A federal judge has ruled that a challenge to Michigan’s statewide ban on same-sex marriages can proceed, citing the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.
The case involves a lesbian couple that wants to adopt three children, but is barred from it under both a state constitutional amendment and a state statute. As Marty Lederman at SCOTUSblog explains, the constitutional amendment, “enacted in 2004, provides that ‘[t]o secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.’” The state statute limits adoption to single people or married couples. Thus since they are not considered married under state law, the couple cannot adopt.
Forecast the Facts just sent me this email, and I have to post it in its entirety:
Someone finally said it. It seems like all anyone can talk about lately is the ‘fiscal cliff,’ a manufactured crisis that Congress could end in an instant. Meanwhile, no one has been talking about the real cliff we’re hurtling towards: the threat of unabated fossil fuel pollution to our global climate.
I guess Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) finally decided he’d heard enough. He decried his climate change-denying colleagues in a rousing speech on Wednesday, and you just have to see what he said:
The email goes on to say:
Senator Whitehouse’s words ring true: in the face of deafening climate silence, it’s bizarre and sad to hear our leaders express concern for our children and grandchildren, then watch them ignore the climate crisis. John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and other prominent politicians want us to think the fiscal cliff is about saving future generations from economic ruin, but they never hesitate to push us ever closer to the climate cliff.
Congress created the ‘fiscal cliff’ through a budgetary maneuver last year, and they can avoid it just as easily.
By contrast, we have been hurtling toward the climate cliff for a long time now. Scientists have warned for decades that the rogue fossil fuel industry risks rendering the world hostile to human civilization. If we don’t act immediately, as Senator Whitehouse said, the greatest cost will be on future generations, but the shame will be on us.
The email from Forecast the Facts also included a link to the full text of Sen. Whitehouse’s speech. I’ve pasted that transcript below (emphasis mine):
Mr. President, last week I spoke about our nation’s military and intelligence leaders acknowledging, along with our nation’s scientific leaders, the clear evidence that carbon pollution is changing our climate.
Unfortunately, there is confusion among many Americans regarding this scientific consensus, confusion caused by deliberate and coordinated attempts to mislead the American people.
For more than two decades the climate denial movement has been well organized and funded by the fossil fuel industry and conservative ideologues and foundations. The mission of these paid-for deniers is to ‘manufacture uncertainty,’ to manufacture doubt, so the polluters can keep polluting.
This isn’t new. We’ve seen self-serving strategies like this one before: they questioned the merits of requiring seatbelts; they questioned CFCs causing the deterioration of the ozone layer; they questioned the toxic effects of lead exposure; and they questioned whether tobacco was bad for you—same strategy to manufacture doubt; often the same cast of characters.
While the Congress of the United State has been distracted and deceived by these ploys, climate change marches on. Precious time is wasting. In the balance hang lives and jobs. This nonsense has gone on long enough.
The public is being misled. Special interest dollars pull the strings of sophisticated campaigns to give the public the impression that there is a real scientific debate regarding whether or not climate change is happening. There isn’t. The scientific debate is about how bad the changes will be.
To manufacture the doubt, skeptics with little training in climate science are promoted as ‘experts.’ Front groups such as the Global Climate Coalition, Information Council for the Environment, Heartland Institute, Annapolis Center, and Cooler Heads Coalition are created or enlisted to propagate the message of doubt. They question the motives and engage in harassment of the real, credentialed climate scientists.
For the record, there has been scientific debate regarding climate change. Ideas have been tested, theories have been ventured, and the evidence keeps coming back to the same conclusion: increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from human-related sources is strengthening the greenhouse effect, adding to recent warming, and acidifying the oceans. Actually, the evidence coming in tends to confirm the worst and most dangerous projections.
Claims that solar activity is causing recent global warming, and about whether the atmosphere is really warming, have been settled.
When the scientific research doesn’t work out for the skeptics, they turn to straw man arguments. One straw man is that extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and droughts, aren’t proof of climate change. Let’s be clear. No credible source is arguing that extreme events are proof that our climate is changing. But they are associated with what has been staring us in the face for years: the average global temperature is increasing; average sea level is rising; and average ocean acidity is increasing. When averages change extremes usually change with them; the warming climate ‘loads the dice’ for extreme weather.
One gimmick they have reverted to is the observation that there has been no warming trend in the last ten years. In 2010 a Republican Senator said ‘I don’t think that anyone disagrees with the fact that we actually are in a cold period that started about nine years ago.’ Let’s look at the facts. [Show chart with fitted trend] The green line is the global surface temperature data. The red line shows the trend. The trend line is the product of basic and undeniable mathematics, by the way. [Show chart with stepped line] But here’s how the deniers manipulate the same data: the last step is the cold period my Republican colleague mentioned.
This is only a recent portion of the temperature record. When skeptics look deeper into the past, they find even more straw men: the earth’s climate always changes; it’s been warmer in the past. Yes, the earth has seen different climates in the past, not ones we’d want to live in necessarily! The reason we know about these climates is because of the excellent work done by scientists, the same scientists who tell us recent climate change can only be explained by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
And then there is this classic: more carbon in the atmosphere is good because it provides more food for plants. Ah, the Plant Food Theory.
The fact is that we have changed the composition of our atmosphere, pushing the concentration of carbon dioxide beyond where it has been for 8000 centuries. To give you a timescale of 8000 centuries: the practice of agriculture has been around for 100 centuries; modern humans began to migrate out of Africa about 600 centuries ago; Homo sapiens have been around about 2000 centuries. 8000 centuries. For all that time, we never reached carbon dioxide concentrations like what we’ve caused now, through human activity.
Deniers tend to ignore facts they can’t explain away. For example, the increasing acidification of the oceans is simple to measure and undeniably, chemically linked to carbon concentrations in the atmosphere. So we hear nothing about ocean acidification from the deniers.
Ocean acidification is possibly the most disastrous consequence of carbon pollution. The rate of change in acidity of our oceans is already thought to be faster than any time in the past 50 million years. A paper published this March in Science concluded that the current rate of carbon dioxide emissions could drive chemical changes in the ocean unparalleled in the last 300 million years. When you consider the implications for food security, biodiversity, and ocean-based industries, we cannot ignore these changes in our oceans. Just last Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposed listing 66 species of coral as endangered or threatened — and cited climate change as driving three key threats: disease, warmer seas and more acidic seas.
Here’s what I think is worth reminding the deniers, in the words of NASA:
On global temperature rise: ‘All three major global surface temperature reconstructions show that Earth has warmed since 1880. Most of this warming has occurred since the 1970s, with the 20 warmest years having occurred since 1981 and with all 10 of the warmest years occurring in the past 12 years. Even though the 2000s witnessed a solar output decline resulting in an unusually deep solar minimum in 2007-2009, surface temperatures continue to increase.’
On ocean temperature and sea level rise: ‘The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 2,300 feet… showing warming of 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969. Global sea level rose about 6.7 inches in the last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century.’
On ocean acidification: ‘Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent. This increase is the result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere… The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year.’
NASA scientists put a man on moon and a rover on Mars. They’re not the quacks. Our nation’s best and brightest minds accept the evidence of climate change, and are urging us to act. Yet still for some in this body, the deniers carry the day.
Why? Well, in a weekend editorial titled Flight from Facts, my home-state Providence Journal said: ‘[The] GOP is winning the race to avoid evidence – some of this escapism based on a desire to hold on to what had been comforting, if error-based, traditional beliefs, and some of it to avoid policies that might be economically and otherwise inconvenient.’ And the price of our folly will be very, very high for future generations.
When it is a question of putting the cost on our children and grandchildren of taking care of their grandparents, how the Republican crocodile tears of intergenerational equity flow! In one of their attacks on Medicare and Social Security, which the Republicans like to call ‘entitlements,’ we heard this: ‘We have got a serious spending problem here… And we need to have an impact on entitlements…If we’re going to have entitlements for our children and grandchildren when they reach retirement age, we have got to change the trajectory.’
The Minority Leader has also spoken about what appears to be the health care bill, and worried about it ‘creating a more precarious future for our children.’
He’s said about the stimulus effort to get our economy back on its feet: ‘This needs to stop for the future of our country and for our children and for our grandchildren.’
When it’s the deficit, he’s urged us ‘to make sure that we have the same kind of country for our children and our grandchildren that our parents left for us.’ He’s even talked about, and I quote, ‘the Europeanization of America,’ and as a result of that Europeanization of America ‘our children and grandchildren could no longer expect to have the same opportunities that we’ve had.’
On virtually every traditional anti-Obama Republican Tea Party bugbear – Medicare, Obamacare, the stimulus, the deficit – even this Europeanization of America – out come the children and grandchildren. Let’s assume they are sincere; let’s assume they have a sincere concern for what is left for our children and grandchildren.
So, when it comes to big corporate polluters of today leaving our children and grandchildren a damaged and more dangerous world, where then is the concern for those children and grandchildren? To have children and grandchildren pay for the care of their grandparents through Medicare and Social Security is a sin and an outrage. To force on them the untold costs and consequences of the harms done by today’s corporate polluters? For that, the future generations’ interests receive nothing from the Republicans but stony silence, or phony and calculated denial.
But the cost will be on them; and the shame will be on us.
I yield the floor.
It’s about time for the rubber to hit the road on budget reform, and you can see the different lobbies pre-positioning and drawing their lines in the sand. Too many of the GOP and Democrat senators are going into this with the thought that it’s time to cut entitlements, but that’s wrong and unfair. Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, and the rest should not be on the table.
People deserve the benefits of the social contract that they signed up for, not the GOP moving the goal posts just to save the uber rich a few percent on their taxes which they won’t really notice anyway.
We’ve already seen that type of reform already — my friend Digby has to wait 2 years longer for full retirement on Social Security than I do even though we grew up in the same place. The only difference is that I graduated a couple years later than her. That’s just not right nor fair since we’ve both been subject to the same deductions and scales most of our lives. We shouldn’t be disassembling these support systems for future generations for the greed a few just as they are becoming most needed.
Washington should stay away from touching the mortgage interest tax deduction, warns the U.S. housing industry.
Lately, housing is on the mend and one of the few bright spots in a lumbering economic recovery. Taking away a key tax break could throw a wrench into home buying plans and hurt a long-sputtering recovery.
Lawmakers in both parties are on the lookout for tax revenue as a way to avert the fiscal cliff.
But the housing industry is preparing to fight against any move to get rid of the mortgage interest tax break.
“[Getting rid of it] would throw the housing sector into turmoil … and chill the market just as it is trying to recover,” said Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Association of Home Builders.
My father taught me how to throw a baseball and divide big numbers in my head and build a life where I’d be home in time to eat dinner with my kid most nights. He and my mother put me through college and urged me to follow my dreams. He never complained when I entered a field even less respected than his. He lives across the country and still calls just to check in and say he loves me.
His name is Tom. He is 63, tall and lean, a contracts lawyer in a small Oregon town. A few wisps of hair still reach across his scalp. The moustache I have never seen him without has faded from deep brown to silver. The puns he tormented my younger brother and me with throughout our childhood have evolved, improbably, into the funniest jokes my 6-year-old son has ever heard. I love my dad fiercely, even though he’s beaten me in every argument we’ve ever had except two, and even though he is, statistically and generationally speaking, a parasite.
This is the charge I’ve leveled against him on a summer day in our Pacific Northwest vision of paradise. I have asked my favorite attorney to represent a very troublesome client, the entire baby-boom generation, in what should be a slam-dunk trial—for me. On behalf of future generations, I am accusing him and all the other parasites his age of breaking the sacred bargain that every American generation will pass a better country on to its children than the one it inherited.
We are sitting on a beach in late afternoon on a sun-drizzled lake in the Cascade Mountains, two college-educated, upper-middle-class white men settling in for a week of generational warfare. My son, Max, splashes in the waves with his grandmother; sunbathers lounge in inner tubes around us; snow-capped peaks loom above the tree line. The breeze smells of Coppertone and wet dog. My father thinks back on the country that awaited him when he finished law school. “There seemed to be a lot of potential,” he says, setting up the first of many evasions, “but there weren’t a lot of jobs.”
I’m mildly impressed that he’s even bothering to mount a defense. The facts as I see them are clear and damning: Baby boomers took the economic equivalent of a king salmon from their parents and, before they passed it on, gobbled up everything but the bones.
The religious right faction of the GOP never tires of selling fear and loathing. They persistently pimp paranoia and bile because if there’s not an ultimate evil and we aren’t all doomed, why the hell would you do what they say? Since we are in one of those tail wags the dog periods where the Tea party Evangelists and Paleolibertarian Galtiopaths are setting 100 percent of the GOP agenda, let me tell you what you should really fear.
You should fear the anti science crowd taking over congress and the courts - if you wanted to really stultify the economy and place us far behind our competitors that would be your first step. You would put superstition in charge of science and environmental policy. If you put medieval mindsets in charge of women’s health, then we will return the whole country to the red state problem of excessive out of wedlock teen pregnancy and excessive abortion and excessive infant mortality. Finally, if we allow people who believe their fundamentalist faith’s apocalyptic visions too deeply to set our foreign policy then we will war without end because war debt is the best debt to saddle future generations with since there won’t be future generations in their views.
So here we have the latest fear bomb from Ralph Reed, he goes Godwin against our President and then labels him communist. The religious right can’t decide whether Obama is Hitler, Stalin, or Muslim, but they just know that he must be one or more of those… oh, and they want you to send them money…. or else…
A mailer blasted out by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a nonprofit group spending millions of dollars to mobilize evangelical voters this November to help Mitt Romney’s campaign, compares President Barack Obama’s policies to the threat posed by Nazi Germany and Japan during World War II. It also says that Obama has “Communist beliefs.” A copy of this so-called “Voter Registration Confirmation Survey” was obtained by Mother Jones after it was sent to the home of a registered Republican voter.
The Faith and Freedom Coalition is the brainchild of Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition who was once hailed as “the right hand of God” and who is now tasked with getting out the evangelical vote for Romney. In the mid-2000s, Reed was ensnared in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Reed was a longtime friend of Abramoff’s, and he took payments from Abramoff to lobby against certain American Indian casinos. Reed once ran a religious-themed anti-gambling campaign at the behest of an Abramoff-connected Native American tribe to try to prevent another tribe from opening a competitor casino. His current efforts for Romney are something of a political rehabilitation for Reed.
Reed is Romney’s best hope for rallying evangelical voters. The religious right is a sizable voting bloc: 26 percent of the electorate in 2008. Reed was credited with propelling the evangelical vote in the 2004 for George W. Bush and helping Bush beat Democratic Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). And Romney needs Reed’s kind of help. During the GOP primary, evangelicals tended to prefer Romney’s opponents Newt Gingrich and especially Rick Santorum, and over the summer, enthusiasm among evangelicals for Romney was noticeably lacking.
Once again, we can always count on the AP and its ilk to try and spin anything related to Isreal or Jews as controversial.
HAIFA, Israel - Fourteen women who survived the horrors of World War II paraded Thursday in an unusual pageant, vying for the honour of being crowned Israel’s first “Miss Holocaust Survivor.”
Billed by organizers as a celebration of life, the event also stirred controversy. In a country where millions have been touched by the Holocaust, many argued that judging aging women who had suffered so much on physical appearance was inappropriate, and even offensive.
“It sounds totally macabre to me,” said Colette Avital, chairwoman of Israel’s leading Holocaust survivors’ umbrella group. “I am in favour of enriching lives, but a one-time pageant masquerading (survivors) with beautiful clothes is not what is going to make their lives more meaningful.”
Pageant organizer Shimon Sabag rejected the criticism, saying the winners were chosen based on their personal stories of survival and rebuilding their lives after the war, and physical beauty was only a tiny part of the competition.
“They feel good together. They are having a good time and laughing in the rehearsals,” said Sabag, director of Yad Ezer L’Haver, or Helping Hand, which assists needy Holocaust survivors and organized the pageant.
“The fact that so many wanted to participate proves that it’s a good idea.”
Nearly 300 women from across Israel registered for the competition and contestants were whittled down to the 14 finalists who appeared Thursday.
The contest, part of Helping Hand’s annual “cultural” night, included a lavish dinner and music at a Haifa reception hall. Some 600 people attended, including two Cabinet ministers, Moshe Kahlon and Yossi Peled, himself a Holocaust survivor.
The women, ranging in age from 74 to 97, clearly enjoyed themselves. Wearing black dresses, earrings and necklaces, and sporting blue-and-white numbered sashes, they grinned and waved as they were introduced to the adoring audience. Music played as the contestants walked along a red carpet, introduced themselves and described their memories of World War II.
“I have the privilege to show the world that Hitler wanted to exterminate us and we are alive. We are also enjoying life. Thank God it’s that way,” said Esther Libber, a 74-year-old runner-up who fled her home in Poland as a child, hid in a forest and was rescued by a Polish woman. She said she lost her entire immediate family.
A four-judge panel consisting of three former beauty queens and a geriatric psychiatrist who specializes in treating Holocaust survivors chose the winner. Hava Hershkovitz, a soon-to-be 79-year-old, was banished from her home in Romania in 1941 and sent to a detention camp in the Soviet Union for three years. Today, she lives in an assisted living home run by Helping Hand.
“This place is full of survivors. It puts us at the centre of attention so people will care. It’s not easy at this age to be in a beauty contest, but we’re all doing it to show that we’re still here,” the silver-haired Hershkovitz said.
Wearing a glittering tiara, she was joined by her granddaughter, Keren Hazan. “I’m very proud of her because she’s the most beautiful woman in the room tonight,” Hazan said.
In addition to the contestants’ accounts of surviving Nazi ghettos and concentration camps, their later contributions to their communities were also considered, Sabag said. Physical appearance was maybe “10 per cent” of the criteria, he said, though a cosmetics company was recruited to help the women dress up for the occasion.
“We always tell them to dress well and look good. To think positive and to take care of themselves,” Sabag said. “Always look at life with a smile and continue to live.”
The thought that physical appearance could even remotely be a factor rubbed some the wrong way. Avital, of the Holocaust survivors’ umbrella group, criticized the cosmetics company, saying it was using Holocaust survivors in a cheap marketing stunt to promote their products.
“Why use a beauty contest to show that these people survived and that they’re brave?” wondered Lili Haber, a daughter of Holocaust survivors who heads an Israeli organization that assists survivors from Poland. “I think it’s awful. I think it’s something a decent person shouldn’t even think about.”
The Holocaust, in which Nazi Germany oversaw the systematic slaughter of 6 million European Jews, plays a unique role in Israeli society. The country gained independence in the wake of the Holocaust, serving as a refuge for hundreds of thousands of people who survived the genocide.
Nearly 200,000 aging survivors live in Israel today, and the country’s annual Holocaust Day is one of the most solemn occasions on the calendar. Restaurants and cinemas close, and the country comes to a standstill as sirens wail for two minutes. Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, frequently make references to the Holocaust when discussing the threat they believe a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to the Jewish state.
Thursday’s contest was among the many unconventional beauty pageants that have sprouted up over the years. The war-torn countries of Angola and Cambodia have held “Miss Landmine” contests for survivors of land mine explosions, Star Trek fans enjoy the “Miss Klingon Empire” contest in Atlanta, and plus-sized women in Thailand compete for the honour of “Miss Jumbo Queen.” There are also a senior citizens’ pageants in the U.S.
Gal Mor, editor of the popular Israeli blog “Holes in the Net,” said Thursday’s pageant was well-intentioned but misguided.
“Why should a decayed, competitive institution that emphasizes women’s appearance be used as inspiration, instead of allowing them to tell their story without gimmicks?” he wrote. “This is one step short of ‘Survivor-Holocaust’ or ‘Big Brother Auschwitz.’ It leaves a bad taste. Holocaust survivors should be above all this.”
This pageant was a celebration of life and of survival, despite the effort of Nazi-led Germany, with the often-willing assistance of others, to wipe out the Jewish people. This pageant was a celebration by people who were forcibly made slaves of their victory in leading vibrant lives as free people. They deserve to be supported and praised for their fortitude in not only surviving the horrors that were visited upon them in their childhood but also in being able to grow old in a world where that privilege is denied to too many.
God bless and keep every one of them. I, for one, will never forget and will never allow future generations to forget.
Unthinkable as it may be, humanity, every last person, could someday be wiped from the face of the Earth. We have learned to worry about asteroids and supervolcanoes, but the more-likely scenario, according to Nick Bostrom, a professor of philosophy at Oxford, is that we humans will destroy ourselves.
Bostrom, who directs Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, has argued over the course of several papers that human extinction risks are poorly understood and, worse still, severely underestimated by society. Some of these existential risks are fairly well known, especially the natural ones. But others are obscure or even exotic. Most worrying to Bostrom is the subset of existential risks that arise from human technology, a subset that he expects to grow in number and potency over the next century.
Despite his concerns about the risks posed to humans by technological progress, Bostrom is no luddite. In fact, he is a longtime advocate of transhumanism—the effort to improve the human condition, and even human nature itself, through technological means. In the long run he sees technology as a bridge, a bridge we humans must cross with great care, in order to reach new and better modes of being. In his work, Bostrom uses the tools of philosophy and mathematics, in particular probability theory, to try and determine how we as a species might achieve this safe passage. What follows is my conversation with Bostrom about some of the most interesting and worrying existential risks that humanity might encounter in the decades and centuries to come, and about what we can do to make sure we outlast them.
Some have argued that we ought to be directing our resources toward humanity’s existing problems, rather than future existential risks, because many of the latter are highly improbable. You have responded by suggesting that existential risk mitigation may in fact be a dominant moral priority over the alleviation of present suffering. Can you explain why?
Bostrom: Well suppose you have a moral view that counts future people as being worth as much as present people. You might say that fundamentally it doesn’t matter whether someone exists at the current time or at some future time, just as many people think that from a fundamental moral point of view, it doesn’t matter where somebody is spatially—somebody isn’t automatically worth less because you move them to the moon or to Africa or something. A human life is a human life. If you have that moral point of view that future generations matter in proportion to their population numbers, then you get this very stark implication that existential risk mitigation has a much higher utility than pretty much anything else that you could do. There are so many people that could come into existence in the future if humanity survives this critical period of time—we might live for billions of years, our descendants might colonize billions of solar systems, and there could be billions and billions times more people than exist currently. Therefore, even a very small reduction in the probability of realizing this enormous good will tend to outweigh even immense benefits like eliminating poverty or curing malaria, which would be tremendous under ordinary standards.
For all the seeming urgency, Agenda 21, it turns out, is old news; it dates back to 1992 and the Earth Summit in Rio. Signed by 178 world leaders, including President George H.W. Bush, the thousand-plus page document, “binding upon all living things on the planet,” is the United Nations’ program on “sustainable development.” Depending on whether you believe the UN or the John Birch Society, it’s either a much-needed strategic plan to scale down the use of fossil fuels and other natural resources to levels that meet “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” - or a Trojan horse that will give the UN complete control over every aspect of American life.
Flashing slides of Karl Marx and Alger Hiss, the accused Communist spy who helped draft the UN Charter, Shurtlef painted a lurid picture. Agenda 21 explicitly calls for “a profound reorientation of all human society, unlike anything the world has ever experienced,” he said. Its goal, he falsely claimed, is the de-population of rural regions. Foreign bureaucrats, Shurtlef added absurdly, will mandate family size here in the United States, imposing forced abortions as they do in Communist China.
If UN environmentalists have their way, he went on, the expansive American way of life, in which everyone can aspire to the dream of owning a house with a big yard and two cars in the driveway, will be replaced by one in which increasing numbers of us are crammed into urban and suburban “pack ‘em and stack ‘em” apartment complexes, and forced to use mass transportation and live according to a “communitarian” ethos. Already, Edison’s great invention, the incandescent light bulb, has been banned. Thanks to Agenda 21, Americans are being forced to purchase expensive, compact fluorescent lightbulbs that are manufactured in Communist China.