FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

In the Mad House

by CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI

Our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter.

— Lewis Strauss, Speech on atomic energy (1954)

Albert Einstein once said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  Republicans in the House would disagree with Mr. Einstein. They do it to make sure that the country knows what they are thinking.  They do not consider themselves to be insane. Some of us do.

The House of Representatives has devoted an astonishing number of hours to debating and trying to repeal what is commonly referred to as “Obamacare.” As of this writing, since becoming law on March 23, 2010, the House has voted 37 times to modify or completely abolish it.  The House deserves plaudits for its persistence if not its wisdom. Its persistence may be seen by some as a waste of the legislative body’s time but, as it turned out, those votes did not take away from its attention to other legislative matters since when not voting on health care the House was doing nothing of substantive significance. Since the vote to repeal or modify health care has been the most significant action in the House for many months and an activity of which, at least, the Republican members of that body are most proud, it was not surprising to hear House Speaker John Boehner cheerfully explain on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that “You’re going to see a lot more [votes to thwart Obamacare].” Given that somewhat dismal prospect (if one is not numbered among those who find that a productive use of the political body’s skills) it was reassuring to learn that there is one member of the House able to address something other than health care. That person is Marsha Blackburn (R. Tenn.).

The issue that Ms. Blackburn has demonstrated an interest in addressing is the movement of hot air.  Since that is her interest and since she is a member of Congress the immediate assumption is that she wanted to address the verbal flatulence produced by that body. That was not, sadly, the case.   The hot air that concerns her is the hot air that is circulated by the ceiling fan and it is that device that concerns her.

Ms. Blackburn’s interest in the topic was aroused because the Environmental Protection Agency has come out with 101 pages of regulations with the catchy name of “2013-03-08 Energy Conservation Standards Rulemaking Framework Document for Ceiling Fans and Ceiling Fan Light Kits Lights RIN: 1904-AC87.” Regulations pertaining to ceiling fans and their lights have not been updated since 2005. Since there is a greater awareness of the need for efficiency in all manner of things electric, it is no surprise that the proposed standards are more conservative than the existing standards and are designed to make the fans more efficient. Because the House has spent so much time on repealing the unrepealable, Ms. Blackburn has had adequate time to read the proposed regulations and has formed an opinion about them that she recently shared on the floor of the House.

A search of the Internet fails to disclose whether or not she believes in the existence of climate change but what her remarks make abundantly clear is that she does not like government regulations. Her particular concern is that if enacted, the regulations will drive up the price of fans thus harming the consumer even if helping the environment.  In a speech on the House floor she said:  “First, they [the government of which she’s a part] came for our healthcare, then they took away our light bulbs, and raided our nation’s most iconic guitar company-now they are coming after our ceiling fans.”   (The guitar raid to which she referred was a raid on Tennessee’s “Gibson Guitar Corp.” for alleged violations of the Lacy Act.) Bringing the proposed regulations to our attention was a great service since there is an outside chance that without her words, many of us would have completely overlooked the 101 pages in question.

Thanks to Ms. Blackburn’s attentiveness, the ceiling fan is protected from the EPA.  She and Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) added an amendment to the fiscal year 2014 energy-and-water appropriations bill that will prevent the Energy Department from using any money in that bill to implement or enforce energy efficient standards for ceiling fans and ceiling fan light kits.    That is great news and having dispensed with that issue, Ms. Blackburn and Mr. Rokita can rejoin their colleagues in focusing their attention on Obamacare.  In celebration of their success it would be nice if they could schedule a vote to repeal Obamacare before the five-week recess that begins August 3 and follows, by three weeks, the Fourth of July recess.

Christopher Brauchli is a lawyer living in Boulder, Colorado. He can be emailed at brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 22, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street
Joseph E. Lowndes
From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland
Paul Street
Political Correctness: Handle with Care
Richard Moser
Actions Express Priorities: 40 Years of Failed Lesser Evil Voting
Eric Draitser
Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street
Conn Hallinan
The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO
Ron Jacobs
Exacerbate the Split in the Ruling Class
Jill Stein
After US Airstrikes Kill 73 in Syria, It’s Time to End Military Assaults that Breed Terrorism
Jack Rasmus
Trump, Trade and Working Class Discontent
John Feffer
Could a Military Coup Happen Here?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Late Night, Wine-Soaked Thoughts on Trump’s Jeremiad
Andrew Levine
Vice Presidents: What Are They Good For?
Michael Lukas
Law, Order, and the Disciplining of Black Bodies at the Republican National Convention
Victor Grossman
Horror News, This Time From Munich
Margaret Kimberley
Gavin Long’s Last Words
Mark Weisbrot
Confidence and the Degradation of Brazil
Brian Cloughley
Boris Johnson: Britain’s Lying Buffoon
Lawrence Reichard
A Global Crossroad
Kevin Schwartz
Beyond 28 Pages: Saudi Arabia and the West
Charles Pierson
The Courage of Kalyn Chapman James
Michael Brenner
Terrorism Redux
Bruce Lerro
Being Inconvenienced While Minding My Own Business: Liberals and the Social Contract Theory of Violence
Mark Dunbar
The Politics of Jeremy Corbyn
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Why It’s Just Fine for U.S. to Blow Up Children
Binoy Kampmark
Laura Ingraham and Trumpism
Uri Avnery
The Great Rift
Nicholas Buccola
What’s the Matter with What Ted Said?
Aidan O'Brien
Thank Allah for Western Democracy, Despondency and Defeat
Joseph Natoli
The Politics of Crazy and Stupid
Sher Ali Khan
Empirocracy
Nauman Sadiq
A House Divided: Turkey’s Failed Coup Plot
Franklin Lamb
A Roadmap for Lebanon to Grant Civil Rights for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
Colin Todhunter
Power and the Bomb: Conducting International Relations with the Threat of Mass Murder
Michael Barker
UK Labour’s Rightwing Select Corporate Lobbyist to Oppose Jeremy Corbyn
Graham Peebles
Brexit, Trump and Lots of Anger
Anhvinh Doanvo
Civilian Deaths, Iraq, Syria, ISIS and Drones
Christopher Brauchli
Kansas and the Phantom Voters
Peter Lee
Gavin Long’s Manifesto and the Politics of “Terrorism”
Missy Comley Beattie
An Alarmingly Ignorant Fuck
Robert Koehler
Volatile America
Adam Vogal
Why Black Lives Matter To Me
Raouf Halaby
It Is Not Plagiarism, Y’all
Rev. Jeff Hood
Deliver Us From Babel
Frances Madeson
Juvenile Life Without Parole, Captured in ‘Natural Life’
Charles R. Larson
Review: Han Kang’s “The Vegetarian”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail