If You Like Spinach, Turn Off Your Lights
G. Robert Dieckmann
April 1, 2007
 
While Nancy Pelosi was embezzling 24 billion tax payer dollars from the US Treasury to bribe Democrats in the House into supporting her Iraq Surrender bill, liberals in California were introducing legislation to ban inexpensive incandescent light bulbs in favor of compact florescent lamps which require 1/4 the power and cost 10 times more.

When President Bush requested $100 billion from Congress for emergency defense spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, Democrats in the House saw their opportunity to once again object to the war, call for surrender in 2008, block funding for "the Surge", and grab some bacon at the same time.
 
They produced a bill to authorize the spending of $120 billion, $96 billion for the war and $24 billion in pork to buy votes. It included $74 million for "peanut storage", $25 million for spinach growers and $283 million for dairy farmers. $4 million for the "Office of Women's Health" at the Food and Drug Administration. $5 million for tropical fish breeders and transporters. $60 million for the National Marine Fisheries Service, and $400 million for "wildland fire suppression."
 
In addition, there is $24 million for funding for sugar beets, $3 million in funding for sugar cane going to one Hawaiian co-op. There's $20 million for insect infestation damage reimbursements in Nevada, Idaho and Utah; $2.1 billion for crop production losses; one and a half billion for livestock production losses; $100 million for dairy production losses; $13 million for ewe lamb replacement and retention; $32 million for the livestock indemnity program; and $40 million for the Tree Assistance Program. These are just a few of the earmarks tacked onto the Defense Bill.
 
The bill was then sent to the senate where they maintained the $120 billion cost to the taxpayers but thanks to Senate Republicans, they restored the $100 billion the president had asked for but Harry Reid still included another $20 billion in pork just to secure enough Democrat votes to pass his Iraq surrender bill.
 
President Bush has repeatedly said he will veto any bill that includes a pull out date from Iraq or language that would hamper the mission.  This bill contained both.  Congressional Democrats are becoming more bold and obvious in their attempts to see that the operations in Iraq do not succeed and the President is credited only for failure. 
 
The Senate version of the bill contained $3.5 million for guided Capitol tours. $13 million for something called the "Ewe Lamb Replacement and Retention Program." $24 million for sugar beet growers, $3 million for sugar cane, $31 million to extend the "Milk Income Loss Contract" program and $2.1 million for crop production losses. $40 million for the "Tree Assistance Program." $20 million for "insect infestation damage reimbursements" in Nevada, Idaho and Utah. $166 million toward "fisheries disaster relief." $25 million for "asbestos abatement at the Capitol Power Plant," and $23 million for "geothermal research and development."
 
Before going on I'd like to say that a few of the added costs to the Emergency War Bill are valid expenses under today's government entitlement policies (never authorized by the Constitution.) However, they do not belong in an emergency defense bill. Most of these expenses should be included in the Dept. of Agriculture appropriations bill and the Transportation Department appropriations bill. They have nothing at all to do with the Defense Dept.
 
Meanwhile in California, an initiative has been proposed by California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine (D-CA) to have all incandescent light bulbs replaced with compact florescent lamps by 2012 in the interest of protecting the environment and reducing electrical consumption.
 
I assume he means that if we all use less electricity to light our homes, then power plants will not be overloaded with high demand and will produce less pollution by producing less electricity.
 
This is utter nonsense.
 
For one thing, the effects of California banning incandescent bulbs and switching to florescent lights would be negligible on the continental power grid. Most business in California already use florescent tubes to light their workplaces but florescent lighting is not strong enough for outdoor lighting. More powerful HID (High Intensity Discharge) lamps must be used for that such as HPS (High Pressure Sodium), Mercury Vapor, and Metal Halide lamps. These lamps produce more bang for the buck and are much brighter than incandescent, but are not as economical as florescents to operate. 
 
Another problem with compact florescents, besides the purchase cost, is that they contain a tiny amount of mercury which is classified as an "environmentally hazardous substance" and therefore are not to be disposed of in the usual trash containers - but they are and will be. Soon, environmentalists will be screaming to ban the compact florescent lamps as a hazard to the environment when thrown away. And how else are consumers going to get rid of them?
 
For decades now, Liberals politicians have refused to allow the power grid to keep up with growing demands in a growing population. Instead of increasing power generation to meet current demands, they want us all to restrict our use of electricity. That's like telling us to "avoid unnecessary driving". Who goes out into that traffic when they don't have to?
 
The answer to all this seems remarkably simple. Congress, instead of spending $20 billion in bribes to Democrats to get their vote for a war bill that will clearly be vetoed by the president anyway, should use that money to build 20 nuclear power plants, each capable of producing 1 Gigawatt (1 million Kilowatts) of power, or subsidizing energy producers 50/50 to produce 40 nuclear power plants capable of producing 40 GW.
 
Just the money Congress stole from us to buy votes with pork would cover the cost of building clean, and environmentally friendly nuclear power plants to light all those incandescent light bulbs that then wouldn't have to be replaced with compact florescents. The money spent on pork earmarks in all of the other bills passed by Congress would pay for enough nuclear power plants to keep the power grid ahead of growing demands for the rest of the century.
 
The choice is clear. Do we want our tax money going to small special interest groups friendly to politicians, or going to provide electricity for us all to use? The Constitution specifies that all federal laws passed by congress must apply to, or benefit all citizens of all states. When will we ever hold politicians in Congress responsible for violating the Constitution of the United States on a regular basis? How can we when they make the laws and the Justice Department is afraid to prosecute them unless they're Republicans?