I get that there’s an inclination to view Rupert Murdoch as a dark prince of journalism and the right. But as the News of the World scandal continues to unfold, it’s at least as important to understand the journalistic cultures created by Murdoch’s lieutenants as it is to understand the man himself if you want a firm grasp on what happened to make the phone hacking scandal possible. To do that, it’s well worth reading two very different books that follow Murdoch’s papers on either side of the pond: Tina Brown’s The Diana Chronicles and Jonathan Mahler’s The Bronx Is Burning.
The Diana Chronicles is as much media criticism as it is royal gossip, and it charts how Fleet Street became increasingly evasive and disdainful on traditional rules about the royals’ privacy throughout Princess Diana’s ascension and fall (among other things, her gym owner rigged up a secret camera in some of her exercise equipment and sold the resulting crotch shots to the Daily Mirror). But the money section, in relation to phone hacking and today’s scandal, is the section on Squidygate. For those unfamiliar with the subject, somehow (it remains unclear how), one of Princess Diana’s mushy phone calls with one of her lovers, James Gilbey, ended up getting broadcast over non-commercial radio frequencies, taped by amateur radio enthusiasts, and sold to the Sun, a News Corporation paper, which turned around and made them available through a pay phone line. For 36p a minute, you could listen to the whole thing. There are significant suspicions that the call was tapped and rebroadcast so it would find its way to the press by untraceable means, so the wrongdoing isn’t only the Sun’s. But while the News of the World hacking may have been shockingly widespread, it’s not as if Murdoch papers have ever regarded other people’s private phone calls with exceptional deference.
Mahler’s The Bronx is Burning is a more wideranging book, but it recounts Murdoch’s splashy arrival in America, via his purchase of the the New York Post and his hostile takeover of New York Magazine (which he sold in 1991). But the stuff on how the Post covered the Son of Sam case is quite revealing. Steve Dunleavy, the Post reporter on the case, actually dressed up as a bereavement counselor to get to the parents of Stacy Moskowitz, one of the victims, and published a story based on his conversations with them. The paper suggested, among other things, that the Mafia had a bounty out for the killer, serialized a novel he was supposed to have read, and when David Berkowitz asked for the Post in prison, they made a headline out of that too. As Mahler puts it, “Not since the days of Hearst, Pulitzer, and the Daily Mirror had New York’s newspapers pandered so shamelessly to the city’s id.”
In any case, both books are very good. Rupert Murdoch may quit running his company today. But felling the tree doesn’t mean you’ve yanked up the roots. As both Brown and Mahler demonstrate, News Corporation’s culture runs deep.
Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget would find savings in the Medicare program by shifting a greater share of its costs to beneficiaries, who would receive a fixed “premium support” credit to go out and purchase health care in an exchange of private health care plans. According to the Congressional Budget Office, under the Ryan plan, “a typical beneficiary would spend more for health care?[because] private plans would cost more than traditional Medicare.” ?This would more than double out-of-pocket health-care spending by a typical senior to $12,500 per year.”
Ryan’s isn’t the only proposal to lower the growth in Medicare spending that’s asking seniors to pay more, and that’s precisely what has health care advocates so concerned. They point out that nearly “half of Medicare recipients have incomes at or below 200 percent of poverty ? $21,780 for an individual, $29,420 for a couple” and that many simply can’t afford to spend more on health insurance:
Only 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have incomes of $80,000 or above, a figure that includes any income from a spouse. As for the 47 percent who are at or close to poverty, on average they are already spending nearly a fourth of their budgets on health care, according to an analysis of Medicare survey data by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
?There?s this impression that there?s a great deal of wealth among the Medicare population, this image of wealthy seniors playing golf and enjoying their retirement years,? said Tricia Neuman, director of the Kaiser Family Foundation?s Medicare Policy Project. ?But while some are lucky to do so, many are living on a fixed income, struggling to make ends meet…with really limited capacity to absorb rising costs.”
Last week, the LA Times’ Noam Levey observed that saving costs by shifting them from the federal government to beneficiaries — once seen as taboo — has become all the rage in Washington, with pundits eagerly applauding the bold “leadership” and “tough decisions” of such proposals. They would do well to note, however, that many of the beneficiaries being asked to pick up the costs have less than $50,000 in savings, and that shifting costs don’t actually address the problem of unsustainable health care costs — it only does what it says, shifts them.
I’m mashing two Media Matters pieces, the headline article and “Fox Vilifies Efficient Light Bulbs,” the source of the video above. Note that a full half of the misleading conservative media pieces are owned by Rupert Murdoch’s corrupt News Corp.
– Media Matters
In at least 40 instances since the beginning of 2011, conservative media outlets wrongly told consumers that the light bulb efficiency standards scheduled to take effect in 2012 will require them to use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
Electrical Manufactures Association: “Misinformation Has Been Promoted By A Number Of Media Outlets.” In a May 25 article, the New York Times quoted a spokesman for the National Electric Manufacturers Association, which represents lighting manufacturers including Philips, GE and Oshram Sylvania:
Joseph Higbee, a spokesman for the electrical manufacturers association, offered his take on the situation: “Unfortunately people do not yet understand this lighting transition, and mistakenly think they won’t be able to buy incandescent light bulbs. This misinformation has been promoted by a number of media outlets. Incandescent light bulbs are not being banned, and the new federal energy-efficiency standards for light bulbs do not mandate the use of CFLs. My hope is that the media can help the American people understand the energy-efficient lightingoptions available, as opposed to furthering misconceptions.” [New York Times, 5/25/11]
Standards Require Light Bulbs To Use Less Energy. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 stipulates that starting in January 2012, light bulbs as bright as traditional 100-Watt incandescents, which waste the vast majority of the energy they use as heat, will be required to use no more than 72-Watts. Standards for bulbs as bright as the traditional 60-Watt incandescent, which is reportedlythe most commonly used bulb, don’t take effect until 2014.
[Lowe's, accessed 7/14/11]
Manufacturers Developed Advanced Incandescent Bulbs That Meet The New Standards. As Politifact noted, halogen incandescent bulbs meet the efficiency requirements, although they do not save nearly as much energy as CFLs and LEDs:
It’s true that the current versions of incandescent light bulbs will be phased out of existence. Compact fluorescent and LED bulbs offer more efficient alternatives, but if incandescent light is your thing, the major light bulb makers have you covered. They have developed and shipped halogen incandescent bulbs that meet the new efficiency standards, so there is no basis in fact to claim they have been banned in favor of fluorescent bulbs. [Politifact.com, 5/20/11]
Several Brands Of Advanced Incandescent Bulbs Are Already Available For Purchase. In addition to the wide variety of CFL products available, the following halogen incandescent options can serve as replacements for the traditional 100-Watt incandescent bulb. (Prices as of July 18, 2011):
NY Times: “The Incandescent Bulb Is Turning Into A Case Study Of The Way Government Mandates Can Spur Innovation.” From a July 2009 New York Times article:
When Congress passed a new energy law two years ago, obituaries were written for the incandescent light bulb. The law set tough efficiency standards, due to take effect in 2012, that no traditional incandescent bulb on the market could meet, and a century-old technology that helped create the modern world seemed to be doomed.
But as it turns out, the obituaries were premature.
Researchers across the country have been racing to breathe new life into Thomas Edison‘s light bulb, a pursuit that accelerated with the new legislation. Amid that footrace, one company is already marketing limited quantities of incandescent bulbs that meet the 2012 standard, and researchers are promising a wave of innovative products in the next few years.
Indeed, the incandescent bulb is turning into a case study of the way government mandates can spur innovation.
“There’s a massive misperception that incandescents are going away quickly,” said Chris Calwell, a researcher with Ecos Consulting who studies the bulb market. “There have been more incandescent innovations in the last three years than in the last two decades .”
The first bulbs to emerge from this push, Philips Lighting’s Halogena Energy Savers, are expensive compared with older incandescents. They sell for $5 apiece and more, compared with as little as 25 cents for standard bulbs.
But they are also 30 percent more efficient than older bulbs. Philips says that a 70-watt Halogena Energy Saver gives off the same amount of light as a traditional 100-watt bulb and lasts about three times as long, eventually paying for itself. [New York Times, 7/5/09]
Philips Executive: “Everyone In The Industry Knew … We Could Still Make Incandescent Light Bulbs” Under The New Standards. In an interview with Climate Progress, Randall Moorhead, vice president of government affairs at Philips, said:
The 2007 law set minimum efficiency level. That’s it. Everyone in the industry knew that it was set at a point that we could still make incandescent light bulbs. The industry never would have supported a law that would have banned a technology or prevented us from making a light with a certain kind of ambiance.
The reality is, the new incandescent lights were not being made because there was not an economic incentive to make them. And now Philips [and other manufacturers] makes two types that were not made before EISA. Today, under the efficiency standard, consumers have more choices, not less. They still can choose from more types of incandescent light bulbs that will be more efficient. [Climate Progress, 7/8/11]
Energy Information Administration Projections Show Future For Advanced Incandescent Bulbs. Accounting for the light bulb efficiency standards passed in 2007, EIA projects that “as general service bulbs last longer, fewer new bulbs are purchased for use in households. The projected market share among bulb types also changes, with light-emitting diodes (LEDs), compact fluorescents (CFLs), and more efficient incandescent lights purchased in nearly equal amounts by 2035.”
[Energy Information Administration, 3/21/11]
Consumers Can Also Purchase LEDs. LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs cost more up front than the other options but last for decades. LEDs as bright as 60-Watt traditional incandescent are already available for purchase (prices as of July 18, 2011):
Oshram Sylvania and Switch Lighting have also developed LED bulbs as bright as 100-Watttraditional incandescents, which will be available for purchase in the near future.
LEDs Have Lowest Yearly Operating Cost. From EnergySavers.gov:
Average consumers will spend about $4.80 to operate a traditional incandescent bulb for a year (electricity cost). By comparison, average consumers will spend about $1.00 to operate an ENERGY STAR LED bulb, about $3.50 on a halogen incandescent bulb, and about $1.20 on an ENERGY STAR CFL bulb — each that produces about the same amount of light.
Also, an ENERGY STAR CFL bulb will typically last up to 10 times longer and an ENERGY STAR qualified LED bulb will last as much as 25 times longer than an incandescent bulb with the same light output (or lumens). Since the newer bulbs typically last longer, you have to replace them less frequently. Even with higher upfront purchase price added in, energy saving halogen incandescents, LEDs, and CFLs remain less expensive to consumers over the life of the individual bulb. [EnergySavers.gov, accessed 7/15/11]
AP: “LED Prices Are Coming Down Quickly.” From a May 16 AP article:
To stimulate LED development, the federal government has instituted a $10 million “L Prize” for an energy-efficient replacement for the 60-watt bulb. Philips is so far the only entrant in testing, and Eftekhar expects the company to win it soon. But Lighting Sciences Group plans its own entry, which it will demonstrate at the trade show.
Philips has been selling a 60-watt-equivalent bulb at Home Depot since December that’s quite similar to the one submitted to the contest. But it’s slightly dimmer, consumes 2 watts too much power and costs $40, whereas the L Prize target is $22. Sylvania sells a similar LED bulb at Lowe’s, also for $40.
However, LED prices are coming down quickly. The DoE expects a 60-watt equivalent LED bulb to cost $10 by 2015, putting them within striking range of the price of a compact fluorescent bulb.
Bob Karlicek, the director of the Smart Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., thinks that price is achievable. [AP, 5/16/11, via Nexis]
Product Safety Group: “If Disposed Of Properly, Mercury In CFLs Shouldn’t Be A Safety Hazard.” According to a report on CFLs and mercury from the product safety certification organization Underwriters Laboratories:
CFLs contain a small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – approximately 5 milligrams – a hundred times less mercury than found in a single old-style glass thermometer. No mercury is released when the lamps are intact or in use and if disposed of properly, mercury in CFLs shouldn’t be a safety hazard. [Underwriters Laboratories, accessed 3/22/11]
Lawrence Berkeley Lab Researchers: Breaking A CFL Comparable To Eating Tuna. According to Yahoo! News, researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have found that mercury exposure from broken CFLs is comparable to eating tuna:
But, just how dangerous is a broken bulb? Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory set out to answer that question. They compared how much exposure you’d get from breathing in the amount of mercury released from a broken CFL bulb to how much mercury you’d take in from eating Albacore tuna.
If you do a common sense job of cleaning up (open the windows, clean up, and remove the debris), then your mercury exposure would be the equivalent of taking a tiny nibble of tuna, according to Francis Rubinstein, a staff scientist at Berkeley Lab. What if you did the worst job possible, say closed all the doors and smashed the bulb with a hammer? It’s still no big deal, says Rubinstein, who points out that it would be the equivalent of eating one can of tuna. [Yahoo! News, 5/7/09]
Energy Star: Mercury In CFLs Is Dwarfed By Mercury Emissions From Coal-Fired Power Plants. From Energy Star, a program of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy:
EPA estimates the U.S. is responsible for the release of 103 metric tons of mercury emissions each year. More than half of these emissions come from coal-fired electrical power. Mercury released into the air is the main way that mercury gets into water and bio-accumulates in fish. (Eating fish contaminated with mercury is the main way for humans to be exposed.)
CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – an average of 4 milligrams. Because of this, EPA recommends that consumers take advantage of available local recycling options for CFLs. But if the CFL is not recycled and it ends up in a landfill, EPA estimates that about 11% of the mercury in the CFL is released into air or water, assuming the light bulb is broken. This is because most mercury vapor inside fluorescent light bulbs becomes bound to the inside of the light bulb. Therefore, if all 270 million CFLs sold in 2009 were sent to a landfill (versus recycled, as a worst case) – they would add only 0.12 metric tons, or 0.12%, to U.S. mercury emissions caused by humans. [Energy Star, November 2010]
Consumer Advocates: “CFLs Save Between 2 And 10 Times More Mercury From The Environment Than Is Used In The Bulb.” From a March 9 letter to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee from Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports), National Consumers League, Consumer Federation of America, Public Citizen and the National Consumer Law Center:
Improving safety throughout the lifecycle of a product is also very important, and Congress should develop a comprehensive recycling program for light bulbs, particularly CFLs, in order to recapture mercury or other possible toxics used in new light bulbs and prevent them from contaminating landfills. Recycling programs may also be required for LEDs as we learn more about the toxic materials present. However, it is important to note that CFLs save between 2 and 10 times more mercury from the environment than is used in the bulb because their efficiency avoids mercury pollution that would otherwise be emitted from coal-fired power plants. [Senate Hearing 112-10, 3/10/11]
[Search Earth911.com to find a CFL recycling center in your area]
There Is No Research Indicating That CFLs Cause Headaches. From the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:
The vast majority of CFL users, both in households and in commercial buildings, report no issues regarding CFL usage, including headaches. There are some anecdotal reports, however, and, although there is yet no research to directly explain any plausible causative mechanism, it may be possible that some people are susceptible to such headache effects just as some people claim to be annoyed by normal fluorescent lighting. However, the overwhelming numbers of people that use CFLs report no such negative effects. [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 4/28/09]
Consumer Reports: “Many [CFLs] Now Light Like Ordinary Bulbs.” From an August 2009 Consumer Reports article:
Myth: CFLs produce a harsh blue light.
Reality: Many now light like ordinary bulbs. Those with a 2,700 to 3,000 Kelvin (K) number have a warmer, yellower color; 3,500 K to 6,500 K bulbs emit a bluer or whiter light. Energy Star CFLs must include the Kelvin number on the package as of December. Look for CFLs labeled “soft” or “warm” white for light like an incandescent’s, and choose “bright white,” “natural,” or “daylight” for whiter light. [Consumer Reports, August 2009]
The following photo, taken at an Ace Hardware store in Washington, DC, displays the range of color temperature available from CFL bulbs:
Popular Mechanics Test: CFLs Scored Higher Than Incandescent Bulb On “Overall Quality Of The Light.” From Popular Mechanics in May 2007:
Popular Mechanics designed a test pitting seven common CFLs against a 75-watt incandescent bulb. To gather objective data, we used a Konica Minolta CL-200 chroma meter to measure color temperature and brightness, and a Watts up? Pro ammeter to track power consumption. Our subjective data came from a double-blind test with three PM staffers and Jesse Smith, a lighting expert from Parsons The New School for Design, in Manhattan. We put our participants in a color-neutral room and asked them to examine colorful objects, faces and reading material, then rate the bulbs’ performance.
The results surprised us. Even though the incandescent bulb measured slightly brighter than the equivalent CFLs, our subjects didn’t see any dramatic difference in brightness. And here was the real shocker: When it came to the overall quality of the light, all the CFLs scored higher than our incandescent control bulb. [Popular Mechanics, 5/1/07]
USA TODAY/Gallup Poll: 84 Percent Of Americans Are “Satisfied” Or “Very Satisfied” With Alternatives To Incandescents. USA Today reported in February: “Nearly three of four U.S. adults, or 71%, say they have replaced standard light bulbs in their home over the past few years with compact fluorescent lamps or LEDs (light emitting diodes) and 84% say they are ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ with the alternatives, according to the survey of 1,016 U.S. adults taken Feb. 15-16.” [USA Today, 2/18/11]
WSJ: “We Will All Be Required To Buy Compact Fluorescent Lights.” From a June 7 Wall Street Journal editorial:
On January 1, 2012, seven months from this week, Washington will effectively ban the sale of conventional 100 watt incandescent light bulbs that Americans have used nearly since the days of Thomas Edison. Instead we will all be required to buy compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs. We’d like to believe that when the government decrees what kind of light bulbs you can screw into the lamp in your own bedroom, even liberals would be nervous about the nanny state.
The question an (allegedly) free society should ask is if CFL bulbs are so clearly superior, why does the government have to force people to buy them? [Wall Street Journal, 6/7/11]
Wash. Times Claims Consumers “Will Be Forced To Buy” “Mercury-Filled Curlicue Light Bulbs.” From a July 11 Washington Times editorial:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday finalized “cross-state air pollution” regulations designed to drive coal-plant operators out of business. This noxious rule will choke job creation and ensure that consumers are stricken with higher utility bills every time they switch on the mercury-filled curlicue light bulbs they also will be forced to buy. [Washington Times, 7/11/11]
Fox’s Varney: “The Government Is … Sticking A Mercury Light Bulb Down My Throat.” From the July 11 edition of Fox Business Network’s Varney & Company:
VARNEY: These new lights contain mercury, OK, you can’t dispose of them very easily. Is that factored into this equation? So the government is forcing me, taking my right to choose away from me, sticking a mercury light bulb down my throat and saying it’s good for you. [Fox Business Network, Varney& Company, 7/11/11]
Varney also aired the following graphic:
Fox News: 2007 Law Said We “Got To Use Those Pigtail Things That Are Made In China That Have Mercury In Them.” From the July 11 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Let’s talk a little bit about something known as the Better Use Of Light Bulbs Act, B-U-L-B Act, later on today in the House of Representatives they’re going to bring this up. And what it is, is it’s — they’re going to try to repeal — you know, Congress passed that kooky law that said incandescent bulbs, like this, got to go away; got to use those pigtail things that are made in China that have mercury in them, instead of the bulbs made by American workers.
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): And by the way, those bulbs should come with laser surgery coupons because you go blind eventually because they’re so dim and they weigh a thousand pounds. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/11/11]
During the segment, Fox also aired the following graphic:
NY Post: “The Government Is Ordering You To Buy” CFLs. From a July 11 New York Post editorial:
Republicans are planning to force a vote on the House floor as soon as today to repeal the rapidly approaching ban on incandescent light bulbs.
“I will join my colleagues to vote yes on a bill to protect consumer choice and guard against federal overreach,” House Energy Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said last week.
His support is a key development. Thanks to a 2007 energy bill Upton helped write, federal law requires the foolish phase-in of Compact Fluorescent Lamps on New Year’s Day. The 100-watt incandescents that light up the US will become close to contraband.
But a CFL is a pale excuse for a bulb – while it’s energy efficient, it produces weaker, colder light.
What’s more, CFLs are relatively expensive, as noted by the main sponsor of the repeal bill, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas). “I bought a 60-watt CFL bulb last night at Giant for $6, and I bought four 60-watt incandescents for 37.5 cents a piece – four for a buck and a half,” he said.
That is, the bulbs the government is ordering you to buy cost 16 times more than what you’ve got right now. [New York Post,7/11/11]
National Review Claims People Will “Have To Buy CFLs” If The Efficiency Standards Are Not Repealed. From a March 7 National Review column written by James Lileks:
Buried in the mound of laws you’ll find something minor that symbolizes exactly what we’re up against. In January, H.R. 91 was introduced: the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act. Yes: the BULB Act. What a coincidence! This bill would repeal the imminent ban on incandescent, or “good,” light bulbs, so you wouldn’t have to buy CFLs, which are loaded with so many nasty substances that al-Qaeda could shut down an entire small town just by sending someone to Home Depot to take a baseball bat to the CFL racks. Everyone’s read the warnings: If you break a bulb, open up all the windows, go outside, pound a FOR SALE sign in your yard, live in a tent in the park, and mail the bulb shards to NASA for eventual dispersal in the sun’s corona. The laws covering the disposal of a lawfully eliminated fetus are probably less stringent than the laws about getting rid of a CFL. Most people will just throw them away, adding tons of toxins to the waste stream. Domestic garbage: now enriched with mercury, for extra goodness! Anti-bulb-choice advocates say that won’t happen because it’s not supposed to happen. Why, it’s against the law. Yes indeed. And no one drove 56 mph in the Carter years. [National Review, 3/7/11, via Nexis]
Detroit News: “We’ll All Be Forced To Use” “Twisty Bulbs.” From a February 16 Detroit News commentary by Manny Lopez:
While standing in line at Costco recently, a couple in front of me were blustering on about how they were practically being given the stack of fluorescent bulbs piled in their cart.
“Can you believe this, 99 cents,” the woman said to her husband.
“I know, maybe we should get more,” he said.
At this, I couldn’t resist.
I had also – albeit reluctantly – grabbed a box of twisty bulbs to give them a shot since we’ll all be forced to use them, thanks to our nanny government outlawing incandescent. But understanding a bit of economics, I wasn’t as giddy about the dollar deal.
“It’s costing you more than a buck,” I told them when they turned and noticed I had a box, too. “The bulbs are subsidized, but you’ll pay for them in higher energy costs and elsewhere.” [Detroit News, 2/16/11, accessed via Nexis]
Sun-Times Op-Ed Claims Government Is “Forcing Us To Use Fluorescent Bulbs.” The Chicago Sun-Times published a February 12 commentary by Jacob Sullum titled “Forcing us to use fluorescent bulbs is not a bright idea.” In the op-ed, Sullum writes: “What I want is lighting, and the new bulbs are not very good at providing it. Unlike incandescent bulbs, fluorescent lamps do not go on when you flip a switch; they think about going on and then, after mulling the idea for a few minutes, achieve their maximum brightness when you are done with whatever you were planning to do — which is especially annoying in the bathroom.” [Chicago Sun-Times, 2/12/11]
Big Government: New Standards “Force Americans To Buy Toxic Light Bulbs From The Chinese.” From a Big Government post by Adam Sparks titled, “Who Shut Off the Lights? Bring Back the Incandescent Lightbulb”:
The liberals, who always cry for “choice”, don’t want to give the American consumer choice in choosing light bulbs. They’re apparently only pro-choice with baby killing. Otherwise, they will tell you just how to live your life, thank you. The banning of the incandescent light bulb meant that General Electric, the largest maker of light bulbs, had to close all their plants in the US. The last factory closed in Winchester, VA. in September of last year. The jobs are now all in China. They’re the largest makers of the compact fluorescent bulbs, CFLs. They’re not made here, in part, because they’re too hazardous.
Ironically, the CFL’s contain mercury, a highly toxic substance. A broken bulb can create an environmental nightmare and according to Scientific American at least one case of mercury poisoning has been linked to these bulbs.
Toxic cleanup crews may be necessary to contain a broken light bulb. I guess this is what the enviros mean by creating more “green jobs”. Cleaning up the mess that they’ve foisted on the American people through advocacy of their radical legislation. First, we ban imports of lead in Chinese toys and now this: forcing Americans to buy toxic light bulbs from the Chinese at the expenses of American jobs and consumer safety? What kind of insanity is this? [Big Government, 2/8/11]
Fox News: “Do You Want To Be Forced To Have The Squiggly Ones?” From the July 10 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Sunday:
MIKE JERRICK (co-host): Should the government tell you which kind of bulbs that you can put in your lamps at home? Do you want the squiggly ones? Do you want to be forced to have the squiggly ones?
AINSLEY EARHARDT (co-host): An incandescent bulb is going to cost you 60 cents and these little squiggly ones, the fluorescent ones are $3.40. And be careful if you buy these expensive ones. I did this and put them in my light bulbs at home — I mean my lights at home. It looked like a garage. It was so fluorescent and bright, I couldn’t stand it, like hurt your eyes — hurt my eyes. I think I bought the wrong ones, right?
DAVE BRIGGS (co-host): You know, I don’t know a whole lot about this. I know that it comes down to one thing for many Americans. Are they forced to buy a light bulb or can they choose which one they think is more energy-efficient, more affordable, and a better deal for their family. Well Joe Barton of Texas has this bill on Monday that will allow you to choose, not be forced to buy a particular light bulb. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Sunday, 7/10/11]
Fox’s Napolitano: The Standards “Force Us Into Some Technology Which Is Actually Harmful.” From the July 12 edition of Fox Business Network’s Freedom Watch:
ANDREWE NAPOLITANO (host): This abominable law was signed by George W. Bush when Republicans had significant numbers in Congress as part of some other law intended to save energy costs. Now we’re saddled with one of those ugly things in front of you [CFL] that if it breaks, everybody’s afraid of what comes out of it. It doesn’t give you the illumination you want, and it costs several times what the regular bulbs cost.
NAPOLITANO: It seems to be a no-brainer perpetrated by the left, by the green folks. Some of whom have good ideas, some of whom are fanatics. George Bush bought it. The Democrats controlled the house when he signed it but some Republicans did vote for this legislation to force us into some technology which is actually harmful. [Fox Business Network, Freedom Watch, 7/12/11]
Deroy Murdock: Standards “Force Us To Buy” CFLs. Appearing on Fox Business, conservative columnist Deroy Murdock held up a CFL bulb and said that Obama “has said that if the Congress votes to give us the light bulb freedom, then he will veto it and force us to buy these things.” [Fox Business Network, Freedom Watch, 7/12/11]
IBD Claims Law Replaces Incandescent Light “With An Unproven Substitute — The Compact Fluorescent Light.” From a July 8 Investor’s Business Daily editorial:
As the law stands, the incandescent light, the greatest invention by America’s greatest inventor, Thomas Edison, will disappear at the end of this year. It is being replaced with an unproven substitute — the compact fluorescent light, or CFL — that is both politically foolish and bad science.
Indeed, you’d need a full page to list all the drawbacks of CFLs. They’re a bad product, one foisted on Americans by a government eager to control all our lives in the name of creating a glorious green future utopia. [Investor's Business Daily, 7/8/11]
Wash. Times Op-Ed: “The Government Simply Removed Our Choice” Not To Buy CFLs. From a June 30 Washington Times op-ed by Matt Patterson:
It was hoped originally that CFLs would provide an energy-efficient alternative, but consumers avoided them in droves in favor of the old standards. So the government simply removed our choice, and ergo, our freedom. So far, Americans – whose not-very-distant kin staged a bloody rebellion over a trifling tax – have decided to roll over and take it. [Washington Times, 6/30/11]
Monica Crowley: “The New Light Bulbs That Are Mandatory” Cost “Six Dollars For Every Light Bulb.” From the July 12 edition of Fox Business Network’s The Willis Report:
MONICA CROWLEY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: And you know what, the new light bulbs that are mandatory as of January 1st if they don’t block this are so much more expensive than your regular incandescent light bulbs. It’s six dollars for every light bulb. Now you can get a pick of three for about two bucks. [Fox Business Network, The Willis Report, 712/11]
Tim Carney: New Standards “Force People To Buy … Those Little Curly-Cue CFLs.” From the February 8 edition of Fox Business Network’s Follow the Money:
TIM CARNEY, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: What you have is that in 2012 is when they will no longer be able to manufacture them for sale. So, the, I think that’s the 60 watt bulbs, and then by 2014 all of the incandescent bulbs will basically be illegal, because of these efficiency rules. And of course, GE lobbied for these efficiency regulations because it forces people to buy, at least today, those little curly-cue CFLs, which they make in China, which has fewer environmental regulations, lower labor costs.
ERIC BOLLING: Bring it out to the panel, real quick, Joey, guess what happens to those CFL? As Tim points out, they’re produced in China, almost primarily because they have mercury in them, for whatever reason, but GE used to manufacture those regular incandescent light bulbs in Cleveland. Those jobs are being shipped overseas. [Fox Business Network, Follow The Money, 2/8/11]
Fox News: Government Decided “We’re Going To Get Rid Of Those Incandescent Light Bulbs … And Instead Use Those Pigtails Made In China.” From the June 29 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
STEVE DOOCY (host): All right, so a couple of years ago the federal government decided that we’re going to get rid of those incandescent light bulbs which we have used for decades and instead use those pigtails made in China.
BLACKBURN: That’s exactly right and what they were doing is filling those bulbs — they’re called CFLs, compact fluorescent light bulbs — filling them with mercury, putting them on the market, and guess what? They’re too expensive to afford, just like this administration. The American people don’t like them. They see it as a metaphor for everything that is wrong with the overreach of government, the overreach of EPA.
BLACKBURN: We’re bringing our bill to the floor in July. Chairman Fred Upton is clearing the way. The House leadership is clearing the way. We’re going to pass it with bipartisan support and send it to the Senate.
DOOCY: Jehmu, I don’t know about you, but I hate those light bulbs. I’ve been using them for a couple of years now. You know when I put them into my house, it looks like it’s an operating room. It’s real bright blue light. And how many American jobs have been lost as we ship these off to have them made in China? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/29/11, via Nexis]
Wash. Times‘ James Robbins: “The Purpose Of The Law Is To Promote” CFLs “By Removing The Competition.” From a June 24 Washington Times post by James Robbins:
The purpose of the law is to promote more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs by removing the competition. In the past Congress has banned products using public health, safety or welfare rationales, but the incandescent bulb is a proven, safe technology, more so than the bulbs that will replace it. [Washington Times, 6/24/11]
Varney: “I Don’t Want The Government Forcing Me To Buy Those Squiggly Nasty Mercury-Filled Things.” From the June 22 edition of Fox Business Network’s Varney& Company:
VARNEY: You know I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about light bulbs. You know that. I don’t want the government to be forcing me to buy those squiggly nasty mercury-filled things. Well, the state of Texas is coming to the rescue. [Fox Business Network, Varney & Company, 6/22/11]
IBD Editorial Refers to CFLs As “The Substitute Bulb.” From a June 21 Investor’s Business Daily article:
The incandescent bulb lit up America and came to symbolize a great idea. Now on the cusp of a federal ban, Thomas Edison’s invention has become a symbol for personal liberty.
Perhaps no issue better illuminates the transformation of the right from Big Government conservatism to Tea Party activism.
With many consumers griping about the cost and type of light of the substitute bulb, populists have won the ear of some once-staunch ban supporters.
Compact fluorescent lamp bulbs are more expensive than traditional bulbs, but use less energy and are supposed to last longer. Users should save money in the long term, supporters say.
But many Americans complain that the light from CFLs lacks the yellow warmth of incandescents and natural light. CFLs can take a long time to warm up as well.
Tests have shown that on-off use can reduce CFLs’ life span significantly, sometimes even below that of an incandescent. CFLs also contain toxic mercury. [Investor's Business Daily, 6/21/11]
Bo Dietl: Obama Is Making Us “Use Those Toxic Waste Light Bulbs Now.” From the June 13 edition of Fox Business Network’s Follow the Money:
BO DIETL: Joey, your president is making me get rid of my incandescent light bulbs. I got to use those toxic waste light bulbs now. If they fall you need a freaking hazmat to get out of here. [Fox Business Network,Follow the Money, 6/13/11]
Fox’s Asman: “In Just Seven Months From Now, We Won’t Be Able To Buy An Incandescent Bulb.” From the June 11 edition of Fox News’ Forbes on Fox:
DAVID ASMAN (host): I hate fluorescent bulbs. They make me feel sick. They give me a headache. And when they break, they create all kinds of stuff — starting in just seven months from now, we won’t be able to buy an incandescent bulb.
VICTORIA BARRET, FORBES: I know. I’m actually hoarding the old-fashioned bulbs.
ASMAN: Me too.
BARRET: I went on Amazon.com and I bought, I’m not kidding, 80 of them, 80. It’s crazy, but I can’t stand the fluorescent stuff because it takes two minutes to warm up and by the time tow minutes have past, I’m out of my hallway. [Fox News, Forbes on Fox, 6/11/11]
NY Post: “The Feds Demand That They Be Replaced With Compact Fluorescent Lamps.” From a June 6 New York Post editorial:
In six short months, a new dark age will begin to descend on America. Starting on Jan. 1, 2012, federal law begins a phased ban on Edison’s gift to mankind: the long-lived and long-loved incandescent light bulb.
The feds demand that they be replaced with Compact Fluorescent Lamps — squiggly bulbs full of mercury and other mysterious stuff that are supposed to save cash and energy.
CFLs are like the aspartame of lights — similar taste, but less flavorful.
Forcing them on consumers is like banning sugar in favor of Sweet’N Low; Americans might lose weight . . . but for sure they’ll be miserable in the process.
Thankfully, House and Senate Republicans have drafted bills to repeal the ban before it goes into effect, undoing part of a 2007 energy law. [New York Post, 6/6/11]
Human Events: “Millions Of Homes … Will Be Forced This Year To Switch To Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs.” From a May 29 Human Events column by Lil Tuttle:
Environmentalists aren’t concerned, either, about the millions of homes that will be forced this year to switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) containing toxic mercury. Women surely should be.
Author and retired environmental cosultant Edmund Contoski has compiled an extensive list of CFL risks, including bulbs spontaneously bursting and causing house fires, broken bulbs releasing 20 times the acceptable mercury level, the emission of ultraviolet rays that damage upholstery fabrics, flooring finishes, photographs and oil and acrylic paintings, and illumination value and bulb life half that promised. [Human Events, 5/29/11]
Varney Claims “The Government Insists We Put” CFLs “In Our Homes.” From the April 28 edition of Fox Business Network’s Varney & Company:
VARNEY: The feds want — well they demand that we switch to so called green light bulbs. But according to a report, they contain cancer causing materials.
VARNEY: These new light bulbs, which the government insists we put in our homes, contain mercury. And if they break in your home, I believe the Environmental Protection Agency has a whole list of things that you’ve got to do. [Fox Business Network, Varney & Company, 4/28/11]
Forbes.com Claims Consumers Can Only Choose CFLs Or LEDs. From an April 19 Forbes.com column by Larry Bell:
So that currently leaves us with two alternatives. It’s to either use expensive compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) that contain toxic mercury, or even much pricier light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that don’t, but which produce even poorer illumination color quality.
Does any of this maybe cause you to wonder why, if CFLs are that good, government needs to pass a law that requires us to buy them… and to prohibit future sales of a safer type that lots of us continue to prefer? [Forbes.com, 4/19/11]
National Review Online: Consumers “Will Now Be Forced To Buy The Expensive $5 CFLs.” From a July 12 National Review Online post by Henry Payne:
In addition, Conyers and Clarke represent the poorest district in the nation — Detroit — where their constituents will now be forced to buy the expensive $5 CFLs favored by green elites in the burbs instead of the more affordable 40-cent bulbs. [National Review Online, 7/12/11]
Nugent: This Administration Is “Forc[ing] Americans To Use ‘Environmentally Friendly’ Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs.” From Ted Nugent’s April 4 Washington Times op-ed:
Amazingly, a component of this administration’s energy policy is to ban Thomas Edison’s light bulb and force Americans to use “environmentally friendly” compact fluorescent light bulbs by 2014, all of which are made by communist China and pose serious health and environmental threats due to their mercury content. [The Washington Times, 4/4/11]
Wash. Times: In January “Bureaucrats Will Begin Their Campaign To Foist The Mostly Chinese-Made, Compact Fluorescent Bulbs” On The Public. From an April 1 Washington Times editorial:
Ever since then-President George W. Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the clock has been ticking on Thomas Edison’s venerable incandescent. Unless Congress acts before Jan. 1, 2012, federal bureaucrats will begin their campaign to foist the mostly Chinese-made, compact fluorescent bulbs on a public that has shown no interest in buying them on the free market.
Ideally, Congress would pass the light-bulb freedom measure introduced by Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, which repeals the 2007 ban. Realistically, her measure would have a tough time getting pas
t the veto pen of President Obama. That’s why states are looking at their own declarations of lighting freedom. It will only take one state’s defiance of federal overreach to break the system. Should Mr. Sandifer’s bill be the first enacted, there is no doubt the South Carolina will see a substantial increase in tourism next year – as drivers fill the trunks of their cars with mercury-free bulbs. [Washington Times, 4/1/11]
Fox News: “Now You Have To Go To This Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs.” From the March 22 edition of Fox News’ Special Report:
BRET BAIER, HOST: Now we’re talking about the phasing out of the 100-watt incandescent light bulbs to be almost 30 percent more energy efficient. They stopped making them and now you have to go to this compact fluorescent light bulbs or CFLs. Now here’s the brochure that what happens when you drop one of these things from the EPA. [Fox News, Special Report, 3/22/11]
Wash. Times Claims Government Passed “A Fluorescent Mandate.”On March 17 the Washington Times published a column titled, “Save Edison’s light bulb: Repeal the fluorescent mandate.” The column stated: “Americans like the good, old-fashioned Edison light bulb for good reason. Its light is better than that of the newfangled compact fluorescent ones. On the front end, it costs only about one-eighth as much. It’s easier to dispose of, with none of the mercury dangers of fluorescents.” [Washington Times, 3/17/11]
Fox Business Network’s Smith: “They’re Telling Me That I Have To Use This [CFL] In My Home?” From the March 10 edition of Fox Business Network’s Follow the Money:
BOLLING: You’re looking at an American icon, not me, the Easy Bake Oven, as familiar as the hola-hoop, right? This is our piece of history and it’s going to go away. Why? Because of this, our president wants to replace it with this [CFL bulb]. 100 watt light bulb is already illegal in some states and that means little Susie can’t play with her easy bake oven. Another American icon trashed because of the so-called green technology.
SANDRA SMITH, FOX BUSINESS: OK, not only are these more expensive for Americans to purchase and now they’ll have to in some states, but they are harmful if they are broken.
It’s going to make the Easy Bake Oven, a dream of mine as a little girl and I never got it. I am over it though. I just read the ingredients on the brownie mix.
It is manufactured in China. They have already shut down the last of the GE, you know, manufacturing facilities in Virginia. Two hundred jobs eliminated because we got to use that light bulb.
SMITH: I just don’t like the idea that this is a more expensive. More harmful if it’s dropped and harder to clean up. And they’re telling me that I have to use this in my home? I have to? [Fox Business Network, Follow the Money, 3/10/11]
IBD Claims 2007 Law Contained “CFL Mandates.” From a March 9 Investor’s Business Daily editorial:
The legislation sought to save the Earth and make us energy-independent by mandating that the incandescent bulb — arguably Edison’s greatest invention, created without government “investment” — be eventually replaced by compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act would rescind the CFL mandates unless three conditions are met. First, the bulbs must show “net savings in the combination of monthly electric bills and expenses for new light fixtures to accommodate the new required bulbs.” There are other ways to reduce our energy bills, such as increasing supply. Then it must be proved that mandated use of CFLs “will reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2025.” Even Kyoto couldn’t do that. Finally, it must be shown that “there are no public health risks from the mercury in replacement bulbs at home or in any public building.” [Investor's Business Daily, 3/9/11]
Bolling: “We’re Forced To Go On A Shopping Spree And Buy” CFLs. From the January 31 edition of Fox Business Network’s Follow the Money:
BOLLING: The incandescent bulb is being outlawed. No longer viable. Why? So that we’re forced to go on a shopping spree and buy the authorized bulbs [holds up CFL bulb] that require new authorized lamps. They call it going green because it’s better for us. Really? Break an incandescent bulb and you can sweep it up. Here’s what you have to do to clean up the approved CFL bulbs, a mercury-leaking mess if you drop it. [Fox Business Network, Follow the Money, 1/31/11]
Heartland Institute’s James Taylor Claims Government Is “Mandating These Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs.” From the January 17 edition of Fox News’ On the Record With Neil Cavuto:
JAMES TAYLOR, HEARTLAND INSTITUTE: The real question is why are we mandating these compact fluorescent light bulbs? Because we certainly don’t have a dearth of energy. We have enough coal and natural gas to last us for centuries so what’s the point of quote unquote saving energy by exposing ourselves to mercury poisoning? [Fox News, n the Record With Neil Cavuto,1/17/11]
Ben Stein Claims “Government Will Be Telling Me That I Have To Use” Fluorescent Bulbs That “Have Lead And Mercury In Them.” From the January 8 edition of Fox News’ Cavuto on Business:
BEN STEIN: This is raw, Bolshevik, Orwellian mind control and thought police action. These little curly-cue fluorescent bulbs have lead and mercury in them and all kinds of stuff that poison the atmosphere and poison the soil when you get rid of them. They give me a head ache. I can’t stand them. I have been hoarding regular incandescent bulbs now for years.
STEIN: The idea that the government will be telling me that I have to use a bulb that gives me a head ache, it’s just micromanaging the life of the ordinary citizen. It is pure dictatorship. [Fox News, Cavuto on Business, 1/8/11]
Wash. Times: Law “Only Allows The Sale Of Harsh, Cold Compact Fluorescents.” From a January 5 Washington Times editorial:
The cost of illuminating your home is about to go up significantly. Most Americans take for granted that when they flip a switch, darkness immediately gives way to a warm, natural light. That’s no longer possible in California, where a regulation that took effect Jan. 1 only allows the sale of harsh, cold compact fluorescents above a certain wattage. Unless the new Congress takes action, the same rules will apply to the rest of the country, beginning next year. [Washington Times, 1/5/11]
Varney: Government Is Telling “Us We Have To Use Those Twisty Mercury-Filled Bulbs.” From the January 4 edition of Fox Business Network’s Varney& Company:
STUART VARNEY: In our next hour, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn joins the compnay. We are united in our fight over light bulbs. We do not want the government to tell us we have to use those twisty mercury filled bulbs. [Fox Business, Varney& Company, 1/4/11]
Fox’s Perino Suggests Consumers Will Only Be Able To Buy “Blue” “Pigtails” — CFL Bulbs. From the January 3 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Am the only one that’s tired of the blue light bulbs that are being phased in? In 2007, I remember when the energy bill passed in the lame duck session, and President Bush signed the bill. It was a comprehensive bill, and included in it was a ban of incandescent light bulbs. It was billed as a way to cut greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs in America, these green jobs you keep hearing about. And then — I started panicking, because I thought, I hate those new lights. I hate them. They look blue –
STEVE DOOCY (co-host): The pig tails.
PERINO: — and they drive me crazy. Plus — yeah, the ones that are pigtails. Plus, if they break, their mercury content is so high, it can be quite dangerous. So for moms out there, they should be worried about that. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/3/11]
Fox Guest Keith Larson: “You’re Going To Have To Go To Those Squiggly CFL Light Bulbs.” From the January 2 edition of Fox News’ America’s News HQ:
KEITH LARSON, RADIO HOST: This is future contraband. This is going to be effectively illegal in a couple of years. The government has, in essence, banned the good old fashioned Thomas Edison light bulb and you’re going to have to go to those squiggly CFL light bulbs and people are saying hey, how many politicians does it take to screw up a light bulb. [Fox News, America's News HQ, 1/2/11]
– Media Matters
The FAMiLY LEADER’s 14-point marriage fidelity pledge has divided the GOP’s 2012 presidential field and raised concerns among GOP operatives that the group and its president — three-time failed gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats — may be too extreme for the Republican state party and could be alienating moderate and independent voters. For instance, Vander Plaats regularly compares same-sex marriage to polygamy and incest, and the group’s pledge requires candidates to affirm that being gay is a choice and that homosexuality is a public health risk.
But in new video footage obtained by ThinkProgress, Vander Plaats goes even further in cementing his strong dislike for gay people. During an event in Audubon, Iowa in March of 2011, Vander Plaats explained that many Iowans were concerned about the state becoming “the butt of jokes” in the aftermath of a state Supreme Court decision which found that a law prohibiting same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. He was then interrupted by an attendee who recalled a joke his wife tells about the “fags” marrying in Iowa law. Vander Plaats erupts in laughter:
ATTENDEE: You know what my wife says? She says: Iowa, the state where you can’t smoke a fag, but you can marry one.
VANDER PLAATS: Oh shoot, that’s pretty good, that’s pretty good. Oh shoot.
Vander Plaats’ reaction is not entirely surprising, since the group has previously compared homosexuality to the cancerous effects of second-hand smoking and links supporters to ex-gay reparative therapy. What’s more telling is the willingness of Republican presidential candidates like Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich to attend the group’s presidential forum and Michele Bachmann’s and Rick Santorum’s eagerness to sign its pledge.
For many Iowans, however, it’s not same-sex marriage that’s transforming Iowa into the “butt” of jokes — it’s Vander Plaats and his group who are so embarrassing.
Welcome to Clean Start, ThinkProgress Green?s morning round-up of the latest in climate and clean energy. Here is what we?re reading. What are you?
A long-duration, widespread heat wave continues to bake virtually the entire central U.S., with a potentially deadly combination of high heat and humidity extending from Texas all the way to the Canadian border, oozing eastward during the course of this week. [Washington Post]
Canada?s energy and mines ministers are meeting to discuss a national energy plan at a conference “sponsored by big oil including some of the main players in Alberta?s unfolding Tar Sands mega-disaster.” [Sierra Club]
Chicago school officials are distributing fans to classrooms as temperatures soar throughout the city. [AP]
Killer storms in Michigan “knocked out power to 60,000 homes from Fowlerville to Monroe on a week they need air conditioning the most, downed a wire that killed a 31-year-old man near the 19100 block of Lenore on Detroit’s west side, and toppled trees.” [Detroit News]
The relentless heat wave in Oklahoma caused a 60-inch water main to break in Oklahoma City, and is causing buckling on concrete roads and highways across the state, and is suspected to have caused three deaths. [Oklahoman]
The American Lung Association is urging the White House to cast aside the Business Roundtable?s bid to scuttle the EPA?s upcoming smog standards, explaining that would lead to pollution-related deaths. [E2]
Former President Bill Clinton told the National Memo’s Joe Conason yesterday that, were he still president, he would invoke the 14th Amendment “without hesitation” to raise the debt ceiling if Congress fails to do so by the Aug. 2 deadline:
Former President Bill Clinton says that he would invoke the so-called constitutional option to raise the nation?s debt ceiling ?without hesitation, and force the courts to stop me? in order to prevent a default, should Congress and the President fail to achieve agreement before the August 2 deadline.
Sharply criticizing Congressional Republicans in an exclusive Monday evening interview with The National Memo, Clinton said, ?I think the Constitution is clear and I think this idea that the Congress gets to vote twice on whether to pay for [expenditures] it has appropriated is crazy.?
Lifting the debt ceiling ?is necessary to pay for appropriations already made,? he added, ?so you can?t say, ?Well, we won the last election and we didn?t vote for some of that stuff, so we?re going to throw the whole country?s credit into arrears.?
The 14th Amendment reads, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law? shall not be questioned,” which some scholars have interpreted as giving the president the authority to pay off all outstanding obligations of the United States, regardless of the statutory debt limit imposed by Congress. Prof. Garrett Epps, who teaches constitutional law at the University of Baltimore, wrote in the Atlantic that “it’s not hard to argue that the Constitution places both payments on the debt and payments owed to groups like Social Security recipients — pensioners, that is — above the vagaries of Congressional politics.”
Republican economist Bruce Bartlett wrote that the president has “constitutional authority to take extraordinary measures to protect the public credit and prevent a debt default even if it means disregarding the debt limit, which is statutory law subordinate to the Constitution.” Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has hinted that the debt ceiling violates the 14th Amendment, and several senators have been looking into the validity of the administration disregarding the statutory debt limit.
As ThinkProgress’ Ian Milhiser wrote, “The 14th Amendment?s Public Debt Clause has never been tested in court, so it is anyone?s guess how it would apply if President Obama decided to save the country from economic ruin by continuing to spend the money Congress lawfully appropriated after we hit the debt ceiling. But it is not even clear that courts would take the case if someone sued to force the United States to default on its debts.” According to Clinton, Treasury officials during his administration looked into invoking the 14th Amendment in case the debt ceiling wasn’t raised.
I’ve long felt that the American consumer’s aversion to lamb was slightly odd. It’s got a more delicious flavor than beef, in my opinion, and sheep are generally raised in more humane conditions than other mass market animals. Unfortunately, lamb turns out to be an ecological catastrophe:
That meat in general is bad news, climate-wise, is familiar. But it’s interesting what a big gap there is. The carbon gap between lamb & beef on the one hand and pork & chicken on the other is larger than the gap between between pork & chicken and vegetarianism.
(DonkeyHotey)The Wall Street Journal has accused critics of News Corp. of "Schadenfreude." As I've argued, that characterization trivializes the issue, which is in fact a pretty clear-cut matter of justice. However, let's indulge in a moment of speculation about one of the questions on everyone's mind:
Is there any chance Murdoch goes to jail, or at least has to worry about it?
It seems unlikely; though investigations have touched high-level executives, presumably even in the culture of rampant law-breaking that clearly existed at News Corp, people will have had the sense to shield Murdoch from vulnerability to prosecution. But then it looks as if these people were surprisingly cavalier, or perhaps just felt invulnerable. Further, Geoffrey Robertson has suggested at The Daily Beast that:
As proprietor of the News of the World he could at least be expected to check any significant payments it was making, in order to ensure that his company was getting value for money. The evidence that he did so was the basis for ex?Labour Party leader Michael Foot accusing him of personal responsibility for an infamous defamation (?KGB: Foot Was Our Agent?)?namely, that he would personally have checked the payment made for the book serialization upon which the story was based. Several editors are on record confirming his routine practice of personally questioning their expenditures. That, after all, is what a good proprietor does or else delegates to a senior executive. Someone in authority must have asked what benefit was obtained from a six-figure payment to Glenn Mulcaire.
Both Rupert and James Murdoch appeared before Parliament today; however unlikely it is that anything explosive emerges from that, it may set the course for how Murdoch is going to play this and how convincing he can be.
As delightful as it is to imagine Rupert Murdoch spending some of his final years in the slammer, the best case scenario for him still offers some lovely Schadenfreude. There have been reports that he might be replaced as CEO by current COO Chase Carey; unnamed board members are denying those reports, but you have to figure the question is on everyone's mind. Meanwhile, Felix Salmon suggests that News Corp could, at least theoretically, be the subject of a corporate takeover, likely one that would result in it being broken into pieces.
At a minimum, Murdoch is without the services of some of his most trusted executives, people who have worked for him for decades. His company will doubtless face years of lawsuits from the thousands of people whose phones it hacked, and payouts that may become costly even by the standards of a billionaire and his giant corporation. The politicians whose careers were so dependent on the favorable coverage they received in News Corp outlets will be afraid to be seen to be close to him, and careers like those of British Prime Minister David Cameron are sustaining real damage because of the scandal?because of Murdoch.
Even if he is never directly questioned by police, let alone arrested, big chunks of what Rupert Murdoch spent his life building will have been undone, and people he valued will have lost their careers and been arrested because of the work they did for him. As evil as he is, he's still human and it has to hurt.
But for now, I'm not giving up hope on the jail time thing.
**UPDATED** “This is the most humble day of my life.” – Rupert Murdoch The hearings begin with Rupert Murdoch & his son James Murdoch asking to make opening statement, but were denied. Submitted statement instead. Clearing room of[...]
Read The Full Article: