Goodbye Edison

Experience has taught me that all stories on CFL bulbs generate the same comments:

  • I hate the light

  • The light’s gotten better!
  • Bah. LED FTW!
  • They’re poisonous
  • This is the sort of green energy-saving technology that will wean us off coal
  • Hitler loved those bulbs too

That’s it, more or less. The coal-weaning one is a favorite, since the amount of coal we’ll probably save per year will be half what China spills every week unloading the fuel for its factories. But since the bulbs are eco-licious, stories like this cause no rending of garments among their adherents:

The last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the United States is closing this month, marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison’s innovations in the 1870s.

The remaining 200 workers at the plant here will lose their jobs.

Apparently the company was offered tax credits to modernize, but said no. And why shouldn’t they? The Chinese factory is probably newer, cheaper, and they don’t have to worry 20 years later that someone will find three molecules of mercury in the groundwater and sue them for eleventh billion dollars. Point is, tax credits wouldn’t be necessary and jobs would be saved if they hadn’t banned a perfectly fine product and cast it on the dust-heap of history because it made Mother Gaia cry.

How did we lose the old Edison bulb? You search your mind for the name of the bill that took them away – surely something mendacious like the Energy Choice and Freedom Act, or somesuch piece of tin-eared newspeak – and wonder why the President didn’t veto it. Someone must have told him this would impress independents who are one step away from switching Republican, if only they’d get green religion and pass a law requiring everyone be composted in a hemp sack when they die. I suspect those people would be more impressed by a president who said it’s none of anyone’s business what kind of bulb you use, and released YouTube footage of the leader of the free world wadding up each page of the bill individually and tossing them into the wastebasket in the Oval Office. Up for a game of Horse, Rove? Here, you take the riders.

This may be the other thing the voters want from a new Congress: there’s less spending and fewer taxes, but also fewer beaks poked in our lives, thank you. But first the Republicans would have to be willing to deal with serious, concerned journalists on TV talk shows asking them why they vetoed a bill for clean light bulbs, and responding “for the same reason I don’t vote for a bill requiring everyone’s oven mitt to be plaid. It’s your own damned choice.”

They might also note that if they’re going to ban something people like, it’ll be a bill that does that and no more, and not one provision in an enormo-wad of laws that also increases biodiesel mandates AND regulates the number of type size of the BEST USED BY expiration date on potted meat products. Just a thought.