Ameren fails to warn of CFL hazards

cfl_light_bulbAmeren Illinois Utilities has been pushing CFLs, compact fluorescent lights, in their “Facts on Energy” bill inserts lately (and apparently in commercials). The utility is offering “bargain prices” on the bulbs, “which typically use 75 percent less energy, give off less heat and last eight times longer than standard incandescent bulbs,” according to the January 2009 insert. The December issue of the insert tells people they can “save $100 in 2009 simply by replacing 20 standard incandescent light bulbs” with the CFLs, although in that issue, the claim was that they lasted up to 10 times longer.

What the “Facts on Energy” inserts don’t tell customers is that CFLs are dangerous. According to the January/February 2008 issue of Midwestern Family, “It is against the law for any Illinois business to dispose of a CFL in a municipal landfill, but residential homes have, so far, been overlooked.” That’s because of the mercury contained in the CFLs.

“While compact fluorescent light bulbs are great for cutting down energy consumption, their contents are hazardous. John Becker, owner of Farmington Road Hardware, started a collection bin for CFLs at the end of October [Note: That store has since closed.] ‘If you do break a CFL, clear the room immediately. (A CFL) can contaminate 22,000 gallons of water in a heartbeat, it’s not something you should mess with. People should dispose of them properly,’ Becker says.”

The WattWorks Web site has additional warnings, such as this:

“CFLs contain an average of 5 mg (range of 0.9 to 18 mg) of mercury. Breaking a single CFL bulb in a room can result in mercury vapor levels 300 times in excess of what the EPA has established as safe for prolonged exposure. Serious health effects are associated with mercury exposure. Unborn and young children, elderly and those with weakened health are particularly vulnerable. Mercury affects the nervous system. Neuro-pathways of children are still developing and exposure can result in permanent damage.”

The Ameren inserts do not contain any warnings about the mercury hazards of CFLs, which have been known for some time now, in their touting of the bulbs.

That’s irresponsible.

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Classic headline disconnect

Here is a perfect example of what C. John Sommerville writes about in “How the News Makes Us Dumb.”

On my Yahoo home page, the Associated Press has the headline:

Bernanke: Recession may end in ’09; stocks climb

The Reuters headline is:

Bernanke fears recession may extend to 2010

My kind of pitcher …

… is Todd Wellemeyer, starting pitcher for the Cardinals.

A political animal, Wellemeyer hits the Drudge Report several times a day, devours news on the web and is eager to debate the issue of global warming. He fancies physics, or at least books about physics, and is currently reading “The Lightness of Being,” which is subtitled, “Mass, Ether and Unification of Forces.”

U.N. “Convention on the Rights of the Child”

President Obama [see here, go to Question 12] and others have signaled their desire to get the U.S. to sign on to the United Nations’ “Convention on the Rights of the Child.” It has been approved by all member nations except the U.S. and Somalia.

For the most part, its desires are for moral and ethical treatment of children (although there’s no mention of any moral and ethical treatment of the preborn).

There are some troublesome articles in it, though, in particular ones that address free expression, religious practice and the rights of the parents to exercise control over those two things. It removes those rights, from what I can understand.

Here’s the text of the most problematic articles (emphases mine):

Article 13

    1. The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.

2. The exercise of this right may be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

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      (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; or

(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals. [Rancho Miller note: No mention of the rights of parents to restrict information available to a child or the child’s ability to express himself or herself.]

Article 14

1. States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

2. States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.

3. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others. [RM note: Again, no mention of the parents’ rights to guide and/or regulate the child’s religious practices.]

The upshot of these articles is that parents are hamstrung when it comes to the influences on the child and his/her right to express himself/herself in any way that the child deems proper. According to conservative legal analysts like Michael Farris, such passages could ultimately be interpreted and legislated as meaning a parent couldn’t require a child to attend religious services or activities.

Farris also is concerned that the right to home school could be affected.

Now, the first thing I think of when confronted with a U.N. resolution or convention is that it stands little likelihood of being enforced. Nations generally sign onto such things and then ignore them. The U.N. is simply bureaucracy on a worldwide scale with little else to do than come up with documents like this.

However, it’s still dangerous to have our nation agree to something like this. For one thing, the entire document is an alarming exercise in regulation of family life on national and international levels. Taken seriously, the implementation of this document — likely just like other U.N. documents — would mean having an international body write our laws. I know that’s a “duh” observation, but it still needs to be pointed out and to be considered.

I’m opposed to the existence of the United Nations and think the organization has caused much more harm than it has done good. But that’s only because for the past 60+ years, it’s been seen as a pontificating body with no enforcement clout.

If it ever is taken seriously, though, the result would be devastating to our way of life and likely would negate the power of our Constitution, resulting in a surrender of sovereignty.

Senate approval 0f “The “Convention of the Rights of the Child” would be one step towards this.

Pride is nothing to be proud of

donkey1Pride will get you into more trouble than you can shake an ego at.

It’ll make you look like an ass to your friends and colleagues when you resist constructive criticism or suggestion that what you’ve done may not be perfect. Or that, God forbid, you’ve made a mistake and could actually improve what you’ve done.

It’ll get you into quarrels and then keep you from reconciling with those you’ve quarreled with. (And no, I’m not proud of that sentence.)

It’ll keep progress from being made on a project because it just has to be done your way.

It implies loudly that you’re better than all others.

How do I know all this? Because I struggle with pride.

Pride invariably leads to sin. It breaks or strains relationships, with men and with God. It convinces us that we have the right to do that which we do no matter what God’s law says.

And it has consequences.

Pride brings God’s wrath on us (2 Chronicles 32:25-26, Psalm 31:23) because He hates it (Proverbs 8:13). It interferes with one’s relationship with God (Psalm 10:4). It leads to our downfall (Proverbs 16:18, 29:23). It defiles us (Mark 7:20-23).

The solution is to ask the Lord for the strength to be humble.

Praise Him all day!!!!

Joseph Israel covers ‘Slow Train Coming’

Messianic reggae artist Joseph Israel has posted a video of his cover of Bob Dylan’s “Slow Train Coming.”

I love it. One of my favorite reggae artists covers my all-time favorite artist.

Wha?

While in Indiana on Monday, Obama said the nation is facing “an economic crisis as deep and as dire as any since the Great Depression.”

OK, I know rhetoric is part n parcel of political discourse, but a good argument can be made that the early 1980s recession was much worse. And whatever happened to “hope” as in “Hope and Change”?

A first for dreams

I think I had a first for dreams last night. I not only had the typical end-of-the-semester-and-I-haven’t-been-to-one-class-but-now-it’s-time-for-finals dream, but in the same dream, I was also unprepared for a class I was teaching. Maybe I’m consolidating.

George Puppyopolis’ good news

Can’t ABC “chief Washington correspondent” and chief network incontinent puppy George Stephanopoulos, a former aide to Bill Clinton, even try to fake objectivity? Media Research Center published a transcript of his comments on Wednesday’s “Good Morning America” about Obama’s problems with nominees:

… the good news is, even though the President was forced to apologize so many times yesterday, is that these nominees now are gone. They’ve chosen to withdraw. So, the President can move on. This was running the possibility of really hurting his reformist image. He can move on from that.

The “good news,” without any qualifications? “So the President can move on”?

All Puppyopoulos is missing are a couple pompons and a cheerleader’s skirt.