In what must be one of the most bizarre but informative exchanges we’ve ever heard from a Tea Partier, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul reveals what bugs so many Tea Partiers. His toilets don’t work, and haven’t for 20 years.
That’s not supposed to be a straight line for a gag.
You can’t get the information from just listening to him, however — you have to have some additional facts so you can read between the lines.
From this exchange at the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, we learn:
- Rand Paul trivializes abortion and women’s rights. He appears to think babies are similar to incandescent light bulbs; he’s pretty clueless about either pregnancies or light bulbs. Could there be a more offensive way to introduce this topic, than to claim his right to buy an incandescent light bulb and waste energy is equal, somehow, to a woman’s right to choose whether to carry a baby?
- Rand Paul doesn’t know how to shop. Rand Paul isn’t much of a plumber. He apparently bought a defective toilet some years ago, one that either doesn’t work or just can’t deal with the amount of effluent he personally produces, and he blames government for his bowel issues and his plumbing issues. Well-working, low-water-use toilets have been available for decades in Europe and Asia, and are now available in the U.S., but he can’t be bothered to shop for them. If he could maintain his old, water-wasting toilet, he’d have no kick, of course. But he can’t be bothered to shop for a plumber who knows plumbing, and he can’t figure out how to do it himself.
- Rand Paul is incompetent at economics and constitutional law, at the same time. Rand Paul thinks government should regulate things for his satisfaction, keeping products available that are no longer economical to produce — and if government fails to force businesses to do his bidding, it’s government’s fault; but the fact that Paul lives in the 19th century in his mind and no one else wants what he wants, never occurs to him.
- Rand Paul wants government to subsidize his bad choices.
Let’s go to the video:
Can somebody get Rand Paul a competent plumber? Can somebody show him how to use Google or Bing or Yahoo! to shop for good toilets and good plumbers? The nation needs Paul to return to sanity, decency, and sanitation.
[Update: Paul could learn about efficient, U.S.-built toilets, here.]
Am I wrong to think Paul is making an attack on wise conservation in general? Why?
Paul’s smug, self-satisfied invincibility of incompetence and learned helplessness is appalling. (Take that, Protein Wisdom; it’s just you, Jeff G. — everybody else sees Ms. Morgan as composed against Paul’s overweening smugness.)
Can somebody explain this to me: This moment of extreme embarrassment to Sen. Paul is posted by his office at his YouTube site. What were they thinking?
Somebody give a medal to Energy’s Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathleen Morgan for not teeing off on the guy. Letting him twist in the wind is good enough.
By the way, the bill Paul complains about? The manufacturers agreed to the standards voluntarily, and have already agreed to comply — the bill adds no regulations they say they cannot meet; Hogan’s statement noted:
S.398 codifies agreements that were negotiated, signed, and promoted by a cross-section of stakeholders representing consumer advocacy groups, manufacturers, manufacturer trade associations, and energy efficiency advocacy organizations, all of whom support this bill. The negotiated consensus agreements would establish energy conservation standards for 14 products, several of which are in the midst of DOE’s ongoing standards and test procedure rulemakings.
Resources, good information:
- Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Hearing to receive testimony on S.398, a bill to amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to improve energy efficiency of certain appliances and equipment, and for other purposes, and S.395, the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act (Hearing Room SD-366), Thursday, March 10, 2011, 09:30 AM, Energy Committee Hearing Room – SD-366; webcast; statement of Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy, Energy Efficiency
- “The Changing Lighting Landscape,” Debbie Arrington in the Sacramento Bee, via the Abilene Reporter-News, March 15, 2011
- Beaver County (Pennsylvania) Times editorial, “Power Play,” March 17, 2011
- Meanwhile, in Britain, energy-saving lightbulbs win design awards
- Editorial in the Philadelphia Daily News, March 17, 2011, “Lightbulb debate: More heat than light”:
“The law that they are taking to the airwaves to condemn was signed by that notorious tree-hugger George W. Bush (and voted for by 54 congressional Republicans). Because its energy-efficiency standards can’t be met by tungsten-based incandescent lightbulbs, 100-watt bulbs will be obsolete come Jan. 1, with the rest phased out by 2014.
Incandescent bulbs waste about 90 percent of the energy that goes into them, much of it in generating more heat than light (a lot like this debate).
By contrast, alternative lightbulbs are far more energy-efficient. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) use about a quarter of the energy of traditional lightbulbs and last 10 times longer. Halogen and LED lightbulbs also save significant amounts of energy.