Friday, June 10

Olio: Shut Up And Buy The Fucking Light Bulbs, Lady Edition

• Newt Gingrich's staff quits en masse over vacation time? What did they think he was running for, again? Forget the Party of Lincoln; these guys can't even live up to being the Party of Reagan.

• Oh, Christ: Virginia Postrel, "Need a Light Bulb? Uncle Sam Gets to Choose: Virginia Postrel. By Virginia Postrel. June 10

Reader, I'm assuming you're an adult, which means you're just as flummoxed as I by the phenomenon of people over 25, with IQs at or above bathwater, openly proclaiming themselves libertarian. I'm assuming you're aware that every man-made object you've touched today involved some degree of regulation by government, and that you probably understand why, and perhaps are even conversant with 19th century fatality rates from railroad and industrial accidents directly attributable to laissez-faire. Or, if you've only been paying attention since the dawn of the 21st century, you might recall how large-scale domestic processors of meat, eggs, spinach or peanuts have behaved when they thought no one was watching, let alone how the Chinese believed a soup├žon of automotive solvents added that certain something to pet food.

What I'm saying is there is no way you can believe this shit and claim to've thought anything out. And in a country which has seen armed international conflict over the shooting of a pig, mass panic over a science-fiction radio broadcast, injury to hundreds of its citizens who thought a picture of a lemon on a free sample bottle of dish soap meant it would zest up a glass of iced tea, and the career of Sarah Palin, the Great Light Bulb Rebellion is absolutely the stupidest political movement of all time.

However, we're nothing if not a resourceful race, and there's nothing so dire, misinformed, or risible that mentioning The Ol' Perfesser can't make worse:
One serious technophile, University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds, spent much of 2007 flogging compact fluorescents on his popular Instapundit blog, eventually persuading more than 1,900 readers to swap 19,871 incandescent bulbs for CFLs. To this day, the Instapundit group is by far the largest participant at OneBillionBulbs.com, a bulb-switching campaign organized by the consulting firm Symmetric Technologies. But Reynolds himself has changed his mind.

“I’m deeply, deeply disappointed with CFL bulbs,” he wrote last month on his blog. “I replaced pretty much every regular bulb in the house with CFLs, but they’ve been failing at about the same rate as ordinary long-life bulbs, despite the promises of multiyear service. And I can’t tell any difference in my electric bill. Plus, the Insta-Wife hates the light.”

In my youth I would regularly run into calendar illustrations, magazine fillers, or textbook padders entitled "Can You Spot The Mistakes?", a sort of Ur-Where's Waldo? where some bucolic scene would be rife with pictorial inconsistencies: a rope swing would be suspended from a branch but not tied to it, a passing auto would be missing a wheel or the town clock a hand. Often the publisher would provide an official count, or there'd be a legend on page 125 you could turn to for closure. What do we make of those two paragraphs? "Serious technophile Glenn Reynolds"--how many mistakes is that? Reynolds flogging CFLs; Reynolds disappointed in CFLs, just so soon as the barking right seized upon them. The anecdotal failure rate (I been usin' 'em for three years or more, now, and I've replaced two: the one in the basement I hit with a broom handle, and the early, slow-to-light 15 watter I put in the foyer which proved inadequate), the advanced technophile who wonders why his electric bill hasn't been slashed. Insta-Wife. The clown isn't wearing any pants.

On a scale of 1 to 500,000,000, just how important was "the warm glow of incandescent bulbs" to the Delightful Mrs. Insty before the chilling, Orwellian nightmare that is CFL invaded her life, do you think?

Four million injustices, large and tiny, pass under our noses every waking minute. It's not just telling that the libertoonians in this country choose to focus on how easily one can forget to remove the safety seal before attempting to squeeze some ketchup on his fried okra, or the frustrating thirty seconds required to correct the situation (1. return bottle to upright. 2. put bottle down. 3. unscrew cap. Hey, who decided that had to be counter-clockwise, huh?); they have to choose to defend the free market imperatives of the very people who invented planned obsolesce in the first place. Edison's light bulb still burns. Assholes. Nobody got to vote on that, either.

(This just happens to be the day that Roy writes "I grow more convinced every day that libertarianism only exists to give young Republicans something marginally less repulsive to call themselves when they're trying to get laid." I checked Postrel's c.v. at the Wikithing, and was amused to find, yet again, the handwork of whatever dedicated Wikiaste who seems to follow every mention of someone's libertarian leanings with "or classical liberal". So I'm suggesting that "classical liberal" is what you call a libertarian who can't get it up anymore.)

• By the way, I liked the insta-punditry which claims that Gingrich's staff desertions clear the way for Rick Perry. First, because it's the sort of analysis that only analysts could believe; remember when Haley Barbour's insufficiency of belly-fire was going to benefit Mitch Daniels? Second, because of the "he's a Southerner" routine; there are plenty of reasons to disparage Southern politics without needing to invent any. Has Newt Gingrich ever won an election outside his home district? And, finally, the idea that there's some similarity between them other than Republican scumbaggery and the moral compass of a wharf rat. Perry may run--he may have already decided to run--and he might win--fuck, somebody has to--but if waiting for Newt Gingrich's staff to become available was part of that equation this couldn't have sped up his decision by more than a fortnight anyway.

21 comments:

James Stripes said...

Libertarians smoke pot. That's the heart of their appeal, and the source of their confusion.

squatlo said...

When one reads of a candidate's staff of strategists, advisors, and press people departing en masse, you have to remember that these people make their money representing candidates. If the horse they originally chose to ride dies on them, like any parasite they must find another host for sustenance... hence, Prick Perry suddenly appears electable. They convince an already oversized egomaniac's throbbing libido that his country desperately needs him, mainly because they desperately need work and all the viable idiots already have campaign staffs at work and on their payrolls. Noot Newtered his own campaign, and now his hired guns need work.
Perry is Scary. We've had enough experience with Texas governors lately, thanks...

mds said...

"Hey, who decided that had to be counter-clockwise, huh?"

Leftists.

Uncle Omar said...

As I have pointed out many times over the years, a libertarian is someone who hates government interference with private property until his neighbor starts tuning his Harley in his garage with the door open every evening at 11:30 and then the cops better do something right fucking now!!

whetstone said...

Here, let me shorten that for you:

"Oh, Christ: Virginia Postrel"

done!

Vivek said...

Not just that, but what kind of absolute asshat calls their philosophy "dynamism" and constrasts it with "stasis"? What can you say about a group that thinks *labeling* is proof of work?

voxpoptart said...

Speaking as a lefty environmentalist, albeit one who is only a whimsical technophile at best: I've had Glenn Reynolds's experiences with compact fluorescents. The not-at-all-compact striplight fluorescent in our kitchen works great, but our CF's burn out as regularly as our incandescents, sometimes faster, and my wife hates the flickering too.

I don't *like* sharing experiences with Glenn Reynolds, or even a planet with him, but from what our electrician says, a lot of houses just aren't wired to get any benefits from the new bulbs. And that really is rather annoying.

John said...

@ voxpoptart
"I don't *like* sharing experiences with Glenn Reynolds, or even a planet with him, but from what our electrician says, a lot of houses just aren't wired to get any benefits from the new bulbs. And that really is rather annoying."

Your electrician should stick to wiring stuff. That is a ridiculous assertion.

voxpoptart said...

John: Could be. But she's worked a lot of houses with the issue, which is a real one. (It relates, she says, to something about Duke Power flooding my home periodically with more than 120 volts, thus damaging the bulbs if I recall correctly, and there's an excellent chance I don't.) At any rate, for *some* reason, CFLs simply don't work like they're supposed to for a lot of houses. Including mine.

And yes, they annoy my wife. And yes, I bicycle a lot and we use cloth diapers for our kids and we're vegetarians who buy and cook organic food, sometimes from local farms. We want CFLs to be useful. They aren't, for us. We know enough other people with the same issues to think that environmentalism is going to get itself a bad rap with some previously neutral-to-mildly-sympathetic people when these laws go into effect. That's a problem. Okay?

TM said...

Rick Perry... oh yeah, a fine candidate.

The man went full retard in 2009 with Texas teabaggers by flirting with secession. I'm sure the rest of the U.S. will just love learning about that.

RobertB said...

I have the same problem with CFEs that Voxpoptart has. They don't last long enough in my house to offset the higher cost per bulb.

The last time I got involved in a conversation about "Why do my CFEs die?" the consensus was that they're more sensitive to dirty power. If your voltage tends to fluctuate a lot, then CFEs will die a lot.

Where this ties in with the house wiring (and I'm speaking second-hand here, so I could very well be full of crap) is that it's bad for CFEs to share circuits with high intermittent draw devices, such as sump pumps, fridges, anything with large electric motors.

NoPublic said...

As always, you get what you pay for with CFLs.

Cheaper "6 for $12" 3 generation old CFLs have crappy ballasts, ugly colour balance, shoddy QA and predictably disappointing lifespans.

Modern CFLs start quickly, work in colder temps, give better spectra of light and last longer than incandescents.

I'm going on 3 years on the one in my bedroom fan, a location in which even heavy-duty or "fan rated" incandescents barely made it to 6 months on average.

M. Krebs said...

All's I can say is that, at my joint, on fucking average, CFLs don't pop out nearly as regularly as the old bulbs did. I don't remember where I got this, but supposedly the trick is not to use them in places where they're turned on and off frequently. If you flip them on and off all the time, their life span is no better than an incandescent bulb -- possibly worse, I don't know. Moreover, unless you never use electricity for heating, air conditioning, cooking, or heating water, using CFLs isn't going cause a very significant (percentage-wise) difference in your electric bill -- unless you're lighting a acre or two.

M. Krebs said...

Ketchup on fried okra? You're joking, right? Nobody does that.

Anonymous said...

Great pith on "libertoonianism," but in the interests of fairness doctrine of false equivalencies, on our side lies the fringe of "anarchists," who likewise with their libertoonian confreres deny the human need, compulsion, and arrangement for hierarchy. I am not sure that anarchists ever get laid, but boy can they score drugs.

LanceThruster said...

The CFL I killed prematurely was because I failed to read the fine print on my motion detector activated porch lite (CFL was one type light NOT recommended).

Other than that I'm fairly happy with them. The (short) longevity of some of the older ones was because I'd have to keep trying to jiggle them in the socket when the ballast would start to hum.

Haven't had that problem in awhile either.

Liberty60 said...

In my experience, libertarians are republicans who claim to smoke pot thinking that will up their chances of getting laid.


Also in my experience, they would be a damn sight more enjoyable to be around if they actually did smoke the occasional bowl.

Anonymous said...

That was beautiful MDS....

Uncle Glenny said...

I got some fairly expensive CFLs a dozen years ago via some mail order catalog with discounts via my electric company. All except one (which got whacked) still work.

A couple years later I got some cheap ones and they were crap.

More recent purchases have lasted well (we will see).

Unfortunately I've got a number of fixtures where I either can't use them for one reason or another (enclosures, weather) or I sacrifice 3-way (doesn't fit).

I'm marginally concerned about the mercury hazard, having read about potential hazard, especially for children and pets near floor level if they break. I just looked around and found the EPA's current guidelines:

http://epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup.html

Anonymous said...

I love this statement;
"Nor does it allow households to make choices about how best to conserve electricity. A well-designed policy would allow different people to make different tradeoffs among different uses to produce the most happiness (“utility” in econ-speak) for a given amount of power. Maybe I want to burn a lot of incandescent bulbs but dry my clothes outdoors and keep the air conditioner off. Maybe I want to read by warm golden light instead of watching a giant plasma TV."

Thanks for the Econ speak but, I am not sure how this thought process has occured in our country. We live in a land of plenty and we treat it like so. This light bulb debate is crazy; as is insta douche and insta wife. I have had them in my house for three years now with now problems. I hope these idiots stock up on "patriot" light bulbs and stack them next to the MRE's for Y2K

sarcasmus said...

I love "Wharf Rat".