Keep your hands off Nick Reed’s lightbulbs!

Glamour Shots!!!!!

See that guy on the far right? Don't mess with his LIGHT BULBS!

Today was one of those rare days I decided to listen to talk radio in the morning, and – boy – am I glad I did! I just happened to luck into a Nick Reed diatribe on KSGF and ended up reconsidering my opinions of the President of the United States of America.

Reed was all worked up over this story, where people are stocking up on incandescent light bulbs before compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, take over the shelves. Incandescent bulbs, as you may remember, are being phased out because of an energy law. Now, consumers must buy what Reed calls crappy light bulbs.

“I say crappy ones because I don’t like ’em,” said Reed. “God forbid we live in the kind of country where you can choose the kind of LIGHT BULBS we want.”

Some people concur with Reed’s disapproval of the bulbs, but only because the light isn’t is good, or they take too long to turn on, or there’s some concern with the bulbs’ small mercury content and the clean up involved if one should break. Not Reed.

“Quite frankly that doesn’t worry me nearly as much as the fact that we live in a country where we aren’t even gonna be able to buy the kind of LIGHT BULB that we want,” he said, later adding:

“Do you not understand what this says about our country? I’ve explained this before, but I feel like I need to explain it again. The reason I get upset about it is because it is something that should be so…such a small portion of our lives, yet the government feels to even dictate THAT. And, to me, when the government’s dictating things as insignificant in life as what sort of light bulb we want, that’s when you get real trouble.”

Incandescent bulbs will still be available, just with a different capsule, and that’s not good enough for Reed. Nor is it good enough for a whopping 13% of Americans who, according to an Osram Sylvania survey, will stock up on the incandescents – like it’s Russia in the 1980s. And we know who was in charge in Russia in the 80s, don’t we?

“What fantasy world are we living in? Light bulbs.”

That got me thinking: Maybe I should re-think this president. Maybe Reed is right, this incandescent prohibition is the start of a slippery slope to “real trouble.” What kind of man would do that? What kind of communist, nay, socialist would want to tell us what kind of light bulbs we can or can’t use?

Ol' Mr. Light Bulb himself!

President George W. Bush signs into law H.R. 6, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the act that had Nick Reed all fired up!

Oh, right.

“Today we make a major step with the Energy Independence and Security Act,” President George W. Bush said at the time. “We make a major step toward reducing our dependence on oil, confronting global climate change, expanding the production of renewable fuels and giving future generations of our country a nation that is stronger, cleaner and more secure.”

The bill passed 264-163 in the House, with 36 Republicans for and 159 against. It passed 65-27 in the Senate. It’s worth noting that Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill both voted against it, while Kit Bond was one of only seven senators that did not vote.

Let’s not let our political memories get too short. This light bulb edict came on Bush’s watch, as did the first Troubled Asset Relief Program – and he said this past November that he’d do it again. You ever wonder why some independent voters like me say there just isn’t enough difference between Republicans and Democrats sometimes? Here’s Exhibit A. Admit it. You totally thought I was talking about Obama.


P.S. – I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the bump music for this segment – which aired shortly after 8 a.m. – was a song called “Pony” by Ginuwine. It’s notable for two things: 1) Spawning the “Dancing Alone to ‘Pony'” meme and 2) Featuring this suave line, “If you’re horny, let’s do it / Ride it, my pony…” It was a classic moment. Ginuwine sings “My saddle’s waiting / Come on, jump on it…” just as Reed gave us the winter weather advisory.

State of the Snoozin’

State of the Union 2011

I like comparing the way Biden and Boehner clap.

Obviously the big story of the past 24 hours has been the State of the Union Address. I don’t really have a lot to add to it. Even though I make it a point to watch State of the Union Addresses, they’re all kind of…boring.

I don’t know that I categorize them as political pep rallies, but they always tend to be pretty partisan. You could pretty much tell where the Democrats were last night by the standing ovations. And guess what? If you watched Fox News, I”m sure the general consensus was that it was okay at best, and if you watched MSNBC then the general consensus was it was pretty good at worst. Nobody’s breaking new ground here.

But I feel like it’s my duty as a good American to see what the President has to say, then watch the response from the opposition party – or, in this responses. You want analysis? You’re gonna find a lot better elsewhere, so I won’t even try that. Here, though, are some random musings.

I actually did like President Obama’s address, but that’s par for the course. The man can flat give a speech. I appreciated the focus on education, obviously, and noticed the reaches across the aisle to show a willingness to work with Republicans. I loved the salmon joke. Fantastic. This wasn’t his best speech as President, but I thought it did the job.

Paul Ryan’s response was something I was actually looking forward to. What little I know about the Wisconsin Republican has intrigued me, and he seems like someone capable of being a formidable candidate that would appeal to a younger crowd. His speech, though, felt flat to me. There wasn’t a lot of substance to it. I was also eager to see Michelle Bachmann’s response, and it was just what I expected. The Tea Party Republican from Minnesota relayed the usual platitudes and talking points.

Even though nothing really blew me away last night, there are two things that made me glad I watched:

1. Post-speech fact checks. Find them and use them. (I recommend Fact Checker at The Washington Post in this case. He got both sides.) Non-partisan fact checks are perhaps the greatest tool voters have in this time when voters seem to prefer to get their information from biased media sources. The truth is out there, you just have to be willing to work a little bit to find it.

2. I need to get more active. Bachmann said “Please know how important your calls, visits, and letters are to the maintenance of our liberties.” My representative, Billy Long (*sigh*) told the Springfield News-Leader that everyone he talked to was in favor of him voting to repeal the health care reform act. Clearly he didn’t speak to me. That’s something I can fix. You can, too. Whether you agree with me on issues or not, you can agree with me that – outside of voting – the biggest thing we can do to make sure government is working for us and hearing our voice is to reach out to them.


Election thoughts

I voted.

I voted, so now I can complain.

Last night was something special. It was either a typical mid-term election, where the balance of power once again swings back the other way, or it was a major tidal change in American politics. A lot of that depends on which cable news station you prefer.

Now the Republicans have the House and they’ve closed the gap in the Senate. I have a new senator (Roy Blunt) and representative (Billy Long) serving me in congress and a new face on the Greene County commission (Jim Viebrock).

But what does it all mean?

I’ve put some thought to this today and I’m equal parts cautiously optimistic and aggressively pessimistic. The Republicans are saying a lot of the right things right now. It’s the old “I’m sorry, baby. I learned my lesson. This time’ll be better, I promise.” And, as a born-and-raised conservative, I want to believe them.

But there are thorns on that olive branch they’re extending. Rep. John Boehner, the future Speaker of the House, has already said the Republicans will confront the Democrats when they don’t agree with “the people.” It’s that part that scares me. Who are “the people” he’s talking about? How will he decide what the people want? If the public turns favorable on health care reform, will they back off? I’m doubtful.

Perhaps the most telling Republic quote of this election cycle comes from Mitch McConnell, in an interview with National Journal.

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

I have no doubt that he means it, and that’s what bothers me. If things turn around – and there’s reason to believe they will – the Republicans stand to lose some momentum going into the 2012 elections and may even fail to reclaim the White House. So this is the moment of truth: Will they throw themselves into real reform to ensure the country is on the right track, hoping they’ll reap the credit in 2012? Or will they continue to obstruct and sandbag, and use a faltering economy to push for bigger gains.

The adventure beings for all of us in January.

The fine crew at Ancillary Adams has a take on the elections. You can view it here.


1935 S. Campbell
Springfield, MO 65807

Debunking one of Sean Hannity’s many distortions

I’m not ashamed to admit that I regularly listen to talk radio….which in Springfield means you listen to conservative talk radio. That includes the Sean Hannity Show, which is often an excruciating experience.

One of the lying liars Al Franken was talking about.

This picture is almost as disturbing as his distortions.

His style is focusing on one or two issues at a time – sometimes what feels like for months – and hammering away on them ad nauseum. He throws out a few catchphrases and repeats them enough that callers to his show and KSGF’s morning show begin parroting them.

The worst thing about him, though, is the pretzels he’s willing to twist the truth into as he makes his arguments. I spent as much time searching online, debunking the things he says, as I do actually listening to the show. He repeated one the other day that particularly gets under my skin and I’m going to debunk it. Let me break-it-down-now.

Hannity likes to remind his listeners that Barack Obama is a bad human being for accusing our troops of “air-raiding villages and killing civilians.” He said it because it’s true.

A little back story here: In August of 2007, then-Sen. Obama was making a campaign stop in Hanover, N.H. when he was asked if he’d move U.S. troops out of Iraq to better fight terrorism elsewhere. His answer included this statement about Afghanistan: “We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there.”

He was absolutely correct. Even at that time Taliban and other insurgent fighters were still very much a problem in Afghanistan and, with many ground troops in Iraq, the coalition forces needed a way to fight them without suffering too many casualties of their own. The solution was air power. The unfortunate consequence was civilian casualties.

An AP fact check, dated August 14 of 2007 determined Obama was correct. The AP kept count based on figures from Afghan and international officials. Tracking the casualties was a difficult task, as most of them happened in remote and dangerous areas that are tough to reach and verify. As of Aug. 1 the AP had counted 231 civillians killed by militants in 2007, while Western forces had killed 286. Another 20 were killed in crossfire and couldn’t be attributed to one side.

The fact check also notes that Afghan President Hamid Karzai expressed his concern about the civillian deaths in a meeting with President Bush. Bush’s response:

“The president rightly expressed his concerns about civilian casualty,” Bush said of Karzai. “And I assured him that we share those concerns.”

A story at FOX News’ Web site, of all places, dated September 17, 2008, quotes U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates as expressing “personal regret” for recent American airstrikes that killed Afghan civilians and pledged more accurate targeting in the future.

“As I told them, I offer all Afghans my sincere condolences and personal regret for the recent loss of innocent life as a result of coalition airstrikes,” he said, noting the U.S. military takes extraordinary precautions to avoid civilian casualties, but “It is clear that we have to work even harder.”

Gen. David McKiernan, the commander of international forces in Afghanistan, has said that a shortage of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is forcing commanders to rely more on air combat, which can cause more civilian deaths. The attacks that have angered and embarrassed the U.S.-backed Afghan government.

So there you have it. Yes, Obama once said that our troops were air-raiding villages and killing civilians. You can argue he shouldn’t have said “just,” but you can’t dispute that he accurately assessed what our air-based strategy was doing at the time.

Sean Hannity makes too much money doing what he’s doing to suddenly start being honest. With that in mind, if you listen to him, make sure you do some fact checking. If you want to read some more about what was going on in Afghanistan during that time, click on these links:

Afghans Report 133 Civilians Dead In Recent Airstrikes (July 8, 2007)

More Afghan Civilians Killed In Airstrikes (July 1, 2007)

British Criticize Air Attacks in Afghan Region (August 9, 2007)