick the wrong health insurance, the wrong mortgage, the wrong school for our kids; why, unless they stop us, we might pick the wrong light bulb.
Mitch Daniels

The sun is gone, but I have a light.
Kurt Cobain

Back in 2007, the United States Congress and the Bush Administration quietly banned incandescent light bulbs.4

And not a moment too soon although they did delay implementation of the ban for 7 years  – probably to give Members of Congress sufficient time to invest in companies that make LED and CFL light bulbs.

I know that many of my American friends were concerned about the fact that the American government was incapable of crafting and passing budget legislation and many were concerned about the rising gun violence in their cities and their schools but to be fair, there were sound reasons for the ban.

Aside from the paltry energy savings environmentalists keep harping about, there was the creeping rise in incandescent light bulb crime.

A liquor store was held up in Akron when two men armed with a 50-100-150 tri-light bulb connected to a 200’ extension cord threatened to temporarily blind the store clerk if he didn’t immediately hand over all cash in the till and a bottle of Jack Daniels.

And there was that terrible light bulb gang war in Topeka where rival gangs kept sneaking into each other’s club houses to turn on all the incandescent light bulbs in the clubhouse in order to drive up the rival club’s electricity bill. Some gang members actually maxed their credit cards paying off those bills before law enforcement was able to bring the gang war to an end.

5Canadians are as upset as Americans with the Bush Administration’s ban because the result has been to cause Canada’s Conservative government to follow suit.

Yes, I said Conservative government. You remember conservatives; they are the guys and guyettes who are seriously opposed to government interference in the lives of citizens. It was, after all, the Conservative government that brought the infamous Liberal Gun Registry to a close but apparently they believe that while Canadians can be trusted with guns; it’s a completely different story when it comes to handling light bulbs.

Either as a result of pandering to special interest or America envy, the Harper Government in Canada has started a phased ban on incandescent light bulbs. This year it is 40 and 60 watt bulbs. Next year it will be 100 watt and up.

Canada, it appears, is no longer just going dim figuratively.

It has left me both confused and feeling a little sympathetic for hard-right conservatives.

It must be terribly inconvenient to have to constantly try to find ways to defend the actions of a conservative government that insists on acting like it was Liberal. It was difficult enough when the conservatives got caught in some rather messy and unethical (if not illegal) scandals like Robocall, election campaign funding and, of course, the never-ending Senate Scandal. It must have been even more challenging to try and justify self-professed conservative Rob Ford’s illegal drug use and binge drinking after having so sanctimoniously condemned Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for smoking a joint.

And that’s not to mention that the conservatives took the budget surplus they inherited from the Liberals in 2006 and turned it into a budget deficit that they are desperate to eliminate by 2015. Good luck with that.

For their part; the Green Party of Canada is disappointed that the legislation didn’t replace incandescent bulbs with solar powered bulbs. The socialist News Democratic Party was fine with the ban provided the bulbs screwed in to the left. The conservatives, of course, wanted the bulbs to screw in to the right.

The Liberal Party didn’t actually care which way the bulbs screwed but they did want a light bulb registry that would require all Canadians to register their light bulbs with the government at the time of purchase to prevent illegal light bulb crime.

Considering the serious danger to both our landfills and to our homes from the mercury toxicity of the new sperm-shaped fluorescent bulbs Canadians are now required to use, it has left me asking some serious questions.

What about incandescent outdoor Christmas lights? Does this new ban apply to them and if it does is this part of the war on 2Christmas? Will we have to drape our homes and trees in lights that are shaped like pale blue glowing suppositories or ice cream cones from Dairy Queen?

Will the government be providing a tax credit for the purchase of HAZMAT suits to be worn when people have to deal with cleaning up a broken bulb they dropped on the floor?

But in light of the ban on incandescent light bulbs, probably the most obvious question is ‘How many politicians does it take to screw in a light bulb?’ It is a question that has been often asked of others .

For example:

How many public-sector union members does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: Five; one to stand on the ladder holding the light bulb and four to turn the ladder.

How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: It only takes one but the light bulb has to be willing to change.

I had a friend who was a surrealist painter and when I asked him how many surrealists it took to change a light bulb, he told me “A fish.” Don’t feel bad – I didn’t get it either.

ice-cream-fluorescent-light-bulb-whippySome religious groups also reflected on the question with the Anglican Communion asking how many Anglicans it took to change a light bulb. They finally agreed that it would take 11 Anglicans; one to change the light bulb and ten more to form a committee to discuss how much better the old light bulb actually had been.

Now, in the face of the ban on incandescent light bulbs both here and in the United States, many are asking how many politicians it takes to change a light bulb and there is no shortage of people with answers.

One person told me that they thought it would take all of them because the process of drafting, amending, passing and enacting the necessary legislation would require the creation of committees, sub-committees, parliamentary secretaries and a repeat of it all in the Senate.

Another told me that he thought it would only take four; one to screw in the light bulb and three to appear on television news programs to discuss the new policy. The government’s representative would be required to spin how much better the new bulb is while the two opposition representatives would be required to whine about how the government’s legislation (which they supported) got it wrong.

I suppose each of those answers has some truth to them but when I asked myself how many politicians it takes to screw in a light bulb; it seemed to me that the answer was far simpler.

I believe it would only take one politician to screw in a light bulb because as they have proven time and again, it pretty much takes only one politician to screw something up.

To be completely honest, my friends, there are times when I begin to believe that most politicians, regardless of political party, are the victims of faulty dimmer switches that prevent them from glowing too bright.


© 2013 Maggie’s Bear

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  • oldwhiteguy

    the light bulb problem is just one more instance proving that the terminally stupid are firmly in control. your article was funny. unfortunately the powers that be did not take into consideration the mercury that will remain after billions of these so called power saving bulbs have been discarded.

    • MaggiesBear

      It isn’t just that it will now put more mercury into our land fills after we had spent decades eliminating it and the threat it posed to our water table, it’s the danger in our homes. If one of these things breaks, you can’t merely sweep up the glass. The debris is highly toxic to family and pets and isn’t that just what you want to bring into your home?

      Terminally stupid? We’re way passed that now.

  • chaos111_99

    More garbage from Oliver of the Harper liberal party

    Less heat, more light 2



    • MaggiesBear

      There is no Conservative or Liberal Party anymore, just two self-absorbed, intellectually -weak political entities with the same tired solutions to our problems and typically 90% of their proposed solutions not only don’t work – they only make things worse.

      But don’t tell the most fanatical party-faithful. They wouldn’t believe you.

  • joannetb

    Love that Remy video! “Salmonella with my EasyBake”.. Oh my!!

  • matthew brandley

    Had a uncle who worked as a electricion In the phila prison system. Union job . 3 people to change a light bulb. 1 to put the ladder up . He replaced it . And another to remove the ladder. after 5 years he moved on to the water dept. Another pension. After 5 years he retired. he passed away this past june. he worked as a head of mainteneance for a supermarket chani on the east coast before being paid of back in the 90 s. Again . liightbulbs. Sometimes tthey are dim. Or sometimes you have to be as bright as them to beat the system. Or work it to your advantage. When the goverment has stepped in and told you what types of lightbulbs to use we have indeed crossed the point of no return. we have become a opressed society of fools who have elected fools