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Tofu, touch football and scary laws
Sometimes I find things on my computer
that I wish I wrote...this is one of them.

There are times I run into things in my email that I actually wish I had the foresight to write. This is one of them. I have no idea who originated this. Wish I knew. I'd like to give him, or her, author's credit. What made this piece really strike home is the recent skirmish in Congress over the Renewables Fuels, Consumer Protection and Energy Efficient Act of 2007 that was brought to the forefront by the advocacy of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise urging consumers all over the United States for force Congress to enact the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act [BULB].

Before relaying the piece I said I wish I'd have written, let me explain what happened with the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection and Energy Efficient Act of 2007. It was one of those "payback laws"—like the law forcing TV stations to broadcast in digital high definition [HDTV]. That law happened because electronics manufacturers wanted to convert television to digital imaging in order to broadcast network TV signals over hand-held devises like cell phones. Congress accommodated them by forcing the industry to change to digital high definition imaging. In doing so, they gave the TV industry a massive sales boost Traditional standard definition television receivers no longer worked after June 13, 2009. The reason for the law? The federal government said it was necessary to free up parts of the broadcast spectrum for public safety communications. In reality, the broadcast bands were sold to the broadcast industry to provide consumers with new wireless broadband services. You might say it was an imminent domain seizure of broadband.

Subtitle B of Title III of the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection and Energy Efficient Act of 2007, known as the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, was pretty much the same type of lobbyist trade-off. The legislation phases out 276 versions of Tom Edison's light bulb next year and replaces them with what was purported to be green energy alternatives. The drop dead date to eliminate the incandescent light bulb (except the 25W, 40W and 60W bulbs) is next summer. Why? Because Al Gore, Jr. managed to convince the eco-wackos around the world that Tom Edison's light bulbs, like sweaty people and flatulent cows, cause global warming. Of course, it's nonsense, but that was the rhetoric that allowed the change to happen—throughout the world. A handful of global lighting companies will get filthy rich on this one and you, of course, will foot the bill.

While it appeared the primary beneficiaries of the forced conversion to harmful fluorescent light bulbs, and halogen and LED light bulbs would be GE, Osram-Sylvania and Philips, a new twist changed that. When the US House of Representatives failed to push a veto-proof version of the BULB Act through Congress, House Speaker John Boehner gave up. The White House, gloating about its victory over Boehner, noted that the change will provide thousands of jobs to Americans making new energy-efficient light bulbs that the world will be using next year. The only problem is those thousands of new jobs will all be going to workers in China because GE, Philips and Osram-Sylvania can't afford to make them in the United States.

Now, the email I wish I had written will make more sense. Please, don't think of it as fiction (which it is). Think of it as an ominous warning of what's coming down the pike if we don't change the authority we've given Congress through our apathy. Read it like it's true. Because it is even though it's fictitious. And then decide what you—we—are going to do about it. And, whatever it is, we'd better be doing it soon because the clock is ticking.

"Winston, come into the dining room, it's time to eat," Julia yelled to her husband.

"In a minute, honey," he answered. "It's a tie score."

Actually Winston wasn't very interested in the traditional holiday football game between Detroit and Washington. Every since the government passed the Civility in Sports Statute of 2017, outlawing tackle football for its "unseemly violence" and the "bad example it sets for the rest of the world," Winston was far less of a football fan than he used to be. Two-hand touch wasn't nearly as exciting.

Yet, it wasn't the game that Winston was uninterested in. It was more the thought of eating another Tofu turkey. Even though it was the best type of Veggie Meat available after the government revised the American Anti-Obesity Act of 2018, adding fowl to the list of federally-forbidden foods (which already included potatoes, cranberry sauce and mincemeat pie), it wasn't anything like real turkey.

And since the government officially changed the name of "Thanksgiving" to the "National Day of Atonement" in 2020 to officially acknowledge the Pilgrims' historically brutal treatment of Native Americans, the holiday had lost a lot of its luster.

Eating in the dining room was also a bit daunting. The unearthly gleam of government-mandated fluorescent light bulbs made the Tofu turkey look even weirder than it actually was, and the room was always cold. Ever since Congress passed the Power Conservation Act of 2016—which were monitored and controlled by the electric company—be kept at 68°, every room on the north side of the house was barely tolerable throughout the entire winter.

Still, it was good getting together with family. Or, at least, most of the family. Winston missed his mother, who passed on in October when she used up her legal allotment of lifesaving medical treatments. He had had many heated conversations with the Regional Health Consortium, spawned when the private insurance industry finally went bankrupt, and everyone was forced into the government's healthcare program. And, though he demanded she be kept on her treatment, it was a futile effort. "The RHC's resources are limited," explained the government bureaucrat Winston spoke with on the phone. "Your mother received all the benefits to which she was entitled. I'm sorry for your loss."

Ed couldn't make it, either. He forgot to plug in his electric car last night, the only kind of transportation available after the Anti-Fossil Fuel Act of 2021 outlawed the use of the combustion engine—for everyone except government officials. The fifty mile round trip was about ten miles too far, and Ed didn't want to spend a frosty night on the road somewhere between here and there.

Thankfully, Winston's brother John and his wife were flying in.

Winston made sure that the dining room chairs had extra cushions for the occasion. No one complained more than John about the pain of sitting down so soon after the government-mandated cavity searches at airports, which severely aggravated his hemorrhoids. Ever since a terrorist successfully got a cavity bomb onto a jetliner, the TSA told Americans the added "inconvenience" was an "absolute necessity" in order to stay "one step ahead of the terrorists."

Winston's own body had grown accustomed to such probing ever since the government expanded their scope to just about anywhere a crowd gathered, via the Anti-Profiling Act of 2022. That law made it a crime to single out any individual or group for "unequal scrutiny," even when probable cause was involved. Thus, cavity searches at malls, train stations, bus depots, etc., had become almost routine. Almost.

The Supreme Court is reviewing the statute, but most Americans expect a Court comprised of six progressives and three conservatives to leave the law intact. "A living constitution is extremely flexible," said the Court's eldest member, Elena Kagan. "Europe has had laws like this one for years. We should learn from their example," she added.

Winston's thoughts turned to his own children. He got along fairly well with his 12-year old daughter, Brittany, mostly because she ignored him. Winston had long ago surrendered to the idea that she could text anyone at any time, even during Atonement Dinner. Their only real confrontation had occurred when he limited her to 50,000 texts per month, explaining that was all he could afford. She whined for a week, but got over it.

His 16-year old son, Jason, was another matter all-together. Perhaps it was the constant bombarding he got in public school that global warming, the bird flue, terrorism, or any number of other calamities were "just around the corner," but Jason had developed a kind of nihilistic attitude that ranged between simmering surliness and outright hostility. It didn't help that Jason had reported his father to the police for smoking a cigarette in the house—an act made criminal by the Smoking Control Act of 2018, which outlawed smoking anywhere within 500 feet of another human being. Winston paid the $5,000 fine, which might have been considered excessive before the American dollar became virtually worthless as a result of QE13.

The latest round of quantitative easing the federal government initiated was, once again, to "spur economic growth." This time, they promised to push unemployment below its year-long rate of 18%, but Winston was not particularly hopeful.

Yet the family had a lot for which to be thankful, Winston thought, before remembering it was a Day of Atonement.

At least he had his memories. He felt a twinge of sadness when he realize his children would never know what life was like in the Good Old Days, long before government promised to make life "fair for everyone," and be able to realize their full potential in a free society.

Winston, like so many of his fellow Americans, never realized how much things could change when they didn't happen all at once, but just little by little, so people could get used to them. He wondered what might have happened if the public had stood up while there was still time, maybe back around 2011 when all the real nonsense began. "Maybe we wouldn't be where we are today if we'd just said, 'Enough is enough" when we had the chance," he thought.

Maybe so, Winston. Maybe so.

Well, for whatever it's worth, once again, you have my two cents worth on this subject. Until next time...





Just Say No
Copyright © 2009 Jon Christian Ryter.
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