Of course, we have long known that incandescent bulbs are on their way out. Our last parish had virtually eliminated them before we arrived. When you are as reflexively cheap as a typical church council, the longevity of the compact fluorescents is very attractive. When some of your sockets are sixty feet in the air, reachable only by a brave man on a shaky ladder, that appeal is greatly amplified.
What we did not know is that the battle to save tungsten-filament incandescent bulbs is a minor part of the Tea Party platform. Apparently, new government efficiency rules, when they take effect, will make the cheap and cheery, but fragile and short-lived Edison bulb a thing of the past. And you know how the Tea Party feels about gummint rules.
So, according to an article by Andrew Rice in the Times Magazine, a former RPI prof named Howard Brandston
... has become the Paul Revere of the movement to save the light bulb, giving speeches to industry conferences and a Tea Party rally in front of the White House.
Ah. This will be useful for Sarah Palin, who is still working on her list of things that Paul Revere ket the redcoats from taking away. Brandston, for his part, has begun to stockpile lightbulbs, to use on his upstate farm. We gather that he will give up his tungsten filament only when they pry it from his cold, dead fingers.
Far more disturbing, however, is the use made of the lightbulb controversy by GOP princeling Rand Paul. When Florida senator Jeff Bingaman convened a senate hearing, on the new rules,
[t]wo Republicans, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Jim Risch of Idaho, used the occasion to denounce free-market infringement. Paul pressed Kathleen Hogan, a D.O.E. official, to say whether she was pro-choice before going off into a long disquisition on liberty.
“I find it really appalling and hypocritical . . . that you favor a woman’s right to an abortion but you don’t favor a woman or a man’s right to choose what kind of light bulb,” Paul said. “I really find it troubling, this busybody nature.”
Wait. First you made a public official share her views on something as delicate and personal as abortion at a conference on lightbulbs, and then you complain about busybodies?! Are you nuts?
For the sake of driving up our clickthroughs, not to mention a foolish consistency, we will pause here to mention that our mother once dated libertarian icon Ron Paul. This makes Republican busybody Rand our almost-coulda-been brother. Yet if it comes right down to a fight in the schoolyard, we don't see ourselves sticking up for him. Quite the reverse. Guy looks in a girl's bookbag like that, he has it coming.